Saturday, November 29, 2008

Secrecy -

Love's secret is always to be doing things for God, and not to mind because they are such very little ones. --Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny. Robert Heinlein

The real constitution of things is accustomed to hide itself.-- Heraclitus

To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches, and therefore every man endeavors with his utmost care to hide his poverty from others, and his idleness from himself. - Dr Samuel Johnson, 1709 - 1784

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Lord grant that Marshall Wade
May by Thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King.
National Anthem, circa 1745, the verse everyone omits

Land of the hill and heather
Land of the awful weather
Land where the midges gather
Scotland the brave.

The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,
The big ha'-bible, ance his father's pride:
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care;
And "Let us worship God!" he says with solemn air.

They chant their artless notes in simple guise,
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim;
Perhaps "Dundee's" wild-warbling measures rise,
Or plaintive "Martyrs," worthy of the name;
Or noble "Elgin" beets the heaven-ward flame,
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays:
Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame:
The tickl'd ears no heart-felt raptures raise;
Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high;
Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay His head:
How His first followers and servants sped;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land:
How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand,
And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd by Heaven's command.

Then kneeling down to Heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays:
Hope "springs exulting on triumphant wing,"
That thus they all shall meet in future days,
There ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their Creator's praise,
In such society, yet still more dear;
While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere.

Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method, and of art;
When men display to congregations wide
Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!
The Power, incens'd, the pageant will desert,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
But haply, well-pleas'd, the language of the soul;
And in His Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.

Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest:
The parent-pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request,
That He who stills the raven's clam'rous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide;
But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside.

From scenes like these, old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
"An honest man's the noblest work of God;"
And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road,
The cottage leaves the palace far behind;
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin'd!

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent,
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blestwith health, and peace, and sweet content!
And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd isle.
Robert Burns, The Cotter's Saturday Night

From the lone shieling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides!
R Burns "My Heart's in the Highlands (1790)

These are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm.Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equaled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig. --Alfred Hitchcock

Asked by a Scot what Johnson thought of Scotland: "That it is a very vile country, to be sure, Sir" "Well, Sir! (replies the Scot, somewhat mortified), God made it." Johnson: "Certainly he did; but we must always remember that he made it for Scotchmen, and comparisons are odious, Mr. S------; but God made hell." -- Hester Thrale Piozzi: Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson

We were by no means pleased with our inn at Bristol. "Let us see now, (said I), how we should describe it." Johnson was ready with his raillery. "Describe it,sir? Why, it was so bad that Boswell wished to be in Scotland!"--Boswell, Life of Johnson, of May 1776.

Mr. Arthur Lee mentioned some Scotch who had taken possession of a barren part of America, and wondered why they would choose it. Johnson: "Why, Sir, all barrenness is comparative. The Scotch would not know it to be barren." Boswell: "Come, come, he is flattering the English. you have now been in Scotland, Sir, and say if you did not see meat and drink enough there." Johnson: "Why yes, Sir; meat and drink enough to give the inhabitants sufficient strength to run away from home.- James Boswell: Life of Johnson

The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England! -- Samuel Johnson (Boswell: Life of Johnson)

Golf is an exercise in Scottish pointlessness for people who are no longer able to throw telephone poles at each other. -- Florence King, 1999

The child of Mary Queen of Scots,
A shifty mother's shiftless son
Bred up among intrigues and plots,
Learnèd in all things, wise in none.
Ungainly, babbling, wasteful, weak,
Shrewd, clever, cowardly, pedantic,
The sight of steel would blanch his cheek,
The smell of baccy drive him frantic.
He was the author of his line --
He wrote that witches should be burnt;
He wrote that monarchs were divine,
And left a son who -- proved they weren't! -- Kipling
Beautiful, glorious Scotland, has spoilt me for every other country! Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882) : Letter, 21 Aug 1869; in "The Mary Lincoln Letters," 1956.

Ahh, the soothing o' the Pipes... Whenever I find myself missing its melodious sounds, I just toss the cat in the dryer on low heat. Jordan Montgomery

Breathes there a man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd
From wandering on a foreign strand!...
Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel 1805

The fact that I am not a haggis addict is probably due to my having read Shakespeare. It is the same with many Englishmen. There is no doubt that Shakespeare has rather put us off the stuff.... You remember the passage to which I refer? Macbeth happens upon the three witches while they are preparing the evening meal. They are dropping things into the cauldron and chanting "Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog," and so on, and he immediately recognises the recipe. "How now, you secret, black and midnight haggis," he cries shuddering. - P.G. Wodehouse

Monday, November 24, 2008

BBC turns when Labour spins

BBC says,"Chancellor Alistair Darling is due to announce plans to raise the top rate of income tax in his pre-Budget report.

He is expected to say a new 45% rate on earnings over £150,000 will be brought in if Labour win the next election.

Such a move would mark the end of New Labour's long-running pledge not to increase people's income tax rates....

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the increase in the top rate of tax was of "huge symbolic significance", but stressed it would only raise a fraction of the sum needed to get the public finances back in order.

The fact that it would only be brought in if Labour won the next election, meant the party would be able to claim it had not broken its 2005 election promise not to increase income tax rates. "

Why is the BBC publicising Labour spin? Their tax pledge was a trick. They did somteing worse than raising income tax They raised National Insurance contributions by 2%; 1% for both employeees and employers. They said it was to finance the bottomless pit that is the NHS. They lied. The money was not ring fenced. Labour is all spin and the BBC dances to their tune.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Books Read in November 2008 (2)

1. Shadow of the Cross: Studies in Self-denial by Walter Chantry

This is the best short book I have ever read and this a second reading of it as we chose it for our church's book of the term. I first heard two of the chapters in a tape of the author at the Banner of Truth Leicester ministers' conference. Chantry teaches that to deny self is of the essence of becoming and being a Christian. "Self is the idol to which all men naturally bow." In five short chapters he teaches what it is to deny self following Christ and taking up the cross. He teaches on Christian liberty, marriage, ministry and pray, all linked to self denial. This is an important neglected subject in our hedonistic culture. read it and grow in grace.

2. The English Civil War: A People's History by Diane Purkiss

An Australian has written the best book I have read on our civil war. She tells the story using the accounts and histories of people great and small involved in the most devastating conflict our country had ever experienced. She is very even handed promoting the readers respect for aspects of both Charles and Cromwell, thgough I still conclude the thing the king did best was the way he faced death. One gets a real feel for the times and the horror of war. So much so I skipped some of the accounts of the military surgeons. There are limits to how much real blood and gore this reader can stomach.

My worst month for reading. Too down and inactive :-(

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Common Ground with Islam?

Christian Concern for our Nation says, "During this week 3rd to 7th November 2008, 48 Muslim and Catholic theologians are meeting in Rome in order to discuss a document elaborated last year by 138 senior Muslim scholars. The document, A Common Word Between Us and You, proclaims itself to be an attempt to find common ground between the two religions in order to bring peace to the world.

The thesis of A Common Word is essentially that Christians should come to agreement with Muslims that love of God and love of neighbour are the most important aspects of the two faiths and therefore instead of fighting one another, they should seek to outdo each other with good deeds.

Whilst at face value the treatise appears laudable, in actual fact it denies the most important aspects of Christianity and its mission. It is based on a verse from the Qur’an, namely sura 3:64, which denies the identity of our God, the divinity, Sonship and Lordship of Christ and defines us as in rebellion against the Muslim god if we reject these doctrines.

More worryingly still, previous Muslim invitations to ‘come to a common word’ or to ‘come to common terms’ have in fact constituted an invitation to accept Islam as the true religion, or at least to acknowledge Muhammad as the final prophet and therefore to endorse his writings and authority, which comes to the same thing. In 2007, four Christian scholars from Yale University wrote a Christian response to A Common Word that failed to see its pitfalls and 300 well-known leaders have already signed it.

The document wrongly assumes that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. This is of fundamental importance, because how can two groups of people agree that love of God is the most important thing if it is not the same God that they are to love? The Muslim god is said to have ‘no partners’—that is, he is said to be a unity and not a Trinity. And herein lies the rub: to acknowledge the Lordship or Sonship of Jesus Christ is to say that He is God, or a ‘partner’ (in Muslim eyes) with God. This is blasphemy to Muslims and so the text invites Christians to agree that God has ‘no partner’.

Another problem with this attempt to bridge the gap is that it is written with a Muslim mindset of rules, duties and good works, rather than the Christian understanding of salvation and grace. The document therefore urges that common ground should be built on the duties of loving God and neighbour and good works, which takes the heart out of the Gospel entirely. The text claims that no-one, including Jesus Christ, has said ‘anything better’ than the two greatest commandments. John 3:16 clearly says far more than that, for it declares ‘not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 4:10). No common ground can be found at the centre of the two religions; only on a superficial level can there be any such agreement.

Likewise, the Islamic worldview with which the text was written presupposes that the Qur’an is a valid, authoritative source and that Muhammad was an authentic prophet. Even the definitions of the ‘peace’ which is sought and the ‘neighbour’ who is to be loved contrast with the Biblical ones or even the Western ones with which we are familiar. Surely the issue is in the interpretation of the detail here and any agreement reached would have to be very carefully drafted to avoid disputes of interpretation!

A Common Word is also disingenuous in suggesting that love of neighbour is a tenet of Islam. Such dissimulation is allowed by the Islamic doctrine of takiyya whenever the reputation of Islam is at stake. Not a single Qur’anic verse has been found that supports love of neighbour. In actual fact Islam teaches love of other Muslims and conversion of, or hostility towards non-Muslims.

Whilst it is important to love and live in peace with Muslims and to respect their religion, it is not usually from the Christian side that violence emanates.

In the light of this counterfeit basis for dialogue between the faiths, it is suggested that those Christian leaders who have signed Loving God and Neighbour Together: a Christian Response to ‘A Common Word between Us and You’ should consider withdrawing their signatures. This is not without cost, however. Revoking one’s signature to a peaceable and accepting response to A Common Word is a rejection of the invitation to convert to Islam. This is a rejection of the most peaceable offer of conversion in our generation. It is also a refusal to submit to Islam and it gives Muslims everywhere a Qur’anic ground to perpetrate Jihad against those who do so. Those who are brave enough should count the cost.

Furthermore we recommend reading “the truth about the common word at So far it is the most comprehensive Christian response to the common word proposal."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The football cheat

BBC says,'New Argentina boss Diego Maradona will not lose any sleep if Terry Butcher refuses to shake his hand at Hampden.

Scotland assistant Butcher said he will never forgive Maradona for the infamous "Hand of God" goal which helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup.

"No, I will not seek him out," Maradona said. "I don't understand why Butcher has this attitude.

"England won a World Cup with a goal that never crossed the line, so it's not fair that people should judge me." '

Let me tell my least favorite football cheat the difference.

England's goal was judged by the official's to have crossed the line.

We scored one more anyway. It was not all over after the questioned goal.


We did not blaspheme afterwards.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Charlie not my darling

I wish the Prince of Wales a happy 60th birthday but note with alarm this report from The Christian Institute.

'Prince Charles will embrace ‘multiculturalism’ when he becomes King by dropping “the” from the historic title “Defender of the Faith”, press reports say.

The title has been given to each English monarch since Henry VIII in 1521. Although it was first given by the Pope, it quickly developed to reflect the monarch’s status as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Several years ago the Prince of Wales controversially floated the idea of taking the title “Defender of the Faiths [plural]” but according to reports in today’s press has now settled on “Defender of Faith”.

A senior source told the Daily Telegraph: “There have been lots of discussions. He would like to be known as the Defender of Faith which is a subtle but hugely symbolic shift.” '

I write as a strong monarchist and convinced antidisestablishmentarian. I do not see anything subtle or merely symbolic in this proposed change of title. If accepted it means the end of the establishment of the Church of England. The next monarch will not be swearing to uphold and defend reformed Protestant Christianity as the true faith. Defender of Faith is as meaningful as defender of hope or of love. It means nothing at all unless the object of the faith concerned is specified. Charles is clearly stating he does not believe that the Christian faith is true in any exclusive sense. If he is saying he is not qualified to be Defender of the Faith, I am left wondering if he is qualified to be king.

Now to those who have doubted his fitness to be king, I have always argued he fulfils the only two constitutional requirements. He is the legitimate eldest son of the monarch. He is not Roman Catholic. But being Supreme Governor of the Church of England is part of the package deal that is our monarchy. If Charles only wants part of the package, do I want him as king? Would half a loaf of monarchy be better than no bread? Our present constitutional settlement has lasted 320 years to date. I fear it may not outlast our present Queen.

God save the Queen!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Scripture -

The Holy and Inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the Truth. -- Athanasius, Contra Gentiles, I:1

Wonderful is the depth of thy words, whose surface is before us, gently leading on the little ones: and yet a wonderful deepness, O my God, a wonderful deepness. It is awe to look into it; even an awfulness of honour, and a trembling of love.... Augustine (345-430), Confessions

Just as the Holy Spirit came upon the womb of Mary, so He came upon the brain of a Moses, a David, an Isaiah, a Paul, a John and the rest of the writers of the divine library. The power of the Highest overshadowed them, therefore that holy thing which was born of their minds is called the Holy Bible, the word of God. The writing of Luke will, of course, have the vocabulary of Luke and the work of Paul will bear the stamp of Paul s mind. However, this is only in the same manner that the Lord Jesus might have had eyes like his mother s or hair that was the same color and texture as hers. He did not inherit her sins because the Holy Spirit has come upon her. If we ask, how could this be, the answer is God says so. And the writings of men of the Book did not inherit the errors of their carnal minds because their writings were conceived by the Holy Spirit and born out of their personalities without partaking of their fallen nature. If we ask, how could this be, again the answer is God says so. DONALD GREY BARNHOUSE, The Invisible War

Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. Isa. 66:2

We are to believe and follow Christ in all things, including his words about Scripture. And this means that Scripture is to be for us what it was to him: the unique, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God, and not merely a human testimony to Christ, however carefully guided and preserved by God. If the Bible is less than this to us, we are not fully Christ's disciples.... James Montgomery Boice, "The Preacher & God's Word"

There are no provisos to be laid down in point of faith; all is truth, and we must believe all. Faith does not single out its object; it does not pick and choose, but believes all that God has spoken.-- Samuel Bolton

Whenever His Wrd is set before us, we must tremble, because nothing is hid from Him.-- John Calvin, Commentary on Heb 4:13

Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known. John Calvin (1509-1564)

WE AFFIRM that the term hermeneutics, which historically signified the rules of exegesis, may properly be extended to cover all that is involved in the process of perceiving what the biblical revelation means and how it bears on our lives.
WE DENY that the message of Scripture derives from, or is dictated by, the interpreter's understanding. Thus we deny that the "horizons" of the biblical writer and the interpreter may rightly "fuse" in such a way that what the text communicates to the interpreter is not ultimately controlled by the expressed meaning of the Scripture. -The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics

WE AFFIRM that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extrabiblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.
WE DENY that extrabiblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it. -The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics.

I exhort and entreat you all, disregard what this man and that man thinks about such things, and inquire from the Holy Scriptures all these things. - Chrysostom

In the Scriptures be the fat pastures of the soul; therein is no venomous meat, no unwholesome thing; they be the very dainty and pure feeding. He that is ignorant, shall find there what he should learn. --Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)

The inspiration of Scripture is a harmony of the active mind of the writer and the sovereign direction of the Holy Spirit to produce God's inerrant and infallibile Word to mankind. -- Brian Edwards book "Nothing But the Truth"

We believe that the Word contained in these books [viz., the Bible] has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from Him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them.... The French Confession of Faith [1559]

1. Scripture is to be interpreted with confidence in and openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2. The scripture principle: Scripture is to be interpreted in light of scripture, comparing scripture with scripture, with openness to hear the whole Word of God, not just selected parts of it.
3. The Christological principle: Scripture is to be interpreted in light of God's central self-revelation in Jesus Christ.
4. The rule of love: Scripture is to be interpreted in light of the one commandment of God that summarizes all other commandments -- love for God and for all our neighbors.
5. The rule of faith: Scripture is to be interpreted with respect for the church's past and present interpretation of scripture.
6. Scripture is to be interpreted in light of the literary forms and historical context in which it was written.
7. Scripture is to be interpreted seeking the word and work of the living God in our time and place.
8. Scripture is to be interpreted with awareness of our limitations and fallibility and with openness to change our mind and be corrected. "Reformed" means always being reformed afresh by the Word of God."
Shirley Guthrie, [Professor Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, U.S.A.] Rules for Biblical Interpretation in the Reformed Tradition

To wrestle with the theme of the Scriptures is your proper preparation for the rough things of human life, as we see it, and observe it, and are immersed in it. The Truth which is being spoken to you most clearly in the Scriptures is your only protection against cynicism and skepticism, just as it is your only protection against that false romanticism which is the modern cruel substitute for faith in God. --Sir Edwyn Clement Hoskyns

The case for inerrancy rests precisely where it has always rested, namely, on the lordship of Christ and his commission to the prophets and apostles, who were his representatives. Because it rests on Christ and his authority, the question of inerrancy will therefore remain a key doctrine of the evangelical church so long as Christ is Lord. Evangelicals must remember, however, that this basis must be set forth anew for every generation. What was adequate for Gaussen, Pieper, and Warfield is still valuable, but it is not necessarily adequate to serve as the foundation for the thinking of our generation. The case for inerrancy must be made anew with each presentation of the gospel teaching.... Kenneth S. Kantzer, "Evangelicals and the Doctrine of Inerrancy"

I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of Hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt. Martin Luther

If the scriptures do thoroughly direct men to know God in Christ, and save their own souls, why should we look any further? Now, they do not only furnish every private Christian with this knowledge; but the man of God, who is to instruct others, he needeth look no further, but is furnished out of the scripture with all things necessary to discharge his office. Therefore here we fix and rest, we have a sufficient rule, and a full record of all necessary Christian doctrine. THOMAS MANTON

[If] there be any difference among professed believers as to the sense of Scripture, it is their duty to tolerate such difference in each other, until God shall have revealed the truth to all. John Milton (1608-1674)

In the divine Scriptures, there are shallows and there are deeps; shallows where the lamb may wade, and deeps where the elephant may swim.--John Owen

When evangelicals call the Bible "inerrant", part at least of their meaning is this: that, in exegesis and exposition of Scripture and in building up our biblical theology from the fruits of our Bible study, we may not (1) deny, disregard, or arbitrarily relativize, anything that the biblical writers teach, nor (2) discount any of the practical implications for worship and service that their teaching carries, nor (3) cut the knot of any problem of Bible harmony, factual or theological, by allowing ourselves to assume that the inspired writers were not necessarily consistent either with themselves or with each other. It is because the word "inerrant" makes these methodological points about handling the Bible, ruling out in advance the use of mental procedures that can only lead to reduced and distorted versions of Christianity, that it is so valuable and, I think, so much valued by those who embrace it.... James I. Packer (1926- )

God the Father is the giver of Holy Scripture; God the Son is the theme of Holy Scripture; and God the Spirit is the author, authenticator, and interpreter of Holy Scripture.... J. I. Packer (1926- )

If God reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry: for I am verily persuaded, the Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of His holy Word.
John Robinson (1576?-1625) to the "Mayflower" emigrants

First of all, there was nothing autonomous in the area of final authority. For the Reformation, final and sufficient knowledge rested in the Bible ˜ that is, Scripture alone, in contrast to Scripture plus anything else parallel to the Scriptures, whether it be the Church or a natural theology. Second, there was no idea of man being autonomous in the area of salvation. In the Roman Catholic position there was a divided work of salvation ˜ Christ died for our salvation, but man had to merit the merit of Christ. Thus there was a humanistic element involved. The reformers said that there is nothing man can do; no autonomous or humanistic religious or moral effort of man can help. One is saved only on the basis of the finished work of Christ as He died in space and time in history, and the only way to be saved is to raise the empty hands of faith and, by God‚s grace, to accept God‚s free gift ˜ faith alone. It was Scripture alone and faith alone. - Francis Schaeffer

Evangelical Christians need to notice, at this point, that the Reformation said 'Scripture Alone' and not 'the Revelation of God in Christ Alone'. If you do not have the view of the Scriptures that the Reformers had, you really have no content in the word 'Christ' --and this is the modern drift in theology. Modern theology uses the word without content because 'Christ' is cut away from the Scriptures. The Reformation followed the teaching of Christ Himself in linking the revelation Christ gave of God to the revelation of the written Scriptures.
The Scriptures give the key to two kinds of knowledge --the knowledge of God, and knowledge of men and nature. The great Reformation confessions emphasize that God revealed His attributes to man in the Scriptures and that this revelation was meaningful to God as well as to man. There could have been no Reformation and no Reformation culture in Northern Europe without the realization that God had spoken to man in the Scriptures and that, therefore, we know something truly about God, because God has revealed it to man. - F A Schaeffer, Escape From Reason Ch. 2 A Unity of Nature and Grace pp21

God's Word will never pass away, but looking back to the Old Testament and since the time of Christ, with tears we must say that because of lack of fortitude and faithfulness on the part of God's people, God's Word has many times been allowed to be bent, to conform to the surrounding, passing, changing culture of that moment rather than to stand as the inerrant Word of God judging the form of the world spirit and the surrounding culture of that moment. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may our children and grandchildren not say that such can be said about us. Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, p65

Men talk of "the mistakes of Scripture." I thank God that I have never met with any. Mistakes of translation there may be, for translators are men. But mistakes of the original word there never can be, for the God who spoke it is infallible, and so is every word he speaks, and in that confidence we find delightful rest. --Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) _Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit_, Volume 39 [1893]

Most people are bothered by those passages in scriptures which they cannot understand. But for me, I always notice that the passages in scripture which trouble me the most are those that I do understand. Mark Twain

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH, Chapter I, Section 6

We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture, and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.... The Westminster Confession of Faith

Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the word of God?
A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.

I learned the "Clowney Triangle" when I was at Westminster Seminary. Essentially, it's a Hermenutical grid &endash; "How do I understand the text in front of me?"
Step one: Answer the question as best you can "What did the text mean to it's original audience?" This gets to immediate context and the sitz im leben issues. This first question puts us into a place where we hear the text speaking clearly to its readers. This is the reason for understanding orginal languages and cultural background, not so that we can impress others, but so we can hear.
Step two: "How is this text understood in the flow of redemptive history?" Now we move the context question to encompass all of scripture and redemptive history with the eye on how this text advances the story of grace. This keeps us from isolating a text from the whole story or from narrowing the grand story of redemption down too narrowly.
Step three is "How does this text tell me about Jesus &endash; the cross and resurrection?" This is the gospel question &endash; how is this good news? No exegesis is complete without it being focused on the person and work of Christ (Luke 24:13-35).
Step four is finally the "us" question "How then does this text speak to us?" This question is often asked too early. It needs to wait until the other three steps have been completed.
This is the reason I call it a square is because of the 4 points that must be made to move to the application. Most aberrant exegesis can be traced to skipping one or more of the four steps (e.g. To move from step 1 to step 4 is moralism &endash; just do it. To move from 1 to 3 is mysticism &endash; Jesus without a context, etc.).- Sam Wheatley

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Science -

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling

Di-Hydrogen Monoxide is colourless, odourless and fatal when inhaled.
This chemical, which has a pH even higher than concentrated sulphuric acid, is being dumped in our rivers and oceans.
Ban it now!

Heisenberg may have slept here.

The history of science resembles a collection of ghosts remembering that once they too were gods.- David Berlinsky, theoretical mathematician

A lot of what we call science is actually faith in disguise. I think some people were desperately searching for something other than traditional Christianity, and they have elevated to the level of hard truth some things - notably about Darwin - that have not yet been proven beyond dispute. To believe in the theory of evolution is to me as much of an act of faith as to believe in Adam and Eve. I don't think it's been proven at all. I remember Piltdown Man, and the bones of that 'prehistoric ancestor of mankind' in Africa that turned out to be the bones of a pig. There is a lot of hoax and fraud in the contentions of science. The theory of evolution contains as much hypothesis as any religion. - Patrick Buchanan, Right Now! June 202

Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ.- John Calvin

Unfortunately, 19th-century scientists were just as ready to jump to the conclusion that any guess about nature was an obvious fact, as were 17th-century sectarians to jump to the conclusion that any guess about Scripture was the obvious explanation . . . . and this clumsy collision of two very impatient forms of ignorance was known as the quarrel of Science and Religion.- G K Chesterton {Saint Thomas Aquinas, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1933, p. 88

It is a mortifying truth, and ought to teach the wisest of us humility, that many of the most valuable discoveries have been the result of chance rather than of contemplation, and of accident rather than of design.- Charles Caleb Colton

Ultimate questions will always lie beyond the scope of empirical science as it is. - Paul Davies, The Mind of God (1992)

There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination. - Daniel C. Dennett

Scientists often have a naive faith that if only they could discover enough facts about a problem, these facts would somehow arrange themselves in a compelling and true solution. - Theodosius Dobzhansky

According to classical aerodynamics, it is impossible for a bumblebee to fly. Doctor Who

Science has sometimes been said to be opposed to faith, and inconsistent with it. But all science, in fact, rests on a basis of faith, for it assumes the permanence and uniformity of natural laws - a thing which can never be demonstrated -Tyron Edwards

Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source offeeling, however springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image:science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.-Albert Einstein,_Ideas and Opinions_, p. 46 (1954)

It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.- Loren C.Eiseley, "Darwin's Century: Evolution and the Men Who Discovered It," (1958)

Science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without ever having examined its advantages and its limits. -Paul Feyerabend, in "Against Method"

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy. - Richard Feynmann

Anatomy is destiny- Sigmund Freud

The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison of prediction with experience.- Milton Friedman (1912-____) : "Essays in Positive Economics," 1953.

The superstition of science scoffs at the superstition of faith. - James A. Froude (1818-1894) In "Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations," ed. Jason Shulman & Isaac Asimov, 1988.

There is one particular angle to the stem-cell debate that nobody's addressing: the total silence of the anti-biotech left. For some reason, whenever Monsanto comes out with a genetically enhanced carrot or a faster-growing soybean, some white guy with faux dreadlocks and open-toed shoes is out there screaming about the end of the world. But when the NIH wants to crack open a human embryo so it can grow a new liver or human heart or just a plain old human in a petri dish, there's total silence. - Jonah Goldberg

Modern science kills God and takes his place on the vacant throne. Science is the sole legitimate arbiter of all relavent truth.- Vaclav Havel (1936-).

Science is the topography of ignorance.- O. W. Holmes

Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing.- Victor Hugo

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.- Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, page 116

...the cosmology of a given age is not the result of unilinear, "scientific" development, but rather the most striking, imaginative symbol of its mentality- the projection of its conflicts, prejudice and specific ways of double-think onto the graceful sky.- Arthur Koestler

Science is the systematic classification of experience.- George Henry Lewes (1817-1878)

Science is methodology. As a belief system it's disastrous. - Astronaut Ed Mitchell, BBC TV 11 Oct.1981

I suppose that every age has its own particular fantasy: ours is science. A seventeenth-century man like Blaise Pascal, who thought himself a mathematician and scientist of genius, found it quite ridiculous that anyone should suppose that rational processes could lead to any ultimate conclusions about life, but easily accepted the authority of the Scriptures. With us, it is the other way `round.-Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered [1969]

If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.- Sir Isaac Newton

There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes...that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls....Science enhances the moral values of life...because every advance in knowledge brings us face to face with the mystery of our own being.-Max Planck, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics_Where Is Science Going?_ pp. 168-69 (1932)

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. - Max Planck

The scientific age with its urban-industrial culture is, for all its magnificent achievements and intoxicating success, in a very real sense a dark age. Its complete bondage to nature has enclosed the mind and spirit of man in a fast prison out of which, try as he may, he can find no way of escape. The inability to perceive any longer the reality of things invisible and unseen is a sickness of the soul which cries out to be cured. The only way to dispel the darkness of the present age and liberate it from the prison within which it has become bound is to restore the proper relationship of nature to supernature and of time to eternity as an essential feature of external reality. Until this can be accomplished, there is really very little that the Church or Christianity in general has to offer to this age.- W. G. Pollard

Nature, and Nature's laws lay hid in night;
God said, 'Let Newton be!'and all was light.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744) Epitaphs

I can accept the theory of relativity as little as I can accept the existence of atoms.- Ernst Mach (1838-1916), Austrian physicist after whom Mach numbers are named. in Robert Youngson, Scientific Blunders: A brief history of how wrong scientists can sometimes be, Robinson,1998

Bad science and bad religion simply swap roles, the former proclaiming Truth, the latter worshiping Doubt. --- Jeffrey Satinover

Christianity believes that God has created an external world that is really there; and because He is a reasonable God, one can expect to be able to find the order of the universe by reason.- Francis A. Schaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man, Ch. 4

See how often science has altered its very basis. Science is notorious for being most scientific in destruction of all the science that has gone before it. I have sometimes indulged myself in reading ancient natural history, and nothing can be more comic.
In twenty years' time some of us may probably find great amusement in the serious scientific teaching of the present hour, even as we do now in the systems of the last century. It may happen that in a little time the doctrine of evolution will be the standing jest of schoolboys. -Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) _Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit_ Volume 37 [1891]

Science can give us power over nature, but it cannot give us power over human nature.- Thomas S. Szasz, remarks to graduates upon his receipt of honorary Doctor of Science degree from State University of New York, May 20, 2001

Historically, religion came first and science grew out of religion. Science has never superseded religion, and it is my expectation that it never will.- Arnold Toynbee

In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the old Oolitic Silurian period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will havejoined their sidewalks and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.- Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi.

Experience does not ever err; it is only your judgment that errs in promising itself results which are not caused by your experiments. - Leonardo Da Vinci, _Notebooks_

In this modern world of ours many people seem to think that science has somehow made such religious ideas as immortality untimely or old fashioned. I think science has a real surprise for the skeptics. Science, for instance, tells us that nothing in nature, not even the tiniest particle, can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. If God applies this fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of His universe, doesn't it make sense to assume that He applies it to the masterpiece of His creation, the human soul? - WERNER VON BRAUN

Science is a match that man has just got alight. He thought he was in a room -- in moments of devotion, a temple -- and that his light would be reflected from and display walls inscribed with wonderful secrets and pillars carved with philosophical systems wrought into harmony. It is a curious sensation, now that the preliminary splutter is over and the flame burns up clear, to see his hands and just a glimpse of himself and the patch he stands on visible, and around him, in place of all that human comfort and beauty he anticipated -- darkness still.- H. G. Wells, "The Rediscovery of the Unique", THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW, N. S. 50 (July 1891).

Even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. - L J J Wittgenstein, 1889-1951 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 6.52 (1921), translation C. K. Ogden and Frank Ramsey (1922)

Saturday, November 01, 2008