Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Global Cooling!

Over the past year records (and anecdotal evidence) indicate that we have been cooling rather than warming. Everybody go out and buy a copy of State of Fear, and quit falling for the left-lib, eco-freak crowd. Here is the latest interesting article.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Top 10 New Non-Fiction: 2007

1 Gary Gilley Is That You Lord?: Hearing the Voice of the Lord, A Biblical Perspective [2007]. Addresses a fundamental flaw in modern evangelicalism - knowing God's will.

2 Roger Oakland Faith Undone: the emerging church...a new reformation or an end-time deception [2007]. Were D. A. Carson fears to tread. If you thought Hank Hanegraaff's The Bible Answerman was the epitome of discernment, dig a little deeper. (A, God willing, in-depth review to follow.)

3 John MacArthur The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception [2007]. A fruit of MacArthur's exegesis of Jude. Another winner!

4 Daniel Levitin This is Your Brain on Music [2006]. A fascinating look at how our brains interpret and hear music.

5 Anthony Selvaggio, ed. The Faith Once Delivered: Essays in Honor of Dr. Wayne Spear [2007]. An excellent collection of essays purportedly themed on 'systematic theology.' Trueman's piece on James Buchanan's The Doctrine of Justification nicely provided enlightening look at the milieu of controversy in which it was birthed. Richard B. Gaffin's true colours (eg. why he would endorse Norman Shepherd's The Call of Grace) were confirmed by his The Vitality of Reformed Systematic Theology [orig.1994]

6 Humberto Fontova Exposing the Real Che Guevara [2007]. With the subtitle "and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him" the contents are pretty well summarized. An historical, anecdotal expose that many evangelyfish would profit from reading.

7 Mira Kamdar Planet India [2007]. If you ever wondered why service call operators have foreign accents - here is your answer (outsourcing), and more! Should be a revelation, for many, about the rise (or attempted - don't forget the persistant caste system which seems to be taking quite a while to erode) of India into first-world nation status.

8 James K. A. Smith Whos Afraid of Post Modernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church [2006]. An excellent resource for deciding why one should beware of postmodernism! The author is unashamed of his role as a 'change agent' as is evident by his subtitle. He is part of the Radical Orthodoxy movement which is revealing itself to be another malicious abberation complimenting the Federal Vision heresy. (Perhaps, more on this topic at a later date.)

9 William Easterley The White Mans Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Save the Rest Have Done So Much Ill, and So Little Good [2006] A brilliant study exposing the top-down/throw-money-at-the-problem solutions of the liberal left (and entertainment media idols) and providing glimpses of alternate, practical, efficient methods of so-called third world aid.

10 Hank Hanegraaff The Apocalypse Code [2007]. A popular (in the older sense) treatment of the 'end times' in the guise of both an exegetical primer and a response to the modern evangelical preoccupation with eschatological fiction based on pre-tribulational premillennialism. While not agreeing with Hank on everything, but hoping this may prove a useful antidote, at the popular level, for the raging unbiblical scenarios painted by Hal Lindsey, Grant Jeffrey, Dave Hunt, Tim LaHaye, et.al. ad nauseam.

Honourable Mentions:

Pat Ammeter On a New Foundation [2007] (London: Bethel Baptist Church Print Ministry, 296pp.- but no longer on their website store - I have a few copies, and the author will have some also.) An original debut by an author in my own home town, who has struggled through the years with the many heretical practices which have entered the evangelical churches. Covers history, Roman Catholicism, Bible Versions, the Laughing Revival, Theophostics, and other topics. Suffers from lack of a firm editorial hand and a shallow understanding of both theology and history. May see a better day when (allegedly) republished by one of the links on my sidebar.

Darrell Bock The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternate Christianities [2006]. A nice course on the early Church beliefs which rebutts the current and continuing liberal, antichristian views promoting gnosticism and denigrating the authority, sufficiency, and perspicuity of God's revelation: the Bible.

David Yallop The Power and the Glory: Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican [2007]. Another (following the best-selling In God's Name[1984]), expose of Vatican/Papist intrigue. Mostly historical, dealing with topics like the irony of the Pope's image as the man (with Ronald Reagan) who brought down the Iron Curtain.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Covenant Children

Several years ago I was kindly sent a photocopy of L. B. Schenck's The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant. At that time it was out of print, but - seemingly - beginning to have an impact on several people in the, then, nascent Federal Vision camp. Since then P&R [2003] has repubished it - presumably, due to the rejuvenated interest in its thesis: presumptive regeneration, or, baptized children of Church members are 'saved.'

Schenck's work (with others) has had its fruit in the raging Federal Vision controversy, spawning (in my opinion) both the republication of M. F. Sadler's The Second Adam & the New Birth [Athanasius, 2004] as well as Rich Lusk's paedofaith: a primer on the mystery of infant salvation and a handbook for covenant parents [Athanasius, 2005], which treat this and related themes.

Today, a post on the Building Old School Churches blog handly deals with Schenck's thesis and presents the orthodox reformed position as outlined in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wrighting More Wrongs?

The Anglican Bishop N.T.Wright has been dismissed by the orthodox Reformed, in the past, for his association and promulgation of the so-called New Perspective(s) on Paul, his - following - misunderstanding of Justification, his warped view of 2nd Temple Judaism (ie: covenantalism), and his ecumenical accommodations. Now (although previously nascent) we can add his unorthodox view of an intermediate state. Will this lead to an accommodation with the heretical papist concept of purgatory?

Awaiting the fall-out as others begin reviewing his latest HarperOne effort Suprised By Hope .
See this World Net Daily article
here, and Midwest Christian Outreach commentary here.

I, especially appreciate the words of the Publisher's Weekly review qouted on Amazon:
No one can doubt his erudition or the greatness of the churchmanship of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. One wonders, however, at the regular citation of his own previous work. And no other scholar can get away so cleanly with continuing to propagate the "hellenization thesis," by which the early church is eventually polluted by contaminating Greek philosophical influence.
There, Schlissel, et.al. are put to rest regarding the overblown "hellenization thesis!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

2007 Top Ten Fiction

This year I read just under 30 fiction books – most of them (25) either mystery or suspense. The top one was a – surprisingly, for me, considering my poor attitude towards Canadian writing – Canadian mystery. Here they are in order:

  1. By The Time You Read This [2007] by Giles Blunt. A dark mystery set in western Ontario that deals with depression and suicide and the results of sinful psychoanalysis.
  2. Death in a Strange Country [1993] by Donna Leon. The second in the subtly humourous Venice detective series.
  3. Death at La Fenice [1992] by Donna Leon. The debut of Commisario Guido Brunetti of the Venetian Police.
  4. Gospel Truths [1992] by J. G. Sandom. A laid-back, intelligent precursor (by 11 years) to Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
  5. Grave Secrets [2002] by Kathy Reichs. Another instalment in the original Bones series (prior to TV), set in Guatemala.
  6. The Venetian Affair [1963] by Helen MacInnes. (Can you tell I was in Venice last year?) Another – tighter, than some of hers – mystery by an old master.
  7. The Righteous Men [2006] by Sam Bourne (British journalist Jonathan Freedland). If you recall the Lubavitchers(?) and their messianic Rabbi Schneersom(?), this will be of great interest.
  8. Next [2006] by Michael Crichton. Bioengineering and bioethical messes abound in this chaotic pseudo-thriller. Unfortunate that the expected non-fictional version of State of Fear didn’t come out (I believe there is a DVD though).
  9. The Alexandria Link [2006] by Steve Berry. An improvement over his recent efforts, though ultimately forgettable.
  10. The Bourne Ultimatum [1990] by Robert Ludlum. The much more accessible (than the previous) third instalment in the Jason Bourne saga – bearing only superficial resemblance in the recent cinematic effort.

Also-rans:

Two Clive Cussler’s: Night Probe! [1981] and Black Wind [2004] (the second with son Dirk, which I couldn’t bother to finish). Bruce Metzger’s The Book of Fate [2007] was highly objectionable (foul) and not very well written. S. L. Linnea’s Chasing Eden [2007] was different: a gate to Eden is found by an heir to gatekeepers during the Iraq war. A Sequel came out late last year called Beyond Eden [2007].

Jim Hougan’s The Magdalen Cypher [2000] was another Holy Blood, Holy Grail inspired tale about a bloodline of megalomaniacs. Gregg Loomis began a series with a Da Vinci-esque Langford Reilly investigating ancient secrets in The Pegasus Secret [2005] and the following The Julian Secret [2006], without appearing to be so historically offensive as Dan Brown. Eric van Lustbader (a perennial best-seller) put’s in his The Da Vinci Code imitation in a readable thriller based in (you guessed it!) Venice with the usual accompanying secret societies (religious orders) in The Teatament [2006]. Canadian Jack Whyte’s Templar trio debut volume Knights of the Black and the White [2006] was a monumental (753pp.) waste of verbiage that went through all the usual clich√©s and added deviant sex (for no sane literary reason) to the mix. D. L. Wilson’s debut Unholy Grail [2007] involved Jesuits, a “holy” bloodline and a “secret gospel;’ but, I seriously would have to reread the book to remember the plot and details. David Gibbin’s debut, Atlantis [2006], with a Dirk Pitt imitation lead was just to unbelievable and I stopped about 100pp into it. I cannot understand how the author was awarded a contract for two more titles (at least): the recent Crusader’s Gold [2006], and the forthcoming The Last Gospel [2008], featuring hero/archaeologist Jack Howard. Best-seller David L. Robbin’s also turned in a lousy performance with the disappointing The Assassin’s Gallery [2006], almost silly enough to be a made-for-tv movie. And the worst and last was te accomplished (c.20 titles) author, Mark Morris’ horrible post-apocalytic tale The Deluge [2007].

I guess it is less fiction, and more non-fiction for 2008!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Strasbourg Connection

Further to the last post:

Apparently, Martin Bucer & friends may well have been some of those continental reformed which McNeill refers to as having developed these exercise/fellowships.

...a year later [1547], small groups had arisen in the parishes of St. Thomas and Young St. Peter, consisting of church members who discussed their faith with one another and taught, admonished, and comforted one another. They also submitted to a voluntary church discipline and spoke of themselves as a christliche Gemeinschaft, a Christian fellowship.
And Bucer's motive for creating these groups:
It was not enough for the civil authorities to enforce morality on the entire population under threat of punishment. Convinced Christians had to begin setting up their own autonomous congregational structures as well, including a system of voluntary church discipline. The fact that this had not happened yet constituted in Bucer's opinion 'the worst flaw and defect ' of the Strasbourg church. Because of this, pastoral care - which in Bucer's opinion also represented an effort to educate the entire people - was prevented from 'bringing all the baptized, young as well as old, to true communion with, and obedience to Jesus Christ.'
- p.213 Martin Bucer: A Reformer and His Times by Martin Greschat.

This had to do with the previous post, but I have since lost the train of thought, so I post it just for posterity.