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June 01, 2005

Total Truth: Part 1 -- What's in a Worldview?

{NOTE: This is the first part of my blogging review of the book Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. I received this book through Mind and Media as a gift from the publisher (Crossway), who donated the books for the reviewers.}

If you've read any of Francis Schaeffer's books, especially Escape from Reason, the first section of Pearcey's book will seem very familiar. If you aren't familiar with Schaeffer's work, this section serves as an excellent summary (but you STILL need to read Schaeffer!). This shouldn't surprise anyone -- after all, Pearcey studied under Schaeffer at L'Abri, and is the Francis Schaeffer scholar at the World Journalism Institute. This section, and it's explanation of the dualistic nature of much of modern thought, is the foundation of the rest of the book.

Pearcey opens by tracing the development of modern thought from Plato to postmodernism, and points out the inherent dualism in each stage of development. She spends a good bit of time on Kant, which is good, but I'd have liked to have seen more attention paid to David Hume. I think his philosophy has influenced much of modern thought, so it was a bit disappointing to me that Hume received little mention in the book.

One of the strengths in this book, especially in this first section, is Pearcey's use of quotations from people who illustrate perfectly her point, but who are on "the other side" in terms of epistemology. Particularly this quote from Steven Pinker from MIT:

Ethical theory requires idealizations like free, sentient, rational, equivalent agents whose behavior is uncaused ... [but]the world, as seen by science, does not really have uncaused events."

The dilema, as Pearcey sees it, is that ethics and morality require something that science cannot quantify or prove. Science is trying to tie morality to genetics, but the results have, so far, been unconvincing. The result has been the building of a wall between "fact" (defined by science) and "faith" (as defined by religion or spirituality).

This dualism has the result of relegating all spiritual matters, all religion, to the level of "personal opinion" -- we can't know facts about then, because spirituality and science do not mix, and science is the only way to learn facts about something. Thus we have people who declare that there is no religious absolute (fact), and so Christians need to back off with all of our claims of absolute truth. Pearcey is knowledgeable of the arguements that will be placed against her, and does a decent job of backing her position with specific examples.

The goal of Christianity should be to offer a "unified, integrated truth" that encompasses all areas of our lives. Too often, Christians relegate their faith to Sunday mornings, and live the rest of the time as if religion cannot intersect with "real life." As a direct result, we now have Christian ghettos, where we listen to our Christian music sitting in our Christian coffeeshops reading our Christian literature, and never, ever interacting with anyone else. THEN we wonder why people think that faith should be left out of public life -- they believe that because we do.

In the next part of this review, I will look at Pert 2 of the book, in which Pearcey tackles the idea of philosophical Darwinism and it's impact on modern culture.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I Have Returned!

...to the Christian Carnival, that is!

With the move, and some of the really bad posts I wrote back at the old place, I haven't been in the Christian Carnival. Then I had time issues because of school, papers, and procrastination, so I couldn't get anything sent in.

I'm back.

The Carnival is up -- go there and read. There's some great stuff there.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2005

The Latest Pewie!

Who will it be???

For those who are confusing this with Adrian Warnock's Warnies should be aware -- a Pewie is NOT a badge of honor. Well, some people may think of it that way, but it's not intended that way. This is where I illustrate how "tolerant" people really act -- and there's a reason that the category name is "Intolerant Tolerance"

The New York Daily News brings us the latest Pewie recipient -- Dr. Timothy Shortell, the chairman of the Brooklyn College sociology department. Dr. Shortell has made the following prefectly tolerant statement, describing people with religious faith:

an ugly, violent lot. In the name of their faith, these moral retards are running around pointing fingers."{emphasis added}
THIS is the guy that the powers-that-be at Brooklyn College have put in the chair of an important department. THIS is what Brooklyn College thinks of people who have religious faith.

Dr. Shortell has every right to his opinion -- judging from his web site, I'd like to read his latest research project (comparing the reaction to Darwin's theories at his time to the reaction today). He also has a comment to everyone who has emailed him concerning hs comments (toward the bottom of his page)

I am proud to be among a group of intellectuals who have argued for a free, secular society, including Voltaire, Marx, Freud, Bertrand Russell, Mark Twain, Richard Dawkins, and many others.
Read the rest of it at his site -- it is worth reading. Essentially, he salutes those who don't follow the orthodoxy of their religious faiths -- who put the priority on this world rather than the next.

We should be active and involved in things here and now -- I wish more evangelicals were involved in combating poverty, homelessness, etc. (Actually, I really wish that those evangelicals who ARE involved actually got credit for what they are doing. I won't hold my breath, though.) But our primary focus as Christians is to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," as we are commanded to do by Christ. If we aren't doing that, nothing else we do matters.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2005

Bush and Abortion: The Truth Comes Out

Hat-tip to Christianity Today on this one -- let's see if anyone else picks it up.

"Abortions have increased during the Bush administration." How often have we been told that? Howard Dean said so. John Kerry said so during the campaign. Sojourners magazine reported it. And, though I've heard some people who were shocked, and some who didn't WANT to believe it, I haven't heard much refuting it.

Until now.

Politicians from Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Howard Dean have recently contended that abortions have increased since George W. Bush took office in 2001.

This claim is false. It's based on an an opinion piece that used data from only 16 states. A study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute of 43 states found that abortions have actually decreased. Update, May 26: The author of the original claim now concedes that the Guttmacher study is "significantly better" than his own.

What motivation could people have had to spread this kind of story? Obviously, to break the evangelical block that was supporting Bush. MY question is why didn't anyone check into the allegations?

We have a "Christian blogosphere" that includes some talented people. Did we all miss this? Were we so invloved in damage control, making excuses for the President, that we took it for granted that the data was accurate? I admit, I was disturbed by this "fact" -- though I questioned how the President was going to do something about a "private decision between a woman and her doctor." Abortion is still legal. It is OUR responsibility to make sure that it doesn't have to happen.

Our responsibility NOW is to make sure, whenever someone spouts the "abortion has increased under Bush" line, that they learn the truth. Keep the link above handy -- they have background data there as well. Now that we have the facts, it's time to start letting people know about it.

{UPDATE: Jonathan Bunch over at In the Agora posted this two days ago. Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost made mention of this in yesterday's outtakes.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Been There, Done That

Last year, I wrote about a resolution that was sent before the Southern Baptist Convention that advocated the withdrawl of all children of SBC church members from public schools.

This year, they're doing it again.

The Arnold-Scarbrough Resolution: (a) applauds Christians working in the government schools as missionaries, (b) calls on churches to warn their members of the devastating effects of sending their children to a totally secular institution for their education, (c) calls on churches to become aggressive and pro-active in starting Christian schools and in supporting homeschooling.
I still think it's a bad idea.

Yes, we need to instruct our kids about the truth, and prepare them for an educational system that is often hostile to their beliefs. But no, Christian school is not for everyone, much less homeschooling.

I know many homeschoolers, and they have my utmost respect and admiration. The ones I am familiar with are committed to their kids' education and are willing to do whatever they can to make sure that their kids have the best education possible. I wish all parents had attitudes like that. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to homeschool. Not everyone can educate their kids in everything they have to have to function in society.

Christian schools are few and far between. In my area, there is one that I would even consider sending my daughter to -- and their educational standards leave much to be desired. There are great Christian schools out there; unfortunately, there aren't enough, and there aren't enough that are affordable for many people.

The key to making sure that your kids are getting the right education is to be involved. You may have to fight sometimes -- do you seriously believe that you'll only have to do that in public schools? I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe that. If you are committed enough to homeschool, your kid will get a quality education no matter where you send him -- parental involvement is the key.

From the old blog

I am all for Christian schools, and even home schooling -- for the right reasons. If the public schools in your area do a lousy job of preparing your kids for life after graduation, then it's your duty to put your kids somewhere else. But if you are concerned about the moral decay of public schools, think about trying to help solve the problem. If you shelter your kids from what is happening in public schools (and I teach in one -- I know what is happening in them), what is their reaction going to be when they have to function in the real world? Will they be able to deal with people who are ideologically opposed to them, when they have never faced that opposition before?
Back your kids. Give them a firm foundation to stand on. But don't shelter them. They're going to run into it sooner or later -- make sure they're prepared.

Yes, I know that sounds too pragmatic. I'm not a teacher anymore -- unless you count substituting. My wife taught her last class a week ago -- she's out. NOT because of "rampant secular humanism" as some would like to believe, but because of some local issues (and some problems with NCLB, in fact).

There are reasons to withdraw from public education. It's not always the best solution -- gifted kids often are unchallenged,special needs kids often don't get the help they need. The people who are teaching are often NOT the best qualified to teach: how many people with a Masters degree (which is a requirement in Ohio now, after so many years of certification) would work for less than $40,000 a year? There are quality people in education, I know -- I've worked with some awesome teachers. I've also worked with some who were ignorant, often anti-intellectual (how's THAT for an educator!). My point is that the Convention cannot, and should not, make the decision for parents. What the SBC NEEDS to do, is to institute a quality training program for ALL members of ALL churches (anyone remember Training Union? My wife does!) so that we can meet challenges head on, and not scurry back to our Christian ghettos.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:26 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

My Blogroll

This isn't a true Blogroll Cruise -- it's more me talking about WHY these people are in my blogroll. If I can't justify it, I'm getting rid of it. That doesn't mean I don't LIKE it -- it just means that I'm trying to get down to 20 or so blogs (which I said I was going to do a month or so ago).

Al Mohler's blog: DUH! It's AL MOHLER!!! I think a link to his site is a requirement for attending Southern.
Antioch Road: Jason hits a lot of topics that I don't cover, especially political topics.
Back of the Envelope: Even if this wasn't a great all around blog -- the Weekly Webcomic Review is worth a read. He's a Sluggy fan, guys -- 'nuff said!!
Mind and Media: For some reason, I've got this listed as Blog for Books (which I am now changing). Everyone who likes to read should be involved in this -- you get free books!!
Blogcritics: I'm a member, it's worth reading. That covers it all, I think.
Blogs4God: With all the aggregators out there, it's nice to remember the original. It's still worth a read, too.
Bobby's Blog: Read the "Wha' Happened?" post there, and you'll understand. I like the way Bobby writes. He's one of the hidden gems in the Christian blogosphere.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2005

The Seven Councils: Introduction

{This is a repost of the beginning of the series from the old place. I'm putting it here in the hopes that I can get the rest of the series done.}

Nobody will ever write a history of Europe that will make any sort of sense, until he does justice to the Councils of the Church ...
---G.K. Chesterton

The first two centuries after the death of Christ were marked by periods of intense persecution of the church. The early Christians had little time to concern themselves with systematizing their beliefs -- their primary concern was to preach the Gospel of Christ, to make converts. Some early Christians were able to pass along teachings that they had learned from others, but there was some unity in these teachings, as they all came from a common source. As the apostles and their students began to die, however, the church was faced with a problem.

Teachers arose whose doctrine was not considered true. Controversy arose between followers of different teachers, some of whom claimed to have a "new revelation" of truth from God. The early church quickly established a canon of Scripture, so that everyone knew which books were authoritative and could be used in discerning what true doctrine was. Of course, not everyone agreed even on this point. And so Councils were called.

The idea of a council of church leaders was not new to the fourth century. The early church based their councils on the model set in Acts 15, when the apostles gathered to discuss the conditions under which Gentiles would be welcomed into the new faith. A council was called in 175 to address growing concerns about Montanism, and in 190 to reconcile Eastern and Western methods of determining the date of the Easter celebration (which was really never fully resolved). Cyprian of Carthage called one in 256 to discuss problems relating to persecution of believers in North Africa. Councils were widely used by the early Christians to attenpt to resolve disputes among believers. In this series, though, I will focus specifically on seven councils which are commonly called the Seven Ecumenical Councils because thier rulings were considered to be binding on all of Christianity, and the subjects delt with affected Christians all over the world.

Today, many Christians are ignorant of the councils -- especially Protestant Christians, who tend to regard tradition as something to be ignored and avoided in favor of Scripture. This is unfortunate, because much of our theology is based on these councils, who based their decisions on Scripture. Tradition and Scripture can exist side-by-side -- we simply must be sure that tradition never trumps Scripture. Scripture must be our principle guide, and when tradition and Scripture conflict, it is tradition that is wrong.

Church history is one of my passions. I love looking at the development of Christian theology, and seeing how early Christians looked at the Bible. I think that there is value in exploring where we have come from -- the more we know about our past, the better we can deal with our present, and look forward to the future. Controversies that the Church has delt with in the past can also be a help to us today, and that's what I am hoping to bring out in this series.

In this series, I am going to take a look at each Council individually, the reasons it was convened, it's decisions, and the fallout from it. Then, I am going to look at the Council's statements in light of Scripture, and see where tradition has taken over from the Bible as our guide in faith. I'm going to try to leave preconceptions at the door when I do this, but to an extent that is not possible. I am a conservative Protestant Chrisitan, with all the baggage that comes along with it. And I hope to have some comments from people who disagree with me -- I hope that we can learn from each other.

The series is going to be a little more scholarly than other things that I do here. The wisecracks and sarcasm I tend to inject in many posts won't be there. But I hope I won't make this study too dry, because there is value in it.

My principle source for this is going to be Leo Donald Davis' book The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (327-787): Their History and Heritage. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1983. This should combat my own preconceptions and prejudices, since the book is written from a Roman Cathollic perspective. I'll note any additional sources at the bottom of each post, so that you can do your own study, and see if I'm getting it right!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Seven Councils: Nicaea, 325AD

{This is the last repost on this series. All further posts will be new ones. Promise}

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17 ESV)

The Council of Nicea was called to answer one basic question that had been plaguing Christians for the past hundred years -- how can a faith that affirms the basic unity of God also assert the diety of Jesus Christ? There were many attenpts to answer this question, but all were unsatisfactory at some point. Some, adoptionists like Theodotus, taught that Jesus was born a normal man, and that the Christ, the Logos of God, descended upon him at his baptism. This denied the eternal existance of God (which the Bible clearly teaches). Others, such as the monarchians, acknowledged the diety of Christ but denied that He was distinct from the Father. This lead ultimately to the idea of patripassianists -- those who taught that the Father Himself suffered on the cross. There is no distinction between the Father and the Son -- which minimizes, or even obscurs, the humanity of Christ. In fact, many who believed this ultimately taught that Christ's humanity was an illusion -- a clear contradiction of Christ's teaching, especially after the resurrection.

Ultimately, each attempt to reconcile Christ's diety with Judeo-Christian monotheism strayed in one of two directions: either emphasizing the humanity of Christ at the expense of his diety, or affirming his diety while minimizing his humanity. Early Christians recognized the problem, and spent a lot of time trying to come up with a solution that would affirm His diety and humanity. Nicea was the first step; later councils would address Christ's dual nature (Ephesus and Chalcedon), and the wills of Christ (3rd Constantinople). Trinitarian thought was further developed at 1st Constantinople, when the diety of the Holy Spirit was affirmed. Each of these councils will be treated in depth later on in the series.

The issue that finally made a general church council necessary was the prevelance of the teachings of Arius. Arius believed that the Son was divine, and was the agent of creation, but the Son was not God. They were similar, but not the same. Arius taught that God created the Son to act as His agent in creation, so that "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Joh 1:3 ESV)" Arius had been excommunicated twice for his unorthodox beliefs, and finally left Alexandria for Palestine, and won support for his beliefs there. Soon Arianism spread throughout Christendom.

The chief opponent of Arius was Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria. Athanasius advocated the idea of Christ being consubstantial with God and coeternal with God. "There was no time when He was not" vs. "There was a time when he was not." "homoousios"(of the same substance) vs. "homoiousios"(of like substance) -- amazing what the addition or subtraction of one vowel can do to a word in Greek.

The exact number of bishops present at the council is uncertain. Eusebias records 250, Athanasius himself says around 300. The most commonly accepted number is 318, given by Hilary of Poitier. The bishops heard arguement from both sides, and judged the issue by Scripture, finally determining that the Arian position was incorrect and, in fact, heretical.

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ek tes ousias] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father [homoousion to patri], through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made our of nothing (ex ouk onton); or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Church anathematizes.
The decision, contrary to popular opinion, was near unanimous. Five bishops disagreed, though that number was quickly reduced to two -- Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais. Both of these men were exiled and anathematized.

The major issue of the council was thus settled, and yet at the same time, it wasn't. Later councils would address the idea of the person of Christ and the nature of Christ, in an attempt to express exactly how He could be both God and man at the same time. Christological conflict was not over, but at Nicea an important foundation was established.

Other issues that were addressed by the council included the controversy over the date of Easter, and another schismatic named Melitus of Lycopolis, whose name has gone down in obscurity just as Arius' has gone down in infamy.
Additional Sources:
The Medieval Sourcebook documents from the First Council of Nicea.
The First Council of Nicea
The Catholic Encyclopedia articles on: Arius, Arianism, and the First Council of Nicea

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2005

Sung to the tune of "We Didn't Start the Fire"

This is a kind of Blogroll cruise, but I'm cruising the "new additions" to the blogroll.

OK -- one new addition. But it's a biggie.

Way back when I was first really exploring the Christian side of the Internet, I found two sites. One was the Fundamentalist Forums, where I lurked for a few years, off and on, before getting up the guts to post. I still hit that site every day, looking for my next arguement -- or at the very least, some blogging fodder.

The other was a gold mine for me. Phil Johnson's bookmarks. The best and worst of Internet Christendom, all in one convenient list. I hit that page every week or so, just to see what's new. (I'm still waiting to see how Phil categorizes The Sword of the Lord's website.) If you've never been there, do it now -- I'll wait.

Ok, back now? Now the reason for all this rambling.

Phil has a blog.

Not long ago, there was a discussion on the FFF, and the topic of blogging came up. Someone said that Phil should be dragged into the blogosphere kicking and screaming. And he has entered the blogosphere -- kicking people and screaming at them!

Ok, that was a little hyperbole there, but Phil is pulling no punches on his new blog (aptly named PyroManiac). He first targeted Calvinists (actually, mainly those who are in the "cage stage"). I don't know anyone who would disagree with this point, but Phil went further -- he charged the Boars Head Tavern. So in his very first post, he got a LOT of people mad at him.

Then he posts about loving our enemies. This from a guy who used to hang out on the Fighting Fundamentalist Forum (before my active posting time, unfortunately). And he's won a Warnie in his first week of blogging.

Needless to say, this blog needs to be on your daily read list. You don't have to agree with him on everything, but I promise you that you'll learn something, AND be entertained.

If you question the entertainment value, just read some of the comments!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This Week in Church History

June 10, 1555.

Thomas Haukes was chained to a stake and burned to death.

From Foxe's Book of Martyrs:

In the after noone agayn, the sayd Haukes appearing and hearing the foresaid bill of his confession, with the Articles and Interrogatories read vto him, with like constancie in answering againe to the bishop: My Lord (saide he) as you being my frend haue caused these my sayinges to be writtē: so do you cause them to be read: and yet I wil neuer go from them.

And then being exhorted by the Byshoppe with many fayre wordes, to returne againe to the bosome of the mother Church: No my Lord (sayd he) that will I not: for if I had an hundreth bodies, I woulde suffer them all to be torne in peeces, rather then I will abiure or recant.

Haukes was an early Protestant who refused to have his infant baptized according to Roman rites; he did not consider them to be Biblical. He did not deny that baptism was commanded in the Bible. He denied, ""Your oil, your cream, your salt, your spittle, your candle and your conjuring water," -- the pomp and ceremony attached to the rite by the Roman church.

I've hear some few who claimed Haukes to be a Baptist, but that is not accurate. Regardless, his example is one of faithfullness to our beliefs, under any circumstances, and faithfulness to God. When threatened with burning, he told his captors that what God allowed them to do, they could do, and what God did not allow, they would never be able to do. At his death, he raised his arms in victory even as the flames engulfed him, sure in the knowledge that he was going to be with his God. In an age when compromise is a virtue, in which we are called to unity at all costs, we would do well to remember the heritage that we have, of those who hald to their beliefs no matter what they cost -- even at the cost of their lives.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stupidity Reigns!

There is a petition to ban the Internet.


Savor the irony of that for just a moment.

Someone called the UCAWWW has decided that the Internet is the source for all that is wrong with the world.

Our children are being exposed to filth that causes sexual tendencies and drug addiction. We therefore, demand that the internet be permanently banned from American homes. We MUST restore faith in God and steer clear of the devil!
WHAT in the WORLD did we do before the Internet? What did we blame all our problems on?

Minstrel shows and Vaudeville.
What came before that? This is just the latest in a LOOOOONG line of humanity refusing to take responsibility for their own actions. Where did it start?

Adam and Eve. Look at Genesis 3.

God: Adam, did you eat the ONE THING I told you not to eat?
Adam: uuuuuuh... It was HER fault! That woman you gave me tricked me into eating it. She GAVE it to me, after all!
God: Eve, what do you have to say for yourself?
Eve: Uhhhh... it was the SNAKE. The SNAKE tricked me!!!!
God: (to himself) So she got tricked because she trusted a talking snake. Maybe I shouldn't have made her blond.

So why do we do it? Because we all mess up, and we don't want to admit it. Because to admit it would mean that we need help to fix things, and that would lead to Someone who DOESN'T mess up, and that would mean God, and THAT just totally cramps our style. If I believe in God, next thing you know I'll be worshipping Him, and wanting to serve Him, and then I won't be able to play golf on Sunday mornings anymore.

So we decide that we aren't so bad, and when we DO mess up it's because of the TV or the radio or the Internet or those evil books or those godforsaken public schools or the Communists or the Secular Humanists or the .......

{tip o' the hat to Mark Lawson over at PCCBoard for this one}

{UPDATE: After digging, this looks as if it may possibly be (OK, I'm 100% it is) a satyrical look at the evangelical habit of boycotting things. Look at the "interview" here. I am usually NOT the one taken in by this kind of thing -- usually, I'm the one doing the taking in, truth be told. But I got suckered. I thought about taking this down completely, but the RSS feed already has it, so it's staying as a reminder that I can be gullable at times, too.}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 07, 2005

Public Education and the SBC, part 2

A quote, taken from a study by the SBC in 2002.

88 percent of Southern Baptist children leave the church and never return after graduating from public school.
Assumably, the culprit is public education. Those darn schools are convincing the kids to leave the church.

I will readily admit that in some cases, this has happened. Especially in studying evolution -- there have been many church kids who have had their faith crushed under the weight of Darwinian thought. Whose fault is that??

Ours. What do youth groups typically do? Wednesday night is a "rap session," a time to talk about thing that concern teenagers. We need to do that -- but that shouldn't be all that is done.

Of course, that isn't all that is done. There are the bowling outings, mini golf, concerts, pizza parties, lockins, etc. And we need that. BUT that shouldn't be all that's done.

Education. Show the kids how to defend themselves. A biology teacher's worst nightmare is a Christian kid who knows the weeknesses of Darwinism. Do you really think that high school biology teachers have extensive post-graduate training in evolutionary biology? Nope -- those who DO have that training aren't making $30,000 a year sitting in a classroom. They're making a LOT more, PLUS getting government grants, PLUS writing books and hitting the lecture circuit. I've been in education long enough to know that the old saying "Those who can't do, teach" is unfortunately very true. There are rare exceptions to this -- and those often do not last very long. It is OUR job as a church and as parents to train our kids so that they know what they believe, and can defend it.

Elementary education is a touchy subject in this respect. How do you prepare the youngest kids to deal with what they are going to face in public schools? This is where parental involvement is essential. On this level, the best thing you can do is to be involved. Let the teachers know that you're there, and you're paying attention. Don't let things you disagree with slide -- this is your kid we're talking about. If the teachers won't listen, THEN I would say look at alternatives.

Remember -- I'm not saying that public education is the best option for everyone. I AM saying that the SBC needs to do a better job at preparing kids to face opposition, whether in the schools or in the real world. And I worry that we're leaving behind people whose kids can't go to Christian schools, or can't be honeschooled. What do we do about special ed kids? What do we do about kids whose parents can't afford alternatives? Leave them behind?

In the study I quoted at the beginning of this post, they don't mention how many of these kids went to Christian schools. Too often, Christian education is just as bad (if not worse) than public education. That's fodder for another post, though -- suffice to say that I know just as many kids who went to Christian schools and rejected their faith later as I do kids who went to public schools. Who do we blame THAT on?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2005

This Week in Church History

June 9, 1732.

"Separation of Church and State" is a rallying cry today. I am in favor of keeping government out of the business of the church, and I think that the church has many more important things to do than worry about the details of running a nation. But I do NOT think that this means that Christians should expect no support from government in practicing their faith, nor does it mean that Christians should not act on their beliefs in public office.

On this date in 1732, the charter of the colony of Georgia was signed by George II of England. Though established primarilly as a debtor colony, with an eye to helping defend the Carolinas from Indian attacks, Georgia was heavilly promoted by a man with a decidedly Christian motive. James Oglethorpe is recorded to have said

In America there are fertile lands sufficient to support all the useless poor in England, and distressed Protestants in Europe; yet thousands starve for want of mere sustenance.

Christianity will be extended by carrying out this design; since, the good discipline established by the society, will reform the manners of those miserable people, who shall be helped by it; and the example of a whole colony, which shall behave in a just, moral, and religious manner, will contribute greatly towards the conversion of the Indians, and remove the prejudices received from the wicked lives of such who have scarce any thing of Christianity but the name.

Similar to the finction of the Pennsylvania colony of William Penn, actually, an Oglethorpe certainly had Penn's ideas in mind. There was no state church in Georgia -- even Catholics were protected "so [long as] they be contented with the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the same not giving offense or scandal to the government."

A Christian nation? No. Christian principles? Certainly. I believe that the founding fathers would have seen in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity a picture of the religion that they practiced (except for Jefferson, of course, and possibly Franklin). Common ground among Christians of all denominational stripes. Working together in areas that we all agree -- agreeing to disagree on nonessentials, prayerfully correcting each other when we disagree on essentials. The goal of the Georgia colony was lofty. Unfortunately, Oglethorpe was recalled to England due to his conflicts with the colonists over slavery, and much of his influence was lost.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2005


I passed 10,000 hits the other day. Unfortunately, it was on my old blog.

Many of those hits are because of Google searches that turn up things in the archives. I'm going to change my title banner a little bit so that it lets people know that the page has moved here, so that should help.

A LOT of the traffic to the old blog is because people haven't changed their blogrolls. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE change the link on your blogrolls, aggregators, whatever else I'm on, to http://pewview.mu.nu. That way, I'll actually get the traffic that you are so kindly sending my way. Thank you!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

You Might be a Baptist If ...

Another repost, but this time it's timely. David over at Jollyblogger has posted You Might be a Presbyterian If ... and has challenged the rest of the blogosphere (or at least our part of it) to follow suit. I like his take on Baptists in that post (he used to be onw, after all), but a while back I added these:

* If you believe that Jesus fed 5,000 people with catfish and hushpuppies, you might be a Baptist.
* If you have never sung the third verse to any hymn in the hymnal, you might be a Baptist.
* If the first question you ask a pastoral candidate is, "Do you like chicken?" and question his salvation if he answers "No," you might be a Baptist.
* If you've ever collected an offering using Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets, you might be a Baptist.
* If you think that a Biblical benediction is seventeen verses of "Just As I Am," you might be a Baptist.
* If, when someone says "AMEN" during a sermon, you look around to see who the visitor is, you might be a Baptist.
* If your definition of "fellowship" involves fried chicken and sweet tea, you might be a Baptist.
* If you believe that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be potluck, and leave instructions in your will to be burried with a covered dish, you might be a Baptist.
* If you have a bumper sticker on your car that says, "In the event of Rapture, this car will be unmanned," you might be a Baptist.

Credit for some of these should probably go to Grif.net, though I'm really not sure which ones -- that's the one place I know I've seen a list like this before.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

View from a Different Pew

God is moving throughout the world! Last night I was privileged to witness 12 of those blessings. At my mother's church in Lynchburg, VA, I saw a concert by Children of the World. They wore traditional costumes of their countries and sang in different languages. You could see God's mercy on each beautiful face.

Each child is a professing Christain. Most live in children's homes in their native land. Some have been able to remain with their families by sponsorship through WorldHelp. They are absolutely FILLED with the Joy of the Lord.

I will admit to being a little partial to this charity. It is based in Forest, VA. It's offices were 30 feet away from where I used to work. I have seen it grow from 3 or 4 people to a major mission thrust. They are doing it for all the right reasons.

My Challenge to You: Please pray for this group of evangelical Christians. If you can do more, please do. You can schedule a Children of the World concert, listen to mp3s of their music and buy merchandise from their website at www.worldhelp.net They have sponsorships for $24 per month and an Education Fund designed to send these kids and others like them to college to become missionaries, doctors, nurses, teachers and pastors. Please do as the Lord leads. I assure you they keep their overhead to a minimum and are some of the finest Christians I have ever met.

May God continue to bless His church around the world!

Posted by Thanea at 03:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Our Mission Statement

We here at View from the Pew realize that it is better to recontextualize transparently than to redefine cyber-holisticly. The re-sizing factor is dynamic. Think vertical. We pride ourselves not only on our feature set, but our non-complex administration and non-complex operation. We apply the proverb "When the cat's away, the mice will play" not only to our Total Quality Control but our capacity to deploy. We invariably strategize front-end partnerships. That is an amazing achievement taking into account today's conditions! If all of this sounds dumbfounding to you, that's because it is! The power to enhance virtually leads to the aptitude to transition globally. Quick: do you have a compelling plan for handling emerging infrastructures? The metrics for convergence are more well-understood if they are not virally-distributed.

Generate your own at http://www.andrewdavidson.com/gibberish/

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

Open Source Theology -- The Update

This seems to be the week for revisiting old posts! No, I'm not going to repost anything this time (though I'm tempted, considering how many hits this topic gets at the old Pew), just a link to my original posting here.

A bit of an explanation -- my original post wasn't a critique on the idea of open source theology; in fact, I hadn't heard of the site until after I made the original post (and I noted it here). I'd actually never seen anything called "open source theology" and thought that the title sounded interesting. And I enjoyed carrying the software metaphor out throughout the piece. It's been included in a couple different places (including the King of the Blogs tournament) and has NEVER goten this much attention.

NOW, there are a couple comments over at the old place (both in the past week, to a post almost a year old!) -- one in particular deserves an answer.

How do you know which patches constitute an "authorized upgrade from the Manufacturer"? How do we know Reformation 1.5 was authorized? The church didn't seem to think so at the time, and now the church is in the same boat, criticizing any new work in theology because it doesn't fit well with the status quo.

How DO we determine whether ANYTHING we do theoogically is authorized, or consistent with the original design of the software?

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
(Acts 17:10-12 ESV)

Examining the Scriptures daily ... that sounds like a plan to me! Anything we are told from the pulpit, or from a book, or a lecture, or wherever -- we compare that to the Bible. The Reformation 1.5 patch (and NOBODY has asked me why the .5!) was in response to several abuses by the Roman Church. Luther laid those abuses out pretty succinctly in his 95 Theses. There were theological probelms, and Luther was TRYING to get the "powers that be" to recognize them, and make the appropriate changes.

If a "new patch" or "upgrade" (to continue my favorite metaphor even further) contradicts the Bible, or what it teaches about the nature of God (the Open Theism .95 patch, for example), then we need to question it, regardless of who has signed the certificate. Clark Pinnock was once the darling of conservative, evangelical Baptists -- now his name is anathema in those same circles. The certificates with his name on them are suspect -- they have failed the "Berean test."

That's the bottom line. We need to test everything against the Bible. Where the Bible is silent, there is room for disagreement. Where the Bible is specific, there is no room for debate.

If you want to see the posts that STARTED this whole thing again (and read some GREAT stuff on the subject) start here. Then go here. THEN back to here.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 11, 2005

Its ... A MUSIC MEME!!!!

Got this from The Daily Whim -- sort your iTunes list by title, then list one for each letter of the alphabet.

So here goes!!!

"100 Billion Watts" -- Smalltown Poets
"A Million Years" -- This Train
"Battle Hymn of the Republic" -- John McDermott
"Come Sail Away" -- Styx
"Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)" -- The Swinging Medallions
"Enter Sampson" -- ApologetiX
"First Redneck on the Internet" -- Cledus T. Judd
"Grapefruit Diet" -- Weird Al Yankovic
"Hero" -- Steve Taylor
"I Can't Dance" -- Genesis
"Jesus Freak" -- dcTalk
NO K!! I need to fix that ....
"Little Drummer Boy" -- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Mamma Rap" -- Dead Alewives
"Never Underestimate my Jesus" -- Reliant K
"Oh Holy Night" -- Trans-Siberian Railroad
"Pipe Dreams" -- Project 86
"Quack Quack" -- The Wiggles (I have a three-year-old!!)
"Rusty Chevrolet" -- Da Yoopers
"Screen Door" -- Rich Mullins
"They're Rioting in Africa" -- The Kingston Trio
"Until Then" -- New Life
"Veggie Tales Theme -- Techno Remix" -- Veggie Tales
"We're Getting Nowhere Fast" -- This Train
"You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd" -- Roger Miller

So there's my list. What does YOURS look like??

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2005


Just to let you all know that the archives from the old site are here. So far, I've published them back to the first of this year; the only things I'm leaving out are things like "Help me leave Blogspot" or "I'm moving" or something like that. MOST have categories that they are listed under as well, so you can cruise through some of my archived posts.

I don't know when I'll get the rest of the archives posted. They'd have posted automatically, but my default setting for new posts is "draft" rather than "publish." Oh, well.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Total Truth: Part 2 -- Starting at the Beginning

In Part 2, Pearcey takes on Darwinism. This is the chapter that raises the ire of most critics -- the majority of the negative reviews on Amazon.com only mention this section, leaving me to wonder if the "reviewers" have even read the whole book.

Pearcey's focus is not biology, however. She is looking closely at the philosophical implications of Darwinism, and the impact that philosophical Darwinism has had on modern thought. She also laments the lack of debate on such a controversial topic. It seems that even scientists who subscribe to intelligent design (which, contrary to the opinion of its critics, is not necessarilly a Christian model) are left out of substantive debate on the subject of origins, which is puzzling to me. If Darwinian evolution has been proven (as so many claim) then defeating the opposing ideas should be simple. Time and again, however, ID theorists are turned down for debate: it seems that the mere act of debating them would somehow give ID credibility.

The implications of Darwinian thought are disturbing. Pearcey's discussions of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology are fascinating, especially when propponents of those sciences are quoted. Pearcey quotes liberally from Peter Singer, Richard Dawkins, and Robert Wright. Each of these men have taken the implications of Darwinian evolutionary thought to it's logical end, and each have been attacked by other evolutionary scientists for their conclusions. Most evolutionists do not want to accept the implications: that as man evolved physically, so did he evolve socially. Our "bad behavior" is not a moral problem; it is a throwback to prior evolutionary stages, and is therefore, in some way, to be expected and excused.

Everey field of study has been impacted by evolutionary thought. Pearcey mentions business, sociology, education, etc. as examples of areas outside of science that have been influenced by Darwinism. This influence on worldview should give Christians pause, and make us think more fully about what we are being taught. By fully integrating our own worldview in our lives, we can be prepared for this conflict, and more fully articulate our own beliefs in opposition to the naturalism-influenced evolutionary thought that is advocated so often in society.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jesus: An Intimate Portrait

{NOTE: This is my blogging review of the book Jesus: An Intimate Portrait by Leith Anderson. I received this book through Mind and Media as a gift from the publisher (Crossway), who donated the books for the reviewers.}

I haven't really finished the book I had intended to read before this one, but I found myself in need of some lighter fare after slogging through Part 2 of Total Truth. In looking at this book, and reading some of the reviews, I thought that it would be a fictionalized biography, similar to Taylor Caldwell's Lion of God and I, Judas -- both of which I have read and enjoyed. This book isn't what I thought it would be.

Anderson seems to be undecided about which direction to take his book -- fictionalized account or conversational non-fiction. The book certainly begins as if it were fictionalized, discussing the needs for the trip to Bethlehem and the condition of Mary. And much of the book is written in that vein.

But that is what makes the departures all the more jarring. And I'm not referring to the sidebars that Anderson has peppered throughout the book (which while helpful, would have been better appreciated as footnotes). The best example of this can be found in Anderson's discussion of Christ's childhood. He starts off, "Little is known about the rest of Jesus' childhood." While true, this is a somewhat jarring intrusion of a non-fiction narrative in the midst of an otherwise fictionalized account. I think this entire section could have been included as an appendix, with a note at the end of the chapter pointing readers to this further information.

The narrative that Anderson has written is tied so closely to the Biblical text that the book could simply have been marketed as a paraphrase of the four Gospels. I was expecting more; Anderson certainly has the knowledge to have written something on the scale of Caldwell's works, but doesn't here. I also didn't gain much more understanding of the land or the people, certainly not the "intimate portrait" promised by the subtitle. That can be excused as the error of a marketing executive with an overactive imagination (and an overused thesaurus). Unfortunately, the expectation that this marketing ploy creates is not fulfilled in the book, and that is the ultimate criteria by which the book should be judged.

I think this book is a good resource, particularly for new Christians who want to study the Gospels but are intimidated by studying the Biblical text directly. For nonChristians who have not read the Gospels, this book is a good introduction to Christ's life as portrayed in the Gospels. But the book fell short of my expectations, and that is unfortunate.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Anyone Surprised?

You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox






Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Boy, this thing was tough to get formatted to fit!! Had to leave off the picture.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

New Project and News

I'm working on a new website project. I'm going to improve the look and functionality of the SBC Bloggers aggregator that I set up some time ago.

I found a great tool -- RSS Digest -- that helps newbies like me to insert RSS feeds into a site, pretty much anywhere we want. I'm envisioning a newspaper look for the aggregator. The 5 most recent articles posted by aggregator members will be at the top, and each member blog will have a section that shows the five most recent headlines for each blog. I'm still in the early development stages, but as work progresses, I will update everyone.

I also wanted to remind everyone to check out Blogcritics periodically. I have a post there about Pac Man's 25th birthday, as well as some book reviews. If you just want to look at my stuff, you can go here.

AND -- more of the old archives have been moved over. It's a bit tedious,but I'm getting everything set up here. I'll keep the old site up for a while, just because I still have links to old posts that go back there, and I'm still getting hits there (search engine hits, mainly). Eventually, though, it will go away.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 17, 2005

New SBC Aggregator Site

It's not even close to being finished, but you can get the basic idea of it here. Let me know what you think, and any suggestions that you have. My HTML is decent, but my CSS needs improvement.

Eventually, each blog in the aggregator will have its own "block." Once I get the design done, it will be pretty simple to add blogs -- just add another div tag or two, and BOOM -- there they are!

{UPDATE}: I will be changing the site URL probably tomorrow. I'm not happy with the banner ads that Bravenet is putting on the page.

{LATEST UPDATE}: The new URL is http://sbcbloggers.witnesstoday.org/ Christian hosting folks that operate as a ministry. I'm still doing some tweaking, but that's where it's going to be for the forseeable future.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

I've been tagged!!

I guess I had to get hit with this one sooner or later: The Literary Meme has arrived!!

What is the total number of books you have ever owned?
Wow. EVER????? Easilly over 5,000. Most likely over 10,000. No real idea though. I've probably got over 4,000 just right now, and I've sold/gotten rid of/thrown away/loaned out a lot more than that.

What is the last book you purchased?
Is the New Testament Reliable by Paul Barnett. Got it for five bucks at the bookstore at Southern last semester.

What is the last book you read?
Everyone knows that -- Jesus: an Intimate Portrait by Leith Anderson. It's right over there on the left sidebar!!

What are five books that mean a lot to you?
The Bible.
Mere Christianity
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
The Gospel and the Greeks
Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller

NOW I have to find 5 people who haven't done this one already. I'll have to get back to you on that one -- I'll post an edit here.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sorry to Disappoint ...

This may or may not turn into a regular thing -- I don't get the odd Google hits that Scott at The Crusty Curmudgeon does, but I really found this one odd -- and I'm the #1 result!

Korn I have a gilded wife

I'm guessing they were looking for song lyrics or something. Tip for Googlers -- quotation marks are your friends!!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2005

Mark Study: Mark 7:31-37

Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak." (Mark 7:31-37 ESV)

It's interesting in this passage the reference to Jesus opening ears and loosing tongues -- I think this is a reference to what Christ's mission was all about: freedom. Freedom from the sin that binds us. It also refers to the spread of the Gospel to all the nations -- people who formerly could not hear, can now hear. People to whom the Gospel was not first presented (as we saw in the last passage in Mark) are able now to hear, and to testify to the power of Christ.

This man's friends begged Jesus to come and heal him. We need to have friends who have faith, and we need to BE friends who have faith -- so that we can both faithfully witness to our unsaved friends AND be an encouragement to our Christian friends.

The early church fathers have a lot to say about Christ putting His fingers in the man's ears. They see it as the man being touched by the entire Godhead at once -- an incredibly powerful experience. Gregory the Great said, in his Homilies on Ezekiel: "The Spirit is called the finger of God. When the Lord put His fingers into the ears of the deaf mute, he was opening the soul of man to faith through the gifts of the Holy Spirit."

Are our ears opened? Do we experience this type of contact with God daily? The Holy Spirit dwells in us, and yet we walk as if we have no guidance. We see people every day who cannot hear: do we bring them to the Christ who can heal them with just a touch of His hand? Or are we too worried about being seen as religious nutcases?

How do you think this man's friends were looked at by the people around them? Taking him to a Jewish itinerant preacher who was doing nothing but stirring up trouble among his own people, and expecting him to be healed? I'm sure they were mocked -- right up until it worked. Why did they do it? Because they loved their friend. Do we love our friends enough to make ourselves look foolish to the world to bring them to Christ? And are WE speaking with tongues that have been loosened by the Holy Spirit, showing them and telling them the Truth of God's love in Christ?

Prudentius, a Spanish poet and hymnwriter in the 4th Century AD, wrote this:

Tongues Unloosed
Deafened ears, of sound unconscious,
every passage blocked and closed,
At the word of Christ responding,
all the portals opened wide,
Hear with joy friendly voices and
the softly whispered speech.
Every sickness now surrenders,
are unloosed and speak aright,
While the joyful paralytic
bears his pallet through the streets.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

My "Exit Strategy"

When I was a kid, some of my friends were Roman Catholic. Every week, they would go to their church for what they called "CCD" classes. These have nothing at all to do with camcorders; this was back in the early 70s. CCD stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes. The purpose was to give them instruction in their faith.

The Catholic church didn't expect the public schools to do it for them: they did it themselves. Public education has almost always been hostile to those of the Catholic faith here in the US. My friends went to school with me -- church run schools weren't heard of much then (at least to my recollection; I was elementary-school age when we lived there, but all the kids I knew went to the public schools).

Once upon a time, so I've been told, Southern Baptists had something similar. It was called Baptist Training Union, and the purpose was instructing people concerning the beliefs of the church. The church was the center of spiritual education, and it worked well.

Some churches still do it. Some churches still see the importance of this opportunity. Unfortunately, many churches have stopped doing it.

"People aren't willing to spend more time at church." "People don't have the time." "People don't want to learn this stuff." "People don't care." Those are among the excuses that they use. They don't fly.

My own experience is that people WANT to learn. People are hungering for this kind of knowledge. When I taught a series on the Biblical Jesus last year, we had a bigger turnout than we had planned: had to order more books. And when I ended the series, people wanted to know what topic we were going to cover next. They want to learn, and they are willing to make the time to come learn.

The problem is that we don't have the programs in place. We have teachers -- we can use Sunday School teachers to start with, provided they can teach the material. Material is out there: The Theology Program offered at bible.org is an excellent resource, and more are being produced all the time.

My rant here is focused, once again, at the resolution to pull SBC kids out of public schools. Al Mohler and Russell Moore have both come out in favor of the resolution. Dr. Mohler is the first I've seen to advocate an "exit strategy" for parents of public school kids. This far, I can agree: if we as Southern Baptists expect parents to pull their kids out of public schools wholesale, then we have to make sure that there is a viable alternative. Right now, there isn't one in far too many cases. There is no exit strategy, but we're going to tell people to leave anyway. This is irresponsible.

Christian education is seen in far too many circles as substandard. I've seen too many kids who were educated in Christian schools who could not function at the next level of their academic career. My wife could tell you horror stories of haveing to explain simple concepts to a girl in one of her classes who was valedictorian of her Christian school, and at Liberty on a full-ride scholarship. I've had similar experiences, both in undergrad and seminary classes.

There are schools offering quality Christian education -- I don't want to be misunderstood here. I fully support those parents who decide to send their kids to a Chrisitan school, and commend them for the sacrifice that it involves. The problem I see is that in too many areas, for too many parents, the choice becomes "Do I send my kids to the public school where their faith is under attack? Or do I send my kids to the Christian school that doesn't prepare them for college?"

We're expecting parents to sacrifice their kids' academic futures. We're expecting parents to sacrifice to give their kids a substandard education simply because it's a Christian education. The Southern Baptist Convention is large enough, and has enough resources, that we can create a quality Christian educational infrastructure. We can build the schools. We can train the teachers, and pay them. Christian education can be quality education.

But that is going to take time. In the meantime, we need to re-establish the Baptist Training Union. Call it something different if you want to: the point is, we need regular training for Baptists of all ages on doctrine. We need training on what exactly the Baptist Faith and Message says, and why we believe it. We need training for lay people on what the issues are, and what the Biblical response should be, but more, we need to train people to have a consistently Christian worldview so that when they are confronted they can give a reason for the hope that is within them, and they can feel confident in their faith.

Teach kids what they believe, and why it's right. Give them some backing, and when their teachers in public school contradict that teaching, they won't simply accept it and move on. Be involved in their education, so that when the teachers are trying to indoctrinate the kids, you know about it and can fight it. Be aware of kids' rights in public schools, and be willing to fight when those rights are threatened. And help to build the kind of educational system that Southern Baptists have the ability to build, so that if you have to remove your kids from public schools, they'll have someplace to go that won't handicap them intellectually.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The REASON For The Public School "Crisis"

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists historically have been strong supporters of public education, and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have been deeply committed to the right of all children to achieve their God-given potential, and

WHEREAS, The American public school system is now facing its most serious crisis in history, due to the complex issues of communicating moral values, financing, family breakdown, discipline, the "back to basics movement," racial desegregation, and church-state problems, and

WHEREAS, Many Baptists occupy administrative and teaching positions in the public school system,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists be urged to pray regularly for those teachers and administrators who work faithfully in the public school system, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That while recognizing the validity of the ministry of church-related private schools, Southern Baptists be urged to become more involved in shaping and supporting public schools, participating responsibly wherever possible in the local school and in the decision-making bodies which determine the course of public education, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we hereby commit ourselves to help achieve quality education for every child in this nation.

That was a Southern Baptist resoultion in 1971. The emphasis I've added shows where the problem is.

We didn't do it. And now it's a mess, and we want to run away from it.

Parents, educate your kids in the manner you see fit. But Christians, involve yourselves in the schools in your area.

We resolved to do this over 30 years ago. We failed. Let's not fail again.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Idiot Scammers

There is a PayPal scam circulating right now, and I just got an email from the scammers.

Probelm: The idiots didn't realize that my gmail address is NOT the one I use for PayPal. The warning came to the viewfromthepew Gmail address, because that's the one that is on the page near my PayPal button.

One thing I like about Gmail -- the links in the email that I got were disabled, and there was a warning because of the header information in the email. It didn't matter in my case, because I knew that the message was a scam, but it could save someone else who may not know about the scams.

So be alert for a PayPal scam, coming soon to an inbox near you. Maybe they got YOUR email right.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

Joel Osteen

I've been in debates elsewhere about Osteen, and his ministry. There are a lot of people who value his ministry, and look at the success that he's experienced as a blessing from God that we shouldn't question.

Osteen was on Larry King last night -- the transcript is here. He certainly made it clear what he believes.

KING: But don't you think if people don't believe as you believe, they're somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that's God's for you. You can live a good life no matter what's happened to you. And so I don't know. I know there is condemnation but I don't feel that's my place.

KING: You've been criticized for that, haven't you?

OSTEEN: I have. I have. Because I don't know.

KING: Good news guy, right?

OSTEEN: Yeah. But you know what? It's just in me. I search my heart and I think, God, is this what I'm supposed to do? I made a decision when my father died, you know what? I'm going to be who I feel like I'm supposed to be. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Not the end of the world if I'm not the pastor ...


KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.


CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that...

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...

KING: But you believe your way.

OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?

OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.

Osteen was so intent on giving a good interview, and making sure people bought his book, that he totally missed an opportunity to share Christ with an international cable TV audience. He doesn't want to offend anyone. Christ said that people would despise us because of Him. The Gospel offends people; Joel Osteen doesn't want to do that. He wants thousands of people to show up at church every Sunday to hear what they want to hear rather than tell people what they need to hear. He's doing nobody any favors.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:11 PM | Comments (55) | TrackBack

Streaming the SBC

The Southern Baptist Convention is holding it's annual meeting today and tomorrow in Nashville. You can watch the proceedings by clicking here and following the directions to start streaming.

Pastors Conference is actually the best part -- once you are streaming the convention, click on the 'Video Archives' link (right of the screen) and you can see archival footage of the Pastors Conference. It's worth it.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

WOW -- Good PR!!!

Three SBC bloggers (two of whom are already in the Aggregator -- guess I need to email Marty Duren!) were featured in a story about live blogging at the SBC. Steve DeVane at the North Carolina Baptists' paper The Biblical Recorder interviewed Steve McCoy, Joe Thorn, and Marty briefly at the beginning of his story about blog coverage of the Convention.

Congrats, guys!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2005

Flag Burning: Desecration?

I posed this question over at the PCCBoard forums, but I wanted to ask it of all of you, my faithful readers (reader? Anyone?):

Why do we call it flag desecration? What is sacred about the flag? Or should I say the Flag?

I agree that the flag is symbolic of the nation. It is symbolic of the sacrifices made by our military. It is symbolic of the sacrifices made by everyday, normal Americans who make this nation what it is.

But sacred?

Interesting to look back through American history: the flagbearers in the Civil War, men who didn't carry a rifle, but a banner. Often the first to fall -- but another would take their place, usually before the flag hit the ground. And most of the time, the flag was simply a regimental flag, not even the national flag. Almost a hundred and fifty years ago, flags were considered important. To capture the enemy's banner was the ultimate insult to them -- a sign that they were totally defeated.

But sacred?

It seems to me that the Flag has become simply a part of a nationalistic religion (and I actually thought this before I read this piece on AlterNet). The Nation is our deity. The President is the great High Priest. And the Flag is the sacred symbol (similar to Christianity's cross or the Star of David). Don't disagree with the High Priest. Don't blaspheme the Nation. And don't desecrate that sacred symbol of our Nationality, the Flag.

I don't like flag burning. I have little respect for flag burners. But I have enough respect for them that, while I disagree with what they are saying, I will fight for their freedom to say it -- and my freedom to disagree as loudly and publically as I want.

Tombs are desecrated. Religious buildings, symbols, and books are desecrated. Flags are burned.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

We Are Resolved ...

... to do pretty much what we have been doing all along.

Everyone was so up in arms about the Public Schools Resolution (tm) -- including me, yes I admit it. And THIS is what we finally resolved to do (I'm skipping the whereas stuff -- if you want to read all that, go here and read the whole thing yourself):

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21-22, 2005, urge parents and churches to research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge parents and churches to exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks, and programs in our community schools and to demand discontinuation of offensive material and programs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our churches to assist and support parents as they investigate community schools and as they train and disciple their own children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend godly teachers and students who feel called by God to take a stand for Christ in secular schools as a light shining in the darkness; and be it further

RESOLVED, That as citizen Christians we commit to hold accountable schools, institutions, and industries for their moral influence on our children; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge Christian parents to fully embrace their responsibility to make prayerful and informed decisions regarding where and how they educate their children, whether they choose public, private, or home schooling, to ensure their physical, moral, emotional, and spiritual well-being, with a goal of raising godly men and women who are thoroughly equipped to live as fully devoted followers of Christ.

To translate: We are resolved that parents should make the decision concerning their kids' education. We are resolved that they should make an informed decision. We are resolved to support their decision, while making alternatives available to them if they want them. We are resolved to pray for our teachers AND all those Christian kids IN the public schools who are out there as missionaries. We are resolved to hold people accountable for the garbage they try to bring into the classroom.

Is any of that new? I HOPE that we were doing all of that anyway. No mention of an exit strategy. No mention of most anything that people were upset about pre-Convention. Sounds like the committee decided to walk the middle road on that one.

THAT'S a resolution I can live with -- it's nothing that Christians shouldn't have been doing already.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

Christian Carnival

The next Christian Carnival is going to be held at ChristWeb. If you want to be a part of it (and who doesn't?) email your entry to ChristianCarnival AT Gmail DOT com. You should include:

  • The name of your blog and a link to your main site. (Adding the name with a hyperlink would be a nice courtesy to the host.)
  • The title of your post and the URL of the post. (Again, adding the title with a hyperlink would be helpful.)
  • If you want a trackback, include a trackback link. (Tracking back is optional. Some hosts may oblige you, others may not have the time or ability.)
  • Include a short (one or two sentence) description of the post. Your description may be edited by the host, but is often used just as it is.

Matt Jones has done us all a great service in setting up a Christian Carnival Archives page. Head over there and take a look, and read some of the posts from days gone by.

My first carnival was #12. I plan on being in this one, and being more active in the future (I was in every one for a long time, then I got lazy). If you want people to read your stuff, you need to be a part of this carnival.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Study of Mark: Mark 8:1-10

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away." And his disciples answered him, "How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?" And he asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven." And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. (Mark 8:1-10 ESV)

The Feeding of the Four Thousand. Everyone has heard this one -- it's one of the most famous miracles of Christ.

What was the point of the miracle? Most of these folks had been following CHrist for a long time -- Jesus said they'd been with Him for three days. They didn't head home at dinner time: these people travelled and slept on the road, literally following Jesus, and being taught by Him. They had heard the teachings; what more did He have to show them?

He wanted to show them that they needed to rely on Him for everything. And He meant everything. Not just spiritual needs. Not just miraculous healings. Their simple, daily needs. Their "daily bread."

We trust God for the big stuff. We know He can cure cancer, heal illnesses, convert the lost. We know He can change lives. But how often do we trust him to give us what we need each day? How often do we rely on Him to feed us, and clothe us?

Who gave you the job that you have? Who gets you to work safely each day? Who gives you the abilities that you need to do your job? These all come from God. He has provided for you: He is sovereign, and He is taking care of you.

Where we run into problems is when we lose sight of this simple truth. We look to ourselves, and our own efforts. "I did this, and I got this bonus." "Look how well I did last quarter." We focus on our own abilities, without giving credit to the One who gave us those abilities. And then we wonder if He's mad at us when things go wrong.

When those things happen, God is trying to remind us that we aren't the focus. We aren't the ones in charge. He is. And He is worthy of all glory and honor. We're not.

In the next passage, we'll see that the disciples didn't get this, either. They couldn't stop worrying about things that God had promised to provide. And we do the same, every day.

Focus on God, and His calling for your life. Don't worry about where the paycheck is going to come from -- He has already provided it for you.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2005

Osteen Apologizes

Many of you have called, written or e-mailed regarding my recent appearance on Larry King Live. I appreciate your comments and value your words of correction and encouragement.

It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve. I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life. I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life.

Jesus declared in John 14; I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven. It’s about the individual’s choice to follow Him.

God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience. In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save, I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious.

I will use this as a learning experience and believe that God will ultimately use it for my good and His glory. I am comforted by the fact that He sees my heart and knows my intentions. I am so thankful that I have friends, like you, who are willing to share their concerns with me.

Thank you again to those who have written. I hope that you accept my deepest apology and see it in your heart to extend to me grace and forgiveness.

As always, I covet your prayers and I am believing for God’s best in your life,

Joel Osteen

from website.

I am hoping that God will use the correction that Osteen has received to strengthen his message and the impact that he has on thousands of people, not just in Houston but nationwide. Many people have been disappointed with the way he's presented himself, and the Gospel -- hopefully this incident will mark a change.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Critical Christians

Much has been said in the past few days about criticizing our fellow believers. Should we or shouldn't we?

Most of the commentors responding to my Joel Osteen posts have said NO. "Judge not," they say, "lest ye be judged." And that is good advice. We shouldn't be quick to condemn people. And that's why I posted concerning Osteen's apology as soon as I read it on his site. If I was only interested in condemning someone, I'd have never done that, nor would I have recognized the spirit in which the apology was given. Osteen is truely sorry. He doesn't try to blame anyone else for what happened (which his defenders were quick to do). He admits that he wasn't clear, he reaffirmed what he and his church believe, and he promised to do better in the future. I am praying that God will strengthen him, and give him the opportunity to do just that.

But were we wrong to criticize him? Was it wrong to call the problem to his attention? And what about "Judge not?"

I like what Albert Barnes has to say about that particular verse (Matthew 7:1)

Christ does not condemn judging as a magistrate, for that, when according to justice, is lawful and necessary. Nor does he condemn our “forming an opinion” of the conduct of others, for it is impossible “not” to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil. But what he refers to is a habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for every palliating circumstance, and a habit of “expressing” such an opinion harshly and unnecessarily when formed.
The motivations are in question -- why are we expressing this opinion? To encourage the person to change, to warn others about their behavior, or to tear them down? In this case, my own motivation was the second -- to warn others about his behavior. I have no illusions that Osteen read my blog. I have no direct line to him, and no influence over him. I also don't want to tear him down -- in my comments on the previous post, I made it clear that I thought he had a great message to Christians who need encouragement (a fact that I wish the responders to that post had noticed ...). But the fact that he totally missed the opportunity to share Christ with the nation needed to be discussed -- and that's the purpose of blogs in general.

Should we "judge" our fellow Chrisitans? Let's see what Paul had to say:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7 ESV)
That's not very tolerant, is it? Telling people that they are following a false Gospel -- that's not very uplifting. Who does Paul think he is, criticizing those who are trying to minister to the Galatians?
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:11-13 ESV)
You mean Paul opposed Peter??? But Peter has such a great ministry, and he's been so blessed by God! How could Paul even THINK about condemning him? Especially since, at this point in his life, Paul hadn't done much of anything -- not anything better than Peter. Why did Paul condemn Peter?

The same reason that people spoke up agains Osteen after the Larry King interview. Because he blew it.

Peter changed. Osteen has apologized. Again, my prayer is that God will use this for His glory, and that Osteen will get the chance to show us that he knows he was wrong.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

Blogroll Cruise -- 6/27/2005

This installment, I'm cruising through the SBC Bloggers roll. If you want to keep track of these blogs on your own (which I recommend) head over here and bookmark it.

That's about a third of the list. I'll pick up with the rest tomorrow.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005

Live Free or Die!

{Tip o' the hat to James at the PCCBoard Forums.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

I don't know how much the rooms will be per night. I also don't care. I WILL be staying at this hotel when it opens.

Too often the people making our laws are not affected by them. It is time that the folks in Washington find out what the legislation they are passing and ruling on means to tthe rest of the country. The only thing that I regret about this is that it won't affect Souter much at all -- the guy has enough money that he can buy a new house pretty easilly. The average American that this ruling will impact will often not have that advantage.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 30, 2005

Something About That Name

You can pray all you want to before the city council meetings in Great Falls, SC. -- just don't mention Jesus.

"This sends a message that this behavior is unacceptable," said Darla Wynne, whose 2001 lawsuit started the legal battle. Wynne practices Wicca, a nature-based religion based on ancient Western European and pre-Christian beliefs.

She said her victory made her feel a sense of accomplishment for the "little guy." Wynne was opposed by some religious leaders and the state's attorney general during her legal fight.

The town's lawyer, Michael Hemlepp, said he will advise Great Falls officials to "obey the law."

I would advise the Christians who are called to pray to end their prayers something like this:

"And I pray this in the only name that is worthy, the only name of the only one who ever commanded His followers to pray in His name, but a name that has been banned because of the fear it creates in unbelievers, in that glorious name I pray, Amen."
The law is obeyed. Jesus isn't mentioned. But the point is made. I like making points like that.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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