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In a Washington Post opinion piece yesterday (July 29th) Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards gave a defense of her organization after being exposed for selling aborted babies body parts.  I hope to respond to the whole article in another post later today but for now I want to look at one of her claims about her organization.

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Planned-Parenthood-Cecile-Richards

Yesterday, on July 28th, 2015 a third video was released by The Center for Medical Progress exposing Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is having a serious PR problem at the moment.

As part of their campaign to defend the organization the president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards posted on July 28th, 2015 at 3:05 PM EST the following on her Facebook page:

When protesters gather outside of Planned Parenthood health centers to harass patients and their doctors, this is what they are standing in the way of:

Followed with this picture:

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If one examine this carefully one would realize her argument is not without its problem.

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A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism From Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs

Mark S. Gignilliat. A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism: From Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, June 10th, 2012. 186 pp.

The author made it clear in the beginning that the intended audience of the book was for “anyone who is in interested in the Bible, its history of interpretation, and the particular problems and approaches to Old Testament studies in the modern period.”  Thus book wasn’t just written for scholars and seminarians in mind but for the larger Christian lay readers although the author admits that as he writing this his inclination was to make the work more technical.  As a result the author himself explicitly explain that he needs to write this book with more of a biographical sketch of important figures of Old Testament scholars in light of the general public’s interests for human stories.  Thus the book is divided into seven chapters with each focusing on one particular modern Old Testament scholar.  I think the book might be more appropriately titled “A Brief Survey of Old Testament Scholars” instead, lest people think it is a survey of the history of Old Testament Criticism so no one is fooled by the title since some chapters focused on more biographical contents than descriptive details of the scholar’s academic contribution.  I suppose one shouldn’t really blame the author for doing so if he can successfully get the readers to know more about these scholars rather than have the readers be bored in seeing these men as another group of dead unknown Germans scholars.

Readers of the book will notice right away how early in the history of modern Old Testament criticism that it is driven by presuppositions and philosophies that is foreign to Scripture.  The clearest and worst example of this given in the book was Spinoza (although I don’t think the author intended to do that).  I was surprised to read about how bright Spinoza was but sadden to see how far he veered away from biblical orthodoxy even among his fellow Jews.  The book noted how Spinoza’s motivation in his approach towards the Old Testament was one that began with human autonomy and the assumption that reason is in conflict and above faith, etc.  While the other scholars the book survey is less overt than Spinoza in undermining the Bible nevertheless I would say one see in varying degrees the compromises and the import of bad philosophical starting points among various scholars’ approach to the Old Testament.

The author however makes it clear that he wants Evangelicals to have a greater appreciation for these scholars and their contribution even if one disagrees with them.  In that vein I appreciated the chapter on Julius Wellhausen and the author explaining Wellhausen’s documentary hypothesis clearly and simply for the lay reader.  I learned that Wellhausen’s formulation of his documentary hypothesis was in the context of his attempt to reconstruct the original historical setting of Israel in light of naturalistic presuppositions and not just merely to break up the Scripture into parts per se.  Although I have misgivings with the documentary hypothesis I think a strength of the book is the presentation clearly and accurately of what these scholars believed.

The chapters that really stood out to me were the ones on Gerhard VonRad, William Albright and Brevard Childs.  While I have been cautious and continue to be discerning when I read anything from VonRad (or anything that others attribute to VonRad), nevertheless I have a deeper sense of respect for VonRad the man and the scholar.  I never knew until this book of the courageous stance he took against the Nazis when he was a German Old Testament scholar at the universities.  His courage is inspiring when one consider the anti-Jewish climate in Hitler’s Germany.

It was also neat to learn of biblical scholars that was shaped by the polymath William Albright whose impact on Old Testament studies is his use of archaeological findings.  By far my favorite chapter was on Brevards Childs whose canonical approach has more use for Evangelical students of the Old Testament than some of the other approaches mentioned in the book.

I must say that Christians must read this book with discernment.  I think at times the author could have been explained more of the problems with some of the scholars surveyed.  Nevertheless I felt that all these scholars has things we can learn from; the biggest encouragement from these men lives was that I want to continue to be diligent in my study of God’s Word with all my mind, strength and soul.

I recommend the book, and rate it 4 out of 5.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Zondervan Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Purchase: Amazon

Earlier this month I wrote a post on My thoughts on the news of a church flying Christian flag over American flag in which I argued about how much a non-story it was for the media to pick up on it, among other things.  On Sunday some Conservative alternative source of news mentioned about the City of Reno flying the Gay Rainbow flag in place of the American flag over their city hall.  The city has since taken down the gay flag and put back the American flag and the mayor has issued an apology.

I think this ought to be a bigger news story than the one about the church flying a Christian flag above the American flag.  This is the civil government we are talking about and not some non-government organization.

I thought it was interesting Huffington post has a story on “Pastor Flies Christian Flag Above American Flag To Protest Gay Marriage” but if you do a search on their page for “Reno flag” you won’t find anything.

Now I don’t want to make too much about flags per se but I think all the news about flags definitely reveal the hearts of people and where our society is going.

Think of how Obama had the White House glow at night with the the colors of the Rainbow flag soon after the Supreme Court supported same-sex so called marriages but take days before the White House flag was half-mast for the dead Marines and Sailor killed in Tennessee.

By their flags you will know them.

Part 1

Pretty-Church

This is part 2 in looking at the images and analogies the Bible gives in describing the church.  We are looking at these motif to draw out the implications for readers to see the importance of the church in our own lives in light of how important the church is in God’s eyes.

God sees the church as a body

  1. Proof
    1. The Bible describe Christ relationship to the Church as head to the body
      1. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” (Colossians 1:18)
        1. As the head Christ controls the rest of the church which is His body.
        2. Note also how this analogy drives Paul to suffer for the church (Colossians 1:24)
      2. Other passages: Ephesians 1:23, 2:15.
  2. Picture: Health is important; today’s fitness industry reveals our culture’s obsession with being fit:
    1. “The IHRSA also reported that the total revenue in the fitness industry reached $21.8 billion in 2012.[xv]  This is a significant increase from the $20.3 billion made in 2010 by the industry.[xvi]  Since 2008, health club memberships rose by 10%, while the number of non-member patrons also increased by 5%.[xvii] This particular number went up from 7.7 million patrons in 2008 to 8.3 in 2012. [xviii][1]
    2. Another website noted that there’s 29, 501 businesses with 573,328 people working in this industry.[2]
    3. “…over 60% of Americans regularly participate in fitness sports as of 2012.[xix] This is the fifth consecutive year in which these numbers have remained stable at 60% or more[xx]. This goes to show that the fitness trend is not going away soon in America and the fitness industry is only going to grow stronger each year. All in all, fitness is a profitable industry in the US and the numbers will only continue to rise.”[3]
  1. Practice
    1. If people are willing to go all out to take care of God’s temple that the Lord has given them how more so should they care and prioritize the church, the body of Christ! Do you value the body of Christ?
    2. In the end it comes down to the issue of love because that’s what can sustain you to be selfless and sacrificial for imperfect people in the church; do you have the Love of God in your life?
    3. Practice your spiritual gifts (Romans 12:4-5)!
    4. Don’t treat the church as a bad gym membership: You go once a year, merely to pay your dues.
    5. Become a member: “because we are members of His body” (Ephesians 5:30); explanation of church membership class.

[1] http://blog.gyminsight.com/2013/05/most-current-fitness-industry-statistics/

[2] http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1655

[3] http://blog.gyminsight.com/2013/05/most-current-fitness-industry-statistics/

richard spencer apologetics

The following are four video lectures related to epistemology, the rationality of biblical Christianity, classic theistic proofs and modern evidence for the biblical Christian worldview and an introduction to Van Tillian apologetics.  It was presented between the end of May to June 2015 over at Grace Valley Christian Center near University of California, Davis.  According to the church’s website here is the biographical sketch of the speaker:

Dr. Spencer is an elder and minister at GVCC and has led GVCC’s Faith and Reason Series. He is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at UC Davis, and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He received his B.S.E.E. from San Jose State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He was a faculty member for 25 years, served as the vice chair of the department, and held an endowed professorship. He has been married to his wife, Patti, since 1979 and has three children and two grandchildren. He has been a member of GVCC since giving his life to Christ in 1992.

Enjoy!

 

This is a post that I forgot to share before I posted our .   Be sure to check out that post for more resources concerning the issue of homosexuality and the Bible.
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Fred Butler alerted me to this resource over at his blog.  Don Green, a long time pastor at John MacArthur’s Church (Grace Community) and leader at Grace to You Broadcast is now pastoring as a senior Pastor at Truth Community Church.  They have recently completed a conference on the topic of the Bible and Homosexuality in which they are calling the church to have a courageous confidence in Christ.

The nice thing is that they have made the audios to this conference available for the world on their website here.

Here’s the sessions linked to the audios:

1. Refuting the Five Myths on Homosexuality

2. Why Homosexuality is Wrong

3. Scripture, Shellfish, and Homosexual Sin

4. Addressing the Heart of Same-Sex Attraction

5. The Future of the Church and Homosexuality

 

I have benefited from Don Green’s preaching in the past.  May this edify God’s people.