The Wisdom of the Elderly and the Culture of Death

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

In September my congregation celebrated the 90th birthday of Elder Emeritus Mr. Sehon. He had turned ninety years old, and has been married for over 70 years. He isn’t in quite the shape he was likely in when he was my age: He sometimes struggles to stay awake during the sermons, and even spills his coffee sometimes. He doesn’t get around very well anymore, and can’t drive himself to Church.

Recently, on the Lord’s Day, I got to see his face when the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was brought to him and his wife. His face lit up, as if Jesus Christ was meeting him there. He then gently handed a piece of the bread and a cup of wine to his wife. Even after over 70 years of marriage he holds her hand during the service.

He was an elder in another congregation for many years prior to ending up in my congregation. With this in mind, and out of respect for him and his service to the Church as a whole, the session made him Elder Emeritus.

Because he is unable to drive, one of the elders gives him a ride to Church every week. How I wish I was privy to the conversations they have before and after the Lord’s Day service. The influence he has on this elder isn’t readily apparent, but I am sure it is considerable. I can’t begin to imagine how Mr. Sehon has influenced me indirectly through the elders and the other members of our congregation.

Unfortunately, many people who are younger than our Elder Emeritus would rather enter into death than to continue in this life where they could be a positive influence to the young, leaving behind a legacy.

On “The Briefing” Thursday Dr. Albert Mohler read a story about a 65 year old woman who said she prefers euthanasia over continuing in this life if she can no longer attend the theater, or if she becomes unable to get around on her own. Is life worth so little to her that she would prefer hers end rather than to give up some of her personal autonomy with the need to rely on others? What legacy is she leaving behind letting the wisdom she should have accrued over the years perish with her rather than passing it on to the younger generations? What this says of her opinion of the Law of God, which forbids suicide is a matter for another time. I’ll just leave a reference to Westminster Larger Catechism questions 134 through 136 here for that.

As I listened to Dr. Mohler my thoughts drifted to our Elder Emeritus, imagining if he and the other elderly in our congregation were to decide they would rather perish than to encourage us with God’s grace and the wisdom He has given them. How much wisdom would be lost? How many avoidable mistakes would we as individuals make because we didn’t receive from those who have gone before us? How much of our sanctification are we missing out on? Is avoiding that loss of personal autonomy worth it neglecting the benefits the elderly can provide to us? Obviously, I don’t think so. I’ll close with question 129 from the Westminster Larger Catechism, on the subject of positive use of the 5th Commandment.

Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.

Podcast Generator

In redesigning my Church’s website,  it was requested of me to put a Sermon / Sunday School audio page on the site. The Church moved away from SermonAudio due to their price increase and the fact that SermonAudio hasn’t really served to bring people to our congregation. (This isn’t to say that their service is bad, or not worth the money for many congregations; just that it isn’t for our needs.)

I determined Podcast Generator would fit the bill, unfortunately, it doesn’t offer an easy embed option for existing sites. The author suggests an iframe for this, or to send him some support money and he will work it into an existing site.

While I may send some money his way at some point, I thought I would try my hand at it first. Along with fixing something else that was bugging me, the list doesn’t display categories for each individual mp3, to get the category one would have to go to the page for the individual mp3.

The first issue was resolved by whittling down the content displayed in the default theme. After hiding the image (it can be removed entirely, but I didn’t bother with that at this time), and removing the feed title and description it doesn’t look half bad.

The second issue required modifying the function.php from the core directory.  I copied lines 636 – 644 (between Show Long description and Buttons sections) from the showSingleEpisode function and inserted them at line 471. This is between the Short Description and Buttons sections of the showPodcastEpisodes function.

Finally, I had also found a bug with the iTunes image upload page. The UI says png files are acceptable, but does not actually accept them. I resolved that in /core/admin/itunesimg.php. I don’t know if other areas expect this image to be a jpg or if they too need correction. (see update)

This applies to Podcast Generator 2.4 released on Jan 13, 2015 8:53 AM. I can’t guarantee these changes will be appropriate in later versions.

My changes released under GPL. Podcast Generator without my modifications is available on SourceForge. I have submitted these to the author on SourceForge.

Update 3/5/2014: The author of Podcast Generator sent me a file that improves the iFrame display considerably, making theme alterations unnecessary. He has also informed me that there are other hard coded references to the iTunes image being a jpg, so I wouldn’t suggest using a png yet, unless you want to edit more of the PHP.

Files and diffs are below the break.

Continue reading Podcast Generator

Institutes of the Christian Religion

Calvin’s Institutes is a great read. It is educational, convicting, comforting, and God glorifying. I highly recommend it. And, here it is for free. Enjoy.

epub format for Nook, almost any other ereader device or app

mobi for Amazon Kindle or Kindle apps

Institutes of the Christian Religion audiobook from Reformed Audio.org (Unfortunately, this is only the first six chapters of book 1. It might be worthwhile for an introduction, but is only a very small portion of the book.)

A full audio book from Librivox

Tom’s Automated Banking

gears-1024x585I promised a friend awhile back that I would explain how I automate my finances and budgeting, and how I get away with absolutely zero of the nonsense banking fees that have been added due to the Obama administrations recent changes and the greed of the banking industry.

I currently (though that is about to change, see note at bottom) use three banks, one for spending, one for business, and one for everything else. All of the magic happens with my CapitalOne 360 account, the others are pretty tame in comparison.

I started using CapitalOne 360 in February of 2006, before they offered a checking account. At that time I signed up for the 6% APR on savings. Since then they added checking and the ability to automate transfers. Along with these, it can link to 3 outside accounts to pull money from or push money into. They also have no fees for almost everything. Only fee I have ever paid is a reasonable $20 to next day a cashier’s check. If your primary banking is done with a large brick and mortar bank that charges fees, doesn’t make it easy to transfer money, doesn’t let you add a savings account in seconds, and doesn’t allow you to easily transfer money between banks, I would highly suggest changing banks. (I would add that they have a high interest rate, but by today’s standards .5% is high. Most banks still pay around .02%, so .5% is high in comparison, but unless you have very large amounts of money that you keep in savings for some reason, it is too negligible to matter.)

I have my paycheck direct deposited into the “Electric Orange” checking account with CapitalOne 360. From there, the CapitalOne 360 system distributes money to some of my 16 savings accounts, to my Perkstreet checking account for spending purposes, and when I have room to invest in my Roth IRA or mutual fund some of it also goes to Sharebuilder (another of their services)

Before explaining how that works, I’ll explain the purpose behind the savings accounts.

co360

  • The checking account is a landing zone for my paycheck. It also has a $1,000 line of credit attached to it, that also has no fees, and a reasonable interest rate. The automation tends to have Friday withdrawals coming out before paychecks go in, so for an hour a week it sometimes goes negative. This costs me about 3 cents a month thanks to the line of credit. The earned interest on this account alone pays at least ten times what the interest charged is, so it works out fine. This could also be used like a credit card if one so desired.
  • Emergency fund is where I keep a little cash for emergencies. When it is below the preferred balance a fixed amount is pulled from the checking account every paycheck. (Unfortunately, CapitalOne 360 doesn’t have the option to program it to only pull when below a certain balance, though I wish they did.)
  • Investment savings is used for money to either distribute to LTS or either of the Sharebuilder accounts. I sometimes also keep short term investment money here.
  • LTS stands for Long Term Savings. Money that is being saved for a long term investment goal. This is fed from the Investment Savings account.
  • The Sharebuilder accounts can be pulled from by Sharebuilder.com to invest in either my Roth IRA or Individual Mutual Fund accounts. (For brevity sake I won’t be going into detail as to how that works, if you have a Sharebuilder account it should be easy enough to setup.)
  • Apartment reserves is money coming in from, and saved for, the apartment building I own. This is pulled from my business checking account with U.S. Bank automatically on the 1st of every month.
  • House taxes, State Tax, Truck Insurance, and Webhosting accounts are to save for annual fixed expenses. A fixed amount is pulled out of checking every month to save for these expenses. When the time comes to pay them, I merely move the amount to checking and go to the Bill Pay section and have the check mailed out.
  • Truck is savings to replace my truck when the time comes. I estimate that I’ll replace the truck in ten years, and divide the amount I expect I’ll pay for a new truck by 120 and pull that amount in every month automatically from the checking account.
  • Toys is a fund to try to keep my electronics and books spending under control. I move a fixed amount to it every paycheck, and when I spend on toys I transfer the money back to the checking account, or to the spending account, according to which I spent from.
  • Giving is money saved to give to charities or needy. It is a predetermined fixed amount out of every paycheck.
  • Utilities is money held back every month to cover my electric bill. In Illinois, and to a lesser extent in Louisiana, electric bills tend to fluctuate based on the weather. Spring and Fall months are cheap, Winter and Summer are considerably more expensive. To balance these out a fixed amount is put in every month, and the amount needed to pay the bill comes out from this account. This effectively evens out the bill so every month I spend the same amount. Power companies offer this to customers as “budget billing.” They tend to charge for it, and they make a little more money by taking advantage of those who won’t budget.
  • Microplace is money received back in interest and principal from what I consider donations through Microplace. I don’t touch this money, but when it refills I put it back into the system to help others. (May write a bit more about this later. Until then, take a look at Microplace and consider giving a helping hand to the needy. Helping them fish rather than giving them a fish.)
  • PayPal Link is used to prevent having to give my checking account number to PayPal, as they are known for suddenly taking money away from people. The account sits empty except when doing business through PayPal.

With that all being explained, I’ll try to cover some of the gaps. Every week a spending allowance is transferred from checking to my Perkstreet checking account. This covers fuel, food, or whatever else I regularly spend on, and until today Perkstreet gave me 1% cash back on “credit transactions.” I signed up for an Amazon Rewards Card today that I’ll work into the system in the future. I still get 1% cash back, if by cash back you mean money to spend at Amazon, that is. I spent the Perkstreet rewards almost exclusively on Amazon anyway. (Books!)

I hope that covers the automation system. I would go through the interface, but CapitalOne 360 makes the interface pretty simple, so it probably wouldn’t be necessary.

One last thing, CapitalOne 360 also has a referral program, so if you are interested in the account after hearing how I use it, click the link and sign up and I’ll get a small credit for referring you.

If I left out a detail that you think should be included please comment and I’ll try to clarify.

Adopting the Greek Way of Life

This excerpt is from 2nd Maccabees 4, a historical intertestamental apocryphal book. That is, it isn’t part of the Old or New Testament, and it is not Scripture. But, it is a mostly accurate history of part of the intertestamental period.

This passage stuck out to me, as it sounds like the seeker driven / purpose driven churches. Adopting “the Greek way of life” and turning away from the things God has commanded. Exchanging the worship of God Most High for things that please the world, and the wordly within their churches. Rather than the faith once for all delivered to the saints, preaching life changing messages of moralism, works, and practical life tips for living well. Or, in the case of many of the seeker-driven churches, especially during the summer, showing movie clips that exhibit worldly wisdom or entertainment rather than God’s Word.

7 When Seleucus died and Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, succeeded to the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias obtained the high priesthood by corruption, 8 promising the king at an interview three hundred sixty talents of silver, and from another source of revenue eighty talents. 9 In addition to this he promised to pay one hundred fifty more if permission were given to establish by his authority a gymnasium and a body of youth for it, and to enroll the people of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch. 10 When the king assented and Jason came to office, he at once shifted his compatriots over to the Greek way of life.

11 He set aside the existing royal concessions to the Jews, secured through John the father of Eupolemus, who went on the mission to establish friendship and alliance with the Romans; and he destroyed the lawful ways of living and introduced new customs contrary to the law. 12 He took delight in establishing a gymnasium right under the citadel, and he induced the noblest of the young men to wear the Greek hat. 13 There was such an extreme of Hellenization and increase in the adoption of foreign ways because of the surpassing wickedness of Jason, who was ungodly and no true high priest, 14 that the priests were no longer intent upon their service at the altar. Despising the sanctuary and neglecting the sacrifices, they hurried to take part in the unlawful proceedings in the wrestling arena after the signal for the discus-throwing, 15 disdaining the honors prized by their ancestors and putting the highest value upon Greek forms of prestige. 16 For this reason heavy disaster overtook them, and those whose ways of living they admired and wished to imitate completely became their enemies and punished them. 17 It is no light thing to show irreverence to the divine laws — a fact that later events will make clear.

Just as this passage ends, the same will be true of those who exchange God’s word and commands for the world’s desires. Exchanging the Law and Gospel for entertainment and life tips. God will have the last word. It is no light thing to show irreverence to God’s laws — a fact that later events will make abundantly clear. Jesus is coming back, and He will judge  the quick and the dead, the false part of the visible Church will face judgment. Repent and believe the Gospel.

How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?

Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are of the Word of God?

A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God. – Westminster Larger Catechism

I’m reading through Johannes G. Vos’ commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism. His thoughts on this aspect of question four seem especially relevant. I know many believe the Bible to be errant, or at least fallible when it comes to some things, but that it contains truth when it comes to things regarding salvation. I agree with Doctor Vos, if we can’t trust all of the Bible then we can’t trust any of it.

We believe that the Scriptures are entirely free from errors, not because we find no apparent errors in the Bible, for it cannot be denied that a few apparent errors have been pointed out in the Bible, but because the Bible itself claims to be free from errors. Our belief about the Scriptures must not be an inference from facts of our own experience, but a formulation of the teachings of the Scriptures themselves about themselves. If we find some apparent errors in the Bible, that is a matter of our own experience as finders. But if we observe that the Bible represents itself as being free from errors, that is an observation concerning the teaching of the Bible. We must accept the Bible’s teaching about hell and other matters. The fact is that the Bible teaches that the Bible is inerrant. Even though we may have some unsolved problems concerning apparent errors in the Bible, still these problems do not justify setting aside the Bible’s teaching about itself, unless it can be proved that the Bible really contains errors, and that they exist in the genuine text of the Hebrew or Greek original. If that could be proved, the trustworthiness of the Bible as a teach of truth on all subjects would thereby be destroyed. If we are to trust the Bible in what it says about God and man, sin and salvation, we must also trust the Bible in what it says about its own infallibility. –  The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary by Johannes G. Vos, edited by G.I. Williamson. pg 13 commentary on Westminster Larger Catechism Question 4

 

Truth Personified in First Esdras

Read this today and thought it was worth sharing. Which is strongest: wine, the king, or women?

One note, 1st Esdras is part of the Apocrypha, it is not Scripture, that said, it is interesting to read and much of it points to Christ.

[1 Esdras 3]
Return and restoration under Darius and Zerubbabel; The three young bodyguards in the court of Darius; The contest planned

1 Now King Darius gave a great banquet for all that were under him, all that were born in his house, and all the nobles of Media and Persia, 2 and all the satraps and generals and governors that were under him in the hundred twenty-seven satrapies from India to Ethiopia. 3 They ate and drank, and when they were satisfied they went away, and King Darius went to his bedroom; he went to sleep, but woke up again.

4 Then the three young men of the bodyguard, who kept guard over the person of the king, said to one another, 5 “Let each of us state what one thing is strongest; and to the one whose statement seems wisest, King Darius will give rich gifts and great honors of victory. 6 He shall be clothed in purple, and drink from gold cups, and sleep on a gold bed, and have a chariot with gold bridles, and a turban of fine linen, and a necklace around his neck; 7 and because of his wisdom he shall sit next to Darius and shall be called Kinsman of Darius.”

8 Then each wrote his own statement, and they sealed them and put them under the pillow of King Darius, 9 and said, “When the king wakes, they will give him the writing; and to the one whose statement the king and the three nobles of Persia judge to be wisest the victory shall be given according to what is written.” 10 The first wrote, “Wine is strongest.” 11 The second wrote, “The king is strongest.” 12 The third wrote, “Women are strongest, but above all things truth is victor.”

13 When the king awoke, they took the writing and gave it to him, and he read it. 14 Then he sent and summoned all the nobles of Persia and Media and the satraps and generals and governors and prefects, 15 and he took his seat in the council chamber, and the writing was read in their presence. 16 He said, “Call the young men, and they shall explain their statements.” So they were summoned, and came in. 17 They said to them, “Explain to us what you have written.”

In praise of the strength of wine

Then the first, who had spoken of the strength of wine, began and said: 18 “Gentlemen, how is wine the strongest? It leads astray the minds of all who drink it. 19 It makes equal the mind of the king and the orphan, of the slave and the free, of the poor and the rich. 20 It turns every thought to feasting and mirth, and forgets all sorrow and debt. 21 It makes all hearts feel rich, forgets kings and satraps, and makes everyone talk in millions. 22 When people drink they forget to be friendly with friends and kindred, and before long they draw their swords. 23 And when they recover from the wine, they do not remember what they have done. 24 Gentlemen, is not wine the strongest, since it forces people to do these things?” When he had said this, he stopped speaking.

[1 Esdras 4]
In praise of the strength of kings

1 Then the second, who had spoken of the strength of the king, began to speak: 2 “Gentlemen, are not men strongest, who rule over land and sea and all that is in them? 3 But the king is stronger; he is their lord and master, and whatever he says to them they obey. 4 If he tells them to make war on one another, they do it; and if he sends them out against the enemy, they go, and conquer mountains, walls, and towers. 5 They kill and are killed, and do not disobey the king’s command; if they win the victory, they bring everything to the king — whatever spoil they take and everything else. 6 Likewise those who do not serve in the army or make war but till the soil; whenever they sow and reap, they bring some to the king; and they compel one another to pay taxes to the king. 7 And yet he is only one man! If he tells them to kill, they kill; if he tells them to release, they release; 8 if he tells them to attack, they attack; if he tells them to lay waste, they lay waste; if he tells them to build, they build; 9 if he tells them to cut down, they cut down; if he tells them to plant, they plant. 10 All his people and his armies obey him. Furthermore, he reclines, he eats and drinks and sleeps, 11 but they keep watch around him, and no one may go away to attend to his own affairs, nor do they disobey him. 12 Gentlemen, why is not the king the strongest, since he is to be obeyed in this fashion?” And he stopped speaking.

In praise of the strength of women

13 Then the third, who had spoken of women and truth (and this was Zerubbabel), began to speak: 14 “Gentlemen, is not the king great, and are not men many, and is not wine strong? Who is it, then, that rules them, or has the mastery over them? Is it not women? 15 Women gave birth to the king and to every people that rules over sea and land. 16 From women they came; and women brought up the very men who plant the vineyards from which comes wine. 17 Women make men’s clothes; they bring men glory; men cannot exist without women. 18 If men gather gold and silver or any other beautiful thing, and then see a woman lovely in appearance and beauty, 19 they let all those things go, and gape at her, and with open mouths stare at her, and all prefer her to gold or silver or any other beautiful thing. 20 A man leaves his own father, who brought him up, and his own country, and clings to his wife. 21 With his wife he ends his days, with no thought of his father or his mother or his country. 22 Therefore you must realize that women rule over you!

“Do you not labor and toil, and bring everything and give it to women? 23 A man takes his sword, and goes out to travel and rob and steal and to sail the sea and rivers; 24 he faces lions, and he walks in darkness, and when he steals and robs and plunders, he brings it back to the woman he loves. 25 A man loves his wife more than his father or his mother. 26 Many men have lost their minds because of women, and have become slaves because of them. 27 Many have perished, or stumbled, or sinned because of women. 28 And now do you not believe me?

“Is not the king great in his power? Do not all lands fear to touch him? 29 Yet I have seen him with Apame, the king’s concubine, the daughter of the illustrious Bartacus; she would sit at the king’s right hand 30 and take the crown from the king’s head and put it on her own, and slap the king with her left hand. 31 At this the king would gaze at her with mouth agape. If she smiles at him, he laughs; if she loses her temper with him, he flatters her, so that she may be reconciled to him. 32 Gentlemen, why are not women strong, since they do such things?”

In praise of the strength of truth

33 Then the king and the nobles looked at one another; and he began to speak about truth: 34 “Gentlemen, are not women strong? The earth is vast, and heaven is high, and the sun is swift in its course, for it makes the circuit of the heavens and returns to its place in one day. 35 Is not the one who does these things great? But truth is great, and stronger than all things. 36 The whole earth calls upon truth, and heaven blesses it. All God’s works quake and tremble, and with him there is nothing unrighteous. 37 Wine is unrighteous, the king is unrighteous, women are unrighteous, all human beings are unrighteous, all their works are unrighteous, and all such things. There is no truth in them and in their unrighteousness they will perish. 38 But truth endures and is strong forever, and lives and prevails forever and ever. 39 With it there is no partiality or preference, but it does what is righteous instead of anything that is unrighteous or wicked. Everyone approves its deeds, 40 and there is nothing unrighteous in its judgment. To it belongs the strength and the kingship and the power and the majesty of all the ages. Blessed be the God of truth!” 41 When he stopped speaking, all the people shouted and said, “Great is truth, and strongest of all!”

1st Esdras 3-4 taken from the New Revised Standard Version

Grace based tipping?

This is an old post from my previous Xanga account (which at the time of this writing will be shutting down in a few weeks most likely.) It was brought to mind while listening to an episode of Freakonomics radio. (I am not endorsing Freakonomics, but the episode was interesting, and offers good tips for waitstaff who want better tips.)

Now, on to the retro post.

 

Tip jar

Dollarish featured a post about tipping. Tipping is something that always seems to get to me. So, I thought I would talk about it.

The post talked about reasons for leaving a poor tip: lousy service, expensive food, not having enough money, etc.

First, I’ll approach the second two, which are really the same issue. If you don’t have the money to pay for the food and for the service, then don’t eat out. If you feel the food is too expensive then eat somewhere that isn’t expensive. If you are shorting the waitress because you can’t afford the food, or because you decided the food is overpriced, then you’re making yourself look like a fool. It’s not her fault you can’t afford to, or are too cheap to eat there. Don’t punish them for your issues.

Now, in regards to the lousy service, I don’t tip based on service or at least not fully. God gives me grace not based on who I am or what I’ve done, but despite of both. I don’t deserve any of what He has done for me, and He has given to me generously. And I try to keep this in mind when tipping my waiter.I tip a waitress a minimum of $3, even if I only had a glass of tea and no food, it’s not her fault that I didn’t order a meal. I go with that minimum of $3, or if it is more expensive I tip a minimum of 20-25% of the total regardless of the service. If the waitress does a good job than I give more, but, never less.

Sadly, from my experience, most Christians tip very poorly, and tip based off of things either beyond the waiter’s control (You know Sunday lunch is incredibly busy in most places right?) or based on the waiter’s works. We are given grace despite of our works, we should treat the waitress with that same grace. If we choose to tip poorly it makes us look unloving and even cruel. We aren’t any better than the people who are waiting on us. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

How do you tip? What do you think about tipping based off of grace? If you have been a waiter/waitress, what impression do you get of a person based on their tips?

J. Gresham Machen on the Department of Education

I came across this on the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics website. (Reformed.org) It is a really good read regarding the federal department of education, which Dr. Machen opposed. He gives his reasons for opposing it, along with addressing questions from some of the politicians who were in favor of it. Had the government listened to Dr. Machen I think public schools, and this country as a whole, would be in much better shape today.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to read my short post from yesterday and download a free copy of Dr. Machen’s book “Christianity and Liberalism.”

Testimony before the House & Senate Committees on the Proposed Department of Education (1926)

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)


Dr. J. Gresham Machen
Dr. J. Gresham Machen

The following is a transcript of the proceedings of the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, and the House Committee on Education, February 25, 1926, Congress of the United States, Washington D.C. Continue reading J. Gresham Machen on the Department of Education

Christianity and Liberalism

Dr. J. Gresham Machen
Dr. J. Gresham Machen

Liberalism, in the sense of the liberal movement in the Christian church in the 1800s, which still continues today as can be seen herehere, and in the emergent movement, is a poison in the visible Christian church. I say the visible church, as there comes a point where liberals deny Christ, deny the Trinity, the resurrection, the virgin birth of Christ, the deity of Christ, deny penal substitutionary atonement, or deny something else that invalidates the Gospel in the minds of those who believe it, and as such can no longer be considered to be Christian at all.

It is a sickness, a cancer, that spreads, among some that would lead them to turn away from the truth about God’s word, denying its inerrancy, and eventually denying its power and truth. It is unfortunately, also fueled somewhat by the public school system.

In the early 1900s, John Gresham Machen, combated what was then modern liberalism, with his book “Christianity and Liberalism.” One of his points in that amazing book, which I will link to a free copy of at the bottom of this post, was that Liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all. Instead, it is a new religion that seeks to corrupt the Christian church.

While Machen didn’t put an end to it, he dealt a significant blow to it for quite some time. I think the two world wars, and the bloodiest century of all time, may have played a role in curbing it as well. It seems that liberalism isn’t compatible with the real world, or how broken and fallen the real world is. Unfortunately, in our time of mostly peace in the United States, at least as far as the average citizen observes, the cancer began to grow back, and we have the post modern emergents. It is nothing new, different faces for the same old heresies. Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Greg Boyd being among the leaders of the new post-modern liberals emergents.

What they all have in common starts with a denial of the truth of Scripture. It starts with denying things that “no one can really know for sure,” and “things that don’t really matter all that much,” and moves on to denying the deity of Christ, the reality of hell, and Jesus being the only way to God.

Like all heresies, they are defeated by generations that came before us, but they grow back with slight mutations and must be defeated again by another generation of Christians.

Thankfully, history, and God’s providence are on our side.

That book, Christianity and Liberalism, is as powerful and relevant today as it was in 1923 when it was first published. The book is no longer under copyright as the copyright has expired. So, please feel free to download a free copy today, and to distribute it as much as you are able to. Please, for your own benefit, and the benefit of the Christian church as a whole, read it. (epub | pdf)

To read the book, I suggest Aldiko, MoonReader, or Nook for Android. Calibre works for Windows. I know there are apps for iOS, but sadly, I don’t know which to recommend, maybe Nook app for it as well?


I originally posted this on my Xanga last year. Initially I wrote this as a response to the two posts linked to at the beginning. Today I was considering removing the links, but as they serve as an example of modern liberalism, I have decided to leave them in. I haven’t had dialog with the two men since that time and I don’t know where they stand today. If you feel lead, prayer for them is appreciated.