Saturday, January 31, 2009

By This Standard

I have hesitated in writing about the recent book I have read for the simple reason that from what I have seen on the internet the mere mention of theonomy raises the hairs on many people’s necks. I am fairly sure that most of this distaste comes from a lack of understanding of what theonomy is as I am quite certain that many have learned what they know not from the sources of theonomic writings such as Greg Bahnsen but from others teachings about theonomy second hand.

I have said all this to say that I have just read Bahnsen’s shorter work on theonomy, By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today. As with my understanding of the doctrines of grace much of what I read in this book is what I had already deduced from scripture beforehand but had not categorized it other than simply seeing a call to obey all of God’s law. How that is done I still need to work through but it was clear to me as it seems clear from Bahnsen that the standards of God in all His word are to be obeyed.

In the first chapters of this book Bahnsen sets out that the goal of this work is to seek to convey that to not see God’s entire word as our standard for ethics is faulty.
In Chapter 20 Bahnsen sets out what the Law can and should do:

1) The law declares the character of God
2) The law displays the demand of God on our lives
3) The law pronounces blessing upon adherence to its demands
4) The law provides a definition of sin
5) The law exposes infractions and convicts of sin
6) The law works to incite rebellion in sinful man
7) The law condemns all transgression as deserving God’s wrath and curse
8) The law drives us to Christ for salvation
9) The law guides the sanctification of the believer
10) The law servers to restrain the evil of the unregenerate

Then in Chapter 21 he speaks of how the reformers broke the use of the law down to three categories or uses. These were: 1) The political use of the law, 2) The pedagogic use of the law, convicting of sin and creating a senses of spiritual need, 3) The didactic use which supplies a rule for the life of the believer. Of these three both 1 and 2 are very often argued against today.

As I had never read Bahnsen before but had read much comment on the evils of theonomy I was surprised to find so little to be able to argue against in his book. Again my guess is that many have not read his works but have instead based opinions on a misunderstanding of the basic position of theonomy or have take a particular segment of these that hold to theonomy and applied to all aspects of theonomy. I would encourage those that have not read this book to do so. As this is only a sort of brief overview, if you want a deeper understanding you would need to read Bahnsen’s larger work: Theonomy in Christian Ethics.

Daniel Ritchie at Reformed Covenanter has written a good post, Differences among Theonomists on the Modern Application of the Law of God. In his post he looks at five areas and explains the difference in each that exist among Theonomists. The five areas are:

1) A difference of opinion arises as to whether or not all the death penalties are mandatory, how many are mandatory or are they merely maximum punishments
2) There are differences of opinion as to what was, and what was not, circumstantial to Older Testament Israel.
3) There are differences of opinion over whether the New Testament has modified certain penalties so that they may be punished differently from what they were in Israel.
4) There are differences of opinion whether there is an increased number of crimes in the New Testament than there was in the Older Testament.
5) There is also confusion surrounding the term “judicial law.”

But as Daniel says: “The important thing in all this is not to agree with me, or with Greg Bahnsen, or with the Puritans, but to accept that the Bible alone is our only objective standard for socio-political justice.” I cannot agree more with this statement. It is not a matter of disagreeing with any particular person but one must take the texts that they apply and seek to see what they truly say.

Does this make me a theonomist, I don’t know? What I do know is that before I ever read a word from Bahnsen, Calvin or others I had seen clearly in scripture that God has commands he demands of us and that He has equipped us by His sprit to follow and we need to do so.

Another book I Highly recommend that I have written on before, Bolton on the Law, is The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton. From whence comes one of my favorite quotes:

“The law sends us to the Gospel for our justification; The Gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life”

Next on my list to read will need to be: 1) Theonomy in Christian Ethics and 2) No Other Standard:Theonomy and Its Critics both by Bahnsen

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fireproof Free w/Purchase

With a purchase of $100 or more you can get Fireproof for free. The movie itself is also available at a discount price.

Nancy Pelosi and Family Planning

Nancy Pelosi in an ABC interview said that we need to give part of the stimulus package to “family planning” (code words for contraception which includes abortion) because it will help the states and the economy. From US News here is a quote from the ABC talk:

"Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

By her reckoning children are a burden and to get out of our financial crisis we need to get rid of that burden, what’s next? I guess she may see the elderly as a drain on the economy, how about the infirmed, how about the unemployed. It’s hard to believe people like this get voted in, but they continually do. I know where we can cut spending and that would be in getting grid of many of the politicians we have since they are the ones intent on spending money they do not have and taking raises, of which Pelosi got a big one, while doing inadequate jobs, that would help the economy.

It will be interesting who on capital hill will speak out against Pelosi’s views. My guess is very few and by their silence and the silence of the new president you learn much. In this brave new world we live in it is the government that decides who is worthy of life and who is not. But this decision is not, as Pelosi reveals, based on God’s word but on human logic and reason. When we no longer have as a basis for our decision making God’s law we are left with ill-fated and immoral decisions.

Below is a video of Pelosi's comments, I have a really hard time even watching her speak:

(Updated) Let me make a confession. Before God changed my life the views of Mrs. Pelosi were not much different from mine when it came to such things as dealing with children. I would have been one of those that saw the mandatory sterilization of those on welfare as a viable economic option. I am eternally grateful that God has so changed my views as to be appalled that I could have even thought of such a thing in the past.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Dilemma

Well this week SGCF faced a dilemma that is not usually faced in larger churches. That dilemma was that I, as the lone elder, am sick as are two others in my family. Now for many churches this is not an issue but when you have four families and meet in our home it is a problem. With one of our families who has already been struggling with sickness for a number of weeks the issue becomes not only my ability to preach but also the spreading of a rather nasty cold to every one in the church.

So while I could probably preach we decided it was probably best this week that we all meet individually on the Lord’s day with our families so as not to infect others so they would not be able to worship in the following weeks. I have to admit that this was a tough decision but one that was needed for the benefit of the entire church. Pastoring a small church has facets to it that others in larger churches may not see. But the truth is I am sure that in the first century there were days when things just happened so that those that met together could not meet as they usually did.

This issue shows the need for multiple elders in a church. It also revels that for those such as us that meet in homes alternate plans for places to meet as well.

So pray for my family and others in our church that they get better and that we can meet again, Lord willing, next Lord’s day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Government Knows Best, SPEND MORE

Thanks to Voddie Baucham for linking to this video of Fred Thompson. If you do not understand all of the complexities of the current economic problems, because you use common sense, watch Mr. Thompson explain how the government knows best how to correct the current problem, SPEND MORE!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

National NCFIC Conference

Don’t forget to put the National NCFIC Conference on your schedule for this year. It will be in Cincinnati December 10 – 12th and the title for the conference is: The Sufficiency of Scripture for Church and Family Life. The speakers are scheduled to be: Paul Washer, Ken Ham, Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, Kevin Swanson, Joe Morecraft, Andrew Davis and others.

“The speaker team will affirm their belief that scripture alone is capable of supplying the right answers to our modern day questions on home and church life. This conference will seek to fortify our understanding of the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture and to illustrate how it applies in church and family life. We believe that the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture is the most important doctrinal battle ground in the church today. Hanging in the balance is purity of the Church.”

I will post more on the conference as it becomes available. If you would like more information you can also contact: David Brown:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Didn’t Find it Funny

Joseph Lowery at the end of his address made some statements that some may have seen as an attempt at humor but to me his comments on “whites” and “yellows” did not seem all that humorous. The gist being that the only people who have done wrong are “whites” and “yellows”, I assume that refers to Asians, take things too seriously. If that is not making color an issue I am not sure what is. If the goal of this new administration is unity I would have to say that was not a very unifying prayer to start things off. Again, some may say this was just humor and we should be able to laugh at ourselves but at an event such as the inauguration I am not sure that type of humor has a place, if you really want to call it humor. Here is the section of his prayer that this relates to:

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Around the Web and Blogosphere (1/19/09)

Scott Head at These are the Generations of.... has added to my review of Scott Brown’s message “What is the Family Integrated Church.” I greatly appreciate Scott’s further building on my short review. I encourage you to read his first two installments on: Orthodoxy and Families Worship Together. I pray more is to come.

At Voddie Baucham’s blog he comments on Gene Robinson speaking at this weeks inauguration: Warren Vs. Robinson: Who Should Be Offended?

Elizabeth Botkin has written the second installment with regards to homeschooling: Christian Homeschooler Syndrome Part 2. Here is the link to Part 1

Here are links to C.S. Hayden’s 3 part review of the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF):
Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3

As an aside we just watched The Widows Might, the Jubilee "Best of Festival" winner at the SAICFF, and it was very good.

A Tactic of Fear

I recently found on the internet a Google Map that shows contributors to the “Yes on Prop 8” state constitutional amendment measure here in California back in November. The listing shows the amount donated the name of the person and for some, such as myself, their employer and job position. This obviously was put on the internet to intimidate and where possible create problems for those that donated to the ballot measure. Now we are not here talking just about larger donor amounts but down to $100, there may have been lower amounts but I did not look at them all.

This truly shows the depths the people who are seeking homosexual marriage will go. What is interesting is that I am quite confident these same people would say the black list that circulated during the McCarthy era (late 40’s) was wrong. But they now are trying to the do the same thing.

I would guess their bigger agenda is to instill an element of fear by sending the message “we know who you are and where you live.” Thus when the next election cycle comes around they can put some sort of measure on the ballot, with help of the current California administration, and many voters will be less likely to donate due to fear of reprisals.

The fact they would use this tactic of instilling fear was clearly seen in the documentary “Shaky Town” that I commented on some time ago here. It is also ironic that the same people who carried signs that read “No on Prop Hate” would be the one showing such hate and loathing.

I would also ask you to pray that the government officials in California who were voted into office to uphold the people’s voice would do so. Unfortunately from Gov. Schwarzenegger to the California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the same Jerry Brown that tried to sway the vote by his misleading rewording of Prop 8, all that is seen is supporting the overturning of Prop. 8. Which by the way is the second time California has passed a ballot measure of this kind and all California does is dismiss the voice of the people.

If you are in another state pray for California because if the homosexual community and those that support the overturning of Prop 8, as our incoming President would desire, should succeed do not be surprised if the same does not happen in other states such as yours.

Paul says in Romans 13 that the leaders, civil magistrates, we have are there by God’s hand, whether they believe so or not, to uphold His standards and not their capricious standards based on their own feelings. Just as we need to promote just laws based on the word of God so too must the leaders God places to rule, rule justly. Let us pray they do just that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What is Your Eschatalogical View?

I just found this new gadget that lets you take polls. In the future I will probably place a poll in the side bar from time to time but for now please vote in the poll below.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Congress Gets Pay Raise

Is there not something wrong with the government being able to vote for their own pay raises? It is reported here that they will get a $4,700 a year raise starting this month. The problem is the impetuous for them not to do so should come from the people, us, calling them on the carpet for giving themselves raise when they cannot balance the budget without raising taxes, and even then they cannot do so, and are basically doing an awful job, but alas there is no outcry. If I was to do the job they are doing I would be fired and for sure not get a raise.

Here in California there is talk of the state government giving IOUs for tax refunds this year. I am thinking there has to be some illegality here since the money is not even theirs if they have to give it back to over taxing. Let alone many of them get a pay raise as I hear Nancy Pelosi will get a $6,100 raise. I have worked in at least one company that as the company floundered financially we got pay decreases but we will never see that in the bloated government we have.

But I forgot all that will change when the new messiah comes into office in a few weeks, wonder if he got a raise as well. Remember this is the messiah that raised over $700 Million to win an election but remember he is just a guy like you and me, at least that is what he told people and I guess a large number of people believed him.

I really do not write much on politics because it just infuriates me when I read all these politicians do and then call themselves public servants. I think for many of them they mean we are their servants. The problem is they are to serve God (Rom 13:1) as God places them where they are for His purposes not theirs and we need to constantly remind them who they ultimately serve even if they do not believe in God. At the end of the day they are going to answer to God and the way our government seems to be heading I would not want to be them.

The Call to Dunkirk

While not popular to hear I truly think that Christian parents are fooling themselves if they think that the public school system will not greatly impact their children in a negative way. All too often I hear that if the children of Christians are taken out of the secular schools who will evangelize the schools. Well, if we are honest we will have to admit that for the majority, the vast majority, of children the evangelism has been done by the state and it has been a success. As Voddie Baucham has said before “ if you send your children to Creaser don’t be surprised if they return as Romans.” Christians take way to lightly God’s word when it comes to the education of our children and the world has taken advantage of that to indoctrinate our children into its humanistic way of thinking.

Check out the two videos below. The first is from Exodus Mandate and the second is a short one of Voddie speaking on sending our children to the state.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Comments from an Atheist on Witnessing

At Divine Calling there is a video, see below, of Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller ,speaking about a man who handed him a pocket New Testament after a show. He makes some interesting comments about sharing ones faith that make it a quite convicting video, especially when one considers it is from one that denies the very existence of God.

(I would not advise going to the other linked videos)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our Affect on the Generations

The more I read Judges and specifically 2:10 the more I see this generation. Judges 2:10 speaks of the time after Joshua and the Elders that led with him were gone and the current generation being one that did not know the Lord or His works. As I go around the web and look at many that write on issues of faith I see people that increasingly rely on their own understanding and desires. If one wants to raise the hair on the neck of the current generations just mention that God’s word, the Old and New Testaments, is sufficient to not only inform our daily lives but actually sets out how we are to live. When I speak of the current generation I am not specifically singling out any particular age group as it seems that the pervasiveness of antinomianism is across generational lines.

There are pockets of those seeking to live biblically in light of a world that despises God. There are people that seek to see God worshiped and His name exalted in the world not just in word but also in all of life. The call of God is not to separate our lives into compartments but we are to live all of life for His glory. I fear that the understanding that many have that we have two spheres we live in, the spiritual (home and church) and the civil, leads to a lack of biblical living. Now, I realize I am treading on thin ice by the reactions I see on the internet to those that hold to God’s law being applicable to all peoples, but I find it hard not to hold this view from a plain reading of God’s word. I think it is important to see that God does not desire us to compartmentalize our lives and we need to spread this to the next generation. We need to teach the coming generations all that God desires of His people. We need to be the fathers that God speaks of in Psalm 78, ones that spread His glory.

I suppose that many are simply living out that the world cannot follow God’s law without God reworking their hearts. However, the fact that man is not able to do as God commands in a manner that pleases God does not negate that the world needs to be held to God’s law and standards. I think unwittingly when we tell the next generation that there are two spheres we live in, and I agree there is a manner in which this is true, we tell them they can live what in the end are schizophrenic lives. Lives that claim Christ as savior but in the end live lives that are not lived with Christ as Lord. When I say Lord this is not simply a claim to be made but one that lives out God’s commands, as God desires from His entire word.

When I said there is a manner where we live both in the city of God and the city of man I mean that we are not to retreat from the world around us in some manner. We will still probably work and live among pagans just as God’s people always have. But this living in the world is to be done in a way that reveals His people as pilgrims, as those separate from all those around them. God’s people are to be decidedly separate and that separation is a natural outcome of living out God’s word to it’s fullest. Not part of it but all of it.

We also need to be aware that when we teach the next generation that there are parts of God’s word that do not apply in life, such as His laws, we in essence send the message that God’s word and thus God change, since His law is a way that God defines who He is. We may not mean to teach this but whenever we mold God’s word to the culture, to the world we live in, we send the message that God’s word is malleable to our needs. Let us make sure we reveal God as His word reveals He is not as we would like Him to be.

I pray I was clear in all this and if I was not forgive me. My heart in this is that we do not underestimate the part God uses us in how to raise the next generation and by extension the generation after that. We need to get back to His word and it’s sufficiency for all of life so that we pass on to the succeeding generations that they do not need to turn to vain philosophies and rationalizations but can rely on His word. Let us be parents, and especially fathers, that emulate Psalm 78 and raise children that “keep His commandments” (Psl 78:6). To do this we need to know God’s word more intimately and live out His word more consistently. We need to be willing to be seen as strange in a world that sees God’s word as strange. We need to be a people that are intent on making His name known in the entirety of our lives so that we raise generations that do the same.

Let us not have the description of Judges 2:10 be placed on us.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New National Center for Family-Integrated Churches Web Site

Check out the new National Center for Family-Integrated Churches web site. There are numerous resources including a number of messages you can listen to.

Around the Web and Blogosphere (1/6/09)

This months free audio book download at is: Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland . Use the coupon code JAN2009 when checking out to get the free download. While I was on there I also saw that there is an abridged version of Future Grace by John Piper that is no cost as well and no code is needed. They have a number of Piper audios for free here, that you can also get from Desiring God.

Paul Vaughn at Vaughnshire Farm writes: Corporate Bailouts North of the Mason Dixon Line. He has a link to a good article, Uncivil War: Detroit Blames the South, that gives a perspective on the bailouts of the auto industry that you probably will not find in the mainline press who do not like to rock the Union, that’s union as in UAW, in this case, boat. Paul has also added Corporate Bailouts North of the Mason Dixon Line - Part II based on an article from The TimesOnline .
(Updated 1/7/09 to include Paul's Part Three: Corporate Bailouts North of the mason Dixon Line - Part III)

Over at RBS Tabletalk they give: Some Guidelines for Making New Year’s Resolutions. At Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship a couple Lord’s Day past I spoke on how one should plan to run the race God has us in, in the year ahead: How Will You Run in 2009?

The ESV Bible Blog has links to ESV Reading plans for the up coming year. They have 10 plans that you can access in a number of ways;
· web (a new reading each day appears online at the same link)
· RSS (subscribe to receive by RSS)
· email (subscribe to receive by email)
· iCal (download an iCalendar file)
· mobile (view a new reading each day on your mobile device)
· print (download a PDF of the whole plan)

Friday, January 02, 2009

NCFIC Conference CD Recommendation, Wake Forest Dec 5-6

[Updated 1/7/09: The link below is not working as the NCFIC is in the process of changing thier website. As soon as I get the new link I will update it.]

We just got back from a road trip to my mother’s house in Arizona and took that time to listen to the CD’s from the NCFIC conference that was held in Wake Forest December 5-6. The title of the conference was: How the Church can Strengthen the Family in the 21st Century. I highly recommend the CD’s which you can get at the link above. I have not gotten through all of the CD’s but what I have heard is very good.

The message on “The Trap of Family Idolatry” is one that many need to listen to, both in the FIC movement and outside of it. All too often when I read critiques of Family Integrated Churches they launch the claim that FICs worship the family. While there may be churches that do this it is not the norm, at least with the churches I personally know. Jeff Pollard does a good job of dealing with this issue and I think it is clear from his message that the Family Integrated Church is not focused on worshiping the family. If a church becomes family integrated, I like the term multigenerational, without a biblical basis for it there is the danger of “family idolatry” but this stems not from the concept of being multigenerational but instead from a wrong foundation for being multigenerational. When anything is done without the correct foundation, scripture, there is a danger of heading in a wrong direction.

So again, I highly recommend this series: How the Church can Strengthen the Family in the 21st Century. These messages may be challenging but it is only when we are challenged by God’s Word that we grow. Below are the titles of the messages along with the name of the person, or persons, presenting the messages.

How Should Your Family Treat the Local Church? - Scott Brown

Relationships - What Does a Healthy Church Look Like? - Kevin Swanson

The Discipleship of Children in the Meeting of the Church - Steve Breagy

The Lord’s Table - Dan Horn

Figuring out Modesty in an Immodest World - Jeff Pollard

A Vision for Church and Family Reformation - Kevin Swanson and Scott Brown

The Trap of Family Idolatry - Jeff Pollard

How Do I Become the Father God Wants Me to Be - Scott Brown

How Do I Become the Husband God Wants Me to Be - Kevin Swanson

Women’s Ministry in the Church - Jeff Pollard

The Fact, Importance and Reach of the Creation Order for Men and Women - Bill Einwechter

Family Worship - Dan Horn

Family Life that Blesses a Community - Jason Dohm

The Creation Order in the Civil Sphere? What about Deborah the Judge? - Bill Einwechter

How Young Men and Ladies Should Treat One Another in the Church - Scott Brown

Surviving Tough Economic Times - Kevin Swanson

Considering The Marriages of our Sons and Daughters - Principles and Practices, Scott Brown