Monday, August 31, 2015

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

"The Martyrdom of Polycarp" (translated by Roberts and Donaldson).  Available online.

Some oddities:
  • "were no longer men, but had already become angels" - I guess it does go back further than "It's a Wonderful Life" :)
  • There's a fair amount of anti-semitism (especially in chapter 13).  Hard to tell how much of that is post-70, and how much was added by later authors.
  • No explicit definition of the Gospel
And the good points:
  • "we do not commend those who give themselves up [to suffering], seeing the gospel does not teach so to do"
  • "the churches throughout the world" (churches - plural)
  • "the blameless one for sinners"
End on a good note :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thoughts for Young Men

"Thoughts for Young Me" (J.C. Ryle) - This is a short book (89 pages).  It has only one goal - to motivate young men to godliness.  It does it well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When Sinners Say "I Do"

"When Sinners Say 'I Do'" (Dave Harvey) - This book is part of an adult Sunday school class at church.  Another member asked, "Are you enjoying the book?".  I had to answer, "No, but it is good for me".  This book will exhort you to improve your marriage.  It won't pull punches or tickle your ear with nice sayings.  But, if you take it seriously, it will work.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Morning and Evening

"Morning and Evening" C. H. Spurgeon (audio) - This is a devotional, with two sections per day for a whole year.  I was surprised how metaphorical it often was, but if you look at it more as a reflection than as a Bible study it is very pleasant.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Western Secularism vs. Islam

We live in a post-Christian world.

It is unclear what system of thought will dominate in the future.  Secularism has been dominant (effectively, an atheistic form of Christianity - seeking Christian principles without Christ.  This can be traced to the progression of Christian Liberalism).  However, we are now dealing with a resurgence of Islam (which once threatened to destroy the West).

Secularism is completely unprepared for the onslaught of Islam.  This can be seen in a recent article on CNN.

For the secularist, all religion is the same.

For example:
"almost every faith, from Christianity to Judaism to Hinduism to Buddhism, has produced acts of terrorism."
This is a common error.  People are violent, and people are religious.  This leads to the shallow conclusion that all religions make people violent.  However, we must examine religious systems of thought, and see if violence is consistent or inconsistent with that system.

When Medieval Catholics murdered preachers of the Gospel, that is not an indemnification of Christ - it is revelation that Catholics were not longer followers of Christ.

But, when Muslims act like Mohammed (who was a war leader), which is a central teaching of Islam (that Mohammed is the best role model for humanity) - then why are we surprised?  If there are Muslims who say this should not be done - are they being true to what Mohammed did?

The article goes on to say that Islam needs a Reformation (parallel to the Protestant Reformation).

The problem is that while the Protestant Reformation was a return to Biblical principles, and a rejection of man's traditions - Islamic fundamentalism is a return to Koranic principles, and rejection of "impurities" (Western thought).  There is no mechanism with the Koran or hadith for overturning basic teachings of Mohammed, or who he was.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TSA: Life imitates art

When you think of the TSA, what do you think of?  An annoying hassle, filled with discomfort?  Security theater?  A reckless invasion of our rights for no benefit?  A waste of time and money?

How about something fun and exciting, which we should pay money to expedite!

I'm rather shocked that CNN would stoop so low as to run an advertisement for such a despicable thing.
"I don't waste time feeling annoyed by the TSA."
Maybe you should.
"Maybe it's because I took my first flight in October 2001; I've never flown without them."
People who have never known liberty can become used to enslavement.  I wouldn't recommend it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Shallowness of the Secular Worldview

What was probably meant as an encouraging article at CNN.

When we examine theology in a dry and methodical manner, it is easy to lose sight of the application in real life.

I am always on the lookout for cases where a person's theology is put to the test, and the results are made plain.
"I wasn't afraid to die. I was afraid of living without a purpose."
That is a good start - but one must ask where that purpose comes from?  And where does it go?
"What I learned from my travels was that my students had grown up to be kind and caring people."
 That's it?  And when those students are gone?
"what matters is not so much about what we learn in class, but what we feel in our hearts."
I'm sorry, but that is nothing.  It is dust.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NSA and the Stasi

An excellent article at CNN, reminding us of what has already past - and which should not be repeated.

For those whose history class stopped at World War 2, the Stasi were the (Communist) East German secret police.

They were charged with monitoring the population for trouble makers (i.e. people who were discontent with their rulers).

They would have given anything for the levels of monitoring now available.
"Unlike the Americans we have experienced the dangers of a nation that condones unchecked state power."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Who Am I?

"Who Am I? Identity in Christ" (Jerry Bridges)(audio) - This book seemed rather short (hard to tell in audio format), but it was encouraging.

It starts with a look at who we are in Christ, and how that is our basis for everything.

It ends with this encouragement:
"For every look you take at your sanctification, take two looks at your justification."