samedi, novembre 29, 2003

Last night I stayed up very late to watch the extended version of The Two Towers, which is the second instalment of Lord of the Rings. WOW…

Today will be a slow day. I will be home preparing for Sunday school; I’m giving MK a break. He’s has been doing a series on Church history and I have filled in several time already. Last week we looked at “Christianity and the American War for Independence” and tomorrow we will look at religious and secular movements in early 19th century America. (I know what you’re thinking; you wish you could be there. Oh well.)

I am still in the recovery mode from my surgery. I feel good, and I am now allowed to drive, but I’m not able to return to work. My brother told me that he would be happy to put me on a deer stand and do all the physical work if we go hunting together. I hope to be able to do that soon.

Coram Deo,
Ps. You do know that LSU kicked some Hog butt yesterday!!!

jeudi, novembre 27, 2003

Today was a nice Thanksgiving. We took our Seafood (crab and shrimp) gumbo and rice to the home of Lisa’s sister where we celebrated and feasted with my wife’s family for a number of hours. Lisa has five siblings and we all have more than the average number of children so it is always quite a gathering when we get together.

After a wonderful time with Lisa’s family we drove thirty miles north to my parent house and enjoyed a good visit with much of my family, where we enjoyed more visiting and feasting.

God has greatly blessed us all in so many ways. Since coming home we've had a leisurely evening. I poured myself two fingers worth of Jim Beam Black and have been relaxing.

Last night I finished reading the first book in the Harry Potter series. After reading it I thought about all the evangelical hoopla about it. I remember reading about its evils, well let me say that if this book is to be condemned as evil than we must also (to be consistent) condemn Bewitched, I Dream of Genie, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia, etc…

It is a cute book about very obvious make-believe and the Evangelicals that made such a big deal of it could not have bothered to have actually read it. IMHO many Christians looked and were foolish for making such a mountain out of an obvious molehill. There are many real battles that need to be fought, but this was not one of those battles. I plan to read it a loud to my little boys.

Now that I've finished that bit of fiction, it’s time to get back to some more serious reading. I will mention those that I think are worth it when I finish them.

The only things I have planned for tomorrow is taking a scheduled family portrait at Sears and then the LSU vs. Arkansas game. Geaux Tigers!!!

I am hopefull that I will be able to watch the game with my best buddy MK (Seep). MK is an MD and will be on call tomorrow, so I will have to consume his share of the wine, beer, bourbon or Scotch which we (I) will have for the game. :-)

I praise the LORD my God for all his many blessings.

Coram Deo,
Ps. We had to take a raincheck on the Blue Moon, but I hope to go soon.

mercredi, novembre 26, 2003

I made it to the doctor on Monday. He said everything was looking good thus for. I asked him about going to work and he asked were I worked and if my job required strenuous activity. I informed him that the potential for strenuous work always existed with my job. With that he told me that he would see me again on the 22 Dec.

That means I get to grow my beard for another month. It also means that money is going to be tight for Christmas, but my wife has already bought our children’s gifts so they will not have to do without.

Today I will be helping my wife get things ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Since we are Cajuns, Lisa is making a seafood gumbo for Thanksgiving Dinner. The shrimp and crabs are thawing out in the sink. I'll help by cleaning the shrimp. For y’all who prefer traditional turkey don’t worry, we will be eating with Lisa’s family and turkey will be available as well.

I was hoping to go to Lafayette this evening. It is our friends David (pronounced Dah-veed) and Jon-Ella's anniversary. We were going to meet them at the Blue Moon and listen to some live Cajun Music, but I am not certain we can make it because of all that we need to do for Thanksgiving.

I do hate to miss tonight because I have not seen David and Jon-Ella for some time and because there are some fine musicians playing tonight at the Blue Moon.

Now onto my current reading list. My daughter has talked me into reading the first Harry Potter book. I have been wanting to read it anyway because there was so much hoopla over it (pro and con). I don’t read much fiction and I have been putting this book off for some time. I want to judge it first hand so I am finally taking the plunge. I hope to knock it out pretty quickly. I am also reading John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. This work will be an ongoing project that I don’t plan to finish anytime soon, because it is a massive undertaking (at least for me) and not light reading.

Coram Deo,

samedi, novembre 22, 2003

My two younger sons and I played Frisbee in the front yard for a while this morning. I mostly just stood there and they ran after the Frisbee. We had a good time.

My Seep buddy called because his blog site we had built was messed up and he was having no luck trying to fix it. I agreed to go over to his place and check it out, and then watch the LSU vs. Ole Miss football game. Well the blog site is now fixed and, though we were scared several times, LSU did manage to pull out a victory over Eli Manning and Ole Miss.

Mike was, as always, very kind. He showed me a copy of Keith A. Mathison’s book The Shape of Sola Scriptura . I’ve read Mathison’s Given For You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper and it is awesome, so I have been really wanting to get the Sola Scriptura book.

Well, MK (Seep) saw me drooling all over his copy of The Shape of Sola Scriptura and insisted I take it. Of course I gave a halfhearted attempt to decline his offer, but luckily for me he won and so I now have his copy. I am excited about it and can’t wait to read it. I have a couple of other books going right now so it will be a little while before I can get to it. I believe this to be an important subject.

McNeese (football) game is now playing on the Radio, but I also promised my younger boys that I would watch Ice Age with them, so I will just have to check out the final score in the McNeese game. Gotta go watch the movie.

Coram Deo,

jeudi, novembre 20, 2003

Today is a beautiful day here in SW Louisiana. The sky is clear and the temperature outside is still below 70 deg. Lisa and I went for a nice stroll around the neighbourhood. She has watched me closely, not allowing me to do to much, or anything that I am not supposed to do.

As I write this I am listening to the new CD by the Lost Bayou Ramblers titled Pilette Breakdown. It's a very fine work that is true to an older traditional Cajun Sound. I remember as a child listening to my (now 83 year old) Pawpaw and the band he was in playing this same sound in the mid-sixties. I have always loved this music and my Cajun culture.

It saddens me to think that I am living at the end of it all. If I live a normal life, I will see the death of the Cajun language and culture that I love so much. As I child the old people on both mom and dad's side of the family spoke only French. English for those like my grandfather was a second language with which they were not very comfortable. My own parents grew up knowing French, but were sent to public schools where the use of their native French was outlawed and they were humiliated and punished for using, what for many, like my mom, was the only language they knew.

As a kid it seemed all the adults around us spoke French, but they did this with one another and not with the children. They did not want us children suffer the humiliation that they had endured. We did have some French influence; for example, when I was a child I had no uncles or aunts. Instead we grew up calling our uncles by the French "nunc" and our aunts were called "taunt." There were lots of french nicknames and french terms and phrases that we grewup with. For example my dad always told us to close the door in French. "Fermez la porte" he would say, but we were not taught our native language.

Today I can understand a fair amount of Cajun French, but the old Cajun accent, like that of my grandfather, is rapidly shrinking and passing from the seen. My great grandfather Willis LaFleur differentiated between "les Cadiens" and les Américains. Today the Americans (les Américains) have engulfed the Cajun culture and brought it to the point of extinction.

Tommy Michot wrote a song (La valse de la mèche perdue) about the destruction of the marshes in South Louisiana. After singing about the rapidly disappearing marshes he asks "Combien des années avant (que) notre culture suivra les mèches"In English "How many years before our culture will follow the marsh?" I fear and am saddened to think that it will not be long.

Coram Deo,

lundi, novembre 17, 2003

I’m up and walking about these days and recovering nicely (just in case some of you are interested).

I have another book I want to comment on, and this one I also very highly recommend. It is written by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse and is titled Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate. InterVarsity Press publishes it.

This book is a must read for pastors, Christian counselors and all wish to be up to speed on what science really knows about the reasons some men and women are gay and lesbian and how such information is used by those who wish to move the church away from the traditional (biblical) ethical standards on this issue.

I’m reading articles as well but I have not read any that I want to comment on.

I did miss a chance to see Rev. James Jordan who was at Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Sulphur, La. this weekend. He was speaking on worship and I would like to have been able to hear what he had to say.

Coram Deo,

Ps. You can find the book here:

jeudi, novembre 13, 2003

I'm recuperating nicely from my hernia surgery. I've given up on the painkillers they gave me, because they caused me to sleep too much and then when I wake up I'm nauseated. So they will wind up thrown in the trash.

Because I quit the painkillers, I was able to finish a book today. The book is titled The Christians as the Romans Saw Them by Robert Louis Wilken. It was interesting.Wilken is partial to the arguments of the Roman and Greek pagans, as He readily admits. He says that he wanted to "present them sympathetically within the framework of the ideas that existed before the emergence of Christianity," and he does. It is clear that Wilken has bought into modern higher and form criticisms of liberal theology.

Yet the book is worth the effort.Wilken enlightens you to many of the views, prejudices and cultural concerns of the pagan intellectuals as they confronted the early Christians. I would give it 2½ stars.

Tonight I am watching, with my son, The Princess Bride (on DVD), one of the best comedies ever made (IMHO). While doing this, I am enjoying a glass of Merlot from a batch of wine that I made.

Coram Deo,

Alabama, Federal Judges and the Ten Commandments

Can Alabama legally and constitutionally place a monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the state Supreme Court building or is it a violation of the 1st Amendment?

This is an important question and if you will bear with me I would like to give a somewhat detailed answer, but before the details let me first give a short and to the point answer. That answer is a resounding YES!! It is their right as sovereign state to do so.

Now for the details: When Alabama joined the Union in 1819 she did so as a free and sovereign state. With all the rights and privileges of every other state. In 1819 New Hampshire, on its own accord, decided to disestablish the congregational church, which had been the established church there since before the War for Independence. It is important to note that New Hampshire and a number of other states had official state churches when they joined the new Union by ratification of the Constitution. They also had a state church when they voted for the Bill of Rights, which includes the 1st Amendment. New Hampshire, as well as every other state, saw no contradiction between an established church and the 1st Amendment. The reason is for this, when properly understood in context, is there is none.

The 1st Amendment was written to restrain the federal government from entering into the realm of church/state issues, because this was considered to be a state and not a federal matter. A number of the original States still had official state churches when they ratified both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some of the established churches were Anglican and some were Congregational. Other states had recently disestablished their state churches because of the pressure from non-established sects, especially the Presbyterians and the small but growing number of Baptists.

It was an accepted idea that this issue was a state issue and that if the new federal government tried to interfere in this area the Union would not and could not have been established. The Bill of Rights was written to restrain the FEDERAL government. The states were sovereign and had their own constitutions and they were often overtly Christian. Let’s look at a few of them here:

DELAWARE 1897: Through Divine goodness, all men have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences…

GEORGIA 1887: To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we, the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

MASSACHUSETTS 1780: We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit and solemn compact with each other; and for forming a new Constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain, and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Now let’s look at the MassachusettsDeclaration of Rights” established that same year.

III. As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused throughout a community but by the institution of public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this Commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily....

And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the Commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; And no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

I should note at this point that Massachusetts maintained an established Church until the 1830’s when it voluntarily disestablished the Congregational Church from being the state church.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 1784: Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason, morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection; and the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through society by the institutions of the public worship of the Deity…

Vermont joined the Union soon after ratification and this is from her constitutions preamble:

VERMONT 1793: That all men have a natural and unalienable right, to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God: and that no man ought to or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience, nor can any man be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments, or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship. Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath or Lord’s day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God.

It becomes clear as you read the history of the States that they saw themselves as Christian Commonwealths. And these states created the federal Union and they barred the federal government from establishing one Christian sect as an official federal church.

The Bible is often quoted on both state and federal buildings and monuments alike. The same men who gave us the Constitution and Bill of Rights also established Christian chaplains for the Congress and Senate. They established chaplains for the military as well. It is obvious that, while the 1st Amendment clearly barred the federal government from having and established church it did not and was not intended to be used as a means to strip the Christian faith out of public square as federal judges have been doing for more then fifty years.

This was not always the case. There was a time when the judges (state and federal) understood that the states and the United States were all Christian in origin and in fact. Let’s look at some decisions from that time before judicial dementia set in on the question of Church and State.

Let’s look first at an 1824 case from Pennsylvania. In the case of “Updegraph v. Commonwealth” we read the following in the Judges decision:

We will first dispose of what is considered the grand objection--the constitutionality of Christianity--for in effect that is the question.

Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; Christianity, without the spiritual artillery of European countries; for this Christianity was one of the considerations of the royal charter, and the very basis of its great founder, William Penn; not Christianity founded on any particular religious tenets; not Christianity with an established church, and tithes, and spiritual courts; but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men

In the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Davis v. Beason (1890), which is dealing with polygamy, we read:

Probably never before in the history of this country has it been seriously contended that the whole punitive power of the government for acts, recognized by the general consent of the Christian world in modern times as proper matters for prohibitory legislation, must be suspended in order that the tenets of a religious sect encouraging crime may be carried out without hindrance.

It is clear that the Justice writing the decision includes the United States as part of the “Christian world in modern times.” But the Supreme Court was much more specific in the case of Holy Trinity Church v. U.S. (1892). Here Justice David Brewer, after a fine survey of America’s Christian origins and foundations then writes:

There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. Comm., 11 Serg. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that, "Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; * * * not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men." And in People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290, 294, 295, Chancellor KENT, the great commentator on American law, speaking as chief justice of the supreme court of New York, said: "The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of those doctrines in not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order. * * * The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious [143 U.S. 457, 471] subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community is an abuse of that right. Nor are we bound by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors." And in the famous case of Vidal v. Girard's Ex'rs, 2 How. 127, 198, this court, while sustaining the will of Mr. Girard, with its provisions for the creation of a college into which no minister should be permitted to enter, observed: "it is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is a part of the common law of Pennsylvania."

If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life, as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs, and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, "In the name of God, amen;" the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation…

This is barely the tip of the iceberg on the matter. The case is overwhelmingly in favour of those that proclaim the Christian origins, foundation and character of American culture and law. It is the courts and liberal lackeys that have worked most diligently to cause modern Americans to forget the Christian foundations of this land.

The courts have used a distorted and contorted view of the 1st Amendment tied with the 14th Amendment (which is another story) as the means to de-Christianise this land. They are sorely wrong and the State of Alabama could, constitutionally speaking, if it so desired, make the Southern Baptist Church or any other, the State church tomorrow and the federal government should not have a word to say about it, because it has no authority to do so.

Coram Deo,

lundi, novembre 10, 2003

It is 4:30 AM and my alarm should go off soon. I'm scheduled for hernia surgery this morning and so I awoke before my alarm. This is a simple procedure and only day surgery.

I do understand that I will be quite sore and I'm not to lift anything for about six weeks. I hope to catch up on some reading and even finish all the books that I currently have started.

I read incessantly, but with the internet at hand I read fewer books than I used to. I read good stuff on the net, but I need to get back to more good books.

Keep Lisa (my wife) in prayer. She is going to have to take care of me and I am a wimp when in pain (even just a little pain). While I’m convalescing my Doctor (Seep) will help with the pain by bringing over (now and then) some good wine and Scotch. This will be provided for medicinal purposes only, and as a good doctor he will take the prescribed medicine with me to be sure it is working correctly.

Keep us in your prayers!!!

Coram Deo,

dimanche, novembre 09, 2003

Covenant privilege

Children born to Christian parents are born to great privilege. This was true of Israelites in the Old Covenant and it is true of Christians in the New Covenant.

Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome writes “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Romans 3:1-4).

The Bible doesn’t speak only of heaven. In the Scriptures Heaven and earth are, important. Who, what, how, when, and where we are born and live are important to us and impact eternity. We are not philosophical Gnostics who see the world of spirit as good, and this physical world as evil. God created both. He said of all His creation it is “very good.” Yes, the creation is fallen and marred by sin. But man alone, in the physical creation, is a moral creature. God’s creation is still a wonder and bears witness that He is creator.

If one is born in the covenant (i.e. to Christian parents), he is born into great advantage. An Israelite was at birth a part of the people of God. He is warned time and again not to take this outward benefit for granted and assume that he had a ticket to heaven. This is because he had to have true faith, as did his father Abraham. An Israelite was born into a privileged position, because he was born among God’s people who had God’s Word and were the only people in all the earth that worshipped the true God.

That is sure a benefit in this life, if it is used properly and not misused, and perverted. If the individual misuses the privilege that he receives by birth, and is condemned for it, that does not take away from the fact that he was still born into an advantaged situation.

This is what Paul is speaking of in the verses quoted above. Covenant (Christian) children today have greater benefits than that of the ancient Israelites. They are far better off than are the children born in Arabia, where the Bible and the Christian faith are outlawed. Does this fortunate birth guarantee heaven? No. The covenant child, like the ancient Israelite, must have true faith in Jesus Christ. If he denies Christ then this very benefit will be a witness against him on the day of Judgement.

Does that last fact mean that the person born in a Christian home was not born in an advantageous place and time? No; he was born in a privileged position and he is responsible for that.

With this in mind, look at all the warnings that some of our brethren use to prove that salvation can be lost. Those verses, I believe, only make sense covenantally. Can you loose salvation? No, but you can be a covenant member and go straight to hell. That is why covenant people are told to workout your salvation with fear and trembling. That is why James could write to his fellow Christians (whom he called “the twelve tribes”) and say the things he does. This is why John could write to the churches and say “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1John 2:3,4). John tells Christians how they can objectively examine their lives to know that they are truly saved.

There are thirty some odd verses used to prove salvation can be lost. I believe all of those verses are rightly understood only from a covenant perspective, because, as in the Old, you can be a covenant member, born to privilege and loose your soul, if you don’t make your salvation sure through repentance, faith and new obedience to Jesus Christ.

All my children were baptised as infants. Every time I have prayed with them I pray “remember your baptism, because you are marked as belonging to the Lord,” and I inform them that they must make their salvation sure and not take it for granted.

Question: Does the fact that some people born in the privileged position by being covenant children, but don't take advantage of their position by believing on Christ mean that their position was not really an advantageous one?
Answer: No; their position was one of great privilege and benefit (in this world), but if they deny Christ this very privilege will bring them greater condemnation. The Scripture make this point in both the Old and New Testaments.

I know that is an alien concept to many of my “credo-baptistism only" brethren, but it is, I believe, very biblical. (credo= believer)

In Christ,

samedi, novembre 08, 2003


This is my first blog on blogger. I don't know how much I will do here but I think I will like blogging. I already write a lot of useless things and send them to family and friends. Blogging is the next natural step.