Saturday, March 29, 2003


Director of the Civil War (aka, The War of Northern Aggression) epic 'Gods & Generals' contends that liberal movie critics have systematically attempted to suppress the movie:
[Ron] Maxwell believes his "unorthodox" portrayal of the South and of unapologetic Christianity were not palatable to the majority of movie critics, who essentially "suppressed" the film with politically motivated reviews.

The movie portrays the South, particularly General 'Stonewall' Jackson, as people of profound religious faith, real people not goose-stepping nazis. That's not the accepted version of the South, of course. A positive portrayal of the South coupled with a positive portrayal of Christian faith is not going to set well with those who have immersed themselves in the hedonistic Hollywood outlook.

A friend of mine went to see the movie and commented, 'I can't believe they allowed that movie to be made and shown.' (he means that as a compliment to the movie) Another friend commented that the movie used God's name, not in vain, more times in the first ten minutes than in every other Hollywood production of the past three years combined.

For a knowledgeable review of the movie read what my former teacher Prof. Clyde Wilson has to say. Then go support a movie that stands as a genuine attempt to bypass the anti-religious Hollywood mainstream.

Friday, March 28, 2003


My good friends David & Mary Ann Abner have just expanded their family by one bundle of joy: Margaret Leigh. They'll call her Maggie. Congratulations Abners! Welcome Maggie.

It's easy to let troops on the news thousands of miles away in Iraq become abstractions. The picture you see above is of a Marine near An Nasiriyah, Iraq following a 'friendly fire' incident in which 31 Marines were injured. And according to my sources, it's a picture of Tim Parker. His father is one of the elders at the church where I preach. These are real folks who are in real danger. Let's pray some real prayers for them.

Thursday, March 27, 2003


If the Bible has ever seemed difficult to grasp to you, a new book has been released that demonstrates very clearly how not to read Scripture. I'm sure Don Christie the author of Actual Proof of My Existence signed: God of the Bible means well in his attempt to 'prove' the existence of God, but in so doing gives a clinic in bad hermeneutics:
The book shows that all of the ‘major events’ of the 20th century from the years (1900 – 2003) and beyond, are found in the ‘Psalm number’ that is the same year of the ‘event’. The Psalms are the 19th book of the Bible so Psalm 46 becomes 1946. Here are a few samples: Psalm 46:9 says “He makes wars to cease” and we all know that 1946 is the first full year after World War II; this is even verse 9 and September 2, 1945 (9th month) is one year later, exactly when the surrender was signed with Japan. Another incredible Psalm is Psalm 87. In 1987 Saddam Hussein restored the old Babylonian empire (by rebuilding all of the palaces) and hosted a really big party for a month with bands and musicians from all over the world; it was predicted in Psalm 87:4 “I will make mention of Rahab and (Babylon) to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.” Psalm 87:7 “As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.” There are over 20 of these Psalms that clearly predict all of the major events of the 20th century. More events are the Titanic, the Depression, Attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II, the Y2K problem, and on and on. It gets really interesting for the years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2010, and beyond!

So reads the press release touting the book. Of course works like this ultimately do more harm than good. Every generation seems to find prophetic words that deal very specifically with current newspaper headlines.

Yes, God does exist. Yes, there is 'proof'. No, He didn't use the Bible to predict World War II or the Internet.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


The Financial Times (subscription required) is reporting that sales of Bibles were up dramatically in January. Referencing that story and others, Christianity Today's weblog provides a number of good links related to the recent upswing in demand, especially involving the military. Unsettled times can have a clarifying effect on our thinking.

As one who is not a fan of 'Honest' Abe, but is a Christian, I was stunned by this outcome:

Abraham Lincoln 75, Christ The King 73, OT

Tuesday, March 18, 2003


The ancient stone tablet containing an inscription from King Jehoash on its way to the Israeli Antiquities Authority broke in half in transit:

Officials didn't say how the break occurred, but a spokeswoman for the Antiquities Authority, Osnat Guez, said it could actually help scientists studying the tablet, since they will be able to check the inner layers to determine how old the stone is.

The authority will form a commission to study the tablet, which has fifteen lines of ancient Hebrew inscription that resemble passages from the Book of Kings.

Note to self: Cancel plans to ship Biblical antiquities.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Friday, March 14, 2003


Yesterday we took my brother-in-law and his wife down to Mammoth Cave National Park. On the way we passed a place called--I kid you not:

Golgotha Fun Park

It was in an area with lots of touristy miniature golf courses and such. We noticed on the way back that it actually had three crosses and a Jesus statue to go with the mini-golf. *sigh*

Wednesday, March 12, 2003


Phillip Jensen, new Dean of Sydney's Anglican Cathedral, St. Andrews, has caused quite a stir Down Under. In his inaugural sermon Jensen actually stated (gasp!) that there is such a thing as truth. Not only that, but some people believe what is true and contradictory views are (I hope you're sitting down) not true! (oh, the humanity):
Phillip Jensen argues while there are many wonderful Hindus, Muslims, Jews and atheists in Sydney, they cannot all be right. Some or all of them are wrong, and if wrong, he says, "they are the monstrous lies and deceits of Satan, devised to destroy the life of the believers."

So just who, according to Phillip Jensen, is right and who is wrong?

PHILLIP JENSEN: The ones that are right are the ones who teach the truth, and the ones who are wrong are the ones who deny the truth. Jesus Christ either lived, or he didn’t live.

Now, this basic course in logic may not seem earth shattering to you, but Jensen's words have set off quite a fire storm among religious leaders in Australia. Truth, you see, is really what you want to make it. Rabbi Raymond Apple, 'a senior spokesman from Sydney's Jewish community', enlightens us:
The problem is that the word 'truth' can be understood on various levels and in various ways, and we believe that the truth is that human beings are entitled to be themselves with their own views, and no-one has any right in today's pluralistic democratic society to wield a big stick and to say, as they used to do in the bad old days of the wars of the religions, you have to accept what I say, or else your life will be in danger.

Ah, what is truth? Seems like someone else asked about that...

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


A can of worms was opened over at cut on the bias on the question of who was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. It all started with a rabbi's fear that Mel Gibson's new movie on the death of Jesus might actually mention that Jewish leaders were involved. To portray that wouldn't be 'helpful', you see.

The New Testament generally uses the term 'the Jews' when talking about those who were involved in plotting against Jesus. What is meant, by and large, was the Jewish political/religious establishment to whom Jesus was a threat. Jesus Himself was a Jew, of course. His apostles were Jews. The early church was composed entirely of Jews for some time. But that Jesus was rejected by the Jewish establishment is without question. The New Testament tells of their plot to kill Him and of His forcing their hand in that.

We must also remember the Roman involvement. The Sanhedrin turned Jesus over to Pilate, the Roman governor, as they did not have the legal right to execute someone. Pilate was reluctant to do it, but his hand was forced by the Jews who suggested Pilate's friendship to Caesar would be called into question. Pilate, on rocky political standing at that point, caved.

This is not to excuse Pilate, who was a wicked and cruel man. The point Scripture is making was the representative involvement of both Jews and Gentiles in the rejection and crucifixion of God's Son. Theologically speaking, everyone is responsible for Jesus's death. Those who commit apostasy, we are told, 'crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.' (Hebrews 6:6) There's plenty of responsibility to go around.

Paul (a rabbinically trained Jew) writes,
For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks seek for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.(1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

Jesus was not hostile to the Jewish law. He said, 'Do not think I came to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.' (Matthew 5:17) He is the Messiah, the Son of David, the culmination of all that God had promised.

Christopher Hitchens considers the 'Christian' case for peace in Iraq being made from Vatican Hill and in many American pulpits. He's not impressed.

War with Iraq is ultimately a political, not a religious question. This applies to both sides of the debate. I would certainly hope one's faith would inform the position one takes, but I believe one can be faithful to God while on either side of the current war question.

Friday, March 07, 2003


The James ossuary, or bone box, that was revealed last year is beginning a round of intense scrutiny to confirm its authenticity:
Israel's Antiquities Authority set up two commissions of archaeologists, geologists and language experts to study the box, which bears the inscription, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" and which Israeli and French scholars believe dates to between AD 50 and AD 70.

The ossuary needs to be subjected to just this type of investigation. It does no one any good if it is a fraud, and if it's genuine secrecy can only give cover to its critics.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


Freed-Hardeman, a college in Henderson, TN, is lobbying lawmakers for its share of Tennessee's lottery funded scholarship money. The school is affiliated with what we tend to call 'Institutional' churches of Christ, i.e, churches that give money to para-church organizations:
The group is led by Dwayne Wilson, the executive vice president of the Churches of Christ-affiliated school in Henderson.

Wilson opposed the referendum clearing the way for a lottery and says he'd like to see the Legislature not pass enabling legislation.

Still, if there are to be lottery-funded scholarships, Wilson wants his students to have an even chance to get them.

It's certainly unfair from the state's standpoint to deny them the scholarships, but it seems a bit unseemly on the college's part to ask for it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


Newsweek has an in-depth look at George W. Bush's faith. It's nice to see the national media recognize religion in an overall positive way. But you still get the sense all of this is very, very foreign to them.

Mormon scholar Thomas W. Murphy who can find no evidence for the claims made in the Book of Mormon has suggested the book is 'inspired fiction':
In his essay, Murphy reviewed recent human molecular genealogy studies that contradict that claim. "To date no intimate genetic link has been found between ancient Israelites and the indigenous peoples of the Americas," Murphy said.

He noted that researchers genetically link American Indians with native Siberians. Murphy told The Chronicle of Higher Education that some Mormon intellectuals want to debate the Book of Mormon "as fiction, possibly inspired, but as fiction."

Ah, I see.

Needless to say, the powers that be at LDS Central are not happy.