Friday, December 26, 2008

"Genuine Christians never stop serving because they never stop loving, and they never stop loving because they never stop believing."
(Mike Wittmer, "Don't Stop Believing")
Some Newer Blogs on Blogworld

Image Bearing

A young acquaintance of mine is a youth Pastor in the Seattle, WA area. He is in the process of having a book published and is now blogging at the link above. I think you will find what Tony has to say will stimulate your thinking.

Theology Meeting Life

Another young personal acquaintance is a Youth Pastor in California who is blogging at the above link. Tim has a way of asking some provoking questions that are responded to by some very diverse people.

Don't Stop Believing

This is Dr. Mike Wittmer's blog based on his most recent book "Don't Stop Believing". When Dr. Wittmer is not traveling to and fro amongst the earth on speaking engagements, he happens to attend our church, so I've had opportunity to sit under his occasional teaching and preaching there. I've come to appreciate his striving for Biblical balance and his concern and love for the church of Jesus Christ.

~ The Billy Goat ~
John MacArthur: The Ugliness of Christmas

As MacArthur points out, the beauty of Christmas can only be beautiful when set in contrast to the ugliness of Christmas. Without understanding that ugliness, the beauty of Christmas becomes meaningless.

~ The Billy Goat ~

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feet - Bill, originally uploaded by neukomment.

I'm using Flickr for my photo site. I just found the blog feature on Flickr and am trying it out.

Why the feet? I don't know, but for some vague reason it seemed appropriate. So I will ramble a bit.

I can walk. I know some people who can't. They have to get around in wheelchairs, or they hobble along with a walker or at the minimum, a cane.

Why can I and countless billions of others walk while others can't? It's the impact of the fall and sin upon the created order.

Jesus was once asked why a particular person had been born blind. Jesus in essence responded that this man's blindness was so the glory of God could be demonstrated.

So let's ask the question. Why is it I can walk? Not because I am any better then someone who can not walk. If I can walk, it is so the of the glory of God can be demonstrated. Am I "walking" in a way that brings glory to Him? LORD, help me to do so I pray


~ The Billy Goat ~.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Think My Wife's a Calvinist

This satire is a real hoot. "She likes Spurgeon more then she likes me...."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How did Toyota Really Respond to the 9/11 Tragedy?

I recently received one of those many e-mails that come and go around the Internet all the time. This one was talking about how different automobile companies responded to the 9/11 tragedy, specifically in the area of help and contributions. The point of the letter was to applaud the "American Three", (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) and belittle alleged puny efforts or non-efforts of the "foreign" automobile companies such as Honda and Toyota. For a copy of that email, see the story at

In regard to Toyota the allegation is:

Toyota (includes Lexus) - Press release with condolences posted on the Toyota web site on 09/14/01, but no contribution despite earlier press releases boasting that Toyota had high sales in July and August.

The conclusion of this e-mail encourages the reader to keep these "facts" in mind the next time one is buying a car. The implied thrust is that only the "American Three" responded in any meaningful way to the 9/11 tragedy.

Well, here is what I found at the Toyota web site:

Statement: Toyota Relief Contributions

September 18, 2001 -(updated September 25, 2001) New York, NY - In support of relief efforts and humanitarian aid, Toyota has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross. The Toyota Federal Credit Union also has established a special fund for the more than 28,000 American Toyota employees wishing to make a contribution to the relief effort. As of Sept. 25, Toyota associates, manufacturing team members and dealers have contributed more than $90,000 to the Toyota USA Relief Fund to support American Red Cross aid for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Toyota Logistics Services also has offered the use of its seaport facilities in Newark to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for any use deemed necessary, and Toyota has offered the use of vehicles and forklift trucks to emergency agencies, if needed.

The company is working with American Red Cross to coordinate a special blood drive at its sales headquarters in Torrance, California, and its many manufacturing operations across the country.

Toyota joins the rest of the nation in extending our condolences to the victims of the terrorists attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

The investagative article also details how the other "foreign" automobile companies responded to the 9/11 tragedy. The bottom line is that more then a few of those companies such as Honda and Nissan made sizable contributions to 9/11 relief efforts that equalled or exceeded those of any one of the "American Three".

The allegations made in this e-mail are scandalously false. It is also clear that these falsehoods are being circulated to attempt to bind the reader's conscience to buy cars only made by the "American Three".

Now whatever car you choose to buy is your own business. But if you choose to buy a Ford or GM or Chrysler product, please don't do so on the basis of a patent falsehood such as alleged in this spurious Internet e-mail. After all, "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor." The American workers at the U.S. Honda, Nissan, and Toyota plants as well as their respective U.S. suppliers ARE your neighbors.

~ The Billy Goat ~

Monday, December 01, 2008

by Wolfhart Pannenberg

"A public climate of secularism undermines the confidence of Christians in the truth of what they believe. In "A Rumor of Angels" (1969), Peter L. Berger describes believers as a "cognitive minority" whose standards of knowledge deviate from what is publicly taken for granted. Berger wrote about "plausibility structures." People need social support in holding that a given account of reality is plausible. When such support is weakened, people need to muster a strong personal determination in order to maintain beliefs that are out of line with the beliefs of others around them. Berger's is a social and psychological analysis of the situation in which people find themselves, quite apart from the truth of what they may believe. "It is, of course, possible to go against the social consensus that surrounds us," Berger notes, "but there are powerful pressures (which manifest themselves as psychological pressures within our own consciousness) to conform to the views and beliefs of our fellow men." This is precisely the experience of Christians living in a dominantly secular culture.

In a secular milieu, even an elementary knowledge of Christianity—its history, teachings, sacred texts, and formative figures—dwindles. It is no longer a matter of rejecting Christian teachings; large numbers of people have not the vaguest knowledge of what those teachings are. This is a remarkable development when one considers how foundational Christianity is to the entire story of Western culture. The more widespread the ignorance of Christianity, the greater the prejudice against Christianity. Thus people who do not know the difference between Saul of Tarsus and John Calvin are quite certain that Christianity has been tried and convicted as a religion of oppression. When such people do get interested in religion or "spirituality"—their interest being a natural reaction to the shallowness of a secularist culture—they frequently turn not to Christianity but to "alternative religions."

"The absolutely worst way to respond to the challenge of secularism is to adapt to secular standards in language, thought, and way of life. If members of a secularist society turn to religion at all, they do so because they are looking for something other than what that culture already provides. It is counterproductive to offer them religion in a secular mode that is carefully trimmed in order not to offend their secular sensibilities. In this connection, it seems that mainline churches in America have yet to internalize the message of Dean Kelley in his book of a quarter century ago, What people look for in religion is a plausible alternative, or at least a complement, to life in a secularist society. Religion that is "more of the same" is not likely to be very interesting.

I hasten to add that this is not an argument for dead traditionalism. The old-fashioned ways of doing things in the churches may include elements that are insufferably boring and empty of meaning. Christianity proposed as an alternative or complement to life in a secularist society must be both vibrant and plausible. Above all, it must be substantively different and propose a difference in how people live. When message and ritual are accommodated, when the offending edges are removed, people are invited to suspect that the clergy do not really believe anything so very distinctive. The plausible and persuasive presentation of Christian distinctives is not a matter of marketing. It is a matter of what the churches owe to people in our secularist societies: the proclamation of the risen Christ, the joyful evidence of new life in Christ, of life that overcomes death."

Whatever you may think about the thesis set forth by Pannenberg in the complete essay, the above excerpts give a pretty accurate picture of the place Christianity has in an increasingly secular culture and society.

These excerpts also puts the finger on some of the pressures behind some of the recent trends in the Evangelical world. I am thinking specifically of the more extreme manifestations of the emergent movement (ala Brian McLaren). I am not sure our friends in that movement always realize how much of their thinking comes from a cultural cistern that is just as broken as the one they are being critical of.

The point is one I've made before in another place. As Evangelical Christians, we are always to some degree or another going to have to be counter-cultural if we are to remain faithful to the message God has called us to be faithful to. To quote from a previous post:

On the one hand we have to resist the modern mindset that wants to rationalize everything and in so doing, erase the tension and mystery we find in Biblical theology. We resist that view of reason that says all questions can be answered. We also assert that rational apprehension of God’s truth is not enough to save, but there has to be with that apprehension the experiential (existential) encounter and communion with the God which that rational apprehension points us to.

On the other hand we resist that post-modern epistemology that makes meaning meaningless and definition undefined. Words have some objective meaning and definition. If that were not so, we could not communicate at all with one another and God communicating to man through His revelation of event and Word would be just as impossible. We resist the Neo-Orthodox view that the only “truth” is our existential encounter with a “God Word”. In reading the Bible we are not listening for the Word of God, we are listening to the Word of God; an objective Word given by God in time and space.

.... Biblical Christian Evangelical epistemology calls me to embrace both objective (rational) reality outside of myself, and the existential experience of being able through that objective reality to know and commune with the Sovereign God of all creation as my Lord and Savior.

If that sounds a little like "both/and" it's because it is. This affirmation also brings up the question of the Christian's relation to Modernity and Post-modernity. Can a Christian say they are a modernist or a post-modernist? Am I a post-modernest because I view Scripture as meta-narrative? Or is the truth of the matter that once again we are neither/nor?


~ The Billy Goat ~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christus Victor - Looking at the Atonement

Un/limited Atonement or Multiple Intentions View (Four Point Calvinist Position)

1. Statement of the Position
God’s intentions in the death of Christ are complex not simple, multiple not single: 1) Christ died for the purpose of securing the sure and certain salvation of his own, his elect. 2) Christ died for the purpose of paying the penalty for the sin of all people making it possible for all who believe to be saved. 3) Christ died for the purpose of securing the bone fide offer of salvation to all people everywhere. 4) Christ died for the purpose of providing an additional basis for condemnation for those who hear and reject the gospel that has been genuinely offered to them. 5) Christ died for the purpose of reconciling all things to the Father.

"Extent of the Atonement: Outline of The Issue, Positions, Key Texts, and Key Theological Arguments"; Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, page 3

About a month ago I came across the above article by Dr. Bruce Ware. I have to confess a certain sympathy for some of the points he makes regarding how we view the atonement. Please read the whole article to set what I say below in context.

The one primary purpose in the atonement is the glory of God. Any other purpose, including the salvation of the elect, is secondary to that. The atonement has purpose that includes more then just individual salvation. There is a cosmic purpose relating to the whole created order. As another writer put it:

"As this story illustrates, we need both penal substitution and Christus Victor to properly understand Christ's atonement. Penal substitution explains the heart of Christus Victor--how exactly Christ defeats the Devil, and Christus Victor supplies the larger context for penal substitution.

Christus Victor informs us that salvation aims not merely at individuals but is for the entire world. God intends through Jesus "to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Our personal salvation is part of something larger than ourselves. We belong to the church, the body of Christ that extends the Kingdom of God in the world."

"Don't Stop Believing", Dr. Michael Wittmer, (Zondervan, 2008) page 96

I also confess a certain sympathy for a view of the atonement that does not force me into performing exegetical gymnastics to defend either a particular redemption view or a universal redemption view. Both sets of passages can be allowed to say what they say.

Am I saying that now I am now a 4.0 point Calvinist? No, I'm only reiterating what I said a few years ago about calling myself a 4.95 point Calvinist in order to deliberately irritate those on both sides of that issue. What I'm finding is there is more then that at stake. In looking back, I see just how some areas of Reformed theology are actually anthropocentric in spite of the claim to be theocentric.

Jesus reigns!

~ The Billy Goat ~

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Hymn of Post-modern Paganism

The lyrics below are from the 1969 Rock Musical HAIR. This song epitomized the hopes of the Anti War/Hippie movement of the time. It was at this juncture the Marxist utopia dream was merged with astrological millenealism; the “Age of Aquarius” with its false hopes and empty dreams. Those popular cultural expectations never entirely faded as the 1960's hippies became stock brokers, college profesors, and "community organizers". As I listen to the "messianic" rehtoric of the left wing demagogues of our day, I hear the echos of those earlier days. But the Age of Aquarias will not arrive on the wings of Air Force One. The false promise of the Age of Aquarius will end in dashed hopes and shatterd dreams just as all other 20th century messianic secularism has ended.

~ The Billy Goat ~


When the moon is in the Seventh House
and Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
The age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind's true liberation
Aquarius! Aquarius!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
and Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
The age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

As our hearts go beating through the night
We dance unto the dawn of day
To be the bearers of the water
Our light will lead the way

We are the spirit of the age of Aquarius
The age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
Angelic illumination
Rising fiery constellation
Travelling our starry courses
Guided by the cosmic forces
Oh, care for us; Aquarius

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Why we need to pray for President-elect Obama

The admonition to pray for Kings and rulers and those in authority was given to a 1st century church living under a Cesar who claimed deity, and killed Christians in the arena. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

The challenge many Evangelical professing Christians face is to be Christian in an Obama administration. We may not feel like it. We may detest and hate some of his policies, but we are not relived of the obligation to pray for OUR president even as 1st century Christians were obligated to pray not to, but for THEIR Cesar...

I do not agree with Christians that voted for Obama, but the fact that they did does not damn them to hell, or make them any less of a brother in Christ....

God is still sovereign. God still rules the history of this kosmos. Obama's election is from our Sovereign God's hand and as such we better be very careful what we say about it.... The question is not "Why?" The question is "Why not?" Are we so much better then those 1st century Christians? I think not.


~ The Billy Goat ~

Friday, October 24, 2008

Judge Diane Hathaway's Election Spin

It was an odd piece of campaign literature. Many of you who live in Michigan probably received it. From its initial appearance one would get the distinct impression that there was a possibility that hunting would not be a part of Michigan's future.

As you looked this piece of literature over, you find the assertion that current Michigan Supreme Court Justice Cliff Taylor is the culprit.

"Cliff Taylor cast the deciding vote on a case that bans people from hunting on their own private property."

But never fear! Hope is near. Diane Marie Hathaway is running for Michigan Supreme Court Justice, and she is going to uphold Michigan's proud heritage of hunting. Just vote for her for Michigan Supreme Court Justice instead of the incumbent Cliff Taylor.

A footnote on the inside page of this literature refers to the case of Czymbor's Timber, Inc. v City of Saginaw. The courts opinion on that case is on-line at Czymbor's Timber, Inc. v City of Saginaw .

A perusal of that opinion is revealing. The whole issue has to do with who in the state of Michigan has the authority to regulate where hunting is allowed in relation to who has authority to ban the discharge of weapons within the boundaries of a local unit of government. The dissent opinions focus on those issues, and the issue of private property, though important, was incidental to the legal issues in the case.

Now, though I do not hunt, I know people who do. Of the hunters I know, their number one concern is hunting safety and respect for the laws regulating hunting and the use of firearms and archery equipment while hunting. They recognize there are times and places where the government has authority to say how, when, and where hunting can take place, and that authority is exercised in the interests of safety and wildlife conservation management.

The bottom line is that in my reading of the court's opinion, the future of hunting on private land in the state of Michigan is not threatened by the majority opinion of the Michigan Supreme Court ruling in this case. Don't take my word for it. Go to the link above and read the opinion for yourself. It is also my judgement that this piece of campaign literature from Diane Hathaway is simply misleading.

But there is more. I have in my hand the 2008 Voter Guide from the Michigan Family Forum (MFF). In that guide I found the following:

Cliff Taylor is endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan, Citizens for Traditional Values, Michigan Fraternal Order of Police, Chamber of Commerce, and the Farm Bureau AGRIPAC. He was renominated for MI Supreme Court Justice by the Republican State Convention.

Diane Hathaway did not respond to the MFF's repeated requests for information. Oh by the way, she was nominated for MI Supreme Court Justice by the Democratic Party State Convention.

But there is still more. Check out the Judgepedia listing on Judge Diane Hathaway, and to be fair, here is the Judgepedia page for Judge Clifford Taylor .

The bottom line is that Hathaway's campaign piece on hunting is a blatant spin attempt to garner votes from hunters, and make a play for the "traditional values" voter.

Any guesses as to who I will be voting for in the race for Michigan Supreme Court Justice?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Bridge

To where do the bridges go?
The ones in my dreams
That arc high into the sky
To a far off place I can see
Only indistinctly,
But a place that beckons to me.

When I go on those bridges,
Up those high arcs
That defy design.
Only so far can I go.
Vision fades. I awake.
What is over there
I do not know,
But in those dreams
To that place I must go.
To where do the bridges go?

© Oct. 3, A.D. 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Story



In the beginning all was well
With the world new and fresh.
Unspoiled by death’s rot,
Untainted by evil’s breath.

Harmony in all creation
Dwelling in peace and joy
Existing in praise and song
And holy adoration.


Pride the first sin
Of the fallen arch-angel,
With hate and malice he brings
Into this perfect creation.

Fatal choice our parents make,
Those created in His image.
Now death shadows the earth.
Death infects their lineage.


Early promise made;
A proto-evangel.
A bitten heel;
A crushed head;
A promise of redemption.

A perfect Lamb of God;
A sacrifice for sinners..
A cross, an empty tomb,
Resurrection and ascension.


Seven seals
Seven trumpets,
Seven vials of wrath.
Vengeance is Mine says the Lord.
Judgment comes at last.

A New Heavens;
A New Earth;
A New creation singing.
Tears are wiped away;
Joy is everlasting.


(Revised September 27, AD 2008)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Use of the Word θλῖψις (thlîpsis) In the New Testament

Thayer’s Lexicon: a pressing, pressing together, pressure
Metaphor: oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

Translated in the NASB as:

Affliction: Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:17, Acts 7:10, 7:11, 20:23; 2 Corinthians 1:4 (2 times), 1:8, 2:4, 4:17, 6:4, 7:4, 8:2, 8:13; Philippians 4:14; Colossians 1:24, 1 Thessalonians 3:3, 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 1:6

Anguish: John 16:21

Distress: Philippians 1:17, James 1:27

Tribulation: Matthew 24:9, 24:21, 24:29; Mark 13:19, 13:24; John 16:33, Acts 14:22; Romans 2:9, 5:3, 8:35, 12:12; Ephesians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Hebrews 10:33; Revelation 1:9, 2:9, 2:10, 2:22, 7:14

Trouble: 1 Corinthians 7:28

This word study was precipitated by my involvement in a men's Bible study where we are studying the book of Revelation.

~ The Billy Goat ~

Friday, August 22, 2008

Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the Holocaust
(Graphic content)

It was real. It really happened. We must not forget....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mystic Mountain by Alan Hovhaness

I first heard Mystic Mountain on the radio many, many years ago, but I missed the composers name, and at that time did not have the Internet to help me find it. Earlier this year I came across this particular YouTube video, as well as a number of other works by Hovhaness also on video. The visual part of this video takes you on a ride into the Alps. As nice as that is, for myself it is enough once again to hear that beautiful music that captured my attention so many, many years ago. As a side note, I also found out a younger friend of mine had the privilege in his younger years of studying organ under Dr. Hovhanass.

Solo Deo Gloria!

~ The Billy Goat ~
Saint Paul Cathedral Choir: The Lord Bless You and Keep You

A friend had this posted on his blog. I checked my YouTube account and found I had already picked this as a favorite. Up to now I had not thought to post YouTube vidios here, so this is a trial run of sorts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and I will be posting more YouTube goodies in the future.


~ The Billy Goat ~
Hickory Dickory Dock Dissected

[This reconstruction is based on a recently found irrelevant manuscript. It is apparent the traditional rendition was based on some scribal glosses found in latter manuscripts.]

Hickory Dickory Dock...
The Moose ran up the clock...
The clock struck one...
The Moose weighed a ton.
No more Hickory Dickory Clock...

~ The Billy Goat ~
Political Parties We Need to See

Looking for some political alternatives? Here are a few suggestions...

The Michigan Free Soil Party: Everyone deserves a little dirt in their lives...

The Whig-Tory Coalition for the Restoration of the Monarchy: But would the Brits really want us back?

The Northern Rust Belt Preservation Alliance: Why should all the good jobs go south?

The Shire National Liberation Party: Frodo and Sam for 2008!

The House Elf-Freedom Front: Hermonie for President!

The Entwash Defense League: It is a dangerous thing to arouse an Ent!

The Muggle Coalition for Equality: Why should the Wizards have all the fun?

International Workers Union Alliance for the Restoration of Pluto to Planet Status: They just should not be picking on the little guy like that!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Let's Do The Math

The Earth is traveling around the Sun at a rate of 67,00 miles per hour. That comes to about 586,920,000 miles per year (give or take a little for Leap Years). One conclusion you can make from this is that you spend your life going around in circles. You may have already suspected that, but now you know.

But there is more.

The Sun is orbiting around the Milky Way Galaxy. I found differnt estimates as to the speed of that orbit so we'll use the more conservative one of 19.5 km/s. That calculates out to 43,620 miles per hour which comes to 382,375,179 miles per year.

But there is more yet.

From this article at Wikpedia, we read the following:

"Astronomers believe the Milky Way is moving at approximately 600 km per second relative to the observed locations of other nearby galaxies. Most recent estimates range from 130 km/s to 1,000 km/s. If the Galaxy is moving at 600 km/s, Earth travels 51.84 million km per day, or more than 18.9 billion km per year, about 4.5 times its closest distance from Pluto. The Galaxy is thought to be moving towards the constellation Hydra, and may someday become a close-knit member of the Virgo cluster of galaxies."

That 18.9 billion Km per year calculates out to 11,743,915,533 miles per year. After so many years of traveling all those miles while going around in circles, it's no wonder you feel tired out.

And how many miles is that? Take the 11.7 billion miles over an 80 year life span and you come up with over 939.5 billion miles.

There is only one thing you can say to that.

Life is a real trip....


~ The Billy Goat ~

PS: One more thing. If you live past the age of 85.5, your odometer will be over 1.0 Trillion miles.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Isaiah 40 – The Glory of God

[ Notes from a recent Adult Sunday school class I taught.]

Context: In Isaiah 39 the Prophet has given to Hezekiah the news that in the not to distant future, the Southern kingdom of Judah would be carried away into exile by the Babylonians. The northern kingdom of Isreal has already been conqured and carried away by the Assyrians. In the light of the impending exile, what was to come of the God's promises to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob? What about the promises to King David? What was going to happen to God's covenent people? It is at this point we come to Isaiah 40.

I. The Promise of Comfort and Reconciliation Vs, 1-8

  • A. Content of the Promise

    • - The Comfort of Forgiveness (1 – 2)

    • - The Revelation of the Glory of the LORD (3 – 5)

  • B. The Basis of the Promise – God’s Word Vs. 6-8

    • - The Comparison of Humanity to Grass and Flowers (6-7)

    • - The Comparison of Grass and Flowers to the Word of God (8)

II. The Good News Vs. 9-11

  • A. The Coming of the LORD (9-10)

  • B. His Care for His People (11)

III. The Glory of the God Who Will Accomplish These Things Vs, 12-26 (H. C. Leupold)

  • A. Compared to the World He Created (12-14)

  • B. Compared to the Nations (15-17)

  • C. Compared to Vain Idols (18-20)

  • D. Compared to the Mighty of This Earth (21-24)

  • E. Compared to All Else – Who else could make the stars? (25-27)

Conclusion: The LORD as the Source of All Power Vs. 28-31

  • - He does not grow faint or weary (28)

  • - He sustains His People (29-31)

    “…they who wait for the LORD…” Waiting on the LORD in the OT is a synonym for saving faith. (Leupold)

Application: These promises of God to the believing Jews of Isaiah’s time were based on the surety of His Word, and the surety of their accomplishment rested on His character and being as God. From this, we as His New Covenant people can take great comfort and encouragement in embracing the promises He has made to us.
A Responsive Reading of Isaiah 40 (ESV)

[ From time to time as I have opportunity to teach a Sunday school class, I find myself dealing with a passage of Scripture that lends itself to being responsively read. The advantage of a responsive reading is it gets the whole class involved in the passage, and in a way that in itself can be instructive. Isaiah 40 is one of those passages. ]

Narrator: (1) Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. (2) Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

Men: (3) A voice cries:

All: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (4) Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. (5) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Narrator: (6) A voice says,

Men: "Cry!"

Narrator: And I said, "What shall I cry?"

Ladies: All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. (7) The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass.

All: (8) The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Narrator: (9) Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah,

All: "Behold your God!"

Men: (10) Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.

Ladies: (11) He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Narrator: (12) Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Men: (13) Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? (14) Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

Ladies: (15) Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. (16) Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.

All: (17) All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

Narrator: (18) To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? (19) An idol!

All: A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. (20) He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move.

Narrator: (21) Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

Ladies: (22) It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; (23) who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

Men: (24) Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

Narrator: (25) To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.

Ladies: (26) Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?

All: He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

Narrator: (27) Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,

All: “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"?

Narrator: (28) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

Ladies: He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (29) He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Men: (30) Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

All: (31) but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Rapture" is not the issue.

I Thessalonians 4:

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


Both amillinalists and pre-millinialists agree that I Thessalonians 4: 13-18 is in the Bible and is a part of Holy Canon.

Both agree there will be a "coming of the Lord".

Both agree that at the time of the coming of the Lord, there will be beleivers alive upon the earth.

Both agree that those living believers that are upon the earth when the Lord comes will not experience death. That's the whole point of the above passage of Scripture.

In historical theology, the experience of those living believers in being "caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air," has been designated as the rapture, and "rapture" is a very appropriate term to describe that event.

There is nothing in the context of this passage that clearly indicates or demands that this rapture will be pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation, pre-millennial, or post-millennial. Assertions from all views as to the timing are based on presuppositions brought to the passage, not from the passage itself.


The eschatological debates between the different viewpoints do not have anything to do with the fact of the rapture, but they have everything to do with the timing of that rapture.


My Dispensational Pre-millennial friends need to recognize and acknowledge that a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture is not a sine qua non of the Biblical doctrine of the rapture. It is not at all fair or true that a person does not believe in the rapture because they do not hold to a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture.

My Reformed A-millennial friends need to stop dissing the rapture concept just because of the extremes of the Hal Lindseys and Tim LaHays within the Dispensational pre-millennial school. What they need to do is affirm and acknowledge the Biblical concept and challenge our Dispensational friends when they make a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture a sin qua non of the Biblical doctrine.

Eschatological views need to be held with some what of a loose hand. One point of eschatology that I am firmly convinced of is that when all is said and done, though we will find we got some things right, none of us will have it all and totally right.


~ The Billy Goat ~

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Price of a Shave

I was out of razor blades. I tend to use a razor blade until it literally hurts. A box of 5 razor blade cartridges will last a long time.

While at the store to pick up a prescription refill at the pharmacy, I remembered I needed to get some more razor blades. I was hit with sticker shock. The package I usually get was priced almost $ 3.00 more then what I paid the last time. What's up with that???!!!

OK. The scrap metal yards have got to the point they need the security of a Fort Knox to keep the scrap metal thieves out. The scrap metal thieves are thriving because the price of metals is going up. So I reason I should expect the price of my razor blades will be going to go up. I get the blades, pick up my prescription, pay up, and head home.

But there is more.

In the morning I' reached that point in the morning ritual where it's time to shave. I take my trusty razor out, pop off the old razor cartridge and reach for a new one.

What in the world is this? My old cartridge has three small metal blades. The new cartridge has only two small metal blades. I check the rest of the blade cartridges in the new box. Two blades! That's all they had. What's up with that???!!!

There I am! Not only do I have to pay more for my razor blades, but I'm getting 1/3 less for my money. More for less!!! Bummer......

You've heard of booming economies in places like China and India and other countries clawing their way out of 3rd world status into the industrialized age. That's why metal prices are going up. The increasing demand in these industrializing countries is creating demand that is driving metal prices up, up, up.

And it's not just metals. Raw chemical materials used in the manufacturing process; soda ash, per-carbonate, enzymes, surfactants, and etc, all the different kinds of stuff going into the household products you take for granted. Worldwide demand is going up and so are prices.

The scramble is on to develop alternative sources, alternative materials, and alternative formulations. R&D is more vital then ever.

As I thought of this another thought came into my mind. Would it not indeed be ironic if capitalism and free enterprise ended up being the great leveler that Marx thought Communism would be? Would it not be ironic that as the poorer countries in the world move towards wealth and plenty, we in the developed countries found our standard of living actually lower because of the price pressures from a growing world wide marketplace?

Of course as prices escalate, market forces are suppose to find answers through innovation and all the other things free markets are suppose to do. And I believe for the most part that will happen, but there is in the back of my mind the idea that when you get to the bottom line, we who have much will be learning to get along with less. That’s not entirely bad. After all… “Man does not live by bread alone…”

Shaloam... ~ The Billy Goat ~

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Heart Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Today I had an echo-cardiogram. Not becuse of anything life threatening, but because Doc wanted me to and said I should.

I've had several over the years, and each time I lay there on the table with the wires hooked up to me in several various places, and my eyes scrunched upwards to see the images on the screen.

There it is. My heart... Beating away, pulsating and when the doppler is on you hear the chug-a-chugging. It's absoulutly amazing!

You start doing the simple math. Fifty nine years plus some more months added for when that heart was beating while still in momma's womb.... I suppose someone who wanted to could calculate out the number of pulses this muscle has puulsed over all that time; all I know is it's a whole lot of steady un-ending beats. Of course we know that if the Lord should tarry, the day will come when that muscle called the heart will stop beating.

There is simply no way that this awesome muscle we call the heart came about by random chance over zillions of years. Just no way... What a marvel of God's creative design and power. Solo Deo gloria!!!

~ The Billy Goat ~

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Brian McClaren File

This Changes Everything: An Interview with Brian McLaren
posted by Melvin Bray @ 2/06/2008

"Q: Some might say that heretofore environmentalism, conservationism and other such movements have been very much focused on staving off the catastrophe that is our inevitable future. In this perhaps they find some small common ground with the predominant trends in eschatology. In what ways do you believe the way of Jesus speaks into these convergent themes of inevitable doom, transforming them into meaningful efforts of hope and sustainability?

A: Many Christians seem to believe that God’s relationship with the universe is deterministic, that God has already filmed the future in his mind, and what we’re seeing unfold in history is the showing of a movie that’s already “in the can” so to speak. I don’t believe that. I believe God’s relationship with creation—including us—is interactive. God gives us warnings, which are an invitation to change our ways. God gives us promises, which are an invitation to persevere when the going gets tough. A great example is the prophet Jonah. He was sent to Nineveh to prophesy doom, in hopes that the people would repent so the prophecy wouldn’t come true."

[Brian misses again.... For him God is not sovereign. What about all the prophecy that was fulfilled?]

Interview with Author Brian McLaren
~ by Samir Selmanovic Sep 18, 2007

"This is really one of the key themes of my life – this belief that the issue isn’t Christianity, but Jesus. Depending on your background and what you’re exposed to, the Christian religion can have more or less credibility and appeal. But Jesus has an almost universal appeal. So that’s where I want to work from – not a “Christianity-centered” viewpoint, but from a Christ-centered viewpoint. In the book, I try to take Jesus’ teachings and example and show what resources they can bring to people today in grappling with global crises – whatever the religion of the people is who are getting involved. I don’t want to make the Christian religion the issue, or Western Civilization the issue, or whatever … I want to help people see the resources that Jesus offers to everybody as we and future generations face unprecedented global crises."

[ Is it just me, or is this another reiteration of the old quest for the "historical Jesus"?]

Leaders call 'Emerging Church Movement' a threat to Gospel Posted on Mar 23, 2005 by David Roach

"When asked whether a person must trust Christ as dying to make atonement for sin in order to be a Christian, McLaren replied, "I want to help people understand everything they can about the cross. ... I wouldn't say that having that understanding (Jesus dying as a substitute for sinful humanity) is all that it means to be a Christian. I think that some people might have that understanding and not be interested in following Jesus. They want Jesus' blood to pay for their sins so they can go to heaven, but they aren't really interested in following Jesus in this life."..."

[So what if "some people might have that understanding and not be interested in following Jesus." What a few "might" do invalidates the doctrine? Maybe it is not all there is to being a Christian but the Apostle Paul makes it a pretty core and indispensable item in I Cor. 15.]

Saturday, May 24, 2008


We went into the restaurant and the hostess directed our group to a table. We sat down. A waitress came and took orders for drinks.

"Coffee with cream. Thank you."

I looked through the menu, There were the familiar items this particular restaurant chain always has, and there were a few new things I may have seen, but never tried.

Then I noticed the stir fry dishes. Stir fried veggies and your choice of meat over rice. OK... Sounds healthier then some of the usual stuff. Maybe I'll try it.

The waitress returned with our drinks and then proceeded to take our orders. I ordered the stir fry and choose chicken as the meat selection for the stir fry.

It was the banana bread, biscuits, and dinner rolls that did me in. The bread is always brought out first so you can munch on it while waiting for the main dish. Problem is it fills you up and then dinner is served and the portions are relatively large.

The stir fry was actually ok, though the seasoning sauce on the rice was a little to much. I ate the veggies and the chicken pieces, and even managed some of the rice, but finally came to the point where the adage to "clean your plate" has to give way to the concerns for un-necessary over-eating... I was plain stuffed, and made the decision to not finish the remaining rice that was still upon the plate.

I looked at that rice. There was more food left over on that plate then many people in this fallen world eat in a given day let alone at a single meal. In fact there are people in the world who would consider that amount of rice to be a real feast. I also sadly reflected on the fact I was not going to be able to package that leftover rice up and send it to those hungry people....

Yes, I could have asked for a box, and taken the leftovers home with me, but this particular time I chose not to.

What's the answer... Whatever it is, the answer is NOT socialism... Historically Socialism gets an "F" when it comes to feeding hungry people...

We were done eating. The waitress came and cleared the dishes. I doubt very much that my leftover rice was going to be "recycled". The Health Department would make sure of that.....

My leftover rice gets thrown out, and somewhere in this fallen world a child is literally starving to death... I utter the "D" word to myself....

Maybe next time, I'll make my choice from the senior citizen part of the menu... But even then someone will still go to bed without having had anything to eat that day... Again I utter the “D” word to myself.

Come quickly Lord Jesus....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

No Place for Complacency
David Wells on The Courage to Be Protestant. Interview by Collin Hansen

During the last 15 years, David Wells has cried out like a voice in the wilderness against the ills of modern evangelicalism. His latest book, The Courage to Be Protestant, conveys the essence of his argument in four preceding books: No Place for Truth (1993), God in the Wasteland (1994), Losing Our Virtue (1998), and Above All Earthly Pow'rs (2005). Wells, the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, spoke with CT editor at large Collin Hansen about "truth-lovers, marketers, and Emergents in the postmodern world."

Click on link above for full article from Christianity Today.
Chicken/Road and Imperialistic Order

[Satire] To ask why the chicken crossed to road is to miss the point, and any answer given is an irrelevancy. The only truth-reality in the incident of the chicken crossing the road is that which the chicken constructed for itself. What comes to us from that reality-perception is colored and distorted becoming for us only narrative myth.

We have no way of knowing if the chicken ever really existed at all, let alone that it crossed a road; however, the narrative myth meets us and we encounter in that story not the reality-construct of the chicken, but our own encounter with the chicken/road concept colored by our own meaning and our own reality-perception.

Our imperialistic notions of "chicken" and "road" thus become exposed, and we can then reconstruct those concepts into a broader narrative-mythology that will meet the need for a chicken/road construct consistent with the demands of current post-modern thought patterens. [/Satire]
Step Into Eternity

I am walking home from work. I take a step, then another, then another. Each step takes x amount of time. Time from our mortal finite perspective only goes forward. A nano-second gone by can not be recovered.

Science can not explain why we die. It can observe we die from auto accidents, cancer, or by means of homicide, or what ever. Science can only observe that we die, but does not explain why we get older, weaker, slower, more and more feeble, and at some point or another we physically expire. Science can only observe and describe the process. It can not explain why the process happens.

So we step through this mortal life to the end, and then eternity. The same with breathing. Breath in. Breath out. Nano-seconds of our life flying by never to be recovered. In... Out... In... Out... Step. Step. Stepping towards eternity...

How many non-seconds are you closer to eternity since you first started to read this?

Some think eternity is oblivion. We die and that's it. Others see eternity as a cosmic Merry-go-round, as we take various forms and shapes whirling around on some great mandela. The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die, then the judgment. The Bible points to the resurrection from the dead, and the new heavens and new earth. The Bible also talks about hell.

Step by step. Step by step. Step by step towards eternity, not knowing at what un-escapable moment we will take that last step... That last step into eternity. Are you ready?

~ The Billy Goat ~

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recognizing the Phenomena of Evangelical Commonality and Embracing It

A Reformed Christian hears a particular sermon by a Dispensatonal Preacher, and finds him or her self in substantial agreement with that sermon. A Dispensational Christian hears a particular sermon by a Reformed Preacher and finds him or her self in substantial agreement with that sermon. A Baptist happens to visit a Lutheran Church and hears a particular sermon, and says to himself that sounds pretty "Evangelical".

What's going on in each of these incidents?

The Dispensational Preacher is still a Dispensaionalist. The Reformed Preacher is still Reformed. The Lutheran Pastor is still Lutheran. What is happening in each of the above cases is the hearer is recognizing a certain degree of theological commonality with the Preacher.

This kind of reaction and response that can be observed among the differing Evangelical denominations, church groups, and Evangelical theological camps is what I have chosen to call the phenomena of "Evangelical Commonality". This commonality comes out of the fact that amidst the differences that define the various theological camps of the Evangelical world, there is to varying degrees a common shared theological consensus that gives common meeting ground between those various camps.

Case in point: Many Dispensationalists are very Calvinistic. More then a few might tell you they are a 4 point, or 4 1/2 point, or even a full blown 5 point Calvinist. That means that on the issue of soteriology, from 80 to 100% of what they say is in sync with what the Reformed Pastor down the street is saying about that subject. But when you get into issues of eschatology and the relation of the Old Testament to the New Testament, the issues that define each groups difference from one another are clear.

For the most part, much of the Evangelical world intuitively understands this phenomena of Evangelical commonality and embraces it, taking it for granted. They hear a radio preacher like Chuck Swindol or John MacArthur, or Allister Begg, and appreciate these men for upholding fundamental foundational evangelical truth. It is not a matter of these men being Baptist, or Presbyterian, or Methodist, or Calvinist, or any other name you want to use to describe your Church or theology. It is a recognition instead of shared beliefs that cut across the lines of those denominational and theological camps.

In a previous post I took our Reformed Baptist friends to task for a persistent nagging tendency on the part of of some of them to want to claim this preacher or that preacher for their "Reformed Baptist" camp. This is a failure to embrace the concept of Evangelical commonality. Part of the reason for this failure is the prevalent tendency in recent Reformed Baptist history (the past 30 some years) to define the RB movement by those things that distinguish RB's from the rest of the Evangelical world. This tendency, (which I personally observed over many years), feeds an "us verses them" mentality that focuses on separateness from the rest of the Evangelical world, instead of recognizing the Evangelical commonality the Reformed Baptist movement shares with the rest of the Evangelical world.

I am not asking RB's or anyone else to give up their distinctives. But I am asking RB's as well as all other Evangelical groups and theological camps to hold those distictives in balance with that Evangelical commonality that to some degree or another, we all share with one another.

To put it in other words, I am asking the Reformed Baptist movement to acknowledge and embrace that Evangelical commonality. Why? Because until they do, they will continue to remain on the outskirts of the Evangelical world in spite of the clear basic Evangelical character of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

If you choose to remain on the outskirts, that is your choice, and it is an unfortunate choice. It is also unfortunate that you will have to live with the consequence of that choice. Based on the history of other groups and movements who made that same choice, those consequences are not very pretty.

"So and so" may not be a Reformed Baptist, but they are an Evangelical brother. Can you in Christian love accept and embrace that without giving them your particular label? May God Almighty help you to do so...


~ The Billy Goat ~

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Preaching of the Gospel

The First London Baptist Confesson of Faith 1646 , Chapter XXV.

"The preaching of the gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely free; no way requiring as absolutely necessary, any qualifications, preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law, but only and alone the naked soul, a sinner and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead and buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Savior for such sinners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him.

John 3:14,15, 1:12; Isa. 55:1; John 7:37; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 4:5, 5:8; Acts 5:30,31, 2:36, 1 Cor. 1:22,24."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The True Christian Sabbath

The "sabbatismos" that remains for the people of God has nothing to do with a day of the week. The Hebrews 4:9-10 passage has to be grossly wrenched out of its wider context to say that. Yes, we are obligated to keep the Sabbath, but that Sabbath we are to keep has nothing to do with a day of the week, but on the contrary has everything to do with resting and remaining in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone.

It is my observation that churches that maintain a Puritan view of the Christian Sabbath as the observation of a specific day of the week, inevitably without exception end up being legalistic in other areas as well.

~ The Billy Goat ~

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where is the author's respect for Scripture?

A Review of Martha Peace's "The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective"
(Focus Publishing,1999)

A number of years ago my wife was reading this book and came to me in frustration. My wife's frustration had its roots in Peace's very loose and inadequate exegesis of Scriptures. In my own examination there were more then a few cases where applications were made of parts of Scripture that had nothing to do with the intent and purpose of the passage cited.

Anyone reading any of Peace's books need to do so with an open Bible and a critically exegetical eye. The author's miss-exegesis did not indicate an understanding of what respect for God's Word demands in terms of careful and respectful handling. I told my wife I did not want her to read this book. She gladly "submitted" to my wishes.

As a Christian man, I take exception to the lop-sided emphasis on the wife "submitting" without taking the husbands to task about loving their wife as Christ loves the church. In Ephesians, Paul devoted more time and words to the husband than he did to the wife. And that for a VERY good reason. Could it just be that if husbands were held accountable for loving their wife, the wife just might find it a joy to properly submit? The lop-sided berating of wives found in some parts of the Christian church does not fit the Biblical balance.

I find the sub-title "A Biblical Perspective" frankly miss-leading. Don't waste your money on it. My wife and I found a better and much more helpful alternative in Dr. Larry Crabb's The Marriage Builder.

~ The Billy Goat ~