Monday, December 31, 2007


Another basic tenet of Presuppositional Apologetics is the certainty of Christianity. It's not about a leap of blind faith. God can be known with certainty.

Scriptures teach that God reveals Himself to us in unmistakable ways. The choice not to acknowledge Him is a willful act to suppress the obvious.

But we're not talking about whether men actually set foot on the moon in 1969. This is something that - if it's true - is the most fundamental fact of reality. God is Creator and in Him all other facts have their being. So when proving such a fundamental concept, circularity is unavoidable.

Consider the laws of logic. Can you prove them? Nope. To prove them, you have to use them - and therefore, assume them before they're proven. [take a minute on that one ... and check out the picture while you're at it - if you obey it, you disobey it; if you disobey it, you obey it.]

We know they exist though, because - like God - without them, you can't prove anything. They are true, by rational necessity, because of the impossibility of the contrary.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Humor for the Fathers

Writer Ian Frazier spent a weekend watching his kids while his wife was away and at the time happened to be reading through Leviticus. This was the result.

Read it here.

Listen here.

[I think ... I couldn't get it to work on my PC.]

Exalting in Christmas

People say, 'Don't you know Christmas used to be a pagan holiday?'.
And I say, 'That fits me perfectly because I used to be a pagan!'

-Douglas Wilson, in The Regulative Principle Applied, from the Credenda/Agenda 1997 Ministerial Conference themed: Liturgical Bedlam

Friday, December 21, 2007

Piper at His Best

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man."

-J.P. Let the Nations be Glad


I'm a huge fan of Presuppositional Apologetics and think you should be too.
This method of defending the faith gets its big ol' name from its main tenet: Everyone presupposes God. Even the most ardent atheist acknowledges God in BOTH his living and reasoning.

Since we always presuppose God, when we try not to, we end up contradicting ourselves. Here is a quick example of a self-defeating statement:
'The brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile'.

That bile was secreted by the brain of the French Enlightenment Materialist Pierre Cabanis [switch the 'b' and 'n' to cue the comedians].

If thinking is nothing more than an organ function, why in the world should I trust it to be an accurate measure of reality? Moreover why would I trust anybody else's thinking ... especially anybody who equated his brain and liver?

That statement is self-refuting, on the level of: I never tell the truth. It deserves to be discounted. Similarly, worldviews that deny God are ALWAYS self-contradicting. They cannot endure internal critique - they are disproved by their own standards.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


What's it called when a guy takes somebody else's money by threat of harm so that he can use it for himself and his friends?

Currently, we use three different words for it depending on the context.

1: if we're talking about Robin Hood, it's called heroism. [Rob the rich; feed the poor]

2: if we're talking about your property, it's called taxes. [Wealth redistribution and equality]

3: if we're talking about my property, it's called theft. [Hands off!]

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not protesting taxes. I'm protesting taxes that are used to improve the welfare of others. The handicapped are not the responsibility of the state. Neither is my retirement. Neither is my hospital bill. When a politician buys votes from the poor with promises to provide these things, guess whose money he is spending. The nanny-state to some, the bully-state to others - this is not legitimate.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Now That's what I call Amazing Grace!

'Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I'm a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.'

-John Newton

[as quoted in Amazing Grace - good movie despite the flagrant fabric shortage of low-cut period dresses]

Our Subjective Sciences

"The sciences bring to the 'facts' the philosophy they claim to derive from them."

-C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim's Regress

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thinking Clearly About Culture Part 3 of 3

MOST ESSENTIAL: I think I can say, as part of the 20-something generation, that the most essential virtue necessary to reach out is authenticity. I don't have to pretend to be a skater to befriend one, in fact, if there is one trait that all young Americans share, it's the ability to spot a fake. The gospel is about the most real need that any person has. It doesn't take packaging or fancy marketing to create it. It's the power of God, regardless of how I do my hair. When a skater has cancer, he doesn't care that his doctor looks like Mr. Rogers, as long as he has the cure. When we get serious about sin, we see our pastors and churches the same way.

HELLO DALAI: In my opinion, we are overcompensating in the spirit of 'cultural' accommodation. How many times has the Dalai Lama written a NY Times best-seller? Several. Take a look at his picture up there... not what you'd call the paragon of cultural adaptation. He sells-out speaking engagements around the world. Why? People yearn for the transcendent. They're tired of being 'pitched' and sold. They crave something deeper. This guy comes to them with all of his quirks, but no pretensions and they listen [unfortunately]. We should learn from this.
Also, when we decide to cater to one subculture, we do so to the exclusion of all others. Subcultures are by design exclusive. Because marketing drives them, a rapper 'needs' to wear the type of cologne suitable for a rapper, not a golfer. So he is bombarded with commercials to convince him to have nothing to do with the golfer's aftershave, but to buy the complete line of gangsta fragrances. He and every other subcultural lemming will likely have the same reaction to the church that is found with a skate park in their front lot - 'If Grace Lutheran is a skater church, obviously they're not my type'.

FINAL THOUGHT: Paul's example of being all things to all men involved his efforts to bring the gospel to the lost. The context was evangelism, not the church's worship. !!!

Thinking Clearly About Culture Part 2 of 3

SKATER CULTURE? I've heard more than one well-meaning and Godly man talk about 'skater culture'. We are told that there is skater culture and surf culture and rap culture and tuner culture [street cars] and that it is the will of God that we infiltrate these cultures. But how did we end up with skater culture? It's easy to see how we ended up with Indian, Chinese, British culture... but how'd the skaters do it? The answer is that the skaters didn't do it. It was done for them ... or technically, to them. There is no such thing as skater culture or surfer culture or tuner culture, etc. These are more properly referred to as subcultures and they were created and perpetuated by CLEVER MARKETING.

HOIST THE SALES: It has been said that the great American genius is not meeting needs but creating them; not service but sales. That is what subcultures are all about. In the case of 'skate culture', since the eighties, sales teams have targeted mostly white, lower to middle class, twelve to twenty-two year old males [their girlfriends would follow] with skater-related products.

But these products are packaged as lifestyles. Clever commercials encourage target audiences to find and build their personal identity around a distinguishing hobby or characteristic. Buying a skateboard led to wearing skater shoes, shorts, shirts, watches, then buying skater-marketed hair gel and color, wall posters for one's room, skate-related films are made, skate music labels sell music specifically tailored to skaters, carried by certain radio stations [which in turn sell advertising space to all the aforementioned skater products]. Skater jargon is woven throughout to further solidify the image that this is a lifestyle - "We even talk like skaters ... we are different ... so don't wear preppy socks; wear skater socks.  And whadaya know - we just happen to have them on sale this week!"

Moreover, last year's skater socks simply won't do either, because, after all, sales is behind this... and to keep sales up, the style of socks has to change from season to season. So subcultural styles are, by their nature, very impermanent.

The Market-Driven Church: How are churches obligated to accommodate skater culture? Do skaters require a skater pastor with spiky hair and a tattooed neck inside of a large glass building surrounded by a graffitied skate park? If we don't do these things are we neglecting the skaters' souls? I certainly don't think so.

Rich Simplicity - Worship PART 3

Scenario #3: Many years of marriage have refined me in ways that seem funny, now. One Christmas, I gave my wife a small, fire-proof safe for her present. We needed one for our important documents, I wanted one, and found a great deal ... so she got one. For her birthday, she got a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver - to go in the safe. After a while, we both recongnized a trend. [I'm proud to report that lately, she's gotten a digital camera, flowery china, and romantic letters.]

Application #3: Counselors call it the narcissism; psychologists call it projection; the Bible calls it will worship; forming God from man's image. We presume that good worship will naturally take on a look that just happens to mirror our favorite music video. My tastes become God's. I love Maroon 5, so God will too, right? We offer to God what we are willing to give Him, and that's often as deep as it goes. We've long since abandoned looking outside ourselves for a standard of goodness or beauty.

Is it really all about Him - what He desires, deserves, & demands of us? Who is worship actually supposed to please?

Rich Simplicity - Worship PART 2

Scenario#2: When a married man, after a few years, decides to introduce props and toys and other outside 'stimulants' into the bedroom, his wife can be sure that these 'developments' have less to do with his desire for her specifically than they do with his appetites for a certain three letter word in general. She ought to feel denigrated.

Application #2: If, as the result of terrorist attacks, the US experienced some sort of major power black out for the next five years, and there were no amplifiers, keyboards, or spotlights even possible for churches [let alone air conditioners] ... how would membership/attendance be affected? How would we reach out with no glitz? Would it cease to be so much about having an experience for myself and become more about approaching God Himself ... without all the props and paraphanalia?

Saturday, December 15, 2007


People used to say that if a million monkeys were busily pounding on keyboards, they would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare ... now, thanks to internet blogging, we know that's not true.
-[D. Wilson]

If you read my blog, please comment too. I need your criticism!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rich Simplicity - Worship PART 1

Scenario #1: When a lonely Christian girl decides to visit the mall wearing a tight belly shirt and skirt no bigger than a handkerchief, she is managing to be foolish in two different ways at the same time. Firstly, she is instantly attracting the wrong type of guys to herself [by the dozen] and secondly, she is repelling any decent young men who possess the good sense to avoid her.

Application #1: When a local church abandons simple worship for lights, mics, and choreography, it will attract people who are dazzled, entertained, and turned on by the particular flavor of its style, and will repulse others who know better, or distrust their own preferences and emotionalism, or who have simply come to the place where their consciences are bound and they crave the simplicity of worship as described/endorsed in their New Testaments. In ten or twenty years, where will we be/who will we be after it all?

I honestly believe that the most important thing to take place on this planet is the worship of God by His church. It's not 'just worship'. This is why I think, pray, and blog about it at 3 AM.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thinking Clearly about Culture Part 1 of 3

INTRO: What does it really mean to be "all things to all men so that you may win some with the gospel [1 Cor 9.22]"? How far can we take that idea before we find ourselves in violation of the third commandment and cheapen the message?
Today, in evangelicaland, we are being urged toward cultural relevance. We're instructed on how indispensable 'contextualization' is, and how culturally backward we have become - dinosaurs in danger of extinction if we don't kick it in high gear to catch up.
It seems to me that what is most lacking is clear thinking about culture in the first place, so here's some food for thought [from the perspective of a slightly skeptical 20-something curmudgeon].

THE BIG QUESTION: What is a culture anyway?
No one is denying that as a missionary in China, Hudson Taylor was right to dress and speak the part. But what we have in America is a bit different.
When we use the word 'culture' to describe the religion, food, language, art, social atmosphere, calendar, traditions, and ethnic history of the past few millennia in China ... and then use the same word to describe the way that 'Goths' hang out at the mall, something tells me it's time to clarify our definition.

Monday, December 10, 2007


As a follow up - Even from the second-to-last row of the third-level balcony, Handel's Messiah was glorious - like most worship was before people began to casually regard it as a plaything. [Not that this is the way I think churches should conduct worship, because it's not. If the Scripture's are our guide to what God desires and requires in worship - and they are - then simplicity is the rule. But considered as a separate category - sacred art - the convergence of beauty, goodness, and truth - it is a splendor.]

What makes it so great? A few things -

Firstly, it is completely Christocentric. From the first line to the last, it aims all praise squarely at Christ [of course, so does the Bible].

Secondly, the Messiah is composed entirely of Scriptural passages. It is a great way to commit over sixty verses to memory. Of course, I was struck by how often I really wanted to stand up and sing along. All of God's people have the joyous duty of singing God's praises, which is why choirs were eliminated in many reformational denominations. I spent a lot of time thinking about this as I resisted the urge and behaved myself.

Thirdly, God is glorified for His wrath. Judgment is not avoided. This is the difference between Biblical Christianity and contemporary churchianical idolotry. Imprecatory Passages were given to the church in the Psalms to be read and sung and memorized and exalted in. Jennen [Handel's compiler] reminds his listeners that God will sit in heaven and laugh to scorn the ungodly just before dashing them like old pottery with an iron club. There's a word for this ... Biblical.

Lastly, now that we've established the stakes, we understand just why exactly grace is amazing. And man is it ever. Christ's death procured God's forgiveness for the elect culminating in the Last Day when purchased ones from every different nation and tongue will sing in heaven of the worthiness of Christ. Amen.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Problem of Evil ... and Good

If it weren't for logic, atheism would make a viable worldview.

Quick example: Christopher Hitchens in his book, 'God is not Great' summarizes a classic argument against God's existence known as 'the problem of evil' on pg 268:

"Is he [God] willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"

Then, 30 pages later, when discussing moral relitivism, Hitchens makes this statement:

"There is no such thing as evil, and those who argue with me on this point are wicked, stupid, or both."

Now, I'm no rocket surgeon, but if there is no such thing as evil ... how can you use the 'problem of evil' to argue against theism? Moreover ... with no evil, there's no such thing as good; with no good, there's no such thing as great; with no great, how am I even supposed to understand the title of his book?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Handel's Messiah: THE BEST EVER

The first time that Scripture ever describes someone as being 'filled with the Spirit of God', it was Bezaleel - an artisan/silversmith - for the purpose of achieving supreme excellence in his vocational craft as he directed the construction of the tabernacle and ark. Now, not only does this explode the wacky ideas that accompany the 'pentecostal' theology of being spirit-filled, but it gives us further grounds to cultivate a true, lifelong appreciation of the arts.

In my humble opinion, art doesn't get any more appreciable than Handel's Messiah. Tomorrow, Lord willing, my brother and I will get to see the BSO perform it. For me it is a highpoint of every year ... three hours of the sublime. It is a foretaste of the great last day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess Christ as worthy of worship when I stand for the halleluah chorus along with every other sinner in that place. Here is a rendition of one of my favorite pieces - a quote from the Messianic prophecy of Malachi 3.3: 'And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer up to Him an offering of righteousness'.

or this unforgettable piece from Isaiah 9.6: 'For unto us a child is born...'


Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Why is it that whenever you begin a gospel discussion by saying something like, 'Sleeping with your girlfriend is wrong', every enlightened sophisticant of our age knows that morality is relative, but when you follow up with the topic of racism, everyone begins the old 'tolerance two-step' and becomes a hardline absolutist?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

We Need Psalm Help

When you begin singing Psalms -- when you sing them in their entirety, not little happy snippets that are collected here and there for praise choruses -- but when you start singing the psalms systematically and regularly, you understand something about our reformational heritage. You find yourself singing things you've never sung before in your life. And you may have been a Christian 30, 40, 50 years, but you're singing things you've never sung before in your life. One of the differences you will notice right away is the Psalms are composed by someone who had enemies. And these enemies show up in the Psalms.

The pop evangelical today is just becoming dimly aware that there is such a thing as an adversary and we don't quite know what to do. And part of the reason we don't know what to do is we don't know the Psalms. If we knew the Psalms, what do you do when confronted by the enemy? You pick the Psalm that's most appropriate. But most Christians don't know anything about the Psalms. They don't know how to sing the Psalms, they don't know how to resort to them when they're confronted with all sorts of peril and difficulty.

- D. Wilson, in his lecture on Anne Bradstreet from the 2000 History Conference

Monday, December 3, 2007

Homophobia and Hypocrisy: Stirring the Pot

The official party line of the homosexual propogandistas is: 'As long as we're not hurting anyone, we can do what we want!'

If I grant the premise [which I certainly wouldn't on psychological, spiritual, or especially physical grounds] then I'm left wondering: How in the world could homophobia still be wrong?

Why can't all the homophobes of the world unite and press forward with their clubs and rallies and protest marches to perpetuate hatred? Why can't we send them into our gov't schools to present passionate arguments against tolerance? As long as they stop just short of actual physical violence or flagrant discriminatory acts, why can't they do what they want? No one is getting hurt, and as long as no one is getting hurt, what they do can't be considered wrong ... right?

Is 'homophobia' immoral? Insofar as it includes hatred, I sure think so. But I think this because Jesus has told us that hatred is a violation of His prior commandment forbidding murder. And of course, this same Jesus, through His Apostles, also said, 'neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor sodomites, nor homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God'. For several millennia now, God has been using the same 3-letter word for both the hateful glare and lusty gawk.

Judgment Day approaches and consistency is crucial because the Judge has promised that we will be judged by the standard we've already chosen to use on our neighbors.

COMING SOON: Life in Sherwood Forest

Robbing the Rich to Feed the Poor - American Politics at it's worst. The completed blog is coming soon.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

But the Emporer has no Clothes on!

“If we are all biological accidents, why shouldn’t the white accidents own and sell the black accidents?”

- Scott Bell author of The Darwin Conspiracy

Please notice the subtitle of Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in the original 1859 title page pictured above:

'Or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.'

[Charlie D. used the term race to include a variety of meanings including the one I'm insinuating here ... see my quotes below in the Watson blog for an example.]