Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Christian Canon Was Authoritative From Its Inception

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is the main source of information for many in this post-modern generation regarding how the Bible developed. One of it's themes is that those who held power in the church choose the books of the Bible to support their power base. Browns charge against the church, though couched in a work of fiction, is a serious. The Bible itself gives strong warnings against such power plays. Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.” And the book of Revelation “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,” calls for faithfulness to the book. (Rev 22:18) The list of the books that rightly belong in the Bible is called the canon. The canon is not strictly a human product, but God created the canon by his work of inspiration in the biblical writers and the church merely recognized the intrinsic authority of the Bible.

The church received scriptures from the Children of Israel. The early church had to decide whether to recognize the Old Testament (OT). The Apocrypha is Old Testament books which were a part of the fourth century Septuagint and were later officially recognized as a part of the Roman Catholic Bible. However, the early church father Jerome who translated the Apocrypha into Latin did not recognize it as scripture. Additionally, the New Testament never quotes from the Apocrypha. The earliest list of books to form the OT was given by the Bishop of Sardis, Melito, in A.D. 170. Melito's list is what is found in today's Protestant Bibles. Generally, the OT was handed down to the church from the Children of Israel's Hebrew Bible.

The early church did not have a entire body of work presented to it in recognizing the New Testament (NT) canon. It was not until the fourth century that Athanasius wrote a list that contains the NT books of the canon essentially as we see them today. While Athanasius listed the books of the canon and helped develop use of the word canon, he did not set the canon. There was no authoritative leader nor body of leaders who set the canon. While we could say the canon was established by God, in practical terms the mechanism He used was the use of the writings of scripture by the community of faith. As the early church used the scriptures in public worship, they were recognized as scripture. As NT scriptures were authoritatively quoted by the early church leaders, they were taken to be authoritative by the community of faith. Did the early church come to recognize the writings of scripture gradually over time or did the church quickly recognize the nature of the writings from their inception? Scholars such as Gamble would not only assume an evolutionary development of the text but also assume a gradual recognition of the text as authoritative. The text would be written for an occasion and gradually the occasional nature of the text would give way to an authoritative inclusion of the text into the canon. Without a doubt, the present form of the NT was not seen at the inception of the church and did take time to form. However, the authority of NT scriptures were recognized even during the time they were being written. 2 Peter 3:15 mentions Paul's writings as being “as other scripture”. 1 Timothy 5:18 makes two quotes of scripture. One being an OT passage but the other “The laborer deserves his wages” can not be found in the OT. It seems reasonable that Paul is quoting Luke 10:7 since it is word for word the same and he declares it to be scripture. The early church fathers quoted and alluded to the NT. Clement, Bishop of Rome in A.D. 95, made use of probably seven of our NT books in his writings. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who was martyred before A.D. 117, quoted or alluded to six books of our NT. Polycarp, the famous aged martyr, makes use of the language of fifteen of the NT books. During the time of the Greek Apologiests, A.D. 120-170, writers such as Irenaeus, Papias, and Justin used authoritatively the books from the NT.

The writers of the NT scripture, the early church Fathers and the Greek Apologists all recognized the inherent authority of OT and the NT. The prophetic and apostolic authority was not difficult to spot given that some knew the apostles and some had even heard them preach.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Baptism, by Francis Schaeffer

I was doing a search on Francis Schaeffer and found this article on baptism. I thought I would share it with you.



BAPTISM


By

Francis A. Schaeffer

In introduction, there are several things to emphasize as we begin this study.
1. We do not believe in Baptismal Regeneration. Let me remind you that it was over the question of the sacraments that Calvin and Luther differed during the Reformation Period. To Calvin, and those who have followed him, the important thing is the individual's coming directly to Christ for salvation. In regard to baptism, we who are Presbyterians, are interested primarily not in the water baptism but in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which takes place when the individual accepts Christ as his personal Saviour. click on the link to get the rest....

Friday, September 23, 2005

FEMA for KIDS Homepage: Education, Schools, Disasters, Games, Teachers, Art, Hurricane



I'm looking at the FEMA website for kids. The pictures sort of look creepy. I think I would try a little less cartoon network.

Hattip: Dave Barry.

Monday, September 19, 2005

An Open Letter To My Daughters on Education

Vision Statement for the Pruitt Family Homeschool

To Annalee, Corrie, Rebeccah, Noelle, and Elaine,

Girls, this is a statement about the hopes and desire your mother and I have for you. I believe these hopes are in line with God's plans for you. I wish to communicate them to you explicitly so that you are not guessing about our goals for our homeschool. Additionally, I am communicating them so that we are reaching to the high calling that God has placed upon all of us. I hope these stretch you but leave lots of room for you to develop your own goals which fit God's unique gifts that he has given you.

o God Centered Education:

The main purpose of our homeschool education is to develop Christian character. Christian character is defined as the same character as Christ. He served selflessly. The character qualities found in the Sermon on the Mount and the fruits of the Spirit is how we hope to live, given by God's Holy Spirit. This kind of character can not be achieved by our own determination or training due to our sinful nature. It is done through the work of the Holy Spirit and starts with regeneration. Therefore it is your mother's and my own desire that each of you place your faith in Christ and be dependent upon him alone for eternal salvation. This is the fundamental step taking you down a road of transformation. From this beginning we hope not only for you to be Christians but to also be filled with the Spirit of God Almighty, growing in knowledge and grace. To see the blessing you must avail yourselves to the means of grace God has given us; the Bible, prayer, witnessing, the church and the sacrament. A solid knowledge of the Bible is essential for developing a Christian world view but without prayer and devoted life to God it simply results in pride and legalism. We desire to see you posses a rich relationship with God and for it to be the center for living your life even when you leave our care.

o Christian World View:

One of the great benefits of a Christian education is the opportunity to view the world through the biblical point of view. Everyone sees the world through a world view. Many in my generation have taken ungodly world views that are centered on man and not God. These run counter to biblical and true faith and scholarship. It is our hope that you will be able to stand against these errors of man centered and naturalistic world views. Some of these views include evolutionary view of the origins of the world and human culture. While the first is destructive, there has been many who have been led astray by those who reinterpret all the scripture through a man made system. Men of various academic backgrounds attack the truth of scripture. It is our desire that you will be able to recognize and ward off these attacks.
In addition to rejecting worldly lifestyles and thoughts systems it is our hope that you do not adopt the errors which have crept into the church. In our day and age, the error of a decision based salvation has invaded the church at large and squelched the growth of many Christians. Errors from within the church and without the church will plague the church until the return of Christ. It is our prayer that you may stand against such error in your home, church and society.
o Basic Skills:

After godly character, we desire for you gain tools for learning. Reading, writing and arithmetic are often thought of as the basic skills. While it is overly simple to think that these three are all that we need for life, to do without them would be disastrous. We do not desire for a mere ability to read but a love for reading. We do not merely desire that you have the ability to write but hat you are able to articulate your thoughts on paper. We do not want you to merely be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide but that you would be able to examine your world though math.

o Broad Knowledge

In addition to these basic skills we seek to have you learn a great breadth of world around us. The riches of science, history, geography, culture, philosophy, music, visual and performing arts give context for understanding the world around you. None of us can master all of these areas of academic endeavor but a broad education makes a person more equipped for life.

Science - The ability to examine our world through experience
and put it in a uniform system of thought.

History - Examining the world from the written record of those who
were close to those events.

Geography - Understanding the physical, political, cultural relations of
our world.

Culture - Human systems of living and thought; to include languages.

Philosophy - To understand the basic questions of life; who am I, where
am I, what is right and what is beautiful.

Arts - Expressions of human thought and emotion through music,
literature, painting, plays, dance and film.

This list of what should be included in a broad education is not all that you should learn. It is a good basis for a broad education.

o Unique Gifts, Specialization and Salable Skills

You need broad based education for life but you have only so many years on earth. You must use you days wisely. Each of you must choose the skills you would like to embrace as your own. You must be good stewards of the abilities which God has given you. The most important element in being a steward of these gifts is hard work in your selected field. As you are faithful in developing these gifts through hard work, planning, determination and studying God will give you opportunities to use those gifts. David developed the skills to protect sheep and play music. Through these humble talents God raised up a king. He has good plans for you. Let Him show you his plan for your life. Make good use of the talents he has given you.
One great error people make in choosing different education paths is that they focus simply on an education as a means of obtaining career objectives. You may have a career for a few years but an education lasts a lifetime. Your investment of time, money, efforts and passions is not wasted when at the end you do not get the job with a certain title. In fact, a single career path is less and less the experience of most people. People may have one, two or three careers.
It is our desire that you find a couple of things that you can learn to do well. Even if these are not your life long goals, they can carry you through your life as music and shepherding carried David through out his life. Skills are transferable. It is important that you select your areas of concentration so that you can put your whole heart into it. Lifelong pursuit of excellence in your chosen areas is our goal.

Your Parents

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Another Blog Recommendation: Thoughts of a PCA Pastor

I met Mark Balthrop a few years back. He is a great preacher and a really fun guy.




Thoughts of a PCA Pastor: "Calvinism and Calvinistism

I once heard the late John Gerstner speak of the difference between Lutheranism and LUTHER-ism. It is an interesting topic and gives us some historical understanding of how systems of doctrine change over time while retaining some of the trappings of the original."

Click the link to read the rest....well of his thoughts...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Jack Yoest at Yoest.org

You might want to go check out a new blog I'm reading, Jack Yoest. He wrote about John Roberts, but I like the story he tells about his Uncle Joe. Worth the read.




Jack Yoest at Yoest.org: "Memorize Your Sales Pitch"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Quiz on Romans 5:12-21

The following is a lesson I wrote in the form of a quiz. The multiple choice format is really designed to bring out assumptions that are held by people which do not agree with the passage. Occationally I will throw in answers that could be supported by other passages, but not this one.

Romans 5:12-21

Main Idea: Sin came upon many through the one Adam; many sins were forgiven because of the righteous one, Jesus Christ.

Key Words: sin, one, many, all, death, free gift, type, trespass, grace

Outline
1.From Adam to Moses There Was No Law (12-14)
2.The Free Gift Is Not Like the Law (15-17)
3.The Trespass Increased But Grace Did More So (18-21)

1.How did sin come to mankind?
(Verses 12,13)
A. Through Eve
B. Through Adam
C. Through Satan
D. Each man or woman sins of their own free will and that is all that matters.

2. How did death come into the world? (Verses 12,13)
A. Through Eve
B. Through Adam
C. Each person dies because of their own sin.
D. Death is a natural life cycle that existed before Adam and Eve were made.

3. When was the law given? (Verse 14)
A. In the garden of Eden.
B. To Noah on Mt. Sinai.
C. To Moses on Mt. Sinai.
D. To Jesus on Mt. Sinai.

4. How was the sin from the time of Adam to Moses different than Adam's sin? (Verse 14)
A. Their sin was minor in nature.
B. Their sin was not breaking the expressed law of God.
C. Their sin was basically being evil.
D. Their sin was that of legalism.

5. How does one know he or she is sinning? (Verse 13)
A. A guilty conscience
B. Bad things happen to them
C. Other people tell them
D. The law of God explains it

6. How are the free gift and the trespass different? (Verse 15-17)
A. The free gift covers many sins while the trespass was just one, affecting many.
B. Adam did not know what he was doing.
C. The free gift affected many while the trespass just affected Adam. Everyone else sinned on their own.
D. We don't know.

7. Does the phrase “all men” in the last half of verse 18 refer to each individual on the earth or to all mankind as a whole?

8. Why would God want sin to increase? (Verse 20)
A. So he can punish us.
B. So that he looks good.
C. So that we would have the Bible.
D. So that I would understand my need.

9. A federal head is one who represents the group. Adam was the federal head of...
A. Eve
B. Himself
C. The whole human race
D. All who sin

10. Jesus is the federal head of....
A. His disciples
B. All mankind
C. The church
D. Everyone since the day of Pentecost



Answers: b, b, c, b, d, a, “mankind as a whole ”, d, c, c

If you think differently let me know, I would be glad to discuss it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

JOLLYBLOGGER: Baltimore, Washington, Northern Virginia God-Blogger Meetup

JOLLYBLOGGER: Baltimore, Washington, Northern Virginia God-Blogger Meetup: "Baltimore, Washington, Northern Virginia God-Blogger Meetup"

What: Blogger Meet Up
Where: Somewhere yet to be determined in Laurel, MD.
When September 30 in the evening.
Who: If you are a blogger in the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area and beyond, this is for you.
Why: Fun! That is the bottom line. Discussing your blogging with fellow bloggers has got to be fun.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Inventing Japan - A Good Listen

I just finished listening to this book on tape called “Inventing Japan” by Ian Buruma. I listened to this book because my oldest daughter is interested in Japanese culture and I wanted to expand my knowledge of the country. The book covers a lot of history in a short time. There is no way for the uninitiated like myself to judge whether the author is fair or covers the right topics in this history. But you get the feel that he has a strong appreciation for Japan.
The author makes the case that westerners have consistently messed up their dealings with the Japanese. I don't think he would like it that say it is one of his main ideas but it is difficult no to think otherwise. But is this not this the usual case when two cultures meet? Who exactly is messing up? The guest or the host? Education about various cultural practices can help to understand a direction that could be taken. However, according to Buruma, General MacArthur knew about Japanese culture and still did not do the right things. What to do?
The author goes into detail about the Japanese ideas of freedom, loyalty and politics. There are a lot of names of people that are important to Japanese culture but were difficult for me to get a handle on. However, I am at least familiarized with them. The historical character that impressed me the most was the Buruma's description of Fukuzawa Yukichi. According to Buruma, he is more open to freedom of thought than the average Japanese of his day, but the emphasis from the Wikipedia point of view is that of a strategic thinker who wants to ensure the future of Japanese dominance. Amid all the other, he stood out the most to me.
I would definitely recommend you listen to the book. It gave me a great breadth of knowledge about Japan. It also helped me understand just a little more about how nations deals with nation. Finally, it showed me how individuals can be a positive influence in their culture and how people can intend to be a positive influence and miss it.

Inveneo.org | A New Way to Serve NGOs and Remote Communities with Technology

inveneco is a charity that provides telecommunications services for those who are in neeed. This can really boost a village's well-being. Since I often talk about Christian mission agencies, I should clarify that they are not a Christian mission but simply a charity.


Excerpt from their website: Inveneo is leaving for Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to meet up with CityTeam who has been on the ground there for a few days. CityTeam's Disaster Relief Team is already working with the local communities to provide support and services. Inveneo is going to help establish Internet connectivity and phone lines for use by the victims of Hurricane Katrina and CityTeam's Disaster Relief Team. Currently phone service is only intermittent in the area and no Internet connectivity is available. Inveneo is working with Part-15 and others to establish these services and provide shelters in the area with phones and computers so families can communicate.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Seperation of Church and State Is Biblical

It is my belief that many Americans hold to a form of separation of church and state which is not healthy for state nor church. The principle of separation of church and state is more than just a social convention, it is a principle that is supported by both Old and New Testaments. When Saul attempted to take on priestly duties he was rebuked by the Lord. (1 Samuel 13:18) For the New Testament proof we can think of "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and give to God the things that are God's" and Christ's reply to Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world. (Luke 20:25; John 18:36) But at the same time, the idea of separation of church and state in modern American form does not correlate with the Old Testament form because the separation mean in the OT that religion had an influence on the nation corporately. Nor does the American system of separation of church and state by and large approve a voice calling national leaders to see their sin as John the Baptist did with Herod. The American system is not uniform, nor is it's purpose the same in everyone's eyes. For some American's whose belief system is naturalistic, the separation of church and state is a way to minimize the influence of the church in the life of America. In other words, it is a way to allow private citizens to maintain their superstition if they must have it but the goal is to isolate it to the private lives of individuals who are not enlightened enough to see the truth of science. For many religious types of people, the separation of church and state is system to help everyone get along and maintain peace. The separation of church and state in the scriptures has neither of these purposes. Rather purpose is to maintain purity of true faith and the ability to transcend earthly powers.

Ideally in my humble opinion, a healthy separation of church and state has these elements:

1. Public ceremonies that incorporate prayer and oaths should use the denomination/religion of choice of those participating.

2. The state should not seeks to affirm it's temporal power through state sanctified worship. Emperor worship such as in ancient Rome and in pre-WW II Japan, the state confused some of the people into thinking temporal powers had transcendent virtue. The state also robs itself of an absolute moral standard to guide those who serve as government leaders.

3.The church should not attempt to exercise temporal power rather than instruct from the transcendent truth and virtue. When the church exercises temporal power, it over simplifies the gospel to being a loyalty oath. How can the church teach the doctrines of grace when the power it exercises is earthly and temporal? Grace is heavenly and eternal.

4.The church should recognize the state as a tool of the Lord to suppress evil.

5.The state should respect the power of truth that the church offers.

6.There should be a creative tension between church and state rather than a destructive tension. I would define destructive tension as persecution or hate from either the church or the state for the other. The civil leaders should be discipled by the church to have a moral compass. As pragmatic issues are raised by the state, these issues will stretch the church to attain new heights for understanding and applying truth.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Men Love Media (More Than Women)

Men Love Media (More Than Women)

Published: September 07, 2005

Anna Wintour can breathe a sigh of relief. Women spend more time every week reading magazines than men do. But in almost all other categories men consume more media than women.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

KATRINA PART 2 PHOTO INDEX COVERAGE AREAS

The imagery of hurrican Katrina can be viewed at the NOAA web site. I was not sure how extensive the damage really was, despite extenisve news cover, until I saw hundreds of homes flooded.

If you are not sure where to click on the map, go to the largest blue lake and click just below that. That is (was) New Orleans.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blog of scott harrison - notes from west africa

Scott Harrison's blog call "Scott Harrison - Notes from West Africa is an intriging blog. His missionary task is to be a photo journalist on board the mercy ship Anastasis. His work is artsy and informative. You might also want to visit his photo website. You will find the links on his blog.

I have been reading Earle E. Cairns book on church history "Christianity Through The Centuries" which emphasizes that the early church Father's spent a lot of time explaining their religion to the world. They wrote to explain how many of the myths about Christians were not true, for instance the myth that they ate children, and explain why Christians should not be persecuted. Scott's photo journalism efforts remind me of these early apologiests. He is explaining what the needs of the poor are, and letting the world know the heart of compassion needed. He is explaining the love of Christ to these people as demonstrated through the efforts of the doctors, nurses and other crew members of the Anastasis. Scott's is a great apologetic work.