Archive for May, 2007

Pirates: A Pagan Agenda?

May 27, 2007

In his book, True Sexual Morality, Daniel Heimbach includes a chapter titled, “The Return of Sexual Paganism,” in which he exposes the pagan agenda to revive goddess worship. Pagans, of course, despise the Christian God and reject biblical authority. Naomi Goldenburg, a sexual pagan feminist, writes, “as we watch Christ and Yahweh tumble to the ground, we will [soon] completely outgrow the need for an external god” (Changing of the Gods [Boston: Beacon, 1979], 25). Mary Daly, a former Catholic theologian, considers the biblical God one, who “represents the necrophilia of patriarchy, whereas Goddess affirms the life-loving being of women and nature” (Beyond God the Father [Boston: Beacon, 1973], 29). In place of the Christian God revealed in the Scriptures, pagans are encouraging the worship of the goddess, Artemis, or Diana (Heimbach, 67-69).

Here is where I will make the first comment regarding the recent movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (yes, I actually went to see a movie). One of the subplots in this movie involved the pagan goddess of the sea, Calypso, who was trapped in the fleshly body of Tia Dalma, due to the betrayal of her lover, Davie Jones. After she was released from her human body, the crew bows in fear and reverence before her, as Captain Barbosa suggests that she act on their behalf. Without doubt, the movie is not intended to be Christian; however, the reality of the influence of paganism in our culture struck me all the more. For me, the enchanting Calypso was only an illustration of the goddess worship now encouraged by the “leaders” of the pagan feminist movement.

What floored me even more than the goddess Calypso, however, was the role of the character, Elizabeth Swan. Towards the end of the movie, the pirate lords agree to make her, not Queen of the pirates, but King. Why the film writers did not choose to make her queen, I believe, is directly related to what Heimbach also exposes about the pagan agenda; namely, it seeks to erase gender roles (124-30). Evidently, the film writers had no trouble with making a woman king, that is, giving her the title normally ascribed to a male sovereign. As Calypso illustrated pagan goddess worship, so King Elizabeth Swan illustrated the rising pagan influence which challenges the distinct roles set by the Creator for men and women.

Does the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, have a pagan agenda? It may not. On the other hand, it certainly illustrates it.

God’s Greater Glory

May 26, 2007

 The Exalted God Of Scripture And The Christian Faith

Ware, Bruce A. God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004. 254 pp. $17.99.

In a day when the works of many theologians are polluted with a self-preserving hermeneutic and misinterpretation of God who has revealed himself in the Scriptures, resulting in an aim to preserve human autonomy over God’s, Bruce Ware’s God’s Greater Glory is a breath of fresh evangelical air. Through dealing with several weighty matters concerning the nature of God and his human creatures, Ware presents his readers with a thorough and well-organized explanation of God’s governing providence and its relationship to responsible personal creatures. (more…)

The Minister as Shepherd

May 26, 2007

The Privileges and Responsibilities of Pastoral Leadership 

Jefferson, Charles. The Minister as Shepherd: The Privileges and Responsibilities of Pastoral Leadership. Fort Washington: CLC Publications, 2006. 141 pp. $8.99.

Christian views on pastoral ministry are often informed, not by the Scriptures, but by the corporate elitism of the secular business world. Though many evangelical pastors do not themselves pursue this kind of leadership deliberately, they cannot help but breathe the man-centered, big-business air of the American culture. In order to cultivate a healthy attitude and a winsome fervor for pastoral leadership, men should consider the instruction and the life of the great shepherd, Jesus Christ. Charles Jefferson attempts to provide a helpful discussion concerning the nature of the minister’s role in relation to the NT’s testimony of the shepherd model in his book titled, The Minister as Shepherd: The Privileges and Responsibilities of Pastoral Leadership. (more…)

Created In God’s Image

May 26, 2007

 Created in God's Image

Hoekema, Anthony A. Created in God’s Image. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986. 264 pp. $22.00.

In an ailing age when postmodern minds no longer aim to observe human nature on a universal basis, but a subjective one, resulting in a radical individualism freed from being defined on the Creator’s terms, Anthony A. Hoekema’s Created in God’s Image is a nourishing evangelical treat. Through dealing biblically and historically with several fundamental issues concerning the nature of man, Hoekema presents his readers with a systematic Christian understanding of man.    (more…)

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond

May 26, 2007

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond

Bock, Darrell L., ed. Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999. 330 pp. $17.99.

Christian views on the end times are often informed, not by the Scriptures, but by the fictional books crowding the shelves of local Christian bookstores. Though one’s eschatological convictions might be considered a third order matter of doctrine, such convictions do effect one’s biblical hermeneutic. In order to cultivate a healthy attitude for the interpretation of the Bible, pastors and teachers should consider informing the flock of God about various views on the millennium. Editor Darrel L. Bock provides a helpful discussion concerning the nature of Christ’s kingdom in relation to his second coming and reign in his book entitled, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. (more…)

Pagan Agendas Continue

May 23, 2007

In light of my recent post commending Daniel Heimbach’s book, True Sexual Morality, two recent posts by Albert Mohler (president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) continue to expose the pagan agenda to destroy the home, the church, and humanity. His article, “The Disappearing Father,” addresses the negative effects artificial insemination has on the home, and the article that follows, “The Revenge of Conscience,” speaks to the brutality of what is euphemistically called “selective reduction.”

True Sexual Morality

May 22, 2007

Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis 

Heimbach, Daniel. True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004. 528 pp. $25.00.

For Daniel Heimbach, “The greatest single moral-spiritual threat to truth in our culture these days is a rising fascination with paganism that defines morality as anything spiritual and then reduces it to anything sexual” (38). While modernism encouraged people to deny spiritual life, “arguing that morality is a matter of private taste and therefore biblical standards on sex have to be kept from influencing public life,” “…postmodernism affirms [spiritual life]” (41, 42). Heimbach argues, however, that the spirituality postmodernists affirm is pagan, not Christian (42). “It approaches spirituality in a way that views it, not as something beyond but rather as something under human control, and this makes sexual morality even more radically permissive” (42, author’s emphasis).

In the footsteps of Abraham Kuyper, C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and Carl F. H. Henry, Heimbach is on a campaign calling all genuine evangelicals to stand firm against the growing tide of sexual paganism. In observing the works published by militant feminists, unrepentant homosexuals, liberal theologians, and apostate Christian leaders (even those disguising themselves as “evangelical”), Heimbach unveils the destructive paganism infiltrating American mainline denominations, even some evangelical assemblies and institutions. This book covers all aspects of their rebellion: the re-institution of goddess worship and the sacramental practices of child sacrifice (otherwise, and sadly, known as abortion); the slander of Jesus Christ as a sadomasochist and his cross-death as a form of divine child abuse; the veneration of Jezebel and the feminization of Yahweh; the glad acceptation of pornography as expression and the utter rejection of the imago Dei; the unfaithful escape of divorce and the forfeiture of biblical manhood and womanhood. Thoroughly, thoughtfully, and compassionately, Heimbach unpacks these devastating facts in order to quicken the church to be aggressive in their love for sinners who fail to see the glory of God in Christ.

Moreover, Heimbach unpacks the solution for such problems, namely, a return to a God-centered worldview based upon the Scriptures. He upholds biblical holiness, moral purity, godly principles, spiritual joy, and divine beauty so as to squelch any destructive sparks of paganism. Heimbach grounds sexual morality in the holiness of God and equips the church with the sword of the Spirit, that she might fight the good fight against the old, now revived paganism. Without doubt, Heimbach has issued a clarion call for the genuine evangelical community to stand firm upon the “goodness of God with true sexual morality,” so that people are not “led astray by counterfeits” (359). Scholars, Pastors, and Laymen, this book is well worth your time.

Warrant for My Wife’s Happiness

May 17, 2007

At the end of this month, I will be taking a class called “The Christian Home.” We are required to read five books for the class, which will help us to shape a Christian worldview concerning marriage, sex, parenting, children, finances, social issues, etc. In my reading, a man quoted Deuteronomy 24:5: “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife who he has taken.”

I love reading Deuteronomy because it interprets, clarifies, and expands on much of the law’s theological content and meaning. I am not sure how many times I have read this text, but never did I observe the last portion: “and shall give happiness to his wife who he has taken.” Though there is some discontinuity to how this command to stay home for a year now functions under the New Covenant, the theological thrust for the home remains absolutely consistant with the remainder of Scripture’s testimony.

What beautiful happiness is known in the garden after the Lord created the woman for Adam (Gen 2:23-25). Wisdom testifies that the husband ought to delight himself in the wife of his youth (Prov 5:18-19). He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord (Prov 18:22). What is more, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, so that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (Eph 5:25-26). Without doubt, Christ is about his bride’s happiness, in the very act of presenting the redeemed church to himself in all her glory (Eph 5:27). In Christ, in glory, she shall be forever happy (Rev 19:7-9; 21:9, 22-27; 22:5).

Along with the overarching testimony of the canon, these words from Deuteronomy give husbands biblical warrant to pursue the happiness of their wife. So, husbands, write this text upon your hearts, add this text to your ‘fighter’ verses, and tell your brothers who are married, so that together we might cultivate godly affections in our homes. For the glory of God and the testimony of Christ’s joy in his bride (the church) and her happiness in him, let us all be about the happiness of our wives. Guide her daily to savor Jesus Christ and be happy in her heavenly Father.

The Lord’s Grace in Mom

May 12, 2007

Dad and Mom 

Last February, I wrote about how the Lord lavished his grace upon me in the life of my Dad. Mother’s Day has arrived this year, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to write of the riches of God’s grace given to me through the life of my Mom, Kellie Rogers. For twenty-five years now, the Lord has used her to raise me up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, and here are a few things for which I would like to give thanks to the Lord.

#1 The Lord has been gracious to me in directing my mom to pray continually for me. Even while I was in her womb, she offered up requests on my behalf, that I might be devoted to the work of the Lord. Years later, I still receive phone calls, letters, and emails either telling me that she continues to pray for me daily, or asking how she could be praying for me. As her son, I can testify that prayer has been my mother’s first response in all situations, not a last resort. Her communion with her heavenly Father is how she communes in such an edifying manner with people. In the greatest situations, and in those which are difficult, my mother finds hope in dependence upon the Lord in prayer. She is what Paul calls “devoted to prayer” (Rom 12:12; 1Thess 4:2),” and because of this my dad, myself, my brothers, and hundreds (thousands?) others have experienced God’s grace. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making my mom devoted to prayer.

#2 The Lord has been gracious to me by making my mom a lover of the Scriptures. For most people who know my mother, they do not have to be with her for very long before they observe her love for God’s word. For Mom, the word of the Lord is as honey upon her lips (Ps 119:103). It has supreme rule over her life and practice (2Tim 3:16). The Bible is “not just filled with passages to study for, but passages to live by” (a quotation from a letter she wrote me when I first arrived at Seminary). By making my mom a lover of his word, the Lord has taught me that it is in the Scriptures that God speaks authoritatively, Christ is revealed perfectly, and the Holy Spirit works powerfully. Thank you Lord for making my mom a lover of your word.

#3 The Lord has been gracious to me by giving my mom a heart which explodes in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs of praise (Eph 5:19). Our home always had music in the air. The majority of the time it was coming from my mother’s voice or her piano playing, that is, until her sons began to invest in large speakers, electric guitars, and a drumset. I have to admit, as would my Dad, Mom’s music was always much more pleasant. Without doubt, the reason why my Mom explodes in song is because she knows how great a savior Jesus Christ is. When she sings, she sings to him, for him, about him. Even though I am away from home now, I still receive messages from her on my answering machine in song about redemption in Christ. By doing so, my own heart is stirred to love the Lord. Thank you, Father, for giving my mother a heart that loves to sing your praises.

#4 The Lord has been gracious to me by making my mom a compassionate person. The three things written above are indeed excellent; but what causes them all to land on me even harder is that I have seen all of them occompanied with her tears. My mom prays with tears of joy and sorrow, reads with tears of gladness and perseverance, and sings with tears of hope and wonder. She cries for the lost who are blind to the glory of Christ, and so, would rather embrace their sin more than the salvation he offers. She weaps for the church when they fail to love or fall prey to false teachings. Her eyes well up with tears as she speaks about the beauty of her Lord, hoping that all nations will one day see it. As part of God’s elect, she has indeed put on a heart of compassion, because she knows the compassion the Lord has shown her (Col 3:12). I treasure my mom’s tears. They have taught me much about the compassion of my heavenly Father (Eph 4:32-5:2; Col 3:13). Thank you, Lord, for making my mom a compassionate person.

#5 The Lord has been gracious to me by giving me a mother who loves and ministers to my wife. What a blessing it is as a husband to have a godly mother who seeks to serve, edify, and equip her daughter in law. My mom is committed to fulfilling what the apostle Paul instructs the older women in the church to do: “Older women are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 1:3-5). I am glad that my mom is devoted to loving my wife and cultivating the affections of a godly home. Thank you, Lord, for giving me a mother who loves my wife.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I am thankful to God for you. May the days in front of you be fruitful for the kingdom of God. May the Lord who is able to strengthen you according to his gospel, receive glory because of these coming days in your life. I love you. Keep the faith.

Grace Abounds in the Completion of the 83rd Hour

May 8, 2007

Glory be to Jesus Christ, “who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen” (1Tim 6:15-16).

The Lord has poured out his grace on Rachel and I this semester. As I look back over the many trials we faced and tests we endured, I stand in awe of Jesus Christ. Curriculum is not just something that is given by the Academy. God gives us a curriculum in life and did so again this semester. If I had seen it all at once in January, I would have testified that it was impossible for Rachel and I to finish. However, the end of the Spring semester has arrived, and it was indeed finished; and not by our strength or wisdom or power, but only by the abundance that our sovereign King supplied.

I remember sitting on the front porch about two weeks ago, exhausted from several large exegetical papers, still with a one-hundred page project still to complete. Furthermore, the weight of the responsibility of being a nurturing husband to Rachel and a diligent provider for our home, while at the same time going some nights without much sleep was setting in. Rachel asked me what I was doing on the steps. All I could say was, “Thinking about how much I need Jesus.” Without him, Rachel and I could do nothing. He has been our supply all semester long.

So, I write tonight to praise him and thank him: O Sovereign Master, Jesus Christ, thank you for your strength. Thank you for interceding on our behalf, and for the prayers you inspired in your people for us. Thank you for comforting us in our trials, and for bearing our burdens so well. Thank you, My Lord, for helping us to sing when our hearts were dull, and for teaching us to trust you when our bodies failed. Thank you for such a wonderful and patient wife. Thank you, for accepting me, even when I failed to worship you in all things this semester. Thank you for your cross, your resurrection, and your reign. You are indeed the only Sovereign, to you be honor and dominion forever, Amen.