Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Michael Crichton's elegant refutation of global warming: He rails against consensus science, and I believe there's great application in the world of theology. Consensus theology has long been the bane of the Calvinists and Covenant Theologians. In the past two decades it has crept into Lordship Salvation and the Creation debate. Crichton's critique is stunning; it should be standard reading for first year seminary students as an innoculation against the more oppressive tendencies of their educators.
From the literature file: Just in case you've read Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, here are the links which refute its history and theology. The book is evil on so many levels it is an extraordinary task to catalogue them all. The three biggies: it denies the doctrine of canonicity, elevating the Gnostic Gospels to equivalence with Scripture; it promotes the blasphemous notion that Jesus took Mary Magdalene as His wife, and that they had offspring; and it makes the act into a spiritual experience whereby mystical "knowledge" is imparted. As if the human race needed another reason to fornicate, now we have the gnostic one.

Here are some links which refute it in detail:


Christian Research Institute Journal

The books of the Canon of Scripture are the Masterworks of one great writer, God the Holy Spirit. To any who have studied them, the hand of the Author is clearly recognizable. To the learned, the Gnostic Gospels are so obviously the works of a forger that only a truly evil person would assert otherwise, and for the sole reason to promote the work of that forger for personal gain.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Insight from Roger Ebert, who is normally very liberal but speaks stark truth in his review of Cheaper by the Dozen: Frank Gilbreth was a real man, and the original book was co-written by two of his children. He was, they explained, a Time and Motion Expert, who broke down every task into its essential elements and then studied them to see how they could be done more quickly and easily. At work, he improved assembly lines. At home, he applied his theories to his family, believing that 12 children were as easy to raise as two, if you analyzed the daily family routine and assigned part of it to every kid -- even very small parts for very small kids. The unspoken assumption was that the father was the center of authority, he knew best, and his wife was his loyal co-pilot.

We know now that this is a case of ist chauvinism. Gilbreth's view of fathers is long out of date, and American men survive in the movies only as examples of incompetence, unrealistic ambition and foolish pride. Gene Siskel once started a list of movies with fathers in them, to demonstrate that Hollywood preferred whenever possible to have single mothers and avoid fathers altogether. If there had to be a father, he was (a) in a comedy, the butt of the joke, and (b) in a drama, a child abuser, an alcoholic, an erer, an abandoner of families, or preferably, all of the above. At some point during a half century of Hollywood fathering, "father knows best" was replaced by "shut your pie hole."

The entire review is here: Ebert at the Sun Times

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Another good link: Blue Letter Bible
A free and prosperous Christmas.

Asian American CMOH Winners
Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Thanks to every one of you who wear the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

In the course of doing research for my sea monsters article, I ran across this website: It is about the best darn apologetics website I have ever seen. I got the feeling the the website guy was a covenant theologian, but I'm willing to lay that aside for his excellence in other areas.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Now I've done it.

The FRBC 2004 Bible Reading List. Not the whole Bible, mind you, but just what I want to read next year, in a somewhat organized fashion. Come along with me on this one, and let's have conversation about what you find interesting.

Microsoft Word format: FRBC2k4BibleReading.doc

Text format: FRBC2k4BibleReading.txt

Sunday, December 14, 2003

On a related subject, Mackubin Thomas Owens said today, "Wesley Clark is Courtney Massengale." I'll let the more literate of you military types figure this one out. It is a profound truth.
So far, I like what Peggy Noonan said best:

"What do we learn? Well, as Samuel Johnson said, "Man needs more to be reminded than instructed," so what are we reminded of through the happy ending of this story?

That human agency works and is an active force in history. You don't have to sit back and accept; you don't have to continue to turn a blind eye; you don't have to sit and do nothing, because all action involves choice and all choice invites repercussion. You can move forward. You can take action. You can go in and remove a threat to the world. You can make the world safer. You can help people. Just because they live in Iraq and we don't bump into them every day doesn't mean they don't merit assistance and even sacrifice.

We are reminded, all of us, that patience is necessary, that nothing big can be accomplished without it. America and Iraq searched day and night for Saddam Hussein for eight months. And for some time they searched for a man half of them thought had already been obliterated in the early days of the war. But they didn't know and they had to find him if he was alive. They had to find him even if he was surrounded by a thousand troops and explosives. So there was their patience, and there was the patience of Washington: political patience. If he's there, we will find him. The administration's foes had attempted to embarrass them for eight months. The administration simply said: If he's there, we will find him; we won't give up until we do. Good for them for not spinning it but simply having faith in the troops and being patient.

And we are reminded that when you do what is right, you can be rewarded. When you summon the guts to take a controversial stand, and accept the price of that stand, and the price comes in every day, you can win. And that victory can make things better."

Read the entire article here: Joy to the World

Operation Red Dawn brings down Saddam.

"And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand."

Friday, December 12, 2003

Which brings me to my next point (Hanson's article, below): Next year's presidential election is very much about the Global War on Terror. The war must be won! Prayers now for that election are warranted, and your participation in whatever capacity can certainly be a valid form of Christian service. It is not just that many lives have been given in the war thus far. It is plainly that the current war is justified to secure and perpetuate our vital liberty.
When a classicist and military historian talks, you should listen: Victor Davis Hanson
Hanson gives excellent perspective on the present status in the Global War on Terror.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Letter from SGT Bradley Combs to his family:

Hey to all that receive this email,

Well, I know by now that you heard that the PRESIDENT came to Baghdad for Thanksgiving dinner. Well, I was given the great honor of being chosen as one of the soldiers to eat with him from here, I still can't believe what happened. My Sergeant Major and LTC (COLONEL) selected me to be the senior man from the 10 soldiers from the Battalion chosen. Well, I said okay that's cool, When I went to Brigade Headquarters that morning to report in with my guys, the Brigade Sergeant Major and Brigade Commander said they recommended me to be sitting at the head table. Well, I asked WHY? What I was told was that I was known as the Best Tank Platoon Sergeant in the Brigade well, what an honor there. What we were told is that Paul Breimer the Iraq Ambassador and LTG Sanchez the Corp commander were going to be there. So I thought that's cool. Well, they told me that the main reason I was selected and this was by Division command is that I was the lead Tank Platoon, Platoon Sergeant for my 800 man Task Force and had fought the war with the 101st Airborne and 3rd ID. That I lead the entire attack from Kuwait to Baghdad and been awarded a Bronze Star with Valour for actions in combat. They wanted me to talk to Mr. Breimer and the General on that and recommendations for further operations.

Well, here is what I still can't believe, this is an honor that I will never forget and think that nothing from here in my career can match up. When I got to the airport a Full Bird Colonel came to me and said come with me young man, I said okay and he took me to my seat. Well, I looked at who I was sitting with. In front of me was Paul Breimer, to the left of him was LTG Sanchez, to the left of me was the Sergeant Major of the Army and an empty seat to my right. I wondered what was up but I didn't think much about it because I had no idea the President was coming. Well, the Colonel told me that I was selected to talk to them out of everyone over here. What an Honor. Well, a Colonel sat in the seat to my right and a General said you can't sit there he said he couldn't sit there. Well, then I knew something was up, then General Sanchez and Mr Breimer said the were going to read the Presidential speech but they were out ranked so some one else was going to have to read it. Well, then the President came out and the room just erupted and then I realized who was going to eat dinner with me at the table and I was going to talk to the President about being over here, The Two Star General came over to me and said he's the one we want you to talk to.

What an honor I can't believe that I was selected to talk to the President, There were 8 other soldiers at the table but the Pres was to my right. I thought Oh my God what do I say I wasn't prepared for this. I didn't even bring a camera. Well, the Secret service escorted us to get his food and ours then we sat down at the table. I talked to Breimer, the General and the Sergeant Major of the Army about how we could do it better. Then the President came to the table and asked our permission to talk to the rest of the guys and that he would talk to us individually later. Well, of course we said yes that it would be cool for him to do that and plus he's the Pres he can do what he wants.

Well about 10 minutes later the Secret Service came up to the table and said bring our plates gentleman and he grabbed his. We didn't know where we were going but we followed. Then we were told to put our plates on the table and not to touch them again, couldn't figure out this but security issues I'm sure, then he came to us and talked to us one on one individually. I got to talk to him for about a minute and he talked to me about how proud he was of us during the war and how we still continue the fight, and about where I was from. I told him that had I known that I was the one talking to him I would have wanted my soldiers there and how much of a moral booster this was to the soldiers. He then said we support you, America supports you and we took some pictures. Then he told his Press reporter to make sure that I got the pictures since I didn't have a camera. Then I met Condelezza Rice, His Chief of Staff and some more government officials. It was so cool this has got to be the highlight of my career to be selected for such a great honor as this. I guess I have done my job pretty good, but I'm still not sure that I deserve such an honor. I couldn't have done any of this without the love and support of my wife, my Mom and Dad and sister, my wife's family and all the relatives and friends that have supported me in my career. WOW what a way to spend your Thanksgiving dinner and here I thought it was going to be boring. I apologize that I had to send this to everyone at once but time is not something I have over here and I thought this was to cool not to let everyone know at once. Well, got to go, mission time again and take care and God Bless the USA.

Well, I still think that it is cool he chose to spend his dinner with us.

Love Brad

Thursday, November 27, 2003

I'm sure I have read the news story a dozen times, and it still hasn't gotten old. It's like getting a letter that you have gotten rich: you just can't read it enough. Our President spent his vacation with the troops who are putting their lives on the line for us. He served them their food, and thanked them for their service, and he was genuinely touched by their ecstatic response.

It is my prayer that in the coming years many more Americans come to understand how wonderfully God has blessed us in our Commander in Chief.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

An interesting article on the military service of the Lakota Tribe: Sheldon Hawk Eagle
If you can filter through the liberal bias of the writer, what comes out is a very patriotic group of American warriors who are willing to fight for their country. Among Americans, their ethnic group has the highest percentage of military service, which I'm guessing is a lot more than the professional athletes.

See his picture here: Warrior
Warren Spahn was an American hero and also managed to win 363 games as Major League Baseball pitcher. He passed away this week. As a combat engineer in World War 2, Spahnie earned a Bronze Star for valor in the Battle of the Bulge, and also was at Remagen, our initial penetration across the Rhine. Here's the baseball part: Thomas Boswell

In our vital war on terror, where the very future of our nation is at stake, I know of only one professional athlete who volunteered for military service. That's a despicable record which demonstrates them for what they are: spoiled and overpaid. Pat Tillman of the Phoenix Cardinals turned down 3.6 million dollars to get paid 18 grand a year as an Army Ranger. I'm thankful at least for him; although I wouldn't give 2 cents for the rest of the lot.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Also, we went to see Master and Commander last night. Very good flick. French sailors are blasted with cannons, shot with muskets, and skewered with cutlasses. Is this not a great premise for a movie? Highly recommended; go and enjoy.
My family and I are making plans to hike portions of the Colorado Trail next summer. We would like to do several Sunday afternoon-Monday hikes, with perhaps a couple spilling over into Tuesday. Just in the Genesis stage right now.
"Come back Shane." So ends the movie, which I am now motivated to watch, having read the book twice in the past few months, once for myself, and once for my family. Shane is a boy's book, whose central theme is ethics, and whose purpose is for boys to "grow up straight on the inside." I can tell you that it was motivating for my own son, and truly it was motivating for my whole family. Jack Shaefer's masterpiece on a gunfighter's struggle to go cold turkey in the face of evil and necessity is a fine treatise on the right to self-defense, and the need for good citizens to act as a deterrant to forceful lawlessness. It is more than that because of its brutal honesty concerning the sacrificial nature of such service. Schaefer notes clearly that citizens who carry guns for the sake of good make sacrifices too: perhaps of body, and certainly of soul.
Think about this scenario: there are two handguns in a room full of people - one in the hand of an evil man, and one in the hand of a good man... where are they pointed? Isn't it true that they are pointed at one another, and not at the s who are also present? That illustrates the physical danger of the one who carries a gun. Almost inevitably he will be a target. The psychological impact of Shane's intervention in that small Wyoming community is profound. I don't mean the impact on the community, but on Shane. He bears the scars of previous engagements, and does not want to wield his weapon again. He sees his reputation as destructive and is glad to be among those who do not know him. He can be a relaxed version of himself then, and take joy in life, and he does. But when he does act for good, he must leave, for he knows that the community will suffer because of his presence. He chooses to defend them, he loves them, and then he must leave the people he loves, lest every gunfighter in creation seek to challenge him there. There are other complicated reasons for Shane's departure, all of which have to do with integrity.
Shane's exodus from the valley is not necessary too often in the modern landscape, but it does illustrate the sacrifice of a good citizen. Is Shane a Christ figure? Certainly not intentionally, but I believe there is analogy there. Christ leaves so that He can do the very best for the disciples and the early church. Not because He would be a target, but simply because His work in heaven was going to be so much more valuable than anything left to do on earth (and His was on earth was truly finished according to all necessity). Christ, like Shane, left because it was for the best for those left behind.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Check out these stories:

CPT Zan Hornbuckle

McCoy's Marines

Great narratives from this Spring's campaign in Iraq.

I had an indescribable Veteran's Day. It has become our family tradition to join the observance at the WWII Memorial in Ketring Park, Littleton, CO. It is awe-inspiring to be in the presence of living history and to stand in their company is moving beyond words. There were prayers, the National Anthem, and wonderful, establishment-oriented speeches. As one man was speaking we heard the distant roar of jet engines... for the enemy, something that brings groveling in fear and terror, but for us, pride and righteous exultation. F-16s from the 120th Fighter Squadron then thundered by, and we stood in awe. There's our freedom, flying high!

I think I must have seen a dozen CIBs today, and they represent a world's worth of willingness and perhaps as much as anything why we're free.

Courage and Faith.

Monday, November 10, 2003

And happy birthday, United States Marine Corps: 228 years of excellence. Thank God for the Corps!
Here are some links to the story of Miss Clara Breed, an extraordinary American heroine whose field of battle was kindness and compassion:

"Dear Miss Breed"

Smithsonian Institute Exhibit

One of the letters in the collection:

Dear Miss Breed,

Thank you most sincerely for sending the things I asked to be purchased as well as the candies, clips, and the cute little shoes. I am always in a pridicament (is that the correct spelling?) when it comes to thanking you. I just can't seem to express my deepest gratitude in words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Miss Breed, I know the remaining money will not go even half way in paying for the candies, clips, etc. but please keep it. Now we are even. You owe me nothing and I owe you nothing. No debts--in money I mean. I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to you that is higher than the highest mountain in the word. I shall never forget it and maybe someday I will be able to repay you.

I gave Florence the little doll and she was overjoyed. Everytime I see her she says--I tried it last night and I could see the doll in the dark" She seems to be so thrilled. I am sure she is cherishing it with her life.

Yes, that nickname "Roastem, Toastem, Postem" certainly is true! I am being roasted and toasted by the ever-shining Poston sun. You may not believe this but in the mornings 6:30 A.M. no one wears a sweater or coat for it is warm.--In the evenings, 9:00 P.M., people are walking about without wraps.

Tuesday, May 11th, the first group of volunteers left for Salt Lake City to be inducted into the U.S. Army. I beg your pardon it was Monday--May 10th.

19 boys from Camp III; 5 boys from Camp II; 12 boys from Camp I.

A procession of trucks with one volunteer on each truck left Poston III and headed for Poston I. Camp II joined in the procession -- making 24 trucks full of people going one after another. It certainly was a sight to see.

In Camp I a talent show was held in honor of the boys. Also at this time administration officials spoke. Then at 8:45 P.M. all the volunteers hopped on the awaiting bus. Leaving a puff of smoke behind them they were off to fight for our country, U.S.A. It was
a sad but yet a happy parting. I felt so sorry for the mothers.

Well, graduation is slowly drawing near. We are going to wear cotton, sheer, dresses of pastel colors.

I shall be glad to send you a picture just as soon as it arrives.

Well, that's about all the news for today.

Miss Breed, I certainly wish you would come to Poston but I suggest you come a little later when it is not so hot.

Hope to hear from you again soon and please give my best to Miss McNary.

Most respectfully,
Louise Ogawa

Friday, November 07, 2003

Today I am getting organized to write an article for the Chafer Seminary Journal. The subject will concern the Sea Monster passages of the Old Testament. I am reading several books on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology, and also translations of the comparative myths from Mesopotamia. The ultimate aim is to establish some identities of demonic personages and relate them to the final judgment at the Great White Throne Revelation. Lots of reading and outlining to do before I even get to the writing part. I haven't written formally in a long time, so I imagine I will be rusty.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I am recovering from near-catastrophic computer problems. I am glad to say that I did not lose any data, even though I have spent the last couple of days reinstalling. More blogging on the way...

...also I have been summoned for jury duty in early December. Usually lawyers don't like have conservative pastors on their juries, and as a result I have never actually served on a committee of twelve.

I should begin gearing up toward the resumption of the Life of Christ series, after a two year hiatus. During the interim I have taught Christian Basics and Marriage. 1 Corinthians 7 and the doctrine of Divorce are all that remain in the latter doctrine before its completion.
Jane Eyre's Marital Idyll:
"I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest - blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husbands’s life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. I know no wearness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character - perfect concord is the result."

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The other day I downloaded the movie trailer for Mel Gibson's The Passion, looking for a hint at what all the hubbub is about, and maybe some clues regarding the authenticity of the film. I found the trailer sequence to be very moving, and for all the times that I've described the death of Christ, it remains true that a picture is worth a thousand words. My visceral reaction was that it is hard to look at the gruesome details of the crucifixion, even as it is to look at a bright light. There is a fair analogy there, I think. It is painful, but you are drawn to it just the same. In any event, I look forward to the movie.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Note to Al-Qaeda: We're still singing God Bless America at the seventh inning stretch; we still mean it; God still listens.

Friday, October 17, 2003

I wish now I knew the man's name.

He was an older man wearing a red baseball cap at Rubio's Baja Grill, where I took my family for lunch today. On the cap was an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, and diamond with the numeral '1' inside it. Written vertically on the numeral was the word "Guadalcanal." Elsewhere on the cap were symbols of rank, and "Korea."

I walked right up to his table, held out my hand and said, "Semper Fidelis." He jumped up liked he was sitting on a spring, and replied in like fashion. We had a brief conversation, and I communicated to him my thanks for his service, and how I thank God for men like him. He acted like I had made his day, but the truth is he made mine. He was an incredibly gracious man, and of all things he called me "Sir."

Then I took the opportunity to tell my family how the word Guadalcanal got onto the division patch of the 1st Marine Division, and what it meant to serve in that marvelous organization in the Korean War. I had to stop once to compose myself, thinking about the living evidence of courage sitting a few tables away, but I got the word out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Another excerpt from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. The setting: our heroine has just lost it all - betrayed by her fiance, Mr. Rochester, bereft of her fortune, and having no employment nor friends in the world, she takes time to pray:

"Worn out with this of thought, I rose to my knees. Night was come, and her planets were risen: a safe, still night; too serene for the companionship of fear. We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us: and it is the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence. I had risen to my knees to pray for Mr. Rochester. Looking up, I, with tear-dimmed eyes, saw the mighty Milky-way. Remembering what it was - what countless systems there swept space like a soft trace of light- I felt the might and strength of God. Sure was I of His efficiency to save what He had made: convinced I grew that neither earth should perish, nor one of the souls it treasured. I turned my prayer to thanksgiving: the Source of Life was also the Saviour of spirits. Mr. Rochester was safe: he was God's and by God would he be guarded. I again nestled to the breast of the hill; and ere long, in sleep, forgot sorrow."

It seems that Miss Eyre is passing her evidence testing. Philippians 2:3-4.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Dan Gillerman's Security Council Speech An eloquent statement on Israel's right to defend herself.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Excerpts from a letter I received today from an Army Medic serving with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, "Brave Rifles."

"Dear Mr. Perkins,
Thank you very much for your letter. Your words of encouragement are greatly appreciated out here. It is also always good to hear from a fellow Couger and brother in Christ.
You asked about myself and my journey from Azusa Pacific to the Army, so I will relate that here. I graduated APU in 2000 with a Bachelors in Biology. My goal was to continue my education, get a masters and eventually go to Physicians Assistant (PA) School in the civilian world. I was substitute teaching in the fall of 2001 when September 11 occurred, as well as working toward a masters at Cal State Dominguez Hills. All my life, the military had been a consideration, wanting to serve my country and give something back. Sept. 11 was the kick start I needed. I went into the recruiting office and asked about being able to attend PA school in the Army. He promised to look into it, and I told him I didn't want to join until I had completed my first semester of grad work. I returned in December, and he had the information I requested. I learned that I would have to enlist first, then after 3 years I could attend PA school. After much prayer and discussion with my family, I decided that this is what I wished to do. I enlisted in January as a 91W Health Care Specialist (Medic). After Basic Training at Ft. Benning and AIT at Ft. Sam Houston, I was assigned to Ft. Carson and the 3rd ACR. In April, 2003, we were sent to Iraq and are currently stationed outside An Ramadi...

Although I have had a few adventures out here, the thing I thank God for most is the Bible study I lead on thursday nights. We have anywhere from 7-15 people, mission-dependent each week...

Please pray for Specialist David Irving, especially his Christian witness and impact on his fellow soldiers.

Friday, October 03, 2003

A highly recommend book: Treason, by Ann Coulter. Hers is the most devastating critique of liberalism I have ever read. Here is an excerpt:

"In the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attack, the nation's editorial pages virtually transformed themselves into Vietnam War updates. Vietnam is the left's favorite war because America lost. Liberals never tire of citing it. Enragingly, liberals talk about Vietnam as if it proves something about the use of force generally rather than the Democrats' own bungling incompetence in miltary affairs. Historical accounts of the Vietnam War are incomprehensible because liberals refuse to admit the failure of their own national security strategy. The only important lesson from the Vietnam War is this: Democrats lose wars.
Republicans proceed from the assumption of America's virtue. Democrats do not. Consequently, they are squeamish about any projection of U.S. power in the national interest. The Democrat doctrine on use of military force is the precise opposite of the Powell doctrine: They are gung-ho about deploying the military for no particular purpose, but then insist that insufficient force be used. Otherwise America would look like a bully and France would get mad at us. The completely predictable result is lost lives, lost credibility, and lost continents...
...Time and again, Democrats' gutles pusillanimity has emboldened America's enemies and terrified its allies. President Carter allowed Americans to be held by Iranian savages for 444 days. He ordered a poorly conceived rescue attempt that crashed a helicopter in the desert and killed six brave members of the Delta Force. In the war on terrorism, Democrats purported to oppose military action against Iraq if anyone in the military might get hurt. But they don't mind inept commanders in chief who dishonor the military by ordering missions. Carter's pacifist secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, was indignant about the very idea of attempting a rescue and resigned after the failed rescue attempt. He preferred sticking with the Democrat strategy of doing nothing response to brutal foreigners taking Americans hostage. In another show of America's force to the world, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Carter responded by boycotting the Olympics. And thus was a fearsome blow struck at little fourteen-year-old American s who had spent their lives training for the Olympics."

There is so much more, but this is an excellent taste of Coulter's razor-sharp rhetoric.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

You may recall that for Memorial Day this year I did a special on the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, the "Rock of the Marne." Today President Bush awarded them the Presidential Unit Citation for their amazing campaign in Iraq.

"You made history, you made our nation proud," Bush told the troops, who whooped after many of his remarks. "America is grateful for your devoted service in hard conditions."

Read the entire article here:

Thursday, September 11, 2003

So there I was yesterday sitting around thinking about what the best way would be to give the bird to all the people, foreign and domestic, who hate my freedom and my beloved country, and I came up with a pretty good one: I took my family to Pikes Peak, the inspiration for America the Beautiful. At Inspiration Point our train stopped and we had a moment of silence, then our conductor recited the lines:

O Beautiful, for Spacious Skies, for Amber waves of grain;
for purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain!

And in my own mind I added:

O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife;
who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life!

Later, as the conductor came to take our tickets, I noticed on his jacket a flash of blue and silver: the Holy Grail of the U.S. Army, the Combat Infantryman's Badge. He was a native of Scotland who had served in Gulf War I. I shook his hand and thanked him for his service, and thanked God for tens and hundreds of thousands of men like him who have risked their lives to perpetuate our freedom.

Keep your righteous anger; never give it up as long as you can remember.

Courage and Faith.
September 14, 2001

President George W. Bush
The National Cathedral, Washington DC

We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation's sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the , and for those who love them.

On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes, and bent steel.

Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read. They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life. They are the names of people who faced , and in their last moments called home to say, be brave, and I love you.

They are the names of passengers who defied their ers, and prevented the of others on the ground. They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States, and died at their posts.

They are the names of rescuers, the ones whom found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others. We will read all these names. We will over them, and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone.

Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and . This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.

Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed, and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there is a searching, and an honesty. At St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on Tuesday, a woman said, "I prayed to God to give us a sign that He is still here." Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing.

God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that his purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard, and understood.

There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers, that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded, and the world has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave. We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion; in long lines of blood donors; in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors to safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.

In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.

It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils, and American flags, which are displayed in pride, and wave in defiance.

Our unity is a kinship of grief, and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for. But we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask almighty God to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.

As we have been assured, neither nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.

God bless America.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

A preview of tomorrow evening's message: a very intriguing investigation with a stunning, godly end.

Esquire Magazine Article

Friday, September 05, 2003

The Problem with James

Over the centuries since it was written the epistle of James has confounded some of the very best interpreters of the Bible. The chief difficulty lies in reconciling such statements as "faith without works is ," with the bold statements of Paul such as "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. " The exegesis of James 2:14-26 requires some of the most careful work that a teaching pastor can do, and I have already completed the preliminaries. I had one person ask me specifically about it last night, and I told him to hold on for a year or so, since it will take a while to get to that passage. I find myself putting people off that way a lot, and I'm grateful for their patience. But let me say that James is fully reconcilable with a grace view, and that it is done not with smoke and mirrors, nor with the dispensationalist contortionism, but with a detailed study of vocabulary, theology, and history.

Another controversial subject that I have promised to teach in the next year or so is original creation and restoration. This is a tremendous challenge, regardless of who you are, or what theory you espouse. Like we say in hiking: it's uphill both ways! I have heard people dismiss what I believe without taking the time to listen to my work, and even recently had two families quit our local assembly because they evidently did not share my view. They never once indicated an interest in what I taught or a willingness to listen to what I will teach after my own careful review of the matter. The thing is, creation is one of those emotionally charged doctrines that often cause division among Christians. I am quite certain, above all, that it comes down to what the text of the Bible teaches. Although there are (literally!) mountains of evidence out there from the disciplines of astronomy, biology, geology, and archaeology, the evidence is easily and often distorted, and unfortunately subject to rank amateurism. Christians are especially guilty of this. I am an amateur astronomer, and do a little rockhounding on the side as well, but my real area of expertise lies with the Bible, and that's where I'll gladly plant my flag.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The extended quote below is from Jane Eyre, which I am currently reading to my family. Helen Burns is the great character of the early part of the book, and the e to Jane Eyre.
Close by Miss Temple's bed, and half covered with its white curtains, there stood a little crib. I saw the outline of a form under the clothes, but the face was hid by the hangings: the nurse I had spoken to in the garden sat in an easy-chair asleep; an unsnuffed candle burnt dimly on the table. Miss Temple was not to be seen: I knew afterwards that she had been called to a delirious patient in the fever-room. I advanced; then paused by the crib side: my hand was on the curtain, but I preferred speaking before I withdrew it. I still recoiled at the dread of seeing a corpse.

"Helen!" I whispered softly, "are you awake?"

She stirred herself, put back the curtain, and I saw her face, pale, wasted, but quite composed: she looked so little changed that my fear was instantly dissipated.

"Can it be you, Jane?" she asked, in her own gentle voice.

"Oh!" I thought, "she is not going to die; they are mistaken: she could not speak and look so calmly if she were."

I got on to her crib and kissed her: her forehead was cold, and her cheek both cold and thin, and so were her hand and wrist; but she smiled as of old.

"Why are you come here, Jane? It is past eleven o'clock: I heard it strike some minutes since."

"I came to see you, Helen: I heard you were very ill, and I could not sleep till I had spoken to you."

"You came to bid me good-bye, then: you are just in time probably."

"Are you going somewhere, Helen? Are you going home?"

"Yes; to my long home--my last home."

"No, no, Helen!" I stopped, distressed. While I tried to devour my tears, a fit of coughing seized Helen; it did not, however, wake the nurse; when it was over, she lay some minutes exhausted; then she whispered -

"Jane, your little feet are bare; lie down and cover yourself with my quilt."

I did so: she put her arm over me, and I nestled close to her. After a long silence, she resumed, still whispering -

"I am very happy, Jane; and when you hear that I am , you must be sure and not grieve: there is nothing to grieve about. We all must die one day, and the illness which is removing me is not painful; it is gentle and gradual: my mind is at rest. I leave no one to regret me much: I have only a father; and he is lately married, and will not miss me. By dying young, I shall escape great sufferings. I had not qualities or talents to make my way very well in the world: I should have been continually at fault."

"But where are you going to, Helen? Can you see? Do you know?"

"I believe; I have faith: I am going to God."

"Where is God? What is God?"

"My Maker and yours, who will never destroy what He created. I rely implicitly on His power, and confide wholly in His goodness: I count the hours till that eventful one arrives which shall restore me to Him, reveal Him to me."

"You are sure, then, Helen, that there is such a place as heaven, and that our souls can get to it when we die?"

"I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good; I can resign my immortal part to Him without any misgiving. God is my father; God is my friend: I love Him; I believe He loves me."

"And shall I see you again, Helen, when I die?"

"You will come to the same region of happiness: be received by the same mighty, universal Parent, no doubt, dear Jane."
Again I questioned, but this time only in thought. "Where is that region? Does it exist?" And I clasped my arms closer round Helen; she seemed dearer to me than ever; I felt as if I could not let her go; I lay with my face hidden on her neck. Presently she said, in the sweetest tone -

"How comfortable I am! That last fit of coughing has tired me a little; I feel as if I could sleep: but don't leave me, Jane; I like to have you near me."

"I'll stay with you, DEAR Helen: no one shall take me way."

"Are you warm, darling?"


"Good-night, Jane."

"Good-night, Helen."

She kissed me, and I her, and we both soon slumbered.

When I awoke it was day: an unusual movement roused me; I looked up; I was in somebody's arms; the nurse held me; she was carrying me through the passage back to the dormitory. I was not reprimanded for leaving my bed; people had something else to think about; no explanation was afforded then to my many questions; but a day or two afterwards I learned that Miss Temple, on returning to her own room at dawn, had found me laid in the little crib; my face against Helen Burns's shoulder, my arms round her neck. I was asleep, and Helen was--dead.

Her grave is in Brocklebridge churchyard: for fifteen years after her it was only covered by a grassy mound; but now a grey marble tablet marks the spot, inscribed with her name, and the word "Resurgam." [I shall rise again]

Thursday, August 21, 2003

An excerpt from the commencement address of Princeton Professor Robert George to the graduating class of Hillsdale College:

"True freedom consists in the liberation of the human person from the shackles of ignorance, oppression and vice...True freedom, the freedom that liberates, is grounded in truth and ordered to truth and, therefore, to virtue. A free person is enslaved neither to the sheer will of another nor to his own appetites and passions. A free person lives uprightly, fulfilling his obligations to family, community, nation and God. By contrast, a person given over to his appetites and passions, a person who scoffs at truth and chooses to live, whether openly or secretly, in defiance of the moral law is not free. He is simply a different kind of slave.

"The counterfeit of freedom consists in the idea of personal and communal liberation from morality, responsibility and truth. It is what our nation’s founders expressly distinguished from liberty and condemned as 'license.' The so-called freedom celebrated today by so many of our opinion-shaping elites in education, entertainment and the media is simply the license to do whatever one pleases. This false conception of freedom – false because disordered, disordered because detached from moral truth and civic responsibility – shackles those in its grip no less powerfully than did the chattel slavery of old. Enslavement to one’s own appetites and passions is no less brutal a form of for being a slavery of the soul. It is no less tragic, indeed, it is in certain respects immeasurably more tragic, for being self-imposed. It is ironic, is it not, that people who celebrate slavery to appetite and passion call this 'freedom'?

"Counterfeit freedom is worse than fraudulent. It is the mortal enemy of the real thing. Counterfeit freedom can provide no rational account or defense of its own normative claims. It speaks the language f rights, but in abandoning the ground of moral duty it provides no rational basis for anyone to respect the rights of others or to demand of others respect for one’s own rights. Rights without duties are meaningless. Where moral truth as the ground of duties is thrown overboard, the language of rights is so much idle chatter fit only for Hollywood tail parties and faculty lounges. Hadley Arkes, the great contemporary theorist of natural rights, has observed in relation to the movement for unfettered abortion that those who demand liberation from the moral law have talked themselves out of the moral premises of their own rights and liberties. If freedom is to be honored and respected, it must be because human freedom is what is required by the laws of nature and nature’s God; it cannot be because there are no laws of nature and there is no God."

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Here's an excerpt from Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) on the original languages. "Once a young man is instructed in the solid virtue which is formed by faith, it follows that he will regulate himself and richly adorn himself from within: for only he whose whole life is ordered finds it easy to give help and counsel to others. But a man cannot rightly order his own soul unless he exercises himself day and night in the Word of God. He can do that most readily if he is well versed in such languages as Hebrew and Greek, for a right understanding of the Old Testament is difficult without the one, and a right understanding of the New is equally difficult without the other...."

Friday, June 13, 2003

Here's a quote from Martin Luther's 1524 Treatise, "To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools." Note to Martin: come up with more succint titles.

"And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out, they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments. If through our neglect we let the languages go (which God forbid!) we shall... lose the gospel...

Experience too has proved this and still gives evidence of it. For as soon as the languages declined to the vanishing point, after the apostolic age, the gospel and faith and Christianity itself declined more and more... On the other hand, now that the languages have been revived, they are bringing with them so bright a light and accomplishing such great things that the whole world stands amazed and has to acknowledge that we have the gospel just as pure and undefiled as the apostles had it, that it has been wholly restored to its original purity, far beyond what it was in the days of St. Jerome and St. Augustine...

Alrighty, I'm back after a lengthy hiatus. I am teaching one less hour per week, but I've added remedial Hebrew (yes just imagine me at Jewish Reform School, scribbling away) and lots more physical training. I have to get my body in shape since I am a big blubbery target for diabetes, having both the genetic and environmental profile. No thanks! So I'm running 3 miles and lifting lots of weights 3 times a week, plus biking and hiking whenever I feel like it. It's working so far.

I am thinking of several ways to employ my new-found Hebrew skills:
1) A history of Assyria through the Bible.
2) Finishing my work on Genesis.
3) Teaching a minor prophet or two.
4) And any other suggestions my bold and visionary congregation might have.

Also, just this past Sunday I have begun to teach a marriage series. The series should take us through the summer at the very least, after which I'm returning to the Life O' Christ. The weeknight study on James should begin in a matter of weeks, as Jude is winding down with just a handful of verses to teach.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The 120th Fighter Squadron, stationed at Buckley Field, returned home today from combat service in Iraq. Welcome home and may God bless your homecoming. Well done, good and faithful servants.
Miyazaki's Spirited Away - Movie Review.

I had read enough reviews, all overwhelmingly positive, to rent this DVD. It's weird. An animated feature from Japan, this movie is fascinating in its folklore, beautiful in its artwork, and compelling in its story. Not that all that makes it a virtuous film... there is no One True God in Miyazaki's universe. A benevolent dragon/boy, spider/man (not Spiderman at all), a schizophrenic set of twins (definitely not the Budweiser twins, either, whew!), a crusading eco-radical river spirit... but no God.

The narrative follows 10 year old girl Chihiro, who while moving with her parents gets sidetracked into a fairy forest and ends up in an abandoned theme park. The parents turn into pigs, which okay, I think is a nice fable about the twisted perception of teens, but not what teens should think. Chihiro must get a job in the bathhouse for crazy demon spirits, and rise and gather information and undergo personal growth until she can magically turn her pig-parents back into real parents. Many adventures ensue. Much could be written about the folkloric elements of the movie, and volumes undertaken on comparative mythology. There were many crossover elements between the Spirited Away/Japanese folklore and Celtic folklore. The basic elements of the fairy tale were striking in their similarities.

I believe that unbelievers will see this as a near perfect movie about growing up. In the course of her magical adventures, Chihiro begins as a frightened and awkward 10-year old, and grows into a self-assured adolescent. She learns to rely on her own wits, and on her demon-god helpers. There is a subtle push toward that demonism that makes one shiver with the realization. An adult Christian might go and find this entertaining, beautiful (like a tiger), and instructive, but certainly not a model for growing up or virtue of any kind. Don't let your kids watch without your presence and post-movie conversation.

Courage and Faith.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

In the coming months I will have more demands on my time. The few of you who are regular readers can expect me to post once a week or so. I have a movie review coming up this week, and perhaps a book review after that.

Friday, April 18, 2003

From the human viewpoint, our victory in the recent Iraq war is due to many factors:

1) The intelligence gathering, forward air control function, and chaos sowing of our special operations forces;

2) Precision bombing of command and control elements;

3) Precision bombing of enemy equipment;

4) Real time battlefied displays and communications, giving commanders on the ground the ability to swifty adapt to the developing situation;

5) Satellite photo reconnaisance, and the ability to get the information to the commanders on the ground in a very brief time;

6) A political leadership that was unwilling to mettle in military expertise;

7) And men willing to do the job, and do it well at great personal risk.

We stuck 30,000 combat soldiers in the face of an enemy nearly ten times their size, maneuvered about 400 miles, and utterly destroyed them. Suffice it to say that it has never been done in history.

From the divine viewpoint, I think we'll all have to wait and see how God intervened, but the bottom line principle is that the battle is the Lord's, and He is the one who gives our enemies into our hands. He blessed us with victory, and to Him we ought to give thanks.

Courage and Faith.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Boston University's Arion Online has this superb article by Camille Paglia: Cults and Consciousness. Paglia recounts the widely varied influences of the 1960s, making a tour de force of that awful decade. It is depressing, but necessary reading for anyone who wishes a greater understanding of the time. Reading Paglia's work painfully makes clear how Satan made of a puppet of the United States of America. It is a very long article, but worth your time. Check out how Scientology is the direct descendant of Aleister Crowley's worship of Satan, or how Eastern religion gained its profound influence. Also, a telling analysis: the country club atmosphere of churches in the 1950s left Christians unequipped to deal with the shocks of assassination, war, and counterculture. Indeed, it created the void.

A warning: Camille Paglia is a notorious feminist. The article is frank and has all the appearance of objectivity. The author seems to think that the New Age movement is the religion currently trending toward pre-eminence. By no means is she a Christian, and she does not regard Christianity as anything other than a religion as any other.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Back from Texas, and 2500 miles of driving.

Along the way, we listened to a book on tape, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, by Marguerite Henry. It was quite excellent, and even contained the gospel in abstract form. There were many virtues in both the animal and the good men of the tale, and the good vs. evil theme comes out very well. I would contrast this with Ralph Moody's Man of the Family, because here the evil man receives his just desserts. More than a moral tale, Brighty also tells the story of the modern Grand Canyon, and by the end we all felt we knew much about the history of the Canyon as a National Park, its mineralogical value, its geography, its botany and zoology. It was a tremendous wealth of information, and was a completely painless way to acquire it. Although I would recommend the book for anyone at any time, it would be of the highest value before a trip to the Grand Canyon. Both our four year old girl and seven year old boy enjoyed it immensely.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

One more before I go:

Full article at the Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze

Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez died for his country, but didn’t live long enough to be called one of its citizens.

The 22-year-old U.S. Marine from Lomita, who was among the first to die in combat in Iraq, was officially made a United States citizen Wednesday with the stroke of a pen at a government office in Laguna Niguel.

"This is someone who wanted to be in this country, who was willing to sacrifice his life," said Ron Rogers, a spokesman for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Also honored with a certificate of citizenship was Cpl. Jose Angel Garibay, 21, of Costa Mesa, who also was killed in Iraq.

No ceremony was held and no family members were present, but Gutierrez’s foster family in Lomita was pleased.

"I’m proud, because that’s what he wanted," said his foster sister, Lillian Cardenas.

Gutierrez, a Guatemala native who attended Harbor College in Wilmington, had planned to go to school to become an architect when his tour of duty was completed.

He also wanted to become an American citizen.

"He can still see it," Cardenas said of the certificate. "He is just not here physically to see it."

Gutierrez joined the military, his foster family said, to give back to his new country. He also hoped it would send him to college.

Gutierrez was 8 years old when his father died in Guatemala. An orphan, he lived at Casa Alianza, a homeless center in Guatemala City, and longed for a life in the United States after befriending an American social worker.

At 14, Gutierrez and another homeless boy walked and rode trains and buses through Central America and Mexico, parting ways in San Diego. Gutierrez found shelter at a homeless center in Hollywood and soon went to live with the Mosquera family in Lomita, which took in foster children.

Gutierrez graduated from North High School in Torrance and a year ago joined the Marines.

He died March 21 on a battlefield near Umm Qasr.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

I will be out of town next week, so no blogging until Monday April 14th.
Full Article

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--An American soldier listed as missing in action apparently accepted Christ and was baptized several days before being captured.

James M. Kiehl, 22, of Comfort, Texas, was the focus of a report on Dallas' KTVT-TV March 26, during which Kiehl was seen being immersed in the middle of the desert.

Kiehl is one of seven members of the 507th Maintenance Company -- part of the 111th Air Defense Artillery Brigade stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas -- listed as missing in action. Five other members of the 507th have been seen on Iraqi television and are listed as prisoners of war.

During the television report, KTVT's Robert Riggs said Kiehl "seemed to have a deeper awareness about the dangers of combat than any soldier we talked to."

"You've always got the threat of something new," Kiehl said during the report. "Every morning you wake up and it's happening on that morning."

Riggs reported that Kiehl "turned his life over to Christ shortly before the launch of the ground attack. ... His moment of decision had been prompted by a call from home -- a family member told him it was time to pick the right path for his life."

Kiehl's wife, Jill, is pregnant with the couple's first child and is due the last week of April, according to KFOX-TV in El Paso, Texas.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

There's a lot to discuss about PFC Jessica Lynch, yet I think this simple truth is at the pinnacle: for quite a long time, POWs of the U.S. armed forces will remember her name and hope.
Too early to tell, but early reports today make it look like I may have to declare yesterday's predictions a bit melancholic.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Last letter of PFC Diego Rincon, another Gibraltar adorns the hall of heroes in the Rock of the Marne Division. PFC Rincon died in the homicide bomber attack last week in Iraq. Vaya Con Dios, Soldado.

Hola Mother,

How are you doing? Good I hope. I'm doing OK I guess. I won't be able to write anymore starting the 28th of this month. We are moving out. We are already packed and ready to move to a tactical Alpha-Alpha (in Iraq). Once that happens, there will not be any mail sent out. We will only receive mail that is less than 12 ounces. At least that's what they said. I'm not sure where exactly we're going be at yet, but it is said to be a 20-hour drive in the Bradleys.

So I guess the time has finally come for us to see what we are made of, who will crack when the stress level rises and who will be calm all the way through it. Only time will tell. We are at the peak of our training and it's time to put it to the test.

I just want to tell everybody how much you all mean to me and how much I love you all. Mother, I love you so much! I'm not going to give up! I'm living my life one day at a time, sitting here picturing home with a small tear in my eyes, spending time with my brothers who will hold my life in their hands.

I try not to think of what may happen in the future, but I can't stand seeing it in my eyes. There's going to be murders, funerals and tears rolling down everybody's eyes. But the only thing I can say is, keep my head up and try to keep the faith and pray for better days. All this will pass. I believe God has a path for me. Whether I make it or not, it's all part of the plan. It can't be changed, only completed.

Mother will be the last word I'll say. Your face will be the last picture that goes through my eyes. I'm not trying to scare you, but it's reality. The time is here to see the plan laid out. And hopefully, I'll be at home in it. I don't know what I'm talking about or why I'm writing it down. Maybe I just want someone to know what goes through my head. It's probably good not keeping it all inside.

I just hope that you're proud of what I'm doing and have faith in my decisions. I will try hard and not give up. I just want to say sorry for anything I have ever done wrong. And I'm doing it all for you mom. I love you.

P.S. Very Important Document.

Your son,

Diego Rincon
To be conservative, I have to preface my military prognostications with the statement that I am not a military professional. I have read an awful lot in the field of military history, studying all ages of the subject. I also stay abreast of modern military affairs. That doesn't mean that I have the gift of prophecy or anything.

That being said, I believe the world will begin to see a significant crumbling of the defenses around Baghdad later this week, and increasing and obvious momentum toward final victory in the next week to ten days. There will also be significant evidence that the rats in the capital are not only losing that final battle, but losing it badly. Saddam is either dead as a Python pet shop parrot, or such an incredible coward that he will not give the least bit of credible evidence of his continued existence. Such is the fate of bullies, big or small. When the handwriting is on the wall (an appropriate reference if ever there was one), many more in Iraq will abandon their untenable position. Lots of folks are saying months, not weeks. It's weeks not months, and not all that many weeks. The haggard survivors of the Medina Republican Guards Division will get the word out that there is truly no hope. The stragglers of the Fedayeen from Basra and Nasariya will do the same. Literally nothing has worked as they wanted, and Operation Iraqi Freedom is already the most remarkably successful military campaign since the last time someone attacked France.

It's still a deadly battlefield environment, and I'm prayerfully grateful for those who serve. They're becoming the leaders, the torch-bearers of the next generation of the armed forces of the greatest nation in history... at least until the Lord returns.

Courage and Faith.
If you have a Saddam death euphemism, please email me. Here are a few samples:

He's singing the blues with Elvis...
...Talking theology with Mohammed...
...Reliving old times with Hitler and Stalin...
...Discussing long range strategy with Osama.
'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This Saddam is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-SADDAM!!

Saturday, March 29, 2003

The writing is done. Today I finished the writing part of the Basics series. I think I will have taught more than 100 lessons in the series when I'm done, thereby achieving the ultimate goal of beating Colonel Thieme's 69 Basics, which had just 90-something. In any event it is with a grateful and humble heart that I put it to bed. The Lord has given us an abundance of wisdom in His word, and the Basics just barely scratches the surface. May it serve for many years.

Friday, March 28, 2003

The past two days I've been attending Camp Logos Colorado Springs, a two day training seminar on the Libronix Digital Library. Libronix is an incredible Bible study tool that effectively removes books from your shelves and puts them on your computer. In my computer I now have hundreds of thousands of pages of the very best biblical reference works, and more are available all the time. Over the next week I am customizing everything toward my inductive Bible study approach toward the development of lessons.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

CNN is now reporting that the armored column that was moving out of Basra has been mostly destroyed. The MSNBC reporter who broke the news declared this another sign that we are bogged down. It's another sign of desperation in a campaign that is hugely lopsided. It would surprise me if the Desert Rats of the British 7th Armored lost men in that engagement.
I am getting a bit fed up with talking heads who pontificate about the progress of the war, but have no military frame of reference. I have been hearing that we are "bogged down," that matters are not going according to plan, that the Iraqi military is way tougher than what we thought.

After the shock of losing a few POWs, some of whom may have been victims of atrocities, and some more who were victims of deceptive cheap shots, our men in the field have tightened up considerably. As I write, Iraqi armored columns are on the move, and those who oppose the war and desperately and secretly hope for U.S. setbacks declare this another sign of big trouble. I am all but certain that enemy armored forces on the move will be utterly annihilated before they do much harm to coalition forces. If those armored columns are moving now it is because we are allowing them the movement. I would also strongly suggest that these movements are desperate, last ditch maneuvers for the units involved. The Iraqi command has realized that our end run to Baghdad has marginalized the majority of their armed forces, and in these movements they are trying to get some effect out of the forces that we have negated via our sweeping and dramatic maneuver.

Now... regarding General McCaffrey, who has predicted coalition forces will take 3,000 casualties in the battle of Baghdad: with all due respect, I believe that he is fighting the last war. I totally understand that as the former division commander of the 24th Mech his qualifications are far greater than my own. Not only that, in Gulf War I he excelled in his mission, but I think it would be the more prudent course to stop publicly waving the flag of alarm. It gives hope to the enemy. Our effort must create in every quarter of the minds of our enemies the impression that there is no hope. Doing that will give us a chance to shorten the war. Sending up flares of alarm gives them hope, and steels their resolve to fight to the bitter end. Even if General McCaffrey has real and well-informed conviction (in my mind it is not an accurate assessment, but I'm a nobody who could be proven wrong), voicing that conviction in the national forum seems less than wise. Surely as an esteemed former division commander he has private channels at his disposal for the voicing of such concerns.

Courage and Faith.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Now this is what I call a protest: Hero Returns Medal

George Wilson's eloquent action transcends all the crap.

I am curious if he is the same George Wilson who wrote a famous account of the infantry fighting in the Hurtgen Forest: If You Survive
Yesterday seemed a tough day, but consider: we have thousands of men and dozens of armored fighting vehicles within shooting distance of Baghdad; we own the airspace over the entire battlefield, meaning we can maneuver and the enemy cannot; we have secured the wealth of the Iraqi people; and all at the cost of less than 30 men.

Which brings me to my next and more important point. For those twenty or so families there is terrible heartache involved in the loss of their loved ones. Our armed forces cares about them with exceptional care, from the four star general down to the privates, corporals, and sergeants who make up the rank and file. Our nation cares about those families and their losses, and it is evident in the words of our president, but also in the hearts of our citizens who will express their sympathy in the way those heroes are buried, the way their cemeteries and grave stones are cared for, and the way their memories are tended long after they are gone.

This is a stark contrast to our enemy, the dictatorial regime in Iraq. There are certainly arbitrary heroes, but they are not "proved in liberating strife." There is no care for the welfare of the individual soldier, who is merely a pawn, less than a pawn in the schemes of an evil leadership. There is no care from the government to the families of those who have lost their loved ones, for they are just as disposable as the loved ones they lost.

Make no mistake: this is a godless regime, muslim association or no. They are as godless as the regime of Saddam's great hero, Josef Stalin. They will meet the same fate: the immutable knowledge that there is a God, and there is eternal justice.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Here is an article pertinent to our preemptive war in Iraq:

Death to America
by Daniel Pipes, New York Post, September 8, 2002

America's war on terrorism did not begin in September 2001. It began in November 1979.

That was shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini had seized power in Iran, riding the slogan "Death to America" - and sure enough, the attacks on Americans soon began. In November 1979, a militant Islamic mob took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the Iranian capital, and held 52 Americans hostage for the next 444 days.

The rescue team sent to free those hostages in April 1980 suffered eight fatalities, making them the first of militant Islam's many American casualties. Others included:

April 1983: 17 dead at the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

October 1983: 241 dead at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

December 1983: five dead at the U.S. embassy in Kuwait.

January 1984: the president of the American University of Beirut killed.

April 1984: 18 dead near a U.S. airbase in Spain.

September 1984: 16 dead at the U.S. embassy in Beirut (again).

December 1984: Two dead on a plane hijacked to Tehran.

June 1985: One dead on a plane hijacked to Beirut.

After a let-up, the attacks then restarted: Five and 19 dead in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996, 224 dead at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998 and 17 dead on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000.

Simultaneously, the murderous assault of militant Islam also took place on U.S. soil:

July 1980: an Iranian dissident killed in the Washington, D.C. area.

August 1983: a leader of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam killed in Canton, Mich.

August 1984: three Indians killed in a suburb of Tacoma, Wash.

September 1986: a doctor killed in Augusta, Ga.

January 1990: an Egyptian freethinker killed in Tucson, Ariz.

November 1990: a Jewish leader killed in New York.

February 1991: an Egyptian Islamist killed in New York.

January 1993: two CIA staff killed outside agency headquarters in Langley, Va.

February 1993: Six people killed at the World Trade Center.

March 1994: an Orthodox Jewish boy killed on the Brooklyn Bridge.

February 1997: a Danish tourist killed on the Empire State building.

October 1999: 217 passengers killed on an EgyptAir flight near New York City.

In all, 800 persons lost their lives in the course of attacks by militant Islam on Americans before September 2001 - more than killed by any other enemy since the Vietnam War. (Further, this listing does not include the dozens more Americans in Israel killed by militant Islamic terrorists.)

And yet, these murders hardly registered. Only with the events of a year ago did Americans finally realize that "Death to America" truly is the battle cry of this era's most dangerous foe, militant Islam.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Genesis 14:20, "And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand."

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

On the Eve of War:

Today my family and I dug out from the blizzard, made snow forts, helped our neighbors. We enjoyed in our own small way the blessings of liberty, those blessings granted to us by the many individuals and families of our beloved country who have made sacrifices on our behalf. It is not unusual for us as Christians to live as benefactors of sacrifice, because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave His all for us, but we are no less thankful for our fellow countrymen who have gone before us.

I remember with perfect clarity the day I left active duty in the National Guard, the summer after the Persian Gulf War. I had stayed in out of a sense of loyalty to my unit and to our nation, despite the hardship of being a pastor who once a month gave up a Sunday in order to serve. After a final interview with my First Sergeant, and a final, longing look and salute at the flag above the armory, I went home.

I had served five years as a Private First Class in the United States Army National Guard. What I did isn't all that important. I chose a tough combat MOS so that I might lead by example, but my service was humble, and in the big scheme of things, seemingly insignificant. I worked hard and showed an avid interest in my jobs, and tried to lead as much as possible from my undetectably low rank.

That evening I had a glass of scotch and ruminated over what I had done, and I think you true soldiers would understand when I reveal that I cried myself to sleep that night. I knew from that day forward I would spend my life on the wrong side of Henry V's St. Crispin's day speech, I would lie abed and count my manhood cheap. Some of those same tears track my cheeks this evening.

It is not a paralyzing or selfish grief; it is from the depths of my soul that I understand it was not God's will that I should become a member of that sacred band of brothers. Rather, it is a pure grief which galvanizes my innermost being toward service. If not on the battlefied, then at home, encouraging and founding rationales for any Christian warrior who will listen. If I could change just one life, change your life...

I am grateful for those who wear the uniform of our armed forces tonight, for their willingness, for their courage, determination, and dedication to excellence. I know they will need our prayers and encouragement. I am filled with fierce pride for everyone from Front Range Bible Church who wears the uniform - my God, what a fine company you make! How I long to see you all when the Lord allows, and salute your service.

Remember these words:

Shakespeare, Henry V.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

God bless, God speed, and get some for all of us.
Tom Daschle, the Senator from France: "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."
Our nation has thirty friends in the world: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Britain, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

I keep going over the list looking for France, but I just don't see them.

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordian."

Monday, March 17, 2003

I apologize for the late post this evening. The President's speech tonight was simple and to the point. He did in a few minutes what the United Nations has failed to do during its entire span of existence: find a backbone. I am so grateful to God for him, and for those who serve us in the Armed Forces. FACTA NON VERBA - Deeds not words.

Friday, March 14, 2003

To The Everlasting Glory

Young, Rodger W., Private, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division (the Ohio Buckeyes); born Tiffin, Ohio, 28 April 1918; died 31 July 1943, on the island of New Georgia, Solomons, South Pacific, while singlehandedly attacking and destroying an enemy machine-gun pillbox. His platoon had been pinned down by intense fire from this pillbox; Private Young was wounded in the first burst. He crawled toward the pillbox, was wounded a second time but continued to advance, firing his rifle as he did so. He closed on the pillbox, attacked and destroyed it with hand grenades, but in so doing he was wounded a third time and killed.
His bold and gallant action in the face of overwhelming odds enabled his teammates to escape without loss; he was awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor.

No, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry.
No, they've got no use for praises loudly sung,
But in every soldier's heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.

Shines the name--Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
To the everlasting glory of the Infantry
Lives the story of Private Rodger Young.

Caught in ambush lay a company of riflemen--
Just grenades against machine guns in the gloom--
Caught in ambush till this one of twenty riflemen
Volunteered, volunteered to meet his doom.

Volunteered, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
In the everlasting annals of the Infantry
Glows the last deed of Private Rodger Young.

It was he who drew the fire of the enemy
That a company of men might live to fight;
And before the deadly fire of the enemy
Stood the man, stood the man we hail tonight.

On the island of New Georgia in the Solomons,
Stands a simple wooden cross alone to tell
That beneath the silent coral of the Solomons,
Sleeps a man, sleeps a man remembered well.

Sleeps a man, Rodger Young,
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
In the everlasting spirit of the Infantry
Breathes the spirit of Private Rodger Young.

No, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry,
No, they've got no use for praises loudly sung,
But in every soldier's heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.

Shines the name--Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
To the everlasting glory of the Infantry
Lives the story of Private Rodger Young.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Tuck Everlasting movie review.

Girl meets boy. Boy is immortal. Boy and girl fall in love. Stuff happens. Boy invites girl to become immortal as well.

And that's the moral dilemma of the movie. Rene' and I both greatly enjoyed this movie. It has a certain turn of the century, 19th to 20th century turn, charm to it. The time is well evoked, and the characters are mostly likeable folks. The love story has that first love innocence to it which makes it all the more alluring, and the ending was just right.

The only thing that stuck in my craw was the immortal teenager. At a certain point, when the star-crossed couple are identifying their love for one another, the boy anounces that he is in fact 104 years old. He only looks 17. Aside from wondering whether it was a) because he smoked and drank all his life, or b) didn't smoke or drink, there is the age of the soul to contend with, and that made their affair somewhat creepy. He very well could have been the ultimate dirty old man by that time, looking 17 but with all the cleverness and worldly wisdom of a 104 year old. That he is involved in a seemingly innocent relationship with a 14 ish girl - well you have to suspend your disbelief a fair amount. But it is left innocent, and that brings a sigh of relief.

The biblical part of all this is the nephilim conspiracy of Genesis 6, where fallen angels attempt to destroy salvation by making man both immortal and sinful at the same time, thus making death and the completion of salvation impossible. The Tuck family, drinking from their spring (but the family cat didn't, and that's important) became immortal. Two of the family members declare this to be a bum deal and covet death; one seems neutral but guarded; while the fourth is the charmer.

The movie does not take a biblical approach, but rather a humanistic one, whereby the dilemma between immortality and the life well-lived remains. That's not bad, but I could make a nice gospel message out of the content, and see it as a fair opportunity to talk about the issue of spiritual death with teenagers.
I couldn't have said it better department: France's Diplomacy Costs American Lives.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Whew. A lot of folks remain on pins and needles about the war against Saddam. I'm not. We have the English Long Bow, the Maxim Gun. People don't realize it yet, but we do. Remember 12 years ago, when we trounced them? What was your personal computer like in 1991? Mine was pretty much driven by hamster power; I had floppy disks; VGA color; 10 megabytes of hard disk space... and vacuum tubes, I think. Now the lights in the neighborhood go dim as I power up. Ahh. And all that technology has been applied to the military. We're in the digital age.

Yet the war hasn't been invented where we can go without the loss of life. We may be able to minimize it even as the British did at Agincourt and Sudan, but good men will put their lives on the line, and some will give their lives in the cause of freedom.

But the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Engagement ranges are no longer measured in meters, but in hundreds of miles, and we will win. Not just convincingly, but by totally overpowering the enemy.

Yet I am on pins and needles, and tempted beyond what I thought I could bear (thank God for His grace) over the fate of the United Nations. The UN is an organization that was never that good in the first place, but now stands as the enemy to the security of the United States of America. It is truly my prayer that our president and national leadership have the resolve to rid our nation of its evil designs. And if that's what the delay in the war against Saddam is all about, then I'm glad we waited, even at great cost to our economy and some risk to our security.

The sovereignty of nations is a Christian issue; internationalism has long been the device of devil, clanking to enslave mankind.

Again, gird yourselves and pray for the Lord's intervention against every kind of international treachery. It's happening, and Satan's desperation is beginning to show, as always.

Courage and Faith.

Friday, March 07, 2003

This week our family watched the special features on the Lord of the Rings DVD I received for Christmas. Four hours on the making of a movie may seem like a long, boring trek, but it was not. It was fascinating, not only because of subject matter, but because of the genius expressed. It was truly a herculean effort to produce even the first movie of the trilogy, and I cannot imagine what it was like to do all three. Now you understand that I am a big fan of the books, and I have appreciated the movie very much as well, if not with the same relish. However, this grand pyramid, this Seventh Wonder of the movie making world does not count for credit in God's eternal economy. I was thinking time and again how disappointed they're all going to be when they find that all is incinerated at the end of time. Every last copy of the DVD, every trace of the work is utterly obliterated.

Will the director, the actors, the producer, the gaffers, the script writers, the caterers, come before the Great White Throne with their film making resume'? Will they claim that they worked on the film version of the Lord of the Rings? Be careful of your Towers of Babel in life. Your grand human endeavors which consume like locusts your time, your money, your heart and soul, are nothing in the end, and less than nothing without Christ. Endeavor rather to meet Him with clear-eyed gaze and full-hearted confidence, so that your reward will last forever.

Courage and Faith.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Hermeneutical issue: the holy character of God. 1 Timothy 6:3-5, "3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain."

I wonder how often this is taught in seminaries as a foundation for interpretation? Paul directly states that our doctrine has to agree with sound words. He goes on to define those sound words with two criteria. The first is the words of Jesus Christ, while the second is the doctrine conforming to godliness. These two are not at the absolute foundation of hermeneutics. They must be developed from the original languages and historical/cultural setting of Scripture so that they are placed in a clear and useful form.

The words of Christ refer to the body of teaching which comes from the gospels and those few references elsewhere. The Sermon on the Mount and the Upper Room Discourse come immediately to mind, but there are many others which would qualify. An interpreter must also develop a doctrine of godliness. EUSEBEIA is godliness, a fairly common expression from both Peter and Paul. It is a sense of awe-filled love for God which goes beyond His awesome power to focus on His perfect righteousness. Our God is so much more than just omnipotence. He is perfect in character, which I think is the true point of awe. Teachers of the Word are to build a set of guidelines from the love, grace, justice, faithfulness, and truth of God, among other attributes. Paul offers these two, the words of Christ and the character of God as the plumbline and square for "doctrine," which in 1 Timothy 6:3 is from DIDASKALIA, "teaching." I believe the emphasis in the passage is on a content system, which is to say in ministry vocabulary "systematic theology."

It comes down to this. Teachers of the Word are to build a systematic theology, a useful orthodoxy for their students, the congregation. The measuring tools for this building must be precise, and the great plumbline and square of this mandated task are the words of Christ and character of God.

Many interpreters of God's word have gone wrong simply and terribly by failing to measure their work by these tools. A theology devoid of love, or apart from the teachings of Christ, is bankrupt indeed.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Libronix Digital Library is an excellent tool for the ministry. Last summer, Jim Myers introduced it to me, and not long after I purchased it for myself. Libronix is a set of computer tools, the most important of which is the librarian. It is essentially a highly customizable search engine usable with books that you have purchased for your digital library. I currently have hundreds of thousands of pages of theological, history, and linguistic reference books and journals. With the librarian I can search through every book I have in about a minute or two, and it will come back with every instance of the search in every one of those books. For instance, I can plug in a Bible verse, like 2 Peter 3:9, and it will come back with everything instance of that verse in the vast library. Another example: I can plug in a term like "unlimited atonement" and it will find what all those books have to say about the subject. The list is as near to endless as you can imagine. Already it has borne fruit in studies on angels, on covenant theology, and many other subjects.

There is also an exegetical guide, which searches lexicons and grammars for the Greek and Hebrew words in a verse, a note taking tool, so that you can attach your own notes to every verse in your digital Bible, a Bible reading planner, a prayer list organizer.

Libronix is not cheap. It has been the major item on my expense account the past six months, running several hundred dollars for all the books that I've added to my own collection of digital theological library. However, it is the single most valuable study tool that I have ever used. It hasn't exactly made books obsolete, but my, the efficiency is super.

At the end of this month, I am attending a two day training seminar called "Camp Logos," which is intensive and advanced training on the Libronix Library System.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

This afternoon I translated the first two chapters of James. It is quite a refreshing change from Peter. Though I needed lexical help fairly often, I did not need to refer to a grammar a single time. James' Greek is straightforward and easy to understand. I am looking forward to preaching and teaching the epistle of James, chronologically first of the New Testament writings. There are so many excellent themes in the first two chapters, I know that there is going to be an abundance of good wisdom to come from this study.

Some of the early theological doctrines that I noticed are: undeserved suffering; temptation; prayer; divine provision, discrimination, wealth, and the biggie... the relationship between faith and... and...

The relationship between post-salvation faith and maturity. So many interpreters of the Bible goof up James 2:14-26 that it makes me totally eager to teach it.

Courage and Faith
Thank God for the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. God allowed 9/11 but has now given one of the great enemies of America and of freedom into the hands of justice. Pray that the world will understand him for the monster that he is.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Double post deleted.
Paul reveals something significant about all nations in his famous speech to the philosophers in Athens, Acts 17:24-27, “24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;”
a. God does not predetermine the course of man’s life, but He does determine the times and boundaries of the nation.
b. This doesn’t necessarily have to happen in eternity past. God can choose to make these determinations in time.
c. But what is very important here is that there is a single purpose for all the nations. That purpose is for men to seek God.
d. The nations exist, the course of their histories unfold, in order to reveal God. The history of nations is a revelation of God.
e. All nations come from one man, Noah. All nations have a single purpose under God for every man, which is for the seeking of God.
f. The purpose for all nations in history is to provide an environment so that men can seek God.
g. This is plainly establishment freedom. To seek God requires freedom, and this is the purpose of nations.
h. This purpose is drawn from a close association with His purpose for man, as though God’s purpose for men and nations is very tightly woven together. And indeed they are.
i. Two present infinitive verbs describe the purpose of nations. These denote purpose, and are dependent on the phrase, “He made from one man every nation...”
(1) There is a parenthetical statement which precedes these two purpose clauses, which is, “...having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation...”
(2) KATOIKEN, “to live.” Nations exist so that men might live. This is a general statement concerning freedom.
(3) ZETEIN, “to seek.” Nations exist so that men might seek God. This is a specific expression of freedom.
j. Even more remarkable are the two optative verbs, PHELAPHESEIAN and HEUROIAN, “grope” and “find.”
(1) There is great significance in the person and number of these verbs.
(a) They are both third person plural, which designates the subject as a “they.”
(b) This does not refer back to “every nation,” which is third person singular. An important feature of Greek verbs is that they agree with their subject in person and number.
(c) Instead these verbs find their subjects in ANTHROPON, “men.”
(d) Nations exist not for nations to live and seek God, to grope for and to find Him. They exist so that men might do so. The emphasis is on quest of the individual to find God, and definitely not the nation.
(e) This is profound in its implications. Nations have a function toward the individual.
(2) The significance of the optative moods is that it shows that these actions are left entirely to the desires of men. The optative shows desire, and wish.
(3) Nations exist so that men may express their desires. This means that the primary function of the nation has to do with liberty.