In the Borders

The Book of Mormon frequently uses the phrase “in the borders.” For example:

And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders…

Mormon 3:5

This phrase also appears frequently in the King James Version of the Bible. For example:

 And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,

Joshua 11.2

It is not a stretch to imagine someone appropriating this term from a frequent reading of the KJV.

LibreOffice and SkyDrive/Google Docs

I believe that there is an extension for LibreOffice Writer to allow integration with Google Docs. I need to try it again to see how well [or unwell] it works. What I would like to see in LibreOffice is the ability to save directly to SkyDrive, DropBox or Amazon’s Cloud Drive.

I know the chances of LibreOffice making some sort of lightweight, online editor in the cloud are remote (although they should seeing as Chromebooks and iPads may be the future), but extensions like I mention would help bridge the gap. While I’m at it, I wish LibreOffice allowed one to download only Writer or the other apps. I never use anything but Writer and don’t want all the other stuff.

Van Til and Plantiga

This is a helpful comparison of the two men and their philosophical approach. I wish it also discussed Wolterstorff. A highlight:

In a similar vein, both have argued that the Christian philosopher ought not to ply his trade from a position of pretended autonomy or neutrality, as if that were a prerequisite of participation in the broad philosophical community. On the contrary, Christian philosophy should be conducted (unashamedly) within the bounds of, and building upon, Christian doctrinal/doxastic commitments. On this point see Van Til, passim, and Plantinga, esp. ‘Advice to Christian Philosophers’.

Hugh Latimer Disputation

A few years ago I set about to modernize the language of this disputation, but alas, I didn’t get very far. Here is what I have to date:

The Disputation Had at Oxford, the 16th Day of April, 1554, Between Mr. Hugh Latimer, Answerer, and Mr. Smith and Others, Opposers.

The disputation began on Wednesday, the 18th of April, at 8 o’clock. It was in the same manner as before, but mostly in English. Mr. Latimer, the answerer, alleged that his Latin was out of use, and unfit for that place. Mr. Smith of Oriel College replied, Dr. Cartwright, Mr. Harpsfield and various others bit at him, and gave him bitter taunts. He didn’t escape hissings and scornful laughing any more than those who went before him. He was very faint and desired that he not stay long. He did not drink for fear of vomiting. The disputation ended before 11 o’clock.

Mr. Latimer was not made to read what he said he had painfully written, but it was exhibited up, and the prolocutor read part of it, and then proceeded to the disputation.

Weston’s preface to the disputation

“Men and brethren, we are come together this day, by the help of God, to vanquish the strength of the arguments and dispersed opinions of adversaries against the truth of the real presence of the Lord’s body in the sacrament. And therefore you, father, if you have any thing to answer, I do admonish that you answer in short and few words.”
Latimer: “I pray you, good master Prolocutor, do not exact that of me which is not in me. I have not these twenty years much used the Latin tongue.”
Weston: “Take your ease, father.”
Latimer: “I thank you sir, I am well. Let me here protest my faith, for I am not able to dispute; and afterwards do your pleasure with me.”

The Protest of Mr. Latimer

The conclusions that I must answer are these:
1. The fist is, that in the sacrament of the altar, by the virtue of God’s word pronounced by the priest, there is really and naturally the very body of Christ present, as it was conceived of the virgin Mary, under the kinds of bread and wine. And, in like manner, his blood [in the cup].
2. The second is, that after the consecration there remains no substance of bread and wine, or any other substance but the substance of God and man.
3. The third is, that in the mass there is the lively sacrifice of the church, which is propitiatory for the living and the dead.

To these I answer:

1. Concerning the first conclusion, I think it is set forth with certain new terms, lately found, that are obscure, and do not agree with the speech of the scripture. Nevertheless, however I understand it, thus do I answer, although not without the peril of my life. I say: there is no other presence of Christ required than a spiritual presence; and this presence is sufficient for a Christian man, as the presence by which we both abide in Christ, and Christ in us, to obtain eternal life, if we persevere in his true gospel. And the same presence may be called a real presence, because to the faithful believer there is the real, or spiritual body of Christ. I say this again, so that some sycophant or scorner supposes me, with the Anabaptist, to make nothing else of the sacrament but a bare and naked sign. As for what is pretended by many, I, for my part, take it for an invention of the Popes, and therefore I think it should be utterly rejected from among God’s children, that seek their Savior in faith and are taught among the fleshly Roman Catholics, that will be again under the yoke of antichrist.

2. Concerning the second conclusion, I say boldly that it has no support or ground from God’s holy word; but is a thing invented and found out by man, and therefore to be reputed and known as false; and, I would almost say is the mother and nurse of all other errors. It would be good for you my masters and lords, the transubstantiators, to take better heed to your doctrine, so that you do not conspire with the Nestorians. For the Nestorians deny that Christ had a natural body: and I cannot see how the Roman Catholics can avoid it, for they would contain the natural body which Christ had (sin excepted) against all truth, into a wafer cake.

3. The third conclusion, as I understand it, seems subtly to sow sedition against the offering which Christ himself offered for us in his own person, for all, never again to occur, according to the scriptures written in God’s book. In that book read the forceful and brief words of St. Paul in Hebrews 9 and 10, where he says that Christ himself made a perfect sacrifice for our sins, never again to be performed; and then ascended into heaven, and there sits a merciful intercessor between God’s justice and our sins; and there shall wait until these transubstantiators and all his other foes are made his footstool. This offering he freely made of himself, as it is written in John 10, he did not need any man to do it for him. I say nothing of the amazing presumptions of men, that dare attempt this thing without any manifest calling, especially that which intrudes to the overthrow and make fruitless (if not wholly, then partially) the cross of Christ. Therefore, a man can worthily say to my lords and master offerers, ‘By what authority do you do this? And who gave you this authority? When and where?’ St. John says, ‘A man cannot take any thing except it be given him from above,’ much less then may any man presume to usurp any honor before he is called to do it.

St. John also says, “If any man sin, we have,’ not a masser, nor an offerer upon earth who can sacrifice for us at mass; but ‘we have an Advocate with God the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one, who once offered himself for us long ago.” The efficacy and effect of that offering endures forever, so that it is needless to have such offerers. But if they had a nail driven though one of their ears every time they offer, as Christ had four driven through his hands and feet, they would soon stop offering. Yet, if their offering did not bring gains in addition, it would not be done so often. For they say, ‘No penny, no pater noster.” What does St. Paul mean when he says “They that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel?” He should rather have said, “The Lord has ordained that they that sacrifice at mass should live of the sacrificing.” But although the Holy Ghost appointed them no living for their saying mass in God’s book, yet they have appointed themselves a living in antichrist’s decrees. For I am sure that if God would have had a new kind of sacrificing priest at mass, then he or some of his apostles would have made some mention of it in their master, Christ’, will. But perhaps the secretaries were not the masser’s friends, or else they saw that it was a charge without profit.

 

Antithesis and Credenda

At the beginning of the 1990’s a magazine called Antithesis was published by Covenant Community Church of Orange County (OPC). It was only published for two years. The masthead included Douglas Jones as the Editor, with men like David Hagopian and Greg Bahnsen as Senior Editors. Bahnsen’s influence on the magazine was apparent as it featured presuppositional reasoning throughout its articles.Over the short period that it was in print, Douglas Wilson and Wesley Callihan from Moscow, ID, were added as Contributing Editors. The final issue was published in July/August of 1991. I am not sure how Wilson came to the attention of Jones at that early time.

Wilson started publishing Credenda/Agenda in 1989 with a series of short papers, which became the basis of the book “Easy Chairs, Hard Words.” By Volume 5, Number 1 of Credenda, Doug Jones was contributing to the magazine and was soon the Managing Editor. This was probably in about 1992-93. The format of Credenda then began to mirror what Antithesis had been to a large degree, with debates, cultural commentary and a Van Tillian emphasis. I would contend that Moscow thus inherited and reunified the streams of thought that had diverged in the 1980’s with the conflicts between Rushdoony, Bahnsen and the Jordan/North wing of theonomy. Moscow was influenced by all of those folks.

The Federal Souk

Tom Piatak writes something that I have been thinking for several years:

Forbeshas a list out this morning of America’s five richest counties. Unsurprisingly, four of the five are in the Washington, D.C., area. Washington’s prosperity is completely detached from the fortunes of the rest of the country, since Washington continues to suck in tax dollars even when other parts of America suffer or even decline economically. There is an unspoken bipartisan consensus to keep things this way, since those who make it to the Senate or the House now almost never return home, even if they are turned out of office by the voters. Instead, they stay in Washington and spend the rest of their lives as lobbyists.

The only sure sign of a reduction in the size and scope of the federal government will be an exodus out of the D.C. suburbs. I doubt, though, that we will ever see such a thing.

As a resident of Virginia, I can attest to the truth of this fact. The D.C. metro area is rich and gorges itself on the rest of the nation’s tax dollars, through both military and civilian expenditures. Our economy is far better than most of the rest of the nation. Our cost of living is also very high, it must be said, but still…

I don’t think people in other states realize how they are being ripped off to benefit this area, but voters are generally so apathetic that I guess it doesn’t matter. I would advocate moving the capitol to a new place, like the middle of Nebraska, but it would probably cost more in the long run than it would save.

A Chaos of Nothing

James Boswell wrote this in his journal on Monday, 22 October, 1781:

Walked to Craighouse and breakfasted with Lord Covington, whom I had not seen for many months. He was grown very dull of hearing, and gave me a discouraging view of life and old age and human existence. He said his memory was failed, and that the mind and body failed together; and he seemed to acquiesce in that dreary notion, without hope of restoration. And he said when one looked back on life, it was just a chaos of nothing.

 

The Synod of Carthage on Infant Baptism

Synod of Carthage (1 May 418):

“Anyone who denies that newborn infants are to be baptized or who says that they are baptized for the remission of sins but do not bear anything of original sin from Adam which is expiated by the washing of regeneration, so that as a consequence the form of baptism ‘for the remission of sins’ is understood to be not true but false in their case-let him be anathema.”

Fruits of the Sexual Revolution

I have been reading Updike again lately and the thing I get from him more than anything is that the sexual revolution changed everything. He thinks it is for the better, I think it was for the worse. That’s why this post at The Politics of the Cross Resurrected caught my eye. It says in part:

Of course sexual immorality was not invented in the 60s. What happened was that the promiscuity hitherto expressed mainly among the “upper” classes and the “intellectuals” was packaged for mass consumption, glorified, and sold to the middle and working classes as “liberation.”

In the 60s the theological liberalism of the mainline Protestant churches, which had hollowed out Christian belief for over half a century, began to have wider cultural consequences. If there is no God, or if God is a remote Deity who is uninvolved in this world, then I am “free” to act as I please. And what pleases me? Only those who had already discarded the venerable Christian doctrine of original sin could be surprised when the answer was: “Vice rather than virtue.”

The Spirit of 68 is the rejection of virtue and the embrace of vice in the name of human liberation. Naturally, one expression of this was sexual promiscuity. This has been the same pattern throughout human history; the throwing off of the restraints of morality and law was old hat to the writers of the New Testament. By Paul’s day it was an age old pattern of behavior repeated in empire after empire and occurring again in his own day in the Roman empire, as he makes clear in his letters to the Romans and to the Corinthians.

But when a post-Christian worldview, whether in a Darwinian, a Freudian or a Marxian form, began to be preached openly to the masses as a guide to everyday behavior, the main take-away was the mainstreaming of lust: “Lust is good, lust is fun!” Lust is of course expressed through our sexual organs, but not only in that way. The other main way it is expressed is through our acquisitive nature – the drive to acquire wealth or luxuries. Lust can be seen as much in our use of our credit cards as in our use of our sex organs. The inordinate desire for sexual pleasure is closely related to the inordinate desire for material luxuries and both represent an attempt to transgress the limits life places on our desires.

If this life is all there is, then we may as well grab for all we can get during the few years of our consciousness between birth and death. The post-Christian worldview restricts our vision to the here and now and the material world. It demeans all visions of eternity and scoffs at the idea of this world as a preparation for the next. It bids us focus on getting a bit more pleasure out of this life than we would be entitled to if we stuck by some absolute standard of morality. In fact, this becomes the standard of success; have we managed to outwit Fate to snatch a few, fleeting pleasures that don’t belong to us by right out of the pool before the lights go out?

So the lust for material possessions and luxuries causes us to reject the limitations of virtue and law and to strive to get as much as we can. In a curious moral inversion, the apologists for socialism have attempted to make this kind of greed into a flaw of capitalism, even though socialism is the ideology that encourages and legitimizes greed, envy and covetousness, whereas capitalism preaches hard work and refraining from coveting what is belongs to your neighbor.