Archive - November, 2008

Gay Marriage and the California Courts

William McGurn is Vice President at News Corporation who writes speeches for CEO Rupert Murdoch. Previously he served as Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, McGurn expresses concern for the judicial system seeking to interrupt or bypass democratically selected standards on morally disputed matters, such as the decision of the California Supreme Court to review the legality of Proposition 8.

“The great achievement of our system was to create a political order where these great moral disputes, as a matter of policy, are left to the people — with allowance for differences according to region and locale. Moral agents have a role to play, generally by shaping the larger culture in which these decisions are framed and debated. But the outcome is left to the people acting through their elected representatives, a process that inevitably involves compromise, trade-offs and messy accommodations.”

He describes three negative consequences of such judicial intervention:
1. The judges act as dishonest referees, imposing one set of preferences over another.
2. They cheat the American people of an honest political contest, where candidates need to persuade the people of their views to put them into effect. [Example supplied: Obama and Biden publicly are “against” gay marriage (a politically safe choice, for now, in most parts of America), yet never receive the ire of pro-gay political organizations. Why not? These organizations trust that Obama/Biden will appoint activist judges through whom a pro-gay agenda can advance.]
3. When courts usurp the role of the people, they inject cynicism and bitterness into America’s body politic.
Read the whole thing.

Blacklisting of Yes on Proposition 8 People

Dr. Albert Mohler suggests that the blacklisting and persecution of Yes on Prop 8 individuals and organizations is a sign of things to come:

The response of Hollywood is the temptation to blacklist anyone who supported Proposition 8 and to eliminate or marginalize their influence in liberal Hollywood. This response deserves a close look, for it almost surely represents the shape of the future when it comes to the issue of gay marriage.
For some time now, many legal scholars and observers have warned that the issue of same-sex marriage represents one of the most coercive dynamics in our culture. Where same-sex marriage is legal, the coercive effect is to punish anyone who will not recognize, endorse, or celebrate same-sex marriages. As groups like the Becket Fund have warned, churches and religious institutions are very vulnerable in this respect.

The LA Times weighed in yesterday on the internal debate within pro-gay circles regarding blacklisting.

Fireproof Sizzles

My wife and I saw Fireproof this last weekend and found it to be simply outstanding. There are plenty of reasons why the movie is performing so well at the box office, in spite of precious little being spent on advertisement. The acting, plot, scripting, and just about everything was done very, very well.
Check out the story. And this trailer:

Christopher Hitchens – Doug Wilson Debate Video

Tullian Tchividjian:

On October 30, 2008, Scott Oliphant (Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary) hosted a lively, almost two-hour debate between atheist Christopher Hitchens (author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) and Christian Douglas Wilson (author of Letter from a Christian Citizen) on the existence of God. The entire video is available for free viewing online.

Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

Governor Mitt Romney in today’s New York Times:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

Read the whole thing. Romney’s advice sounds like a balanced, judicious approach as opposed to what seems like a knee-jerk reaction on the part of Obama and his allies.

Is Barack Obama a Christian?

Joe Carter helpfully breaks down a fascinating interview that Cathleen Falsani (a religion reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times) had with the President-Elect back on March 27, 2004, immediately after Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat (he would go on to defeat Alan Keyes). Carter notes:

If you tell me that you’re a “Christian” I take that to mean that you subscribe to a common set of doctrines outlined in either the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed. Both of these creeds are ecumenical Christian statements of faith accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and almost all branches of Protestantism. They outline what it means to be a “mere” Christian. Included within these creeds is the belief that Jesus is the “Son of God”, that Christ is a divine being. From this interview it does not appear that Obama believes this is true.

Check out the full text of the interview.
(HT: JT)

Together For The Gospel Live Album

T4G_Live.php.JPGSovereign Grace Music will soon have a Together For the Gospel Live album. It is available now for pre-order, and one can listen to ~30 second samples of all of the songs. Speaking of which, check out the Together For The Gospel 2008 slideshow, which is set to the tune and lyrics of How sweet and Awful is the Place.

Amend ETS – On Wednesday Not Thursday

Denny Burk has an important correction to the previously provided information.

Ted Stevens Loses Alaska Senate Bid

AP News:

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history, narrowly lost his re-election bid Tuesday, marking the downfall of a Washington political power and Alaska icon who couldn’t survive a conviction on federal corruption charges. His defeat to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich moves Senate Democrats closer to a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.

Read the whole thing. The Democrats now have 58 Senators, and would reach 60 if they can knock off Norm Coleman in Minnesota and Saxby Chambliss in Georgia. Chamberliss will face off with Democratic candidate Jim Martin in a special election on December 2. Meanwhile, a hand count of the 2.9 million ballots in the fiercely contested Coleman-Franken Senate race in Minnesota begins tomorrow, and should be finished in about a month, the Minnesota Star-Tribute reports. Republican Sen. Norm Coleman leads by 215 votes.
(HT: Daniel L. Patterson)

Concise Reformed Dogmatics – Book Sale

Concise Reformed Dogmatics.jpgThe Westminster bookstore is currently offering this long-awaited, almost 1000 page resource at 40% off — this is a special introductory price available for one week only (through November 24). In what has been regarded by some as “the most exciting and important Dutch Reformed resource to come into English translation since Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics“, Professors J. van Genderen and W. H. Velema, both of Theological University of the Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands in Apeldoorn, give a full treatment of topics such as revelation, God, the decree of God, creation, providence, man as God’s image, sin, Christ the mediator, the covenant of grace, salvation, the church, the means of grace, and eschatology. It sounds like the authors also wrestle with contemporary theological issues. Those with a high regard for the theological tradition of John Calvin and Herman Bavinck will particularly welcome this new work.

Some Endorsements:

“When an 800 page book has “Concise” in its title, we expect a different perspective. Indeed, this book comes from the Netherlands, the land of Kuyper and Bavinck, where three- and four-volume theology texts are the rule. Indeed, Concise Reformed Dogmatics is immersed in the theological traditions and dialogues of continental Europe, though its main allegiance is to the Scriptures by which, the authors say, all dogmas must be tested. English speaking Christians should be better acquainted with the perspective of our European brothers. In this book we will get that broader picture, while being reminded that good, solid Reformed theology can be found in many locations. So the book edifies in both its similarities and its differences from the way we formulate doctrine.”
– Dr. John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
“At a time when there seems to be renewed interest in the Reformation and, specifically, the Reformed stream, this concise theology is a wellspring of the best that our confession has to offer in the desert of American religion. This is a treasure to be read again and again, making the heart leap for joy!”
– Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary, California
“For all but a few English speakers, insight into the world of contemporary confessional Dutch Reformed theology is limited to occasional glimpses. This translation opens a helpful, orthodox, window on discussions in the Netherlands and beyond and is a welcome contribution to the renaissance of Reformed dogmatics in our time.”
– R. Scott Clark, Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Seminary, California
“In the context of postmodernism’s challenge, this ‘Dogmatics’ connects us with historic Christian doctrine. As a ‘Reformed’ dogmatics, this summary of classic Calvinism is textured with biblical richness and confessional fidelity. But equally important is the word ‘Concise,’ for this promises us the kind of accessibility and utility so difficult to package with responsible scholarship. The authors, translators, and publisher have served our generation well!”
– Nelson D. Kloosterman

“This translation is a most welcome example of contemporary conservative dogmatic theology in our post-conservative age.”
– Derek W. H. Thomas
“Biblically based, confessionally rooted, and committed to the best of the Reformed tradition, notably Calvin and Bavinck. The authors are conversant with twentieth-century figures from Barth to Pannenberg. They explore a wide range of Dutch theologians. And they engage critical exegesis of Scripture, intellectual movements such a verificationism in philosophy, and social trends such as feminism. The church’s mission and pastoral practice are never out of view. Even those who might disagree here and there with a detail will be well rewarded by this thorough and thoughtful work.”
– John Bolt

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