Monday, March 29, 2010

I hate watching my friends get everything their hearts desire.

Recently in Sunday school at Providence Church, I posed the following question about the nature of the human will: How can Martin Luther write a book entitled The Bondage of the Will and Jonathan Edwards write The Freedom of the Will and both essentially saying the same thing?

In other words, is the human will free or in bondage (i.e., not free)?

I summarize it like this: The will is free to do what it wants, but it is not free to do what it ought.

We might also talk about natural vs. moral ability, having the former, but lacking the latter.

Another way to say it is that human beings are free to do what they want, but they are also bound to do what they want. They must choose according to their strongest desire at the point of decision.

The question becomes, what motivates those decisions? Of what substance are those desires? One dead in sins (Eph 2:1), who loves the darkness (John 3:19-20), and cannot see the kingdom (John 3:3) must have a heart opened (Acts 16:14) and mercifully made alive (Eph 2:4-5) in order to desire Christ so as to choose Him.

Dr. D. James Kennedy: "Are Total Depravity and free will compatible? Yes and no. As we said to an earlier question, free will can mean one of two things. If we are talking about the sense in which free will exists in every human being, whether regenerate or unregenerate, then we can say “Yes”, obviously they are compatible because unregenerate people do make choices. That is the sense in which man is free to choose whatever he wants to choose. All men are free to do that. The unregenerate man makes choices every day: what tie he will wear, what he will eat for dinner; whatever it may be. But in the significant sense in which its used in the Bible, which is man is free to do what he ought to do, (which is repent of his sins, turn from his wickedness, surrender his life to Christ and follow Him in godliness), unregenerate man is not free to do that. The more he hears of it, the more he dislikes it. And his will and heart and mind must be changed for him to do that." (in DVD series "Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism")

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Robert Frost wrote it. I always remembered it because I never quite knew what he meant.

In honor of his birthday (1874-1963), a Robert Frost poem.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

These are not the droids you're looking for.

Today I saw a comment on 1 Timothy 3:2 "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife ..." (ESV)
He wrote: "In the Greek it literaly [sic] means 'one woman man.'"

I've heard this before, but is it true?

Well, no, not really, especially not in the way it's implied. The implication is that "man" & "woman" are more "literal" translations than "husband" & "wife."

But, "woman" & "wife" and "man" & "husband" are the same Greek words* (gynē & anēr respectively). So, the context would have to guide the use of woman or wife and man or husband.

Literally, it's anēr (man/husband) of one gynē (woman/wife), but the context in this instance would pretty soundly give you "husband" of one "wife."

I think the "man of one woman" bit is an unfounded way to try to say that a man really needs to be into his woman. I agree with that sentiment, but one cannot appeal to the original language to get there as a superior translation.
*My apologies for using the sloogey transliterated bit, but my blog doesn't seem to like the Greek font. But, if yours can read it, the Greek words are γυνή & ἀνήρ for woman/wife & man/husband respectively.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Very clever dinner. Appetizing food fit neatly into interesting round pie.

Just so you know, today is "Pi Day." You know ... March 14 ... 3/14 ... uh ... 3.14, ergo Pi Day.

Pi or π is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter, the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius.
  • Circumference=2πr or (πd)
  • Area=πr²

So, for your Pi Day pleasure, find your birthday within the decimals of Pi. Or check out other Pi Day activities.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Any man don't keep order spends a night in ... the box.

Chris Arnold use to say that, "Movie watching is a sport."

Perhaps he's right. If so, we owe it to each other to recommend worthwhile sporting events, not watching someone fishing on ESPN2 in the wee hours of the morning.

To that end, I submit to you my favorite incarceration movies:
  1. Cool Hand Luke
  2. Shawshank Redemption
  3. My Cousin Vinny
  4. Blues Brothers
  5. Stir Crazy
  6. Raising Arizona
  7. The Green Mile
  8. (Escape to) Victory
  9. The Longest Yard (1974)
  10. The Great Escape
Honorable Mention: Silence of the Lambs, Dead Man Walking, Escape from Alcatraz

Did I miss any?

UPDATE: Apparently, I did miss some! Thanks for those who squared me away in the comments.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Now, I have a whole bag of "Shh!" with your name on it.

I was speaking to a class at the middle school yesterday and saw this sign on the wall. I thought was neat and rather profound.

"LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the same letters."

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Monday, March 01, 2010

I don't care about losing all the money. It's losing all the stuff.

Yesterday at Providence Church we completed a Sunday school series on The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. (buy it from

Let me just say, I HIGHLY recommend the book. It does an outstanding job of stacking the biblical teachings regarding money, generosity, sacrificial giving, and living for eternity in such a way that you're overwhelmed by the stark reality of it all.

In other words, I found myself ingesting truths of which I was generally aware, but in such a way that they collectively challenged my thinking & practice where God's money is concerned.

To whet your appetite to buy, read, and apply the book ...
  • The Treasure Principle: You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.
  • Key 1: God owns everything. I’m His money manager.
  • Key 2: My heart always goes where I put God’s money.
  • Key 3: Heaven, not earth, is my home.
  • Key 4: I should live not for the dot but for the line.
  • Key 5: Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
  • Key 6: God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
See also 43 Quotes from The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving or buy it from Or if you'd like, you're welcome to borrow my copy.

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