March 28, 2003

From Eugene Volokh:
If Saddam loses a leg, but survives the U.S. bombing, how upset will his body doubles be?

They'd be hopping mad

Who said this?

"When a judge, for example, declares a person to be righteous in terms of the law which he is administering, the judge simply declares what he finds to be the case; he does not give to the person the righteous standing"

March 26, 2003

From the Washington Post: Anthropologist and senator's wife Wanda Baucus:
"Baghdad is where the beginning of civilization occurred, literally where the wheel was invented, where the very first city was built, where writing began, and it has a very deep and profoundly beautiful history -- which we should never take lightly, no matter who the existing president is."

Even if it's Saddam? "I think he is very proud of the history of his country. I think it's we Americans who don't know the facts about what anthropologists call 'the cradle of civilization.' When we watch the bombing on television, we really don't seem to understand or appreciate that some of these places are sacred. . . . I disagree with those who say that Saddam Hussein doesn't think about this. He cares about these places and their people."

March 25, 2003

I support the war. I don't get the "even if you don't support the war, you should support the troops"

At least, if I thought the war was immoral or criminal, like we were invading Canada to take her territory, I would want them to fail, and I would want them to reverse course immediatly, instead of letting them do-what-they-are-doing-because-there-is-no-going-back.

March 24, 2003

This morning about 6:45 I was awakened fully by what seemed to possibly be my own car alarm going off. It just honks the horn instead of any siren, so it's somewhat distinctive. Oh no, I thought. We'd had a break into our car once before but nothing was taken, and that had happened at 3am. It seemed a bit odd that there would be a break-in in broad daylight. I struggled to quickly throw on some pants and go check it out. I got out there and there were no broken windows or anything.

I hit the "off" button on my key remote. It stopped. Then it started again. I tried again an nothing seemed to happen. I tried the lock and unlock buttons and the honking pattern got faster, plus I notice that the doors were actually unlocked. Then I tried the off button again, and it worked. And then it started again. Went on for about a minute. I guessed that maybe the battery in this key remote was weak (one of my keys had a weak one) so I ran back inside to find the other set. Couldn't find them on my dresser, or in my pants. Where were they?

While I'm zipping about, my daughter says "Daddy! A______ is playing with your keys"


Oh, yeah. I left them in his room last night.

March 21, 2003

A document relating to shock and awe.

By the way, the son of the pastor who officiated at our wedding is over in Iraq.

March 20, 2003

rereading this piece by Wright. He says
And I hope and pray that those from within the household of faith who want to take issue with me on this or other topics will do me the courtesy, which I promise I shall do to them, of discussing criticisms with me first, so that we can clear up misunderstandings, before going public. I think that, too, is biblical.

A shame to see Webb, Phillips, Kelly, Duncan, etc ignoring this plea.

Good article by Barone addressing Tom Daschle's complaint about the "miserable" failure of diplomacy by Bush. Barone treats Daschle's complaint ("I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country.") with more respect than it deserves, though. Daschle's complaint that failed diplomacy has led to war misses the point about what the US sought by diplomacy on the security council: authorization to go to war. If we had used successful diplomacy with france, we would still be at war, just with UN blessing. Does Daschle think that if the UN had been unanimous, that Saddam would step down without bloodshed? Or that there was some kind of diplomacy towards Saddam that would have convinced him to disarm without the use of force?

What's with all the "saddened"s?

March 17, 2003

Why does nobody complain about the failure of French and German diplomacy to convince the US that we don't need to go to war?

March 12, 2003

if you like to watch economists watch the economy, this is for you

I wonder what end-times prophecy nuts will do with the acronym of the Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb. (film clip at the link)

March 11, 2003

I'm going to get me some Freedom Fries

Is it appropriate to pray like the oracle at delphi? "Lord, judge those who are destroying a great nation"

[Fom derbyshire on the corner] Robin Williams, who is an Episcopalian [!], on the

Top 10 Reasons to Be an Episcopalian:

10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
7. You don't have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color-coded.
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry - none of the guilt.
2. You don't have to know how to swim to get baptized.
...and the Number One to be an Episcopalian:

1. No matter what you believe, there's bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

March 10, 2003

I'm not opposed to praying for the conversion of Saddam Hussein. But why don't we pray for changing the hearts of the French and German governments?

Therefore by believing in Jesus the King, I enter into the Covenant Community.
It is the members of this Covenant Community who will be justified at the end of time.
Therefore faith, rather than being the sole means by which we are individually united to Christ, is a "badge" of my membership in the Covenant Community

Is there a big difference between these two?
Person exercizes faith in Jesus
Person exercizes faith in Jesus
Solely because of this individual is united to christ "individually"
solely because of this, individual is a member of a community of people who are united to Christ as his Bride, and is considered united too (wright doesn't deny the individual is united does he?)
individual receives imputed righteousness of christ
The community and members therefore are reckoned as possessing everything Jesus has, including righteousness
individual receives a judgement of righteous from God's law court
Because, at the end of time, God will vindicate those who are in the community of kingdom subjects of King Jesus, who are identified by their faith in his Lordship, God also presently declares that they are vindicated. (which means they are regarded as god-fearers who'se sins have been atoned for by their Lord, rather than idolatrous pagans with no hope)
Because the declaration of God that those who have faith are regarded as members of his people, all who have this faith, should be regarded by the members of the community to identify them as such. No other criteria, (such as lawkeeping or circumcision) may be substituted.
To me, column 2 is just saying soemwhat more than column 1, but isn't really a variation. the individual gets all the things column 1 says he gets. And column 2 certainly doesn't make works a criterion for justification.

Faith is not reckoned as righteousness. For Wright there is no category called "imputed righteousness" the righteousness of God is merely the Pauline way of referring to God's covenant faithfulness.
Wayne Whitmer's post on PCANEWS.com tries to make this same contention, that because Wright denies that "righteouness of God" (as used by Paul in Romans) means the righteouness of God the judge is imputed to the defendants, that Wright denies imputed or reckoned righteouenss of King Jesus the God-man generally. It is false.
It is God who vindicates the Covenant Community at the end of time.
Correct, but that entails, for Wright, a present declaration too.

March 07, 2003

Let's "Fisk" Webb some more:
"From the point of view of the Westminster Confession I am justified at the moment I believe and am united to Christ."
Y'know, "point of view" is exactly why this should not be a dispute. If we are talking about point of view, then the WCF's "point of view" of the facts of biblical language and the work of Christ in salvation is one valid way of expressing the truth without saying there aren't other equally valid ways. I can have a point of view of a cube where it looks like a square, and another view where it looks like a hexagon. Webb means to say "From the dogmatic definitions..."

Also note that Webb says we are justified by being united to Christ, "at the moment". I think alot of mischeif is brought by this obsession with things happening in "moments", but I'll let that slide for now.
"My justification in turn is based on the dual imputation of my sins to Christ and his righteousness to me. I thus enter into the invisible church at that point in time by my justification.
Already dealt with below, but I will add that we have incompatible understandings of what the "covenant community" or "family of God" that we are in is. For Webb, it can only be the "invisible church", even going so far as to ignore how Westminster defines that. For Westminster and wright, the visible church is truly the kingdom, household, and family of God. Elswhere, Webb implies Wright's allowance for baptism as a way of entering the covenant community is wrong because it conflicts with Webb's idea that a covenant community which God put us into can only have soteriological implications if it is the invisible one.
Wright, however, never uses the language of justification based on dual imputation in his works, in fact, just what Christ did on the cross in relation to the sin debt of individuals is always left vague in his writing. The definition of the imputation of Christ's righteousness as it occurs in the Westminster Standards is quite clear. Wright does not retain that definition but rather totally redefines it:
The force of what people have believed when they have used the idea of imputation is completely retained in what I have tried to do. Why? Because in Christ we have all the treasures, not only of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 1, and also1 Corinthians 1), but in whom we have the entire package, meaning sanctification and wisdom, as well as righteousness. So Paul's theology of being in Christ gives you all of that (Reformation and Revival Journal, 11:1 (Winter 2002): 117-139).

For Wright imputation is not the transfer of our sinfulness to Christ and the transfer of his righteousness (gained by his perfect obedience to the law) to us, received by faith alone. In the definition given above Wright is confusing theological terms. What Wright is describing are the gifts and benefits that believers recieve via their union with Christ. These gifts and benefits are described in the chapters of the Westminster Confession dealing with adoption, sanctification, etc., but are not described as part of the vital transfer that takes place as part of our justification.

Huh? Wright says we are posessors of the alien rightousness of Christ because of our union with him, but because Wright speaks of it as a piece with receiving "wisdom" from our union with Christ (which the WCF puts in another chapter), Wright is wrong?

Somebody quick, send Webb a copy of the WCF with the chapter and paragraph divisions removed!

Webb sees some kind of system of union with Christ to give us righteousness, which is a vital transfer, and another kind of union with Christ which gives us wisdom. Isn't there somethign in Ockham about not unnecesarily multiplying entities?

Oh and lets ignore that Wright says that his view of imputation is not a challange to the traditional view in any way.

If, as Webb says "I am justified the moment I believe and am united to Christ", then why is wright wrong to say that at that same moment, we are also adopted the moment we believe and are united to Christ. Or as Gaffin says, in faith we are united to Christ, and receive the whole package: justification, sanctification, adoption, and glorification. If Webb wants to take on gaffin, he can be my guest, but he should see first Kirk's comparion of how similar Gaffin and Wright are on this at least.

Here's something questionable from Webb: "My justification in turn is based on the dual imputation of my sins to Christ and his righteousness to me. I thus enter into the invisible church at that point in time by my justification."

The WCF is clear that the invisible church consists of every one of the elect through all time. If you are elect, you are in it "from all eternity".

It might be useful to have a doctrine to fit what Webb describes, but "invisible church" by the WCF ain't it.

Andy Webb takes his best shot at Wright and makes some valid points, in establishing Wright is "different". But he says this
All of this should point out some of the critical differences that Wright's defenders seldom take into account. Merely saying that your theology is compatible with another theology because you have several words in common doesn't make it so. N.T. Wright uses many words in common with the Reformers, because they are biblical terms and thus staples of Christian theology.
Which is not what Reformed Wright advocates are saying. Its not merely because Wright uses terms that sound like orthodox terms. Its because Wright's theology is compatible and nonheterodox and contains the same "system of doctrine taught in the hold scriptures" that the Westminster Confession does. Even though the theological terms are defined differently.

For Webb to have a case, he'd have to believe that when the WCF defines "justification" it defines its total use as a theological term in the bible. If it did, any substantially different definition would be non-biblical. But the WCF definition of "justify" doesn't describe the use of the term in James, for instance.

I could very well say "we make a huge mistake when we think that Paul's teaching about regeneration is a secret work of the Holy Spirit which imparts a new principle of life enabling a response in faith to the gospel", because of course, the few uses of the term "regeneration" in Paul have nothing to do with this systematic theological usage. Likewise, all Wright is arguing is that we must be careful not to confuse Paul's doctrine of justification in a partiular book with our systematic theologies. Wright saying "not so much soteriology as ecclesiology" is not saying "nothing to do with soteriology."

I accept that there is a thing we can call "justification" which matches the definition of justification found in the WCF. I also can accept that Paul's use of the term "justification" pretty much matches what Wright says it does. On the WCF side, I agree that God gives "free grace to sinners", "pardons their sins", "accounts them as righteous", "[on the account of] the righteousness of Christ imputed to them" "received by faith". But as Wright says, "how the word works in Paul's writings" is a bit different. It still is forensic: a declaration. It still is a declaration that "someone is in the right, that their sins are forgiven" without going into detail as to the grounds for it, though Wright is clear it is because of King Jesus' death paying the penalty for sin, and it is a declaration that they are a member of God's family, without specifiying howso on the grounds that they have been united to Christ by faith.

March 04, 2003

Here's a site where girls can make up free party invitations for justa bout any kind of party they want, as long as it involves consuming meat.

March 03, 2003

some people want to know the answer to this question: "is there any distinction between a Christian living by faith and a sinner being justified by faith". They want to know this because they think the answer will resolve something. This is a very dumb question, because obviously there is.

The real question is "is there any distinction in the faith of a Christain who is living by it, and the faith of a sinner who is justified by it?"

De script shun




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