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January 2005 Blog Archives

Monday, January 31

6:55 AM I return to full-time teaching this week after my sabbatical with this challenging thought in my mind and upon my heart:

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.

The great teacher


(Below: "The Knitting School," by Fritz Sonderland.)

The Knitting School

6:22 AM Evanhead asks a very good question:

[W]ould I be willing to stand for God's truth in the day that the government detains me for pledging my ultimate allegiance to God rather than Caesar, even if the government sent a strange woman to try to get me to talk? I hope that I don't have to find that out, but I pray that God would enable me to stand firm in my application of biblical truth, rather than to surrender to evil so that the "good" of government's ill-conceived good intentions may come.

In our family time we have been reading about the persecuted church in Ethiopia. We ran across one statement that both made us chuckle and gave us pause at the same time: "I thank God that [during the Marxist persecution] I was never separated from my wife, except for the two years I was in prison." Amazing! Never separated except for two years! In Hebrews we read that believers were tortured and refused to be released so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced flogging, while others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawn in half; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, and mistreated  (Heb. 11:35-38). These believers considered it an honor to suffer for the Name. If we are ever called upon to suffer that way, may we face those times as those who have gone before us did. Truly, "the world was not worthy of them."

6:17 AM As an incurable hippophile I find the art of Judy Larson simply breathtaking. Here's an example ("Fire and Flight"):

Artwork by Judy Larson

6:15 AM A favorite teacher remembered:

We all remember exceptional teachers who brought out of us such willing and enthusiastic participation that we were thankful that all of our teachers didn't have this talent and passion because, besides time, there wouldn't have been enough energy to have done it all.

Can you remember a favorite teacher? If so, why not send him or her a note of appreciation TODAY?  

6:12 AM I am excited to see more and more homeschoolers teaching themselves the language of the New Testament. Here's a good introduction to the subject by a homeschooling mom. Remember, there are many excellent textbooks around. If for some reason you should decide to use my beginning grammar, I would be happy to supply you with a workbook and a cassette tape on pronunciation gratis. Just email me with your mailing address.

6:10 AM From the mailbag:

Hi Dave,

Why didn't you TELL me about your blog? I've been deprived of it all
this time. Every day I check you website to see if it's been updated and
when it wasn't I would be so disappointed. And here was the absolute
GOLD MINE all the time.

Thanks so much for this thoughtful note. I am glad that you finally found our blog, and hope that it will continue to be an inspiration to you. Many thanks for writing and for your kind remarks.

6:06 AM Dr. Lyman of the award-winning Homeschooling Revolution sent me this interesting link on the New Age gospel.

Saturday, January 29

3:24 PM I highly recommend a visit to the website of the Southwest Wake Christian Assembly. Their elders write:

We ... believe these are desperate times, as families are separated and fragmented in every endeavor in the culture including the church. At the same time there is a systematic breakdown of the family within the church as well as in secular society. Our culture has almost completely lost a memory of what it means to be a father and mother and how to provide loving leadership in the home, and fulfill basic Biblical roles and responsibilities. These desperate times call for purposeful measures. The rate of change in existing local churches is likely to be slow, and we feel that the time is now for restructuring the church to bring families together and to give family members every opportunity to turn their hearts toward one another for the glory of God.

3:22 PM Is True Love Waits a failure? Do youth groups and peer pressure counteract the pledge?

True Love Waits, a program sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of the most famous evangelical efforts to reduce premarital sexual activity among our youth. Since 1993, about 2.4 million young people have signed a pledge to wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse. Are these young evangelicals keeping their pledges? In March 2004, researchers from Columbia University and Yale University reported on their findings. For seven years they studied 12 thousand teenagers who took the pledge. Sadly, they found that 88 percent of these pledgers reported having sexual intercourse before marriage; just 12 percent kept their promise. The researchers also found that the rates for having sexually transmitted diseases "were almost identical for the teenagers who took pledges and those who did not."

3:20 PM Worship at all times, but meet as a church primarily to edify.

3:11 PM Ministering to our youth:  

Raise up your own children.

Love them.

Do not let others undermine your authority.

Keep this responsibility for yourself.

Don't isolate children from their parents.

Youth groups are not sacred cows.

Teach fathers their responsibilities in the home.

Adopt your principles from Scripture, not tradition.

Don't "entertain" youth. Put them to work in the Lord's service.

Minister as families to other families.

There is no "youth" Holy Spirit and "adult" Holy Spirit. There is just the Holy Spirit.

8:10 AM This is the best article on Social Security I've seen in some time.

6:55 AM Our Reformation Tour will highlight the Anabaptists of Zurich. This essay reminds me of the great price some of them paid for their obedience to King Jesus:

6:50 AM I grew up next to the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, which just experienced the loss of 27 men in one day. All Hawaii mourns, and I mourn with her.

6:48 AM Many people who think they are constitutionalists are in reality anti-constitutional neoconservatives. For a good definition of a real constitutionalist, read Chuck Baldwin's latest essay.

6:46 AM The latest issue of the scholarly journal Novum Testamentum offers an essay on "The Irony of Romans 13," arguing that what at first blush appears to be an uncompromising endorsement of political authority is actually a deft criticism of Roman rule under Nero. If you have access to a good theological library you should read this piece. Very interesting.

6:40 AM My esteemed colleague Dr. George Braswell recently retired and is here honored in an article that appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer.

6:38 AM Doug Phillips offers some salutary advice to our nation's politicians on the Iraq War:

Practical Solutions for Ending the War on Terror

6:37 AM I am happy to introduce a website devoted to religious freedom that contains numerous thought-provoking essays on the topic of church incorporation.

6:33 AM Greg Welty, who earned his M.Div. from Westminster Seminary, has written an evaluation of paedobaptism. To those unfamiliar with the debate, this essay is well worth reading.

Friday, January 28

6:33 AM G. I. JANES: U.S. women are getting closer to combat. For a Christian response, please see the Forum on Women in the Military at Vision Forum Ministries, a collection of essays by Doug Phillips, R.C. Sproul Gee, I wish I were a manJr., Phil Lancaster, Jennie Chancey, Rus Walton, Cort Kirkwood, and Jane Chastain, plus the text of resolutions passed by the Reformed Church in the United States and Messiah's Congregation in Brooklyn, New York.

Many women's rights advocates claim that Christians have long since abandoned the issue of women in the military. Sadly, far too many pastors and politicians were embarrassingly silent on this issue in the days leading up to the war against Iraq. In this special forum of key theologians and Christian thinkers, we throw down the gauntlet....

6:30 AM I first met John Leone, a New Jersey cop, at last year's Constitution Party Convention in Valley Forge. He was one tough guy with a soft heart for Jesus and for people. John recently celebrated the one year anniversary of his conversion to Christ and has shared his experience with his readers at his website. When you have a few minutes, read what John has to say about his spiritual pilgrimage. You won't be disappointed. Happy Anniversary, brother John, and thank you for your testimony to God's faithfulness and saving grace. I rejoice with you.

6:25 AM Who needs Jesus when you've got Jabez? (I know, I've already linked to this subject, but it's too interesting to pass up.)

6:20 AM I had someone email me yesterday asking where they could find a Reformed-minded Baptist Church, and here's the link I sent them.

6:18 AM I was reading my Gute Nachricht yesterday and stumbled across a great little poem in the margin on p. 272 (Acts 2):

Wenn Menschen an ihrer eigenen Ehre bauen/ist die Verwirrung unvermeidlich. Wenn sie Gott die Ehre geben/kommon sie einander näher.

The allusion is obviously to our man-made political and ecclesiastical Towers of Babel, which, of course, always lead to our downfall.  

"The Tower of Babel" Print

6:15 AM I enjoy the blogging that goes on over at Get Religion, and here's a good example of the high quality punditry one finds there. The topic was the president's inaugural speech.

There was little sense of The Fall and the belief that sin tends to complicate the work of good people as well as bad people. You get this kind of optimism from liberal Catholicism, not priests who fought the Holocaust and Marx. You get it from liberal mainline Protestants, not the often somber folks who cheer, well, for politicians like Bush who flaunt their conservatism.

6:12 AM Darrell over at the Dow Blog lays down the gauntlet and wants to know why Pat Buchanan backed the Bush candidacy even though he considers the current administration to be "utopian" (code word for Messianic). I have wondered the same thing - out loud. Pat, it seems to me, is still hoping against hope for a dramatic shift in thinking in the GOP, expecting it to suddenly renounce its fervid neoconservatism in favor of a more traditional (and constitutional) approach to world politics. I have a good many friends who are hoping for the same thing. I once thought that way too, but I simply gave up after it became obvious to me that a real alternative already existed, one that supported constitutionally limited government and also took an uncompromising pro-life position (i.e., I became a one-issue voter). I still have a great deal of respect for Mr. Buchanan but I wish he'd make up his mind on this one.

6:10 AM Brazilian Reformed Baptists.

6:08 AM Read more about the homeschoolers stunning debate victory at Oxford.

6:05 AM Dr. Patrick Johnson gave this excellent speech at the Denver March for Life Rally. Among several interesting points he makes is that the original Hippocratic Oath included a vow not to kill the pre-born: "I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy." Please take the time to read the entire speech and tell your friends about it.

Thursday, January 27

6:33 AM As soon as the ground dries out a bit we need to begin readying the soil for our summer garden. For our vegetables we will put in raised garden beds this year, for a variety of reasons. We'll also expand our cornfield and finish fencing in the farm. Then to start on the magnum opus: the horse barn. What fun!

Copper Cap Raised Bed

6:30 AM Paul Alexander reviews The Purpose Driven Life. He makes some very telling points. Here's a teaser:

“The body of Christ, like your own body, is really a collection of many small cells. The life of the body of Christ, like your body, is contained in the cells. For this reason, every Christian needs to be involved in a small group within their church…. This is where real community takes place, not in the big gatherings” (p139). Yet ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means “gathering”. The church is the community of God, God’s program for both evangelism and discipleship. Jesus may have gathered twelve disciples, but we are never commanded anywhere in Scripture to form small groups, nor are we told that “real community” happens anywhere other than the church gathered, the ekklesia. Participation in small groups may be wise and helpful, but the small group structure is not biblically commanded. The ekklesia is where we grow, in part, perhaps, because that is where we learn to love people quite unlike us, people with whom we may share little other than the Gospel. When we break the church into cells or small groups, they are almost always affinity or geographically based. But to encourage the idea that “real” community only happens in groups based on affinity or geography ignores and almost seems to contradict the unifying power of the Gospel among people that share little or nothing in common except saving faith in Christ.

6:27 AM What is worse than disunity (J. C. Ryle):

Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity ...But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.

6:25 AM Abraham Kuyper: “There is not an inch of any sphere of life over which Jesus Christ does not say, ‘Mine.’”

Let us, this day, submit everything we do to the Lordship of Christ.

6:24 AM This poem by James Lowell says it all.

Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosp'rous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they have denied.

Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong,
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow keeping watch above His own.

6:22 AM They're calling for a wintry mix this weekend, so our service at Hebron Christian Church this Sunday may or may not be held. We'll keep you informed.

6:21 AM Re-opening an ancient can of worms?

Wednesday, January 26

3:40 PM Some good advice from our friends at Faith and Dominion:

Christians would be wise to take the entire counsel of Scripture to heart, to shed the wicked inclinations and ideas of our own hearts and return to God's Word for direction and guidance. Use the Book of Proverbs to train yourself and your family to think God's thoughts after Him. Use them to discipline your children - lovingly take them to God's Word and show them what God has to say about their particular sin. Implore your children to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5,6).

3:33 PM Guess who likes SpongeBob?


3:10 PM Carmon Friedrich's computer had a hiccup and she lost her original post for the day. I'm sort of glad she did, as it led her to publish what otherwise I may have never seen - a wonderful review of The Great Escape by her eldest child. How about some follow-up reviews of Patton, Bridge on the River Kwai, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan? BTW, no less spectacular was the escape of two British officers from Stalag Luft 3 using the now famous Wooden Horse. Incidentally, they made a "home run."

Film still

6:23 AM God has blessed me with several good friends who function as iron sharpening iron. One of these men is Doug Phillips. Yesterday the Doug Phillips family attended the March for Life in DC, and Doug filed this outstanding report that goes to the very heart of the issue and spells out in unmistakable terms what's wrong with our "pro-life" leadership in Washington. I respectfully invite all my friends who voted for George Bush to take the time to read Doug's report carefully and prayerfully, and be sure to click on The First 100 Ways link he provides. All I can say is: Thank you Doug for your uncompromising, courageous, and outspoken stand in defense of the defenseless. May God bless you richly for it.

“We don’t need to just change laws, we need to change hearts.”

On its face, this statement from President Bush made by speaker phone to the 2005 March for Life is completely true.

The problem is that when politicians make these comments it is usually code for the following conclusion: “We can not and WILL NOT take the legitimate and necessary action to shut down abortion because the American people are not emotionally ready. Therefore before proposing and implementing God-honoring measures, we will wait for the emotions of the people to catch up with our duty to prevent baby vivisection.”

But should godly leaders wait for consensus before enforcing righteous laws or acting to stamp out abominations?

Of course not. The Bible teaches that those who are in authority must rule righteously according to the law of God. If 99% of the voting public believes that parents may execute their children, our leaders must stand with God and not with the rebellious people. Consensus is a blessing. Consensus is a legitimate goal. But consensus is irrelevant to duty. If it is within the power and jurisdiction of a magistrate to prevent moral evil, he must, irregardless of whether any consensus exists for his action.

Yet another question is this: What happens when God’s law is enforced before the people “change their heart” (i.e. where no consensus for such laws exists?)

Cultural Polytheists and partisan sycophants often try to justify their pragmatic response to evangelical political infidelity by claiming that nothing can be done by “Christian” leaders in a nation of many faiths where there is no consensus for righteousness. Some go so far as to claim that it is morally wrong to enforce the law of God unless enough people have “changed hearts” to show statistical support for righteous laws.

But let me ask another question: Should parents wait for their children to have “changed hearts” before enforcing God’s law in the home? Should the rod of correction be withheld until sons and daughters “believe in their hearts” that such discipline is a good thing? Such thinking is a formula for perpetual infidelity.

The fact is this: Enforcing the law of God against unruly and sin-sick people is one of God’s appointed means for bringing about “changed hearts.” We are to enforce the rod on our children so that we will deliver their souls from Hell. In a nation where hearts are turned away from God, nonetheless, the enforcement of the law serves as a restraint against sin, and a God-appointed instrument to put people in the fear of the Lord.

Abortion is criminal conduct. It is unlawful. An aggressive president may not be able to shut down abortion in America in one day, but he can determine to only appoint judges who will enforce God’s law concerning the life of the unborn. He can defund all subsidies to abortion providers. In fact, he can make substantial efforts to wipe out the holocaust of babies. To read about the first one hundred ways a Christian president can shut down abortion in America, click here:

The First 100 Ways

Dear friends, the problem is not that we are unable to shut down abortion. The problem is not that we need to wait to act for people to have changed hearts. The problem is that when given an opportunity too many refuse to do what it is their oath and duty to do. Even worse, when those few politicians and judges actually do the right thing (i.e. Roy Moore) professing Christians end up crucifying them to advance their political careers. To quote Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

6:18 AM It was a nice try yesterday, Senator Byrd, but the cards were stacked against you. As O’Brien of the Inner Party told the hapless Winston Smith in 1984, “Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.”

6:15 AM Family Worship: Read the book here.

6:14 AM A very good question, with some very good answers:

What steps can be, or have been, taken in traditional churches to bring them closer to the family friendly condition?

6:12 AM Pine tree crosses.

6:05 AM First off, heartiest congratulations to Dr. Lyman for winning best education/homeschool blog in the Best of Blogs Awards 2004. I'm not at all surprised, Izzy. Your site is, well, fantastico.

Tuesday, January 25

4:12 PM Is this the darkness before the dawn? Or are things just getting worser and worser?

  • Northeast of Baghdad, a U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled into a canal during a combat patrol, killing five American soldiers from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division and wounding two others, the military said Tuesday. The accident occurred during the patrol near the town of Khan Bani Saad during fierce sandstorms Monday night. The military said the accident was under investigation.
  • Another U.S. soldier died of wounds from a roadside bomb that blasted an American patrol in Baghdad, the military said Tuesday.
  • Human Rights Watch released a report Tuesday documenting the abuse of detainees by Iraq’s fledgling, U.S.-trained security forces.
  • A video distributed in Iraq on Tuesday shows an American citizen held hostage by militants and pleading for his life as a gun is held to his head.
  • President Bush will ask Congress for $80 billion more to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

3:45 PM If you are planning on taking our Reformation Tour this summer, you might consider learning a bit of German beforehand (though this is definitely not a requirement for the tour!). Here's a great place to get started. (Below: The famous Heidelberg Castle.)

3:43 PM Founders Ministries offers some excellent helps to teachers who use the LifeWay Explore the Bible Sunday School curriculum. They are written by Dr. Sam Tullock, Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wylie, Texas. Check them out.

3:37 PM Rolling Stone magazine has repented. It will publish an ad for Zondervan's TNIV after all. Seems only fitting for a zine that could print the following on p. 71 of its January 21 issue (tip: Get Religion):


3:33 PM A letter signed by 12 retired U.S. generals opposes Gonzalez.

As retired professional military leaders of the U.S. armed forces, we are deeply concerned about the nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales to be attorney general. We feel that his views concerning the role of the Geneva Conventions in U.S. detention and interrogation policy and practice have put soldiers in harm’s way.

During his tenure as White House counsel, Gonzales appears to have played a significant role in shaping U.S. detention and interrogation operations in Afghanistan; Iraq; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

3:33 PM Just a thought. In "democratic" America today we will murder more than 4,000 innocent and helpless pre-borns without a single word about it in the news. We call this holocaust "personal choice." We rightly pity the suffering in Indonesia, but isn't the Lord speaking to us about the agony so very close to home?

3:30 PM There are about 6,800 mutually unintelligible languages in existence today. Many languages spoken in the past have ceased to exist and new languages have been constantly emerging. For an interesting list of dead and dying languages, go here. Incredibly, one of them is called Hawaiian Pidgin Sign Language!

3:25 PM Believers in Ethiopia are tough people. They've been through great persecution, and they do this twice a week. I think I'll join them this summer when I spend six weeks teaching Greek in Addis.

3:23 PM In pictures: Auschwitz, 60 years after liberation.

3:20 PM I am currently rereading one of my all-time favorite books. Moonless Night by Jimmy James describes his escape, along with 75 other allied POWS, from Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan, Guard Tower at Stalag Luft IIIPoland, in March of 1944 (in the so-called "Great Escape"). Later he was imprisoned in the notorious Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp  in Berlin, from which he also escaped! I purchased this rare book during a trip to London a few years ago in one of those ubiquitous bookstores near Piccadilly Circus. Last March they commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Great Escape on the actual site. In case you're interested, you can read about it here. The escape was also featured on NOVA. Being an avid horseman and therefore somewhat of a risk-taker myself, I have nothing but the greatest admiration for these men who risked everything to make their way back home. Their courage, determination, ingenuity, and initiative are unforgettable. My dream is to travel to the site of Stalag Luft 3 sometime. Anyone care to join me? (Below: Jimmy James at the commemoration in Sagan. Can you imagine what was going through his head?)

Jimmy James in the woods that now stand where Stalag Luft II used to

6:18 AM QOTD (Thomas Paine):

Moderation in temper is a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.

6:17 AM May the words of Daniel Webster encourage each of us to become an “American without Reserve.”

An American without Reserve

I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American;
and I intend to perform the duties incumbent upon me in that
character to the end of my career. I mean to do this with absolute
disregard of personal consequences.

What are the personal consequences? What is the individual man, with
all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good
or evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great
transactions which concern that country’s fate?

Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless. No man can
suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer, or if he
fall, in the defense of the liberties and constitution of his

6:15 AM Points to ponder from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”

“It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.”

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

“It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others. What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for Picture of Bonhoefferus today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience—and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving towards a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious any more. Even those who honestly describe themselves as ‘religious’ do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by ‘religious.’”

“... the power of some needs the folly of others. It is not that intellectual capacities become stunted or destroyed, but rather that the upsurge of power makes such an overwhelming impression that men are deprived of their independent judgment, and—more or less unconsciously—give up trying to assess the new state of affairs for themselves. The fact that the fool is often stubborn must not mislead us into thinking that he is independent. One feels in fact, when talking to him, that one is dealing, not with the man himself, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like, which have taken hold of him. ... folly can be overcome, not by instruction, but only by an act of liberation. ...a person’s inward liberation to live a responsible life before God is the only real cure for folly.”

6:13 AM Two leaders in the movement to abandon government schools are Marshall Fritz of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State and Rev. E. Ray Moore of the Exodus Mandate. Rev. Moore has written a manifesto entitled Let My Children Go, which is must reading for parents. According to Moore the phrase "public school" is a misnomer since the term implies that these schools serve and are answerable to the public. Far from it, he says. They answer to government bureaucrats, pure and simple. If you want schools that truly serve the public, try private or Christian schools that operate independently of Uncle Sam. If you are reconsidering sending your children to public school, Moore's book is well worth a look.

6:10 AM My friend Dan Wallace offers this essay on church leadership:

Who Should Run the Church? A Case for the Plurality of Elders

He concludes with a very astute "pragmatic" observation:

Even if there were no decisive arguments for plurality of elders, the preponderance of evidence is decidedly on the side of this view. Further, in consultation with others (especially church historian, M. James Sawyer at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary), the following principle seems to be true: Churches that have a pastor as an authority above others (thus, in function, a monarchical episcopate) have a disproportionately high number of moral failures at the top level of leadership. In other words, it is less likely for a pastor to fall into sin if he is primus inter parus ("first among equals" in the sense of his visibility and training, not spirituality) than if he is elevated above the rest of the church leadership.

If you would like to read more on this vitally important subject, go here

6:05 AM Paul DeParrie recently offered this timely challenge:

In our search for Liberty or Pursuit of Happiness, do not subvert Life. In our Pursuit of Happiness, do not bind up Liberty. Whether the future holds a return to our original Constitution or some rewriting of it, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness must remain inviolable if a true Republic is to be maintained.

6:03 AM I want to thank Dr. Stan Monteith for having me on his radio program last night. He was an extremely gracious host who asked excellent questions and kept the discussion moving at a brisk clip.

One of the topics we discussed was the American holocaust during the last four years, a time in which "pro-life" Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and seven of the current nine supreme court judges were appointed by Republican presidents. What makes this situation truly tragic is that while the abortion holocaust is being waged, God's own people follow blindly along, supporting the very government that has become the chief enforcement arm of the legalized child-killing industry. Please read the following essay by Scott Whiteman to see what our elected officials can do about this. Meanwhile with a broken heart I weep over our nation and plead with God for His mercy.

Republicans Offer the Unborn 32 More Years of Roe v. Wade

Monday, January 24

6:35 AM One more thing on language learning and then I'm pau (ah, a good Hawaiian word meaning "finished"). It should go without saying that there are many internet resources available to help you learn, most of them free of charge. I like the BBC site perhaps the best, but it is only a beginning. At any rate, I hope you will take advantage of these resources and truly enjoy your language studies.

6:33 AM Here's one of the speakers at the Raleigh Uniting Church and Family Conference this April 15-16. You'll really enjoy him greatly if you attend.

6:31 AM Two recently announced openings in Scotland if you have a Ph.D. in biblical studies. 

6:30 AM This is a really cool move to try with your horse sometime. My Arabian does it pretty well, though it takes a lot out of a horse.

6:27 AM Here's perhaps the only good reason to watch TV (see point 2). In California I would try to attune my ear to Spanish by watching the Hispanic TV station, called the Spanish International Network. I thought their acronym was interesting: SIN.

6:25 AM Quote of the day (from J. L. Dagg, founding member of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and professor of theology at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia):

They [the apostles] have taught us by example how to organize and govern churches. We have no right to reject their instruction and captiously insist that nothing but positive command shall bind us. Instead of choosing to walk in a way of our own devising, we should take pleasure to walk in the footsteps of those holy men from whom we have received the word of life . . . respect for the Spirit by which they were led should induce us to prefer their modes of organization and government to such as our inferior wisdom might suggest (Manual of Church Order, p. 84-86).

6:22 AM Here are the top ten languages in the world. Guess which is the most widely spoken?

6:20 AM The oldest Baptist church in the South was begun in Maine - and other interesting but little known facts about Baptist beginnings in America.

6:17 AM Speaking of Germany, this factlet caught my eye. If you travel to Japan and do not get along with English, you can try your Deutsch since 68 percent of all Japanese students learn German. And I thought English was the universal language. I've never been to Japan, but I look forward to using my German should I ever visit there. I did try out my German once in a suburb near Paris (mon Français parlé est horrible), but it didn't go over too well. I didn't realize that the château I was staying in had been occupied during WWII. Live and learn.

6:14 AM Here's a pretty interesting article about homeschooling in Germany and some of the obstacles Americans face there. One statement really got my attention:

In Deutschland war der Hausunterricht noch bis 1938 üblich, bis er durch das NS-Regime verboten wurde und dann in Vergessenheit geriet.

Rough translation: Homeschooling was common in Germany until the Nazis abolished it. One of the best alternatives to government schooling is what is called the Philadelphia School. See their website if for any reason you are planning on relocating to Germany. Here's their purpose statement, which is right on:

Wir wollen christlichen Eltern helfen, ihre Kinder nach ihrem Glauben zu erziehen und zu bilden. Die Ziele der Erziehung und Bildung sollen vom Evangelium her bestimmt werden. Die Kinder sollen in der Heimschule einen Raum der Geborgenheit und des Vertrauens erfahren. Die PhS möchte daher auch die Familie stärken und einen Beitrag zur Wiederherstellung der Einheit von Familie, Schule und Gemeinde leisten.

Below: German homeschoolers in concert at a homeschooling conference in Siegen.

6:12 AM The debate continues over a new modern language translation of the Bible that uses "gender neutral" language. Things could be worse, of course. As one pundit I read put it, "At least they didn't translate the Trinity as Big Daddy, Little Daddy, and Spook."

6:10 AM U.S. homeschoolers beat Oxford team in debate. Not just any homeschoolers, mind you, but students at Patrick Henry College, whose motto is "For Christ and Liberty."

Sunday, January 23

12:29 PM If you're snowed in and looking for some good reading material, here are two great essays from Hope Chapel:

Our Philosophy of Age Integration

Our Philosophy of Youth Ministry  

11:45 AM Here's a good overview of how the verb system works in biblical Greek, including many examples from the New Testament itself. For more on Corey Keating's contributions to the study of Koine Greek, go here. Αγαπώ τα ελληνικά. Δεν μπορώ να περιμένω να δω τους σπουδαστές μου αύριο!

11:31 AM This site made a good point:

The early Christian movement was not forced to meet in each other's homes because of religious persecution. They appear to have chosen this organizational structure, because their home meetings were mentioned in the early verses of Acts, long before widespread persecution started.

In this connection, I'm reminded of what John Piper once said about the need for small group gatherings of believers:

So even though growth and upbuilding are from Christ, the head, it is the whole body that builds the body. And the word "whole" is important. The whole body builds the body. That point is emphasized in the words, "according to the working of each individual part." The whole body -- that is, each individual part in the body properly functioning -- causes the growth of the body. Now I ask you, where and how does that happen in your corporate church life? Can we ever create enough programs that every person would be involved using some particular gift? That’s probably not even the right question to ask. Isn’t it more likely that Paul envisions a kind of regular gathering of the body in groups small enough so that every member of the body can minister to others with his own unique spiritual gifts?  

11:30 AM Take a look at Hope Family Fellowship's church motto and logo. Says it all....

11:24 AM The world's first internet evangelism conference will take place at Liberty University April 1-2. Here's the conference schedule, in case you're interested. No, this is not an April Fool's joke.

9:33 AM Chuck Baldwin has a tremendous salute to Lee and Jackson here. Whenever I watch the movie Gods and Generals, I am impressed by what Confederate General Stonewall Jackson taught us about the importance of courage in the face of tremendous odds. “Duty is ours; consequences are God’s,” he said. That’s why I am committed to doing what I can to promote the restoration of a constitutional republic—a republic founded on the ideals of the United States Constitution and rooted in biblical law. Millions of Americans have died to protect and preserve these ideals—which include the right of every citizen to demand that our government respect and defend the Constitution. We need to hold our leaders strictly accountable to the Constitution they swore to uphold. If they forsake faithfulness to this oath, then we must decide not to vote for them again—be they “compassionate conservatives,” “Republicans,” “Christians,” or whatever they may call themselves. We need to get personally involved in the fight for freedom. We must let our voice be heard on taxation, abortion, cloning, federal gun laws—and why it is important that America returns to a limited constitutional government. We must remind our elected officials that when government steals from one citizen to pay for the “needs” of another, such theft is not only unconstitutional but immoral. And we must let them know that we will not tolerate the denial of our freedoms in the name of “security.” General Jackson was right—it’s all about personal responsibility. I fervently pray that all Christians, especially our pastors and other church leaders, will have the courage to “do their duty,” as Stonewall said. If we do so, we can leave the consequences with God. If we don’t, then the demise of our nation will fall squarely on our own shoulders.

9:40 AM From the "Core Values" of Grace Community Church:

We seek to follow the New Testament church model in regard to programming. In Acts 2:42 we read: "They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.


1. We value teaching through the preaching of God’s Word, group instruction times and specialty seminars. Additionally we encourage each member to pursue through private study those books, tapes and compact disks that will assist in the equipping of the saints. We are not tied to any one paradigm or methodology corporately, but will offer a variety of instructional venues to assist in your spiritual growth. Each member of Grace Community will have the opportunity to be involved in a systematic Christian education program, involving Personal Discipleship Plans (PLP), a customize plan of discipleship for each believer, based upon individual needs.

2. We value fellowship. We share a fellowship meal together each week after Sunday morning worship, and have organized Family Fellowship Groups that meet near your home.

3. We value communion, and view it as an important part of weekly worship.

4. We value prayer, and set aside time for corporate prayer and confession during worship.

9:30 AM The benefits of long-term sermon planning:

  • Frees the pastor from the anxiety and enslavement of Saturday Night Fever.
  • Frees the congregation from the hobbyhorse doctrines and topics of the pastor.
  • Increases the pastor's breadth of Scriptural knowledge, and therefore the congregation's cover-to-cover familiarity with their own Bibles.
  • Increases the likelihood that the pastor will preach the whole counsel of God over the span of his tenure as the teaching shepherd of a local congregation.
  • Increases the pastor's confidence before God that he has been faithful to discharge his God given task on the day of accountability (Heb 13:17).

Here's a sample of Mark Dever's preaching schedule (.pdf).  

8:55 AM Church services are cancelled, but life goes on. The sun is shining brightly and the snow and ice are beginning to melt. Our storm was nothing compared to the one they got in Boston, which received 35 inches (see photo). Today will be filled with reading and music - that is, after I feed the chickens and barnyard animals. Have a great Lord's Day wherever you are.

8:40 AM The Vatican takes a clear and unambiguous stand against condoms. Then there's this a bit less-than-lucid statement:

"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike. ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society. ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked."—George W. Bush, Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999

7:23 AM I assume that many of my readers are interested in the health of Christ's Body and desire to know what makes a church a truly biblical one. Clearly, we must start with the Scriptures themselves and not with our own ecclesiastical traditions if we are to find an answer to this rather daunting question. According to the New Testament, what are the minimum, irreducible requirements for a church to be considered biblical? It seems to me that there are seven essential characteristics of a New Testament church. They are as follows:

  • It met on the first day of the week.

  • It met in homes.

  • It met to eat the Lord’s Supper.

  • It met for mutual edification, with every believer participating.

  • It was elder-led.

  • It was age-integrated.

  • It practiced church discipline.

It will be obvious that these seven practices are scarcely followed by Christians today.

  • We meet on Sunday, but we also add numerous other meetings.

  • We meet in expensive buildings.

  • We observe the Lord’s Supper monthly or perhaps even quarterly.

  • We expect the paid staff to do all the work.

  • We are led by a single pastor.

  • We are age-segregated.

  • We seldom discipline our members.

On April 14 and 15 I will be discussing one of these issues in great detail at the Raleigh Uniting Church and Family Conference at the North Raleigh Hilton: the topic of age-integrated (versus age-segregated) churches. I shall deal above all with apostolic doctrine – those precepts and practices that set the New Testament church apart from any other organization known to man. For some of us, this is comparatively unfamiliar territory. Thus we need to ask ourselves a very fundamental question – a question, indeed, that we must always ask ourselves whenever we discuss the church: Are we willing to listen to the Word of God and obey it unconditionally? For the fact that we have to face is this: if we pursue church renewal in our own wisdom, it is bound to go very bad on us. We need to guard ourselves from reading into the New Testament texts our own pre-conceived opinions of what those texts are teaching, for there can be no biblical church without a biblical foundation, based not on human tradition but on the Word of God itself.

But, someone says, is it not a fact that very few churches follow these patterns you are speaking of? Yes, it is true that many apostolic precepts and patterns are unknown today. It is also true that not everyone would agree that the seven characteristics I mentioned above are essential elements of a New Testament church. But agree or disagree, our aim in studying the New Testament must always be to enlarge our acquaintance with, and especially our obedience to, the revelation of the Scriptures whose precepts and principles they are. God help us, then, to put our own thoughts and biases aside and to enter more and more deeply into the New Testament’s vision of a truly apostolic church.

I would like to extend a personal invitation to all of you to attend this conference, organized and directed by elder Scott Brown of Trinity Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Wake Forest, NC. Scott has put together a most interesting program that will encourage, challenge, and inspire. Please prayerfully consider attending along with your pastor, youth pastor, and children's church director. I will believe all will be blessed and edified.

7:12 AM Sid Cundiff notes how Augustine's view of civil government and my own are very similar.

Dr. Black:

Thank you for your timely remarks on Bush's address on Thursday.  You might find this article of some interest:

Augustine and the Case for Limited Government.

Thanks, Sid. I copied the article and added it to my files under "civil magistrate."  

7:10 AM Warren Appleton sent me his thoughts on the Inauguration. This is a lengthy read but well worth your time.

The words spoken were all about Freedom, Democracy, and the worth of
every individual on the planet. His solemn oath of office was mentioned
favorably, which would indicate that he would uphold and defend the
Constitution of the United States.

But for the past four years under George Bush, we have seen the rise of
Global government, such as NAFTA, which destroyed Constitutional
provisions for the Congress to regulate trade with foreign nations, so
that trade with Mexico and Canada is now handled by a group of
foreigners. Now, coming soon, is the FTAA which will be a union of 34
former countries in North and South America, into some new form of
government which will be very similar to The European Union. The reason
for it will be given as "Free Trade", but this will render the United
States and the other 33 former countries impotent to freely govern
themselves, destroying also our sovereignty under the flag of our
constitutional Republic. Ultimately, these localized "Unions" will be
melded into their one total Global Union, including the Soviet Union.

As to the word Freedom which was repeated many times in the speech, his
promotion of the two Patriot Acts which legalize the creation of a police
state worthy of the most notorious dictator, hardly fits his words. Nor
does his demand for mental or psychiatric testing of everyone from school
children up, fit the term Liberty.

Reinforcing our concern about these things is the fact that several
extremely powerful but secretive organizations whose goal is for World
Government, are seated at the highest levels of our present government ,
whether Republican or Democrat, and in all the high places in the Media,
Military, Education , Banking, and Business. The most dangerous of these
is the CFR, or Council on Foreign Relations, which has been quietly
operating against the best interests of the USA as a Constitutional
Republic for 84 years, since 1921
When the ordinary American finally catches on to what they plan for him,
his family, and his country, they are not going to be happy. It is easy
to see how their scheme for mental testing everybody will come in handy
then, along with the Police State. Just declare all opposition to be
insane, and then legally put them away, as has been done in all police
states. As an added benefit to all this will be the reduction of the
Earth’s population, a long-time goal of the UN, which was created
starting in 1941 by a committee from this same CFR, with Alger Hiss as
its first Moderator in 1945.

So how do we, who thought we were good Americans, and who have just
experienced this glorious day of patriotic celebration and spiritual
fervor, reconcile these two opposite scenarios in our minds? If we do not
try to make two plus two equal four, we will continue to live in a dream
world, putting aside unpleasant reality, as most do. Nobody likes real
nightmares that remain when we are awake, or unresolvable problems.

All the Pomp and Circumstance of the inauguration days, with flags
flying, endless marching bands, uniformed police and military, promotes
the dream that all is well, and our country is secure. That is why, I
believe, that the Media keep the people uninformed about the very real
danger from treason in high places, while keeping us glued to the tubes
with trivia, sports, and sex, and the "terror" to come upon us from
without, so that we willingly submit to our loss of rights and freedom.

But like the Tsunami, the final end of our Liberty will come instantly,
with a stroke of a pen, without a shot being fired. And the average Joe
will not care a whit, until it is too late, except to complain; "why
didn’t somebody tell me!"

I am thankful for the Internet that has been able to partially by-pass
the totally controlled media, and make available vital information to a
limited number of persons. Given enough time, the tide might be turned.
But such time is precious, and is very short, before Congress authorizes
the final sellout or a "National Emergency" is declared by the President,
and it is all over

Will you be able to pass the proposed mental tests? We don’t know the
questions, yet, or who the questioners will be. But I can guess that the
top man will be a CFR agent, possibly dear Henry Kissinger, all-time bad
news guy for America!

I doubt if I would pass their test, since I see the above as reality. But
I see it in the light of the Word of God, the holy Bible, and take
comfort and assurance that God is Faithful and is able to care for His
Own! May we be among his "Overcomers", no matter what.

7:08 AM From Easley, South Carolina, came this curious request:

Mr Black,

I read a few years ago of the origin of the word ' Redneck' . I know it involved the wearing of red collars and escaping religious persecution in Scotland (?) am I right ?  ... I really need  a link to the  best article you may know of concerning this matter. ANY and all help you can  provide will be greatly appreciated.

Your Obedient Servant,
Roger S.

In my reply to Roger I linked to this essay on the origin of "redneck" and other terms often linked to Southern culture ("Hillbilly" and "Gringo").

7:05 AM Sunday services at the Raleigh Chinese Christian Church have been cancelled due to the inclement weather. I'll see all of you in March, Lord willing.

Saturday, January 22

1:05 PM For your weekend reading enjoyment:

Is the One-Pastor System Scriptural?

11:42 AM A reader living in Canada sends these thoughts on "snow":

Bro Dave, 

I love your  blog and check it almost every day. I noted your recent brief absence and wondered at its cause. FMI how much snow did it take to strand you for 3 days? Here (east coast of Canada) we received aprox 2 feet of snow this week in 2 separate storms and no one missed a day of work. Other than government employees that is.


Thanks, Kevin. We received only 2 inches of snow and some freezing rain - just enough to shut things down here in North Carolina. The winter storm took our much embarrassed (and now repentant) meteorologists totally by surprise.

10:46 AM The following email came yesterday in response to our thoughts on the inauguration. Thank you, John, for your encouragement and prayers.


Thank you for your words. I pray thousands will read them and take them to heart, but I fear most will not. I hope to be wrong in this observation.

May the Lord God of Heaven continue to give you the courage to speak the truth in these troublesome times.

Blessings to you and yours,

In His grip,

John P.

Friday, January 21

7:50 PM Students, I am very sorry but the weather has forced us to cancel our luncheon here at Bradford Hall tomorrow. Have a good and safe weekend, and I'll see you on Monday, God willing.

7:45 PM Tonight, after a venison supper, my son and I enjoyed popcorn while listening to the great strains of J. S. Bach played by the one and only Carlo Curley (see photo below), whom we heard live in concert last year. Afterwards Nathan gave me a concert on the reed organ he restored, playing eighteenth and nineteenth century hymns from the Episcopal Song Book (which, by the way, was one of General Lee's favorite books). I could listen to him play the king of instruments all night long. These hymns reminded me of the great spiritual songs my wife and I used to sing in our church in Basel.

Ain't it  good to be back home again....

3:55 PM Here's the latest press release on our Grand Reformation Tour. If you've been praying about coming, please keep in mind that the deadline to reserve a spot on the tour is February 15.

3:25 PM Weekly communion? Why not

3:23 PM Ron Paul shows how the congressionally-mandated use of your Social Security number as an identifier facilitates identify theft. A must read for anyone, young or old, concerned about their privacy rights.

3:14 PM Who says it can't happen to our Navy? Read Lessons from a Submarine Mishap about the danger of seeing things as we want to see them rather than as they really are.

3:10 PM Here's a link to a browsable, web-based Greek New Testament. The quality of the text is superb, and the program includes a search facility. Highly recommended. Below: 7Q5, possibly the earliest New Testament papyrus.

3:10 PM Matthew Yglesias says we should get it right in Iraq or get out.

3:10 PM In the latest issue of Novum Testamentum, Larry Hurtado reviewed our Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism and concluded by saying:

This is a stimulating and very current set of essays that accomplishes the aims of providing readers with informed presentations of the variety of opinion in current NT textual criticism, and of demonstrating the liveliness and relevance of the discipline for wider circles of students and scholars to whom this book is directed.

Thanks, Larry, for the kind remarks.

3:10 PM Greetings, friends. I've finally arrived back at the farm after being stranded in Wake Forest for three days due to the weather. I'm sitting here gazing at the beauty of our frozen pond and the snow-covered pines. The Lord Jesus has blessed us with a marvelous snowfall that takes one's breath away. It's up to Him as to whether the service in Cary will be held this Sunday, but I have plenty of writing to do in the meantime, as well as our animals to tend to. My Sheltie is sitting down right next to me, glad that daddy got back home safely. Oh, the farm life....

Wednesday, January 19

6:30 AM My morning prayers included intercession for this dear couple. Here's a link that will instruct and encourage.

6:28 AM Scott Whiteman has a brilliant post about his experience in third party politics and answers one of the most common questions posed to conservatives who used to vote Republican: "How can you beat something with nothing?" If you haven't been paying much attention to the Constitution Party, it's time to tune in. Here's a snippet from Scott's outstanding essay:

Having worked in Third-Party, Christian politics for 8 years, I am subject to consistent inquiry by elders and fellow congregants in my church. When I express a vision of hope a Christian government that would no longer protect abortion, sodomy and governmental theft, the response I often hear (often from Elders) is “Oh, Scott. That’ll never happen.” One Elder even went further and told me, “so I just vote for the one who will gives me the biggest tax-break.”

After more than a quarter century with the “Religious Right” running the conservative-Christian agenda, the “main-line” pro-life movement has stopped calling for the abolition of abortion. Notice that the National Right to Life Committee and the Americans United for Life do not suggest, and the AUL boastfully discourages, any legislation that would end legal abortion in America. When is the last time you heard anyone with gravitas call for the abolition of the Federal Department of Education? Consider, E. Ray Moore of Exodus Mandate and Marshall Fritz of Honest Ed./Separation of School and State Alliance have put together two excellent programs for the reestablishment of parental control in education, but not one prominent conservative has pushed that agenda. Even within the present political fight “Same-Sex Marriage,” what federal legislator or Conservative spokesperson is calling on the States to not only refrain from granting the word “marriage” to the illicit union, but to baldly prohibit any codified rights, grants or privileges to be bestowed upon those who are openly committing a felony.

6:25 AM I will be interviewed on the Stan Monteith "Radio Liberty" program next Monday, January 24, from 6:00 - 7:00 pm Eastern Time.

6:22 AM Berit Kjos discusses belief in a God who permits natural disasters. She has a nice summary of the character of God and concludes with a quote from one of my favorite authors.

6:20 AM Pay attention, Da Vinci Coders: Bart Ehrman would like a word with you. I just hope Dan Brown is listening....

6:19 AM I want to extend a warm thank you to Buddy Hanson for sending me a copy of his What's Scripture Got To Do With It? And, of course, thanks, Buddy, for your excellent website, which I read regularly and recommend to all my readers.

6:16 AM Once again, Carmon Friedrich is well worth reading:

I believe that a rejection of the blessing of children in favor of personal peace and affluence has fostered the environment which allows abortion to proliferate.

See Pro-Life and Procreation.

6:14 AM The Bikehiker thinks about President George W. Bush and offers him the grace of dissent.

Tuesday, January 18

6:14 AM The March For Life takes place in Washington, DC, typically on the anniversary of the decision of Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973. This year, however, the March For Life will take place on Monday, January 24, 2005. For information:

6:12 AM Just the excuse slobs are looking for.

6:10 AM North Carolina Baptists doing what they do best.

6:05 AM Only 4 days to go until our Greek class luncheon this Saturday at Bradford Hall on our farm. We plan on taking walks, eating, sharing good music, and giving horseback rides to all the kids. All this is pending good weather. The current forecast calls for light snow in southern Virginia lasting through the weekend. Stay tuned....

6:03 AM Three on Lee:

How Tall Was Robert E. Lee?

Why I Celebrate Robert E. Lee’s Birthday

General Lee’s Favorite Books

Monday, January 17

6:25 AM My morning devotional included this challenge:

The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service which results in my life is suited to me and is an expression of my nature. The call of the natural life was stated by the apostle Paul—"When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [that is, purely and solemnly express Him] among the Gentiles . . . ."

O Lord, so touch my tongue and pen that everything I say or write this day and all my life will be only that which is an expression of your loving and holy nature. Help me to get out of the way so that Jesus Christ, and Him alone, might be seen in me and so that He, and He alone, might receive all the glory and all the praise, in Jesus' name, Amen.  

6:22 AM Monday morning shout-out to the congregation at the Raleigh Chinese Christian Church meeting in its new facilities in Cary, NC. We spent an hour yesterday teaching from Matthew 28 and Ephesians 4 and still they seemed eager for more. I especially Drawing of a First Century Church Meetingenjoyed the Q & A time after the teaching, which is something I believe all churches could do with great benefit. New Testament preaching and teaching was much more dialogical than we sometimes suppose. Paul, for example, discussed with the believers in Troas the Word of God until late at night (the verb describing his teaching is dialegomai, which implies some interaction with his audience). I am not suggesting that Paul never "taught" in a formal manner, but I do think that he would have gladly challenged believers to think for themselves; see Luke's reference to the Berean Christians in Acts 17:11:

Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.

I look forward to returning to RCCC next week to continue our two-part series on "Growing the Church."  

Sunday, January 16

5:22 PM New Hampshire has introduced a much-needed bill to get the U.S. out of the UN. The bill is now in committee. I will be praying for its passage.

5:20 PM My friend Mark Dankof recently lost a close friend of his. Read Mark's moving tribute - and testimony to the sufficiency of Christ -  here

Saturday, January 15

3:22 PM A new generation of "professional" terrorists hits the scene.

3:03 PM I was greatly challenged by reading this thoughtful blog entry by R. C. Sproul Jr:

The Weapons of Our Warfare

Once again we are told that we have turned the election. We, of course, refers to the evangelical church. We are being carried about on the shoulders of God’s Only Party like we scored the game winning touchdown. On the left, on the other hand, they are afraid, very afraid. Some pundits are growing increasingly shrill in insisting that evangelicals are the Taliban without turbans. As is so often the case, they’re both wrong. Evangelical support for the Republican Party may have helped them win, but it has done nothing for shrinking the size of government, or protecting the unborn. Just ask Arlen Specter. There are two important reasons why we haven’t and won’t make a difference. First, we are the problem, and second, we’re chasing the wrong solution.

We haven’t swung the vote, we are the vote. Like non-evangelicals we want the government to take care of us. Like non-evangelicals we are willing to send our sons off to die to take care of foreign peoples. Like non-evangelicals we want our daughters to be able to hide their shame by adding to it infanticide. Like non-evangelicals, we fear freedom. We live in a statist world because evangelicals worship the statist god.

If, however, we were ever to learn to long for freedom, voting Republican will never help us get there, and even voting wisely won’t be the mainspring of liberty. The Scriptures tell us, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to the people, ‘Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us” (Exodus 1:8–10). Four hundred years prior to this there were seventy of the children of Israel. Now there were millions. Moses tells us, “And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them” (Exodus 1: 6–7).

There is no Children of Israel Party gaining seats in the Egyptian legislature. There is no Egyptian Family Association upsetting the national economy by boycotting Pyramid World. There are no million Hebrew marches, denouncing the debauchery of the culture. There were no political action committees bound and determined to get the Egyptian schools to allow creation carols. What we are told is that they were fruitful and multiplied. They set about the business of obeying the creation mandate, and God blessed them.

Herein is the difference. In our day, we puff out our chests and play the part of power broker. We seek to manifest our power. In their day they, in simply and humbly obeying, showed forth the very character of God. And that is what struck fear in the heart of Pharaoh. As we serve Him in our meekness, we show Him in His power.

9:59 AM Blog readership is still on the rise.

9:50 AM In view of the great loss of life in Asia, this essay titled The Salvation of the 'Little Ones': Do Infants who Die Go to Heaven? is a worthy read.

9:47 AM I would like to thank Dr. Craig Evans for his very kind review of my Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism. His review appeared in the Bulletin for Biblical Research 14.2. Evans concludes: "Beginning students will be relieved to know that this engaging little book takes the tedium out of textual-criticism theory."

9:45 AM Mrs. Julie Austin has written a very fine article on modesty.

9:23 AM Evolution a fact, not a theory, says judge.

Friday, January 14

6:10 PM Izzy is still in the lead but needs your help this weekend.

6:05 PM Just gave our calf Bert his shot and some oats. I am very relieved to see him on the mend and his wound healing.

5:39 PM Friday evening shout-out to my Greek students who survived their first week of class - they thrived, really. Kudos to all of you who aced each and every quiz. I can't wait to see how many of you earn the prestigious "110 Award" on Monday's exam. I am blessed to be part of such a great class. I sure don't deserve it (it's all of God's grace), but I sure do appreciate it.

Today I got a sneak preview of the DVD of our Greek class that is being taped during J-Term. You guys in the H3Online Department are doing a superb job.

6:24 AM Another supporter of God, Family, Republic starts a blog. Congratulations, and all best wishes.

6:20 AM A new church plant in the Mooresville, NC area explains its philosophy:

We believe that there are a few tangible differences between Foundation Fellowship an other new churches. The first is that we are not a marketing agency hunting "seekers". We have no target group in mind to proselytize. We do not plan on preaching catchy messages to get people in the door. We desire to minister to whomever God brings into our paths without questionable methods to get them here. We don't plan on having coffee and sweet cakes during the worship service just to make people comfortable. Coming to Jesus Christ in a true state of repentance has nothing to do with comfort. We applaud the efforts of churches using these methods but after much prayer and guidance we believe it may do more harm than good.  We think reverence toward God is of greater importance than eating during our worship of Him.

Read more about Foundation Fellowship here.  

6:14 AM This Sunday is National Sanctity of Life Day. I will be speaking at the Raleigh Chinese Christian Church.

6:12 AM We had the vet out to the farm yesterday to check on our goats. It seems that one of them introduced a bacterial form of foot rot to the flock, which we will be treating with antibiotics and foot cream. Bert, one of our calves, still has some puss from the back wound he received when he was attacked by a hunting dog a month ago, but he continues to mend well. The horses are all fine.

6:10 AM From the mailbag:

Hi Dave,

I thoroughly appreciate the piece that appears on your site ... regarding hospitality and the gospel.  We have followed this approach indeliberately for some time and it has led to a dozen or more high school students with whom my children are acquainted being exposed to the gospel (and being made aware that Christ dies for them because He loved them and has plans for eternal hospitality for them), and beginning to attend church, most for the first times in their lives.

Thanks for writing about a deliberative approach to this. My wife and I will sit and review your piece together and pray that God blesses you for speaking up on this topic.

God bless,

Jim H.

Thursday, January 13

6:25 AM Our post-9/11 intelligence failure was a colossal and extraordinary blunder. It was yet another dramatic failure of a remarkably well-informed government to make the right call. And it was not just our intelligence that was wrong, but our strategic analysis. And so we attacked Iraq on false pretenses, and no one takes the fall, least of all the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops nowhere.

6:22 AM Greek students might find this essay on "Doing Greek on a...hand held computer" interesting.

6:20 AM Union Seminary in Virginia is hosting Dr. Mark Noll of Wheaton College, who will be giving the Sprunt Lectures on the topic, "The Civil War as a Theological Crisis." For more information go here.

6:18 AM Yesterday I had a very nice conversation with the president of Washington Baptist College and Seminary in Annandale, Virginia, which serves Korean Baptists throughout the East Coast. Their courses are mostly in the Korean language. If you are interested in learning more about their degree programs, please check out their website:

6:15 AM Join us tonight as I will be speaking at the annual Lee-Jackson dinner at the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Chase City, Virginia. My topic is the life and influence of Stonewall's chief-of-staff, R. L. Dabney. Dinner is at 6:30.

6:12 AM A point to ponder from the mailbag:

I'm glad to see you shut off the radio when you have guests. I've always
made it a point to cut my visit QUITE short if someone leaves the TV,
etc. on when I'm there. ESPECIALLY a TV which I haven't watched since

What a vile, wretched, inane appliance it has become. I think it's
the very epitome of rudeness to watch TV when one has guests. To me,
it's the same as saying "You're an interruption in my life. Please

And I do.

Wednesday, January 12

6:32 AM Mrs. Carmon Friedrich of Buried Treasure sent me these links about a 96-year-old Southern Baptist. Very interesting!

6:30 AM From the mailbag:

Prof. Dave Black,

Your writings are so clear -Romans 13 and the part of a Christian in a
Constitutional Republic. Thank you.

6:23 AM Today we introduce the Greek noun system, beginning with the second declension. For more, go here and here.

6:20 AM The BBC has posted some incredible pictures of the California flooding.

6:17 AM If you are debating whether to stay in your church or leave it, here's some good advice from a seasoned pastor. 

6:15 AM Here's wishing Dr. Bob well with his new church plant.

Tuesday, January 11

7:35 PM Just wanted to say "thank you" again to my beautiful wife for providing the breakfast treats we enjoyed this morning in class. They were a huge hit. Ich liebe Dich!

6:40 PM Greek students: Remember that I am always available to help you, either at my office or by phone (919-761-2455) and email.

6:35 PM I will be preaching at the Raleigh Chinese Christian Church the next two Sundays. I look forward to renewing fellowship with these great folk and seeing their new facility in Cary.

6:30 PM The weekend saw some huge surf in Hawaii, calling for the closing of Waimea Bay. Still, this guy decided to body surf the Waimea shorebreak (note the sand in the foreground). Not a good idea.


6:25 PM My colleague Andreas Köstenberger will be featured on the radio program Janet Parshall’s America tomorrow, January 12. He will be discussing his new book God, Marriage, and Family. Parshall will be taking calls from listeners from 2:15-3:00 p.m. The show airs live on many radio stations, but you are urged to check your local listings for broadcast times.

6:22 PM Once again, I want to remind everyone who is thinking about seminary that SEBTS now offers one year of study through our H3Online program.

6:20 PM I spoke with a student recently who is looking for a Reformed Baptist church. A good directory to consult may be found here

6:55 AM η ελληνική γλώσσα δεν είναι δύσκολη εάν μελετάτε σκληρά!

6:46 AM Tuesday morning shout-out to my son who is helping some friends in western Virginia with their barn. Be careful up there on the roof, and come home soon!

6:22 AM From the mailbag:


I visited your find website and found a lot of good material.

Allow me to invite you to read my article "The Southern Side of the Civil War: Facts Your History Teacher May Not Have Mentioned About the War Between the States," which you can find at:

Mike Griffith

Mike concludes his essay with these words:

Some people think it is unpatriotic or divisive to defend the Southern side of the Civil War.  As a retired U.S. Army veteran and a flag-waving patriot, I reject that view.  Confederate citizens were Americans too.  They were citizens of the “Confederate States of America.”  Their heroes included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Davy Crockett, and Andrew Jackson.  The official Confederate seal featured the image of George Washington on his horse.  The Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, was a former U.S. Army officer, a genuine hero in the Mexican War, an outstanding U.S. secretary of war, and a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate.  Dozens of other Confederate officials had likewise served faithfully in the U.S. government.  One of the members of the Confederate Congress was former U.S. president John Tyler.

It is time for the demonization and smearing of the Confederacy to stop.... 

6:05 AM Here's an excellent essay on the value of learning Greek for ministry.

6:03 AM My Greek students are in for a special treat this morning. My wife baked several delicious pound cakes for them.

Monday, January 10

5:37 PM A good essay from The State.

Why can’t we win? Because we charged in with false premises and bogus assumptions. Because for every insurgent we kill, two or three more join the cause. Because even our advertised victories — like Fallujah, where we apparently had to destroy the city in order to save it, or Samarra or Ramadi — only turned the entire Sunni population against the United States and its Iraqi allies.

5:30 PM New book on Bush. Let's see, where did I leave my pom-poms?

5:20 PM I see Izzy is still in the lead. I think she deserves to win, not least because she regularly updates her site. That I like!

5:13 PM Severe storms are now affecting the north of England. I recall a trip to Great Britain several years when I was scheduled to lecture at the Universities of Oxford, Leeds, and Edinburgh. I made it to the first two locations but then a huge storm hit the midlands and all flights and trains were cancelled. The flooding made a tremendous impression on me at the time and was a reminder of just how quickly the weather can change.

4:59 PM I worked too late to get a ride in today. Maybe tomorrow. The horses are eager....

4:55 PM Needless to say, it was great to be back in the classroom today. This morning I talked about the importance of studying Greek for the right reasons. Great preachers are like icebergs, I said: You only see 10 percent, but underneath you sense the other 90 percent. That's why Greek is so valuable - it gives you the depth you need to be able to teach and preach from the New Testament with integrity, credibility, and authority. The key to effective preaching is the ability to be simple without being simplistic. Sadly, far too much of our Baptist preaching is both simple and simplistic. I am asking my students to keep that thought in mind throughout the course and to set personal goals for their study of Greek, knowing that if people aim at nothing they will hit it every time!

4:49 PM Jim Rudd of Covenant News had this thoughtful response to my essay on Romans 13:

Hi Dave,

I agree with your commentary Romans 13 in Context. Yet when I teach this class in Sunday School, I always use the King James version to explain this passage, which seems to me goes to the point much easier.

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

The "higher powers" Paul uses in Rom.13:1 is the same Greek work (exousia) used by Jesus in Matthew 28:18: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (exousia) is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

Therefore, the "higher powers" that every soul is subject unto in Rom.13:1 is Jesus Christ, including all civil authorities.

In v.2: "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." (which includes all governing authorities).

Civil officials are not allowed to use their power (exousia) of office to "resist the ordinance of God."
If they do, then they abrogate their authority and "shall receive to themselves damnation."

Then in v.3 Paul sets fourth the good example: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:"

Making the point that every soul is subject unto the higher powers and those "higher powers" are first and foremost Jesus Christ -- both "in heaven and in earth" -- seems to work real well for me in helping my class to understand the chain of authority and not to tolerate rebellious civil officials.


Along these lines, I would recommend Buddy Hanson's book Chose This Day

4:40 PM Today my colleague Andreas Köstenberger was kind enough to give me a signed copy of his latest book, God, Marriage, & Family, published by Crossway. Vielen, herzlichen Dank!

God, Marriage, and Family

4:34 PM So far 45 students - both seminary and college - have shown up for my Greek class, which began this morning. We learned the Greek alphabet and I even sang my rendition of the alphabet song much to the amusement of the more musically inclined in the class. A tip of the kepi to Jerry Lassiter of our H3Online department for starting things off on a good note and to Mike Hawley and his AV video crew for getting me organized. Tomorrow I need to get my students over the first of two major "speed bumps" in the learning of Greek - the verb system.

4:30 PM A warm Aloha to Mark and Sandy Walton and their sons Isaac and Caleb for their hospitality over the weekend at their home in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. And what can I say about the folk at Glenwood Baptist? What a wonderful group of believers you are, eager for Bible study and genuine body life! Thank you for your warm reception and your commitment to the Word of God. Special thanks to Isaac and Caleb for manning the book table for me. You did a great job!

Parenthetically, in the congregation I met a man who flew B-25s over Germany and a Japanese-American who, at the age of 11, witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor from his front yard in Hawaii. He was even shot at!

Friday, January 7

7:35 AM A sister Baptist institution in North Carolina is putting its old beds and mattresses to good use in Kiev.

7:32 AM The other day I had an opportunity to counsel a student on his plans to pursue a Ph.D. and encouraged him to consider this school in Scotland, which has an accredited external studies, research-based program. For those of you who can't relocate to Europe, these types of opportunities are becoming more and more common.

7:30 AM Last Sunday our little congregation gave more than $400 for Tsunami Disaster Relief. SBC disaster aid is now at 1.4 million and counting.

7:27 AM Let's see, the First Dog gets its own website? Only in America.

Barney acquaints himself with Miss Beazley

7:25 AM Izzy is still in the lead. Have you voted at her site, for her site, yet?

7:24 AM The bane of war profiteering has raised its ugly head in Iraq just as it has in every war man has ever known.

7:20 AM Here's a link that details an incredible story of a 10-year old girl caught up in red tape run amok.

7:18 AM I will have to miss the first communion service at our local nursing home, as I will still be in Tennessee. A tip of the kepi to Thomas Hayes for fleshing out all the details to make this a reality. It marks a major step forward in our nursing home ministry. Most of the residents have not observed the Lord's Supper in years. It should be a good service. Have a great time, yall.

7:15 AM My flight leaves RDU at 10:30 this morning with a stop-over in Atlanta before flying on to Knoxville. Current weather shows some rain but nothing too serious. Pastor Mark invited me to stay at his home tonight and I look forward to renewing fellowship with him and his family. I can't wait to hear how the church's Wednesday evening "Introduction to New Testament Greek" class is going.

7:12 AM Kudos to my son for getting the gravel in our new "carriage house" (car shed) in record time. It looks great, and both "carriages" fit just fine. I hope to post some pics soon.

Friday, January 7

8:43 AM A DBO shout-out to Izzy with hopes she will win, hands down.

Best of the Blogs Awards 2004. Cast a vote, once a day, until Jan. 14, for The Homeschooling Revolution. Go here.

8:30 AM This morning I received several emails responding to my essay on R. L. Dabney's view of the proper role of civil government, and two of them asked specifically what my views on Romans 13 were. Look for an essay on this topic in the near future.

8:27 AM Our elementary Greek course begins taping next Monday for the seminary's H3Online offerings. This will eventually be added to the courses already online, which include:

2200 Christian Missions: Principles and Practice with Keith Eitel
3001 Christian Theology: Christ, Holy Spirit, Church, and Last Things with David Nelson
3038 Christology with Daniel Akin
1200 Old Testament: Pentateuch and Historical Books with Allan Moseley

You can learn more about these offerings by contacting the seminary's H3Online webpage and speaking with Mr. Jerry Lassiter.

8:25 AM Brian Foley exposes Gonzales' real failing. Not to mention his support of aborticide.

gonzales toon

8:21 AM Only one more day to our Bible Conference. Pastor Mark has asked me to bring copies of my Using New Testament Greek in Ministry for folks in his congregation. It's great to see local churches studying the language of the New Testament.

Thursday, January 6

4:50 PM Thanks, Evan, for placing me in your new blogroll.

4:40 PM With today's rain, I'm glad I got in a good long ride yesterday. It's still too damp, however, to let my race horse Traveler engage his afterburners. BTW, General Lee once noted that an hour on horseback is never wasted. I concur completely.

4:18 PM I listened to part of the Gonzales hearing on the drive home from the seminary today. I'm glad the Democrats hit hard on the issue of prisoner abuse. Let's not forget that the roots of Abu Ghraib lie, not in a few Army bad apples, but in the Bush administration's decision to expand their al Qaeda operations to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq, as Seymour Hersh shows in The Gray Zone.

4:17 PM Only 2 more days to our Bible Conference in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The forecast calls for some rain but no snow:

SATURDAY - Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s. Northwest winds 10 mph or less. Chance of rain 50 percent.

SATURDAY NIGHT - Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 40s.

SUNDAY - Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower to mid 60s.

4:15 PM Had a great time at the office today fellowshipping with Dave H., John, Michael, Dave B. and numerous other colleagues. I was also taught how to operate the electronic write board for my Greek class that starts on Monday. My efficient secretary has already copied all the quizzes and exams for the entire course. 35 students have signed up so far, and that doesn't include the audits. Should be a great class.

7:30 AM Θα είμαι στην πανεπιστημιούπολη όλη την ημέρα σήμερα που συναντιέται με τους ελληνικούς σπουδαστές μου.

7:22 AM QOTD (Teddy Roosevelt):

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

7:18 AM fantasyisland3a.JPGOnly 5 days until my Greek class starts. For some crazy reason it makes me think of that silly opening to Paradise Island I used to watch during my TV days. Wow. Has it really been that long? It will be good to see my fantastic students again. My usual routine is to teach all morning then meet with students and write during the afternoon. But there's always time for the chit chat that goes on every day on campus between friends. The only question is what kind of tomfoolery my colleagues have up their sleeves. We'll see on Monday....

7:15 AM I know, I know, you've probably already read today, and you've probably already seen this essay by Justin Raimondo, but in case you haven't, this is great stuff. The key fact to keep in mind is that all this talk about making America safer by bankrupting the country with an attack on Iraq is just plain nonsense. Anyway, good stuff, like I said.

7:12 AM If you are a regular here at DBO you know I am a fanatic about surfing. So you can guess my surprise when I read that a surfer actually rode a tsunami in Sri Lanka. Not that he was intending to do so, mind you. But you can read his unbelievable story for yourself.

Wednesday, January 5

8:47 AM I'm glad somebody thought of this, because it's such a parody of real life. Ushers with stun guns!

8:44 AM I voted. Have you?

8:33 AM I couldn't help but think of the common thread between these stories:

Chinese Woman Who Fought Forced Abortion Receives Continued Torture

Mr. Phillips, Stop Having Children!

7:45 AM This is a great piece on the upcoming inauguration and the many so-called "pro-life," "conservative," "evangelicals" who will be specially invited guests. As far as I can tell, once you're invited to the White House you are in G.W.'s hip pocket, having earned the right to wag your finger at all those on the left and the right who question the Bush imperium. So, as I've said before:

If I Ever Accept an Invitation to the White House, You Can Throw My Columns in the Trash!

7:43 AM Tim Berroth reviews American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon. Here's the conclusion:

As the church continues to retreat into its own subculture, this book should be required reading to nudge it back to cultural engagement.  Many  of the false ideas presented in this book fall squarely back on the shoulders  of the institutional church and its failure to proclaim Christ as reveled in  the scriptures.  The church as a whole and individual Christians should  read this book to see the variations of Christ that have been proclaimed through  history and continue daily in our culture.  Perhaps then it will be  forced to have to confront the errors with truth and the sad history of our savior  in this nation will be a thing of the past.  If the church refuses to leap  head-first into the dialogue, then Jesus will continue to be fashioned into an  idol and not the savior of mankind.  It's a battle the church can not afford to ignore.

7:38 AM If you opted for Bush and think you can hold him to constitutional actions, think again. At least that's the message this blogger has for Joe Farah of World Net Daily.

7:23 AM The Bush-Constantine parallels are the subject of this essay by Giles Fraser. As most of you already know, I have been attracted to this topic for many months now, so if you see me posting more on this over the next few weeks you'll know why. Anyway, here's a blurb from the article that'll get you thinking:

Like Constantine, George Bush has borrowed the language of Christianity to sup port and justify his military ambition. And just like that of Constantine, the Christianity of this new Rome offers another carefully edited version of the Bible. Once again, the religion that speaks of forgiving enemies and turning the other cheek is pressed into military service.

7:20 AM What makes a good writer, or a writer good? I really don't know the answer to this question. That's why I found this essay by Andy Crouch fascinating, especially with its emphasis on reading. I cannot go to bed at night without having read at least part of a good book (my current tome is At Dawn We Slept), though I'm not sure that this has improved my writing at all. One thing I have learned from 28 years of writing, however, is this principle: less is more, and my books are getter shorter and shorter. They are also getting less expensive for students, which I think is a plus.

Tuesday, January 4

4:33 PM A college is now offering a course for pastors' wives. This is long overdue. Here's my favorite part of the course description:

 "To be a pastor's wife you don't have to speak Greek and Hebrew, just be able to listen to it with an expression of sincere interest," says DuLac.

4:10 PM Not to be confused with the phony State of the Union Address to be given this month, Al Cronkite has written The Real State of the Nation, which, I imagine, will be much more truthful than the president's feel-good remarks. This part of the essay I found especially gripping:

Modern Democracy is intrinsically controllable. The Oligarchy, through control of the press and media and the political candidates, succeeds in creating divergent political agendas to occupy voters but they also succeed in maintaining the programs they are interested in pursuing regardless of voter opinion. This deceptive process has kept American voters docile, deceived and politically enthused.

As always, Al shares plenty of provocative and thoughtful things. 

4:07 PM Time for a quick pat on the back before starting my next job. Yep, the carriage house roof is finally done, replete with decorative lightening rod (from an old barn in Granville County, NC). Can't say it was easy, but it shore was fun. I think my urbanite friends will like it when they visit Bradford Hall. Meanwhile I nominate my carpenter son Nathan as craftsman/builder of the year (both 2004 and 2005!). There ain't nothing he can't do!

12:45 PM One of my favorite bloggers is taking what I hope will be only a short-lived hiatus. Pieter, thanks for your contributions to DBO these past two years. Don't stay away too long. Your pen is a significant contribution to the cause!

12:43 PM Doug Groothuis has a brilliant essay about partial-birth abortion and the Law above the law (i.e., God's moral law trumps our society's "laws" any day). You'll be glad you read it. Here's a key excerpt:

In granting partial-birth abortion the status of a “fundamental constitutional right,” the Supreme Court seems to have become detached from ethical reality. We hope that the American people will come to their senses and, appealing to a Law above the law, recover the moral initiative to protect human life at every age and stage of development. If we do not, there is little hope for the American experiment.

12:26 PM This just in:


FYI: Scott Brown is also director of the National Center for Family
Integrated Churches.


Thanks for the reminder. I forgot to mention this earlier today. I had a great time with both Scott and Doug Phillips at the Uniting Church and Family Conference in Saint Louis last August. These guys are doing a great work. Let's pray for them regularly.

8:16 AM Finally, biblical scholarship gets it right about Jesus. As any reputable New Testament expert (cough, cough) will tell you: Jesus was Caesar, Mary Magdalene was Cleopatra, they had a son called Caisarion but he was killed by Octavianus. But them careless scribes messed us up when they transmitted this story!

Don't believe me? Go here and see for yourselves!

8:14 AM Are they talking about my country? Tell me it's not true!

8:10 AM You've got to read what this man has to say about Lincoln and slavery.

7:47 AM This writer believes that blind loyalty and patriotism are two different things. Here's a link to an article I wrote saying basically the same thing. I assure you, the differences between nationalism and true patriotism are enormous:

  • True patriotism is love of country, not love of government. Neo-patriotism is mindless worship of the state.

  • True patriots refuse to honor government above God. Neo-patriots gladly deify government.

  • True patriots understand loyalty as adherence to the ideals upon which the country was founded. Neo-patriots believe in blind submission to the bureaucrats currently running it.

  • True patriots believe that eternal vigilance is necessary to keep politicians under check. Neo-patriots are willing to entrust their lives to politicians thinking this means loyalty to the ideals spelled out in the Constitution.

  • True patriots believe in the old Constitution heart and soul and abhor all but the most limited and narrowly defined forms of taxation because they believe their money belongs to them and that the federal government only needs enough funding to perform its few, narrowly defined, constitutional duties. Neo-patriots don’t mind sacrificing most of their earnings to unelected bureaucrats, nor do they mind relying on Washington for a host of taxpayer-funded benefits.

  • Neo-patriots think that if you criticize U.S. foreign policy or the country’s obsession with security you are “unpatriotic.” True patriots believe that the exercise of critical judgment is absolutely necessary to any civilization that is to stand or forge ahead, and that it is both their right and duty to criticize their government. They concur with President Theodore Roosevelt:

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”

7:21 AM Scott Brown of Trinity Baptist Church in Wake Forest is coming on strong as a leading advocate of age-integrated ministry, offering cogent advice to parents and church leaders at his website. His articles include:

The Value of Children Worshiping with their Parents in Church

Three Questions Regarding Youth Groups

What Can Children Get out of Church?

I like how he puts it so succinctly yet biblically. It's yet another way the church of today can recover its New Testament identity. At least that's the way it should be.  Thanks, brother Scott, for all you are doing to advance biblical (vs. traditional) Christianity.

7:20 AM GREEK STUDENTS: If you are taking elementary Greek with me this spring, is offering a great deal on our beginning grammar here.

7:18 AM Here's a fun site on language blunders. Goodness knows, I've made my share in German, Spanish, and French. Take German. When I tried to rent an apartment in Basel, Switzerland, I called a number listed in an advertisement and asked (in German) for Mrs. so-and-so. The person replied, "Sie ist am Apparat." This obviously meant "she's on the apparatus (of some sort)," so I asked to speak with the woman, at which point howls of laughter began piercing my ears. I quickly learned that "Sie ist am Apparat" is the equivalent of our "Speaking," and the lady had been on the phone with me the entire time. That was a humorous incident, but sometimes translational faux pas can be tragic.

7:14 AM Even the Internet needs a patron saint, I reckon.

Russian priest

7:12 AM "Blogitelling." Salutary read.

7:10 AM The Guilty Seminarian notes that Oxford University Press is having a sale on RSV Bibles to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the translation. You'll recall that prior to the publication of the RSV people didn't ask, "Which translation do you use?" There was really only one. The RSV opened the floodgates to modern versions such as the NASB, the NIV, and the ESV. The same is not true in many countries, however. In Korea, where I've taught six times, believers still use one basic translation, although nobody seems to know who translated it and whether the translators used the original Greek and Hebrew texts or an English version as their base. Likewise, in Ethiopia there is a "standard" Amharic Bible that most churches use. I was surprised to see that many of the Ethiopian Bible schools where I taught this past year use the NIV as their basic English version, undoubtedly because of its reading level. All the more reason to teach these students Greek - which is exactly what we'll be doing this summer in Addis Ababa, Deo volente.

7:05 AM What Darfur really is. This article hits close to home - at least my second home, Ethiopia.

This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a war. Humanitarian assistance, in the absence of political and military engagement, can actually exacerbate the conflict.

6:59 AM Female soldiers are now being eyed for combat in Iraq:

The Army is negotiating with civilian leaders about eliminating a women-in-combat ban so it can place mixed-sex support companies within warfighting units, starting with a division going to Iraq in January.

Monday, January 3

8:59 AM FARM UPDATE: Well, puppy dog has arrived from my son's farm, which means that my son can't be far behind, which means that our work day is about to begin, which means that we had better wolf down some breakfast. Today's project: Put the tin on the roof of the new car shed (oops, "carriage house," as my wife calls it). BTW, my son turned me on to this website about home kits by Sears that were popular in the early 1900s. Amazing that these are no longer being used!

8:57 AM Eric Sowell, a fellow Greek nut, has a great introduction to blogs and blogging. Check it out here.

8:41 AM In only one week my sabbatical will come to an end. I could have taken a whole year off, but I knew I couldn't go longer than a semester without being in the classroom! Parenthetically, this spring I will be teaching all Greek courses: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and a Ph.D. seminar. Fantastic! None of us ever outgrows our need for more knowledge. Let's remember that this year. So if you are a one-storey Christian, build a second storey. If you are a four-storey Christian, build a fifth. I don't care if you are a skyscraper - you will never outgrow your need to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! I like what this author says about discipleship:

1. Christian Discipleship

The term "disciple" (mathetes), which is of especial interest here, occurs up to 264 times in the NT, but exclusively in the Gospels and Acts (the reason for this will be discussed below). The basic connotation of this term is complete obedience to one person, realized in the form of the sequela (commitment to follow him). The pupil/ master relationship is absent from the NT; it is replaced by the relation of disciple and Lord. This basic and characteristic attitude of the disciple is reflected in several significant points, which together define his position in the NT:

a. First of all, there is the unique and exclusive action of Jesus, who calls those he wants and lays down the conditions on which he will allow them into his following.

b. Whilst the pupil of the rabbis seeks doctrinal teaching so that he can become a rabbi himself, the relationship with Jesus is of a different kind; it involves a permanent discipleship, because there is only one Master, Christ.

c. Jesus is, therefore, the only Master, and his authority is normative. He can contradict the tradition of the Elders and he interprets God’s Word and intentions with sovereign authority.

d. Jesus chooses his disciples from all stations in life, and in doing so fails to observe the separation of the clean from the unclean; his disciples even include publicans and sinners.

8:20 AM Here's an excellent discussion of altar calls. Come to think of it, we've already linked to several articles on the topic at our Unleashing the Church page.

8:03 AM An Open Letter to My Baptist Brethren:

It is time to amend our ways. Some things are not to be accepted but challenged and changed.

The problem with our generation is that we fail to get to the root of our troubles. We spread talcum powder on cancer and use a feather duster to get rid of deeply-ingrained unbiblical traditions.

It is time to forsake all such temporary palliatives. No longer can we remain silent about a church that has become cluttered with superficial “believers” who refuse to sell all and follow Jesus.

These troubling times find our generation intoxicated – not necessarily with wine from a bottle but with all the stimulants of our over-programmed and superficial Christianity.

  • We bring our Sunday School lesson books to church but not our Bibles.

  • We refuse to open our hymnals let alone sing joyfully unto the Lord as we are commanded to do.

  • We fall for religious fads – our “Rickshaw Rallies” – that work up mere positive thinking that only further deceive the sinner.

  • We prefer peaceful coexistence with the state to the kingdom of heaven.

  • We exalt human leaders (our “senior” pastors) over the one Head of the Church.

  • We substitute activity – a farce without force – for Christian living.

  • We shunt our children off to church and school yet fail in our parental responsibility to teach them the Word of God at home.

  • We emphasize the new birth and fail to give corresponding emphasis to the new life.

  • We preach “seeker-sensitive” drivel while our people perish for lack of knowledge.

  • We gather multitudes of professed believers but few disciples.

  • We sacrifice quality to quantity and the novices never mature.

Our churches are filled with spoiled children who need to grow up, milk feeders who should be on meat.

We must avoid rashness and impatience, but it is just as wrong to slip into an unoffensive acceptance of things that can and ought to be changed. God is not a Benevolent Butler, awaiting our bidding. He is not a Big Buddy, winking at our childishness. The church is not a civic club!

The brave General Armistead, at the Emmitsburg Road, asked, “Who will come with me?” In a day when the secular press mocks our inflated membership statistics, it is time for the follower of Christ to say “I will rise to the challenge!”

Let us return to the solas of the Reformation. Let us believe the Word of God and receive it for what it is, letting God be true and every man a liar. Let us refuse to soothe the unsaved with a false peace or stir them with an artificial joy. Let us stand – and stand alone if necessary – for conviction and principle. Instead of dodging issues, let us meet them head-on as Paul did at Corinth.

Above all, let us weep for our sins that put Christ on the cross, our iniquities that made Calvary necessary, and our godless traditions that led to Good Friday.

God is ready to work in us to will and do that which He expects. To be satisfied with anything less is to doubt and disobey God. This year, let us raise the horizons of our expectations and believe God for the “above and beyond” (Eph. 3:20).

The Great Awakener of the church, of whom it is said “He stirreth up the people” (Luke 23:5), is sounding the reveille. Every Christian ought to be a co-agitator, working with God to awaken a church stupefied with the spirit of deep sleep.

Let the reformation begin!

7:28 AM The president thinks he has a solution to the Social Security quandary. I like Evan Black's idea better:

I have an idea to help "younger Americans" like myself to save for retirement: let us keep (i.e. not forcibly take from us) our own one-third of the 6.2% payroll tax. Better yet, give us control of the entire 6.2%. I wonder how much paperwork I will have to fill out just so I can choose from a set number of government-selected investment options to have "control" over a third of my own money. If Social Security goes bankrupt because of me keeping my 6.2% instead of the government, I could easily split up that 6.2% to support Grandma Holl, Grandma Wicks, and Grandma and Grandpa Black. In the government's eyes, however, I'm much too stingy to give to others in need, so it will simply stick its hands in my wallet and force me to support people whom I have never met and who may not even need the money, rather than allow me to give freely to those whom I know and love.

As Doug Newman reminds us, the Socialist States of America is hardly a free country, not as long as Big Daddy has the right to rob us at will.

7:23 AM It's official. Peroutka 2004 is now God, Family, Republic. Congratulations, Michael, and all best wishes. By the way, I wasn't the only blogger to vote for Peroutka and Baldwin.

7:15 AM The answer, of course, is yes.

7:12 AM Yesterday my wife looked at my 2004 web stats and said to me, "Honey, you've got a congregation of 100,000." I hadn't thought of it that way before.

7:10 AM I read Le Monde almost daily. It is now offering blogs to their readers under the "Le Monde" brand, thus equating their journalists blogs and their readers blogs. Je pense qui est une grande idée! D'autres journaux devraient faire la même chose.

7:04 AM Guess where Google News is being blocked?

"China is censoring Google News to force Internet users to use the Chinese version of the site which has been purged of the most critical news reports," Reporters Without Borders said. "By agreeing to launch a news service that excludes publications disliked by the government, Google has let itself be used by Beijing."

Interesting, isn't it? It's pretty obvious to this writer that Google has already censored itself by refraining from any criticism of China. 

Sunday, January 2

8:43 AM That's all we need - another guy named Black clogging up cyberspace! Seriously, welcome to the blogosphere, Evan. Remember, blogging is like voting. Do it early and do it often!

7:55 AM Last year's website totals:

  • Hits in 2004:                              1,589,162

  • Unique Visitors in 2004:               99,926

Once again, thanks to everyone who moseyed by DBO and the many of you who "chatted" with me. May God richly bless you all! 

7:33 AM TEXTUAL IRONY: Most of my scholar friends prefer the Alexandrian text type and its two leading witnesses, Aleph and B, over the Majority Text. I think it's interesting that Aleph omits Matt. 24:35: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Just thought I'd mention it....

7:30 AM The Soulman thinks it's OK to weep for the aged to whom we minister in the nursing homes. Soulman, you are exactly right!

I have been running two nursing home ministries for the last two years. I will admit that we started the first one because my mom went in and could no longer come to church. Myself, my sister, daughter and aunt decided to pray and bring church to her.

Nursing HomeAfter a couple of months we started seeing real fruit. Folks were getting saved hand over fist. We decided we wanted more and took on another home. The same thing started happening. Praise God!

Now something very sad was beginning to happen. These folks were and are dying. We have shed many tears as we have fallen in love with these people. Last night one of my very favorite people suffered a stroke. She isn't going to make it but she is still alive. Please pray for her. She is saved.

The fruit of a nursing home ministry is knowing your folks are saved. I hear people tell me not to get to close. I think that is wrong. Get as close as you can. Love these people. Most have been abandoned. It hurts when they go, but they are going to heaven!

By the way, we have finally gotten permission from the staff to celebrate the Lord's Supper at the local nursing home. Many of these good folk have gone without it for years. Next Sunday will be our first time. Amen! 

7:24 AM My family and I attended this once. You'd be crazy to do it again. If fact, you are probably crazy if you did it the first time.

7:20 AM What have we gained? What have we really gained? By the shallow, crowd-manipulating style of praise music we call "worship," I mean. It's got to sound just "right" and look just "right." I recall during my student days at Biola that a good friend of mine, Japanese by ancestry, was chosen by the Day of Discovery program to be part of their taping in Florida simply because they wanted to present the appearance of a racially diverse singing group. (At least my friend could actually sing; several in the group couldn't. But that was OK - all they had to do was lip-sync.). In the early church, you will not find the auditorium style meeting we have today. You did not have "special music." You did not, as Mark Jurries has noted recently, have "choirs." The primary method of meeting was in small groups, meeting in homes, thus encouraging the gifts given by the Spirit to each saint. Believers shared together, sang together, prayed together, exhorted one another. Now we meet to be entertained. Church music has become professionalized. Shame on us for having allowed it to happen.

7:14 AM Tom Reindl wants to learn New Testament Greek on his own. He's scared to death of the prospect, as was I when I first studied Greek. I'll just say this: Tom, if you want to learn the language, I'll be glad to help you via email. Corey Keating has a great list of books that can help. Should you decide to use my beginning grammar I have a student's workbook that accompanies it that I'll send you gratis. Finally, my seminary is working on an online Greek course with DVD instruction that should be available this year.

But please, Tom, don't let the intimidation factor keep you from learning this wonderful language. I am living proof that it can be done!

Saturday, January 1

6:20 PM Only 7 days to go to our Winter Bible Study at Glenwood Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Our theme will be "Forgotten Lessons from the Life of Christ." If you live in eastern Tennessee I hope you can join us for one or more of our services on Saturday and Sunday.

6:14 PM Lee Shelton emailed me with two suggestions for our sermon archives:

  • John Piper

  • Alistair Begg

Excellent choices! Glad to add them. And thanks, Lee.

9:50 AM The latest from the mailbag:

Dear Mr. Black,

Thank you for your website. I found it this year and enjoy it very much,
and agree with you most of the time. Like you, I voted for Bush in 2000, but Peroutka in 2004. I forward some of your articles to my Christian friends who are still under the Republican party spell. The emotional reactions I get are most interesting! Thanks again. Have a blessed New Year!


Bryan D.
Cincinnati, OH

7:23 AM I've decided on the topic for my speech at the annual Lee-Jackson dinner at our local SCV camp this month. It's about a man who was a Southern gentleman, a theologian, a professor, a farmer, a Gospel preacher, and a political economist. He wrote one of the best treatises ever penned by mortal man: A Defense of Virginia and the South. He served his Lord - and the Army of Northern Virginia - with honor and great sacrifice. My little talk is entitled:

Lee's Forgotten Chaplain-Soldier: R. L. Dabney.

Of Dabney it was said:

His speeches in the courts of the church were always weighty in logic - and on occasions when he deemed the truth or the church to be in danger from the policy or intrigue of mistaken men, the torrent of argument and passion flowed, fused like the iron and the white heat from the crucible of a furnace.

Now that's my kind of preacher! I'll have more posts about Dabney in the months to come.

7:18 AM In his annual newsletter, Little Geneva's Harry Seabrook discusses family, friends, and causes. I'm sorry I had to miss his speech at the League of the South meeting in Lexington in September. I think you'll enjoy his newsy, humorous, and in places even nostalgic letter. I certainly did.

7:15 AM Will Jeb join the race in '08?

7:12 AM O, Canada!

For nearly two years now, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada's defense system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

7:10 AM Don't think that Iran will just roll over. Hardly.

7:08 AM QOTD:

Edward R. Murrow: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."

7:05 AM I've said it before on this blog, but I will never understand why parents want to send their kids to Ivy League universities for an education. For a degree, maybe, but for an education? Allan Bloom was right: the most close-minded places on Planet Earth are our so-called "liberal" halls of miseducation. I just hope Christian parents in North Carolina are paying attention to essays like this one!


7:03 AM God most certainly answers "knee-mail" and here's more proof of that. Our missionary friends have already returned to the states from Uganda, but I'm still relieved to see there's a cease-fire in place. I hope and pray it lasts.

7:00 AM Here's a fantastic way to usher in the New Year:

Dear David:

Thank you for your powerful and beautiful message on "Enter To Serve, Depart To Worship." I am in my 60th year of preaching the Gospel and I can testify that this is a seriously defective and missing truth in modern day 'Christianity'....

Pastor Robert M.

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