link rel="shortcut icon" href="" /> <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: '\x3d18785001\x26blogName\x3dMongrel+Horde:++Just+Plain+Mutts!\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3d\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3d\x26vt\x3d-4489462257632951631', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Sinterklaas and Piet.  I know it looks bad, but it's just a Dutch thing.
I have enjoyed taking a break from the blog to enjoy Christmas. I have also wondered why we haven't been getting any traction with our posts. Instead of just blaming Dave, I decided to look at the competition. Douglas Wilson is way smarter and funnier than us. Probably not much we can do about that. Phillip Johnson has a crazy, cult like following. While my goatee is second to none, I must not have the sort of drink-the-Koolade animal magnetism that he does. When I got to Frank Turk's Centuri0n, the answer hit me.

Instead of relying on his good looks, Mr. Turk takes on hard-hitting, controversial issues of the day. Like Santa Claus. His defense of the the Jolly One drew 70 comments at last count. Prepare yourselves in the weeks to come for the most important issue since Arius and Athanasius: Easter Bunny--Friend or Foe?

The only thing I have to add about Santa is that in Holland, there's a sort of "Santa Day" (I'm sure it's St. Nicholas's day on the Church calendar) on which the commercial holiday festivities are celebrated. On December 25th, the focus is solely on Christ. This seems like a most excellent arrangement. Santa is also smarter in Holland. He brings along a helper called "Black Pete" who does the actual dirty work of going down the chimneys.

Category: Extraneous & Miscellaneous
Read more!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Emergent Observations

They will know we are Christians by the size of our tattoos. (Photo stolen from Purgatorio)
As you may have guessed, I am not too sanguine on the Emergent project. However, they have attracted adherents, and this means something, if not necessarily something good. The principles of economics are valid in any system that permits choice. We may decry church-shopping, but since we must live with it, we should recognize that growing movements are supplying wants (though not always needs) of churchgoers.

It seems clear enough that American churchgoers are boutique consumers and that much of the "growth" in churches is the dreary zero-sum game of believers moving around to where they feel "fed." But perhaps I have used the sneer quotes too soon. Let me recount my own Emergent experience.

A friend of mine invited me to Sunday night church at his home megachurch. This Sunday night service was held in one of the outbuildings known as "The Warehouse." It was the Advent season last year, and I enjoyed singing several Christmas hymns during the worship. The words were projected onto a screen and superimposed over medieval and Renaissance pictures of the Madonna and Child. All of this was very good.

I should have felt very much at home, but before the music started, we were exhorted to feel free to wander around to the different "worship stations" (I think this is the right term) around the room. There, one could worship by painting, writing in a journal, or sculpting with clay. Thus, many were milling about during the music doing ever-so-artistic things while the rest of us tried to sing.

I don't remember any of the sermon, but, to be fair, I don't remember any sermons from a year ago. The pastor, a young guy like the rest of the congregation, preached from a stool, wore an untucked dress shirt, and had an earring on conspicuous display. He was cool, albeit in an I'm-the-cool-guy-at-seminary kind of way. I don't remember any stunning heresy, but I was left with the impression that this was meant to be bleeding-edge, really, really genuine stuff. It was a little annoying, but seemed to be just another comic oddity, like CCM trying to out-cool the world.

After the service, I was introduced to several young ladies, all of whom were English majors. When I listened to them talk amongst themselves, I was reminded of the autospeak of Furbies:
blah blah blah Sandra Cisneros
Hunger of Memory blah blah blah
Derrida blah blah post-blah

To be fair, Calvinists exhibit this behavior too:
blah blah blah Bahnsen
Theonomy blah blah orthodox
blah heretic blah blah out of fellowship.

But I digress. I do see a genuine desire among these Emergents to worship God in a meaningful way. This desire is alloyed with the same dross of selfishness that has plagued the evangelical churches they are rebelling against. Both the twenty-something Emergents and the middle-aged evangelicals have pursued genuineness. But it is the genuineness of me getting what I genuinely want.

The "genuineness" of the last generation is that of spirituality without doctrine and, oh yeah, a rockin' band. The new "genuineness" is the same as the last, but with an additional desire for beauty. It's a step forward, but completely insufficient as a cure for what ails the church.

Without a submission to sound doctrine, and a true humility that cares as much for the blue-haired saints as for hipster doofuses, any revival project is doomed to failure. The pronoun "I" is used in the Psalms, but check out how often it refers either to personal study or worship "in the midst of the assembly." Do we really want to edify the whole body? Or will we look upon our brothers and sisters in Christ and pray, "I thank you Lord, that I am not as old/uncool as that fogey/geek/dweeb/spaz?" Can I submit a paraphrase? "What you do to the least of my nerds, you do to me."

The alternative is not pretty. The Balkanization of the Church can certainly continue. The technology of virtual reality may someday allow us individual chambers in which we get the exact worship and sermon we want. Perhaps they'll even have ear scratchers anatomically designed for each individual ear.

Category: Theoblogia
Read more!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Attack of the Logos-Haters!

The Most Popular Philosophical Lunchbox since Man and Superman
Douglas Wilson has been critiquing Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy chapter by chapter on his blog. I have often admired Wilson's impeccable horse-sense, and he doesn't disappoint here. He recognizes that postmodernism is really just a stalking horse for a liberal agenda. What distinguishes him from most of the voices in the evangelical world is: (1) He has actually bothered to read his adversary's books and (2) He sees the hinge on which the whole thing turns.

When I hear the usual B-string apologists denounce postmodernism, I cringe. While there were some American postmodernists who embraced a hard form of relativism, they were merely colonial syncophants who carried the program too far, too soon. The far more common strain of postmodernist is the student who argues that we can't be too sure about anything, really, so let's go drink a fair-trade latte. In my literary education, my professors saw fit to assign Jacques Derrida's Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences three times. The first reading was just a throwaway, a chance to be overwhelmed by the "phenomenological difficulty" of the text. The second reading involved something approaching comprehension. The third reading involved a realization of what old Jacques was on about. He spends a good deal of time showing that what we call the "meaning" of the text is not found anywhere in the text itself. The Emergent squeamishness about propositional truth is certainly warmed-over Derridean (how I hate that word!) "the center is not the center" stuff. Like one of Paul's epistles, Derrida proceeds from doctrine to praxis. Since we have held onto these "Western" dualities of white/black, gay/straight, male/female, we need to arbitrarily reverse them. Sound familiar?

Wilson has smelt the right rat in McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy. The underlying liberalism gives the game away. While I see postmodernism as just another device to introduce Marxism and liberation theology to a weary world, it's probably worth looking at the camouflage as well as the hunter. The reason that postmodernism has held such sway in the humanities is that it makes sense to those in the City of Man. Outside of revealed truth, what basis can there be for epistemology? As Derrida rightly points out, when we want to know what a word means, we look up the definition. But the definition is composed of words. What do they mean? We are in a quandry. The only explanation (in the mind of the Frenchman) is that meaning does not inhabit words. Some sort of fuzzy cultural definition is somewhere in our heads. Not everyone will see every nuance that everyone else sees. Some will get it wrong. Who is to say who is wrong? Is it just consensus?

While Derrida can be answered by anyone from Plato to toddlers with kazoos (cf. Wilson), the Christian response can only be utter revulsion. We believe that Jesus is the embodiment of Truth itself. He is also the eternal Word. Why anyone would choose to pair a philosophy that denies our ability to know the truth behind words with a religion that declares the Son of God to be the essence of Word-ness is an inscrutable mystery. Fortunately, McLaren and the Emergents haven't gone so far as to deny the nature of Christ as the Incarnate Word, nor have they denied the inspiration of Scripture. Thank God for making most of us better than our philosophies!

Category: Theoblogia
Read more!

An Epic ZZ Top Beard - Wilson Miscellanies

Rumors spreadin' round/That Swiss town...I think that there is a growing concensus in the Reformed world that Douglas Wilson is a mixed bagged in respect to the quality of his ideas. The vast majority of his writings compel me to respond with a hearty "Amen!" Other times, however, I get a little nervous at his teachings (i.e. the Auburn Avenue/Federal Vision silliness). Sometimes, I can only scratch my head and say "where did you get that from?"

From the hearty "Amen!" category, I got a kick out of how he worded this admonision concerning angry husbands:

Biblical patriarchy is not a problem for those who believe the Bible (1
Cor. 11: 3). But there is a kind of patriarchy that wants to be a law unto
itself with no accountability from nobody nohow. Not only is there to be no
accountability, even to raise the point that such things might be occurring in
our "Bible-believing" midst is seen as a capitulation to the feminists. But more
is involved in answering the feminists than growing an epic ZZ Top beard, and
starting a home-centered brain surgery center in the garage....

Some years ago, in the course of a sermon, I addressed the problem of angry
husbands. I said something like, "God prohibits this crap. Knock it off." goatee doesn't qualify as an "epic" beard, but if it'll ruffle the feminists, I'll keep it coming. Maybe I'll be able to get it to John Calvin-length.

As for the "nervous" category, I'll just say that I don't understand the concerns that drive Wilson's Federal Vision hyper-covenantalism. Personally, I'm a "If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It" Vision guy, and am more than content with the 3 Forms of Unity. The way to "recover" the objectivity of the covenant, it seems to me, is to, well... teach the objectivity of the covenant. Of the pastoral concerns that supposedly stand behind the Federal Vision, I don't see how being true to the Creeds and Confessions that the Reformed world already has is not a sufficient corrective to the individualism, pietism, subjectivism, and lack of assurance that ails much of Christendom. The solution is not to downplay the invisible church, teach that "if you're baptized, you're in" the covenant regardless of a credible profession of faith, mono-covenantalism (downplaying the covenant of works), an almost-but-not-quite ex opere operato view of sacraments, encourage paedocommunion, and tell us that the infants of believers have faith from the womb. Being Reformed is enough, the problem is that the Church not Reformed enough, and I think Wilson would agree in principle.

I often get the feeling that my plain-Jane, vanilla confessionalism is simply not sexy enough for the FV crowd. I like Wilson because he is the most moderate (and clearest) thinker of the bunch - he refers to himself as an "amber ale" in his discussion with Mike Horton. [As a side note, I do often wonder if this stuff would fly in a presbytery that he didn't himself create. The FV has had a mixed report card on the presbytery level of the PCA (the exoneration of Steve Wilkins vs. the Mississippi Valley Report), although the matter has not yet seen the General Assembly.]

I'll save a fuller analysis of the Federal Vision for other blog posts, but I'll just say that I'd be alot less nervous if Wilson would decisively and unamibugously distance himself from the more extremist elements of the FV movement. One must always make associations wisely, so I wish Wilson wouldn't stand so close to the moonbats. He's much, much better than all that.

Lastly, in the "scratch my head" category, I this in his blog post today:

But many of us have been taught that God does not intend to save the vast
majority of the human race, and this is what they are convinced the Bible says.
Because of our shared commitment to the objective revelation of God in
Scripture, I would hope to convince my amill and premill brothers that we have
some glorious times ahead of us as Christ is effectually brought to the nations.

I'm not sure that even a post-mill eschatology necessarily leads to this conclusion. Furthermore, I detect a similar hyperventilation at all biblical uses of words like "all", "world", and "nations" that I am used to hearing from my Arminian brethren. I'm sure Wilson would have plenty of ammunition to argue against me in cross-exam, but it seems to me that a prima facie reading of Scripture, replete with "remnant" and "narrow gate" themes, along with simple empirical study of man's history so far, does not support the thesis that the majority of the human race will be saved, even if there is going to be an uber-revival in the (latter) last days.

Like all human beings, Wilson is not perfect. As in all matters, use discernment when reading him, but do read him, or you are depriving yourself of much spiritual good. Just crank up the "discernment" meter a few extra notches. So separate the wheat from the chaff in his writings, and enjoy.

Read more!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Like the Green Bay Tree...

The Ultimate Liar
I just saw an interview on TV with the founder of Alibi Network. The premise is simple: For a nominal fee, "alibi specialists" will help you cheat on your spouse, among other things. You see, this is to protect the children. If the wife doesn't know, she won't divorce you, and the children will be spared all sorts of emotional harm. Is this the final "for the children" argument that we have to endure?

I only took a cursory glance at the website. There was no mention of a televangelist discount.

I did like this particular service, though:
Escape-a-Date Service.

Our service allows you to set-up a “save me from my date” phone call at a predetermined time. In this way, we will call you at the time you wish and if your date is not going that great, we will set the tone for an immediate getaway.

Category: Civitas Terrena
Read more!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Colson's Dark Night

Which one is Dave?
I receive Christianty Today Direct, the magazine's service which sends daily updates of newly published articles via e-mail. The majority of articles are shallow fluff pieces, with the minority a heterogeneous mixture of insightful theological "stuff" and downright heresy. Today's update, an article penned by Chuck Colson, fits into the "insightful theological stuff" category to be saved in Outlook, rather than deleted. Colson's thesis is that modern evangelicalism does little theologically to answer the reality of suffering. He recommends that we must draw on the older traditions to give us insight to what it is to have faith in times of trial. He even goes as far as to recommend the Puritans and Charles Spurgeon, quoting Spurgeon on the subject of God's providence. He quotes some Catholic mystics as well, who, while doctrinally askew, may not be denied the reality of the suffering they endured and their thoroughly Biblical response.

Colson is absolutely correct in his assesment of modern evangelicalism. Whether it is the semi-Pelagianism permeating the simplistic minds of the anti-theolgica masses or the Open Theism dogma proposed by liberal scholars, many laymen are left wondering if God is cruel, if he is impotent, or if there is some secret sin still lurking in their lives. Reform Theology provides the only Scripturally accurate and logically coherent presuppostion available. I think this view is where Colson finally found refuge in his own dark night.

Read the Article

Category: Theoblogia
Read more!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"The Best Of Times, The Worst of Times": A Paradigm Shift In Surfing *Updated*

* Read Gordon Clark's Letter
Santa Cruz Sentinel: "Closure could spell end of custom surfboards"
LA Times: "Foam Factories Demise To Cause Ripple Effect" This article leads me to believe that something fishy may be going on.

Oh so beautiful...
I apologize in advance for the esoteric nature of this post. For assistance make use of these glossaries of surfology.

A dramatic shockwave pulsed through the surfing industry this week affecting my life and the lives of committed surfers everywhere. And no, I am not referring to the death of Malik Joyeux last week at Pipeline, as tragic as that was. On Monday, December 5th Clark Foam closed its doors after thirty years of supplying the world's surfboard shapers with the foam blanks they need to produce surfboards. In an industry wide fax, Gordon "Grubby" Clark alerted the industry that he would be "ceasing production" due to an apparent inability to meet US and California environmental regulations and standards. This "Black Monday" will likely induce a "Great Depression" (both economically and emotionally) in the surfer nation. Right now the true outcome of this event is mere speculation, with some clinging to the possibility of Clark coming back on line in a few weeks. But speculate I will do- and from the details in Clark's letter, it sure doesn't sound there is going to be any attempt to do so.

Since the 1960s the majority of surfboards have been made of polyurethane foam, sealed and strengthened with layers of fiberglass and polyester resin. Many surfers project an aura of environmentalism, while ironically the EPA has waged war on the chemicals that comprise the very instruments of their innermost temporal pleasure. Clark supplies the world with an estimated 80% of the foam blanks needed to meet the demands of surfers. As stockpiles of blanks quickly diminish, it can be assumed that surfboard prices will skyrocket until becoming unaffordable for the common surfer. The infrastructure simply does not exist to quickly and efficiently fill the void created. It is reported that at many surf shops surfboard prices have already increased $100 over night, and the big retailers have locked in orders for every last board available by the big name shapers. I predict a run on surfshops over the next few weeks and fully expect by the first of the year, scarcity will at least double the price of a new surfboard. Also, in the interim, due to demand, the price of alternative material boards such as Surftech will increase. But, with a new demand will come increased supply; volume will offset production costs and perhaps these types of boards will radically drop in price once suppliers flood the market with product. I would be delighted to see Surftechs drop to under $300, making their limitations easier to swallow.

The end of the custom foam surfboard is at hand, or at least, of boards using the materials and techniques as they currently exist. Surfers and shapers have long resisted the paradigm shift now imposed upon them. New technologies and materials have been under development for sometime, but resisted by an industry obsessed with the past and status quo. Many of these technologies and materials are still in their infancy, and it is hard to say which one will emerge as the future industry standard. EPS foam and epoxy, EPP foam, wood laminate, bamboo laminate, carbon fiber, and a variety of NASA grade plastics all have been the subject of experimentation, each with its own proponents and detractors. Whatever the outcome, the Bronze Age of surfing is on its way out. For many this is a dismal tragedy, but to others (a minority at this point) it is ushering in the oft dreamt of New Age of enviromentally friendly and unbreakable surfboard.

The most dismal implications fall upon those people whose lives are wrapped up in the custom shaping of surfboards. Their finacial future is literally hanging in the balance, and likely thousands of minds which typically fall asleep dreaming of planing surfaces, outlines and rockers tossed and turned last night over worries of paying the mortgage in coming months. The big names like Al Merrick and Rusty are in semi-retirement. They only need sell their design rights to the mass producers like Surftech, and tell them to forward the residual checks to their new island address. It is big name underlings that will be hit the hardest. Please pray for these families. Many of them already love Jesus; pray that God might use this time to grow them spiritually, and that the Church will be of great resource and comfort (as it should be for all niches of society).

Personally, I have mixed feelings. This is because I have mixed surfboard tastes. One of my favorite boards is a custom shaped single fin egg that is nostalgic both in style and materials. But, paradoxically, I was one of the first surfers I knew with an epoxy composite board, a board possessing feather-like lightness, damage resistance and speed unparalleled, but which broke the bank and literally broke in half under the lip of a heavy Oceanside barrel. I am open to all the new ideas out there, but you better believe I will be hording my quiver like a fire breathing dragon sitting atop a millennia’s worth of treasure.

Additional Articles:
Transworld Surf: Clark Foam To Close It's Factory?
surfer: Clark Foam Shuts Down
Surfing: Clark Foam Closes Its Doors

Backyard Shapers Respond:
Swaylocks Forum: Clark Foam is over!(this a really long thread)
Swaylocks Forum: Black Monday

Read more!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Love My Job

As most of my friends know, I am an engineer for a company that makes unmanned air vehicles (UAV). They do cool things, like blow up Al Qaeda terrorists: It warms my heart. Read the article, and watch the video, friends.

The cover story is that this Al Qaeda #3 guy was just sorta clumsy and blew himself up in his house while trying to make a bomb to do some dastardly terrorist operation with. Funny enough, those Pakistani villagers in the above photo found a piece of American-made Hellfire missile at the site. The same Hellfires that Predator UAVs happen to carry.

Hellfires were originally designed as helicopter-launched anti-tank missiles, and they would have no problem destroying a typical Pakistani house.

I haven't worked on Predator, although I am currently working on some of Predator's sibling aircraft (don't get excited, its all unclassified stuff). It is cool to see these sorts of results, and I can only give glory to God that I can make my own small contribution to what Doug Wilson calls "the important work of violence."
Read more!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Word, Sacrament, and Buddy Jesus

Is Buddy Jesus just alright with you?
Lately I've been following some of the back-and-forth between the Bayly Brothers (both PCA ministers) and a Missouri Synod Lutheran, Rev. Paul McCain. Some of the pointed disagreement is, predictably, over the Doctrines of Grace. Of interest to me, however, is the issue of the use of icons and images in worship.

Unlike many of my Reformed brethren, such as the Bayly's, I am not a pure iconclast. I only want to clast most icons. Seriously, I cannot see Scriptural warrant for prohibiting all use of images in worship or depictions of Jesus. I'm not going to take the time to argue my view, since Ra McLaughlin has done a better job of it than I could here. However, I also believe that the vast majority of modern uses of images are terrible for a variety of reasons.

McCain actually supplies us with a perfect example of one of these reasons, namely a painting of Christ meekly knocking on a door. If McCain wanted to convince us that the use of images of Christ is a good thing, he really shouldn't have used that picture in his blog post. The aforementioned Thomas Kinkadesque Meek Messiah is only slightly more honoring than the above-pictured "Buddy Jesus." These folks seem to want to extend Christ's state of humiliation to the present day, instead of acknowledging Him as He is: exalted at the right hand of the Father. Revelation 3:20 tells us that Jesus does indeed "knock" on the doors to our hearts, but as one who demands repentance (vs. 19), not as a beggar. Beggars don't have two-edged swords coming out of their mouths.

Let's set aside, for now, the clear misuse of images of Christ and consider the question of whether images and icons are inherently dishonoring to God, even if the images are more, um, reverential and theologically astute than the sentimental silliness we just saw. I will, in sincerity, take McCain at his word when he says that he opposes abuses and misuses of images.

I think of the use of icons in much the same way as Pascal's Wager thinks of belief in Christianity. Pascal's Wager says that if Christians are wrong about their faith in Christianity, we lose nothing (because we cease to exist after death); but if Christians are right, then unbelievers have everything to lose (because they are consigned to hell). Therefore, it is reasonable (or, at least, there is incentive) to believe in the Christian faith, all other things being equal. Similarly, Gadbois' Wager states that if iconclasts are wrong about their disdain for icons, they lose nothing by disdaining said icons. However, if the iconclasts are right, then iconographers have offended God in their use of icons.

The only objection to this reasoning I can see is if someone could present a positive case that establishes the biblical requirement to use images or icons (whether in the context of worship or not). I don't know that anyone has ever made such an argument, and I don't know what NT passage one could possibly use to support such a case, unless one wants to really stretch definitions and call the elements at the Lord's Supper an "image" of sorts. [Side note: if the Lutherans are right, and Christ is bodily present at the Supper, then, actually, it is not an image at all.]

Strangely enough, while this Lutheran crowd does not make the above argument, it seems that they still raise the issue to the level of a test of orthodoxy. Behold the stunning logic:
Don't miss the trump card: the Christological dogma. God became man and
therefore God *can* be depicted; iconography is simply fully embracing the dogma
of the Incarnation.

You'd think that affirming the Athanasian Creed and Definition of Chalcedon would be good enough to embrace the dogma of the Incarnation, but apparently you're a lightweight if you haven't gone all the way and tacked up an icon or two in your house or place of worship. One chap even went as far as to say that us Calvinsits have a "semi-Nestorian and Satanic Christology" and "deny the hypostatic union" in a comment at Baylyblog. Although the issues are certainly related (as are all issues in theology), having a perfect Christology simply isn't going to select for a particular understanding of worship. We can "fully embrace" the Incarnation yet still question the propriety of depicting the Incarnate God and using such depictions in worship of the Incarnate God.

In all of this I keep wondering, "is Word and Sacrament simply not good enough for you folks?" I worry about what sort of answer I would get from this bunch of Lutherans. Are we really missing out on something vital here? If so, please prove from Scripture that it is vital or even important to Christian worship. If so, then why does it seem to be missing from the first century church, as depicted in the New Testament? If it is not vital to Christian worship, then why dost thou protest so much? If we took away your icons, would you cease to function as a church, or at least by spiritually crippled? Would you, personally, find yourself in spiritual or emotional doldrums without them?

McCain quotes Luther in this respect:
Images, bells, eucharistic vestments, church ornaments, altar lights, and the
like I regard as things indifferent. Anyone who wishes may omit them.

It is hard to tell, but it may very well be true that McCain agrees with Luther here. I hope so. Certainly, no Eastern Orthodox cleric could make such a statement.

Given this reasoning, one may ask why I am not a full-blooded Baylyesque iconclast? I have a mountain of respect for such brethren, but I cannot go along with their blanket prohibition against the use of images. The Gadbois Wager makes me extremely wary of the use of images, but the hole in the Wager that prevents me from prohibiting images is the doctrine of Christian freedom. If McLaughlin's reasoning in his article is right, the Scriptures do not strictly prohibit the use of images in or out of worship, and the doctrine of Christian freedom tells me that it is a sin for me to prohibit that which Scripture does not prohibit. This principle is the only thing that gives me any sympathy at all for McCain's side. It is hard for me to see how visual depictions in worship can possibly be inherently wrong if they were used prominently in Old Testament worship (ex. the Temple and Tabernacle). Furthermore, since the cultural mandate includes the task of visual artistry, I think we should use all forms, means, and tools that are not prohibited by Scripture to do so.

As a practical matter, however, I think that in our age we must, more often than not, break our bronze serpents to pieces (2 Kings 18:4), whether commissioned by Moses himself or painted by a Thomas Kinkade wannabe.


P.S. - I have no clue what sort of ecclesiological theory is behind the following statements by McCain concerning Calvinists:
[The Bayly Brothers] are fine, pious, and sincere Christian pastors who are
conservative Calvinists.

and then:

They can expect no fellowship from me.

Category: Theoblogia
Read more!

Culture and Chrisianty: Phil Johnson on Worldliness


This recent post at Pyromaniac makes for a good companion piece to my Dirty Words posts. Phil Johnson proposes that the sin of worldliness is committed not only by those who desire the pleasures of the world intemperately, but also by those who obsess with cultural asceticism and the appearance of righteousness. Plus, he makes a funny crack at snake handeling. ;)

Category: Theoblogia
Read more!