Archive for November, 2008

Now that the season for Christmas shopping has begun, here’s a good Christian devotional book I recommend: The Cup and the Glory by Dr. Greg Harris.

Dr. Harris is on the faculty with The Master’s Seminary

Here is the website:http://www.thecupandtheglory.com/

Purchase: Amazon

This is my Chapter Summary
Chapter One was titled “the Wilderness”, opens up with Greg Harris’s personal struggles and how there will be a ‘wilderness’ in the Christian experience.

Chapter two was titled “the Cup” which discusses about the suffering itself is an integral part of the Christian life. In addition, the chapter repeats the question again and again: “By the way, what do you pray for…when you pray?” It’s emphasis is that it is the Christian duty to take the ‘Cup’ of suffering.

Chapter Three is titled “The Road”. Drawing from Acts 16 (see page 41) with Paul’s road to Troas, Harris gives us insight as to ‘disappointments’ and sucess in the Christian experience and how ultimately we must seek to follow Christ before any other goals or anything else for that manner. He also discusses how sometimes we do not know what God’s goal is but we must trust in God for His glory to be fulfilled.

Chapter four was titled, “The gift” and attempted to put into perspective that suffering is a gift from God. The second portion of the chapter discussed about the Macedonian church in the Apostolic period and how the Christian perspective would view this afflicted and meager church is blessed while worldly standard would dismiss this church entirely.

Chapter five was titled “The fellowship” and emphasized the importance of fellowshipping with God and others during the moment of our suffering.

Chapter six was titled “The Footprints” and bases itself on the text of 1Peter 2:21. The chapter exhorts the believer to put things into perspective with insight as to why Chrisitan must suffer is because Christ has suffered for us.

Chapter seven was titled “The Suprise” and previewed mainly 1 Peter, while providing the background of who Peter was, especially his interaction with Jesus before CHrist went to the cross. Also, continually in this chapter there is the reference to the greek word peirasmos, as temptation or testing with the intention of one to fail. This chapter discusses how the Christian ought not to be suprise, yet we often are, about suffering.

CHapter eight was titled “The Blessing”. THe Biblical narrative of Jacob’s wrestling moved on to a discussion about wrestling in the spiritual realm and how testing is a real part of a Christian blessing as taught by Peter and James. In essence, the chapter’s message is that the Christian must endure suffering, and that the CHristian is already blessed in the suffering.

CHapter nine was titled “The Agreement”.

Chapter ten was titled “The GLory”. This is a good chapter that focused about the glory that is to come, that though it is mysterious in some sense, yet it is something that supercede the suffering of the present. THe chapter discusses the transfiguration experiences, and the impact on JOhn and Peter.Quote-right

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Mumbai is attacked (still being attacked) by Islamic group.

mumbai mumbai-4


Little known Islamic group claimed the bombing.

Americans and British targeted by Islamic group.

Foreigners the target of Islamic group.

Intelligence Chiefs expecting Islamic group attacks.

Terror attacks by Islamic group.

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Prof. Hodges went home to be with his Lord.

Dan Wallace wrote a tribute to his former professor, Zane Hodges. The account of S. Lewis Johnson’s relationship with Zane Hodges is particularly interesting.

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This is unbelievable…a rare look inside Afgrhanistan…true journalism and wit by Michael Yon


Afghanistan is complicated…very complicated

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The French soldier is writing about the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan

While the guys here at Veritas Domain are heavily manned by Marines, it’s good to see a tribute of the Army also

At the least it gives you some perspective of what operating alongside with US forces is like through the French soldier’s eyes

Translation from here

“We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while – they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army – one that the movies brought to the public as series showing “ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events”. Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day ? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

They have a terribly strong American accent – from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine – they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them – we are wimps, even the strongest of us – and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted : their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity lack of privacy and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland – everything here reminds of that : the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark – only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered – everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all – always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch  from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the ennemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later – which cuts any pussyfooting short.

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is – from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America’s army’s deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers”.

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On October 30, 2008, the United Nations condemned the stoning to death of Aisha Duhulowa, a 13-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and then sentenced to death by a Sharia court for fornication (Zina). She was screaming and begging for mercy, but when some family members attempted to intervene, shots were fired by the Islamic militia and a baby was killed.

Local Sharia courts in Bangladesh regularly punish raped minor girls and women by flogging and beating them with shoes.[1] Similar cases of punishing raped women are Mina v. the State, Bibi v. the State and Bahadur v. the State.[2] Sharia courts in Pakistan have punished thousands of raped women by long term imprisonment.[3]

You might think that such horrific barbarity cannot be the real Sharia law; that it is a misapplication of the law by ignorant clergy. Sadly, neither is true.

There is a traceable dynamic in Sharia Law that is bound to lead to this barbarity. And unless we abandon these laws we will never be able to emerge from this barbarity. It was a blunder that Muslim jurists included rape in the Hudood section of Sharia Law that deals with murder, bodily harm, apostasy, drinking, defamation, theft, adultery and highway robbery. But anyone who tried to change these laws ended up banging their heads against the wall.  Mawdudi, the founding father of modern Political Islam, claims that even if all the world’s Muslims together wanted to make the slightest change in these laws, they would not be allowed to do so.[4]

Read further.

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“[Y]oung Arab men should sexually harass Israeli girls wherever they may be and using any possible method, as a new means in the resistance against Israel” — and this from a female lawyer no less.”Egyptian Lawyer Nagla Al-Imam Suggests Arab Men Should Sexually Harass Israeli Women and Declares: Leave the Land So We Won’t Rape You,” from MEMRI, originally airing October 31 (thanks to Dionysios):

Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 31, 2008.Interviewer: Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam has proposed that young Arab men should sexually harass Israeli girls wherever they may be and using any possible method, as a new means in the resistance against Israel.


Interviewer: We have with us the lawyer Nagla Al-Imam from Cairo. Welcome. What is the purpose of this proposal of yours?

Nagla Al-Imam: This is a form of resistance. In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong with…

Interviewer: On what grounds?

Nagla Al-Imam: First of all, they violate our rights, and they “rape” the land. Few things are as grave as the rape of land. In my view, this is a new form of resistance.

Interviewer: As a lawyer, don’t you think this might expose Arab youth to punishment for violating laws against sexual harassment?

Nagla Al-Imam: Most Arab countries… With the exception of three or four Arab countries, which I don’t think allow Israeli women to enter anyway, most Arab countries do not have sexual harassment laws. Therefore, if [Arab women] are fair game for Arab men, there is nothing wrong with Israeli women being fair game as well.

Interviewer: Does this also include rape?

Nagla Al-Imam: No. Sexual harassment… In my view, the [Israeli women] do not have any right to respond. The resistance fighters would not initiate such a thing, because their moral values are much loftier than that. However if such a thing did happen to them, the [Israeli women] have no right to make any demands, because this would put us on equal terms – leave the land so we won’t rape you. These two things are equal.


I don’t want young Arab men to be interrogated. I want these Zionist girls with Israeli citizenship to be expelled from our Arab countries. This is a form of resistance, and a way of rejecting their presence.

From FrontPage.


(HT: Elya & Ellie)

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Brigitte Gabriel is the founder of ACT for America and American Congress for Truth warn audiences about hate teaching literature being used in Muslim mosques in America.

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MÜNSTER, Germany — Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany’s first professor of Islamic theology, fasts during the Muslim holy month, doesn’t like to shake hands with Muslim women and has spent years studying Islamic scripture. Islam, he says, guides his life.

So it came as something of a surprise when Prof. Kalisch announced the fruit of his theological research. His conclusion: The Prophet Muhammad probably never existed.

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Purchase: Amazon

In The Reformers and their Stepchildren, the author Leonard Verduin focuses on the relationship between the Magisterial Reformer’s and the Radical Reformers (what the author calls ‘the Stepchildren’).Verduin’s controversial thesis is that when the ‘second front’ of the Radical Reformers started, the Magisterial Reformers (Luther, Zwingli, Calvin) made a theological (and political) shift contrary to the direction of progress which began in the early days of the Reformation.Verduin believed that the Magisterial Reformers heated reaction towards the Radical Reformers was thoroughly unbiblical in two important ways: (1) the Magisterial Reformers reverted back to Constantine’s Sacrementalism which blurred the identity (or at minimum, the role) of the Church and the State and (2) an ecclesiology which lacks the Biblical prerequisite of voluntary membership on the basis of faith in Christ.These two errors spawned other errors mentioned in the book such as the use of political coercion against the Stepchildren and the persecutions expressed against those who believed in believer’s baptism.

The book is organized into various chapters, each titled after a various derogatory name given by the Reformers to the Radicals. These names drew important aspect of the disagreement between the Reformers and their stepchildren. All the names which are the chapter titles are in the original language which the name originated from.

One of the book’s strength is that very few books concerning the Radical Reformation have receive as much attention as this one did among those who identify themselves with Reformed Theology.It is also stimulating for those who are sympathetic towards the Reformers to consider who these Radicals were that the Reformers dealt with.A further strength of the book is that it provided much documentation.As with any controversial thesis, having many references from primary sources in order to substantiate one’s conclusion is always a plus.Reading the explanatory footnotes and checking the endnotes in the back of the book to know the source of the quotation was actually a delight for me.

The book repeatedly would cite the Reformers’ own words or the words of their followers. These extensive quotes provide much force behind the author’s argument that the Reformers shifted from the early days of the Reformation. For instance, I was surprised to read on page 198 from the early Zwingli who believed that infant baptism was wrong and “ought not to be done.” The author then documents on page 199 of Zwingli compromising during another occasion until finally he renounced his earlier position and fully embraced infants.

One of the weaker chapters in the book was the first chapter titled “Donatisten”. It is a surprise to me that the author viewed the original Donatists of the fourth century in a favorable light. This is new to me, as my limited experience with various sources for church history has portrayed the Donatist as heretical. This interpretation of the Donatists as simply reacting against Constantine’s merger of Church and state was heavily dependent upon secondary sources rather than primary sources. In addition, the author avoided interaction with the Donatist’s theology to see whether they were heretics and he writes on the footnote on page 34 that there were dissenting heretical Donatist groups and that other Donatists disowned the heretical Donatists. It was rather unsatisfactory to see the author’s assertion was just left at that with no further documentation provided. For the caliber of the author’s scholarship throughout the book, this seems inexcusable, especially since the author was trying to present to them as being biblical.

The book could have also been strengthened if the author was able to expound more on the Biblical text that he cited against the Reformers.

Though a small peripheral issue, I also believed that other weaknesses in the book arises when the book goes on to discuss things beyond the treatment of the Reformers and their Stepchildren.On pages 274 and 275, as the last chapter is about to close, the author discusses about the problem of Christians’ vocation as a policeman or an agent of the State.The author simply concludes that it is better to leave such an assignment to unregenerate men.My own biases is clearly shown here, having been a former Marine for six years and a veteran of the first year in Iraq in 2003, but it appear that the author’s counsel that it is better for Christians to stay away from being servants of the state is contrary to the spirit of Luke 3:14, where John the Baptist didn’t tell a group of soldiers to depart from the military, but rather commands them to be upright, which assumes that it was possible.

These weaknesses are minor when one takes into consideration what one can learn here. It definitely made me reconsider my thoughts towards the Reformers. This book is not for the faint-hearted fans of the Reformers! If anything, it reinforces the Reformers’ teaching on sin, that no one is righteous and perfect. The book proves that the Reformers were no exception to the rule. Many times I cringed reading about the various torture and coercion upon the Radicals by the Magisterial Reformers. The accounts of the Stepchildren’s martyrdom was not easy to read, when one realizes that what was taking place was Christians murdering other Christians. The book is a tour de force memorial to the fact that the Reformation was just only beginning of the Reformation, and not the final end product! Having have much of my understanding of the Reformation impact upon theology, culture, and society from sources such as Timothy George, Francis Schaeffer, John Robbins and even Max Weber, that paint the Reformers impact in a positive light, The Reformers and their Stepchildren is a much needed balance to the historical account of the Reformation, the Reformers, and the source of religious freedom. I plan to study more on this in the future.

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From the New Testament,

Mark 4:11-12, “And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.”

John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:65, “And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Acts 16:14, “And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

Romans 9:18, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

Romans 11:8, “just as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.'”

Romans 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

2 Thessalonians 2:11, “And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false.”

1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

From the Old Testament,

Genesis 45:8, “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt

Exodus 4:21, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

Exodus 14:17, “And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.”

Deuteronomy 2:30, “But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to pass through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as he is today.”

Deuteronomy 29:4, “Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.”

1 Samuel. 10:9, “Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day.”

2 Chronicles 25:20, “But Amaziah would not listen, for it was from God, that He might deliver them into the hand of Joash because they had sought the gods of Edom.”

Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.”

Jeremiah 24:7, “‘And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”

Psalm 105:24-25, “And He caused His people to be very fruitful, and made them stronger than their adversaries. 25He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants.

Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Isaiah 44:28, “It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! and he will perform all My desire.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.'”


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I have withheld any comments of this conference until its over. The John 3:16 Conference is partly the labor of Jerry Vines, a preacher that I have met and enjoyed listening to. He is obviously a man of integrity and had served the Lord well. Unfortunately, his growing resentment towards the Doctrines of Grace has marred his otherwise good legacy as a Bible expositor.

When they first announced about this conference I had thoughts running in my head that it will be a time where people gather together to trash other Christians and to trash the Holy Bible and ultimately God Himself.

One speaker caught my attention. He said, “Should the Southern Baptist Convention move toward 5-point Calvinism, such a move would be away from, and not toward, the gospel.” According to this blogger, this was met with a standing ovation.

The same speaker also said that, “According to Phil Johnson, James White is a hyper-Calvinist” which prompted Phil Johnson to respond.

James White responds from the UK, I have a feeling that when he returns, he will be challenging Dr. Allen to a debate.

Has Dr. Allen forgotten about George Whitefield (the evangelist that God used to bring many to Christ), Jonathan Edwards (where revival broke out) and Charles Spurgeon (the preacher who preach too much Gospel)?

By the way, we (me and everyone else who blogs here) and our church believe passionately in evangelizing the lost. We preach the Gospel and evangelize the lost weekly. We do so because of our beliefs in the Doctrines of Grace.

From the critiqued of these bloggers (Andrew Lindsey, John Mark, Timmy Brister, and Justin Taylor), one has to doubt the scholarship of the John 3:16 Conference speakers. I wonder what their students learn from them in class?

One seminary student in attendance wrote, “On a side note, I also think it speaks volumes that the conference costs $50 for audio and $70 for Video while Together 4 the Gospel, Desiring God, IX Marks and other Reformed outlets make their audio available for free. It almost appears that the reason behind the conference is not because Reformed Theology is destroying the convention, but that it is destroying the revenue generated during revivals.

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I have been thinking about attending this conference (T4A) but knowing that with technology the audios will be provided. I was hoping to hear from Russell Moore but due to voice problem he could not make it.

Here are the audios,

HT: Jason Kovacs/ABBA fund

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Who should cool down????

News Busters puts it in perspective of LA Times article that “Both sides need to cool down”:


It’s good enough that I need to share portion of it here:

Let’s see if I got this straight: Hundreds of supporters of gay marriage, opponents of California Proposition 8, have picketed a Mexican restaurant in L.A. and shouted vulgarities at innocent customers just because one employee – a daughter of the owner – gave a modest $100 donation in support of the measure protecting traditional marriage. Opponents of Proposition 8 have threatened and harassed several other businesses – including a radio station, a theatre, and a chain of health food stores – because employees gave money in support of Prop 8. Opponents of Prop 8 have knocked a cross from the hands of an elderly woman and stomped on it during a demonstration in Palm Springs. Suspicious white powder has been sent in an envelope to a Mormon temple in Westwood. (Mormons were big supporters of Prop 8.)

And the supporters of Proposition 8? Well, their measure – which sought to restore the definition of marriage between only a man and a woman – won in a statewide referendum by a 52 to 48 margin. They simply want judges to respect the vote and uphold its result.

So what does the Los Angeles Times’ Tim Rutten have to say about all of this? He says in his November 15 column that “both sides” “are going too far” and “need to cool down.”

Both sides” “need to cool down”? “Both sides”? Wait a minute. It seems one side is a tad bit hotter than the other! A number of the episodes I’ve cited above are from Rutten’s own paper. Has he checked it out lately?


Rutten’s column also bemoans the “unprecedented intervention” and “distasteful business” of the Catholic and Mormon churches voicing their support of traditional marriage and Proposition 8. He’s upset that they have “leap[t] into the political process” as religious organizations. “[I]t raises hackles, and rightly so,” Rutten asserts.

Gee, Tim. Your paper didn’t seem too upset about any “distasteful business” or “unprecedented intervention” a few years back when your paper published a favorable editorial about Cardinal Mahony “saying the right things about illegal immigrants” and “reinforcing the right of religious leaders to speak out on the moral ramifications of political issues.”

Hey, Tim. What about that same right now? Ohhh, wait. This time the Church has the opposite view of your own, and that is “raising your cackles.”

All together now: “Double … standard.”

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