Monthly Archives: January 2007

Meteorologist on Global Warming

Many thanks to Tim Challies for pointing out the comments of a meteorologist on the hype over global warming. From a United States Senate website the following comments were interestingly made: “If you don’t like to listen to me, find another meteorologist with no tie to grant money for research on the subject. I would not listen to anyone that is a politician, a journalist, or someone in science who is generating revenue from this issue.”
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fairest Lord Jesus

This is one of my favourite hymns. It really lifted my soul this morning as I listened to it. The first time that I sang this hymn was at Grace Baptist Church of Essex, and every time I hear it, I am reminded of those blessed people. What a way to wake up in the morning, thinking on the fairest Lord Jesus.

Fairest Lord Jesus
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

There Is Nothing You Can Say

I had often heard about such videos. I wondered what it would be like if I actually saw one. How would I handle it? Where would I be? At a meeting, with a group of other watchers? I didn’t expect to be sitting at my kitchen table in my Toronto apartment. I didn’t know how I would feel inside. It’s really psychologically affective. I can’t believe that this is real and that people actually go through with this.
God help us.
John Piper has a list of resources to use in the battle against abortion (“carnage” as Piper calls it). The following link will take you to a pro-life website that has footage of an abortion running on its homepage. Do not click it unless you are prepared. I knew what I was doing when I clicked the link. What a sad, horribly sad, video. It made me want to cry and to vomit. I could never desensitise myself to this.
We decry abuse towards animals – yet this is free choice. Damn your freedom. This is murder.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ter Tria

Four Courts Press has recently published a collection of poetry by the Irish Puritan Faithful Teate (c. 1626-1666). The work is entitled Ter Tria and is edited by Angelina Lynch. I might have to order this, it looks pretty good.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Muller, Orthodoxy and Scholasticism

I’ve been slowly reading through the first volume of Richard Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics – admittedly, it’s quite slow. In light of this, I thought I would link to some helpful summaries that are found in the blogosphere.
John Tweeddale – John blogs from Edinburgh where he is doing work in post-Reformation theology and history. He is a contributor to the excellent blog The Conventicle. He also has a whole site dedicated to summarising Muller! Amazing. He hasn’t updated for a while though, which is sad.
Cynthia Nielson – Cynthia’s blog, Per Cartitatem, is a great source of philosophical theology. Her thoughts on Muller are enlightening.
Jon Barlow – Jon writes as a PhD student and graduate from Covenant Seminary. His interests are historical theology. He utilises Muller’s writings to give perspective on the Federal Vision controversy. You’ll have to scroll through his posts to get the ones on Muller; Jon doesn’t use labels.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fear and Love

My friend Aaron Rock has posted on how to deal with others who differ with you, even over the gospel. I found these words very helpful and balanced.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Perspectives on the Warming of the Globe

I’m amazed at how often global warming comes up in conversation. Some examples: I was entering the elevator in my apartment building and there was a twenty-something university student in there staring at me oddly, not moving his cart full of laundry. As the door closed behind me, in an eastern European accented voice he commented on the weather. In all his days in Toronto, so says he, there had never been a December without snow. “It’s global warming.” I replied that the weather comes in cycles and that we are in a period of warmth and should enjoy it. “No, this is man-made, and the earth is slowly warming.” The elevator opened and we parted ways.
Friends of mine have watched the recent Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, to which the issue of global warming is a central theme. Again, we are told that man made emissions have been released into the atmosphere causing excessive warmth. Polar bears are dying, the ice in the Arctic isn’t freezing, and we should prepare for a global flood of Noahic proportions.
This morning a good family friend of my in-laws (and myself I might add), sent an email based on her having watched Gore, et al. She expressed concern and dismay for not having realised the consequences of global warming earlier. Finally, I thought, I should post my thoughts on this issue.
What I thought I would do is provide some links to articles that I have found helpful on dispelling the hysteria over global warming. I’ll annotate them giving a summary and thoughts on each link. I’ll be interested to read what you guys think out there in the blogosphere. So, without further adieu:
A Global Warming Primer – Robert Blackstock
Blackstock was, at the time of writing, a PhD student at Auburn University and taught environmental economics. Although this was written in 2001, it is a helpful introduction to the issue of global warming, giving a definition, an excursus into recent environmental concerns such as the “global cooling” paranoia of a previous generation, the inefficiency of computer modelling (helpful for those who watched Al Gore), the inaccuracy of collected data on global temperature, and the monetary gain for organisations such as WWF who rely on this kind of uproar about the environment. The final paragraph of this article provides helpful advice: focus on the important issues, not the periphery: “So, the question that Americans must ask is this: ‘Do environmental problems exist?’ The answer is yes, they do—but anthropogenic global warming is not one of them. Unfortunately, as long as people are distracted by the myths, their attention will not be centered on the facts.”

The Global Warming Scam – Nima Sanandaji and Fred Goldberg

This article is much more recent than the previous, having been written in 2006. Sanandaji is a Cambridge graduate and runs a Swedish think-tank called Captus and is the editor of their journal. Goldberg, having written his parts of the article from a polar trip, teaches at the Royal School of Stockholm.
The authors show that the research involved on the issue of global warming is relatively inconclusive and that there are many views regarding it. As some journals have reported, ice in the north is actually constant and in some instances thicker than others are saying. They also point to the variety of polar bear populations and that though some are depleting others are constant and even others are growing. Their concluding paragraph refers to “doomsday” theories and there is no reason to scare the populace into thinking that the world is warming to deadly degrees.
Unprecedented Global Warming? – Michael Heberling
This article comes from one of my favourite journals, The Freeman. The author is president of Baker College Center for Graduate Studies in Flint, Michigan. The article details the nature of Kyoto and shows how its two assumptions, that global warming is man-made and that there are unprecedented levels of global warmth are not tenable. Heberling pays particular attention to the latter showing the levels of global temperature change in history, from medieval warmth (which was warmer than today’s climate) to the warmth of the 1940s that wasn’t man-made. The final sentence of the articles is telling: “Enjoy the warm weather, while it lasts!” Meaning, obviously, that we’ll go through another cycle of cooling.
An Inconvenient Truth – Ronald Bailey
This is a review of Al Gore’s movie written by someone sympathetic to the notion that the earth is warming because of man-made pollutants in the atmostphere, yet disagrees seriously with Gore’s slide-show. He provides a lot of counter-evidence to Gore’s and outlines the emotionally driven rhetoric shown throughout the documentary.
For the last year or so I have been thinking on how, as an evangelical Christian, I can have better stewardship over God’s creation. It is sin to abuse the earth, of that there is no doubt. We are called by God to take care of our environment, and because of that mandate, all Christians should shame non-Christians in our care for the earth. Sadly, this is not always the case. I would love to know what organizations that are worth supporting. Sadly, eco-theology is often left-wing and liberal, advocating theologies that I could not attach my name to. What should we do, as Christians, to provide for the environment without falling to earth-worship?

5 Comments

Filed under al gore, economics, environment, global warming, the freeman

Rage Over Islam in Windsor

Sometimes I find it difficult reconciling my thoughts about Islam and Christian response. A church that I used to attend and work as a pastoral assistant for in Windsor is currently in the throes of controversy about a series of lectures they are giving on Islam. The lectures are part of a series called “The Deadly Threat of Islam.” The Windsor Star ran an article covering the outcry against Campbell Baptist Church, whose guest lecturer, Zachariah Anani, a former Muslim, spoke of Islam as a violent religion.
I wholeheartedly agree that Islam is violent. There is no debating that their history is that of violence, and that its leaders and holy book advocate violence – to be expressed by and in all quarters of the Islamic faith. All one has to do is read through any newspaper, Western or Middle-Eastern, to see that violence is a hallmark of Muslim belief. It is not hard to conjure up images of the Muhammad cartoon controversy, the attack on the Twin Towers, etc.
What I find hard to reconcile in my mind is the way we address Muslims in our culture. On the one hand, there are many in the West who are openly violent towards the countries they now live in (like Canada). For instance, the 17 terrorists who were caught in Toronto last year. But there are also a lot of Muslims who are not violent, inconsistent with their religion as they may be. Will hosting a conference, like the one at Campbell, that is distinctly aimed at ruffling feathers, accomplish anything for the gospel of Jesus Christ? I just don’t see it.
I believe that we can discuss the significant problems with Islam without raised voices and name-calling. I think back to the words of a band called Operation Ivy that went something like this: “Yelling in my ear, you try to control me, yelling in my ear, you look but you don’t see, yelling in my ear, yelling in my ear, yelling in my ear.” When people are screaming at each other, nobody hears anything. Be it Islam, or any other issue where there are two opposing sides, both parties need to take the time to be respectful, balanced and fair.
It is sad to see that things haven’t changed at Campbell. I left there for a number of reasons, some of which were intolerance from the upper levels of the church in regards to my presuppositionalism and amillennialism, among other things. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a Muslim in that place. I hope that this will prove to be a lesson for the elders there, and that they will learn how to respond to anything that they disagree with with understanding and compassion, coupled with the obvious love and committment to truth that they hold in their hearts. If that balance were in place, it would be a great church to attend.
***Update***
Here’s more coverage of the ill-spirited event. And my friend Mark’s thoughts.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Covenant and Justification

I haven’t listened to all of these lectures yet, but they do promise to be good. I have only managed to hear the first one, by David Chapman. These lectures are a review and response to the New Perspectives on Paul given by faculty members at Covenant Theological Seminary (PCA). Chapman is quite irenic, which I’m thankful for in light of the amount of harsh language lobbed back and forth from each side, and it provides a scholarly response.
Hans Bayer – Paul

1 Comment

Filed under apostle paul, audio, judaism, justification, n t wright, old testament, Resources

Luther on the Will’s Bondage

This week I am taking a class on the theology of Martin Luther taught by the excellent Dennis Ngien. One of our class assignments is to give a short, oral presentation on a particular work of Luther. I gave my presentation today on Luther’s Introduction, Seventh Chapter and Conclusion to The Bondage of the Will. Below I’m posting my two page presentation just for the sake of it.

Martin Luther – Bondage of the Will
Theology of Luther (Htheo 603)
Ian Hugh Clary

The humanist philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) offered an academic response to the Reformation in a diatribe entitled A Disquisition Upon Free Will (1524). Rhetorically it was a well-written treatise; theologically it left much to be desired. However, because of Erasmus’ notoriety as a scholar and critic of Roman Catholic excesses, the great Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) was finally convinced by friends to write a response that he published the following year, entitled The Bondage of the Will (1525).[1]
In the Introduction, Luther explains the apologetic nature of the work. The Augustinian monk had observed that many were being swayed by Erasmus’ stature as a humanist thinker and were absorbing his thought regarding the nature of the will. Luther went so far as to claim, “Christian truth is in danger in many hearts.”
[2] This danger is primarily what he sought to correct. Yet, in spite of the vitriolic language he employed, it is nice to note that he held out hope “that God may even condescend to visit you, most excellent Erasmus, by me, His poor weak vessel, and I may come to you by this book in a happy hour and gain a beloved brother.”[3]
It is to chapter seven of the Packer-Johnston translation that Luther’s positive exposition of the Biblical texts on the bondage of the will can be found. In particular, Luther examines a variety of Johannine and Pauline
[4] passages refuting free will. He also utilises various theological and historical motifs against free will, such as the issue of ceremonial works; the purpose of the law; and the Pelagian doctrine of merit. It is a veritable treasure-trove of Reformed teaching on original sin, predestination and other related soteriological themes. As Luther glibly notes, “[M]y doctrines are fortified with mighty Scripture proofs” implying that Erasmus’ were not, eloquent though his writing may be.[5] A brief sampling of Luther’s argumentation will suffice for the sake of time and space.
Under the second heading dealing with Romans 3:9ff, 19ff, Luther shows that the universal dominion of sin disproves free will. He emphasizes Paul’s use of the word “all” showing that both Jew and Greek are under sin. Luther observes that, “By saying ‘all’ he [that is, Paul] excepts none.”
[6] Because of the magnitude of sin’s control, all men “will and do nothing but evil.”[7] Only those who are “Jews in spirit,”[8] namely Christians, are exempt from this universal indictment. Luther elaborates saying,
You cannot find a way out by saying: though they are under sin, yet the best part in them, that is, reason and will, makes endeavours towards good. For if the endeavour that remains to them is good, Paul’s statement that they are under sin is false.
[9]
Luther correctly observes that if man had inherent qualities, even within the will or reason, that would gain them access to God, grace becomes superfluous. “[I]f they could initiate something by themselves, they would not need grace.”
[10]
In the Conclusion to The Bondage of the Will, Luther gleefully pounces on Erasmus requesting that a promise the latter made would be kept; namely, “You promised that you would yield to him who taught better than yourself.”
[11] Of course, Luther well thought that he had done this! Although there is much of a taunting tone, Luther recognized Erasmus’ gifts as a writer and entreated his sparring partner to maintain his writing, without foray into the world of theology. There is a note of sincerity when Luther closes with the prayer “That the Lord will speedily make you as much my superior in this as you already are in all other respects.”[12]

[1] Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will: A New Translation of De Servo Arbitrio (1525) Martin Luther’s Reply to Erasmus of Rotterdam eds J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston (Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1957).
[2] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 64.
[3] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 64.
[4] Luther refers to John and Paul as his “two generals” whom, with their few legions, were brought “into the fray” against Erasmus (Luther, Bondage of the Will, 273).
[5] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 63.
[6] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 278.
[7] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 278.
[8] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 279.
[9] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 279.
[10] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 279.
[11] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 319.
[12] Luther, Bondage of the Will, 320.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Burns in Allan Gardens

Hey Shed, we have Burns in our garden too. Guess who the guy in the pic is?

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Pat Robertson Petition

Frank Turk has started a petition requesting Pat Robertson of the 700 Club to stop “prophecying.” I have the privilege of being signee 177. Go to the petition and sign it if you are sick of seeing Pat Robertson’s grill all over the media making a mockery of prophecy, Christianity and our Lord Jesus. When you’ve done that, email the link or post it on the blog. Maybe this will actually accomplish something and get Robertson to be serious about the faith and not make us all look like a bunch of wack-jobs.
Kim Riddlebarger has a post on Robertson’s latest foibles, check it out at the Riddleblog.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Baptist History Celebration

This August will mark an important period of Baptist history. Charleston, South Carolina will be the place to be from August 1-3, 2007, especially if you are thankful for the heritage you have inherited from early American Baptists, who brought with them the teaching of the 17th century English Particular Baptists. At First Baptist Church in Charleston there will be a celebration of Baptist history that should not be missed. To commemorate the founding of this important church, and its history and theology, a great number of Baptist historians are gathering to deliver papers and discuss Baptist history from both America and Britain.

One of those giving papers is our own Michael Haykin. He will be giving two talks, one on the great British Baptist John Gill and the other on Baptist devotional literature. May God use Dr. Haykin to encourage the saints meeting at Charleston and to bring greater light to our understanding of Baptist history.

This will be an event to attend. If possible, I would love to go. Maybe someone will liveblog it? For more information check out the Baptist History Celebration website.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sunparlour Players

My friend Melissa played a CD by The Sunparlour Players for me this past weekend and I was quite impressed. From what I gather, they’re just two guys playing three instruments. What’s more, they’re from Leamington, Ontario, not too far from my hometown of Windsor. They’re a mix of Nick Cave, The White Stripes and Wilco – which is saying a lot. I really dig ’em. Check out their site for some good tunes. Hopefully I’ll get to see them sometime.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Helm on Ware

I recall a number of years ago having a discussion with a good friend as we drove home to Windsor from Cambridge. He had recently been to the Toronto meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and (I believe) had seen Bruce Ware give a paper critiquing open theism. In the paper, which my friend gave me a copy of to read, Dr. Ware argued that God had “compatabilitistic middle knowledge” that both retained God’s divine sovereignty and man’s freedom. It was seen as an answer to the issue of evil in relation to God’s goodness. From what we could tell (admittedly, green-behind-the-ear Calvinists), it was a helpful contribution to the development of a Reformed understanding of predestination. In fact, we believed that this would be the paving of the way of a new step in the progress of theology. Here, a solid theological view, developed, as had so many before, in the midst of intense controversy.
After having thought on that, the issue of “compatabilism” left the forefront of my mind and I concerned myself over the years with other issues. Having read quite a bit on the issues of election/sovereignty/predestination etc., I began to concern myself with other matters of theology. That is, until recently, when I had another conversation with a different friend who brought the issue to mind again.
This friend had taken a course on predestination at Southern Seminary under Paul Helm. I was excited to hear about the class because Helm is a favourite of mine. To say the least, I was quite envious (!) of my friend — hopefully without sinning! In the course of the discussion, my friend mentioned Helm’s critique of Bruce Ware and his understanding of “compatabilistic middle knowledge.” I was a bit surprised, considering that I thought that Ware was fairly sound. I read God’s Lesser Glory as well as some other stuff and was relatively convinced that this was Calvinistic. My friend, on the other hand, didn’t think so. In fact, he believed that it was a veiled form of Arminianism, which I thought was a perposterous statement. That is, until I read Helm’s critique at Helm’s Deep. Now I’m not so sure.
I have been delighted to read Helm’s Deep, a blog where Paul Helm posts articles that will soon come into print. His recent post, “The Classical Calvinist Concept of God” is from a chapter in Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views ed. Bruce Ware (Broadman & Holman, 2007). In the article, Helm provides an exposition of the doctrine of God, starting with the “A-team” – Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas – going down through history to Calvin and the Reformation. After the historical reconaissance, Helm delves into Scripture to prove the traditional Calvinist case. He then launches into critiques of various views, including Arminianism, Molinism (middle knowledge) and open theism. Then he addresses the “modified Calvinist” view offered by Ware in the same book and elsewhere.
Helm has helped me greatly, and I admit, I’ll have to reread and continue to ponder the article. But suffice it to say, I think that Helm has actually stated the obvious: that the “compatabilistic middle knowledge” view is essentially Arminian. Here’s a quote, that, while not proving the argument, does give pause for thought:
“Ware’s view is unstable because it combines two contradictory positions. On the one hand, he avows meticulous, exhaustive divine control. This clearly puts him in the traditional predestinarian camp. Yet, on the other hand, he avows ‘middle knowledge’ and distinguishes between God’s knowledge as it relates to persons and their natures and how it relates to their circumstances. These two positions are logically incompatible, so something must give. If the distinction between God’s relation to persons and their natures and his relation to human circumstances gives [sic] by Ware affirming that all of these are uniformly decreed by God, then this places him in the classic predestinarian camp. But if, by contrast, he affirms a difference in principle between God’s relation to persons and his relation to their circumstances, this can only be because of the autonomous powers that Ware attributes to people, which means that God’s meticulous, exhaustive divine control gives, and this places him firmly in the Molinist camp—in effect, in Arminianism.”
Helm argues, rightly I believe, that Ware’s view attempts to maintain the freedom of the individual to such a degree that it still leaves God not knowing the future and puts the main controllers in the hands of man. This, essentially, leads to Arminianism. Granted, an Arminianism with a high view of God, but Arminianism none-the-less.
I hope that Paul Helm’s article, both online and on paper, will lead to greater discussion of this. I would love to hear or read an interchange between Ware and Helm on this. I have no doubt that it would be cordial and friendly, as well as powerfully engaging and intellectually stimulating. And, knowing the strongly evangelical faith of both men, it would be soul-feeding and spiritually encouraging.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized