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6.28.2012

Biblical framing categories

[From an email.]

I have a direction with the Bible. This word 'framing' is my focus. Finding biblical framing categories. Isolating them. Then framing the heart and mind and disposition to them. Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State is a wealthy source for them. They tend to be deeper, more embedded, motifs. The kind of things that can be expressed by a single verse here, and then a single verse far away in another book. Obviously doctrinal, but things that go from merely propositional to experiential when used as framing material. I also saw the à Brakel (Christian's Reasonable Service) as providing such material as well. The Boston book is a good source because of its unique structure and the completeness that structure (the entire history of redemption with its emphasis on a saturated and thorough biblical anthropology) supports.

Another thing about these framing categories is when you go into them their depth is such you don't know beforehand what you will find. It solves for me where to go with Scripture once having the whole and the parts in relation to the whole of the Bible and doctrine and practice.

You used the word cells in a music context; I used motifs. These words get at framing categories in the text.

6.22.2012

Wilhelmus à Brakel on Christians being prophets, priests, and kings, and also on the fear of God

Here in the first volume of a Wilhelmus à Brakel's The Christian's Reasonable Service:

http://biblicalspirituality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/reasonableservicevol1-indexed.pdf

are the page numbers (the actual page numbers on the printed document) where he talks about how Christians are to emulate Jesus as prophets, priests, and kings. It's a good reference to have:

Page 529 for prophet.

Page 559 for priest.

Page 571 for king.

Because modern theologians don't talk about this subject, and not at length anyway. Not that I can recall. You can get so much more from the older theologians.

For links to all four volumes of The Christian's Reasonable Service go here to the English translator's own website where he's made the entire work available for free:

http://www.abrakel.com/p/christians-reasonable-service.html

Also, a good section is where he is talking about the fear of God. It's in the third volume:

http://biblicalspirituality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/reasonableservicevol3-indexed.pdf

starting on page 291. In this chapter he also talks of the fear of man as you read through it:

"The third sin committed against the fear of God is to fear man — a sin to which the godly are still vulnerable."

This is the main thing to know about the fear of God. When you fear God alone you cease to fear man. God doesn't want you fearing man. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom because we then don't allow the fear of man to impede us or dissuade us or control us. We fear God alone. This of course (it needs to be said) will put us in some conflict with the world, because the world *demands* that we fear man. In various ways and to greater or lesser degree the world demands this. Our fallen nature also desires more to fear and revere man rather than fearing and revering God.

All of this comes with the responsibility of knowing the living language of Scripture; knowing on-the-mark biblical doctrine; and knowing and doing the practice of the faith in real time; and building ourselves up in the faith, having the full armor of God.

6.20.2012

Something about atheists in Human Nature in its Fourfold State

Thomas Boston in Human Nature in its Fourfold State points out part of Satan's gospel is 'Ye shall not surely die." Which is part of what he said to Eve. And Boston goes on to say that unbelievers actually believe that. Or act as if they believe it. And not only will they not thirst in hell but will experience drunkenness. That's what they believe.

This made me think of one of the main things atheists do: they accuse believers of being afraid of death. They - the atheist - embrace the fact that they will die and go into 'nothingness' or annihilation. Supposedly they embrace this. We Christians, on the other hand, are too afraid to face this reality. Hence, we make up fairy tales, etc.

I've found that, though, whenever I engage atheists my best move is to say, "You guys don't really think you will go into nothingness when you die." And I press them on this, and I've always been a bit surprised to see how easily they admit that they really don't believe this but believe in some sort of reincarnation. Even the famous atheist Sam Harris says he's a Buddhist and believes in some kind of reincarnation.

So atheists are being dishonest when they say they embrace the fact of death and nothingness. They actually believe the devil's gospel that they surely will not die.

Christians know they will die, but that death has been defeated. Actually, to be honest, Christians have a sort of normal take on death. It's a mystery, it happens, it can be unpleasant, but everybody has gone there before everybody else, i.e. Christians aren't blustering or bluffing, nor are Christians buying the devil's line that we won't die. We are sort of leaning on the words of God regarding it all. In faith. For some a weak faith, for others a strong faith, yet faith nonetheless.

6.16.2012

A realization about clerics and how some of them read the Bible

When I quoted this biblical verse in a recent post:

Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

I wasn't sure if I remembered it exactly, but I did, but as I looked it up I read a bit of the text around that verse, and I realized something about clerics (pastors, ministers, priests, etc.). Many of them consider verses such as the above to be addressed solely to clerics, and not to all Christians.

Their notion of reading everything in context often narrows the biblical message, or pinches it, so much that they begin to see clerics as a sort of 'chosen few' and so-called 'lay people' as their passive, dumb sheep who couldn't get into heaven without the cleric's efforts on their behalf.

See how easy a diversion, or detour it is to getting on the road to Rome?

This is why the Reformation era doctrine of the priesthood of all believers is so important. This is why knowing the fact that all Christians are prophets, priests, and kings is so important. The Bible speaks to all Christians in verses such as Matthew 10:16.

6.15.2012

Five interesting words

Here are five interesting words I've emailed about before:

Fix, frame, set, constant, plain.

Or, fixed, framed, set, constant, plain (or plainness).

Fix - To rest; to settle or remain permanently; to cease from wandering.

Frame - To regulate; to adjust; to shape; to conform; as, to frame our lives according to the rules of the gospel. Or to frame our heart or mind by categories of Scripture.

Set - To fix; to establish; to ordain. To set right, to correct; to put in order. To put or place in its proper or natural posture. To return to its proper place or state; to replace; to reduce from dislocated or fractured state; as, to set a bone or a leg. To be set on the straight and narrow way.

Constant - Fixed; firm; opposed to fluid. Certain; steady; firmly adherent; as a man constant to his purpose, or to his duties.

Plain (or Plainness) - Want of ornament; want of artificial show. Clearness; openness; sincerity. Levelness; evenness or surface. It also has a sense of being complete in a modest, or simple, or perhaps self-contained way, though connected to God for life source. Like a cosmos with a boundary with no breaches in it.

Fix and set are similar, yet you can see a difference. Set might have an element of motion to it. Set on a right path.

The definitions are from Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary.

I haven't done a KJV search, though that would be interesting. OK, I'll do a quick search

For fix there is none, but there are four references to fixed. Three relevant, all in Psalms, refering to 'my heart is fixed.'

For frame there are five references, most relevant: Hos 5:4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.

For set there are too many references, almost 700, but here is a good one: Psa 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

For constant there is one reference: 1Ch 28:7 Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.

For plain there are over 70 references, here's a good one: 2Co 3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

All these words are from the language of building. Even plain has overtones of what a plane is, i.e. the tool.

I see the words as useful for the language of biblical development, or sanctification, or the level where you have reached terminal understanding and you are practicing the faith in a real way.


Practical knowledge of features - such as lying

I'm not picking on anybody in this post who knows me by my writings or who has had exchanges with me. I'm just making a general statement. Extra-biblical teachings. I get hammered by the usual suspects who think everything is evil that isn't a Reformed confession or the Bible itself. Obviously this is a shallow stance (and pious, and, in fact, man fearing).

Let's take one big subject: features. Features of our fallen nature, and features of a regenerated and restored to an unburied, undistorted image of God nature.

You're just screwing around as a Christian if you stay ignorant of these basic features. If you allow them to stay in the dark they maintain their control over you by default. Systematic theology doesn't go into such things. You can't find a mainstream Christian work that will get down to the practical level and identify and describe these features for you.

You can find extra-biblical sources that will do it though.

How does the Holy Spirit teach? Only via the actual word of God? Then throw out your commentaries and systematic theologies! Right? Right.

The Holy Spirit teaches through general revelation as well as special revelation; and through languages contained in disciplines that are extra-biblical like science, and visual art, and philosophy, and imaginative literature, and history, and music, and any other influence He chooses to teach through. Because it's not special revelation it will be mixtures of wheat and chaff, but that is why the Holy Spirit gives us by degree the ability to discern wheat from chaff. I say 'by degree' because progressive sanctification is a work in progress. We're not made perfect and complete by fiat.

So back to features. What is a basic feature of our fallen nature? How about lying? Yes, that's a basic one. But what do you really know about lying? If all you know is the moralistic stance that lying is not good then you don't know much. The feature called 'lying' has control of you because you don't know it, haven't observed it in yourself, haven't shined light on it, don't know how big or multifarious it is as a phenomenon. And you can't observe it in yourself if you don't have a language to identify it.

Here are some different categories of lying:

1. "No, I didn't get into Dad's favorite cookies." Yet you did, therefore you just told a lie. People's knowledge of lying pretty much ends there. Maybe they have more subtle knowledge such that some lies are 'OK', like, "Yes, honey, you look fabulous in those jeans."

Here are some categories of lying people have no knowledge of and hence practice them with impunity as far as their conscience is concerned:

2. Talking about things when you have little or no understanding of what you are talking about. Everybody does this. It's a form of lying. Though it's not recognized as lying.

3. Inner contradictions in us like when we convince ourselves we are one thing when our actions give us away as being something entirely different. We can see this in other people more easily. It's a form of lying. We don't think of it as lying, yet it is. Lawyers often think of themselves as, and proclaim themselves to be, truth tellers (truth tellers of society!), and often are the most lying bastards that ever draw breath. We have to see such contradictions in ourselves because they are there. "I'm a nice person. I'm not bragging, but I've just always been aware of myself as being nice to other people." Yes, tell that to your female acquaintance that you knifed in the heart that time when you pointed out that she has short legs. That wasn't so nice, now was it?

(It's hard to see this category of lying in ourselves. To do it we have to use the external world as a mirror. We have to make a conscious effort to: see in ourselves what we dislike in others. Because what you tend to hate, or just not like, in other people is often a feature that you have and manifest yourself, but that you are blind to in yourself. It's not always the case, but it's a good clue and worth investigating. It gives you subject matter for self-observation. If you value such an endeavor.)

4. Deep, foundational lies such as thinking you are awake when in fact you are walking around dead asleep in life. (Most everybody thinks they are awake. Especially if you bring the subject up to them. Walk away and they fall back into deep identification with their thoughts and their environment. That word 'identification' is an example of a unique language needed to see such features. I'm not really presenting such a language here, so I can't go into definitions.)

Anyway, see how that feature of our fallen nature - lying - is more deep and multifarious than we ever knew?

Lying is also tied to conscience. At the fall our conscience became buried. By degree, more buried in some people than others, but basically pretty buried for most everybody. It's still there, just buried. As our conscience starts to become unburied we start to see things like lying in ourselves and our behavior. Like when we are talking about something that we don't really know much about, and we pause, kind of look away, and say, "But, actually, I don't really know a lot about that subject." That is conscience making an appearance.

Or, when we see somebody do or say something that really upsets us, or outrages us, or annoys us, and we pause and actually have the thought that we do that very same thing. Or have done it. That is a person whose conscience is becoming unburied, by degree. A person who is also awakening somewhat as well.

So, features. Lying is a feature. A feature of our fallen nature. And we have to know it, see it in all its manifestations and categories, so that we can observe it in ourselves. We have to know the language of lying, so to speak. And we have to have a source for that language. This is what I'm talking about with extra-biblical influences. The Holy Spirit would teach on such a subject, if we are able to be led by the Holy Spirit. And He would direct us to a source for learning such a thing.

I learned about lying from Fourth Way material. Or the language of the Work, mainly in the books by Ouspensky. Now, is that a source that is all wheat and no chaff? As stated above, only special revelation is all wheat and no chaff (especially if you are reading the King James Version, and I'm not kidding). But we don't draw back from everything because there is chaff in it. Here's a good rule too: learn what you can from everything; join nothing.

6.14.2012

Which church is worse?

Michael Horton, currently embarrassed by recent converts to Rome who he's taught over the years, has written three long posts in a row saying pretty much nothing, but attempting to shift blame.

Here's the truth of the matter. You don't become a Christian by joining a church. You become a Christian when you are regenerated by the word and the Spirit (something Horton doesn't mention).

In our day doctrinal teaching is available everywhere to anyone with a desire to find it (i.e. books). Teaching that is a hundred times more on-the-mark and better presented than anything found in any church. That's just a fact of this era we live in.

The Bible itself presents issues of ecclesiology within the context of what different situations and different eras need. There is no one prescription. The Bible mentions large church gatherings, house churches, and it mentions the lone Elijah in a cave.

In our day Protestant churches are worthless. Shallow and worse. Sure, if you are subnormal in some way that's unique even in the community of fallen humanity, a drunk, a life-long criminal, a drug addict, etc., there is probably some church, some church program where you can find a level of sanity and perhaps common sense and whatever else it is people like that find that potentially sets them straight. But for anybody else the environment of churches is deadly.

So who cares what church you're talking about? The Roman Beast church is deadly in its own way. Protestant churches are deadly. Eastern Orthodox churches deadly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Doctrine is armor. It is what individual Christians wear on the battlefield. The extent that you're a real soldier, a real Christian, is the extent that you will want real armor and that you will find it. (Note: soldiers know what they need. They are *in battle.* They need real shields, real swords, real armor. They don't argue about it, *they find the real thing and use it.* There's no coy and Satanic 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.')
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Real Christians exist and are being regenerated by the word and the Spirit everyday. Despite the shallow and worse churches.

Final note: notice all the churchians talk about 'individualism' and accuse Christians of 'individualism'. Romanists accuse Protestants of it; Protestants accuse other Protestants of it. It's all projection. They are the "me, me, me" types. It's *all about them.* The big drama of conversion to Rome is their big American Idol moment. See me, look at me, I'm on stage! It's all about me now! The same thing is seen in the shallow, seminary-educated who stand behind Protestant pulpits. "This is all about me!" They are the worst teachers who ever existed. They give 'sermons' that are no more practical than phone book recitations. They are too unaware to know that, but the pleasure their vanity gets from standing there being the 'leader' clouds everything anyway. Clerics and churches are not the faith. The word of God, pure and bold apostolic biblical doctrine, and spiritual war is the real thing. You evangelize by what you are. If you're the real thing people pick up on it. Or are convicted by it. (I need to go wash my hands after typing this post. I truly hate Romanists and shallow churchian Protestants, the entire gallery of them all. If I lived in a place where I had to be around Eastern Orthodox types I'd list them too. Come on, self-identified Christians, come out of all that shallowness and wickedness.)

The shallow language of the pulpit

"The true gospel is a call to self-denial. It is not a call to self-fulfillment." —John MacArthur

This is pious and ignorant. I can no more deny myself prior to regeneration than I can fulfill myself (using MacArthur's word).

This is the language of the pulpit. A hybrid language designed to keep people in their place and keep them ignorant of what it means to be a Christian. It's a language spoken by fools desperate to pay bills and have 'standing' in the world. It's a grotesque distortion of anything the Bible describes as the faith.

So once regenerated the process of self-denial has been worked out 99% by the pummeling I've experienced from the world and my own fallen nature. And self-fulfillment (using MacArthur's word) is basically a 'filling of the vacuum' of what has already been destroyed. Filling the vacuum desperately with the knowledge and practice and understanding of the faith.

It's all out of my hands.

We don't say: "Now it is the time that I will engage in self-denial." Making sure your standing among the church crowd is correct and you are receiving the respect you've come to demand and deserve. Everything in place. Everything right. "While at the same time I will eschew engaging in self-fulfillment." Relieved because this means to you that you won't have to actually read that strange book some of your fellow church goers are holding, let alone come to anything resembling an understanding of it.

You're in the world.

You're not on the hook, being lifted out of the world, fighting like hell every inch of the way.

6.13.2012

You have to begin to awaken on the battlefield...

You have to begin to awaken on the battlefield. When this time occurs you are discerning light from darkness. Bad angels from good angels. Bad influence from good influence. You can't just say all is darkness because that is not true. That is abdicating your ability to discern between light and darkness that the Holy Spirit gives you once regenerated.

I'm currently in a book that is reproducing ancient magical formulas (it's a Christian book on spiritual warfare titled Powers of Darkness by Clinton E. Arnold), and I recoil in fear of even reading these things in the course of reading the book. I can discern darkness. I recoil at it.

The Work [Fourth Way, but insert any extra-biblical school teaching that is Christian and is on-the-mark, and none will be all wheat and no chaff, and, also, I know of none but Work sources, see right-hand margin] is not that. It is not formulas for protective magic or malevolent magic or love potion magic or divine revelation magic, and it's not about pagan deities and idols. There is no summoning of demons to various purposes.

And with C Influence there is no 'channeling' of some revelation. What is C Influence? It is influence that is conscious in origin and in action and not constrained by time or place. That sounds angelic (messenger of God). It sounds like the Holy Spirit Himself. But, again, discernment *required.* Don't just say everything is dark and evil. Discern the very words coming out of a Christian church leader's mouth. Right? Yes, right.

[Again, this is an email response to the notion that the Work is default about darkness. C Influence is a Work term. It is basic. There is A, B, and C Influence. A Influence are life influences that come at you no effort needed on your part. Influences such as hunger (need for food), need for money, sexual feelings, and - tongue-in-cheek - everything contained in the term 'mother-in-law'. B Influence are influences you have to make some effort to move towards. They require some effort of controlled attention, they don't just come at you. Influences such as art, music, imaginative literature, history, philosophy, religion, science, up to the highest levels of those things. C Influence then is above B Influence and requires more direct contact. It requires a person be, for instance, in the state an inspired artist or composer is in when they are creating. Awake. Above the state of waking sleep where all humanity resides in all their waking days. And C Influence is influence that is conscious in origin. B Influence contains greater or lesser degrees of C Influence. Just being able to discern *that* is a big step in a person's development. It would be sort of right to say special revelation, the Old and New Testaments is C Influence, but that really isn't right, because the word of God is in its own category. It's like the Creator/creation divide. I won't go further.]

The Work is battle with such things inside us and in the world around us that are of the darkness. It is spiritual warfare. It is provoking our limits *so that* we can shine light on what still lies in darkness and get control over it so it no longer has control over us.

The Work is a language that identifies *features* of our fallen nature so that we can then mortify them. It also identifies features of our new nature, or features of the image of God that became disused or distorted at the fall, so that we can cultivate them and bring them to life, by the power and grace of God.

*Christians, for the most part, especially in this era, but excepting the Puritans really, all eras, don't like to talk about or think about spiritual warfare.* This is delinquent. This is sub rate Christianity. (Arnold makes the point when he visits Christians in Africa they tell him they have consternation why American and European Christians don't speak of the spiritual realm and spiritual warfare when they see it as preeminent and necessary in their lives.)

We have a standard called the Bible. If the Work sources said, "Here is how you get a person to fall in love with you: 1. You self-remember for six hours straight for seven days. 2. Then you practice external-considering in controlled imagination of that person seven times a day for seven days. 3. Then [...]

No, that is not what the Work is. There is no calling of demons into our lives to help us in any way or give us anything or anything else.

Yes, we are provoking our limits (in the service of the God-reliant effort of progressive sanctification) which puts us in conflict with features of our fallen nature and perhaps also with influences in the world about us that are dark...*but they are going to be there no matter what.* In other words, yes, we are actively becoming soldiers. We are not necessarily courting conflict, but conflict comes with development by default. We can draw back and say everything is evil, everything is darkness, but that is giving up territory and abdicating the battlefield to the forces of darkness.

You can't be awake in this realm and be unmolested by unpleasant forces, yet God wants us awake (He says it in his revealed word), hence we have to be skillful, wise (wise as serpents, harmless as doves) and effective as soldiers on the battlefield. - C.


When the Bible becomes a seemingly too dissected thing

I currently am at a point where the Bible for me seems to have become over-read. I don't state that to mean it's a big impasse or faith-questioning thing, but just that after reading the Bible complete now seven times, and individual books and passages numerous more times, and then getting the parts in relation to the whole understanding that can be derived from systematic theology (classical Covenant - Federal - Theology) the Bible is almost what a work of art can become after its been dissected too rigorously.

Anything gets like this once initial mystery and ignorance is gotten past.

I think some types deal with it by diving into commentaries ever deeper.

Frankly most Christians don't have the problem because the Bible is not read complete by most Christians, let alone several times (and I don't say that in some way to put down the majority of Christians; reading the Bible seven times is not a requirement for salvation, and everybody takes different approaches and is at different stages of their development and so on, and of course reading is a relative exercise where one person can get more from a single reading than I may have received from seven).

I see this as a serious subject. The Bible is God the Father's, our Creator's, *revealed word.* It's illumination is a product of having the helping presence of the Holy Spirit Himself in us. Given us by our King, and Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ.

I said some types deal with what I've described by diving into commentaries. Other types deal with it by looking for deeper meaning in the text. Metaphorical level, allegorical level, anagogic, etc.

I see nothing inherently wrong with either approach. I know some strict orthodox types preach against or even mock the latter approach, but if one recognizes and is able to understand the level of the text that teaches us of salvation and the plan of God and all that we see in the sounder confessions and systematic theologies then seeing a deeper level of meaning in any given passage or verse will not necessarily get one off course.

Only I see it deeper than that. I don't see a practical benefit in 'thinking out' deeper meanings. That's like philosophizing within the limits of what we already know or have the means to find out.

I see the Bible as living language that has to be simply taken in with ever greater presence and level of being. Call it meditating on the text. Or simply pondering it. Having it cut deeper into memory and thus will and understanding. Seeing inner meanings and connections, and weighing passages against other passages, or doctrines against doctrines to see new elements and see from new angles.

I believe I have terminal understanding of biblical doctrine right now. So I am not envisioning seeing new doctrine. Just seeing deeper into the basics. Or having the basics deeper inside me.

So it's a receiving from God what He grants me to be able to see. In a way that transcends my current limitations if I just relied on myself for it.

And let's be honest about something too: systematic theology has done the work for us in identifying biblical doctrines that give great profit in meditating upon. I will get as much from pondering the doctrine of original sin from a systematic theology as from the Bible (if I could even identify it on my own from the Bible from any given book, the Epistles would be obvious, but I'm thinking even the book of Genesis). We don't have to be limited to an ST or the Bible, we can have both.

So we pray: Psa 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

6.11.2012

Just finished Empire

I'll say it again, read Niall Ferguson's Empire. And the documentaries may be great, but I would say read the book. The Ascent of Money too. Both compliment each other.

And this is not coming from somebody who is just learning world history. In fact you need to already know world history to get from Empire (and Ascent of Money) what I'm trying to get at in these recommendations.

There is so much that goes on in our lives, in society, that is derived from the various social and political dynamics caused by the British Empire. And not just in the former colonies and in the countries, or 'white dominions', like Canada or Australia, but in the U.S. too, because really the world doesn't distinguish much between the United States and the now British Commonwealth nations in terms of the British Empire. We are getting blowback, for instance, here in the U.S. for what the British did in the Middle East long ago. That's what I mean.

But all the racial stuff we all have to deal with. The white race being up, then being down, being mocked, and all the pretending (political-correctness) that other peoples aren't "half devil, half child" as Kipling put it. All the *attitudes*, the whole catalogue of them, that are found among the 'master' race, whether mocking their own or having a quiet respect for their own, or whatever it is, all the *white guilt* and the various ways that it manifests, and all the game playing of the non-white peoples living in white nations, the sexual game-playing, etc., derive from all the same dynamics engendered during the ups and downs of the British during their empire. Not that the British were the *only* empire builders, but they became the *Empire* de facto.

You get so much perspective on everything. For instance, Ferguson goes through the World War II part of the history from the angle of Britain trying to not lose its empire, yet finding that it is in a trade off between defeating *worst* empires (Japan and Germany) and losing their own. The *fact* of the British Empire is so ubiquitous and foundational to all modern world history that it is really *legitimate* to write history from its perspective. You'll see, if you read it. I'm not overstating.

And - important point - it doesn't take away spiritual causes of things that have gone on in history. Because the British Empire, with all its flaws, was a force for good in that sense, though it gave up on the missionary aspect early on, still, after it gave up, that is seemingly when Christianity really took hold in many parts of the Empire's world in big numbers. That's all the work of the Spirit anyway. (This paragraph is confused, but I'm getting at the fact that forces in history like the uprising of the Kingdom of Satan in various ways, Islamic jihad, collectivist totalitarianism, the constant spirit within free nations where people want to undermine and destroy and institute tyranny in various ways, that all is not effected as historical forces when you see modern history from the angle of the British Empire. That may require more than a paragraph to explain, but I'll leave it at that.) - C.

ps- One last justification to that last email... Can we really say the history of the British Empire is so foundational to everything we see around us, etc., etc.? Well, look at it and where it existed. China, India, South America, North America, the Pacific, the far east, Africa, Australia, and I'm probably forgetting big areas, maybe even a continent or two... Geographically it can't be denied. Then, culturally and in terms of a unique civilization, law, language, economic system, communications, etc., etc. (and again I'm probably forgetting major categories of things). It's not a shallow influence. But you just have to read the book. It's unique as a work of history and Ferguson knows he is writing a uniquely angled work of history that nevertheless is straight-arrow mainstream and true.

pps- I mean, some historical subjects and themes give greater and wider perspective, and the fact of the British Empire, its history, goes under the radar in that sense. For us now especially, in a time that is so close to it historically, yet for various reasons for it to be out-of-mind, sort of too boring to talk about or think about. Ho hum, yet it is like the medium we are living in and we are as unaware of it as fish are unaware of water. (It, by the way, has dominated the themes and subject matter of our arts, popular and otherwise, which is telling.)

Discern the spirit of the Devil

The Reformed seminary crowd is all in an uproar over yet another one of its own 'converting' to the Roman Beast church. (And it's been said rightly that God converts us to His church, we don't 'convert' ourselves to anything but a false church.)

Summing the situation up it is just due to the fact that regeneration by the word and the Spirit is not a condition for graduating from a seminary or getting ordained into a leadership position in a church. Nor could it be. Which is why nobody should put too much, if any, emphasis on seminary degrees or church leadership credentials. That's not what the faith is about.

But I want to highlight something I saw on the new Romanist's blog. In this post he ended with a parting shot:

"After all, we're not evangelicals."

If you know these types you will discern the very alive vibe of the spirit of the Devil in this last parting shot from this Jason Stellman individual.

6.09.2012

Niall Ferguson - Empire

Ferguson's Empire is mandatory reading. For all reasons I've stated elsewhere, and just for the understanding and perspective the subject gives us now. As he enters into the 20th century the perspective you'll have on things you've felt and acted out your entire lives will be striking. (By the way it was the Germans who riled up all this Islamic jihad s*** in WWI, as a tactic of war against the British Empire.)

This kind of perspective is good and necessary. It feels universal and complete. It frees a developing soul from confining cultural and political influences in a real way because it is based on understanding. - C.

[I.e. the 400 year history of the British Empire is a subject we underestimate or take for granted or just ignore which has influenced the world we see around us in such foundational ways. It's not just another subject of history. The French Revolution is similar. There's nothing new under the sun, but that's because somebody did things once. For a similar type of perspective, in this case on America and what we are going through currently, this article is good:

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Future-tense--X--The-fourth-revolution-7395

Unveiled human nature encoded in ancient theology

I can't get past the fact [as in I keep coming back to] that one little data point of biblical doctrine can be the theme for an entire literary novel. Like as I mentioned once, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, and the theme of the mother and original sin and death and how we are unclean because our mothers are unclean, from Adam. I had a good quote from Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State when I wrote that originally, but I forget it now.

From a past email:

"General Revelation doesn't reveal the Gospel, only Special Revelation does that - BUT - the Reformed theologians point out that once you know Special Revelation then General Revelation *informs* Special Revelation and vice-versa. So, like you say, you can see God's plan in nature and human nature (fallen nature, as you said).

Regarding novelists I used the example in a past post of Faulkner in As I Lay Dying using as metaphor the dead mother in a coffin, stinking, to present the theme of original sin and how no man is clean because we come from our mothers and they aren't clean (I don't have the Biblical quotes at hand).

Artists are at their deepest levels when elucidating these themes from Special Revelation using material from General Revelation.

And there are great lengths for the depth and artistry to go.

This is why 'Christian novels' or 'Christian music' are plastic genres because you don't have to mention Special Revelation directly or obviously. You use General Revelation as material. This is where the world seems more real, or less shallow than explicit Christian culture, yet the most inspired works are inspired because they are carrying themes of Special Revelation."

This is why I use to hunger for these influences too. Because they had these deep, foundational biblical themes in them.

That sentence I quoted awhile back: "...the stark, hard knowledge of unveiled human nature, its esse, encoded in ancient theology, wherein Original Sin held central, axial place..."

I love that, unveiled human nature encoded in ancient theology.

I'm almost through with my current foray into Niall Ferguson's work. I really get the impression that both The Ascent of Money, and then Empire, cover his main themes. They compliment each other as well.

When I read this phrase - unveiled human nature encoded in ancient theology - I think of Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State. I also think of the Work [Fourth Way material, found most purely in Ouspensky's Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution {and note: Ouspensky was early in taking down Darwinian evolution} and also his Fourth Way]. As I mentioned in the past, when you read that Boston book you will see the Work in it throughout in remarkable and striking ways. Really quite blatant ways. - C.

6.07.2012

Church leaders...

Church leaders...hmm... They need to be servants *with real understanding.* They tend to be seminary educated individuals with all the shallowness of secular academia and all the silly intellectual vanity of secular academia. Not to mention the practice of 'respecting of persons' they carry with them from the silly 'club.'

They get angry when they're challenged. People who have understanding don't get angry when challenged. People with understanding don't even consider themselves teachers. They teach, yes, but like apple trees grow apples. They know how to talk to people. Interact. A sign of the immaturity of church 'leaders' is they don't know how to talk to people.

Now let's talk about the *fear of man* environment that develops in churches and is policed by the hierarchy (hierarchy? in Protestant churches? how did that happen?). An individual who fears God alone and not man will inevitably be seen as an unwanted presence. A 'challenge' to 'leadership.'

Can I just go to a church to find a quiet place to read and meditate (Puritan style) and pray? No, apparently. That's not on the schedule. No sanctuary there. Bookstores seem to be the Christian's sanctuary. Interesting that nobody at the bookstores thinks I'm there to kidnap children or generally disrupt. It's obvious that I'm there for books. I.e. it's obvious who is there for books and who is there to cause trouble. The troublemakers are obvious and asked to leave. Nobody had to sign anything to enter.

The analogy is pure. Yes, I say pure. If you can see it.

Subject matter for meditation and prayer

It occurred to me while reading in Genesis that doctrine makes practical subject matter for meditation and prayer, and it is in this context that Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State, which presents Biblical doctrine so completely and powerfully and in such epic structure, can be of preeminent use. It is the raw material of art and literature and human nature and the very plan of God. Used in this context this book's value comes alive.

6.03.2012

Originally an email recommendation of Nial Ferguson's book Empire

I'm approaching 3/4 of the way through Niall Ferguson's Empire, and finding it intensely interesting. His works, or his style, give unique impressions. It's because he attaches everything to a personality and event, and you sense he is a very competent guide in what he selects to give impressions of the whole. You can tell he's writing from a position of having attained understanding of his material.

He's not grinding any political or ideological axe either. He's almost purely true in his objectivity and what he presents in those terms.

You English types, current or derived, need to read this book.

Anyway it's a universal historical subject. Awhile back I mentioned that the French Revolution was a historical subject that contains within it universal patterns and events and subject matter that is repeated in modern history, so it's a subject worth knowing. I will say the same about the historical subject of the British empire. You really, really see it when you traverse over it in a history like this. You see so many themes of what is happening today and how people think today.

There is also the element that I hinted at in a previous email where I get impressions this subject matter has meaning for the future as well.

There is also this: it struck me today as I was reading that this is the view angels see the history of nations from. This perspective [I think what I meant by this is the speeded up changes that you see in the unfolding British empire and the foundational changes caused by it; i.e. it has a speeded up time element]. Once England took the leap into the unknown and all that is now called 'empire' unfolded it was all riding a higher plane. Ferguson uses a word which I'm not sure is traditional English usage: running. Or make the running. Maybe it's a British thing. But it denotes in the text the vigorous acts of the individuals in moving forward into unknown territory and virgin business enterprises or just a sort of crazy, inspired moving forward into danger and God knows what to learn and conquer or do whatever. The parts about David Livingstone are strange like that. He basically walked across the entire continent of Africa like three or four times. Talk about not being scared of anything.

Well, you'll have to see for yourself. I think this Ferguson guy is a unique historian. - C.

[For the record I read Niall Ferguson's The Ascent of Money prior to this and I give it a similar recommendation. The two books actually compliment each other.]

6.02.2012

The real 2 Kingdoms