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.