Saturday, September 20, 2008

The modern Bible versions are judgment on the church

Dean John William Burgon, who wrote passionately against the Bible revision of 1881, is my hero these days. Reading his Revision Revised is balm -- because it is truth. I read a bit in it every day lately. A good man, a man writing for God's honor and the good of God's people. Naturally such a man will be slandered. Naturally the devil is going to target him. What's amazing is how well the attack has succeeded. The churches pay him no attention. If anyone has heard of him, what they've heard is some kind of slanderous hearsay, such as that he wrote a conspiracy theory. He wrote no conspiracy theory. He wrote a masterful denunciation of the work of Westcott and Hort.

This too must be God's judgment, that their work has survived and come to dominate the church over the entire world, while the work of Burgon is barely heard of and treated like trash.

Economic Judgment Against America continued

Hurricane Ike did to Galveston, Texas and other communities what at first it had looked like Gustav was going to do again to New Orleans. Not that Gustav didn't do its part in the onslaught of God's judgment against this nation that is only just beginning and that most are ignoring.

The economic fallout continues. Gas prices have mercifully dropped some recently, but food prices continue to rise and the housing crash continues. Now there's this $700 billion dollar bailout of bad mortgages.

If this isn't yet economic depression, depression must be very close.


Was just listening to the weekend edition of the Albert Mohler radio show on local Christian radio, which is a collection of different shows he's aired over the week. Today's included segments on Ray Boltz's homosexuality, the Anglican church's apology to Charles Darwin, and prejudice against large families, each of which was a topic on his radio list this week.

There was also a brief discussion on UFOs which a caller raised toward the end. If you want to listen to that segment, all I know is it's probably on one of those shows on the list for this last week. He doesn't seem to have discussed it on his blog at least not recently. So this is the best I can do for a reference to his opinions on the subject.

As to the topic itself, I don't know whether to be surprised or not that Dr. Mohler considers it only in terms of how it is presented in the mass media, that is, as showing the possibility of other life forms in the universe. The caller who had raised the topic was referring to the same network show I had also seen a few nights ago covering many sightings of UFOs and some of the UFO abduction claims over the last few decades. I was pretty bored with it because it presented only the usual ideas about "extraterrestrials" and their supposed "advanced technology," and I turned it off before the end.

Years ago I came to the conclusion that UFOs are demonic apparitions of some sort, which I thought was a fairly common idea among Christians, but maybe it's not. In the early 90s someone lent me a book about UFOs by Jacques Vallee, a well known investigator of such phenomena, who had come to the conclusion that they had more in common with nonphysical phenomena:

In the mid-1960s, like many other UFO researchers, Vallée initially attempted to validate the popular Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (or ETH). Leading UFO researcher Jerome Clark[4] argues that Vallée's first two UFO books were among the most scientifically sophisticated defenses of the ETH ever mounted.

However, by 1969, Vallée's conclusions had changed, and he publicly stated that the ETH was too narrow and ignored too much data. Vallée began exploring the commonalities between UFOs, cults, religious movements, angels, ghosts, cryptid sightings, and psychic phenomena. These links were first detailed in Vallee's third UFO book, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers.

As an alternative to the extraterrestrial visitation hypothesis, Vallée has suggested a multidimensional visitation hypothesis. This hypothesis represents an extension of the ETH where the alleged extraterrestrials could be potentially from anywhere. The entities could be multidimensional beyond space-time, and thus could coexist with humans, yet remain undetected.

Vallée's opposition to the popular ETH hypothesis was not well received by prominent U.S. ufologists, hence he was viewed as something of an outcast. Indeed, Vallée refers to himself as a "heretic among heretics".

Vallée's opposition to the ETH theory is summarised in his paper, "Five Arguments Against the Extraterrestrial Origin of Unidentified Flying Objects," Journal of Scientific Exploration, 1990:

Scientific opinion has generally followed public opinion in the belief that unidentified flying objects either do not exist (the "natural phenomena hypothesis") or, if they do, must represent evidence of a visitation by some advanced race of space travellers (the extraterrestrial hypothesis or "ETH"). It is the view of the author that research on UFOs need not be restricted to these two alternatives. On the contrary, the accumulated data base exhibits several patterns tending to indicate that UFOs are real, represent a previously unrecognized phenomenon, and that the facts do not support the common concept of "space visitors." Five specific arguments articulated here contradict the ETH:

1. unexplained close encounters are far more numerous than required for any physical survey of the earth;
2. the humanoid body structure of the alleged "aliens" is not likely to have originated on another planet and is not biologically adapted to space travel;
3. the reported behavior in thousands of abduction reports contradicts the hypothesis of genetic or scientific experimentation on humans by an advanced race;
4. the extension of the phenomenon throughout recorded human history demonstrates that UFOs are not a contemporary phenomenon; and
5. the apparent ability of UFOs to manipulate space and time suggests radically different and richer alternatives.
Although Vallee does not have a Biblical view of these things, his scientific approach identifies phenomena that fit very well with the interpretation that they are demonic in origin.

Most of the world apparently continues to believe the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (if they believe in UFOs at all of course).

There are now ministries that interpret UFOs as part of the great deception to come upon the earth in the very last days, to seduce humanity to follow the Antichrist.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

David Cloud's review of James White's The King James Only Bible Controversy

David Cloud has written a great deal on the Bible versions controversies, but I linked this one in the post below because it says what I've figured has to be the case for most Christians these days, how the new versions are supported by partisan bias in the absence of any real exposure to the other side of the argument. This is an important point in Dr. Cloud's review of James White's The King James Only Bible Controversy. I decided it needs to be showcased here so I copied out a few passages I particularly appreciate (my emphases in bolding and purple):

My first thought, as I looked through this book, was that this is a strange piece of writing. The world of Bible translation is becoming increasingly, bewilderingly perverse, yet James White aims his gun not at the Bible corrupters but at men who are attempting to defend God’s Word against the onslaught of end-times apostasy. Almost each passing year brings to light an English Bible version more corrupt than its predecessor. This is on the commercial side of Bible translations, yet the corruption is also evident in the field of professional missionary translation. The United Bible Societies, working hand in hand with the Roman Catholic Church, have almost completely given up on "formal equivalency" translation and have dedicated their vast resources to the production of paraphrase-type Bibles created with the presumptuous dynamic equivalency method of translation. The same is true for Wycliffe Bible Translators. White sounds no warning of these matters, though. His readers are given the impression that the onslaught of modernism in the field of Bible texts and translations is a matter of minor consequence compared to the great "error" of believing God has preserved His Word in the Received Text and in Received Text translations which have gone to the ends of the earth during the past five centuries of great missionary endeavor. . . .

Further, I did not read in White’s book long before I realized that it is misnamed. It should be titled The Ruckman-Riplinger Controversy, because White paints the entire movement in defense of the King James Bible with the brush of these two individuals.

White’s book appears, at first glance, to be an unemotional, objective, scholarly approach to the topic of Bible texts and versions. In reality, it is a slander upon defenders of the King James Bible and the Received Text underlying the KJV and other great Reformation Bibles. He implies throughout that every KJV defender is either a raving lunatic or an ignorant extremist. He ignores or passes over slightly, even flippantly, the great issues of the KJV defense, focusing, instead, upon indefensible representations.

The King James Only Controversy is straw man, smokescreen apologetics at its best. This is serious, because many men who read White’s book will become severely biased against "King James Onlyism" and, as a consequence, will never make the effort to read for themselves the many important materials written in defense of the Received Text and the KJV. It reminds us of a statement made by Dr. Alfred Martin, former vice president of Moody Bible Institute, in his doctoral thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1951:

"In spite of the notable work of Burgon, Hoskier, and others who supported them, the opponents of the Westcott-Hort theory have never had the hearing which they deserve. How many present-day students of the Greek New Testament ever heard of the two men just mentioned, and how many ever saw a copy of The Revision Revised or Codex B and Its Allies, to say nothing of actually reading these works? ... THE PRESENT GENERATION OF BIBLE STUDENTS, HAVING BEEN REARED ON WESTCOTT AND HORT, HAVE FOR THE MOST PART ACCEPTED THE THEORY WITHOUT INDEPENDENT OR CRITICAL EXAMINATION. To the average student of the Greek New Testament today it is unthinkable to question the theory at least in its basic premises. Even to imply that one believes the Textus Receptus to be nearer the original text than the Westcott-Hort text is, lays one open to the suspicion of gross ignorance or unmitigated bigotry. That is why this controversy needs to be aired again among Bible-believing Christians. There is little hope of convincing those who are unbelieving textual critics, but IF BELIEVING BIBLE STUDENTS HAD THE EVIDENCE OF BOTH SIDES PUT BEFORE THEM, INSTEAD OF ONE SIDE ONLY, THERE WOULD NOT BE SO MUCH BLIND FOLLOWING OF WESTCOTT AND HORT" (Alfred Martin, A Critical Examination of the Westcott-Hort Textual Theory, Th.D. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, May 1951, pp. 4,46,47).

This was the condition that Alfred Martin witnessed in Christian education in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It is much worse today. The reason why most students at colleges and seminaries are not presented with both sides of the Bible text-translation issue is because of men like James White, who do everything in their power to make the defenders of the Received Text and the King James Bible look like fools. I believe these men have a lot to answer for before God.

Let me say at the outset that I am convinced that James White’s book on Bible versions is a dangerous book. This is because it is dead wrong and it is leading men and women away from the preserved Word of God, yet it is very popular. It is hastening a process that is destroying absolute truth in churches.

Yes, this is what I've come to believe about the overall state of things, and it confirms that the seminaries don't teach the other side at all, which I supposed must be the case some posts ago, when I so strongly wished that they would all carefully read Burgon, because it seems to me if they did they'd have to overthrow, or at the very least begin to question, assumptions that have been passed down uncriticized for a century by now. Too many have not read Dean Burgon but know whatever they know only by hearsay.

Since they don't read the other side, they treat critics like James White as The Authority and anyone who questions them is impatiently brushed off. White mentions Burgon once in his entire book, only to point out that he seemed to have supported the idea of a revision, but Burgon's work as a whole is a masterful dismantling of the whole Westcott-Hort undertaking, from their Greek text to their abuse of the English translation to Hort's "theory" which according to Burgon is nothing but a purely imaginative construct without the slightest relation to reality.

I haven't read further in Dr. Cloud's review yet. My own take on James White's book, from my position of less certainty about these questions, was a constant irritability. His approach is patronizing. He talks down to the reader. His avuncular air leaves no room for the slightest objection to anything he says. He occasionally stops to psychoanalyze what he projects to be the mental set of those who disagree with him, which is pretty silly psychobabble ("We" think this or that etc). As Dr. Cloud points out, most of his argument is aimed against the intemperate methods of Gail Riplinger and Peter Ruckman, which is a huge waste of time for someone who recognizes the error in their attitude and wants to get to the substance of the topic. When he does deal with the relevant material he is always begging the question. Instead of attempting to prove that the Westcott and Hort manuscripts are superior, he assumes it and explains things based on that assumption. I know I need to provide examples but I think I'll just say this much to this point.

Just a thought about fasting

Sometimes it is thought of as a "work" or as legalism. I suppose it can be that, but in my experience, or at least my intention, it's more like a practical aid to prayer and spiritual openness to hearing from the Lord.

How high the mental barrier sealing off the modern Bible versions from effective criticism

I did lose my momentum on the Bible versions topic, but I may take it up again soon. I've read more in Dean Burgon's Revision Revised as well as James White's The King James Only Controversy, plus some in Thomas Holland's Crowned with Glory and Edward F. Hills' The King James Version Defended.

I recently got an email notice from a local church that a well-known textual critic was to give a seminar in my area on the reliability of the transmission of the Bible, hyped in glowing terms as a fantastic opportunity not to be missed. Of course I really wanted to say something. But wasn't sure I should. I wrote a reply and put it aside. Then looked at it again and rewrote it. And finally sent it as a Reply to the notice. I wrote:

It sounds like he isn't going to discuss the difference between the Greek texts that underlie all the modern Bible versions and those that underlie the King James (and a very few others), or if he mentions the difference will simply give the usual apologetic for the Alexandrian/Sinaiticus/Vaticanus/Westcott and Hort/Nestle-Aland group of texts. This textual tradition was soundly denounced as corrupt by some of the best scholars (Burgon, Scrivener) of the time of Westcott and Hort, yet seminaries today treat them as superior. It seems to me it would be more valuable to have a debate between the Textus-Receptus defenders (not KJV defenders though) and the defenders of the W&H texts and their offshoots.

I did pray about it too. I did get a brief answer from a pastor:

. . . forwarded your email to me and I need to say, as one who has studied textual traditions, transmissions and criticism for years, that you are profoundly mistaken about the TR.

Burgon's conspiracy theory didn't prove anything, and in fact proved too little. Scrivener agreed with some of Burgon's textual arguments, but did not agree with his conspiracy theory.

The Byzantine text form, which underlies the Textus Receptus (the TR only represents a few Byz MSS) has a few modern defenders, such as Maurice Robinson. The only advocates of the TR are usually KJV only folks. The Byz priority has some good arguments, but it also some major weaknesses.

The bottom line is that the textual differences between an eclectic text (NA or UBS) and the TR is less than 5%. Neither text is "superior" in defending the deity of Christ or any other Christian doctrine. They simply represent two different textual traditions, which vary slightly. Many have made comparisons on such supposed differences and there is no substance to the arugment. (As a side note, I am constantly comparing the Byz text with the NA 27th as I read, and the differences are truly miniscule and virtually predictable.)

My caution to you would be against imbibing the conspiracy theories which are unfounded. If a person wants to argue for Byz priority, that is fine. But those who demonize Westcott and Hort and other textual critics who have given their lives to labor in the Greek New Testament, are unecessarily divisive, unkind and untrue.

Funny, I didn't say anything about the TR, so how could I be so clearly "profoundly mistaken" about it? I guess he's saying there's no defense possible for it so the idea of a debate is ridiculous? I did say the texts underlying the modern versions were denounced as corrupt by some trustworthy critics, and that happens to be a fact.

I also had said nothing to indicate that I share in any conspiracy theories. I did write back, mostly to say that I find no conspiracy theory in Burgon.

I wonder where he gets that idea, or if he has Burgon confused with someone else. Burgon was not KJV-only in the sense that more recent writers are, some of the most extreme of whom do get into conspiracy thinking. As I read him, Burgon conceded a need for some revision of both the TR and the KJV, which sets him apart from recent KJV-onlies, but besides that, rather than accusing Westcott and Hort of evil motives he accused them of stupidity and "schoolboy" level Greek and extremely bad judgment.

Wish I'd included some links in my answer. So much good material out there. Here's a link to David Cloud's answer to James White for instance.

Abstinence-Only "Sex Education"

Let's get something clear. The policy of teaching Abstinence-Only in Sex Education classes is NOT ABOUT PREVENTING PREGNANCIES.

It's a MORAL position. It's the RIGHT position. Hopefully it MIGHT prevent fornication by declaring it wrong, but if it doesn't it doesn't, at least the principle is out there as the standard to be honored. The point is that it's the RIGHT ATTITUDE toward premarital sex.

If you dispense condoms you are teaching that premarital sex is OK. "They're going to do it anyway" is stupid. They are less likely to do it if they are clearly and convincingly taught that it is morally wrong, but focusing exclusively on what they do and on the practical consequences of doing it, misses the point that it's the moral principle that matters, is the reason we on the Right promote Abstinence-Only.

People may sin all they want on their own conscience -- it's better for their moral and spiritual health if they don't, of course, and this should be vigorously taught as part of the program -- but the nation as a whole, AS a nation, MUST have right standards or the whole country is going down the drain.

Pregnancy is the problem from the point of view of the Left, not the Right. How did we let the Atheist and Leftist camps define this?

(Reminds me I'll probably get back to making some comments on the evolution-creation debate eventually too).

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Biblical moral issues in the Palin candidacy

Dr. Albert Mohler has been addressing some of the problems that have been raised about Sarah Palin's nomination for Vice President in relation to what the Bible says or doesn't say about women's roles in the world and in the church.

I've wondered about this question too. I thought there was a Biblical guideline for women's leadership in the world, however, at least a hint of one, and one which is not very positive, where it says something about women leaders being a curse by God on a nation. Of course Dr. Mohler would probably know off the top of his head if there is such a direct statement in the Bible, but I was unable to find it if there is. I did find this, however: Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.

As a positive model there was Deborah in the time of the Judges, however, who seems to have arisen in a period of weak men. Otherwise the only women I recall the Bible describing as leaders were Athaliah in Judah and in an indirect way Jezebel in Israel. Not happy examples, either of them, and it does keep the question alive in my mind. Perhaps because Israel is in a sense a type of the church I shouldn't be looking there for examples of national leadership anyway.

One way I've resolved it in my own mind is on the Deborah model, that female leadership is not God's best for a nation, but that a woman could in some times be a better leader than a man, especially in this fallen world. Male leadership in the world is also not answerable to the Christian pattern, and we shouldn't make our standard applicable only to women. As Dr. Mohler says, the first Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher are both good examples of strong women leaders who were good for their nation.

Many of us think this could very well come to describe Sarah Palin. I know that NOBODY could have inspired the conservative Republican base as she has done. I think of her as God's gift to us right now, even answer to prayer for the revival of this nation. She is immensely talented and more completely representative of the conservative position than any political officeholder has been in years.

She is still a young woman with the responsibilities of family, but from my own research on her I have no doubt she can handle both family and the responsibility of office -- she's been doing so for years now and she has plenty of family help with it as well.

I have not completely resolved these questions, but I do think of her as a God-given exception, not a model for what women should aspire to in general.

I do, however, think it was not a good move for her to say only positive supportive things and ask for privacy in the situation of the revelation of her daughter's pregnancy. It's an understandable reaction but not a good move. As a Christian and a supporter of abstinence-only she should not leave any impression of condoning premarital sex at all. Some acknowledgment of the sin involved is required of her in her position and I think she should still find a way to make this acknowledgment.

9/16: (Heard Dr. Mohler on this subject this past weekend, and he apparently doesn't think she should do anything more than she did. I don't know. Perhaps in such a personal situation, one can't.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blog Title Changed

OK, I changed the title of this blog just now. I wasn't sticking to the kind of material that would have justified calling it World's End Blog or anything similar. The material is becoming eclectic. Now I'll feel freer to talk about whatever is on my mind.

I once had another blog with the title Faith's Corner, but it was focused on the creation-evolution debate and I finally gave it up. Since it was on another provider site I was able to use the same name here.

Discovered a vast graveyard of abandoned Blogs out there.

I finally realized that I can't just turn off my thoughts about the political situation and especially Sarah Palin's sudden and very welcome appearance on the scene, so I decided to put up a new blog to focus on that for a while. I decided I wanted to focus especially on prayer for her and her family and McCain and family as well because the left has been just unbelievably vicious lately. I may link to it from here when I have it set up.

In seeking a new URL (internet address) for the blog, I discovered that most of the terms I thought of have already been used. Normally I just keep looking until I hit on one that's free but this time I decided to seek out those blogs with those addresses, figuring they might be bloggers I'd want to get to know.

What I found out is that of eleven I checked, only ONE is currently functioning. All the others were started a few years ago and abandoned after only a few posts, in some cases no posts at all. These are all URLs using the word "prayer" or some Biblical phrase, and two of them were started by pastors. Does this mean that the vast majority of blogs at Blogger and Wordpress are defunct, that the ones that are alive and well are the minority? Or is it something peculiar to the Biblical and Christian blogs that they are started and abandoned more frequently than others?

It was interesting to discover so many abandoned blogs because I too had started a couple of blogs a few years ago that I had abandoned. One of them I abandoned only because I had a computer disaster that disabled my internet connection and couldn't access the blog after that. Couldn't even contact Blogger to explain the problem because they required my old email address in order to contact them, which I no longer had. So I dropped that blog altogether after a couple of posts. It's still accessible for viewing but not for managing and editing. Believe me, I tried everything to get to it and get help from Blogger. It's a difficult situation to explain and it would take a very long post to try so I'm not going to say more.

But the other blog just died because I wasn't inspired enough to keep it up. I have to suppose that is the case with the majority of others' abandoned blogs. I had been writing prolifically online for years at various message boards so thought a blog would come naturally, but had to face that at least at that time I needed the stimulation of others' views to inspire me. With my current blog I thought that might also be the case but I'm treating it more as a personal diary and don't run out of things to say for that reason.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Conservative politics; Women in politics

I don't want my blog to become a political blog, but some attention has to be paid to developments in this election campaign because they are so unusual and unexpected. Sarah Palin is about as unexpected as you can get, a strong self-possessed articulate likeable woman, a REAL Christian who obeys the Lord -- instead of the usual Christian-in-name-only -- with all the right conservative ideals and political savvy to boot. Conservatives are amazed at this gift to their cause out of the blue. A friend believes she is answer to prayer. This may be. I posted a while back on the weekly prayer for revival in the nation various evangelical groups have been engaged in, that's planned to go at least through the election and perhaps through Christmas. I wouldn't discount the idea that God has heard and provided help for the conservative cause.

Why would He hear particularly for the cause of just one political party? Well, it does seem to me that the cause is a good cause and the prayers are for the increase of the good in it. The focus is on returning America to its pre-Marxist condition, to homely values and strengths, as opposed to the sin-promoting values of the other party, abortion in particular, gay marriage in particular, and above all socialism, which is a form of theft and bondage, stealing from some of the people to provide for others and taking personal choice and responsibility out of our hands.

Oh it's not that the Republican party is so pure, by a long shot. Plenty of Republicans rationalize murder of the unborn, and gay marriage too, and even support some socialist causes, just fewer of them than in the other party. There's also sometimes a macho tone to the Republican party and conservatives in general, that emphasizes, perhaps overemphasizes, armed defense of the nation and a sort of chest-thumping vengeance against the nation's enemies. Since American causes generally really are good causes, to help and defend others, and not the theft of foreign land or national power over others, we can support a strong military readiness up to a point, but I've heard a little too much "nuke 'em" from the Right as the solution to everything. I suppose it's an understandable natural reaction when the country has been attacked, but even then it certainly can't be the shout of a Christian. We aren't to have natural reactions, we're to learn the power of spiritual actions in obedience to Christ that contradict our natural impulses. Die to self, hate your own life, turn the other cheek, resist not evil, remember? Vengeance is the Lord's, not ours.

A Christian has to remember that our enemies are human beings who need the gospel of Christ above all, and sometimes that is hard to reconcile with any armed defense for any reason. We should even consider whether Jesus is really for the life of a soldier among His own. It can be argued both ways, and I've usually argued in favor of the soldier, but in the last year or so have been seeing more of a conflict with the Kingdom of God in any armed defense.

We take it for granted these days that there is no conflict, and American soldiers are often true Christians. Emails go around all the time showing them in prayer and there's no doubt in my mind it's all quite genuine. The question is exactly where and how to apply Jesus' commands to turn the other cheek and not resist evil. Surely they are not addressed to nations; Jesus didn't talk to nations, who are part of the fallen world. He talked to individuals, those who seek to obey Him. It's individuals who serve as soldiers, and if they are living for Christ how can they kill anyone?

It's not that we simply don't kill, but we have different weapons against our enemies, AND we are to understand who our enemies are in a different way than the world does. The weapons of our warfare are not physical but spiritual. We fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in heavenly places. And in His strength we DO win our battles. Enemies convert into friends or are rendered unable to fight.

Anyway, it's something I've been thinking about for some time. There is a caricature of the argument against war that is sheer foolishness, it seems to me, that comes from the left: that the nation should simply abandon all military attempts to bring justice to foreign situations because it's inherently unjust or none of our business and so on. It certainly IS our business if foreign powers hate us and are gaining the means to do us harm, apart from the fact that our motives really ARE good motives. Beyond that, unbelievers have nothing with which to fight EXCEPT physical means, so to pull back leaves the nation completely vulnerable to enemies. But Christians do have other weapons. If we are living by His Spirit, we can count on protection from God.

In any case it appears to me that there's no doubt that there are more true Christians on the conservative side of the political arguments because there are more issues a Christian can support on the conservative side. Certainly not all, and I strongly considered not voting at all this time until Sarah Palin came along.

So maybe Sarah Palin is answer to prayer. She certainly strengthens the Republican ticket, to put it mildly.

But I've also been thinking about the rightness of a woman in office in general, and in specific the rightness of a woman in office with young children. Of course she's been in the Governor's office in Alaska for a couple of years and before that the Mayor's office in a small town in Alaska. I don't think we have a clear picture exactly how that was worked out, except that her husband took a year off to help.

How different will the Vice Presidency be? The campaign is sure to be intense and time-consuming but that's only for two months. Seems to me I remember seeing something she said a while back when she was one of many being considered for the office, that she wasn't sure the Vice Presidency would give her enough work to do and she needs to have plenty to do. That may mean she can handle a lot of work on top of dealing with family life or it may mean that she is sacrificing her family. It's probably both to some extent and I'm not clear what proportion of both it may be.

One answer I have to my own questions is that Sarah Palin is unique. She's simply the best out there right now. We don't have to judge all family situations by hers, and what she has done for the conservative cause in a few short days simply by her speech-making ability and attractive presence and ability to connect with people is truly phenomenal.

The Bible shows that, although women have the ability to rule, God put men in that role, yet it also shows that sometimes He puts women in that role nevertheless. When the men aren't rising to the occasion. When the prophets were weak in Israel, there would be a woman prophet. When the kings were weak, there would be a strong woman ruling -- for good or ill.

Beyond that there is the practical matter of a woman's having the job of taking care of children. It's not that men can't do it, it's that women were given that role, and in most situations in history the men are needed elsewhere. How can anyone argue with this? Yet we have lots of women in office today. This is supposed to be "progress" for the nation. It's certainly a victory for feminism. But unfortunately it's no doubt also a sign of the general weakening of the nation that women are taking those roles. Certainly the righteous alternative is NOT the macho attitude that is so likely to surface in reaction against such a situation. It was the macho attitude in the first place that provoked women into the feminist reaction. Victory over THAT is fine with me, but in a perfect world there would not be such conflict and such extremes on either side of it.

P.S. I checked Dr. Laura's site today, not having followed her for a few years now, just wanting to see what she had to say about Sarah Palin, and found her denouncing her as a mother of five children for taking on such a demanding job. I've often found Dr. Laura's opinions congenial with my own, and I agree with her general concern in this case too, but only her GENERAL concern. I think she errs in not seeing the uniqueness of this situation, the uniqueness of the need for a powerful boost to the conservative cause and the lack of anyone else who could have done what Sarah Palin has done, the uniqueness of Sarah Palin herself, perhaps even the uniqueness of her family situation in which the children have many caretakers and will most likely be a great deal with their mother in this endeavor anyway. And Sarah herself isn't going to be completely swallowed up by the kind of job the Vice Presidency is.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin needs a LOT of prayer

Here's a video of Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, visiting the Assembly of God church in Wasilla, Alaska, that she grew up in. It must be recent because she says her son Track is soon to go to Iraq, and that's scheduled for September 11, as of today just a week away. She sounds very young here (Lots of "cool" and "you guys"), not quite the same persona we've seen at the Republican Convention, but not inconsistent with it either I hasten to add. Her Christian commitment is made very clear in any case.

It's of the utmost importance that Christians pray for her protection. She's already under attack and it's not going to let up. There is at least one website calling for increased security for her because she's such a threat to the leftist establishment, and that's good but of course the attack she has been going through is fundamentally spiritual. It has reached a pitch even unusual for the left, and it's easy to suspect that it could inspire someone to try to kill her. This is clearly demonic, this is spiritual warfare. Besides praying for her protection, and her family's protection, and McCain's too, we should pray that God would restrain her enemies, interfere with their plans and so on.

And thank Him for letting us have her. We don't deserve this good woman in our political life, but God has had mercy on us in giving her to us.

Sept 5: Friend Z, who has a very popular conservative political blog, has posted a Psalm for Sarah today, as a great example of how to pray for her.
Sarah Palin's speech:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Loose ends, hurricanes, politics, Bible versions

Well, New Orleans wasn't God's target this time after all. I do wonder however if prayer might have deflected it because if you look at a map of Gustav's track you can see that it made a little jog to the West just as it passed that city as if intentionally keeping some distance from it. Certainly there was a lot of prayer out there.

Then there's the scandal about Sarah Palin's daughter that just reared its ugly head. Obama is right, the families of politicians should be out of bounds for news hounds, it's nobody's business but the family's, but that isn't going to happen in our news-mad age. Of course the sexual acting out of a child of a Christian does disappoint, but more disappointing was the response of her parents. I personally think some disappointment on their part should have been expressed in some quiet way -- Palin is good with the words, I'm sure she could have found the right ones --along with the family support for the daughter in spite of it of course. But all we got was the support part, and the support was overboard in my opinion. Could have done without the enthusiasm, the "beautiful daughter" part and how proud they are of her and the grandchild to come. Seems to me that just feeds the liberal position that there's nothing wrong with sex outside marriage. No disappointment, no sanctions, no consequences, except of course she'll have to grow up sooner than anticipated etc. Weak. Too bad.

I'm stalled on the Bible versions topic, don't know for how long, got into a debate on another board, this time with a new versions defender for a change instead of a King-James-Only defender. Unfortunately made me appreciate just how dug in people are in the new versions. Then talked to a friend who trusts in her Revised Standard Version and thinks it's particularly trustworthy because whenever the pastor gives the translation of a passage that he says is the best rendering of the Greek, it's the same one she has in her RSV. Of course he's consulting with the same texts her Bible is based on but I thought better of trying to explain that. Encountering such entrenched belief in people I know to be truly Christians makes my effort on the subject seem a lost cause. I don't think I'll give up but I'll probably take a breather.

Got back into some good recent teachings by Zac Poonen in the meantime -- always inspiring, and I need spiritual bolstering after getting too involved in intellectual debate. (go to "Sermons").

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mullings on God's will in hurricanes and politics

I just keep thinking about it. It makes me very sad. The God, THE God, the God of all things, the one and only, the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the God who made the world and everything in it, God who deserves the worship of every one of His creatures, God who puts up with those who hate Him, who is even good to those who hate Him, God who hears the prayers of those who acknowledge Him, is forgotten and ignored in our sophisticated time. He is also ignored by those who seek Him where He has not put His name, in the false religions. He has only put His name on His word, and on the people of the Bible. Then there are people who claim to be Christians who aren't. Then there are the Christians, those who do belong to Him, who nevertheless don't live up to our calling, who don't seek Him as we should, who don't obey Him as He has clearly told us to in His word, who remain stupid in the face of acts of God when of all people we should know what is going on because of all people we should know HIM.
So this hurricane comes and maybe we'll hear a call to pray, but when do we hear a call to humble ourselves and repent in sackcloth and ashes for the sins that have deserved the hurricane? The sins of the CHURCH, mind you, even before the sins of the nation: we're to turn from OUR wicked ways it says in 2 Chron 7:14.

So the twin towers of New York are demolished and people say "God bless America" but very very few would admit that it was God's doing. Of course it was the doing of Muslim jihadists, but isn't God in charge of the actions of Muslim jihadists as well as everyone else? They are merely instruments in God's hands, just as the Assyrians and the Babylonians and other great empires were God's instruments of judgment against God's own people as reported in the Old Testament.

I heard I think four sermons that acknowledged that 9/11 was God's judgment, only because local Christian radio sought them out and played them as a series well after the event, and I doubt there were many more than that across the nation. Everybody else was saying God wouldn't do such a thing, or if He did there is no way to know why, and so on. But what a myopic view of it, what a shame if such things are said by people who call themselves Christians. Of course we can't know why in the case of individuals, the persons who died in such catastrophes, that's only for God to know -- He takes the unrighteous AND the righteous according to His own timetable. In the case of the attack on the World Trade Center He showed more mercy than judgment -- there were so few who died compared to the numbers that could have been killed, and there were many miracle rescue stories, all heartening signs of His mercy in judgment. But if we know the Bible at all we ought to be able to surmise that God is saying something to the nation as a whole in such a disaster. But it seems we don't. The church is backslidden, out of touch with God. The church needs to repent.

So we're sitting and watching for Gustav to hit. I for one am not going to pray that God will deflect the hurricane. He's not going to let many be killed, there's been time for a massive evacuation, but a nation that doesn't give God the glory, that doesn't recognize its own sins, that doesn't repent and seek His face, doesn't deserve to be spared His judgments. Elijah prayed for famine on Israel because they had left their God for the pagan demon god Baal. America has done the same. I wonder if anything will turn us back? How hard does God have to hit us? Or will we just continue to say it's only Nature, just a matter for government and human ingenuity to deal with?