Archive for June, 2010

I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or corporation does anything legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again in my words, amount to a shakedown. – Rep. Joe Barton

When Joe Barton rather inarticulately apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the lawless treatment the company had received at the hands of the Obama White House, he set off a firestorm.  His comments were widely seen as a gaffe (which is best defined as a public figure accidently telling the truth), and his own party threatened to remove him from the energy committee unless he issued an apology.  Of course Barton played the politician and quickly retracted his statement.   

Thomas Sowell, on the other hand, has never been one to apologize for his controversial but true statements, and his recent piece on the $20 Billion shakedown of BP is right on target.  Due process, it seems, is not an option for the politically unpopular.  

Disclosure:  the author is a BP stockholder.


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This is the second in a series of posts commenting on the book God’s Hammer by Gordon Clark.

Bible critics, who at sundry times and divers manners attacked the inspiration and truth of the Bible, have in these last days continued to press their case.  This, of course, makes a defense of these ideas most necessary.  In this chapter, however, Clark addresses the issue of inspiration only, reserving a discussion of truth for later chapters.  Clark writes,

The question of this chapter concerns the inspiration of the Bible.  It must be clearly distinguished from another question with which it might be confused:  How may I know that the Bible is true?  These two questions are indeed related, but they are not the same question.  They have even been answered in opposite ways.  A contemporary movement in theology called Neo-orthodoxy claims that the Bible is inspired, but also asserts that it is not completely true.  And obviously some other book, such as Churchill’s The Gathering Storm, could possible be entirely true without being inspired.  Such a book might even be called infallible.  Truth and inspiration therefore must be distinguished. 

Many authors, Christian or not, fail to distinguish and define their terms.  Clark does not make this mistake, and this lends power and clarity to his writing.  He continues,

The two ideas, however, are closely related, especially in the case of the Bible.  The Neo-orthodox writers can hold to an inspired but mistaken Bible only because they have changed the meaning of inspiration.  When the Biblical definition of inspiration is used, there can be no inspiration without truth, even though there often is truth without inspiration.  For the Christian, therefore, the question of truth is a prior question, and unless the Bible is true, there is not much use in discussing inspiration.

A glaring problem with much of the theology written over the past one hundred years is that its  language is fundamentally dishonest. Those who rejected Christ, wanting to cloak their unbelief behind a veil of Biblical vocabulary, deliberately used historic Christian terms while attaching new meanings to them.  The Neo-orthodox theologians – of which we will have more to say later – were one such group.  These men in the same breath could claim that the Bible was indeed inspired by God and that it was full of errors.  They had a different definition of inspired than Gordon Clark.  So then, whose definition was correct?  Was Clark right or the Neo-orthodox?  What does the Bible claim for itself?  Does it assert its own inspiration? How does it define inspiration?  Is the Bible even the place to look to answer these questions, or is it circular reasoning to defend the Scriptures by appealing to the Scriptures?

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Leon Trotsky…might be paraphrased, “In a country where the sole physician is the State, opposition means death by health care rationing.  The old principle, who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one:  Who does not cooperate shall not recover.” – John Robbins

In his must-read 1994 lecture on Hillary Care, John Robbins noted the logical and historical connection between national healthcare and dictatorship, an opinion shared by his former boss, Congressman Ron Paul from Texas.  As a physician, Ron Paul understands the importance of quality, affordable healthcare.  As a congressman and advocate of personal liberty, he understands it can be delivered only through the agency of the free market, not government bureaucracies and onerous mandates.  For this reason, he has introduced legislation that would repeal the worst feature of the recent healthcare reform bill:  the requirement that every American purchase health insurance or face IRS penalties.        

Paul writes,

The administration’s terrible healthcare reform bill is now law, but the debate over how– and whether– the federal government should be involved in providing healthcare services is not over.  It is not too late for America to correct its course and stop the march toward a government-run, “single payer” healthcare system.

Polls show that a large majority of Americans don’t want Obamacare.  Congress should seize the opportunity to repeal the very worst aspect of this new legislation, namely the mandate that forces every American either to purchase health insurance or face an IRS penalty.  This mandate represents nothing more than an unconstitutional, historically unprecedented gift to the insurance industry.  I introduced the “End the Mandate Act” (HR 4995) expressly to prevent the administration from ever putting this provision into effect.

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This is the first in a series of posts commenting on the book God’s Hammer by Gordon Clark.                                            

Necessity, authority, sufficiency, clarity.  Historically Protestants have considered these to be hallmark characteristics of Scripture, summing them up under the Reformation slogan sola scriptura.  But beginning in the 19th century, the reformed trumpet began to make an uncertain sound.  In 1893, noted Presbyterian minister and scholar Charles Augustus Briggs was suspended by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for  teaching that the Bible contains error.  While this was a notable victory, the following decades were not so kind to the Fundamentalist cause, and by the end of the 1920s the PCUSA was firmly in the grip of Modernist ministers preaching a false gospel from a (supposedly) fallible Bible. 

Now the theological debates of a hundred years ago may seem far removed and unimportant to Christians today.  And while it’s tempting to dismiss the Fundamentalist-Modernist conflict over textual criticism, translations and Biblical infallibility as nothing more than a case of pointy headed professors wrangling over words, that would be a big mistake.  The transformation of the PCUSA from a Bible believing church to a tool of the modernists began with an attack on the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of God’s Word.  “Yea hath God said?,” was Satan’s first attack on verbal revelation, and his attacks continue in our day.  Writing in the introduction to God’s Hammer (GH), editor John Robbins comments,

The twentieth century may be a pivotal period in human history, for the doctrines of justification through faith alone and truth through the Bible alone came under such a severe and sustained attack.  That attack, which has been countered by only a few of the professed tens of millions of Christians in America, has come primarily from within the church itself.  It indicated that the wolves are within the sheepfold, and in many cases, are actually posing as shepherds. 

Gordon Clark was one of those few twentieth century theologians who undertook to counter the attacks on Scripture.  And in truth, he did more than simply counter the attacks, with devastating logic he demolished the critical arguments of both modernist and neo-orthodox scholars and demonstrated powerfully from the Scriptures the truth and authority of the Bible.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be blogging through God’s Hammer chapter by chapter to discuss Clark’s arguments in defense of the Bible.  If you haven’t yet, I urge you to buy and read a copy.  If you’re a long time Clarkian, I urge you to reread it, for God’s Hammer is an apologetic gold mine.  

Comments are welcome.

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Christians often refer to the Bible as the Word of God.  And that’s certainly appropriate, for that’s what the Bible claims to be:  God’s inspired verbal revelation.  At the same time the Bible describes Jesus Christ as God the Word,  “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn.1:1).  Is it merely an accident that the term ‘word’ is used of both the Bible and Christ, or is there some connection?  

Writing in his book The Johnanine Logos, Gordon Clark examines the apostle John’s use of the Greek word logos, famously translated ‘Word’ in the first verse of John’s Gospel as a name for Jesus.  Clark then looks at how John uses logos in the rest of his Gospel account and finds after quoting several examples that it always means, “an intelligible proposition [sentence].” So what is the connection between the Logos who is God in verse 1 and the logoi  [plural of logos] that are propositions (sentences) in the remainder of the book?  Clark writes,

The connection is this:  The Logos of verse 1 is the Wisdom of God.  To him his worshippers erected the architectural triumph Hagia Sophia, the church in Constantinople dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God…Some of this wisdom is expressed in the propositions of the previous list [various verses from John’s Gospel that are said to be logoi].  They are the mind of Christ:  They are the very mind of Christ.  In them we grasp the Holy Wisdom of God.  Accordingly there is no great gap between the propositions alluded to and Christ himself.

The Scriptures are not merely black ink marks on white pages; they are the eternal thoughts of God.  Paul stated, “we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor.2:16).  Christians  have the mind of Christ by understanding and believing the words of Christ recorded in the Scriptures.  And not the words of Christ only, but all the words in all the Scriptures, for, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2Tim.3:16).  To know God the Word, we must be good students of the Word of God.

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