Living In Babylon: Living Outside Paradise

Which brings us back at last to the culture war. This brief look at biblical theology should teach us a number of things about this battle. Most important of all, it teaches us that the culture war rages in Babylon, not in the Promised Land. A number of other important considerations arise from this. For one thing, it reminds us that in any of our cultural struggles we are not to set as a goal the annihilation or even the radical transformation of society. The existence of Babylon is completely legitimate. This is a particularly relevant message for Americans especially to heed. America is portrayed as the Promised Land so often—it is the hope of the world, the shining city on the hill, with liberty and justice for all. It is the refuge for the teeming masses of distant shores yearning to be free. It is a land of never before attained prosperity and military strength. America certainly is a great land, and patriotic affections are good and healthy. But it is not paradise, and never was. And neither is any other place on earth. To view any earthly land as the Promised Land is to set our sights both too high and too low at the same time: too high for our nation’s prospects and too low for what the Promised Land really is. People wage culture wars in Babylon, and to whatever extent they win or lose, Babylon continues to be just that—Babylon! It will not be annihilated, and it will not be transformed into something else…

This being true, the attitude with which the culture war is currently being waged certainly deserves some critical scrutiny. So many who are on the front lines speak as if America once was in some manner the Promised Land and that the culture war has been engaged recently to restore America to that position it once held. Such talk is not only remarkably short-sighted but also theologically untenable. America never was paradise, never will be paradise, and the culture war is not some recently begun phenomenon which will terminate anywhere short of the supernatural intervention of Christ’s coming. If we choose political tactics in fighting the culture war, then we should be prepared to keep using them indefinitely, because the political challenges to our cultural dreams will never die…

Our first hope naturally is for the peace and prosperity of our nation. But perhaps we should be secretly pleased when these turn into disorder and depression. We have noted how many Christians today yearn for the days of public virtue present years ago in our nation’s history. It seems that there is little doubt that as far as public virtue goes America has seen better days. But when we see how such memories distort the biblical understanding that we live in Babylon, when we see how they cause our hopes to seek fulfillment not in the next world, but in this, when we see how they paint a falsely idyllic picture in our minds which we ignorantly project into the future, does it not make us at least wonder how much good such relatively peaceful and prosperous days really do. If God answered our prayers and blessed our cultural efforts by bringing us days of unparalleled peace and prosperity, would that not in itself be a tremendous temptation to set our sights no higher than Babylon? Are not days such as ours good reminders of what Babylon really is—a pagan, depraved, and hopeless place over which an angel from heaven will one day shout: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great” (Rev. 18:2)? The Israelites were apparently satisfied with the peace and prosperity of Babylon— only a tiny fraction of them returned to the Promised Land when the opportunity came. Will we as a church do any better?

Yes, let us pray for the peace and prosperity of our land for the sake of the physical well-being of ourselves and our children. But let us also be thankful for God’s often disappointing answers for the sake of the spiritual well-being of his church.

Who’s Natural Law?

Two debated hot-button issues today, homosexuality and abortion, demonstrate a widening rift and there is little hope that it will be resolved by concepts of natural law. In fact, as time goes on the natural lawyers are less and less unified in what constitutes good, goods, value, virtue, right and rights. No essential, or grounding truth, can any longer be appealed to define the highest precept of natural law, self-preservation and self-pleasure, as their meaning has been broadened to include a whole new array of possible fulfillments. And there is little consensus on a transcendent source for any constraints upon what those meanings can entail. At present there is no common Biblical grounding for natural law. There is nothing wrong with defending the unborn or heterosexuality and marriage on a natural and governmental law basis. But without a Biblical basis for the interpretation of natural law, the question is, who’s rational argument or interpretation of natural law will we use?

For Christians, especially, to embrace natural law as the answer to social decay, is to undo the testimony of a transcendent revelation. It is not that natural law is, or should be, in contradiction of it. But that the Bible no longer holds the sway of the public mind. It is only by revelation that Christians find grounding for their morality even if first informed by natural law. Appeal to natural law is at best derivative from revelation. Any strict appeal to natural law, then, can only find itself in what natural lawyers of old spoke of- certain wise men who are endowed to speak as the authority outside Scripture as its alone interpreters as it applies to matters of life in view of natural law. Though, as natural lawyers commonly hold, everyman is endowed with certain essential abilities to discern the basic ideas of good and right, (even Calvin understood this) there has never been a time in the history of natural law that certain “enlightened” ones didn’t become the sole arbitrators of what the revelations, both general and special, mean. Indeed, without such, the right interpretation finds no authoritative appeal in the governance of men. As has always been, the prevailing government, only, has had the power to enforce the wisdom of the sages, and the people have always looked to government for the prosecution of that wisdom. In any case, the determining factor is going to be a cost/benefit analysis, individual or societal, and the greater good and right will out, according to those certain vaulted priests, always with the preservation of power of the central authority maintained or expanded, for securing them. In any case the sufficiency of Scripture is overthrown.

In today’s paradigm we do not have the same presuppositions prevailing in culture as there were in previous eras. Biblical and theistical paradigms have been jettisoned. Not only that, but technologies have changed setting whole parameters into play individually and societally that were not before. There is in the undercurrent of both the issues of abortion and homosexuality the struggle, not of the transcendent morality of the issues per se, but of the utility of them. And what today has become most moral is that which produces the highest utility.

This is really no change, for even in the reality of the past, the greatest good of the individual, that is utility, was foremost. However, what prevails today is bare utility. The individual’s, and more correctly, the collective’s highest utility without reference to transcendent good, is the norm. Above anything else, utility has been the unifying mark of natural law theory, anyway, historically. Though in the past, the highest utility was always considered as that which was in accord with good and right as derived from special theistic revelation, the meaning of good and right no longer is immovable. In its stead is a transient meaning dependent upon democratic determination.

Abortion works for many societies and societies are made up of people. It has become the left’s rallying cry that it is immoral to deny abortion access on several grounds: individual privacy, individual prosperity, and any number of societal factors which produce the most good for the greatest number. The same arguments are being proffered for homosexuality. The majority, that is the democracy, rules. Gone are the days of a republic where what was right and good transcended the will of the people and was protected by those elected to office to preserve, not power to the central authority, but to the people through righteousness defended by localized authority.

The fact is natural law can only answer in the arena of outcomes in the natural realm in which it operates. It is quantifiable or it is not verifiable and if not verifiable, not natural. The quantifiable “greatest good,” has today, become only that which the majority finds most beneficial. If for the sake of society, fewer children are desired by it, that will be the utility sought under the new natural law. As is being heralded more forcefully, even the U.S. Constitution cannot establish a “transcendent” religious authority for fear of establishment. It doesn’t matter what the transcendent value of human life is, what matters is what benefit or liability that human life produces. Functionally, we are a non-theistic society. God has become only what the concensus majority determines it to be. The definition of murder, then, can modify in accordance with the individual’s highest self-goal as approved by the majority culture. Utilitarian deprivation of another’s life is negotiated upon what becomes defined as “life; good and right” and that which accomplishes it. Rights are, even though considered endowed by a theistic creator as the U.S. Declaration describes, nonetheless provided by, defined and defended by, the state for the people.

Since the highest precept of all natural law is the pursuit of individual happiness, even where our Declaration appeals to nature’s law, Life and Liberty are held in subjugation to self-determinism. The problem, as always, is who determines whose self is most important? Typically, we have had the courts enumerate first Life, then Liberty, and at last Happiness. But, in this day and age, the first two have been relegated to subordinates of the third. Happiness has become standardized as, “live and let live.” What is really meant by that is individualism versus civility, or libertarian (read libertine) freedoms trump “others'” rights.

The resulting social tension no longer ends merely at the settlement of property, i.e. liberty rights, or at the right to life, as disputes over boundaries. Instead, society’s masses, the people as orgainic collective, have interjected themselves as one of the principal parties in disputes between plaintiffs. Social utility, the greatest good for the greatest number, is this third party’s justice. It has become the majority belief that the greatest good for society will provide the greatest good for the disputants. Gone are civil rights as applicable to individuals and established are the rights of groups which then translates to whole cultures and societies.

This is the tenor of leftists. So we have what is good as that which the Courts, Congress, and the several Legislatures decide is the best for peace and security, but that grounded in the bare utility of majoritarianism and centralized redistribution. What is right is securing societal good. Individual prosperity has become redefined as everyones’ right to everyones’ property, be they life or liberty. The measures have changed. No longer is it viewed that takings of private property are forbidden. There no longer exists the commandment, “You shall not steal.” Instead, the seizure of private property for the benefit of the whole has become the standard means of attaining the most happiness for the most people. Private proprietors have become private pariahs, carriers of a threat to the centralized organism of the collective. It is therefore right for the authorities to defend the societal needs from such ones who carry the disease of inviolable boundaries. And therefore, it is everyone’s right to steal from his neighbor. From Health Care, to Jobs Creation, Affirmative Action, Abortion, et cetera, et cetera, that some may need to lose their right to property dispostition, their prosperity, their relationships, their freedom of associaiton, or their lives, is seen as the best means to the greatest equitable end.

Natural law has come to be dominated by the pseudo-sciences, Environmentalism, Evolutionism, Psychology, Penology, Pedology and so on, each with, not the individual in view, but the societal good, i.e., the value of an individual is measured by their societal productivity, not their individual well-being (security). And individual happiness is measured by how efficiently the central authority delivers the goods. Even education sees attaining individual happiness dependent on society, contingent upon how well integrated the thinking of the individual is to a holistic view of himself in society. Producing cogs is far more beneficial to society than producing free-thinkers. Free-thinkers are like free-radicals, doing no systemic good, only inflicting damage. Or, in keeping with John Dewey’s, Darwinian/Hegelian naturalistic natural law, producing cogs limits dissent, without dissent there is peace, with peace is individual contentment. Living in community as an organic whole, the individual finds happiness in its native state in a syboitic dance within petri-ed culture.

The social costs of undermining marriage, are not what they used to be. The natural law has changed, at least in the view of those in charge of administering it. The same can be said for abortion. Where there was once social tension in a religiously sectarian society, the milieu is secularly humanistic with no great consensus as to what forms right or wrong. The need for offspring is no long a natural necessity, and again the natural law has changed. Homosexuality does not impinge upon the need of society for bodies to fill the cubical, and the system has become quite adroit at simulating the parental unit without biology. With artificial insemination, whole-sale adoption, and ample social provision in child-rearing specialists and specialties, the old “morality” is simply not necessary.

That brings us to what the Gospel is about. It is not about saving nations, or cities, or states, or the world. As the Lord spoke of the Tower of Siloam, it is about individuals, and what each one must do. Sin is pervasive and the Gospel call to the individual is that he must repent and believe or likewise perish. In the world of natural law it is never that way, for the natural world can know nothing of sin, only what works and what does not. It can know nothing of the salvation of the Lord, for all things are contingent upon autosoteriological methods in natural law. The job of the Christian is to preach the wrath of God which is coming upon the whole world because of sin, and to preach faith in Christ for his imputed righteousness without which no one will be saved. Regardless of how bright man might make or think the future to be, the Lord is coming back to judge the nations. Indeed, the fact that man chooses to rely upon natural law is to fulfill Romans 1. The wrath of God is being poured out, even upon those who say they know God by natural law. For by it men do not honor God, but supress the knowledge of him. That is the only natural law that must be dealt and every hand dealt is a killer. Calvin would have us know that. That was his use of lex naturalis, to convict man of sin and leave him without excuse, not so that man might use his natural faculties to perfect humanity. Christianity offers the world a Gospel that can triumph over natural law. What people never had to lose in the first place, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Gospel gives as Peace which surpasses any that is offered by this world. Under natural law men can only hope for the cyclic destruction of their nations, for from it comes a god in the image of natural man.

For a discussion of differentiated natural law see R. S. Clark’s “Calvin On The Lex Naturalis.” Typically what is spoken of as natural law, today, follows the tradition of the rationalists like Thomas Aquinas as is seen in Robert George. Calvin’s natural law was viewed through man’s natural inability, or as Reformers called it, man’s total depravity. Thomists’ rationalism is thoroughly semi-Pelagian as Aquinas viewed man as fully capable of obtaining true knowledge of the lex naturalis without divine revelation because according to Aquinas man was born with a natural inclination to the good. Contrarily, Reformation teaching views man as being inclined wholly to evil. R. S. Clark asks the most pertinent question, “Who’s natural law,” will prevail?

Addendum To Idealism vs. Wise Christian Pragmatism: A Problem Of The Manhattan Declaration


“I find much agreement with Martyn Lloyd-Jones at this point. In an interview with Carl Henry in 1980 he said, “It amazes me that evangelicals have suddenly taken such an interest in politics.” He went on to call such interest “sheer folly…. You can’t reform the world. That’s why I disagree entirely with the ‘social and cultural mandate’ teaching and its appeal to Genesis 1:28. It seems to me to forget completely the Fall. You can’t Christianize the world. The end time is going to be like the time of the Flood. The condition of the modern world proves that what we must preach more than ever is ‘Escape from the wrath to come!’ The situation is critical. I believe the Christian people–but not the church–should get involved in politics and social affairs. The kingdom task of the church is to save men from the wrath to come by bringing them to Christ. This is what I believe and emphasize. The main function of politics, culture, and all these things is to restrain evil. They can never do an ultimately positive work. Surely the history of the world demonstrates that. You can never Christianize the world.”

If you go to Steve Camp’s site can read the rest there.

Go here for Idealism vs. Wise Christian Pragmatism: A Problem Of The Manhattan Declaration

Hi, My Name Was Oral Roberts, And I Was An Idiotoholic

In reality, most Americans probably know of Oral Roberts through a combination of his intended and unintended media exposure. Roberts frequently attracted controversy. Most famously, he became known for claiming to receive a vision of a 900 foot Jesus instructing them to build the City of Faith and, when hard times hit his empire, telling his followers that if a sufficient amount of gifts was not received within a specified amount of time, God would end his life. In 1987, Roberts became the focus of intense scrutiny in light of claims made by his ministry that a dead person had been brought to life.

In the end, however, Oral Roberts should be measured by his message. Though his claims of visions and healings drew deserved attention, along with both scrutiny and embarrassment, it was the core of his message that is most problematic. In his prime years, Roberts was the most significant agent for prosperity theology.

Prosperity theology teaches that God promises his people financial gain and bodily health. It is a false Gospel that turns the Gospel of Christ upside-down. The true Gospel offers forgiveness of sins and leads to a life of discipleship. Following Christ demands poverty more often than wealth, and we are not promised relief from physical ills, injury, sickness, or death. Christians die along with all other mortals, but we are promised the gift of eternal life in Christ…

…But the greatest tragedy in all this is the perpetuation of prosperity theology, passed on by Oral Roberts to a new generation. I am thankful for every sinner who came to know the Gospel of Christ through the preaching of Oral Roberts, and I heard him preach about salvation in ways that were true and powerful. But I can only lament the prosperity theology that he leaves in his long shadow.

The only thing I would question is that Oral Roberts ever preached a true and powerful Gospel. How could it be if the faith that he preached was more akin to magic?

We must also be honest. The typical SBC’er, Mohler’s denomination, believes in the properity Gospel, too. It is far more sublte, but just as deadly. The SBC’s core theology is one of a modernistic pragmatic paradigm that offers personal prosperity and things like national security if rules are followed, tithes are paid, power prayers made, righteous methods are applied, and if one engages in social reform activism. In short, both the bizarre health and wealth Gospel and other “conservative” mainline prosperity Gospels are all based upon the “if only” of idealism. Far from being an aberration of Pop American Theologies, Roberts brand of PHWG(prosperity, health/wealth Gospel) is quite like that held by the mainstream SBC’er. The SBC’s icons, such as Elmer Townes and Henry Blackaby, testify amply to the manipulative, experiential, orientation of Southern Baptist’s Methodistic beliefs. Oral Roberts’ prosperity Gospel was just another bird in the same flock of performance/reward pop-christian theology, an early forerunner of the current Emergent diminution of biblical truth. For the typical SBC’er, and those who follow the likes of Roberts, theirs is a magic talisman religion, not far removed from the occult.

Taking the Measure of Oral Roberts

As you listen to this, make note of OR’s progression from Holiness Pentacostalism to United Methodism. For those of you who have read here about Element Church, you will understand the connection.

The people who follow signs and wonders are, well, as Jesus said, a perverse and wicked generation. They’re in it for the same thing… that they may consume whatever they are hoping for upon their own lusts. They really care little about the signs, as Jesus said. They don’t even follow for that reason, rather, they follow to fill their bellies, John 6.26. When approached about how they might do the miraculous works of God, he simply said to them to believe in him who God has sent. Obviously not the answer someone seeking for a new Hummer wants to hear. Unfortunately, for so many who have been offered the riches and health they are seeking, believing on the Lord isn’t a better offer. Jesus is the full reward and gift that God gives as an inheritance to the saints, and who wants to be seen coming to church riding on the Lord’s back?

Hip and Thigh: More Oral

I Fell Down On My Way To Heaven Today

We need to stop our busy-ness and be reconciled.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In the beginning, it seemed that now that we had been justified by the death of Christ, we were equipped to obey verses like “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Or in 1 John 3:9: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.” Or Paul in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” And then, the unexpected. Sin continued to be a part of our lives; it stubbornly would not allow us to eliminate it the way we expected. Continuing sin on our part seems to be evidence that we aren’t really believers at all. We start to imagine that we need to be “born again again.”

If you’re a believer you know the title of this post as a personal testimony. Rod Rosenbladt points out why some Christians know who they are but cannot reconcile it to what they know about the requirements of righteousness and the Gospel.

In the passage out of 2 Corinthians we see both Law and Gospel. It is laid out that way, it always is that way. The Law crushes, humbles, casts down, because the burden of sin will not allow the Law to be kept. The answer to the Law Paul gives in the Gospel. It is because we are in Christ and that what he has done is outside of us that we can have assurance, the courage, that we will make it. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us for nothing which we ourselves have done or can do. Paul declares that even in the face of falling down daily, with full knowledge of the corruption of the flesh that we carry with us day to day, we are to be reconciled. We are to understand that those in Christ are new creatures and that the old has past away, put forever to death on the cross at Calvary.

This is our testimony: that even though we do not do what we want to do, and the very things we do not want to do that we do, we know that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Therefore, we need to lay aside every sin that burdens us and run with patience the race set before us. We need to look to the author and perfecter of the faith and not to the things which beset us in this world. Meaning, what we can not accomplish has been accomplished for us, for God was in Christ reconciling us to himself. Therefore we are reconciled. So be reconciled.

The peace which God gives passes all understanding. But the wisdom of this world would have us working daily for entrance into heaven. That was the curse placed upon Adam. But the testimony of our day is that we will fail, because we always fail, to even remotely begin to achieve the righteousness that God requires. Then where is there hope, where is there peace and rest? We as believers have our hope fixed on Jesus Christ and not ourselves as we rest in him who is our peace.

Sound to simple? Well, it is.

Repentance is two fold. The Law requires that one not do certain things and also, that one must do certain things, and both perfectly. Neither are possible for man. So repentance requires us to shun evil forbidden in the Law, true enough, but at the same time to shun the desire to exalt ourselves by the works of our flesh in keeping the good deeds of the Law. The man with a conscience sees his failing in both areas. The prideful look and cannot see the thing which makes him stumble because he walks in the darkness of his own light. However, the man who is conscious of his failures is often oppressed by teachers of the Law who cannot see theirs. Lawyers require obedience to the Law to reconcile one to God. That task is insurmountable, exhausting, and leads to despair.

That is where the beauty of the Gospel comes in. It exposes the whited sepulcher by declaring that God has sent Christ to be the propitiaion for all our sin, past, present and future, and to be the life that we must live, but cannot. He has reconciled us to himself in Christ. The testimony of Scripture is for us to marvel at. It tells us who we are, what we must become, and that it is impossible for us to attain that perfection which is holy as he holy. Thank God that Christ fulfilled the will of His Father perfectly for us and has left nothing undone.

Hi, My Name Is Al Gore, And I’m An Idiotoholic

The United States’ national embarassment, Al Gore, made a fool of himself again while speaking at the circus of idiots in Copenhagen:

“It is hard to capture the astonishment that the experts in the science of ice felt when they saw this,”

Gore said while struggling to wring his hands inside his straight jacket. He went on as a paranoid schizophenic fear-gaze overtook him,

“Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months will be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,”

Others predict that there is a 100% chance that Al Gore will be institutionalized if he continues to melt down in public.

The former U.S. Vice President Algore visibly panting and sweating in what appeared to be uncontrolled manic temper, stressed passionately,

“It is hard to carbon capture the astonishment that the perps in the science of ice melt feel when I start to chant, “Must carbon capture, must carbon capture, must carbon capture…”

Then he let out a scream.

To calm him down he was quickly ushured off stage and medicated. When his fever subsided he reportedly said,

“Globa tempachoo better now, mommy.”

I have to thank World Climate Report for the following:

Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?

The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history.

Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:

A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season.

Figure 1. Standardized values of the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009 (adapted from Tedesco and Monaghan, 2009).

The silence surrounding this publication was deafening.

Do you think the world will flip over if that trend continues? The fact is that the Artic isn’t in danger, either. The cyclic retreat of the ice is a well know phenomenon. Beside, the “science of ice,” is such a young field of inquiry that more research is needed before any conclusion can be made. According to one researcher, there may be little if any “great” ice melt than there has been historically:

Here is how Dr. Mahoney’s research efforts to date were summarized in an Abstract for a seminar titled “Multidecadal Arctic Sea Ice Variability: Large scale changes and local impacts” that he gave about a month ago out in Boulder, CO:

Abstract: As the Arctic sea ice pack retreats to record-breaking minimum extents, it is increasingly important to be able to set these changes in a longer-term context, while also increasing our awareness of the impacts such changes have at the local level. Here, I present results from research carried out at the National Snow and Ice Data Center using a recently digitized set of sea ice charts provided by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), St Petersburg, Russia. The earliest chart dates back to July 1933 making the AARI ice charts perhaps the longest-lived systematic sea ice record in existence. In addition, I examine these sea ice data in conjunction with equally long records of air temperature derived from meteorological station data.

Timeseries of air temperature and the extents of pack ice, multiyear ice and landfast ice extents reveal three distinct periods of variability over the last 8 decades: a period of warm winters and decreasing summer and fall sea ice extent (period A), followed by a cool period of stable or slightly increasing extent (period B) before a period of year-roundwarm temperatures and ice loss (period C). In magnitude and seasonality, the warming and ice loss during period C are more significant that those during period A. However, the Russian Arctic ice pack did not fully recover during period B, suggesting that the early 20th Century warming during period A may have preconditioned the Arctic for greater change in recent decades. At the end of period B, there is a rapid expansion of both first year and multi year ice extent, which may also have been a catalyst for the subsequent rapid changes in recent years.

The data is incomplete and not recent, and in some ways debunk the claims of Al’s pals. Is Al Gore a delusional paraniod schizophenic, or just an idiot? My suspicions are both. But even though he is a crazy idiot, he is in it for the cabon credits profits just as he is into Oil profits, and in that sense he is more wiley than just any old fool. In short, Algore is betting heavily that he can get rich off engendering fear of global warming in the minds of the people… crazy as it sounds.

Hide The Decline

Hi, My Name Is Perry Noble And I’m An Idiotoholic

Ingrid Schlueter writes:

Rock star pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, says you are a jackass if you’re sick of shallow seeker sermons and want to go deeper into God’s Word. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Noble has led the nation’s lemming pastors into new frontiers of circus church. Who would have ever thought to use AC/DC’s Highway to Hell as a church prelude before Noble hit the scene? You can see a clip of Noble here decrying those who want spiritual meat from the pulpit. It’s really that bad out there.

This is too easy. Mr. Perry (Iggy) Noble wants his flock to be as stupid as he is. He says he could take them deeper. We know that deeper is as deeper does and Iggy Noble makes it clear that he ain’t gonna go there.

You can see more of Iggy’s idiocy here. He can’t even begin to put down terminology without terminology:

Terminology will change…the Gospel will not…and “church” has worked pretty darn good for around 2,000 years. STOP trying to “improve” what God established as essential!

Did you notice the terms, church, God, established, essential, Gospel? Just who is trying to improve the church? Without terminology Iggy wouldn’t have been able to say what he said and without definition, what would it matter what he said? Who listens to him, then? Lots of lost people do, unfortunately.

Iggy Noble was the inspiration for Element Church’s blasphemous worship I reported on before. Element Church even bragged about their association with Iggy. They have in fact based a large part of their, ahem, ministry on Iggyisms.

Iggy’s brand of ignorance is rife throughout the Emergent Movement. Don’t be deceived. The intoxicating incitements of the Emergent are a trap. Element Church, it appears, is shipping in a “hook” for the bait they have chummed. As I have said before, Element isn’t a benign growth of the Body, it is a malignant tumor consuming it. A good look inside the heart of Iggy Noble will find a similar cancer there.

The garbage theology of emergent types like Maness, Noble, Bell, Warren, et cetera, spreads like gangrene and over throws the faith.

Have a friend you had thought at one time was sound in the faith, but is now being infected with the mindless drivel of Iggyism? Have you noticed an abrupt change in responsiveness, a resistance to sound counsel? The subtle fever of affect should have given it away, but all too often we are afraid to lose a relationship rather than speak the truth.

Easily recognized to be disease through testing today, in previous generations, gangrene only became evident when it visibly was recognized. We expect that after decades of studying the Word of God, believers would be able to discern good from evil, that they should be able to diagnose necrosis in the faith. We shouldn’t have to wait until the disease erupts to know what it is and how to treat it. That is why we equip ourselves, why we are to tell others. We hope to not be caught unaware and that others will not, either. There is safety in the multitude of counselors, so all believers need to be open to counsel, for the process of self-diagnosis can be self-deceiving. So we continue to warn others about the threat to the Gospel that Iggy and his kind at Element Church present. The spread of pathogenic ministers today goes unabated and will not end until the eschaton. Until then, we must answer swiftly, definitively, using mighty weapons that sometimes rip into the flesh to undo the advancement of the kingdom of darkness:

“Seek that gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rains soak into the ground, so pray the Lord to let His gospel soak into your soul.” -Charles Spurgeon

We should not be surprised that the Devil presents himself as an angel of light. So also, we should not be surprised that the Iggy’s of the world look and sound like the popular bag boy at the grocery store or a character on SNL. We should not be surprised that their speech is like pop rhetorical honey. The flesh loves its gluttony, and the perversion by people like Noble of what is good to eat is exactly what the flesh desires most- entertainment. Take the advice of the Proverb:

My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge… And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from Iggy, and do not go near the door of Iggy’s house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.”

Ken Silva on ISI Radio discussing Perry Noble.

Idealism vs. Wise Christian Pragmatism: A Problem Of The Manhattan Declaration

If great iconic academic institutions established upon the Gospel were the solution, they would not become the havens of heathens. If the Christian nations of Europe and the Americas could have achieved the utopia of a Christian society they would not have become like its antithesis. If the ideal could be achieved through moral suasion it would fail because it lacks reason for its existence. Even if the ideal were achieved through the Gospel, it would fail because of sin in the hearts of men.

A wise Christian pragmatism doesn’t delude itself into believing that through efforts of rectitude will nations achieve perfection or even that they can sustain their prosperity indefinitely. That denies the Gospel that looks to the author and perfecter of the faith and begs us look for a city whose maker is God, not man. While reform may come to nations after long periods of decline producing generations of prosperity and peace, even where the Gospel reigns, history and Scripture testify that they are doomed to reap the repeated bad fruit of their kind. It is in man’s heart, and that does not change without the regenerating effects of the Holy Spirit. A wise pragmatism recognizes the truth and pursues peace with all men while acknowledging that those who seek to live Godly lives will face persecution and find tribulation in this life.

While we are called to tear down every lofty argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, we are at the same time to proclaim that the curse is in effect and the wrath of God which Paul explicates in Romans 1 is being poured out. The Gospel is not a promise that an ideal nation or world can be established by either the works of the flesh in its attempt to gain moral perfection, or the Gospel as a pragmatic solution to the maladies man brings upon himself. The Gospel’s promise is not of or in this world, but the world to come.

The Gospel promises eternal life despite the destitute reality that sojourning believers experience as they live among the nations. It requires that while here, they tell the inhabitants of this world of the constancy of the curse and what it portends for the future. The future is not bright, it is not comfortable, and the present is filled with tribulations declaring that end to come. And though short-term realization of safety and security from the effects of sin are often experienced, they do not last and cannot because of the state of mankind which will always return to its vomit.

Revivalism, even that kind offered in the Manhattan Declaration, depends upon much the same outlook as idealism; that by certain machinations, conversion can be secured and a blessed life procured if one, or the many, but practice certain methods. The prosperity gospel of idealism is that if man by his effort submits to the law of God, he may in some way gain the perfection for which his defections cause him to yearn. Idealizers seek solutions using pragmatic means convinced that the outcome is determined by those means. But God has promised no such thing, only that through the Gospel a man can have eternal life.

As Baruch, we are not to seek good things for ourselves. We are to be content to have the life he has promised in eternity while now we are captives led into captivity. As we are taught, we are not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, expecting that our prayers or actions would be answered so that we might consume them upon our own desires. Instead, each is to esteem others worth more than themselves. We are to love in truth. That requires that we do not delude ourselves or others into a false security or the hope of it by promises that we will prosper, “if only.” The issue, of course, is that no greater love has any one than he who would lay down his life for a friend. However, in the idealist’s mind, that life, this life, is to be held on to, tenaciously, seeking by all means the comforts of this life for his own ends.

The wise pragmatic Christian will prepare for a future with tribulation on the horizon, tell others to do likewise, and not pretend that doing so will bring prosperity unless God wills. The wise pragmatist will recognize that doing good to all men is a means, not the product, nor the guarantee of a good return. He will understand the outcome is determined not by means, but by God who gives the increase and that according to his purpose, with tribulations. He recognizes that there is a single reason for doing good, and that is the Gospel. He recognizes that he needs to lay up treasures in Heaven, not on Earth. He also recognizes that good does not stop at the giving of alms, but must continue in the discipleship of the receiver. The receiver is to be held accountable for if a man will not work he is to not eat of the Body of Christ. A wise pragmatic Christian realizes that his meat is to do the will of the One who has sent him.

If God so chooses to right this nation or any nation, it will be for the purposes that he alone has determined. We should not be confused when we have done right and good things result and think that because we did right and good that was the reason for the outcome. It is just as likely that we go here or there, today or tomorrow, doing good and investing in righteousness and do not prosper. We may find that the outcome of all good effort is persecution, or that we go into captivity along with an unfaithful nation, or that famines and pestilence follow. We should not think that we are less sinners than those who died at Siloam. We should not be surprised when we fall into all kinds of testings. It is left to each individually to repent or perish and we gain wisdom in asking so that our tribulations produce patience and patience endurance in the faith. That is the goal of good doing. It is never beside the works of the Gospel; it is never beside the requirements of it. And we must learn that whatever state we find ourselves in therewith to be content, for it is God who has so provided for that prospering of sanctification of his saints, which he is working out, irrespective of the outward appearance of it, irrespective of whether we receive from his hand good or ill.

This is the Gospel we must preach. Because of sin the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness. This is a sign and one which must be preached about or there is no Gospel. Even if the world outside the church were purged of sins, there would be enough in the assembly of believers to condemn the whole world. So we pray, if the judgement is to be, let it begin with the household of God. In other words, the judgements that we endure for the faith, are our purification. And they will come, or we are bastards. The Devil would offer a world free of tribulation, and so deprive us. But Jesus offered this comfort:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Will there be peace in this world? Will there be a reformation of the moral condition of our country? It matters not. For our peace is in Christ and our great commission without reference to the outward appearance is to be instant, in and out of season, and to be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks of the hope within us.

Then what remains is the only reason for continuing to occupy until he returns- to proclaim that God’s wrath is coming upon all because they do not honor God as God. Jesus is the hope of the nations, and the Gospel the means of blessing for the world. Even if the nations repent, it takes but one man to destroy the whole. To that fact we have ample testimony from Scripture. Even Israel was not spared because of her many repentances. There was always someone, even men of God, who brought her down. And as we know, the heathen Nineveh did not persist in her repentance, either. David, one man, brought upon all his people the destruction of an entire nation. No nation has stood, no matter how blessed, no nation shall. No man can stand and only those who believe in their utter depravity and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God for his discipline, and repent of their evil, will be lifted up. Even if we see nationwide revival in the ethics of purity, even if it happened worldwide, it would not last long. Could any be found in Sodom? No. It could have been destroyed for the evil in the heart of Lot, alone. Did God spare the cities when the children of Israel came out of Egypt? No. Not even for the innocence of those in the womb. Though we must pursue righteousness and proclaim the requirements of it, we must be clear: the Gospel’s justification and eternal peace with God is not founded in what man can do, but only in what God has done through Christ. And it does not promise good in this life.

The Gospel is indispensable, where the Manhattan Declaration dispenses with it. It is the Gospel we must be proclaim clearly and not let it be obscured or demoted to second class citizenship as was done in the Manhattan Declaration for the sake of social reform. The Gospel is the reason for the pursuit of rectitude despite the circumstances that develop in the face of its proclamation. If the Gospel cannot cure the ills of the nations, if it never has, what hope is there in the works of man? The peace we offer is a peace which Christ said the world cannot receive and we must be clear in enunciating that and not obscure it or confuse the cup and mingle the blood of men with the blood of Christ. While we must declare that we will obey God and not men, we must at the same time make sure that the obedience to the message of repentance and faith be the full Gospel.

Yes, the Gospel is the only hope of man to remedy his condition. But that hope rests in the appearing of the Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ at the consummation, and not in the hands of men in the here and now.

One must wonder. Of those who signed, who pledged to stand against the enemy, what affirmative actions they will take? Or, is the MD a cloud without water? Will those who signed take to the streets now? Or, will they wait until the doors of the churches are barred. Unlike the Barmen Declaration which brought swift and brutal response, the Manhattan Declaration exists in a time in which it hardly causes a stir politically. For it to have effect, the Manhattan Declaration must be meted with affirmative action. So can we expect those who signed to march? After decades of assaults on the moral stature of this nation, and the church, when those who could have acted have not, we don’t expect that they would now. They do not march even against their own, when they should. And if they were to, what result would they hope to achieve? And what if it were further ostracism?

For it to be the cause of Christianity, it must be the proclamation of the Gospel of justification through Christ alone. That isn’t, however, the purpose of the Manhattan Declaration. It never was about Christ. If the church will not cleanse it own, what bravado, what hubris it is to think it will cleanse the world! If it cannot stand as a unified voice against its own, what strength does it have against a mightier enemy? The Barmen took a stand against the false church as well as its enemy in government, as it should have. In both its substance and its effects, the Manhattan Declaration doesn’t achieve the aims of the Gospel. It was not intended to. It rather diminishes the Gospel’s centrality as the reason for the existence of the churches’ stance against immorality. It cannot be, then, a document that can be signed with clear conscience if the motivation wasn’t the advancement of the Gospel.

The wise Christian pragmatist understands this. He cares that the moral statements have but one purpose and that is the cause of Christ and his church. The idealist does not understand. For he only cares that his life here and now is secured from any threats to its peaceful continuation. How contrary to the Gospel which calls for the denial of self and a loathing for anything which might be gained in this world.

But how could I sign something that confuses the gospel and obscures the very definition of who is and who is not a Christian?-R.C. Sproul

From Alistair Begg’s posted reason for not signing:

Are we wise to lay aside crucial historical differences of eternal significance so as to secure temporal advantages? George Smeaton, in his classic work on the atonement observes, “To convert one sinner from his way is an event of greater importance than the deliverance of a whole kingdom from temporal evil.”

Hi, My Name Is Rick Warren And I’m An Idiotoholic

Should there be anything peculiar about a Christian attending a memorial events which express worship of a foreign god? Well, apparently not for Tricky Ricky. Tricky Ricky is famous for his promotion of What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) pseudo-Christian Social Gospel theology. What a mixed message he continues to deliver.

Jesus would attend a Jewish wedding. He did. He was Jewish after all. He attended Jewish festivals. They after all proclaim the Gospel and are not forbidden for Christians to participate in. But would he attend Ithtar ending Ramadan? Participate in Shiva-Linga? No he wouldn’t:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him (Jesus), then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

One thing that we have come to expect of Tricky Ricky is that he above everything, including Jesus Christ, he desires that no one would be offended because of what he does or says. Christians excepted, of course. He simply doesn’t seem to care that his ministry is found in fault of denying the very name he invokes.

Warren makes a couple of good points, but does he really think that the messages contained in the various religious observances don’t proselytize? Does he really want, as he seems to advocate, the celebration of all kinds of religious festivals in the schools. Does he really think that the existence of Christmas celebrations in the public arena are there first because of educational reasons? Beside his lack of understanding of the Gospel, he is in real need of a history lesson. And perhaps Tricky Ricky hasn’t been informed yet that comparative religion is taught in the public schools. Like, duh… what era is he living in?

This is a man who finds no problem with homosexuality as long as it is not within marriage; a man who only finds backbone to contend with the powers of government only when it is convenient to do so. So perhaps it is no surprise that he cannot stand and defend the exclusiveness of the Gospel seeing that he cannot, or won’t, defend the exclusiveness of heterosexuality within marriage.

It should have hit him like a brick. It should hit Christians like a brick. The reason that the state is eliminating the historic favoritism of Christianity in the state schools is because it is just that, favoritism. Now, they (the state’s educational elites) don’t mean to remain neutral; a walk down the halls of any state school will reveal ample evidence that it is only Christianity that is being excluded. Unfortunately, the desire by conservatives to level the playing field through faux equal access as Warren is seen here seeking, will have a chlling effect for the Gospel if it is taught that there is no difference so that students become idiots like Warren chanting a spineless mantra “Can’t we all just get along,” as if religion was neutral.

Apparently, Warren finds no real difference if he can attend to worship of a false god and not be convicted at heart. Doesn’t he realize that he is eating food sacrificed to idols?

The passage out of Luke, by the way, is not a generalist proclamation of God’s universal love in Christ toward all. The passage is exclusivistic and is related to Jesus’ quoting Isaiah 61. The Scripture continues, “upon whom his favor rests,” and is why Paul is later seen relating the same thing. The enunciation is the announcement of the Savior’s birth and the judgement of the world and the calling to himself a chosen family. The proclamation of the day of judgement is the most commonly missed aspect of this announcement. So no, the Scripture is the opposite of “can’t we all just get along.” It is rather, “repent or die in your sins, if you do not repent the wrath of God remains on you.” Warren may have friends next door that he is eclectic in his relationship with, but if he hasn’t told them yet they are going to hell if they keep going on without repenting, then yes, he is a universalist, not a Christian, and could care less about his neighbor. Warren has said that his Christianity is a gamble, and his money is on Jesus. But what kind of Gospel portrays Jesus as just another number on a roulette wheel?

Tricky Ricky is a product of the Pop-religion scene. Pew’s research should quickly inform us that Warrenesque equivocation leads to a dumbing-down of the church and in doing so weakens the meaning of the Gospel. Make no mistake, the weak theological perspective of Warren is a disease. One he is all to willing to spread.

In truth? Rick Warren’s faith is practical atheism.

How Could It Happen? (4)

When we view Christ’s temptations in the wilderness and in the garden of Gethsemane, we find a unique paradigm. Though man, fully so, he was also the Son of God. From conception he was in union with the Godhead and beyond corruption. Our first parents were not, though. They had a relationship with God- they were in communion with him. Union and not mere relationship seals against any corruption as we have testimony in the NT that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the consummation. Like the incarnation of Christ is our new birth. It is a regenesis, a supernatural event. I propose that the corruptions of Adam and Eve were of a supernatural kind, also. Not effected by God, but by the Satan. That corruption was bound permanently to man in the fall by God. Man’s holiness ended at the advent of sinning and at once sin took its place. Man’s corruption was thorough, and so he died, no longer was he perfect in all ways. Even those faculties, thought, conscience, will, which do not change in their native essence, changed in their natural affection, and so their ability diminished, and were sealed in it. It is the affection, perhaps then, that the Devil supernaturally caused to change.

One more NT example to demonstrate that there can be permission for Satan to effect supernatural change within a person and cause him to have affection for what would normally be shunned:

Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

I chose the KJV for the specific reason of avoiding too hasty a conclusion about the condition of this boy. Other renderings would have it that he had seizures. Which is fine as far as that goes. However, it is linked to a second description. It says that he was possessed by evil. While it may be seizures that are spoken of, it may refer to his behavior of falling into water and fire. The sense is that he sought to kill himself. He acted crazy. That is what lunatic, selēniazomai, means. And more, it was the condition present at the time. It was not that he sometimes was selēniazomai, it was in the present as an active condition.

So it is said:

And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

It is acknowledged that in the presence of them all, a change miraculously occurred so that the disciples knew it.

Again, what I am not saying is that Adam and Eve were demon possessed. I am just showing that it was not according to this child’s right-minded choice that this would happen to him. And more, it was not the demon who threw him in the fire and water, but the boy who acted. Again, we must take note that no rational person would do so. The knowledge of fire and water and their beneficial and destructive qualities did not need to be changed. Merely a change in the desire irrespective of what is true, or what is known about what is true, is all that is necessary to cause a person to irrationally respond to the environment or even to disregard what is surely known.

Man is left in the Garden alone with his natural ability unimpaired until the serpent intervenes. Without God there to protect, Adam and Eve were vulnerable. What supernatural event then happened is a mystery, but the facts remain. Adam in his natural state would not have chosen to rebel because he could not have chosen to. No new knowledge was introduced, only new questions and perhaps an accusation. We noted that the powers of the enemy are far above our comprehension. So, whatever happened was not a natural event and so it cannot be said that Adam simply chose against himself. For him to act against himself, Adam had to be deceived. But how so? Deception is not free choice, by definition. The natural ability of the will was unimpeded. He chose. The will goes where the mind goes. Was the mind changed? Surely not by Adam, for how could that be? A perfectly good mind will always choose good. What we can say is that between seeing the fruit good for food, which it was not, and the conclusion that it was also good for gaining wisdom, for which it was neither granted nor needed and so no sound reasoning existed to doubt it, for they were already perfected, the mind was somehow corrupted.

Emotion is not necessarily grounded in reason. Emotion can be enough in fallen man to override sound thinking. Could it be possible that emotion is at the root of the fall? And here, not a change in the love of God, but perhaps exitement, an inticement, to be more like him?

Why is this important? Because a corrupt mind cannot choose that which is not corrupt, for it cannot without corruption discern the difference between truth and error. In human developement, man first chooses emotionally, and only with time does a child learn to use sound thinking. And it chooses according to its kind as Jesus said, even at that. As Christ did, the good mind rejects the temptation presented, it always does the will of God because it loves as God is love. And, except that Jesus was also filled with the Spirit, the mind of Christ would also have been corrupted, for he was truly man with emotion that could be changed. But, why does Jesus resist the temptation? He does so by a defense of the truth. But is there a sense in which he emotionally responds, also? It is said that Jesus was tempted in all ways, that is, in every respect, as we are also tempted. Plays upon the Lord’s emotions are elsewhere made. And we see him many times respond with emotions that express the righteous indignation that we sense in the temptation narative. But in all this, Jesus, unlike Adam and Eve, did not respond with emotion out of control.

A miraculous thing must occur in regeneration. The good mind must be sure of the object of its affection, for it must choose in faith and faith is sure and certain of the thing upon which it sets its hope. It must know without doubt that the choice is the right one or it will not choose. It must have knowledge and be convinced that knowledge is true. A corrupt mind cannot choose but evil, truly, for it cannot discern what is good, so cannot choose good in truth but only in unbelief. God will not accept a heart divided, either. No mixed affections will do. Except that a new mind is given man, he remains corrupted in all his mental faculties unable to discern good from evil. And there, that is the sense, that is how Adam and Eve chose wrongly, they could not discern, rightly, good from evil. Somehow their minds were corrupted before they chose evil for they thought their choice good. We have no evidence that the abilities to reason, changed.

Did the Satan change the affections somehow in those faculties which were righteous and holy? For affection is what trusts that the choice is good. Or to say it another way, it loves (it has affection) the truth in righteousness. Could it have been feelings and emotions and not rational thoughts or other perceptions pe se, that corrupted the mind? Was the desire good but manipulated to excess so that the choice was an emotional one and not a rational one? Who knows? The anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God, but a heart jealous for the truth, can, as we see in Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple. Adam’s mind could not be corrupted even with inducements in sight or by argument, then what is left? Some supernatural change, but in what?

We must understand that for a person to be born again is not a matter of choice, but a miracle, a supernatural event, for the mind corrupted can never trust its own eyes. It will choose on the basis of feelings, first, and not knowledge. Jesus said that the children of the Devil act out of hate. His portrayal of their blindness is that their desires were their guide and those desires were the same as Satans- hate. They had seen the miracles, they had heard the truth that he proclaimed. The had the evidence of their eyes and knowledge in mind of the message proclaimed. Still they remained hardened in heart. The mind cannot rightly understand and discern good from evil until those desires are changed even if it has been enlighted by experience and knowledge. It cannot see Christ as trustworthy for it cannot see Christ as truly good and worthy of love through its jaundiced view, from a heart that does not trust. Trust is not founded in knowledge, but affection. It is in part conviction, though conviction properly belongs to the abilities of reason. Distrust on the other hand is no sound conviction. Not because it lacks sound reason, but because it does not love of the object (knowledge). It is divided, unsure in all its ways. Even the corrupt, rational mind, can see some good in the message of the Gospel. It can have knowledge, but it cannot love that knowledge in truth, even though convinced, because it cannot surely set itself toward it. The trinity of saving faith consists of knowledge, conviction, and trust (love, an emotional affection that gives itself wholly to its object). It is the last of these which we must deal specifically, for even the devils believe and tremble, as both knowing and convinced of the truth.

The mind must be changed. We know this word from the Greek, it is metanoia. Repentance is a change of mind. Better, it is a change in the affections of the mind. The unique view of the NT is not that repentance is merely a natural change. It is a gift, granted by God. And what I have tried to demonstrate here is that even if it were merely natural, it would not be of faith, for faith knows and is sure, it also loves, for love in truth is sure and certain of the object to which it is directed. But a corrupt mind never can be sure of what it knows, so it cannot love, and a divided heart can never be sure of who it loves, because it cannot truly know. We have the words of Paul in 1 Cor 2 to help explain what repentance means:

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Paul’s declaration of what he knew to be true is this:

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

It takes the mind of Christ to turn around, it also takes the love of God spread abroad in the heart, to change those hostile emotions, to set its sights on things above, to deny the appeals of the enemy, to be able to reject and resist his attempts of deceptive ploy without, or corruption of mind within, or the sway of the emotion which pertain to the right understanding and love of the truth. That is a supernatural occurence and cannot come from a mind which is unable to discern good from evil. Even when the mind happens to settle upon what is good, the heart of man does not love it for it is divided against itself, it cannot love for love is the attribute of God who does not turn nor is there any shadow of doubt in him and he knows who he loves. The heart, even if the mind chooses the good, corrupts the choice by the adulteration of its affection if its affection is impure.

The fall was a supernatural occurence, not to be explained by natural means, even though natural abilities come into play. By that we know something very important about what it means to be saved. It is not natural and cannot be founded upon natural ability for those are corrupted. Emotions, feelings, that which we call love, likewise being corrupted cannot turn themselves to a single-minded affection for they are unstable in all their ways until a new heart is given. A new mind is not ours to create, for we are not the creator, nor can we clean the old heart for ours is not the blood of Christ. For the old to become new it cannot be cleaned by the hands of man, by a decision, or by anything else earthbound. Indeed, the creation did not arrive in its fallen state in the first place by any natural event or even by the actions of man. We see unequivocably an evil force interject himself into man’s life. We know unequivocably that man was perfect and that God had given him a commandment, the breach of which was punishable by death. Man was induced to disobedience and became dead in it. Satan’s actions corrupted man’s choices. But was it Satan’s corrupting man’s affections, but not from their right orientation, perhaps, but in their degree making them unnatural, and then God’s sealing man in them, that constitutes the fall? It still remains a mystery as to just how Satan effected change in man’s affections toward God. He does not have to make man hate God, he needs only to make man want to leave his natural estate with the good intention to be more like God. To do that the Satan only needed to use what was native to Adam and Eve in the first place.

Except that one is born from above, he cannot discern the kingdom of God. He cannot perceive in truth the Son of God and so therefore will not follow him. He cannot submit and take his rightful place in humility before God. Then who are those the Father seeks? Those who worship in Spirit and in Truth cannot be the natural offspring of a man’s flesh, for it is sealed in corruption. They can only be those who are born of God, recreated, re-genesised, by the Spirit, and given the heart of the Son. To that we have the testimony of Scripture also. Setting a man’s mind right is one portion, the other is setting man’s heart right and putting it in its rightful relationship to God once again.