Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Duke and the Gals

I will be giving this talk for Christian for Biblical Equality on September 24 at the Executive Board Room of Denver Seminary. Lunch starts at 11:30.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.,

Duke Ellington, The Ministry of Women,
and the Mission of God
It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing—Duke Ellington.

I.                  The Story of SS

A.    Gifted young servant of God, teacher, pure heart

B.    But is a woman stepping into teaching roles at a seminary and the church, as well as at secular schools.

C.    Not received as she should be because she is a woman

II.              The Mission of God

A.    To make himself known to the world:

1.      John 1:1-5, 14, 18

2.      Matthew 28:18-20

B.    In order to be rightly worshiped as the one true God (Philippians 2:5-11)

C.    In order to restore shalom and expand his Kingdom in every area of life through the preaching and living of the Gospel (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:1-8)

III.          Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974)

A.    Duke’s philosophy of race and music

1.      Deserve respect by your playing of jazz and living

a.      Spend “time in the woodshed”

b.     Master your “chops”—alone and with others

c.      Improvisation (see Ted Gioia, The Imperfect Art)

d.     Have big ears (listen)

e.      See Harvey Cohen, Duke Ellington’s America (Oxford, 2011)

2.      He was articulate in music and in speaking

Example: “Afro-Eurasian Eclipse” (audio clip)

3.      Was patient in advancing jazz music and his race, but insistent

4.      He supported his other musicians and was a showman, but not a prima donna

a.      Always introduced his band affectionately and with respect

b.     Paul Gonsalves tenor saxophone solo at Newport Jazz Festival in 1958

IV.           Women in Ministry for the Mission of God

A.    The mission of God is primary (play jazz well), not women’s equality (demand recognition; or use of affirmative action)

1.      Time in the woodshed (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14)

2.      Master your chops (Malachi 2:7; Titus 2:7-8)

a.      Research, writing

b.     Speaking (1 Peter 4:11)

B.    Earn the right to be heard through excellence in research, writing, teaching, preaching, and living. See Andreas Kostenberger, Excellence (Crossway, 2011).  Kostenberger is a traditionalist, though.

C.    Be patient, but insistent

D.   Be a team player and support others in the cause (1 Corinthians 13)

Further Readings on Jazz, Women in Ministry, and the Mission of God
1.      Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Finding a Jazz-Shaped Faith (Zondervan, 2009). See my review of this book at Denver Journal (2010) at:
2.      Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus (Wadsworth, 2003), chapter seven, “Jesus’ View of Women.”
3.      Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict (1994; Wipf and Stock reprint).
4.      Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Good News for Women (Baker Books, 1997).
5.      Rebecca Merrill Groothuis and Ronald Pierce, eds., Discovering Biblical Equality (InterVarsity Press, 2004).
6.      Kevin Whitehead, What is Jazz? (Oxford, 2011).
7.      Christopher Wright, The Mission of God (InterVarsity Press, 2006).
8.      Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People (InterVarsity Press, 2010).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Another Obama Lie

American embassies are aflame around the globe, and Obama says this is not a sign of Islamic anti-Americanism. That is utterly and dangerously false.

Vote for Romney-Ryan--if you still respect America more than Islam.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

From Huxley to Orwell

Years ago, I was arrested and provoked by a literary comparison made by the estimable social and media critic, Neil Postman. In the introduction to his seminal book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman compared two dystopic and well-known novels: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell. Postman claimed that we were then (1985) living in a kind of Huxlian world, a world in which the state need not legally enslave us or ban books or “flush things down the memory hole.” The last phrase comes from Orwell, whose nightmare scenario is that of totalitarianism: a boot stamping a human face forever. Postman convincingly argues in his inimitable clear, clever, and sober style that we are “amusing ourselves to death” through our infatuation with television and other technologies. These devices have an “ecological effect,” in changing our entire sensory environment—a point he develops in several books, including Technopoly.  The state need not impose its brutal will on willing slaves—those who refuse to think critically or understand history. These sheeple pose no threat. They are too diverted, too a-mused (which means “not thinking”).

For many years, I have agreed with Postman’s theory. But now, twenty-five years after first reading the book (and I have read it three times), I realize that our “brave new world” can easily become a “1984.” In other words, the Huxlian world of stupefied (but well-entertained, of course) drones provide the prelude to the total statism of Orwell’s nightmare. An energized and ideologically-directed politician is never content with the status quo. His political vision requires more: remaking the human in the image of the state. The previous stupefaction dismantled critical thinking, a knowledge of history, and a concern for truth (acedia). Now the sheeple can be penned in, totally directed, and redefined as “political animals” in the worst sense possible (and not Aristotle’s).

That, I suggest, is the state in which we find ourselves. Oblivion of one kind paves the way for oblivion of another kind. Or: stupefaction leads to statification—at least when the right man is in place. If Barack Obama wins a second turn, this will be our fate. May God have mercy

Wisdom from Schaeffer

“Christians must realize that there is a difference between being a cobelligerent and an ally. At times you will seem to be saying exactly the same thing as the New Left elite or the Establishment elite. If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice. If we need order, say we need order. In these cases, and at these specific points, we would be cobelligerents. But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: You are an ally of neither. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either – totally different.”
--The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Co-belligerency and the 2012 Election

Many Christians are unaware of the principle of co-belligerency in matters of public life. Briefly, it is based on two biblical principles: natural law (Rom. 2:14-5) and the commonweal (Jeremiah 19:7). This matters for this election and the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

1. One does not need to be a Christian to discern basic principles of right and wrong. In fact, some non-Christians understand morality better than some Christians. This has nothing to do with salvation, but with moral knowledge, in politics and elsewhere.

2. The church is not the whole of life. Christians are citizens of heaven first, but also citizens of earth and put here to have dominion and be salt and light. We should seek the good of the city to which we are exiled, as Jeremiah put it.

3. Therefore, it is no sin for a Christian to vote for someone who is not a Christian, if that non-Christian has more moral and political knowledge than his opponent, and if he or she is more likely to contribute to the commonweal. Mitt Romney would not be Pastor-in-Chief, but Commander-in-Chief. His beliefs align with those of our Founders far better than our present President, who, in his own words wants to "fundamentally transform America"--meaning: undo the Constitution and cut America down to size. (See "2016: Obama's America" on this for a keen abductive argument that explains Obama to a "T".) Romney has experience in fixing dire problems, such as the Olympics and failing businesses. Obama has fixed nothing, but has exacerbated economic, moral, and military problems nearly beyond control.

4. Therefore: Vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and contribute to their campaign any way you can.

Economics 101

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates…. [A]n economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits.” Democratic President, John F. Kennedy, 1963.

Friends, this is supply side economics. It works: Kennedy knew it; Reagan knew it. See also the Laffer curve for the details in economics.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Eleven Items of Infamy

To those who "like" Obama, you like:

1. Abortion on demand, paid for by tax dollars. You also like "partial birth abortions," which Obama supports and would have us pay for if he gets his way
2. Declining freedom of religion, due to statism.
3. Enormous debt with no plan to fix it. We become like Greece in 2-3 years.
4. Cutting our military in a terribly dangerous world.
5. A Constitution viewed 
as a "living document," meaning it is manipulated by the Supreme Court.
6. Marriage re-defined as same-sex and to be supported as such by civil government.
7. More long-term unemployment, due to Keynesian (at best!) principles which always fail. Is this good for "the poor"?
8. Government take over of health care, meaning less choice, more debt, and rationing by state panels.
9. A President who plays golf (over 100 times thus far) more than he meets with his "jobs counsel." (This might be good, though.)
10. A man who wants to cut America down to size and who does not believe in American exceptionalism: that is, liberty under God's law.
11. A man who has never fixed anything, who knows nothing of business or how the private sector works, and who is arrogant beyond belief.

And you have the nerve to "like" this man? If so, do not vote for him. Send him an air kiss instead.

Monday, September 03, 2012


"Love is an inescapable mystery that has stymied many of the best of philosophers, poets, and prophets. Yet love finds its answer-philosophically, theologically, and existentially-in the person of a crucified Jew, who, two thousand years ago, manifested the greatest love of all and who gathers all other loves under his suffering arms." Forward by Douglas Groothuis in Leaving Dirt Place by Jonah Haddad. Page X.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Denver Seminary’s New Christian Apologetics and Ethics Master’s Degree

 "Douglas Groothuis has established the reputation of being one of the best apologists and Christian philosophers in the Evangelical community. Now he has developed a new and exciting program in Christian apologetics and ethics. This program is very important in light of contemporary culture, and any student who studies with Groothuis and his colleagues will get first-rate training. I highly recommend this program."  JP Moreland

            In August, 2012, Denver Seminary launched a new Master of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics and Ethics. The purpose and mission of this degree is to train students to ably defend the faith and wisely engage culture, thus advancing the mission of God through Christian apologetics and ethics. There are many good reasons to study this subject in Denver as opposed to elsewhere similar degrees are offered. Here are nine of those reasons.

(1) The Christian Apologetics and Ethics degree is broad in scope yet focused in mission. Students will be able to immerse themselves deeply in the field of apologetics and ethics, while being taught by a faculty acutely aware of our purpose to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Moreover, students will have the opportunity to grow in their understanding of philosophy, theology, and cultural criticism in order to deepen apologetics skills and become knowledgeable, discerning ministers of the Gospel.

(2) Students will be able to sit in classes sized appropriately for the development of relationships with each other and with their professors. Douglas Groothuis, a top-notch Christian philosopher, experienced apologist, and the author of a leading apologetics textbook on the market (in addition to ten other books), is the primary professor. Dr. Groothuis is not only a gifted thinker, but he is an outstanding teacher committed to personally attending to his students’ intellectual and spiritual growth.

(3) Students will have the opportunity to take core classes from Craig Blomberg, a world-renowned New Testament scholar and apologist. Dr. Blomberg is a prolific author, who has written, among other books, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, Jesus and the Gospels, and The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel. Blomberg is also a leading and respected authority in the field of New Testament studies and historical Jesus studies. Furthermore, Dr. Blomberg is extremely accessible and loves to meet with and get to know his students.

(4) One of the leading Old Testament and ancient Near East scholars in the world, Richard Hess, is a full-time faculty member, and teaches part of the core curriculum in the Old Testament department. In his classes, he ably addresses important apologetic issues such as violence in the Bible, and the reliability of the Old Testament documents.

(5) Along with Craig Blomberg and Richard Hess, Denver Seminary’s biblical studies and Christian thought faculty will help the Apologetics and Ethics student gain a robust biblical studies and theological education, which will serve to bolster their apologetics skills.

(6) Students in this program will become well-versed in ethics, apologetic methodology, natural theology, arguments for the reliability of the Bible, comparative religion, thus being carefully groomed and equipped for wise cultural engagement and leadership.

(7) While being academically rigorous, this program serves to prepare students for a life of ministry. Having a background in Christian apologetics and ethics is beneficial to campus ministry, youth ministry, or work in para-church organizations. The ethics, philosophy, and critical thinking elements of this degree will help equip those who want to go on to law school, or become involved in politics. The degree will also help pastors to better answer difficult questions of their congregants, as well as to train those in their care to do the same. Furthermore, writing skills are an important component of this degree, and those who go through the program will be well-equipped to write for newspapers and magazines, and to publish articles or even books.

(8) Denver Seminary has cultivated an atmosphere of study and fellowship. The campus boasts an expansive library, with many conference rooms and study areas. Additionally, the seminary recently completed a new student center, complete with comfortable seating, a stone fireplace, and a full-service coffee and snack bar.

(9) Denver Seminary is a short drive from the Rocky Mountains, and students can enjoy the beautiful mountain view and sunny weather most days of the year.

The Christian Apologetics and Ethics program is intellectually deep, personally intimate, and set within a respected educational institution. For those individuals interested in learning how to defend historic Christianity, think more carefully, write more persuasively, speak more clearly, and be mentored by some of the sharpest minds in the field, this new program is worth your attention, and perhaps a visit.

For more information:

            Official website:
            “Like” us on Facebook:
            Follow us on Twitter: @DSApologetics

Written by Sarah C. Geis, M.A., graduate of Denver Seminary. If you have any questions about the program, you are welcome to contact her at