Monday, October 31, 2005

Reformation Day!

Happy Reformation Day!

Let us be reminded of the principles restated during the Reformation. The principles that set us free from the yoke of bondage to that corrupt tyranny known as the papacy. Coming out of Egypt by the apparant miracles which shot down each of the papist idols; let us set up our own memorial and walk in them and teach them diligently to our children.
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
Solus Christus - Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria - God's Glory Alone
We know by Scripture Alone that we are saved by Grace Alone by the work of Christ Alone through the free gift of Faith Alone to the Glory of God Alone. Amen!!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Heinrich Bullinger V

Sermons Four and Five of the First Decade are devoted to faith.

While Bullinger provides many definitions of faith by divers authors, let me just mention (what I believe, haha) are the pertinent ones.

Bullinger explicates what he believes (and I agree) to be Paul’s words in Heb. 11:1:

St Paul saith: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The substance, or hypostasis, is the foundation, or the unmoveable prop, which upholdeth us, and whereon we lean and lie without peril or danger. The things hoped for are things celestial, eternal, and invisible. And therefore Paul saith: Faith is an unmoveable foundation, and a most assured confidence of God’s promises, that is, of life everlasting and all his good benefits. Moreover Paul himself, making an exposition of that which he had spoken, immediately after saith: “Faith is the argument of things not seen.” An argument or proof is an evident demonstration, whereby we manifestly prove that which otherwise should be doubtful, so that in him, whom we undertook to instruct, there may remain no doubt at all.

But now touching the mysteries of God revealed in God’s word, in themselves, or in their own nature, they cannot be seen with bodily eyes; and therefore are called things not seen. But this faith, by giving light to the mind, doth in heart perceive them, even as they are set forth in the word of God. Faith, therefore, according to the definition of Paul, is in the mind a most evident seeing, and in the heart a most certain perceiving of things invisible, that is, of things eternal; of God, I say, and all those things which he in his word setteth forth unto us concerning spiritual things. – p.82

Then, after reviewing several exercitations on Paul’s definition, Bullinger arrives at his own:

Faith is a gift of God, poured into man from heaven, whereby he is taught with an undoubted persuasion wholly to lean to God and his word; in which word God doth freely promise life and all good things in Christ, and wherein all truth necessary to be believed is plainly declared. – p.84

(Notice his emphasis in both: the Word of God as the necessary & sufficient means.)

He makes the point that God uses “certain ordinary means”, that “he sendeth teachers, by the word of God to preach true faith unto them;” and, further, that it is not man, but the Holy Spirit which can “cause us with all our heart to believe that which we by his word and teaching have learned to believe.”

He correctly emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit by quoting Augustine:

What do I now while I speak? I drive into your ears a noise of words: but unless he which is within do reveal it, what say I, or what speak I? - p.86

Again, not wanting the reader to miss the ultimate cause of faith, Bullinger admonishes:

This therefore is left unto us for a thing most certain and undoubtedly true, that true faith is the mere gift of God, which is by the Holy Ghost from heaven bestowed upon our minds, and is declared unto us in the word of truth by teachers sent of God, and is obtained by earnest prayers which cannot be tired. – p.87

Going on, Bullinger covers assent and trust before dealing with perseverance and the fact that faith does not believe all things but being “ruled and bound to the word of God,” only is a “most sure ground and settled opinion touching God and our salvation.”

He goes back over this ground, emphasizing these points and showing their precedents in scripture. The key point being that:

God’s word is the foundation of faith, faith cannot wander to and fro, and lean to every word whatsoever: for every opinion conceived without the word of God, or against God’s word, cannot be called true faith. – p.97

Ah, Sola Scriptura! Thank You, Lord!

The summary for Sermon #4 includes the two points that a) faith is a free gift of God, and b) that it believes “all that is declared in the scriptures,” and he concludes with a restatement of his (previously quoted) definition of faith.

(Sermon #5 will be covered later.)

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Notes Towards a Plea for Reformed Discernment

Today's devotions included Jeremiah, Chapter Four, wherein I was reminded of the raison d'etre of ¡Alarma! Standard.
Jeremiah, in prophesying of the soon destruction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, repeats the dual-aspected theme of warning: standard and alarm.
set up the standard toward Zion - v.6
the sound of the trumpet, the alar[u]m of war - v.19
How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? - v.21
The standard appears to be a visual symbol of what Judah should be standing for/defending; while the sound of the trumpet is an aural symbol (alarum) of coming judgement. ¡Alarma! Standard is, among other things, about the standard being assailed, and a trumpet declaring the judgement that will inevitably ensue when we fail to not only defend, but also proclaim that standard.
What is this standard?
I see this as being the composite of the holiness & righteousness of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that special revelation of such: the Word of God.
How is it being assailed?
The standard is assailed when we fail to both defend and proclaim it. This follows the definition of sin: doing wrong or failing to do right. The standard is exclusively a responsibility of the (visible) Church and, as such, she must be the one to proclaim it to the world and raise (defend) it among her people. This involves not only lifting up (teaching) that which is right; but, also, exposing, rebuking, and punishing that/those which is/are wrong (ie: polemics & church discipline).
For, we know, the gates of hell will not prevail and, thus, external assault (whether God's chastisement or the Adversary and his minions), is not the problem; rather, internal purity (1 Pet.4:17): certain men (Jude 4); false teachers (2 Pet.2:1, c/w 2 Tim.4:3); traitors (2 Tim.3:4,5); men of corrupt minds (1 Tim.6:3-5); blasphemers (1 Tim.1:20); Judaizers (Gal.);, and their abherent or heretical teachings must be exposed and shown to be detrimental to (or, against) the True Faith (Jude 3) or, even, another Gospel (Gal. 1:8,9).
Now, evangelicalism bounds with entities who purport - and do, to a large extent - serve both polemically and apologetically. Most specialize in some particular area (Mormonism, New Age, Word of Faith, etc.); while some try to cover more territory (Christian Research Institute, Spiritual Counterfeits Project, etc.); however, except for internet discussion groups, the odd website or blog, little time or effort is being made on behalf of orthodox reformed discernment.
¡Alarma! Standard hopes to contribute to that cause.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Heinrich Bullinger IV

[Previous post in Series]

Sermon III of the First Decade focuses on the exposition – via faithful preaching - of the Word. After noting the two extremes of “the Bible is unintelligible to the common man,” and, “make of it what you will,” and correcting the latter with a plea for exegesis and a caution against eisegesis, Bullinger sets forth four principles of bible exposition and interpretation:

1) The Analogy of Faith

2) Context, Context, Context (after HH)

3) Scripture Interprets Scripture

4) Sanctified Interpretation (ie: Spirit-led)

Then follows his triumphant summation:

Thus much hitherto have I said touching the sense and exposition of God’s word: which, as God revealed it to men, so also he would have them in any case to understand it. Wherefore there is no cause for any man, by reason of a few difficulties, to despair to attain to the true understanding of the scriptures. The scripture doth admit a godly and religious interpretation. The word of God is a rule for all men and ages to lead their lives by: therefore ought it by interpretation to be applied to all ages and men of all sorts. For even our God himself did by Moses in many words expound and apply to his people the law, which he gave and published in Mount Sinai. Furthermore, it was a solemn use among the ancient prophets first to read, and then by expositions to apply, God’s law to the people. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself expounded the scriptures. The same did the apostles also. The word of God ought therefore to be expounded. As for those which would not have it expounded, their meaning is, because they would sin freely, without controlling or punishment. But whereas the scripture doth admit an exposition, it doth not yet admit any exposition whatsoever: for that which savoureth of man’s imagination it utterly rejecteth. For as by the Spirit of God the scripture was revealed, so by the same Spirit it is requisite to expound it. There are therefore certain rules to expound the word of God religiously by the very word of God itself: that is, so to expound it, that the exposition disagree not with the articles of our faith, nor be contrary to charity towards God and our neighbour; but that it be thoroughly surveyed, and grounded upon that which went before and followeth after, by diligent weighing of all the circumstances, and laying together of the places [context]. And chiefly it is requisite, that the heart of the interpreter be godly bent, willing to plant virtue and pluck up vice by the roots, and finally, always ready evermore to pray to the Lord, that he will vouchsafe to illuminate our minds [c/w Eph.1:17,18], that God’s name may in all things be glorified. For his is the glory, honour and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen. – pp.79,80 [emphasis added]

Monday, October 17, 2005

William Goode

This is a plea for someone to republish William Goode's The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice.
It would be great to see it in a quality Reformation Heritage Book edition (or Baker co-pub), though this may seem inappropriate for their - manifestly - continental program; an SGCB - or any other small reprinter (maybe Wipf & Stock?) - edition would do; need I mention P & R?

Some background:
Goode, a 19th Century theologian in the Church of England who wrote against the Tractarians among other things, wrote The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice to defend the Protestant position on sola scriptura (the Bible being the only, revealed, sufficient, norm for Christian doctrine and practice), against the unwarranted and both abherent and heretical views of the papists.

Goode also wrote an extremely helpful and enlightening work which was republished in 2000: Charismatic Confusion: The Modern Claims to the Possession of the Extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit Stated and Examined. A title I might (and hope to) review at a later date (I read it when it came out, and have covered a lot of intervening ground since then, and could not do it justice without rereading or at least skimming).

So, in the intrests of defending sola scriptura, and combating the gnostic mindset of modern evangelicalism, I join David King, co-author with William Webster of the remarkable 3 volume Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, in calling for the republication of Goode's The Divine Rule of Faith.

NB: Goode may have been an Erastian (I haven't confirmed this yet), but then we don't have any heroes do we?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Heinrich Bullinger III

(Previous Posts in this series are Bullinger I, Bullinger II.)

For lack of a better (read easier) method for tackling Bullinger’s Decades, I have willingly adopted (with slight modifications) the suggestion of John Whitgift.

Every minister having cure, and being under the degrees of master of arts, and batchelors of law, and not licensed to be a public preacher, shall before the second day of February next provide a Bible, and Bullinger’s Decads in Latin or English, and a paper book, and shall every day read over one chapter of the holy scriptures, and note the principal contentes thereof briefly in his paper booke, and shall every week read over one sermon in the said Decads, and note likewise the chief matters therein contained in the said paper;… [pp. xcix-c, The Decades of Henry Bullinger, Vol.1]

Thus far, I have read the first two sermons, while maintaining (uninterrupted) my regular Bible readings (ie: swinging back and forth between the OT and NT this time through).

Sermon I of the First Decade - an apology for the canon of scripture (and the canonicity of scripture) – begins my adventure with The Decades of Heinrich Bullinger.

While sometimes quirky, and often at less than my level of coherence, Bullinger provides a nice epistemological starting place for theological studies (scripture = divine revelation). He covers all the common scriptural witnesses for our surety that it is God-breathed. He also makes a point of the shortness of transmission – seven people – from the Creation and Patriarchal histories whilst extolling the roles of both the Prophets (esp.) and Apostles as conduits of God’s special revelation.

Dearly beloved…you learned what the word of God is; from whence it came; by whom it was chiefly revealed; what proceedings it had; and of what dignity and certainty it is. [p.57]

Sermon II of the First Decade begins with Bullinger setting forth his goal to:

Declare unto you, beloved, to whom, and to what end, the word of God is revealed; in what manner it is to be heard; and what the force thereof is, or the effect. [p.57]

He then goes on to a rousing defense of the efficacy of the Word of God. In enlisting a (to me) novel exegesis of the Parable of the Sower (Matt.13:1-23) as an exhortation for Christians to avoid ‘plagues’, he concludes:

For they do not only hinder the seed, that it cannot bring forth fruit in their hearts; but also they do stir up and egg men forward to gainsay the word of God, and to afflict the earnest desirers of God’s word. Here therefore we must take heed diligently, lest, being infected with these diseases, we become vain and unthankful hearers of the word of God. [p.66]

Other stirring words include the joyous acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit’s work:

We must pray continually, that the bountiful and liberal Lord will vouchsafe to bestow on us his Spirit, that by it the seed of God’s word may be quickened in our hearts, and that we, as holy and right hearers of his word, may bear fruit abundantly to the glory of God, and the everlasting salvation of our own souls. For what will it avail to hear the word of God without faith, and without the Holy Spirit of God to work or stir inwardly in our hearts? [p.66]

And also the sufficiency of the Word:

For the Lord in the word of truth hath delivered to his church all that is requisite to true godliness and salvation…Neither needeth the church to crave any other… [p.69]

Saturday, August 06, 2005

In/Visible Church - Musings

Upon reflection, the concept of the Church having two aspects, both visible and invisible, is becoming further entrenched in my mind.
The fact that the Church has both of these facets is inescapable.
Beyond this, it is so apt.
Beginning at the beginning, in Genesis, and continuing on throughout the OT, we see that God has revealed that he has two people: the people of promise (the remnant), and his set aside people (the Israelite nation). The Law, and the Promise. The seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent. Jacob, and Esau. The spiritual reality within the physical appearance is a [the?] major theme running through the OT.
When we get to the NT, Jesus and the Apostles go on to explain and dogmatize the concept.
God's ways are higher than our ways.
We cannot see into the secret counsel of God.
We cannot judge the state, never mind the future state of men's hearts in relation to God.
The Shepherd knows His sheep, and His sheep hear His voice; but the Church can only know the profession (and conduct) of the sheep, and have to act and react based only on those criterea.
More later...

Monday, August 01, 2005

This Present Perrone Persuasion

In regards to the last post:

Who said this?
James Bannerman, in his remarkable The Church of Christ, is discussing the popish conception of the Church. Specifically, he was addressing her position on the in/visibility of the Church.

To whom was he referring?
Bannerman was referring to Giovanni Perrone, a contemporary Jesuit Professor of Theology in Rome. After both explaining the Protestant position on the in/visibility of the Church and the popish historical position of only affirming the visible Church, he presents Perrone's compromise, or third way, in response to some of the persuasive Protestant arguments.

In regards to the contemporary similitude:
Perrone proposed that the invisible Church was made up of all those "who had ever received grace through the ordinances and communion of the Church." Moreover, he further explained that "even though they [ie: some] should afterwards fall away and become [ie: prove themselves to be] reprobate, [they] are nevertheless to be accounted true members of the invisible Church of Christ."
Today, we witness the Federal Vision/Auburn Avenue Theology [FV] group expounding (basically) the same thing.
Steve Wilkins, for example, writes that if one partakes of all the blessings - esp. means of grace like the ordinance of baptism - one is in union with Christ and, further, if one should fall away (prove apostate/unregenerate), "they would perish like Israel of old. All their priveleges and blessings would become like so many anchors to sink them into the lake of fire." (See The Federal Vision, Monroe: Athanasius, 2004, p.60.)
Numerous examples - as explicit as this, or deduced by good and necessary consequence (See lines 245,246) - can confirm this position, the forbear of which Bannerman strenuously opposes as unorthodox. is not difficult to trace the one ruling and predominating idea which runs through the whole of the Popish system, - namely, the necessity and virtue of the outward grace communicated by the Church, instead of the inward call and election of God.
We see it, in like manner, in their ascription of the title and right of members of the invisible Church to those not chosen and not elected by God, but only joined to the visible Church, and sharing in its outward grace, notwithstanding that they shall afterwards fall away, and prove themselves to be reprobate.

With the apparent similarities (observable even more clearly upon investigation and reflection) so obvious, can we not say with Bannerman, "In both [Perrone & FV] cases it is the grace given or denied by the Church to the sinner, that confers or withholds the title of a member of the invisible Church of Christ, and not rather the purpose and election of God, calling him to the adoption and privileges of a son"?

The modern papist view is slightly modified from Perrone's day. It is, however, clear that by curent standards the papists still accede to some form of invisibility (see the case of people who apparently partake of grace yet remain outside the communion and dominion of the Papal See, here at section IX).

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Who is in the Covenant?

"In the first place, he denies that the invisible Church is made up of all the elect, and affirms that such of them as have not yet obeyed the outward call of the Church, and are not found in its visible communion, although numbered with the elect of God, cannot be reckoned as members of the invisible Church; and, in the second place, he denies that the invisible Church is made up of the elect only, asserting that those who have ever received grace through the ordinances and communion of the Church, even though they should afterwards fall away and become reprobate, are nevertheless to be accounted true members of the invisible Church of Christ."

Who said this?, and to whom was he referring (esp. in the "second place")?

Hint, although this sounds remarkably similar to a contemporary example, it isn't(it is similar, but it isn't that contemporary example ;-) ).

Monday, July 18, 2005

¡Alarma! Standard Origin

This weblog's name was taken from a newsletter-cum-magazine which, to date, has never seen the light of day. (How's that for cliche?) (And then rhyme?)
Prior to the arrival of our three children, I did have dreams of publishing a newsletter which would both subsidize and advertize my growing library. I had envisioned both writing articles and book reviews as well as making the nascent
Historical Research Library available to interested parties.
The newsletter name:
¡Alarma! Standard, itself, originated from the combination of ¡Alarma! from Daniel Amos' ground-breaking four-album ¡Alarma! Chronicles, and Standard from

Isaiah 62:10:
" Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. "
Isaiah 59:19:
" So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. "
And Jeremiah 50:20:
"Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces."
¡Alarma! was a wake-up call; and Standard was the upholding and proclaiming of the verity and rule of the Word of God.
Thus, it seemed fitting that this weblog serve as the current incarnation (!) of
¡Alarma! Standard.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Brief (ecclesiastical) Bio

Born, baptized, catechized, married, and lapsed in CRC.

Five-year stint in an authoritarian, independent charismatic association.

10-year period of readjustment and then asking and seeking (g).

Brief period in an unaffiliated reformed fellowship, interimly, pastored by Tim Gallant.

Currently home-churching and leading and/or attending eclectic Bible studies.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

In Your Face

The Spirit of the modern age is to be “in your face.” Anti-fur people throw blood on expensive furs; PETA people burn science labs; “We’re in your face,” is the shrill chant of feminists. Sodomites get in the face of good people by means of gay-shame parades; War-protesters throw garbage on brave warriors. Religious bullies get “in the face” of the “old fogies” in order to bring the church “up to date” in terms of the latest trends in “worship” and doctrine [or lack thereof, W]. Revolution does not value or build upon the past, but seeks to overthrow it.

There was a time when you tried to persuade, not intimidate. Children were seen and not heard, no matter how old they were. We figured that a person truly had the right to speech, but he had to earn the right to be heard. That has all changed, of course. Words used to convey reason and ideas are now used to attack, to destroy.

“My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even
the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp
sword.” (Ps 57:4 AV)

Jesus was not so. “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” (Pr 10:1 AV) describes his ministry. The only time he picked up an instrument of violence, was when he made a”scourge of small cords” to drive the greedy churchmen and their wares froim His Father’s House.

Jesus was no pacifist, but He did not stoop to hide an emptiness of mind by getting in anyone’s face.

From the June 2005 edition of A Basket of Figs (pp.6,7), soon to be posted here.

Book Tag

I willingly became it in a variation of the bloggish game of tag.<>
Other participants, that I am currently aware of, include Tim
, Barb, Mr. Garver, and Mr. Colvin.

So, here are my responses, for whatever they are worth.

How many books do I own?

c.10,000 (This includes a small collection of sf/f magazines - mainly IAsfm, Analog, and MF&SF).

I have not counted them in the last five years (since we moved).

Previously, I very diligently kept records of my purchases, and used a form of card catalogue system.

The library grew too big, and was split into the Historical Research Library (general non-fiction and classics), and The Erik Axton Library of Fantastic Fiction (fantasy & science fiction titles, the bulk being a 1,000 volume DAW Books collection). At the time of our move there was approximately 4,000 in each library. Subsequently, I disencumbered myself of approx. 500 sf/f titles. And, since then, I’ve probably added at least 2,500 titles (this includes some duplicates from a former business inventory). Recently I have begun uploading (800 to date) onto a database and using a new subject/category system.

What’s the last book I bought?

A stack of them.

But the first one I am reading is Carl G. Gustavson's A Preface to History (McGraw-Hill, 1955).

What’s the last book I read?

I have developed the (bad? - unusual?) habit of reading several volumes at one time.


Robert Ludlum's The Osterman Weekend (Bantam, 1982 [1972])

A long story. As short as possible: I had seen that Sahara was possibly a nice action/adventure movie. I learned that it was an older book. I quickly obtained a few of Clive Cussler’s (of whom I had heardof but not bothered to read – his titles appeared interesting), and read Sahara before the movie went to the discount theatre (we basically never go to the regular, and might visit the discount a few times a year). While collecting the Cussler’s (I am a completist, and am only missing Vixen 03 to date), a ran across a recommendation for Robert Ludlum (by Cussler). Coincidently, I had also known of but never read any Ludlum; though I had seen The Bourne Identity(2002) and Osterman Weekend when it came out in 1983 (movies, that is). Thus I checked out a read The Bourne Identity (1980), then rented the movie (as I could only vaguely recall it) to re-view. Then I began Ludlum’s opus chronologically (as is my wont) and went on to The Scarlatti Inheritance (1970) and now The Osterman Weekend. Obviously, Ludlum is the better author of the two (I am also on the third Dirk Pitt adventure).

Currently at various stages in all of the following:

Timothy Weber's On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend (Baker, 2004)

Willem VanGemeren's The Progress of Redemption (Baker, 1995 [1988])

Gordon & Campi, eds. Architect of the Reformation (Baker, 2004)

Heinrich Bullinger's Decades (Reformation Heritage, 2005 [1549-51])

Clive Cussler's Iceberg (Berkley, 2004 [1975])

Alistair MacLean's When Eight Bells Toll (Collins, 1966) my fourth time, out-loud with my son!

John Owen's Works, Vol.5: Justification (Banner of Truth) on and off

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (cheap edition) second time, stalled half-way for some reason.

What are the five books that mean the most to me?

This is a little tougher. Obviously, the Revelation of God to man, the Word, but that should go without saying.

The other five, in no particular order would be:

How Should We Then Live? (1976) by Francis A. Schaeffer - The book that showed me how ideas mattered in history, and the slippery-slope, or the devolution (against postmillennialist optimism), from a Christian worldview to a modernist-humanist (at that time) philosophy.

The Seduction of Christianity (1985) by Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon – The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The book I read several times and led me out of a vast deception, and began to show me how seriously corrupted by occultism evangelical Christianity was becoming. Note, since then (despite having read over a dozen of Hunt’s titles), I have been hesitant to take all of Hunt’s research at face value (due to various critiques), and would never endorse his work – en toto – especially since his latent reluctance to stop and smell the tulips has manifested itself in unreasoned and unreasonable attacks.

The Doctrine of Justification (1867) by James Buchanan – What can be said…the book that (almost) deals exhaustively with the most central doctrine - next to sola scriptura - of the Reformation. James White’s The God Who Justifies (Bethany House, 2001) was purported to be the modern equivalent of Buchanan’s work but, I believe, the definitive (taking into consideration the current crisis) modern work on justification has yet to appear.

The Bond of Love (2001) by David McKay – A beautiful comprehensive look at Covenant Theology in all of its ramifications. I have not yet begun to fully appreciate this work.

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536-59) by John Calvin – The comprehensive systematic presentation of the reformed theology which I find in Scripture. The historical influence of this work on all aspects of reformed/presbyterian orthodoxy and orthopraxy is a significant aspect of its inclusion here. Time and reading will tell if a Brakel or Turretin might challenge Calvin’s position (but I doubt it).

Honourable Mentions:

All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Poular Culture - Kenneth A. Myers

A Philosophy of the Christian Religion - Edward J. Carnell

Amusing Ourselves to Death - Neil Postman

The Sovereignty of Grace - Arthur C. Custance

The Two Babylons - Alexander Hislop

To Save a Nation - D. R. Howard

The Romantic Manifesto - Ayn Rand

Heresies - Harold O. J. Brown

Studies in Saving Faith - A. W. Pink

Fire in the Minds of Men - James H. Billington

The Evolution of Civilizations - Carroll Quigley

Origin of the Nations - John Pilkey

The Illuminatus! Trilogy - Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson

Secret Societies and Subversive Movements - Nesta H. Webster

The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man - Herman Witsius

The Defense of the Faith - Cornelius van Til

Systematic Theology (w/Prolegomena) - Louis Berkhof

A Christian's Reasonable Service - Wilhelmus a Brakel

Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics - Richard A. Muller

Institutes of Elenctic Theology - Francis Turretin

Decades - Heinrich Bullinger

Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism - Zacharius Ursinus

The Church of Christ - James Bannerman

Historical Theology - William Cunningham

Church History in Plain Language - Bruce Shelley

2000 Years of Christ's Power - Nick Needham

Books, in and of themselves, are hard pressed to be significant in regards to their impact on my understanding of both God and this present reality in which he has placed us. Bodies of works by authors would be a more representative category. The cumulative impact of people like Francis Schaeffer, C. S. Lewis (initially great, but currently shunned), John Calvin (Insitutes as well as Commentaries, etc.), Arthur W. Pink, and Arthur C. Custance has meant more to me than any five individual books I might select.

Also, the last five years, I have read many more magazines and internet-posted articles (and mere posts), which have ‘nuanced’ (is this not the obligatory mot de jour?) my thinking.

Anyways, more on books and authors in other posts.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Projected Topics

With the proviso that certain practicalities may alter the final make-up, I humbly provide the following list of topics (in no particular chronological or relevant order) which I hope to tackle in the coming year, God Willing.

  • The Apostles’ Creed
  • Ecumenicity vs. Unity
  • Discernment
  • Conspiracy
  • Essentials of the Faith
  • Raison d’etre
  • Separation
  • Covenant Theology
  • New Perspective on Paul
  • Justification
  • Art
  • Bullinger (more)
  • Emergent Movement
  • Transitioning
  • Daniel Amos
  • CCM
  • CWM
  • Heresy
  • Matthew 18: 15-20
  • Name of Blog
  • Current Reading
  • Top Tens
  • Quotable Quotes
  • Misc. Items

Monday, July 04, 2005


This post will exempt/absolve me from everything. :-)

My education: High School Diploma with a few college courses. Therefore, I am not an expert on anything. I am not a scholar, and my opinions, observations, and analyses – whatever they may be – carry no weight (or, ecclesiastical authority) beyond that which you, Dear Reader, may invest in them. I am, merely, what is commonly referred to as ‘an interested lay-person.’
The contents of this weblog are primarily for my own benefit. Selfish?…Probably! I write this as both a journal of my thoughts/reading and as instrument whereby I might hone what little craft I have with writing.
Any spiritual enlightenment or benefits that readers might derive are putatively and providentially that: spiritual. That is, I will deny my own inherent ability/will, and credit the Holy Spirit.
Besides these, the usual caveats apply. Links, Resources, and Persons are endorsed only insofar as they are reflect and conform to revelational verity of Scripture.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Heinrich Bullinger II

Took the shrink wrap of Vol.1 and read the two "new" introductions: "Henry Bullinger (1504-1575): Shepherd of the Churches", an biographical essay by George Ella - 60pp., and "Henry Bullinger's Decades", a helpful overview and history of Decades as well as a chapter on Bullinger as a preacher and the centrality of preaching/sermons to reformation saints by Joel Beeke with George Ella - 60pp. (With this volume totalling 1000pp. and vol.2 being just as thick, this looks to be a lot of reading :-) )
These two intro's were very well written and accessible to the common person, and thus were in sharp contrast to the overtly scholastic essays in Architect of the Reformation. The essays I have read, that is! :-) Gordon's "Introduction" seemed very political, while Edward Dowey's "Heinrich Bullinger as Theologian: Thematic, Comprehensive, and Schematic" was both a welcome overview of some of B's major theological works and a passable (to my untrained mind) argument for B being a "'schematic' or programmatic rather than systematic" theologian. Just starting the third essay on "Bullinger on the Trinity" by Mark Taplin.
The Decades, besides the Second Helvitic Confession, are probably B's most comprehensive presentation of his overall theology. They are composed of five sets of ten (decades) sermons on every major topic (except CT, specifically), and are commonly divided thusly: The Word of God and Faith (First Decade); Ethics (Second and Third Decades); The Doctrine of God (Fourth Decade); and The Doctrine of the Church (Fifth Decade) [after Beeke], and are prefaced by a compilation of various ancient creeds - a major concern the reformers had for illustrating their continuity with the historical confession of faith.
At least two of B's other works which may be profitable for the church today - if they were translated and published in the common tongue - would be firstly his Summa Christlicher Religion (1556) an "epitome" of the Decades ideal for adults and young adults as a "summary of the Christian religion in which we present briefly and correctly, without wrangling and scolding, such matters drawn from Holy Scriptures as are necessary for every single Christian to know, believe, do and allow, and also to suffer and die in blessedness," according to Bullinger (Dowey, p.53); and, secondly, his Catechesis pro Adultioribus (1559) prepared for use in "upper school classes" at the request of the Zurich Synod and ideal for new converts and those preparing for confession of faith. Other works would be as welcome!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Heinrich Bullinger I

Currently reading Architect of the Reformation: An Introduction to Heinrich Bullinger, 1504-1575, edited by Bruce Gordon & Emidio Campi (Baker, 2004).
Heard of Bullinger in my previous reading, but his was just a name mentioned as a possible connection to Covenant Theology(CT). In my (ongoing) research of CT, I initially pursued Voetius and Coecceius, after obtain a few volumes of Witsius; the triumvirate of Latinized 17th Century reformed scholastics whom I understood (at the time) to be the continental formulators of CT.
I could not obtain either V or C, so I contented myself with Witsius and Bullinger's name receded to the back of my mind. Untilthat is, I read through McNeill's The History and Character of Calvinism (OUP, 1955), and learned a little bit more about Bullinger. Of all his contemporaries (incl. Calvin), I thought Bullinger could be the best well-rounded (pastor, theologian, author, etc.).
My attempts to discover/obtain Bullinger - in print - led me to Ryan Glomsrud's outline of Decades on Scott Clark's Westminster site. Through correspondence, Clark informed me that he was looking into getting Decades back into print.
Subsequently, I picked up Cornelis Venema's Heinrich Bullinger and the Doctrine of Predestination: Author of "the Other Reformed Tradition"? (Baker, 2002) - which, I must admit, I have yet to read!
Then, late in 2004, I received Reformation Heritage Book's latest Catalog which announced the scheduled publication of Bullinger's Decades in two volumes. Almost immediately Iarranged to order it, and it arrived in late April this year. At the same time I acquired the Gordon/Campi title.
Well, the Decades are still in shrink wrap, and I am currently trying to introduce myself to Bullinger via the myriad essays in Architect of the Reformation.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

¡Alarma! Standard Debut

This is the !Alarma! Standard debut and test post.