Friday, September 29, 2006


I know it is rare that I blog twice in one day. However, knowing how trends always begin in California and sweep east, after reading this article I felt it my moral obligation to utilize the blazing speed of the internet to alert my readers (all three of them) to this danger and call on the Sycamore men to go into "high alert mode" as you have been trained! Be sure also to take the survey 100 times on this page and always answer "Yes."

(For background to this alert, you may want to go to the last story on this page.)

In Response to a City Councilman

A city councilman in Kokomo wrote an editorial this week (which you can read here) calling his readers to have compromising views with respect to such issues as abortion. My "Letter to the Editor," which I submitted but do not know if it will be printed in its entirety, follows. As many of us will be participating in the Life Chain this Sunday, October 1st, I thought this letter might remind us of the issues at stake.

In his editorial "A Revisitation of Religion and Politics," Greg Goodnight used an assortment of quotes, Bible citations and personal reflections to support the idea that most American want "a ceasefire in the culture wars" and that individuals and churches should not use God's name to win votes. Though certainly Christians must be careful not to put their hope in political power nor abuse it, and his personable style seeks to disarm criticism, the fact that Mr. Goodnight contradicted his own thesis within his column invites response.

Mr. Goodnight cites a survey that says sixty-six percent of Americans want a "middle ground" on abortion and that six out of ten white evangelicals also support compromise. This position reflects his own publicly-stated, pro-choice political views regarding this practice. He then refers to the Bible as a basis for having compromise when it comes to issues like abortion: "The point is that the Bible is open to interpretation, and fair-minded Christians may disagree or come to different conclusions about specific points," such as the abortion issue he had just raised. See the contradiction of his own thesis? Mr. Goodnight does not want Christians to use God to influence politics, but has no problem referring to God and His Word in order to defend his own pro-choice views. He then slips even further when he goes on to quote a reference (I Corinthians 13:12) from the Bible to try to support the idea the Bible is not clear. See then the inconsistency of his argument? He claims that people should not use God for political purposes, then uses God to address his view on abortion; he states that on an important topic like abortion, the Bible is unclear; to support the statement that the Bible is unclear, he quotes the Bible!

Mr. Goodnight, the Bible is explicitly clear, and just because someone goes to church and also believes in abortion does not invalidate the perspicuity of Scripture. An unborn child is a person (Psalm 139:13), and parents who take the life of their own children have committed a vile offense against the child, society and their Creator (Exodus 21:22-23). To those who believe this and want this practice stopped, your muddled arguments for compromise and for us to be silent are patronizing. The next time you preach to others (for that is what you were doing), perhaps beforehand you need to think more deeply upon the Shakespeare you offered the rest of us from the Merchant of Venice about even the devil quoting Scripture, and then look up the line that follows. As the Bard of Avon said elsewhere, "This above all: to thine own self be true."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Old Testament Survey...of Me

The fifth year of Sycamore Covenant Academy has begun with a bang. Though still relatively small in size, this ministry of our church that provides academic and discipleship training for home educated youth has grown this year as we have more students and teachers helping us than ever. What is exciting to me personally is the enthusiasm for learning and the friendships with the young people, parents and teachers that I enjoy. Yet perhaps most exciting is that not only am I teaching my standard math (Algebra II) and Greek (Beginning) courses, but this year I am also teaching Old Testament Survey.

My goal for this class is to hopefully give the students just a taste of the experience I had in seminary while sitting in the class of Dr. Clark Copeland. Class after class I would sit there and have him open up for me the Old Testament Scriptures in ways that I had never seen before. Just as the guys on the road to Emmaus had their hearts burning when Jesus explained the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:32) and the disciples had their minds opened that they might understand the Scriptures about Him (Luke 24:44-45), so I had that experience while attending class.

So not only am I preparing new lessons each week, learning to use a PowerPoint presentation for the first time (on our new SCA video projector!), and putting more hours in the classroom, but I am working to help these young people see Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures. Like the rising sun in the picture above that serves as the backdrop for the opening title in PowerPoint for each class, the Law and the Prophets colorfully shine with the anticipated glory of the coming Christ.

One of my favorite moments thus far was to tell the class during our study of the book of Exodus that Moses is also a New Testament character, and then to ask them where he appeared. Then as they recalled the story of the Mount of Transfiguration, where Christ shined with a glory surpassing that of Moses on Mt. Sinai, we looked at what Moses and also Elijah (the Law and the Prophets being fulfilled!) discussed with him in Luke 9:30-31. The topic was Jesus' "departure," or, as it says in the Greek, His "exodus!" As the new Moses, Christ was preparing for the cross to provide His people an exodus from their slavery to sin. I don't know if the students were excited, but I can testify that the teacher surely was!

Yet most of this course is taking place outside of the classroom. You see, as I prepare this Old Testament Survey, I am being stretched to clearly explain the whole counsel of God's Word. I am seeing how little I actually know about the Book I have devoted my life to studying and teaching, and am feeling the weight of how careful I must be in accurately handling the word of truth before these young minds. I feel shame at how pitiful my devotion to the glorious Lamb of God really is, how casual my regard for His sovereignty can be, how quickly I forget or even disbelieve His promises. I start each study examining the Word of God carefully, like the students in Biology class looking at a specimen with the microscope. Yet how come it is that my studies so quickly turn to the feeling that I am the amoeba on the slide?

I guess what I'm seeing is that surveying the Old Testament really ends up in an exercise of the Old Testament surveying me. So though I can only pray that my students end up with burning hearts and opened eyes, so far the only result I can report is a dust-covered forehead of the teacher who, like the saints of old (i.e. sinners saved by grace), is overwhelmed again by the awe of the holy Lord.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The UNChrist

"I emphatically declare that today's world more than ever before longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity, and above all longs for the perfect, righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet."

Does not the above quote sound like the end of a sermon? In a sense it was, but not the type you might think. Nor was the audience a congregation gathered at church on Sunday morning hearing about the return of the Lord Jesus. The speaker concluded his message with this loudly-proclaimed prayer: "Oh Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirst for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers among those who strive for his return and his cause."

These words were spoken by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations on September 19th. As several bloggers such as Hugh Hewitt and Rush Limbaugh are reporting, the media has abundantly covered Ahmadinejad's condemnation of President Bush and the United States, but few reporters have caught the significance of these closing words. Ahmadinejad, based on his Shiite Muslim views, believes that the Twelfth Imam, the messianic figure who will return at the end of the world, will emerge in the next few years during a period of worldwide chaos and bring the justice for which he prayed. To that end, Ahmadinejad had a $20 million mosque constructed in Qom, Iran, recently to receive the savior. And to that end many believe he is saber-rattling because he wants to provoke the war that will bring the great Mahdi out to save the world.

So on American soil, our sworn enemy not only condemned our nation but preached an antichrist. Can you imagine the uproar if George Bush, who also spoke to the UN this week, had preached Jesus and prayed for His return? The media and the United Nations will accept uncritically their UNChrist, but not the true Savior of mankind.

One thing you have to hand to the Iranian president/preacher is at least he is bold. Psalm 33:12 says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." When will the church find its voice again to preach and to pray as if it believes that?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Bald Eagle Sighting

Ran across this picture and thought I'd share it with you.

It was taken back in February at Senior's Night for my son Jamey's basketball team called the Eagles. Miriam and I were supposed to walk out with Jamey before the game, hear some nice words read about Jamey and his future, and then have Jamey present his mother with a rose. I had even donned a tie for the occasion. Simple, right?

The only problem was that the other team did not show up.

We called the other team, but seems that there was a scheduling problem. They did not even have us down. So with a rented gym, referees, all that money spent on roses, and three seniors looking forward to being honored, we figured we better get an opposing team together quick. So some dads and alumni ran home, grabbed some gym shorts, and cobbled together a team. What fun we had that night! We even gave the Eagles a good game, though they came through with the victory at the end.

By the way, if you decide to form a home school team, don't choose Eagles as your mascot. It is the most popular high school team name, and that's even more true in home schooling circles. The Eagles versus the Eagles every game gets a bit redundant. However, in keeping with this spirit, our old man's team was dubbed the Bald Eagles for obvious reasons.

And I still got to wear my tie.