Simply Amazing

Friday, 30 June 2006

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Ps. 139.13-16

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
Jer. 1.5a

“…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
Gen. 2.7

So this is to be the latest member of the OSC family. The technology that exists these days is frankly amazing. It’s not quite a photograph of our growing child, but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to one yet.

These 3-D sonograms are apparently the norm where we were sent to have this one done. There are a lot of imperfections in the technology and the picture. If anyone moves–baby, mother, or tech–the image blurs. Yet the features are unmistakeable: eyes, nose, lips, fingers, and an elbow underneath the head.

We’ve elected to wait until the child is born to learn of its sex. I mean, there had ought to be some surprises in all of this, hadn’t there? If you would, please keep this growing baby and its mother in your prayers.


A little history

Monday, 26 June 2006

First things first. Yesterday marked the 476th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. I hope you all were afforded the time and opportunity to celebrate accordingly. I’d argue that this, more than Reformation Day, marks the real birth of the Lutheran Church. By all means, celebrate the posting of the 95 Theses. But break out the red paraments on June 25 as well!

It saddens me, however, to see just how far we’ve come. An example, and perhaps most of what inspired my last disjointed ranting, involves lay ministry. At the Synodical Convention in Wichita in 1989, Resolution 3-05B was passed, which approved the establishment and use of “licensed lay deacons” whose role it may be to preach and administer the Sacraments (One could argue that it actually started with the 1981 CTCR document entitled, The Ministry.). This absolutely contradicts what we as Lutherans confess about ministry. Reference the following:

  • Jeremiah 23.31: “Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.'”
  • Romans 10.15: “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”
  • Hebrews 5.4: “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.”
  • AC XIV: “It is taught among us that nobody should publicly teach or preach or administer the sacraments in the church without a regular call.”

In 1995 synodical convention resolution 3-07A tried to put things right in part by requiring such licensed lay deacons (those who were licensed to perform pastoral functions) to apply for admission into the pastoral ministry.

In 2001, resolution 3-08 was submitted. In part it submitted, “that this convention rescinds the 1989 convention resolution 3-05B and the 1995 St. Louis convention resolution 3-07A.” It also called for it to be resolved that no new or renewal licenses for lay deacons would be offered. In good parliamentary order, resolution 3-08B was introduced, which reversed the resolution to endorse and continue with the lay ministry programs, and it passed. It was business as usual under 1989 resolution 3-05B, while 1995 resolution 3-07A was rescinded.

So contrary to what is written in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, contrary to the doctrine which we claim to confess as Lutherans, we have thrown out our confession regarding the Office of the Public Ministry. We play cut and paste (or rather, just cut) with the Augsburg Confession and with Holy Scripture itself. We have publicly reduced ministry in the church to a set of functions, not an office. And we must repent.

In the district conventions this year there have been several resolutions memorializing the Synod in convention to do something about this aberrant practice. Some have called for a blanket rescinding of the resolutions calling for lay ministry. Some have called for the ordination and subsequent rostering of these deacons in the Minister of Religion – Ordained category, making them eligible to be rightly and regularly called. My hunch is that most of these resolutions have failed. Those of which I have been a witness and of which I have heard have all gone down in A Blaze!™ of glory. Apparently we’d rather do it our way than the way in which it has been given to us to do.

It is my prayer that as a synod we would be brought to see the error of such paths and the dangerous ends to which they lead. In 1533, Luther wrote,

For we must believe and be sure of this, that baptism does not belong to us but to Christ, that the gospel does not belong to us but to Christ, that the office of preaching does not belong to us but to Christ, that the sacrament [of the Lord’s Supper] does not belong to us but to Christ, that the keys, or forgiveness and retention of sins, do not belong to us but to Christ. In summary, the offices and sacraments do not belong to us but to Christ… (LW 38:200)

Further, in Ap. VII-VIII, Melanchthon wrote that ministers (pastors),

do not represent their own persons but the person of Christ, because of the church’s call, as Christ testifies (Luke 10:16), “He who hears you hears me.”When they offer the Word of Christ or the sacraments, they do so in Christ’s place and stead.

So what of the licensed lay deacon? Without a regular call he is speaking for the Lord whom the Lord has not called to speak for him. This is dangerous, but we as a church body give him our assent. The distinctions between clergy and laity are blurred even further (I’ve now lately met three such deacons who go by pastor in their congregations. And why shouldn’t they? They are acting as pastor in their places. Their people don’t see a pastor so they call the one who functions as pastor “pastor.”). With a modicum of training we determine to authorize men to undertake activities which carry eternal consequences.

Even if well-intended, it’s a band-aid that only covers the festering sores of real issues we’d rather not address: greed and pride. “We can’t afford a pastor” often means “we won’t exercise the stewardship needed to pay for one.” And small churches are often so stubborn and proud as to not join with sister congregations in the area and together call a pastor to serve them.

It is my prayer, at least for the sake of my own children who will one day need pastoral care that does not come from their father, that we will reverse this tide of un-Scriptural and un-Confessional practice. Let us, as a synod, repent.

Have it your way

Saturday, 24 June 2006

“Whether they are selling cars, toys or fast food, companies are tapping consumers as never before to help them create new products.”

So synopsized Melanie Wells of Forbes. The article is interesting, but it’s rather beside the point. The point, gentle reader, is that the LCMS is completely on bus with this mentality. We’re a business, and we’re looking to increase our market share. So let’s offer a product that is appealing to as many consumers as possible. Blah, blah, blah, Ablaze!™ , blah, blah, blah, Ignite™, blah, blah, blah, blah. Is this where we’re headed?

Hearts on Fire; Igniting Hearts; Fan into Flame; Spirit Kindle; or any number of catchy plays on Ablaze!™. That’s right, they’re district convention themes. Anyone else get images of this guy?

So my question is, can anything good come out of a district convention? Ours was a triennial formality. We do it because we have to, and we continue in the anti-Scriptural/anti-Confessional status quo. Cordially delivered Confessional correctives were relegated to sweeping omnibus resolutions and quickly dismissed. Topics on which serious theological discussion is desperately needed were avoided by means of parliamentary strategery.

So what was accomplished? The road to the infinitely customizable spiritual experience was cleared, paved, and widened. Without going into the gory details, I’d like to take a moment and lay out the dream world of those whose agenda carried the day. Feel free to sing “In the year 2000” in your best falsetto between predictions:

The day of doctrine is over. Not only is it passe, it’s a hindrance to the growth of the church.

Pastoral care is not as important as conversion growth. Get ’em in and use them to get more in. If you’re not growing in numbers you’re slipping. Church will be synonymous with “spiritual recruiting station.”

Accordingly, church activities will only be undertaken if they can be shown to significantly and positively impact the numbers of the congregation.

“Pastoral care” will become an archaic term, for “pastor” will be a thing of the past. Regardless of the fact that God has established this office for the care of His people on earth, pastors have been deemed unnecessary, and the functions of this office will be (are already being!!) carried out by minimally-trained laymen.

“What does Scripture say?” will be the cry of the unenlightened who refuse to live in the now. Words like “Biblical (Scriptural),” “Confessional,” “appropriate,” and the like are falling out of use, and in fact, will disappear among us in exchange for words like “effective,” “expedient,” “successful,” and such, again, toward the end of numerical growth.

Theological terms that are currently being deconstructed will be retooled to be optimally “effectual.”

All boundaries, constrictions, distinctions, and definitions will be demolished. Church leaders will take unlimited license to rewrite the Christian faith, and individuals will have absolute freedom to pursue custom-fit spiritual experiences, and the church will finally be able to achieve what is becoming and will be known as its primary purpose: visible unity of all peoples in one great (numerically enormous) siblinghood of humankind.

And Satan will laugh, revelling in the liberal post-modern sham theology that’s got us barrelling down that road.

Truth in typos

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

A recent service folder from a contemporary praise and worship service I saw includes (as a distribution song, no less) a song called “Be the Center.” I don’t know what it sounds like, because only the text is printed in the service folder, but the lyrics are printed as follows:

Jesus, be the center, be my source, be my light, Jesus.
Jesus, me the center, be my hope, be my song, Jesus.
Be the fire in my heart, be the wind in these sails,
Be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus.
Jesus be the vision, be my path, be my guide, Jesus.
Be the fire in my heart, be the wind in these sails,
Be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus.
Jesus, be the center, be my source, be my light, Jesus.

Yeah. If this were an answer on Jeopardy the question might be something like, “What is singing in church for ten minutes and saying nothing (clearly not a ten-minute song; nevertheless, the praise band is allotted its time, so the worship team must lead the song in progressively more spirit-filled repetitions until the audien–er, congregation is appropriately frenzied)?”

But the typo was indeed priceless: “Jesus, me the center, be my hope, be my song, Jesus.” At least, I (think/hope) it was a typo, but the honesty of it is delicious.

I was going to stop there.

You know why it’s so unbelievably hard to teach AC XVIII anymore? AC II? AC IV? AC V? AC VI? (Need I go on?) It’s because some who call themselves my brothers go looking around for any possible way to trade away the Word of God for a Reformed mess o’ pottage. When I hear these songs and read these “relevant” liturgies, I can’t help but think of the late George Harrison and the Beatles singing, “I me me mine! I me me mine!” I’ve made up my own parody, apparently fit for many churches on Sunday mornings:

All we can say, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Sing, speak, or pray; I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Now we just feel the Spirit
You say you can’t hear it?
We’ll turn all the amps up to nine
All we can say
I me mine

I me me mine, I me me mine
I me me mine, I me me mine

Focus on me, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Toss liturgy, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Can I sing with the praise band?
More heartfelt with raised hands!
God’s lucky I give of my time!
All we can say
I me mine

I me me mine, I me me mine
I me me mine, I me me mine

It’s about me, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Such synergy, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
I just choose to give myself
To God–I don’t need help.
The ladder to Jesus I’ll climb!
All I can say
I me mine

It’s a work in progress.

About ten years ago I heard Lost and Found doing their schtick on the word “explicit.” The dictionary defines the term to mean “unambiguous” or a variant on that. But the record industry has taken it over to mean “dirty,” as in

So they went on about how they had to wash their hands because, having just played in the mud, they were rather explicit, etc. And consequently, they reclaimed the word and placed the above sticker on their next album warning that the lyrics spoke of Jesus Christ in an unambiguous way.

“Relevant” has enjoyed much the same kind of history. As explicit was euphamistically used to denote profanity, relevant has come to denote focus upon self instead of “pertaining to the matter at hand.” As this tends to be the case, according to Luther all sin is “nouveau pertinent” (“new relevant;” forgive the French, but for such an abomination French may indeed be called for): en curvatus se–being curved in on self.

This “relevance” is indeed sin. It is idolatrous, and it obscures and does violence to the proclamation of the Word of God, both Law and Gospel. It creates a thousand valid realities of a thousand little centers of the universe with a thousand sham notions of peace through self-help. And (and this is the kicker) many pastors are allowing and even promoting this nonsense.

So perhaps we take it back. Let’s stop advertising services in which the Word of God is purely proclaimed and the Sacraments are rightly administered as “liturgical.” Let’s advertise them as “relevant.” I can see the marquee in the “blended” church’s parking lot now:

Take back the language. Relevant means “pertaining to the matter at hand.” That matter is the fact that we are fallen and helpless. And God in his infinite mercy and grace sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die and rise again to save us–“without any merit or worthiness in [us].” We didn’t help. We don’t help. We can’t help. He does it all. That’s relevant. That’s truth.

Update (21 June): Verse 4

I me me mine, I me me mine
I me me mine, I me me mine

We’ve culled out keys*, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Twelve steps to ease, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Pastors, they teach it,
From pulpits they preach it:
“Just do this and all will be fine.”
All that they say
I me mine

* That’s keys as in principles, not as in “Office of the…”

On the Death of Debate and Logic

Friday, 16 June 2006

Apparently my previous post makes very little sense, since the video clip to which I had intended to link is no longer at that URL. Pity. It was a video of Matt Lauer interviewing Ann Coulter. You can actually find it here. My point was (and is) neither the substance of the argument nor the stances of the parties, but the manner in which this exchange was had. It was a matter of baiting, not debating. The transcript:

ML: David Gregory just mentioned, if you ask people in this country what they care about today, they say “Iraq; they care about gas prices.” Things like gay marriage and flag burning are way, way down on the list, yet that’s what the President’s talking about this week; that’s what the Senate’s taking up. Why?

AC: Um, I don’t know what people are talking about, or how David Gregory knows that, but I do know that gay marriage amendments have been put on the ballots in about 20 States now, and have passed by far larger numbers than Bush won the election by.

ML: But the President talked about it in 2004 and then basically never talked about it again until now. Obviously we’re in an election cycle, gearing up for the midterm elections. Isn’t this just an overt way to say to this social conservative base, “Look, I’ll talk about it again. Come out and vote for me,” even though that base knows he’s not going to talk about it again for the next two years?

AC: I think they also know he’s not running again. So why does he care?

ML: Here’s how E. J. Deon puts it in the Washington Post this morning, quote, “The Republican Party thinks its base of social conservatives is a nest of dummies who have no memories and respond like bulls whenever red flags are waved in their faces.” Do you agree with that?

AC: That, that the base are dummies…

ML: Yeah.

AC: …or that Bush thinks that?

ML: That basically he can wave a red flag and they’re going to run to the polls and respond to him.

AC: They don’t need—I’m saying—they don’t need to respond to him. Why would this—he be pandering to anyone? He’s not running again.

ML: Well, but they—they— He’s not running again, but they want the voters to turn out in the midterm elections. They don’t want to lose control of the congress.

AC: Well, maybe they want to do what the voters want. And it’s—I mean, whatever you can say about whether or not Bush has a mandate, the mandate against gay marriage is pretty strong, and it passed by like 85% in Mississippi. Even in Oregon, and that was the State that the groups supporting gay marriage fixated on and spent—they outspent their opponents by like 40:1…

ML: Lemme try it this way…

AC: …it passed even there. There is a mandate against gay marriage.

ML: …Do you think George Bush, in his heart, really cares strongly about that issue?

AC: I don’t know what anybody cares in his heart.

ML: Would you take a guess? I mean, people around the President, the Vice President…

AC: …I know what Americans think because they keep voting. Over and over and over again, overwhelmingly they reject gay marriage.

ML: The President’s approval…

AC: So why is that a bad thing for politicians to respond to what is overwhelmingly a mandate?

ML: Because they seem to selectively respond to it at times when we’re in an election cycle.

AC: I don’t know. I mean, on one hand you say it isn’t that important. On the other hand you say, well, it took them a while to get to it. Maybe he took—it took him a while to get to it because it’s not that important.

ML: The President’s approval rating’s right now in the low thirties. What’s the main reason for that, in your opinion?

AC: He hasn’t read my book yet.

ML: No, really.

AC: There’s an important book that comes out today, Matt.

ML: What’s the main reason for it, in your opinion?

AC: Um…I don’t know. I’d—I—I mean…I think his stand on immigration probably isn’t helpful.

ML: M’kay, let me tell you what you said, and I asked you that very same question. October of 2005 you were here. At the time the President’s approval ratings were about 40%. Here’s what you said at that time: “I think all he has to do is—um, he’s made one mistake: Harriett Miers. He just has to eliminate that mistake and everything will be fine.” He just has to eliminate that mistake. Everything will be fine. She eliminated herself.

AC: I didn’t realize he was going to make additional mistakes.

ML: Ok, so is immigration the only mistake? What about Iraq? I mean, don’t we tend to find a scapegoat issue when the real reason is Iraq and that’s a hard problem to fix?

AC: I don’t think so. I mean, and that’s the one thing he’s doing right, and that the Democrats are incapable of, of doing, and that is fighting the war on terrorism.

ML: But no, I’m talking about the war in Iraq, not the war on terrorism.

AC: Right, I consider them the same thing. Thus, …

ML: Alright, let me give you some—

AC: …I mean, we didn’t invade Guatemala.

ML: Let me give you some quotes from your book, all right? These are random.

AC: Yes! Now we’re in a subject I want.

ML: “Environmentalists’ energy plan is a repudiation of American Christian destiny which is jetskis, steak on the electric grill, hot showers, and night skiing. Liberalism is a religion, a comprehensive believe system denying the Christian belief in man’s immortal soul…,” and you go on to say, “Liberalism is the opposition party to God.”

AC: Yes.

ML: How do you think Democrats who believe in God are going to feel about that statement?

AC: They probably won’t like it. They don’t like a lot of things I say.

ML: Is it a fair statement, you think?

AC: Yes.

ML: How about this one?

AC: Yes, that’s why I wrote a book about it.

ML: Referring to liberals again, “To a liberal, 2200 military deaths in the entire course of the war in Iraq is unconscionable, but 1.3 million aborted babies in America every year is something to celebrate.”

AC: Yes.

ML: You think people celebrate?

AC: They manifestly do. There are huge rallies for it. That is the one issue that’s more important to the Democratic Party than any other. I mean, Bill Clinton, the last—

ML: Do you think they celebrate the right to choose or the actual abortion?

AC: The last candidate the Democrats got into the White House was Bill Clinton. I take that as a fair assessment of whom the Democrats will choose as their representative. Bill Clinton sold out every single special interest group: the criminal rights group, the welfare bureaucrats. The one group he would not stand up to were the abortion ladies, vetoing bans on partial birth abortion—a gruesome procedure—passed by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Twice Clinton vetoed that. That tells me what the Democrat—

ML: Do you believe—

AC: —ic Party thinks about abortion.

ML: Do you believe everything in this book, or do you put some things in there just to cater to your base?

AC: Um, no, of course I believe everything.

ML: All right, on the 9/11 windows—widows, and in particular a group that had been outspoken and critical of the Administration: “These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation, and acted as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently denouncing Bush was an important part of their closure process.” And this part is the part I really need to talk to you about. “These broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities, and stalked by ‘grieferazzis.’ I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

AC: Yes.

ML: Because they dare to speak out?

AC: To speak out using the fact that they’re widows. This is the Left’s doctrine of infallibility. If they have a point to make—about the 9/11 Commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism—how about sending in somebody we’re allowed to respond to. No, no, no, we always have to respond to someone who just had a family member die,—

ML: But aren’t they the people in the middle of the story?

AC: —because then if we respond, Oh, you’re questioning their authenticity. No, the story is—

ML: So grieve, but grieve quietly.

AC: —No, the story is an attack on the nation.

ML: And by the way—

AC: That requires a foreign policy response.

ML: And by the way,—

AC: That does not entail the expertise—

ML: —they also criticized the Clinton Administration for their failures leading up to 9/11.

AC: Oooh, not the ones I’m talking about. Oh no, no, no.

ML: They have. They have.

AC: No, no, no, no, no.

ML: But is your message to them, “Just grieve but—

AC: No, they were cutting commercials for Kerry. They were using their grief in order to make a political point while preventing anyone from responding.

ML: So if you lose a husband you no longer have a right to have a political point of view?

AC: No, but don’t use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for your being able to talk about it while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point. Let Bill Clinton make the point. Don’t put up someone I’m not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of the grief. And this i—

ML: Well, but apparently you are allowed to respond to them.

AC: Well, yeah, I did.

ML: Right, so in other words—

AC: —But that is the point of liberal infallibility—of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows, of putting up Joe Wilson. “Oh, no, no. You can’t respond. It’s their doctrine of infallibility.

ML: Well, what I’m saying is they—

AC: Let somebody else make the argument.

ML: I’m saying is, I don’t think they’ve ever told you you can’t respond. So why can’t they make their point?

AC: Look! You’re getting testy with me!

ML: No, I’m just, I think it’s a—

AC: Oh…

ML: I think it’s a—I think it’s a dramatic statement. “These broads”—you know?—“are millionaires stalked by ‘grieferazzi’…I’ve never seen—”

AC: Yeah, you think I shouldn’t be able to respond to them.

ML: “I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much”?

AC: Mm-hmm. Yes! They’re all over the news!

ML: The book is called Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Ann Coulter. Always fun to have you here.

AC: Hey, where’s Katie? Did she leave or something?

ML: She did.

This is what I’m talking about. Debate is dead. Logic is dead. Civility in discussions about closely held beliefs is dead. Intelligent dialogue seems to be in its death throes. What’s alive and well is emotional appeal, sophisticated (used in the classical sense) obfuscation in order to score points on the aforementioned emotional appeal (and the collected entailments of said emotional appeal), and a simple lack of logical reasoning.

Why do I care?

Because I believe one could change the subject of the above argument to one of theological significance and observe it or a thousand others like it within the LCMS.

Because I believe that if we, as a church body, were actually willing to be subject to the Scriptures, confess the Confessions that we claim to confess, and let these rule in our conversations, we might actually get somewhere positive.

Because I believe that if we exchanged passive-aggressive conversational tendencies for civil tongues our ears would be less prone to shut (either to the erring, whose error we ought to seek to hear to offer appropriate correction, or to the one who speaks from the truth of God’s Word, whose correction we ought to rejoice to receive).

Because I believe that if we would agree together to begin with the Word of God as our premise and employ sound logic in our discussions (read: a ministerial use of reason) our discussions would be more edifying to the body of Christ.*

Because it’s district convention season, and I’m sick of fruitless resolutions which undermine the proclamation of God’s Law and Gospel. That which claims to be “RESOLVED” can only be true if it is based on true “WHEREAS” statements. Perhaps logic ought to be taught in seminary.

* Note: For an example of a sound ministerial use of reason, pick up Martin Chemnitz. In The Lord’s Supper, J. A. O. Preus, trans, he writes the following (pp. 198-99):

For human reason understands and our senses themselves grasp that a true human body by reason of its proportion and size cannot be extended and diffused into infinity, but rather has a certain symmetry of its proportions and a certain position of its parts and members, and is circumscribed to one particular place in such a way that by its own natural power it cannot at one and the same time be truly and substantially present in many different places (note: This is reasonable logic, based on human experience.). Now Scripture certainly affirms that the Son of God according to His human nature has been made like unto His brethren in all respects except for sin (note: Here divine revelation is brought to bear.).

Therefore, although the proper and natural meaning of the words of institution asserts the true and substantial presence of the body and blood of the Lord in all those places in which the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, yet because the human mind cannot comprehend how this can take place while the true integrity of the human nature remains intact, it seeks various pretexts on the basis of other Scripture passages in order that it can under some appearance of being Biblical depart from the proper and natural meaning of the testament of the Son of God (note: Here reason trumps revelation (magisterial use) while trying to maintain the appearance of a ministerial use.).

Further, the explanation of this argument will be easier and plainer if the individual points of this argument are considered in their bare and dialectical brevity minus the ornamental flowers of the rhetoricians.

If the major proposition of this argument is stated thus: The human body according to the common and usual condition of its nature is circumscribed to one certain place in such a way that by its own physical nature and power it cannot be in many different places at the same time, then the proposition is true, but it draws no conclusions which are in opposition to the substantial presence of the body of Christ in the Supper. For this does not come about by the common and usual mode of nature, nor by natural power and human reason, but by divine power and heavenly reason.

In order to give this argument binding force it will therefore be necessary to state the major proposition in such a way that not even with divine power can a true human body, while retaining the integrity of human nature and while not destroying the substance of the body, be in many different places at one and the same time. But if the premise is put this way, then it will have to be established by certain, manifest, and firm testimonies from Scripture that divine wisdom does not know any way and divine omnipotence does not have the power to discover a means whereby, if it so desires, it knows how and is able to cause a human body, with the integrity of its substance intact, to be at the same time in many places. Moreover, I am certain that such impotence attributed to God cannot be demonstrated or established from any passage of Scripture. And who in the church would ever bring up such an argument without any proof from the Word of God, indeed contrary to the express testimony of Scripture and to the absolute, infinite, immeasurable, and incomprehensible omnipotence of God, a notion which someone has created and strung together with a physical chain and geometric shackles? In what Scripture passage and where is such an idea taught, that the divine omnipotence, if it so willed, could not cause a true human body to be in many places while still preserving intact the integrity of its substance? If someone should say that it cannot be imagined or comprehended by human reason how this could take place with the actuality of the body preserved, this is certainly not a sufficient reason to say that therefore the divine omnipotence could not do a certain thing when we know it can do things superabundantly above all that we can imagine (Eph. 3.20). And yet unless the major premise is posed in this manner, this argument opposing the presence of the body of Christ in the Supper is inconclusive.

Certain of our adversaries have noticed this point and therefore do not use the entire argument but only propose the conclusion; or at least they do not propose the major premise in its proper form or in the place or order where it ought to be, but conceal it among their rhetorical declamations.

Revelation. Logic—real logic—subject to and ruled by that revelation. If we were willing to dismiss our agendas and be subject to the Word of God. If we were willing to have civil, logical discussions normed by that Word of God. Yeah, yeah. “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” I got it. All of this is a pipedream thanks to that disease called post-modern thinking. But a guy can dream.


Wednesday, 14 June 2006

In case you were wondering, debate is dead.

Windows Mobile Resource

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Pocket E-Sword. E-Sword is a decent little piece of Bible software. It doesn’t lend itself to deep study (study your languages!), but as far as accessibility goes, it’s great. I don’t operate the PC version of the software, but I have just downloaded the PocketPC version. Color me impressed.

Multiple versions of Scripture are available. I’ve loaded the ESV and the majority Greek text onto mine. It’s got some features that I initially (and cynically) found rather lame, but upon further consideration, found them to be rather impressive. One is the daily Scripture readings. The user can create custom schedules for reading the Bible, to read through a given section of (or the entire Bible) in a set period of time.

The second is the “prayer requests” log feature. I’ll admit, it was this second feature that flagged my cynic meter. On consideration, however, I am embarassed from my immediate “Contemporary Evangelical Alarm.” Whether or not one chooses to use it, it’s a decent opportunity. It’s simply the electronic version of a prayer journal, a helpful reminder both to pray, and of that for which we might pray specifically. Indeed, God encourages (entices! [SC III.i]) his children to come to him with boldness and confidence. And he promises to answer his children’s prayers. With everything else we give our handhelds to track for us, it seemed a trifle reactionary for me to be cynical about such a feature.

All in all, PocketPC fans (Palm fans, it may be time to jump ship) should pick this up today. It’s a robust little application, and the price is right.

Image of Dell Axim v50 with e-Sword user interface from