17 April 2014

Not That Kind of King; Not this One

They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn’t enter the palace because they didn’t want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. “What charge do you bring against this man?”

They said, “If he hadn’t been doing something evil, do you think we’d be here bothering you?”

Pilate said, “You take him. Judge him by your law.”

The Jews said, “We’re not allowed to kill anyone.” (This would confirm Jesus’ word indicating the way he would die.)

Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”

Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?”

Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?”

“My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king.”

Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”

Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”

Pilate replied, “What is truth?”

Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find nothing wrong in this man. It’s your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the ‘King of the Jews’?”

They shouted back, “Not this one, but Barabbas!”

16 April 2014

If You Do Them

Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus replied, "You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things."

Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet!"

Jesus replied, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."

Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!"

Jesus replied, "The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you." (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, "Not every one of you is clean.")

So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you. I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

15 April 2014

Not Like God

Jesus and his disciples went to the villages near the town of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, "What do people say about me?"

The disciples answered, "Some say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah. Others say you are one of the prophets."

Then Jesus asked them, "But who do you say I am?"

"You are the Messiah!" Peter replied.

Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about him, and began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, "The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. He will be rejected and killed, but three days later he will rise to life." Then Jesus explained clearly what he meant.

Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. But when Jesus turned and saw the disciples, he corrected Peter. He said to him, "Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God."

So when the time came, the chief priests and leaders took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

14 April 2014

It needs to be said

by Frank Turk

My friends and pastors went to T4G last week, and all I got was this lousy blog post.

So yesterday we went to church after my friends and pastors came back from T4G, and they all had stories about the things they did or said, and one of the guys recounted an anecdote which needs to be brought to light here, Hiatus or not.

Our local church has really tight connections with an international parachurch organization [IPO] (their headquarters is right down the street), and that parachurch organization has really tight connections with a radio ministry [RM] that used to be sort of globally assisted by this larger parachurch ministry.  The names here are redacted because they are not important.

So my friend from church is seeing his friends from IPO and RM at T4G, and they start chatting about this and that, and someone asks if I'm there.  My friend says no, but he knows I'm listening via the web because I was tweeting the good stuff which I had time to listen to.

So the face/voice of RM says to my friend, "wait, Frank Turk?"

And my friend says, "Yes -- Frank goes to the Bible Church."  And the head of IPO confirms it because he and I have had lunch.

So the voice of RM says again, "Really?  Frank Turk?  He lives in Little Rock?"

And my friend says, "yes.  His kids are in Youth Group.  He teaches Sunday school sometimes."

And the voice of RM says yet a third time, "The PyroManiac?"

At which point my friend said that he and the leader of IPO started laughing because she was sort of flabbergasted.

And that leads me to this post, which I think is long overdue.  I think my friend was amused because maybe the voice of RM found it hard to believe that anything good could come out of Little Rock.  Maybe she was concerned that such a menace as I can come out of such a stolid and unswerving church as the one which we are members of these days.

I think there's actually a different problem: an on-going confusion in the world between myself and another fellow who probably doesn't realize he's being tarnished by the confusion.

This fellow is Dr. Frank Turek:


Right?  He has a Wikipedia page.  He has written books.  He has a Ph.D. in Apologetics. He has a radio show.  He's a reputable person.  He does not live in Little Rock.  He does not blog at this web site; he never has.  He's a good man.

This fellow here:


Right?  He makes Open Letters and Hitler Responds videos.  He has only been on the radio when Paul Edwards was crazy enough to invite him -- and he may have actually gotten Paul Edwards fired.  He writes forewords to books he has never read, and is counted as an anti-Catholic and as the quintessential WatchBlogger by those who do not want to be asked difficult questions.  He is a menace who must be stopped.

He lives in Little Rock.

You will be best-served if you don't confuse them.







13 April 2014

The Dragon!

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 34, sermon number 2,043, "The blood of the Lamb, the conquering weapon."
"When this dragon blocks our road, we shall need heavenly aid  to force our passage."

In calling him the dragon, the Holy Spirit seems to hint at his mysterious power and character. To us a spirit such as he is must ever be a mystery in his being and working. Satan is a mysterious personage though he is not a mythical one. We can never doubt his existence if we have once come into conflict with him; yet he is to us all the more real because so mysterious.

If he were flesh and blood it would be far easier to contend with him; but to fight with this spiritual wickedness in high places is a terrible task. As a dragon he is full of cunning and ferocity. In him force is allied with craft; and if he cannot achieve his purpose at once by power, he waits his time.

He deludes, he deceives; in fact, he is said to deceive the whole world. What a power of deception must reside in him, when under his influence the third part of the stars of heaven are made to fall, and myriads of men in all ages have worshipped demons and idols!

He has steeped the minds of men in delusion, so that they cannot see that they should worship none but God, their Maker. He is styled "the old serpent"; and this reminds us how practised he is in every evil art. He was a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies.

After thousands of years of constant practice in deception he is much too cunning for us. If we think that we can match him by craft we are grievous fools, for he knows vastly more than the wisest of mortals; and if it once comes to a game of policies, he will certainly clear the board, and sweep our tricks into the bag.

To this cunning he adds great speed, so that he is quick to assail at any moment, darting down upon us like a hawk upon a poor chick. He is not everywhere present; but it is hard to say where he is not. He cannot be omnipresent; but yet, by that majestic craft of his, he so manages his armies of fallen ones that, like a great general, he superintends the whole field of battle, and seems present at every point.

No door can shut him out, no height of piety can rise beyond his reach. He meets us in all our weaknesses, and assails us from every point of the compass. He comes upon us unaware, and gives us wounds which are not easily healed.

But yet, dear friends, powerful as this infernal spirit certainly must be, his power is defeated when we are resolved never to be at peace with him. We must never dream of terms or truce with evil. To suppose that we can let him alone, and all will be well, is a deadly error.

We must fight or perish: evil will slay us if we do not slay it. Our only safety will lie in a determined, vigorous opposition to sin, whatever shape it assumes, whatever it may threaten, whatever it may promise. The Holy Ghost alone can maintain in us this enmity to sin.

According to the text it is said of the saints, "They overcame him." We are never to rest until it is said of us also, "They overcame him." He is a foeman worthy of your steel. Do you refuse the conflict? Do you think of turning back? You have no armour for your back. To cease to fight is to be overcome.

You have your choice between the two, either to gird up the loins of your minds for a life-long resistance, or else to be Satan’s slaves for ever.

11 April 2014

Snipping out Bible verses? Begin (and end) at the beginning.

by Dan Phillips


From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.


The following except was written by Dan back in January 2013. Dan explains why if you're going to remove verses from the Bible, Gen 1:1 is the only one you need to bother with.


As usual, the comments are closed.
Folks at war with God have always snipped out the parts of the Bible that they didn't like. Rationalist critics in the 19th-21st centuries have turned Biblical authorship claims into pious lies at best, rationalized prophecies and miracles to remove, well, prophecy and miracles. Anything that offended their rival philosophy was discarded by one elaborate contrivance or another.

Some are less artful. A well-known actor tries to ameliorate his guilt over pursuing his slavery to unnatural desires by snipping out unwelcome passages from Gideon's Bibles in motel rooms. This is vandalism as therapy, evidently yet another pursuit of the idle rich.

It has occurred to me, however, that every one of these folks could save themselves a lot of trouble. Just one snip is all it would take.

Snip out Genesis 1:1.

Among the things the decades have brought to me is a deepening appreciation of the opening chapters of Genesis, and particularly of the first verse. As S. Lewis Johnson once remarked, if you believe Genesis 1:1, nothing in all the rest of the Bible is incredible. Reject it, and all goes with it.

In Genesis 1:1 we find a sovereign, self-existing, timeless, omniscient God creating the universe by fiat. Simply because He wants it to exist, because He wills it to exist, it comes to exist. There is none of the struggle and bloodshed of contemporary myths. Simply one God, creating all things the way He wants to create them, simply because He wants to for His own glorious reasons.

Much follows from this simple fact, this simple act. Because He pre-existed everything, God is independent of everything, and everything is dependent on Him. Because all that is exists as a reflection of His will, the universe is neither undefined nor self-defining. It is pre-defined. Scrooge isn't wrong when he says "An ant is what it is and a grasshopper is what it is" (though he is wrong about Christmas). He just didn't go far enough, and add that the ant and the grasshopper are what they are as created and defined by a sovereign God.

And so is man. So while the emergent and the PoMo alike gaze inward to the endless morass of their own subjectivity, and while the immoral pursue their cravings, and while the materialistic pretends to acknowledge nothing beyond "molecules in motion," their pursuit is a charade. It reminds us of the riddle:
Question: if we call a tail a "leg," how many legs does a dog have? 
Answer: four. It doesn't matter what you call it, a tail is a tail.
And so with ourselves. We can self-realize and self-actualize and self-affirm and self-love all we like, but we are creatures of a sovereign God. Our choices are only two: believe Him and think accordingly; or to come up with a diverting ruse.

But the ruse will always be a lie, and its pursuit will always be a doomed and damned enterprise.

As Genesis 1:1 reminds us. It reminds us by what it says about the beginning; but it also does that by its very use of the word, "beginning." Because just as the word "black" makes one think of "white," and "up" brings to mind "down," what does the word "beginning" suggest?

"End."

And as Genesis ends, so ends the Bible, with a vision of all rebellion defeated, Christ made head over all (cf. Eph. 1:10 Gk.), and God and His people reconciled forever in a glorious new Eden (Rev. 21—22).

Genesis 1:1 is the first sign-post, pointing to that inevitable resolution.

Which is why it should really be the first to go.


06 April 2014

"The Lord never plays at frightening men."

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 34, sermon number 2,013, "The infallibility of Scripture."
"God does not play with thee, man: wilt thou trifle with him?"

It is of no avail to sit down, and draw inferences from the nature of God, and to argue, “God is love, and therefore he will not execute the sentence upon the impenitent.” He knows what he will do better than you can infer; he has not left us to inferences, for he has spoken pointedly and plainly.

He says, “He that believeth not shall be damned,” and it will be so, “For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Infer what you like from his nature; but if you draw an inference contrary to what he has spoken, you have inferred a lie, and you will find it so.

“Alas,” says one, “I shudder at the severity of the divine sentence.” Do you? It is well! I can heartily sympathize with you. What must he be that does not tremble when he sees the great Jehovah taking vengeance upon iniquity! The terrors of the Lord might well turn steel to wax.

Let us remember that the gauge of truth is not our pleasure nor our terror. It is not my shuddering which can disprove what the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. It may even be a proof of its truth. Did not all the prophets tremble at manifestations of God? Remember how one of them cried. “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered into my bones.”

One of the last of the anointed seers fell at the Lord’s feet as dead. Yet all the shrinking of their nature was not used by them as an argument for doubt. O my unconverted and unbelieving hearers, do remember that if you refuse Christ, and rush upon the keen edge of Jehovah’s sword, your unbelief of eternal judgment will not alter it, nor save you from it.

I know why you do not believe in the terrible threatenings. It is because you want to be easy in your sins. A certain sceptical writer, when in prison, was visited by a Christian man, who wished him well, but he refused to hear a word about religion. Seeing a Bible in the hand of his visitor, he made this remark, “You do not expect me to believe in that book, do you? Why, if that book is true, I am lost for ever.” Just so.

Therein lies the reason for half the infidelity in the world, and all the infidelity in our congregations. How can you believe that which condemns you? Ah! my friends, if you would believe it to be true and act accordingly, you would also find in that which the mouth of the Lord hath spoken a way of escape from the wrath to come; for the Book is far more full of hope than of dread.

This inspired volume flows with the milk of mercy, and the honey of grace. It is not a Doomsday Book of wrath, but a Testament of grace. Yet, if you do not believe its loving warnings, nor regard its just sentences, they are true all the same.

If you dare its thunders, if you trample on its promises, and even if you burn it in your rage, the holy Book still stands unaltered and unalterable; for “The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

Therefore, I pray you, treat the sacred Scriptures with respect, and remember that “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”