Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Westminster Assembly, The Singing of Psalms and The Sleight of Slight Arguments

The question comes up often enough as to whether the "singing of psalms with grace in the heart" of the Westminster Assembly's Confession of Faith (WCF),  Chapter 21:5 Of Religious Worship  and the Sabbath Day refers to the 150 psalms of the canonical variety or whether the divines  were rather talking about psalms in the broader sense of any religious song of praise, even uninspired.

The problem with the  answer that the latest two commentaries on the Assembly arrive at however common (as well as other presbyterians who should know better when framing the debate?)  is that one, there seems to be no due diligence in examining the primary sources, i.e. the Confession and the Catechisms along with  the Directory for Public Worship (DPW) and the Form of Presbyterial Church Government (FPCG). Further,  reading these in light of the Minutes of the Assembly and what eventually became the Scottish Psalter 1650, the Assembly's revision of Rouse's psalter over and above Barton's.

In other words, to suggest that "psalms" in the Westminster Standards means something other than the psalms, hymns and songs of David, Asaph and Korah in the Old Testament's Sepher Tehillim or Book of Praise,  is either disingenuous or incompetent to the question. That psalmody may not be popular these days in or outside the P&R church is beside the question as to what the Westminster Assembly taught according to the primary sources. Likewise whatever  the common use or meaning of the term "psalm"  might be,  the Assembly's use of the term pre-empts the common usage, if not dictates how we are to understand the term.  In other words, let there be no mistake about it. The overwhelming, if not unanimous use of the term in the Standards,  along with the Minutes and the Assembly's Psalter,   categorically  refers to the 150 Old Testament psalms. The same, written in part by David, "the sweet psalmist of Israel" who said "The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (2 Sam. 23:1,2)".

Singing of Psalms and the Westminster Assembly's Directory for Public Worship
While the DPW is the main emphasis below,  the FPCG does explicitly consider the “singing of psalms” to be one of the "Ordinances in a particular Congregation". Under the 9th head under the 9th rule in the "Rules for Ordination", we are told that "singing of a psalm" is to conclude an ordination service.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More World Vision Division, Diversion and Perversion

There has been more confused scribbling on the World Vision brouhaha, one of which is  a post over at the Federalist entitled “For World Vision, is Sexuality More Important than Theology?”  The  obvious  question in response would be, “Is perverse sexuality more important than humanitarianism, never mind natural theology or natural law?”  with the answer being no.

If not that, one is reminded of the opening lines in the first of  Garet’s trilogy in The People’s Pottage,  “The Revolution Was”. 
There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them.
 Or  Codevilla’s remark that:
. . . the uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done? (The Ruling Class, p.65)
Likewise Codevilla's previous remarks that the lure of power and acceptance co opts and confuses those who should be opposed to the revolutionary changes – illegally –  imposed upon the America,  but yet we are supposed to acquiesce and accept them as legal (cf. p.15). So  we  take Lee's comments on World Vision.

Church vs. Parachurch
There is no question that the work of the church and the work of a humanitarian organization such as World Vision are not the same thing. Yet that WV purports to be a Christian organization, albeit humanitarian or no is in part, the crux of the unrecognized issue. Would Pastor Lee quarrel with WV if they offered  abortions, if not abortifacient drugs as part of the medical plans they provided their employees? And if not, why not? (We understand there is a legal minimum wage in America – Congress knows better than the free/open  market what that should be – but we didn’t know that mandatory health care/birth control pills was also necessarily included in the definition of "wage".)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Living - And Then Marrying - In The Real World

 Updated 4/10/14

A recent  Ref 21  post by Prof. Carl Trueman compares the World Vision flip flop on homosexual "marriage" and the firing of the  Mozilla CEO because he donated to California's Prop 8 in 2008 which supported  traditional  marriage. His conclusion is that the sword of economic boycott works both ways and Christians shouldn't complain, but realize that's how the cookie crumbles in the real world. (World Vision reminds us  of Zondervan and their  gender neutral NIV. Public outcry put the last on hold, but Z had its way in the end. Any guesses on how long WV holds the line?) Besides evangelical doesn't really mean evangelical when it comes to evangelical para church organizations  or  businesses. So now we know.

**********************************************************************************
Hold the phone, Leon. This Just In.  Due to the moral leprosy that literally oozes from pores  of ex Mozilla CEO and inventor of javascript  B. Eich, the usual raft of amoral refugees, self righteous homophiles  and homosexualist twits  will be announcing their boycott of javascript real soon now on twitter. Along  with their boycott of the internet, because the internet  uses javascript indiscriminately and won't quit anytime soon. Uh, huh. Stay tuned. More late breaking fairy tales to come.
**********************************************************************************

The Stacked Deck
There are a couple of objections. One, there is not a level playing field out there. The main stream moron media, the courts, the schools  and the other elite powers that be, are all pushing for marital rights for sodomites and lesbians despite the fact that  the LGBTQ@#%?  whatever  contingent  in society is a marked minority. The Kinsey Report notwithstanding (Judith  Riesmann among others,  dismantled  that fraud and egregious propaganda long ago), at most we are talking about  1 to 3 percent of the population.  (Even 5 percent would be hopelessly  optimistic in our opinion, but in la la land, one never knows what the  progressives will dream up next.)

The Big Lie
Two, the campaign for  "equal rights/protection" is a lie. While it  purports to be another way of saying everyone is equal before the  law, all it really is  about is the French Jacobin notion of égalité, i.e. the egalitarian  perversion of equal opportunity to mean "equal outcome" or "equal results". And since both male and female homosexual liaisons don't measure up to  the historic definition  of marriage, ergo  we need to do some meddling, preferably by  the coercive power  of the state, so that everybody can get "married"  and live happily ever after. See. Wasn't that easy, boys and girls?

After all, it is not just the  pursuit  of happiness that is constitutionally guaranteed, but the attainment of happiness. Which is to say government guarantees, if not supplies an education, a job, healthcare and a marriage. If not  also children, if homosexuals are allowed to adopt. (I  know.  It's not loving to forbid homosexuals to love children. Therefore they must be allowed to adopt them.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crooked Arrows and Analogies,

All The While Spray Painting Targets  And Snipe-hunting For Protestant Fish In a Roman Barrel Full of Cloistered Monkeys

[corrected  2/4/14]

Well, the  combox zeitgeist over at Old Life Theological Society for Callers Cognitive Dissonance seems to have moved on to discussing the quality of home made vs. Safeway pastry. Still  it does provoke us to quietly weep a few crocodile tears for the eminent first commenter (as always) and his denial (as always)  on these kinds of posts at OLTS. 

Particularly since the same interlocutor has just given us "Clark, Frame, and the Analogy of Painting a Magisterial Target Around One’s Interpretive Arrow " in which he attempts to frame confessionalist RS Clark in his own words, of committing the same crime as Clark accuses biblicist John Frame to be guilty of: Setting oneself up as the interpretive authority over Scripture. 
As in do tell, William Tell.

The gentleman goes on at length – thankfully not quite as eye glazing as usual – in appealing to the Prot reader's private judgement in order to demonstrate the solipsism of that same private judgement and the subsequent necessity of privately judging that the sacred magisterial authority of the pope alone can break the solipsistic stranglehold. Circular pleading indeed, if not sophistical solipsistical.

Oblio's Obligatory Obfuscation/Inexcusable Ignorance
As for  Harry Nilsson, where is he  when we need him? You know, the singer  of the song  about "Me and my Arrow, taking the high road". Of integrity, honesty, credibility, stuff like that. Of correctly characterizing the Prot Roman paradigm if you are going to critique the Prot  Roman paradigm? (But  Protestants  paradigmatically eschew  paradigms/the Holy Father hasn't given them one, so no worries?)

As in the reformed confessions never claim to be above correction from Scripture, contra our protagonist's assumption/accusation. In short the whole "norma normans, norma normata" paradigm. The  Scripture is the infallible rule that rules; the norm that norms all other norms, while the creeds are rules that are normed/ruled by Scripture. And this Mr. Cross, as someone with an M.Div from Covenant Theological Seminary, (PCA) an ex-P&R churchman* ought to know. But doesn't. Or at least won't admit for all practical public purposes of his popish propaganda.

Just as he ought to have known that the Mormon claim to Joseph Smith's apostolic addition to Scripture in the Book of Mormon was contra Scripture as WCF Chapt.1 "Of Holy Scripture" confesses. And answered accordingly when the Utah missionaries knocked on his door. Instead, this incident supposedly precipitated his capitulation to Rome's claim to apostolicity  in order to resolve the existential torment, if not ecclesiastical angst that resulted from the encounter with the disciples of the  Mormon Apostles.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

From The FWIW Department: Scripture vs. the Shroud of Turin

Over at Triablogue regarding Is It Sinful To Produce Or Want Evidence Like The Shroud Of Turin? the same thing  John Bugay  was complaining about regarding the CtC site happened – at  TB.
As below, we couldn’t even get a “Your comment is awaiting moderation”.
Guess we don’t rate like John.
Oh well.
The discussion was going along swimmingly and then blip.
Out like a light.
Whatever.
There are any number of problems with the post, but the chief one is the one that closes the "awaiting moderation" comment  below. 

(T)he argument from John 20:29 is:

Blessed are all those who have believed the evidence written in Scripture and believed in Christ.
But the Shroud of Turin is not one of the evidences written in Scripture.
∴ Those who believe in it are not blessed.

Another passage of Scripture and a new argument is needed to prove that the Shroud of Turin is a good thing.
 The full comment replying to the italicized reads:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Andy Williams – Or Just Say No to Noël

[updated 12/23/12]

One was more than a little disappointed to read the current Ref21 website headline article, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Mr. Hays, (which  has since been superseded by an article on the Newton school shooting. Digging around even further, we did find two excellent articles by Roy Blackwood, Reforming Your Bible Study and The Exercise.)

While it is well enough written as far as it goes, it evades the real question regarding the celebration of Christmas among evangelically confessional churches, at least the presbyterian. IOW “invidious associations” of paganism, popery or partying upon  the holiday are not of the essence of a principled concern or objection from Scripture.

Rather  the P&R churches, contra the Lutheran or  Anglican, understand the good and necessary consequences of the Second Commandment to be that ‘whatsoever is not commanded – explicitly or implicitly in Scripture – is forbidden in the worship of God’. In other words, what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW). Thus the Larger, Shorter and Heidelberg Catechisms on the Second Commandment and the Westminster Confession Chapt. 21 On Religious Worship, if not also the Belgic Confession Art. 32 Of the Order and Discipline of the Church.

Consequently  as the Appendix to the Westminster Assembly’s Directory of Worship states, “Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued”. “No warrant” as in “uncommanded”.  And if uncommanded, forbidden.

Again, while we are commanded in Scripture to observe Christ’s resurrection  once a week, not once a year at Easter – that is after all the reason for the switch from the seventh  to the first day when it comes to the 4th commandment – and his death  in the Lord’s Supper, we are never commanded to observe or celebrate his birth whatever the associations it might have for us,  sentimentally or culturally notwithstanding.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Problem with Propaganda/Rap

Propaganda's  rap/song is  still making the rounds, as well as waves  these days with  heavyweights like Joel Beeke and Thabiti Anyabwile weighing in either on it or Jonathan Edwards's defense of a fellow slave holding minister. Props considers the Puritans to be hypocrites on slavery and is critical of the modern reformed love for them. Yet the problem with propaganda is just that . . .  it's propaganda.

This Just In
But what else is new? If  the essence of propaganda or a half truth is that it contains enough of the truth to convince somebody that it is the whole truth, then good enough buddy, let's go for it. So, lemme see, before we found out that The some Puritans puritans  approved of slavery, if not owned slaves, we learned the same things regarding the Puritans and Ye Burning of Ye Olde Witches. Or Calvin executing  Servetus. With his bare hands no less. (I think the Big P's reference to 'slave ship chaplains' had something maybe to do with John Newton, who was a captain,  not a chaplain, that  eventually repudiated the slave trade.) The point being in all of this, is that  slavery was endemic to the times, just like witch hunting and the civil execution of heretics.

The corresponding and salient distinction lost in all the noise is that while Christians engaged in what are now reprobated activities - and properly so -  Puritanism/Christianity is also  pretty much what got rid of them. Which somehow got left out of the song, due to poetic license, no doubt.  Or is that the license of  propaganda?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who’s the Biggest Racist of Them All?

(updated 2/17/12)
Not Ron Paul (unless Voddie Baucham don't have a clue) or even  the Newt Gingrich in the recent Repuglican debate. Rather we know that those who criticize Paul for not reading his 20 year old  newsletters, can't be anybody -- mainstream media or member of Congress -  involved with passing the Patriot Act, the TARP Bailout or ObamaCare, all of which  were "Too Big to Read". In other words, for one, we're talking major mainstream hypocrisy.

More Smoke and Mirrors
Two,  even if Paul or the Newt was the Great Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan  and they're not, the dubious honor of being the biggest racist just might be reserved for the present occupant of the big white house on Pennsylvania Ave. who still hasn't got around to telling anybody what he was doing sitting for twenty years in what could be called the black version of KKK church.

Which  is to say, it just  goes to show how far education in the government schools  has been eroded if the lesson of Edgar Allen Poe's Purloined Letter doesn't cause some lights to go on for the media, which has generally been in the tank for the darling  incumbent,  who is incapable of doing any  wrong. That, while the same  media again has only been capable of smearing someone as a racist if they dare to question their golden boy, if not Goldman Sachs Candidate No.1 - as compared to  Goldman Sachs Candidate No. 2, Mitt "Obamalite" Romney. Which is perhaps why some refer to members of the mainstream  press by the vulgar term of press-titutes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The State of the Union According to Tolkien

[Updated  2/11/11]  

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;
Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution

To summarize the recent State of the Union Address Jan. 25, 2011 by the President of the United States of America to a joint session of Congress is not difficult. It was already stated over fifty years ago on the opening pages to J.R.R.Tolkein's classic trilogy, the Lord of the Rings:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie
In other  words, to translate the latest Saruman speak and WashingtonDC.orc talk: More Big Government as the Savior of all our  Economic Woes and American Sorrows. 

And, of course, upon delivery of this august address, there was great rejoicing all through the House of Congress and the Cable TV Studios. Implicitly it was understood that the Great Ogre of Unemployment with his Hordes of Underemployment would not dare to show their faces within the city limits of  the national version of Mordor on the Potomac. (Likewise faint hearts should not fear, Nationalsozialistische HealthCare for all will still be enforced freely and rationed  as prudently and carefully as every case may require.)  Neither did anyone have the unmitigated gall to interrupt and insist that someone was a liar as has happened in the past, regardless if lies, half truths or inaccuracies prevailed.

Yet as others have asked, is there any constitutional mandate for what was presented as the resolution of the problems that are facing the nation? But to ask is to answer, you silly goose. Perish the thought. May it never be.

Twin Siamese Parties
Still the real problem with all this, is not how does one go about electing a new president, or a new congress, but rather how does one elect a new electorate to replace the old electorate who voted for the incumbents. The same,  who largely, the Tea Party not excepted, promise more of the same old same old that got us here in the first place.  In case we haven't figured it out yet,  what was pretty much a  Republican version of a Stalinist personality cult preceded this administration's version  -  of  the exact same thing. Neither is it mentioned in polite society or  acknowledged by the  corporate bought and paid  for media,  but the two political parties in America are actually Siamese twins.

Socialist Parties
Tweedledum and Tweedledee   may be separate entities for tax purposes,  but by and large, they are still both firmly  rooted in the trunk  of  the Dire Necessity of More Big Government  Management/Control of the Economy -  whether indirect, through corporate collusions and  cartels (fascism) or direct, through  actual ownership of business, i.e. Government Motors (communism). In other words, whether direct or indirect, government control of the  economy is  of the  essence and definition of socialism, however it escapes the talking heads. Ben Gleck can't understand that Social Security is a socialist program, however much that Jon Stewart  Leibowitz might chide him about it on the Daily Show because at the least, both of them are really in  favor of the fascist version of socialism,  with respective emphases  on either warfare or welfare. But it's all ice cream, regardless of the flavor.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Of Pimps, Prostitutes and Primadonnas: The PCA and the Federal Vision

(updated 1/31/11)


A Report from the Friends of the First Amendment Society
As the Federal Vision more and more is starting to resemble a  theological gong show, no doubt the Larger Catechism on the Ninth Commandment will be permanently drug  (sic) out of  cold storage and "hurt feelings" will be the de facto response to anything resembling plain and blunt speech, which in its turn will be labeled  intemperate "hatespeech" and consequently dismissed via Geo. Orwell's memory hole. Even those who oppose the FV run the risk of being sucked in, as the following items might indicate. 


Likewise, the title above has already transgressed the thin red line for the discerning reader, but we takes our chances in these days of declining literacy, theological or otherwise. That Scripture itself refers to heresy, idolatry or apostasy in terms of whoring around is, of course, completely beyond the pale of modern moderate calvinism and the finer sort of tea parties to which brazen faced women are seldom invited. But to continue.


The Green Hobbit Society
Over at the Green Baggins website, there was a discussion, entitled  Misdirected Apology?,  concerning  what passes for an apology by Mr. J Meyers to the Missouri Presbytery (MOP) of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). This,  regarding his previous utterances, public and private as per  the Federal Vision theology currently perturbing the modern P&R churches - which incidentally, MOP absolved him of all connection  -   in that the PCA, along with the majority of other N. American P&R churches (NAPARC), has declared the FV to be off limits.

Nevertheless Mr. Meyers in 2007 signed the Joint Federal Vision Statement, which makes for a prima facie case that Prov. 30:20 contains the substance of Mr. Meyers's apology, if it does not contain, at the very least, a wholesale, full scale repudiation of the JFVS - which it did not:

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Likewise any discussion or critique of that same apology is misdirected/mistaken if it fails to aknowledge the obvious. To put it very mildly. Which is pretty much what happened at Bilbo's blog.