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Archive for August, 2011


The Cessationist-Continuationist debate is not one I enter into often.  You can find far too many straw man arguments.  And personal attacks.  Cooler heads rarely prevail. It is not really a position you can “proof-text” and it polarizes people.

People often have a hard time distinguishing the ordinary from extraordinary.  This distinction is made in the Westminster Confession of Faith with regard to means God uses to bring someone to saving faith (XIV, 1).  For instance, should the ordinary means of hearing the gospel not be available, God may use extraordinary means to convert a person.  Those cases are rare, and are not to be expected by us.

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In my discussions with people who think the law has no place in the life of the Christian, one phrase often comes up- Christ is the end of the law.  I then try to put that phrase back into its proper context.  People would rather live with slogans than thinking about Scripture, and actually understanding the whole sentence.

3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10

Notice what is going on here.  Some people were ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God.  They used the law to establish their own righteousness as the basis of justification.  This, according to Paul, is utter foolishness.  Christ is the end of the law….

The Greek word is “telos”.  It, like the English word “end” can refer to termination, the last of a sequence and the aim or purpose of something.  In this passage, it does refer to “termination”.  The Law no longer provides righteousness for those who believe.  Christ provides it!

It goes too far to claim that this means the moral law has no purpose in the life of the Christian.  That is not what this text is saying.  That makes a phrase determinative despite the rest of the sentence.  It is bad theologizing!

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Soon this will make sense

Sometimes stuff just happens.  You forget things.  For instance, one of the joys of re-hydrating at a late dinner each night is that you wake up 3 times in the middle of the night.  I felt like a guy with prostate problems.  I forgot to share that special joy with the world.

I forgot to share some other things- my final thoughts.  But before I get there, there was an update.

I went to get my oil changed today.  I should have gotten it done last week, but life goes on.  The guys at Midas pulled me out to the garage to show me that the new tires I bought in Yuma were the wrong size.  The front tires were 215s, but these were 185s.  Glad to discover this.  The dealer had a franchise nearby, so that was my next step.  The invoice had the correct size tires listed, so I paid for the right ones.  But the guy who installed them pulled the wrong tires.  So tomorrow I go back tomorrow and have the right ones put on.  Yeah, they didn’t have the right size.  So, that was a little fun.  Not as much fun as getting up to pee 3 times a night, but fun none the less.

I had a few take aways for our slide show presentation at the church.

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Thankfully Out of Print

James Montgomery Boice has written a number of solid and edifying books.  I think it is safe to say that The Last and Future World is not one of them.  This 1974 book was his entry into the eschatalogical frenzy of the early 1970’s by those who tried to “read the times” and had suspect exegetical methods.  At some point James Montgomery Boice was an historical premillennialist.  I read the book hoping to better understand this (currently) obscure position.  The book reads rather like a Hal Lindsey book, or Billy Graham’s Approaching Hoof Beats.  That could be because he often quotes from and refers to Hal Lindsey.  Frankly I was shocked.  This book advocated the dispensational premillennial position, not the historic premillennial position.  Yes, there is a difference.

The Last and Future World is mis-titled.  It is about the end of this world, and never mentions the future (re)new(ed) heavens and earth that will come about at the cosmic renewal at Jesus’ return.    It puts for the view of a 2 stage return of Jesus- first for the church at the Rapture, and then to set up an earthly millennial kingdom which will see yet another rebellious and great battle.  Boice, and dispensationalists, because of their literalistic & chronological understanding of Revelation don’t see the book as recapitulating the same events from a different angle.  So, you have 3 great battles instead of 3 accounts of 1 great battle.  You end up with 7 judgments (with Christians experiencing at least 2 times before the judgment seat) instead of 1 time in which all people are standing before Christ.  His hermeneutic is flawed, and he rarely if ever examines different view points.  He assumes many things like an earthly millennium (there are brief, inaccurate descriptions of other views of the millennium), a future plan for Israel (distinct from the Gentiles) which is based on one word in Romans which could refer the manner or time of fulfillment.  He says that Paul stressed this, but only wrote of it in Romans 11:26-33.  That’s not a whole lot of emphasis.

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Technology is a funny thing.  It was a great week without much information technology.  I didn’t bring my laptop.  The Motel Continental did have an (intermittent) WI-FI zone in the restaurant.  But I enjoyed not having the computer.  I did have some DT’s about mid-week, and my fingers didn’t know what to do with themselves.  I only watched about 10 minutes of TV a day.  I only used my cell phone for about 10 minutes a day.  It was really nice, truth be told.  It was probably really good for me.

We Felt Like This

Saturday morning we were going to have breakfast an hour later than we had all week.  I woke up before CavNav’s phone alarm went off.  I worked on packing up a few things.  I didn’t want us to take half the morning getting ready.  The last thing I wanted was to sit in traffic crossing the border.  I was pretty much done when there was a knock on the door.  Apparently we were late for breakfast.  He set the alarm for the proper time, but apparently you have to set the day on his overly-smart phone.  No wake up call for us!

With my limited choices, for which I was endlessly ribbed at lunch today, I picked….. hot cakes.  We had a fairly subdued breakfast and started to disperse to put our bags in the van or car.  Though I was one of the last to eat, I ended up waiting on most of the team to load up. We handed in our keys and took off for the border.

The road to the crossing runs parallel to the road the hotel was on.  We caught up to the traffic and sat.  It is surreal.  You find vendors and beggars walking up and down the line. You can buy water, newspapers, food, porn and more.  Porn?  Really.  I grew up in a different generation where you didn’t sit in your car looking at porn.  We were in line for less than 30 minutes, I think.  Getting through the crossing was actually fairly simple.  All we bought were some t-shirts and stuff for my kids.  We weren’t chosen for a good inspection.

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“Do you like dahgs?” So the Piker asked Tommy when he went to buy a new mobile home for Turkish.

If you don’t like dogs, don’t go to Mexico.  They are everywhere.  It is difficult to tell if a dog is feral or not.  If they actually wear a collar, they probably belong to someone.  We saw one dog being walked on a leash.  Other than that the vast majority were wandering around loose.  Bob Barker needs to make a whole lot of public service announcements and pay for a wandering crew of veterinarians to fix all those dogs so they don’t make more dogs.  It has gotten to the point in America that it is rare to see and “intact” dog.  Looks nearly obscene though it was quite common when I was a kid.

For breakfast on our last day at work we had hot cakes.  We were all dragging.  I work behind a desk much of the time, so the physical work was exhausting (and the lack of sleep didn’t really help).  But all of us were feeling it.  We had to push through though.  We were in the 4th quarter and needed to finish strong.  Most of what we had to do was the dry wall near the ceiling.  Lots more measuring and cutting.

The BEAMM missionary we worked with was working on the budget.  We’d gone over on construction supplies, and our food budget.  But had saved lots of money on housing.  When he made the budget, it was based on the hotel they’d used in Mexicali.  It was $70/night.  The infamous Motel Continental was $45.  If we upgraded it would have been about $100.  Quite the difference.  So thanks to our time “living it up at the Motel Continental” we were actually under budget.  The question was what to do with the extra money.  We decided to buy them all they needed to install the ceiling, tape and mud the dry wall and do a few other necessary projects.  They don’t lack the will or the skill.  The problem has been lacking the resources.  It is a small church and the people don’t make much money.  One woman who worked at a tortilla factory made under $10/week.  They put their “widows’ mites” into the offering plate, but there is not enough to do projects like this. Hopefully this will help them grow spiritually and numerically so they will have more to help others in the future.

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I was exhausted when I woke up.  That was not really a surprise after tossing and turning half the night away.  In some ways the alarm on CavNav’s phone going off was a relief.  Our room was …. interesting.  I think I already mentioned the beds, and I’ll get to the TV later.  Due to the A/C it was always noisy which turns into a blessing when you have intestinal issues.  And everyone who travels to Mexico ends up with intestinal issues.  The carpet was a bright red, and littered with a plethora of stains whose origin I never want to know.  Sometimes it is just better no knowing, you know?  There was no meaningful dresser to put your clothes in- just one drawer on the unit that held our 19 inch, ancient TV.  So we lived out of suitcases.  My dirty clothes were piled behind my suitcase, longing for the day when CavWife would make them clean.

The sink area did not look exceptionally clean.  The sink itself had a big crack in it that had been sealed.  Down the street was a “store” called El Arabe, specializing in used goods.  I’m thinking the Motel Continental did lots of there shopping at El Arabe.  The hot water did not work.  The cold water was one of those abused faucets that didn’t really have an off.  You could keep turning it and it would go on again.  It was about getting the “right spot”.  The shower seriously needed to be redone.  I took no pleasure in showering in there.  At least it was big.  But knowing that the water itself was not particularly clean gave me no incentive to linger there.

I was so tired that breakfast was largely a blur.  At the work site we worked on putting up dry wall all morning.  I spent much of the time working with El Jefe Americano- our work foreman.  During my turn to pray, I was able to focus on some of my friends I know are in need of prayer.  I was eagerly anticipating our very special lunch.

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