September 30, 2003

Sounds like Philadelphia might need John Ashcroft to step in and prevent some mayoral election shenanigans

September 29, 2003


The missionary goes to a society where adulterous women are stoned, those who poke out eyes have their eyes poked out, a woman whose husband dies with no offspring is expected to marry her dead husband's brother, and lawsuits can proceed against fathers whose daughters don't produce tokens of virginity on their wedding night.

What does he tell them about their social laws?

What do they do with their social laws if they all decide to convert?

The last two are interesting because even theonomists have assumed that such laws are fulfilled in Christ or are ceremonial in nature, but I don't think they've given much though to what a society that currently practices some form of these laws should do. When the "theocratic revolution" comes they can avoid saying that these laws will be mandatory.

But doesn't it undercut the idea that these laws were given to Israel to reveal Christ typologically when they are practiced in Afghanistan or among the Ibo?

BLOOD IS thicker than water, or so this NY Times article on on Iraq claims: Iraqi Family Ties Complicate American Efforts for Change. I'd like to know the reference for this claim though
Cousin marriage was once the norm throughout the world, but it became taboo in Europe after a long campaign by the Roman Catholic Church. Theologians like St. Augustine and St. Thomas argued that the practice promoted family loyalties at the expense of universal love and social harmony. Eliminating it was seen as a way to reduce clan warfare and promote loyalty to larger social institutions ó like the church.
Anyone know where they say this? I find it odd, especially since the laws of consanguinity in Leviticus don't actually prohibit cousin marriage.

The point about familiy loyalties certainly rings true though.

I understand that the cow-pao view understands that the pre-fall state is "neutral" in some sense, and that the death of Christ pays the penalty, but we need "actual" righteousness to receive eternal life.

But my question is to point out a problem with cow-pao from another direction: why the change in God's way of dealing with man?

Corruption is one answer. Man still can't "do good" after being pardoned so God must accept the perfect uncorrupt "active" works of Christ on our behalf.

But when we speak of the effects of corruption on our works, we mean that along with what might be considered good in them, there is sin and defilement. This is explained in terms of corrupt motives, or ends in doing the good work. Yes, you gave food to the poor, but you did it for your own selfish ego. Yes you visited a prisoner, but you didn't do it enough. But we already said that God forgave all the sins we had because of the sacrifice of Christ. So the bad motivation is not on the table, and the failure to visit is also forgiven. Which leaves standing the fact that one feed the poor or visited a prisoner.

the WCF throws some other interesting things into the mix: It says that the good works of the unregenerate constitute sin because they don't flow from a heart purified by faith.

Also the WCF says
We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of Godís judgment
I find it odd that most of the verbiage explaining why we aren't put back into a situation where we need to earn life by works like adam was alleged to is about our works being "weak", "disproportionate", or unmeritorious considering how infinitly greater God is. Yes "defiled" and "imperfect" too, but that's not filled out as much. All of these objections would also mitigate against Adam's works being considered meitorious for life.

Let's looks at a prooftext too "Now the God of peace [...] through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever." This says that there are works we can do that are wellpleasing in his sight, done by God "working in" us, through Jesus to be sure, but as a reflex of the blood of the covenant, NOT by an imputation of active obedience.

September 26, 2003

I SUPPOSE we can say that our sins are pardoned with respect to us. A governor may pardon for many reasons. A human governor's pardon may be sheer mercy. And in God, we are dealing with sheer mercy for God the Father pardons because he punished God the Son instead.

But I am led to another issue with the covenant of works schema of the passive/active model (which the catechism is poiting towards). We're "pardoned for our sins" on the basis of the atoning sacrifice (passive obedience) but we are accepted as righteous on the basis of imputed righteousness. And this is to preserve the total gracious character of salvation.

But if we begin with a covenant of works idea, where Adam was to earn life as wages for obedience we might ask: "Why is God concerned to make salvation so throroughly gracious?" God had no problem with letting Adam earn his reward by his own active obedience to start with.

So once God has pardoned our sins by accepting the atoning sacrifice of Christ, why should he have changed his modus operandi and make the righteousness we allegedly need for standing before him to be based on the imputed righteousness of another? Why couldn't God have said "Adam, you failed to obey, and merit punishment, but I am graciously wiping the slate clean and punishing my son. Now start over."

I'm not saying that's a crusher of a question, just asking how that question gets answered in the CoW P/AO Schema.

(I like that: pronounce it cow-pow)

September 25, 2003

Why do Reformed people say that we believe that in justification, God pardons our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight on the basis of Christ's imputed righteousness?

If we have our sins imputed to Christ, and we have Christ's righteousness imputed to us, then our sins aren't pardoned, they're punished in the suffering of Jesus. I'm wondering what we're trying to get at by the use of the term "pardon". It seems once imputation is brought in, no real "pardon" exists.

And on the day I post the word "orientalist", Edward Said dies

IT'S TIME for search engine review where we take a look at the last 20 search engine hits on the site and make wry comments:
bodypainted woman superman
I guess crazy people in the Netherlands need to duplicate the skin-tight look of Superman's costume.
military borden
You got me hangin'...
pumpkin pie pictures and reciepts
I think they meant recipes. Anyone got any?
relighting candle experiments
Another mystery.
totaler sluts
Yuck. My devotion to Totaler Krieg, a fun wargame of WWII strategy make this far-from-near-miss.
Andre Emmerich antiquities save
Emmerlich is a antiquities dealer who argued in the WSJ that a more open market in them would help preserve them. My wife is dubious.
John Milbank
I need to get back to my Milbank fisk someday.
porteous merovingian
I think this is a Matrix reference. Hey, that next movie should be out soon!
an old misspelling, preserved in amber for totality
fell broken ankle fiction
I'll have to find some of that myself, since I'm sure there's nothing else my wife would rather be reading that stories about people who fell and broke their ankle.
(a few Neverwinter Nights refs)
My most regular source of hits is due to some praise I placed on the game way back when. I guess lots of folks feel they need help with a walkthrough solution
"witnessing 101" Tim Baker
I have no idea if Bakers book is any good or not, but the cross-marketing scandal of revolve's "top 10 Christian Books" list angers me.
(a few more boring ones)
but your probably already bored enough

STARTLING similarity, wouldn't you say?

Of course, the proper leftist response is to say that this just demonstrates how orientalist Tolkien and Jackson are in modeling their evil characters to appear as represenatative of a culture that represents the Other.

I'M NOT SURE why it is that buying a sportscar is supposed to be a surefire sign of a mid-life crisis where one is recapturing lost youth.

I mean, why is the expensive sports car a sign of youth? The middle-aged man who is probably at his peak earning potential is the main customer that can best afford one anyway. He also has way more experience in driving and will be less likely to crash it in a twentysomthing stunt.

I had another reason I was going to post but I can't think of it. Just waiting for Steam to download sose I can upgrade my counter-strike install. But I'm NOT waiting 41 minutes more, since I was up too late last night.

My plan for the week is proceeding apace. Monday dinner was great, tuesday we did some grocery shopping, and I worked on the porch tonight. We're live with the new membership system, and are running fairly bug-free. (somehow, some folks have been able to sign up without any record oftheir address information. Not sure how that could be the case though...)

September 24, 2003

MACEDONIA ("the vision of a dying world" by Anne Ortlund also makes me chuckle. I couldn't find the exact lyrics on the web, but the line that goes
The pagan hugs his god of stone and fears decent of night,
the city dweller (something something) beneath the garish light
could use some updating.

I ALWAYS have trouble with the terrible poetic gaffes in the hymn "Children of the Heavenly Father. Some quick internet research shows that there are some better versions of this Swedish hymn than the ones in the Trinity hymnal
betterworse (trinity)
Children of the heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e'er was given.
More secure is no one ever
Than the loved ones of the Savior;
Not yon star, on high abiding,
nor the bird in home-nest hiding
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers,
Your Protector never slumbers;
At the will of your Defender
Every foe-man must surrender.

That second stanza is the same in most of the versions I came across. It also seems nobody keeps the order of the verses straight.

FUN WITH HYMNS: Scarecrow's posting of the beautiful gaelic hymn "Be thou my vision" reminded me that Garver told me that the Gaelic for "vision" is the same word that gets translated in the Tain Bo Cualnge as "warp-spasm": the ability of Celtic berserk heroes to freak out before battle and have their face pop out in Hulk-style muscles and eyeballs waving around menacingly.

Keep that in mind next time you sing it at church

MY EXEGESIS of the tax collector parable does not depend on having to "justify" the Pharisee's prayer as being objectively acceptable. It also is a "wrightian" attempt to read it in terms of things that are more "ecclesiological" instead of "soteriological".

We're clued in to the "ecclesiological" dimensions by the fact that its addressed to people who are looking down on other people
the Pharisee is not thinking "I will establish my acceptance with God on the basis of my righteousness", rather "Since I already am a child of God by God's covenant, I will thank him for all the great works I've done that will ensure my place in the coming kingdom. Works that rotten tax collector over there could never do, which shows he really isn't a Jew"

What Jesus says is that this one by his humble faith does display the proper "badge" of covenant membership which will result in a verdict of vindication for him at the last day, and not the Pharisee.

Some other exegeses avoid the statement that the reason for the parable is "ecclesiological", in saying this to those who would "unchurch" the tax collectors WHO ARE STANDING NEXT TO THEM AT TEMPLE PRAYING [or allegorically, who would "unchurch" the humble tax collectors who Jesus was accepting] because they did not evidence the righteous-life badges the Pharisees thought were true marks of covenant membership.

Jesus is not really telling the story to remind the Pharisees how to get saved (directly). He's telling the story to warn the Pharisees that faith in the saving work of God was the identifying mark of a covenant member, not some quantity of righteous acts identified by the Pharisees.

September 21, 2003

MEN'S SUNDAY school class was good today. One of our deacons taught, and I was really impressed with his style. He wasn't afraid to just point blank ask people to give feedback on what he'd been saying.

He made a good point on the importance of a father's wife in their partnership in childrearing. If the husband is out of the home most of the day he really can't be aware of the full context of a child's issues or misbehavior. So the father might apply perfectly valid principles to a situation that they don't match because he doesn't know that the kid missed his nap or has some trauma earlier that day or what have you. The mother has a good opportunity to really get to know the persona of the child.

This can leave the father feeling disadvantaged, since he's just trying to apply something that would be valid if he had full information.

Which he can get if there is good partnership and communication with his wife.

So its communication again ...

MORE duh: the Blogger spellchecker didn't know "blog".

TO CONTINUE my 17-post string of comment-discouraging blog entries ["hello? *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?"] I'll bore you all with my agenda for this week. Then maybe I'll report on my progress at the end.

Monday should be the day that I finally "go live" with the new online customer service system I've been working on for almost two years. Some last minute bug fixes delayed things last week because we finally did some real use-case testing in the last week before going live. This wouldn't have been so freaking tricky if our society had a simplified system that did have so many exceptions and special cases. The system will allow our members to renew their memberships and subscriptions online, as well as register for meetings and buy new subscriptions.

Monday night we'll be guests for dinner at some good friends of ours. That will be nice.

Tuesday I'll be fixing some non-"showstopper" issues left in the Customer Service system and catching up on some other bits and pieces. Maybe I'll start outlining my presentation for the NAUG conference I'll be attending in mid October.

Tuesday night I'm going to work on getting ready to do something on the porch work on Saturday, either interior if it rains, or exterior if its good weather. I primed most of the exterior, but I want to scrape some more off and prime the soffit. But we also need to do some grocery shopping. I guess we'll hit the store right after supper.

I don't expect work to be much different the rest of the week, actually. Assuming there are no massive bugs with the system and people can use it and stuff. Probably Wednesday night I'll get some more supplies (lumber, etc)

Thursday night I'll probably blow off with lots of email reading, counter-strike playing, or miniature painting. Though I'm mostly playing counter-strike out of habit these days.

Friday: ??

Saturday I'll be priming or working on the interior. If I have to do the interior because of rain, that will still be tough since I won't have the space outside the porch to maneuver stuff around in. Oh well.

Stupidest spam ever:
Important notice

We have just charged your credit card for money laundry service in amount of $234.65 (because you are either child pornography webmaster or deal with dirty money, which require us to layndry them and then send to your checking account).
If you feel this transaction was made by our mistake, please press "No".
If you confirm this transaction, please press "Yes" and fill in the form below.

Enter your credit card number here:

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September 19, 2003

TRAVEL plans for December. But if Jackson goes this far off path, I'll be annoyed.

HEY, howcome nobody told me Peter Leithart had a blog? It's the view from Peniel.

I've made some updates to my blogroll too, adding some heirolinkers, several of whom use my less canonical "bellatlantic" URL. The canonical ulr is http://mysite.verizon.net/~vze2tmhh/index.htm

And while I think this post is mistaken because it disagrees with my own view of the Mosaic covenant, I also wonder what "dangerous trajectory" it puts the adherent on. If the Mosaic covenant was "a form of the Covenant of Works because it does not ever offer salvation to Israel; rather it only offers a fat life in the land if they are able to keep all of its commands, and death if they do not." then:

1. How did Christ actively fulfilling the terms of the covenant earn salvation for us?

2. Why does our failure to keep the terms of it send us to hell?

I don't want to be too hard on this guy, because I know him from way back, but if pictures of Christ is a "serious violation" of the commandment against idolatry, what's he doing in a church that tolerates it?bb gun list

ONE LAST comment on Revolve before my house collapses. I didn't read the whole Christianity Today article thru till now. The last item they mention (below) means we're really in throw-the-moneychangers-out territory.
On page 186, the girls can find "Top Ten Great Christian Books." C. S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers haven't made the list. Top honors go to Witnessing 101 by Tim Baker and published by Transit Books. In fact, all of the top ten books have been recently published by Thomas Nelson, most of them through Transit Books.

Here's another curiosity: The eighth of the top ten great Christian books is titled Why So Many Gods? Its authors are Tim Baker and Kate Etue. Kate Etue is also the senior editor of Revolve. She was the one promoting the biblezine on CNN recently.

On page 231, in a blurb called "Issues: Religion," teens are told about "a cool book called Why So Many Gods? that will explain a lot of it for you." It's the same book that made the top ten list!

THE SECOND intermittent power outage tonight is a sign that I should go to bed. But I've updated Lupine Nuncio with the cover image for Wolfe's forthcoming novel The Knight

Christianity Today had a critique of Revolve, which has some interesting points. I'm not sure they're right about the "Its ok for gorls to call guys because Ruth is a counterexample" idea. I mean if the boy has a legal oblicagtion to marry you already and if your mother[-figure] encourages you to contact the boy, you might have a better case.

The Christian idea of "don't put yourself forward, let the guy lead" is also based on a current milieu of total erosion of sexual mores.

My computer smells funny. Its working, but maybe something got zapped.

September 18, 2003

Dear God, no.

I wish this was a joke.

Oh, note how the "Y" in the font looks like a little icthus. I guess the "W" looks like a whacked omega. The "E" just looks stupid.

That's a lot of different typefaces for a cover isn't it?

Does the girl in the middle look vaguely Jewish to anyone else?

I guess I'll add some more cooments to fill out my blogpage.

The whole "100+ whatsits" is an artifact of magazine competing for attention in a checkout line. So the only rationalle for this is to be a copycat, not because of any functionaliy it brings to the format.

This whole thing is really ripe for a parody, since it's almost parody already. At least they didn't "advertise" the Bliblical content they way they do the notes.

150 Radical Songs!

6 laws about menstruation!

God speaks out on 10 'Dos and Don'ts'

If you were really going to include "tips for youth" in the thing, wouldn't it make sense to publish Proverbs along with it?

So Bin laden can quake in his boots even more, Spain has charged him with terrorism: Spanish Judge Is Charging Bin Laden and 9 in 9/11 Plot. It seems the Spanish constitution allows them to prosecute anyone anywhere for crimes against humanity. Treaty of Tordesillas in action i guess.

Josh S had a very enlightening post on Luther today with lots of good stuff and important emphases. Especially the last quote, which sounds like its directed against certain reformed types these days, who seem to be willing to say thing like our sanctification is merely the result of our Justification: that the declaration of righteousness (on the basis of Christ's imputed righteousness) is so powerfully motivating that we then start to act holy in response. I'd rather see both as reflexes of Union with Christ, as would this wise person

But then there's this:
If Christ is not present incarnately (in his body and blood) then Christ is not present.

If Christ is not present, then he cannot be apprehended by faith.
The first statement runs aground of making any kind of distinction between Christ in his earthy ministry, Christ when he returns, and Christ present in the supper. Can I at least say that he's "sacramentally incarnate" in the supper? And why if incarnation is our model here for understanding the mode of presence, is there a "communication of natures" taking place with Christ in the bread? Does the piece of bread itself become begotten of the father? Omnipresent? Immortal?

(I know, I'm not supposed to ever try to take a Lutheran doctrine as if it had any logical outworkings beyond the ones stated.)

The second part of the chain runs aground on the old testament. What of all those saints in the hall of faith, who apprehended the coming Christ, but had no experience of his incarnate presence?

In a positive sense though, let me say Luther's beliefs on these matters strike me as astounding piety, if not astounding theology. I think for Luther, fides non quarens intellectam. For some, that's not a bug, its a feature. (it is well documented, after all)

September 16, 2003

One of my more eagerly awaited miniature purchaces arrived yesterday. You may recongize these little copyright violations homages from other media. The sculptor is Werner Klocke, who does some amazing work.

Interesting take by David Brooks on the hopes for Dean as a Democrat challenger. In the course of the article, Brooks attributes our nation's increased political polarization to our increased education. 52 percent of voters today are college educatied compared to 22% in 1960.

Many people say we went to Iraq because Bush claimed the threat posed there was imminent. Not so: from the SOTU address
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?

Its a beautiful day today here in the path of the hurricane. Our ancestors would have been taken by suprise by this thing, and regarded it more fatalisticly. Not that theres anythign we can do about it now.

The heirouxor's ankel is still in a cast which is distressing to all of us, since she's missing the chance to gets the kids outside much. We see the doc on Wednesday morning, but that's still probably too soon to remove the cast.

As I mention on the Lupine Nuncio, The Knight : Book One of The Wizard Knight is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Amazon reports a January 2004 release date.

September 15, 2003

Josh S will probably like rubbing Reformed noses in this review of Seierstad's The Bookseller of Kabul. The review is an interesting account of the "backwardsness" of Afghan culture, particularly in the treatment of women. This passage stood out
Women are objects that can be bought and sold. I am often asked the market price of a wife in England. This book tells you what they cost in Afghanistan: $100, with a handicapped sister thrown in free. The morning after the wedding night a rag from the bed is taken to the mother-in-law. If it is not bloodstained, the wife is returned. Once married, women are seldom allowed to work. Men would feel threatened if they did.
The "tokens of virginity". Something the Bible mentions and something we relegate to "the way they did things back then". Here, in contemporary Afghanistan, its a live issue.

As a biblical theocrat, I'm used to and favor of descriptions of the torah that tend to idealize the way certain legal provisions may have worked themselves out, idealizing all the family members involved as loving self-denying paragons of virtue. But then we have to accept that these laws were given to an Israel prone to wickedness and violence. Wouldn't they be abused? Would they really be fairly applied?

Should we strive to see more of them as limitations put on an archaic culture to restrain excesses of penology? Is Cassuto correct that the Torah was an "add-on" to preexisting civil law, rather than the basis for governance to follow from Torah?

The description of Afghan life in the book is quite a challenge to simplistic assumptions about how patriarchal law would really function.

I also found this offhand reference disturbing "There is nothing exclusively Islamic about cretinous attempts to reconstruct a golden age: in Uganda the Lakwenas, Protestant fundamentalists, shoot people found riding a bicycle on Sundays."'

God gives us a lot of opportunities to mess things up, even when we're trying hard to be faithful to his word.

Maybe Mark Horne is just tired of getting comments, or he doesn't want anyone pointing out how he's put on a few pounds since the time I met him years back at a BH conference (still slimmer than me, of course), but since his commentrs aren't up I'll have to comment here...

In the course of making an analogy between masculinity and flag display (?) he says "If one was pastoring a church where all the men ... spent the fellowship time running after children instead of ignoring them while they jabbered at one another"

Um, that tends to be me, actually. In that I spend the fellowship time running after children.

(blogger giving me wierd new options...now what do I do? Oh, I can make this a draft...)

September 08, 2003

Gadgets I want:

1. Digital camera
2. WiFi point
3. Laptop or 2
3. Palm-sized PC with color screen, that can play MP3s and store lots of them
4. Some USB "keychain" storage devices
5. A rack mounted dedicated webserver
6. A custom case mod with cutout and interior lighting
7. A video out card.
8. ?

Wow. What an amazing essay; makes me feel like a total whimp with my 9-5 computer job. Or some other word thats innapropriate for a family blog.

September 06, 2003

Well, nice to see blogger is back. Yesterday I was in the Penn Bookstore just after I left work to come home and I found myself in the middle of a Flash Mob. Probably the new college fad. Everybody clapped and hugged and cheered and then left. I was upstairs, so I got to see it from the balcony. At first I thought maybe somebody really famous had come into the store, but I couldn't see a "center" that folks were looking at, so I immediatly thought flash mob.

I thought of really loudly doing the "bo-ring" chant, but that seemed too in-your-face.

September 04, 2003

Funny CounterStrike news: Rumsfeld Accuses Saddam of Camping

Camping just makes sense sometimes.

(how many funny "fake news" sites can the web support)

September 03, 2003

NPR irritated me today. They were remarking on Paul Hill, the murderer of an abortionist. He's going to be executed been executed, and is unremoresful.

But NPR added that a Catholic pro-life group did not endorse Hill's actions, and declared him to be outside the mainstream.

Well, duh. But couldn't they have mentioned that his presbyterian church excommunciated him way before he ever killed just for advocating it?

Remarking that a Catholic pro-life group disowns you is about as relevant as mentioning that a Muslim disowns you, to an OPC elder.

Standard Model Reformed stuff:
  1. We are under the penalty of death for lawbreaking
  2. Christ comes and obeys the law perfectly
  3. Jesus dies
  4. Jesus rises from the dead
  5. God imputes the perfect lawkeeping of Jesus to those with faith, then declaring them righteous
Missing pieces from what Galatians "really said":
I through the law am dead to the law that I might live to God

I am crucified with Christ

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written "Cursed is everyone who hangeth on a tree"
  1. We are under the penalty of death for lawbreaking
  2. Christ comes and obeys the law perfectly
  3. Jesus dies anyway, and is regarded by God as cursed.
  4. Jesus, in rising from the dead shows that he is dead to the law as it had no hold over him, and it's purpose was "merely" to increase transgression, not to be a system whereby one could theoretically merit salvation.
  5. Jesus, in being raised, is shown by the father to have been sinless, for the death had no hold on him.
  6. Those who put their faith in this savior are regarded by God as he is, so they are accounted as dead to the law, crucified with Christ, and then alive again
I could probably say more but I'll stop there. Thoughts?

[update] I noticed this was an attempt at restating this in my archives. There's alot of good stuff in my archives. Sometimes I'm surpised to find what I wrote.

September 02, 2003

I guess I'll lay off the RCC for thinking they're clever for viewing Modern Judaism as Christianity's "Elder Brother" (whatever that vague term might mean). Samuel Rutherford used the same terminology.

De script shun




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