Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Should Know About This Man: Francis Schaeffer

Oh, It's Exotic!

My yogurt container says "exotic" on it. Can a mass produced food product be "exotic"? Moreover, if anything is exotic, would it need to say so? If a person is "exotic" (or "erotic"), would he or she need to wear a button saying so?

My, how words are abused to try to manipulate us. The answer to this vexation is to love words and to hate their abuse.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bravo to Roger Scruton

Here is a positively brilliant distillation of the difference between conservativism and modern liberalism, written by the polymathic philosopher and conservative social critic, Roger Scruton. If you voted for Obama, read this, ponder, and repent.

Musing on Monk

New post at my new blog: Jazz Notes. It is on an epistemological insight derived from Thelonious Monk.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No Answers to Real Problem: Jihad

Our country, at the national level, is being run by ideologically blind, deaf, and dumb ignoramuses, who put us all at risk of death and dismemberment. Read Frank Gaffney on the recent Omabanaut response to the underwear bomber.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Guest Post From Sarah Geis on Donald Miller

Here is an example of the decay of Christian literature: "[I asked myself] what if I tried to live a movie? So I experimented with it and that is what this book is about." -Donald Miller on his recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

We must carefully guard our minds against the dulling effects of such inane triviality by steeping ourselves in truly great works like those of Charles Spurgeon, John Flavel, Jonathan Edwards, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis. The ultimate antidote to contemporary superficiality is, of course, the Bible itself. Authors like Miller, who foolishly approach life as though it were simply one large egocentric playground in which truth doesn't really exist in any consequential manner, often tragically enjoy the position of the only author with which an individual has interacted for quite some time. Why? Because despite the vacuousness and even erroneousness of their books, these authors are entertaining. In a culture where the barrage of cheap entertainment is so constant that it presents a corrosive threat to the intellect, we must take extra care to keep our minds sharp.

The Living and the Dead

The New York Times, Time, and other periodicals are running obituaries of notable people to threw off their mortal coils and entered eternity this year. (That's not how they put it.) Some of these are worth reading; others not. But what needs to be known is this: Who really lived this year?! Tell me, tell me...

And Obama Did Nothing to Support the Iranian People Against Their Dictator

From Time Magazine:

We'll never know the man who stood in front of those tanks in Tiananmen Square, but we do know Neda Agha-Soltan: we've looked into her eyes. For one gut-wrenching moment, as she lay dying from the bullet in her heart on that Tehran side street last June, Neda stared directly into the cell phone that was about to immortalize her. Within hours, millions of people around the world had been beseeched by those fading eyes, making an intimate connection with the 27-year-old music student and the cause for which she was killed by the thugs of an embattled regime. Before Neda's murder, the street protests against Iran's stolen election had been a revolution without a face, doomed to be crushed by brute authority and eventually forgotten. But Neda's dying gaze drew the eyes of the world. We can neither look away nor forget.

— Bobby Ghosh

Read more:,28804,1946375_1946333,00.html#ixzz0axEolIOB

Digging Digg?

I just joinged Digg. What do you think of it? How do you use it? I'd like it to pursue issues I am interested in.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Social Media

The authors of a study on social technology are interviewed, and my forgotten book, The Soul in Cyberspace, is quoted.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sign of the times

Terrorist tries to blow up a US flight coming into Detroit.

More Bad Obama News

From The Wall Street Journal. What Obama socialized medicine would mean for surgical decisions: very bad news.

Holiday for Outsiders

Holidays can extract much pain from those outside the system of the normal--those afflicted, wounded, lamenting, wondering how to cope with another day with yet another setback, insurance denial, anger from those who cannot--or will not--empathize. While others congregate to celebrate, the chronically ill often remain alone at home, or what's left of it. The contrasts hurt.

And yet, and yet... There are simple joys to be had. Memories to remember. Hope for the future. Grace to be grasped. One can always cast oneself on God, the God who came near and remains near in Christ Jesus. This God refuses no humble tears and has wounds of his own--healed, but still felt.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Helpless before beauty.
Undone by truth.

Refined by reality.
Repulsed by banality.

Fascinated by facticity.
Bored with inanity.
Defined by divinity.
Redefined by humanity.
Edited by eternity.

New Reality TV: Ignoramus No More

You have seen make-over, reality TV shows: ugly ducklings become darlings; fat losers become thin winners. Of course, I have not seen any, but I have read about them. I propose a new version of this genre: Ignoramus No More.

1. The program finds the most stupefied, addled, ignoramus available. This should not be difficult. Find someone who went to a public (statist) school, watches hours of TV a day, plays video games endlessly, listens to rap, and is addicted all manner of popular culture. Igoramus must be of average intellilgence (insofar as that is possible to ascertain).

2. Isolate Ignoramus from all popular culture for three months. A special compound will be built for this task.

3. Make Ignoramus read challenging books by classic authors such as Augustine, Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Dostoevsky, T.S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis as well as the entire Bible. He keeps a running vocabulary book, writing down and defining words he does not know. The book will likely contain hundreds of entries. He must also memorize key passages from this literature.

4. Ignoramus must spend long periods of time not sleeping, not meditating (in the Eastern sense) not reading, not exercising, but sitting and thinking.

5. Ignoramus must listen to audio courses on things he knows nothing about: Western civilization, the history of philosophy, and the history of art.

6. Ignoramus is tutored by experts in the above subjects. He must write papers on these subjects and pass oral examinations on them as well. No multiple choice or true/false examinations will be given.

7. Ignoramus is given lessons in speaking well. His present vocabulary is expunged of "I mean," "you know," "um," "awesome," and other emotive vacuities. Instead, he learns how to speak in complete sentences with aptly chosen words, spoken at the proper time.

8. After this three-month immersion, Ignoramus gives a one hour speech on prime time TV concerning the results of his immersion into this strange world of learning.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Book Review: Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life

Colin Duriez, Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008, hardback, 240 pages with index.

The historical significance of recently occurring events is rarely understood in the present or even for several years-or decades-later. (For that matter, historians are still debating the meaning and significance of the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and so on). A biblical writer can capture the ultimate significance of an act and put it into both a cosmic and theological context of perennial value, given divine inspiration. But the uninspired historian is, of course, differently situated and imperiled by sins of omission, commission, and misinterpretation. Even the best hindsight of professional historians is less than 20/20, being somewhat tentative and open to revision.

Francis A. Schaeffer, evangelist, apologist, pastor, author, and social critic, died at the age of 72 in 1984 after a long and heroic battle with cancer. In approximately the last twenty years of his life, Schaeffer attained notoriety as one who knew how to speak Christian truth to those experiencing the upheavals of the counterculture. Although his first book, The God Who is There (1968), was not published until he was in his late fifties, Schaeffer and his inestimable wife Edith (a writer herself), had pioneered a Christian community in the Swiss Alps in 1955 called L'Abri that became a hub for Christian hospitality, conversation, apologetics and evangelism in the modern world. His lecture tours around Europe and the United States, such as at Wheaton College, were also becoming widely known and respected. In 1960, Time Magazine called him a "missionary to intellectuals." Schaeffer went on to write over twenty books on apologetics, theology, and ethics. Most of these were developed from lecture transcripts or were aided by considerable editorial assistance. Schaeffer's great strength was discussion and lecturing, not crafting the academic manuscript. In fact, for all his status as a Christian intellectual, Schaeffer did not hold an earned doctorate and never held a full-time academic post, although he taught as an adjunct periodically at Covenant Seminary.

Colin Duriez is a freelance writer and biography and, importantly, was a student at the Schaeffer's Swiss L'Abri Ministry. Duriez has a firm grasp of the considerable Schaeffer corpus, but there is so much more to Schaeffer than his books, which were, in some ways, an afterthought that came after many years of ministry in the United States and Europe. Duriez makes very good use of extensive interviews with members of the Schaeffer family and of his associates such as Os Guinness, and Schaeffer's students. Duriez says he was "guided by over 180,000 words of oral history concerning Francis Schaeffer" (10). Edith Schaeffer, who is now in her mid-nineties, was, Duriez writes, "not well enough to give me more than a warm smile and a greeting" (13). This deep resource of oral history helps fill out the biography of Schaeffer in existentially significant ways.

Duriez enters into some of the charges made against Schaeffer's understanding of the history of philosophy and pulls in an interesting ally: C.S. Lewis. Schaeffer famously credited Aquinas as opening the door to autonomous human reasoning by his distinction of nature from grace. Nature is what can be known through unaided human reason and grace provides knowledge from a supernatural source, the Bible. Schaeffer argued (albeit very briefly) that Aquinas's way of construing these two sources of knowledge paved the way for nature to "eat up grace"-that is, autonomous human reasoning would set itself up against biblical revelation and end us secularizing our Western worldview. Duriez notes that C.S. Lewis, an Oxford Don and scholar of much higher rank than Schaeffer, made much the same point in The Allegory of Love (172-73). Although Duriez does not mention it, the controversial Catholic theologian, Hans Kung made the same point about Aquinas in his book, Does God Exist in 1980.

This book provides a rich account of the full gamut of Schaeffer's life and teachings. Schaeffer was born into a humble, working class and nonintellectual family in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He surprised his parents by becoming a serious Christian and attending college and seminary. After pastoring in America, he ventured to Europe to examine the state of the churches after the devastation of World War II. He eventually settled in Switzerland where his home became a center for evangelism and hospitality. Out of this ministry eventually came Schaeffer's books and in the final decade of his life, his unexpected and largely unwanted celebrity as a culture warrior of the New Christian Right in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Duriez argues that here was a continuity to Schaeffer's life. Although in the early 1950's he left the cultural isolationism and incessant in-fighting of his early Fundamentalist days, just before starting L'Abri, Schaeffer would not sacrifice what he took to be the essentials of biblical orthodoxy for popularity or for anything else. Nevertheless, he did not treat people as objects on which to protect truth. His early pastoral ministry as well as his work at L'Abri and even into his last stage as something of a Christian luminary were marked by a profound concern for human beings, who (as he never ceased emphasizing) were made "in the image and likeness of God." In his later years, through his book and film series, "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?" (co-written with C. Everett Koop, who went on to become Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan), he led the way for evangelicals to join and sustain the pro-life movement. Given Schaeffer's theology of the person (divinely created, fallen, and in need of Christ's redemption), he took their intellectual questions, their art, and their God-forsaking lives very seriously. Schaeffer was also a man of the Bible (and of the Reformation) until the end. He was not interested in academic apologetics per se, but wanted souls to know the God revealed in Holy Scripture. He consistently taught and preached from the Bible and wrote books commenting on Scripture (such as Genesis in Space and Time and Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History).

While some claims Schaeffer’s apologetics is out of date, they are wrong. Schaeffer anticipated much of postmodern thinking-for example, critiquing Foucault in 1971-and realized that many in the sixties and seventies had already made "the escape from reason" (the title of his second book.) His apologetic was as much one for the importance of reason as it was as a reasonable apologetic. Moreover, Schaeffer was never an arid rationalist who unloaded his apologetic system on unsuspecting unbelievers (something which might be said for some of the followers of fellow Reformed philosophers Gordon Clark and Cornelius Van Til). Schaeffer's writings always engaged humans as cultural and individual beings, not disembodied intellects; hence, his emphasis on painting, music, architecture, and literature as revealing the conditions of non-Christian individuals and cultures. Further, Schaeffer was renowned for his ability to make Christianity pertinent in one-on-one and small group conversations, which involved much give and take and creativity. Schaeffer was no mere logic chopper. Schaeffer believed in the necessity of reason for a coherent, cogent, and livable worldview, but he did not affirm the sufficiency of reason. We finite and fallible humans need God's propositional revelation in Scripture to make sense of ourselves, our world, and our God.

While Schaeffer admitted that he was not an academic philosopher-and even wrote in a letter to Duriez that his thin book, He is There, He is Not Silent, would probably be his last philosophy book (174)-Schaeffer's basic apologetic insights hold up well today, even if we must refine his method address ideas he did not tackle. Let me mention two basic ideas that I (as a professional philosopher, unlike Schaeffer) find profound and helpful.

First, Schaeffer taught that worldviews need to be compared on the basis of objective criteria. That is, one does not simply presuppose one's worldview apart from rational testing. Every worldview-or basic perspective on life's deepest questions-needs to pass three individually necessary and jointly sufficient tests. First, it must be internally consistent. That is, its defining beliefs must cohere with one another. Second, a worldview needs to fit the facts of reality; it must be "true to what is," as Schaeffer put it. A worldview needs to match the external facts of history and science. Third, a worldview needs to be livable to be credible. This means that it must pass the existential test of fitting the facts of the internal world. For example, any worldview that denies the objective reality of evil (such as secular relativism or Eastern monism) cannot be lived out consistently, since we intuitively know that rape, murder, and racism are wrong. These three apologetic criteria can be nuanced and made much more sophisticated, but they form the backbone of any solid apologetic method. These truths are far from outdated!

Second, Schaeffer repeatedly emphasized that the God of Christianity was an "infinite and personal" being, and that humans were not machines or little gods, but made in the image of this infinite-personal God. In other words, for Christianity, personality is the deepest and most profound ontological category of reality-not impersonal time, space, law, chance, matter or some impersonal sense of deity held by Eastern religions. Schaeffer's apologetic capitalizes on this uniquely personal sense of reality held by Christianity. Persons, though fallen, have objective and eternal meaning on this scheme-as does community, since God himself is a Trinity: a relationship of divine persons coexisting in one Godhead from eternity.

I fear that the younger generation of evangelicals does not know enough about the remarkable life and achievements of Francis Schaefer; instead they are opting for the trendy but intellectually barren hype of much of the emergent church movement-which claims to be "authentic." ("Authentic" often means little more than emotional, unconventional, and obsessively autobiographical.) Many older evangelicals may have forgotten many of the salient lessons from his life and teachings as well. Reading this biography can help rectify this problem. But better yet, one can read or reread Schaeffer's own books and watch his two film series (the ten-part, "How Should We Then Live?" and five-part, "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?" which are both available on DVD). Indeed, Schaeffer did live an "authentic" life-a life of piety, truth, and courage-worthy of our attention and of our thanksgiving to God.

TV Insanity, Take 2000000000000000000000000000000

My friend asks a waitress at an Italian restaurant to turn off the TV over the bar, since I am facing it and we do not want it hindering our discussion over a good meal. She replies, "It has to be on." No one else was in our entire area; no one else could have seen it.

"It has to be on."

Out in the Streets: Matthew 25:31-46

Car exhaust for air freshener.
A cardboard sign for an address.
Scraps for food.

Out in the elements.
Out alone with cars rushing by or idling near.

Some look.
Some look away.
Some give something.
Some give nothing.
None can ignore.

A car horn or wave draws them near:
another hand-out. Then, gone...

Home-less men and women,
Appealing to strangers as stranger still.
Each owns a story,
Each a tale of woe and ruin.

We return to our rooms full.
They stand and pace without roof, heat, or menu.

Another left his home and became homeless,
With nowhere to lay his holy head.
Yet by design.

He seemed to wander,
but carried his Sign in himself.

Some looked.
Some looked away.
None can ignore--forever.
Still he is homeless, although above.

He is home-less, in our midst.
Yet he is found in the least, the last, the lost.

Book Review: "The Deniable Darwin" by David Berlinski

This is a collection of writings which have been previously published, many, but not all of which, address Darwinism and Intelligent Design. All the essays concern science.

The inimitable David Berlinksi, mathematician and literary stylist, is a free thinker--not in the common sense of skeptics who revel in denying religion on principle, but in the sense of assessing arguments on the basis of evidence, not on the basis of mere consensus or social pressure. He long ago found Darwin evidentially-challenged and began to say so--cutting against the grain. He continues to say so, and so educates his readers in critical thinking and good writing. May his number increase.

If you are tired of the stereotypical and monotonous defenses of Darwinism and denunciations of intelligent design that clutter and litter the press, read this important book. If you read nothing else, consult, "The Deniable Darwin," an essay in Commentary that rocked the readership in 1996.

By the way, Dr. Berlinksi is neither a Christian nor a practicing Jew. But even if he were one or the other (or a member of any other religion) it would make no difference for the force of his arguments. To think otherwise is to commit the fallacy of poisoning the well

Steele Speaks

December 21, 2009
Steele: Dems 'flipping a bird to the American people'
Posted: December 21st, 2009 06:32 PM ET

Steele says the Democratic health care bill is 'bad for America.'
(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele made clear Monday he's not happy with Democratic efforts to pass a health care reform bill, saying the measure which cleared a procedural hurdle Sunday amounts to "flipping a bird to the American people."

"This is a bad bill. It's bad law. It's bad for America. It is bad certainly for individuals and enough is enough. I am tired of the Congress thumbing their nose and flipping a bird to the American people," Steele said on a conference call with reporters Monday. "I am tired of this Congress thinking it knows better than me and my family how to provide for our health care now and in the future."

"It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing"

The official Duke Ellington web page, administered by his grandson.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Constructive Curmudgeon Awards

Drum roll. . . . I now announce the 2009 Constructive Curmudgeon Awards, in no particular order and in consultation with no one besides myself. I note the good and the bad.

1. Most refreshing young writer on the church: Francis Chan, for his books Crazy Love and Forgotten God. These, while written gently, will shake you up for the good.

2. Best jazz CD: "Mostly Coltrane," by Steve Kuhn (piano), featuring Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone). Recorded on the inimitable ECM label, the quartet explores Coltrane pieces (and others) with tact, fire, beauty, and reverence.

3. Best science book: Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer. This tome is nothing less than a magisterial tour de force in the philosophy of science, pertaining to the origin of life on earth. It is a watershed book for the Intelligent Design movement. The Darwinists' carping against it has typically been both comical and pathetic. They are like ants spitting at a lion.

4. Worst politicians: This is a three-way tie: Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Their incomparable incompetence, towering arrogance, and moral bankruptcy is both breath-taking and nauseating. America is far worse for the wear; they are reducing our liberties to rubble.

5. Best student comment in my classes (undergraduate): In responding to the error of ethical relativism, young Nick K. shook his head and said, "They [the relativists] couldn't even know themselves." Teachers can live a few weeks on such remarks.

6. Worse ongoing cultural trend (barring big moral issues): tatoos.

7. Best political book: Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin. An expert on the Constitution, Levin outlines the basic framework of American liberty and how it is being threatened by the Obama onslaught.

8. Most ominous political event: The very real possibility of abortion on demand supported by our tax dollars. This is a watershed issue and may be a turning point in American history.

9. Ignoramuses of the year: All those who blinded their eyes and shut their ears to the jihadism of the Mount Hood murderer who executed 14 innocent people while shouting, "Allah is great."

Harry Reid's Fascism

If this is true, we no longer live in America, but something else, something terrible.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.--Ecclesiastes 2:17

What Next?

Despite the desperate optimism of some conservatives, the United States govenment is headed toward a statist takeover of the medical sector of the country. This involves tax payer money going to support abortion.

I cannot overestimate what a titanic change in American civilization this represents. The Constitution is not a statist document; neither does the Bible promote statism or view the civil government in the messianic terms that the Democrats do. Both the Constitution very specifically and the Bible more generally limit the power of the state, since the state is composed of fallible people who have a monopoly on legal violence and coercion (incarceration, conscription, and extraction of funds). For the kind of state we are moving toward, read Revelation 13. I am not making an end-time prediction, but pointing out a biblical category: the state as a beast.

If this so-called health car bill passes, many of us will have to fundamentally reassess our relationship to the federal government and our mode of living in general. "When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?", as the Psalmist wrote.

Holland: Once Famous for Freedom of Speech

Girt Wilders is to go on trial in Holland for speaking out against Islam. Under Obama, this could happen in the US as well.

Islamic Law for the US

An Islamic supremacist group is active in Chicago and using a building managed by the government. These kinds of groups are using our freedoms against us. They do not respect the Constitution.

Remember Lebanon! See Brigette Gabriel, Because they Hate.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Graham on Islam

Franklin Graham tells the truth about Islam.

Seriousness in Preaching (updated)

Much preaching today is offhanded, informal, and filled with throw-way humor that is distracting and pointless. One should preach as "an oracle of God" and in God's strength (1 Peter 4:11). The congregation of needy souls is not there to be entertained. Therefore:

1. Never preach without an awareness of sin, the Cross, repentance, and the power of the Holy Spirit. I heard a sermon recently that mentioned none of them. It grieved me deeply.

2. Preach as if it were your last sermon. It might be. This is the way Stevie Ray Vaughn played the blues. There is an apt analogue.

3. Preach as if God were your ultimate and primary audience. God is.

4. Preach as if you were to hear your whole sermon again at the Last Judgment. You will.

5. Exhort, do not entertain. Do not fear biblical exhortation, which may be sharp and painful. On that, see the chapter on lukewarmness in Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Or, better, yet read Jesus' exhortation to the Church as Laodicia in Revelation 3.

6. Pray before, during, and after the sermon.

7. Preach the sermon to yourself before, during, and after you preach it to others.

8. Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable--from Scripture.

9. Beware of humor in preaching. In the US, as Jean Baudrillard said, the "laugh track is always on." Turn it off in the pulpit. Any humor should have a purpose, not be gratuitous, and not be in service of self. See A. W. Tozer's classic essay, "The Use and Abuse of Humor."

10. Ruthlessly eliminate all fluff, bovine excrement, and other extraneous matter from sermons. Distill it down to truth on fire. See Jeremiah 20:9.

11. Eliminate trivial references to popular culture, since they typically only debase the discourse.

One could go on, but that is enough to indict and convict most pulpits in the land of make believe. Can you add other principles?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"On the Road with Duke Ellington" (DVD, 2002)

This is less a full documentary of Duke's incomparable life as it is a glimpse of his life on the road in the mid to late 1960s. We hear him speak of his passion for music-making and life in general (including his philosophy of breakfast).

The film is minimally and tastefully narrated, and lets Duke and his orchestra do the talking. We see and hear Duke with his road band, with symphony orchestras, performing sacred music, and in a trio format, which ends the film. His rendition of "Take the A Train" accompanied by only bass and drums is (to use a Duke-ism) "beyond category." There is so much information supercharged in every note, every chord, and every pause...that one feels the entire history of jazz in just a few fleeting but unforgettable moments.

I hate most all television for many reasons, but this was shown on television in 1974. In this case, the medium fits the message, even if the man is larger than life. I recommend it to every student and lover of jazz.

The Evangelical Mind

See The Wall Street Journal on the evangelical mind. Sadly, the resurgence of evangelicals in philosophy and American history was not noted, although this has been pronounced in the past thirty years. While Charles Malik's famous address of 1979 is mentioned (Malik was Orthodox, not evangelical) , the more significant influence of Francis Schaeffer is not. Further, Terry Eagleton is referred to as a Christian, when he is (last I heard) an atheist.

Sincere Silence

I pledge my sincere silence to all trivia.


First duty to the dead:


honor or

Emulation or

Remembrance or

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Groothuis on Tillich

I have reviewed Paul Tillich's Dynamics of Faith at Amazon. Why do I do these strange things? I read the book over thirty years ago.

Christmas Song

Second graders made to sing "Allah is God" in public school. But, of course, this is not unconstitutional, and to oppose it is "Islamophobic." Political correctness is killing our country.

Monday, December 14, 2009


In our postmodern, hyper-mediated, electronic atmosphere, we have exchanged embodied experiences for instant information packets--growing smaller all the time: from hand-written letter to e-mail; from email to facebook, from facebook to twitter; from twitter to...

Technology allows us to simulate the world without knowing it, without being in it.

Just like this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to Read a Book

As an owner of thousands of books and a reader of many of them, I offer a few pieces of advise on the art of reading a book. This is a lost art for many, given the dominance of image-oriented media today.

1. Read worthwhile books. These come in two categories: (A) Books that are in themselves worthwhile. (B) Books that are substandard but influential, nevertheless. I know nothing of "killing time" by reading. As Thoreau said, "You cannot kill time without wounding eternity." Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as to what books you should read and when. I cannot separate my professional reading from my pleasure reading. However, I will not read books I profoundly disagree with on Sundays, since that is a day of rest (not torment).

2. Always read with a pen or pencil in your hand. Annotation is part of the art of reading. The book should become your own. I underline, make comments, and put notes in the front of the book pointing out important points. I also cross reference important points.

3. Write in the front of the book when you started reading it and when you finished it. This gives you a sense of intellectual history. (Don't ask how many books I have not finished. Some do not deserve to be finished, though.)

4. Recommend books to others on as many topics as you can. Be a walking and talking annotated bibliography.

Unmasking the New Age (again)

US Today reported recently that "More US Christians mix 'Eastern,' New Age Beliefs." Sadly, many churchgoers are taking unbiblical beliefs with them and into the rest of their lives.

Much to my amazement, my first book, Unmasking the New Age, has been reprinted, now in the 23rd printing. 151, 863 copies are in print. It was published in 1986. While some of the players have changed, the basic issues concerning the New Age worldview (pantheism, monism, occultism, reincarnation) have not changed. If you want to understand the thinking of Deepak Chopra, The Secret, etc., and compare it with Christianity, this book can help.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Examined Life

My review of "The Examined Life" (first published here) is only 1/6 on positive reviews at Amazon. This is probably because I give a Christian apologetic in the review. Perhaps you may want to weigh in, especially if you saw the film.


America may be going down the drain, but we still have jazz history. Listen to an interview of Professor Robin Kelly on his new book on Thelonious Monk.

Colorado Senators for Abortion

Both of Colorado's Senators, Udall and Bennett, voted to table the amendment to the Senate bill that would have forbidden federal money to pay for abortions under the socialist health taker-over bill. The amendment was tabled, so it will not come up for a vote. The pro-death Democrats are on a roll; the juggernaut is mowing them down--the least, the last, the lost: the unborn.

America is tragically moving toward a European-style, socialist, federally-funded abortion "health monopoly" model. I am at a loss for words. What is next?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Nine amazing minutes of John Coltrane at Antibes in 1965, near the end of his time with the classic quartet. Film footage of Trane is rare.

Award to Stephen Meyer

Dr. Stephen Meyer is rightly awarded the "Daniel of the Year" by World Magazine. Note that he, too, was influenced by Francis Schaeffer early on. This was true for so many of us egghead in the 1970s. (Meyer is a bit younger than I am: 52.)

"Intelligent Design and the State University: Accepting the Challenge"

My article from a 2008 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith is now on line.

"Obstinancy in Religious Belief"

An abstract to an old article of mine is now on-line. The article addresses a topic from C.S. Lewis.

For What It's Worth

My statistics:

Customer Reviews: 171
New Reviewer Rank: 8,003
Classic Reviewer Rank: 1,640
Helpful Votes: 2838

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Doug Groothuis on The Manhattan Declaration This Sunday

On Sunday, December 6, at 7:00 PM, I will be a guest on Backbone Radio (AM, 710 KNUS) to discuss The Manhattan Declaration, an important statement of principle related to the sanctity of human life, monogamous marriage, and freedom of religion.

This is more than a statement of ideas; it is declaration of principled resistance against the imposition of immoral programs and demands by the state.

On the Compatibility of Ontological Equality, Hierarchy, and Functional Distinctions

Professor Alan Myatt on male and female equality, theologically understood. This defends Rebecca Merrill Groothuis's views against those of Steven Cowan, and others.

War on Human Embryos

Thanks to Obama's "progressive policies," your taxes now support the destruction of human embryos for research purposes. This atrocity, using humans as mere means to unproven ends, is endorsed by Francis Collins, a self-proclaimed evangelical and Obama appointee, who bizarrely says that this practice can be defended by those who hold to the sanctify of life.

No, it can not be defended by those who believe in the sanctity of human life. The sanctify of life claims that human life qua human life has intrinsic and incomparable value. Humans should never be used as merely a means to an end, especially if that end means their own death by killing (even when euphemistically referred to as "experimentation").

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Years ago, when I was in the thick of writing and speaking against the New Age movement, I was being attacked by a Christian who was accusing me of having New Age sympathies. This was, of course, absurd, but this writer and speaker had a reputation for irresponsibly attacking other Christians in the harshest terms for the slightest reasons.

I talked about this attack with Walter Martin (d. 1989), the great counter-cult author and speaker--and a man with a personality as big as any room he was in. He said, "You can fight a skunk and win--but who wants to?" He then told me to write a letter responding to the charge and send it to the barracuda by registered mail. I did so.

Yet it is hard to remember this lesson, particularly concerning the anti-intelligent design "skunks" out there. I am not impugning all Darwinists or opponents of ID, but there is a certain strain of them that simply taunt and mock--for example, through comments on reviews. I am tempted to fight back a tit-for-a-tat, but this is really just a waste of time. As Jesus said, "Do not caste your pearls before swine."

It is difficult for a philosopher to have his arguments disregarded and to be mocked or scorned instead. Nevertheless, this is the strategy of the skunks. We need to let them stink alone and turn our attention elsewhere.


My concluding words to my Introduction to Philosophy class at Metro State College of Denver: "Take existence seriously."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Article on "The Deniable Darwin."

I have a scanned file of the story that appeared two weeks ago in The Metropolitan (the campus newspaper for the Auraria campus in Denver) concerning my talk, "The Deniable Darwin" (on November 16). The reporter was quite fair, although there is one paragraph where a pronoun is not identified, so you cannot tell what it refers to. My wife said I looked "truculent" in the photograph, but was not so in my manner. I am hoping to do a similar talk at Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO) next term.

Send me an email if you are interested in getting this file.

A Most Serious Error of Judgment

Timothy Egan, New York Times blog columnist, claims that conservatives are not holding Mike Huckabee accountable for his role in the early release of a man (still at large) accused of shooting four police officers dead this past Sunday. Egan claims that if Huckabee had been a Democrat, "right-wing blowhards" (such civility there) would be assailing him.

Well, Egan is wrong, at least concerning one conservative. Yesterday, radio host Hugh Hewitt said that Huckabee's political career was over. He made no excuses for him. If Huckabee did, in fact, play a major role in this serial offenders early release (which seems certain), then I can only agree. (I have never been a big fan of his anyway.) Conservatives are historically known for their support of "law and order." That doesn't mean that all offenders should be sent to jail for as long as possible, but it does mean protecting civilians from incorrigible criminals and justly punishing serious criminals.

Another Voice for Reason

The Guardian (UK) has published a piece arguing that ID should be taught in British schools.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Facebook Exit"

After reading a very impressive book called The Church of Facebook, I decided to deactivate my account indefinitely. The book did not encourage this, but I deemed it the most edifying thing to do.

I had been fairly active in Facebook for several months. My two previous forays were much shorter. My philosophy of Facebook was to publicize my speaking events, link to important articles, and give some social criticism and biblical exhortation. I was very thin on personal updates and trivia, although I did post not a few wise cracks on other people's posts--maybe too many.

So why did I pull the plug and leave my 277 "friends" behind? First, the signal to noise ratio was not too good. Some of this may have been my fault, since I adopted an "anybody can be my friend policy." I opted for quantity over quality in order to get my message out. I seldom asked anyone to be a "friend," but if I did, it was someone I knew. However, I refused few "friend requests." Given all the "friends," clutter accumulated quickly. Second, I did waste some time looking at others photographs. One person had over 700! Don't worry, I didn't look at many of them. What does that say about our image obsessed culture? Third, I could not escape the bimbo uprisings at the upper left of the pages--babes who were "looking for me." This got tiresome, especially in light of what Jesus says about such things (Matthew 5:27-32). Fourth, my email was flooded with Facebook responses. I suppose I could have opted out of this feature without shutting down the whole thing.

What am I missing in my Facebook-free afterlife? If people really want to contact me, there are myriad of other ways to do so. However, Facebook seems to be becoming the medium of choice for quick communication. Email is already old hat for teens and early twenty-somethings, I hear. It was sometimes enjoyable to find an old friend and contact him or her, but how deep can one go on Facebook? Those with whom I rekindled a friendship should be willing to interact with me in other media, I hope. My 277 are now left bereft of my endless links and preachments, but they may still consult this august and non-award-winning blog.

All in all, I am extremely aware of the need to make the most of our limited time on earth, to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, and to seek first the Kingdom of God. Desipe my philosophy of Facebook engagement, and my general refusal to chatter or post photographs of myself in cute poses (if that is possible), Facebook seemed to be something of an obstacle to more important pursuits. Instead of reading endless updates, I could be reading the Bible or praying or reading a good book or writing articles for publication in real bound volumes!


Ella Live!

A treasury of long-forgotten Ella Fitzgerald live recordings has been released, and is written up in The New York Times. She was one of the greatest jazz singers ever--perfect pronunciation, incessant joy, and fantastic range.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flow TV: 24/7 Portable TV!

Be absent wherever you are present. You can always ignore the human beings in your midst; you can always refuse to read or to pray or to be quiet with your thoughts before God. Flow TV. Give up; give in; take it all, all the time. TV without end, Amen!

You need never be separated from your object of worship.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Social Darwinism Lamented

British author, Dennis Sewell explains the dark heritage of social Darwinism in a short interview in Time Magazine. I like his attitude. He wrote an article recently called "Darwin's Children" in a British newspaper, which was linked here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thomas Nagel from The Times Literary Supplement

Nagel is a prominent philosopher who is an atheist. This review in this place is very significant for the future of ID.


Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins) is a detailed account of the problem of how life came into existence from lifeless matter – something that had to happen before the process of biological evolution could begin. The controversy over Intelligent Design has so far focused mainly on whether the evolution of life since its beginnings can be explained entirely by natural selection and other non-purposive causes. Meyer takes up the prior question of how the immensely complex and exquisitely functional chemical structure of DNA, which cannot be explained by natural selection because it makes natural selection possible, could have originated without an intentional cause. He examines the history and present state of research on non-purposive chemical explanations of the origin of life, and argues that the available evidence offers no prospect of a credible naturalistic alternative to the hypothesis of an intentional cause. Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.

The Letter: Do Something to Save my Father

Obama went to Egypt to tell the world how wonderful Islam was. Now, an Egyptian man's life is in danger for converting to Christianity, Obama's purported religion, and the man's young daughter has written him a letter. Will he do anything? I doubt it, since he refuses to see the dangers of Islamic law, which does not honor religious freedom and which persecutes converts away from Islam. Mark Gabriel, a convert to Christianity from Islam, who himself was nearly killed for Christ, has written a book on this called Culture Clash.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Letter to National Public Radio

Dear NPR:

Your November 24 edition (of "All Things Considered") featured the story of a man who came out of a seemingly unconscious state after twenty-three years--only to report that he was aware of his surroundings during this time. His condition was referred to as a "persistent vegetative state." While this is a medical term, it is erroneous philosophically. No human being can be in a vegetative state, since no human being is ever a vegetable. Humans should always be treated as humans, and never as vegetation.

Douglas Groothuis

Whose Sacrifice?

"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
(John 1:29 New American Standard Bible)

A Hindu festival will sacrifice a quarter million animals to a goddess requiring their blood. Animal rights protester are objecting, of course, and rightly so. But the deeper issue is our need for atonement and new life. This is not provided through animals, but is from God in Christ.

This has been done, and it will not be undone. Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth in order to reconcile us to himself through his freely offered shed blood on the Cross two thousand years ago. We cannot placate God. That is the meaning of pagan sacrifice. However, God can offer himself for us through the sacrifice of himself. That is the glorious good news. That is what Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, Muslims, and all sinful human beings need to know and believe. Then we can offer ourselves a "living sacrifices" for the glory of God and the good of the world. See Romans 12:1-2.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why Do It?

Blogs. What's the point?
Facebook. What's the point?
Twitter. What's the point?

You tell me.

Hope from a Pro-Life Activist and Apologist

This was posted in response to an earlier post of mine. It bears reposting here, since Scott is an expert on this matter:



I share your frustration, but the legislative battle is by no means lost. As former Senator Rick Santorum points out, the vote to move forward with debate was inevitable. No majority party is ever going to deny their leader the chance to debate his very own bill. I agree with Santorum: Conservatives put way too much emphasis on this one vote, thus demoralizing our troops when debate was allowed.

However, just because members vote to allow debate does not mean they will vote to close it. In this case, four members of Reid's own party are on record saying they will not vote for cloture on the current Senate bill and Lieberman has said "no way" will he allow a public option. Meanwhile, liberal Dems are saying they will scuttle the bill if it doesn't have one. To make matters worse, Ben nelson has said "no" to any bill that allows abortion funding while many of his lefty colleagues have said "no" if it doesn't. Thus, Reid has a real mess on his hands.

Personally, I think Lieberman is the key. If he is telling us the truth that a public option in any form is unacceptable, the current bill is dead. Nelson might be swayed into going along with a Capp's style amendment (which, unlike the Stupak language, does NOT foreclose on abortion funding, but pretends to), but that still leaves Reid with the Lieberman problem on his right, and the fanatical lib problem on his left.

But let's suppose the bill does get out of the Senate. You still have 19 Dem House members on record saying they will vote against it if the Stupak language is removed. That's precisely why Pelosi had to allow it in the first place.

In short, this thing is not over. Surrender is not an option. Please pass the word along.

Love your work,

Scott Klusendorf

Look Who is in Charge Now

Witness Eric Holder's frightening incompetence concerning our nation's safety.

Message at Denver Seminary

My message on "Everyday Spiritual Warfare" is linked here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The American church needs another Kierkegaard (qua ecclesiastical critic, not fideist): Christendom is not Christian. Remember SK's work, Attack on Christendom. She or he will probably come from another country, since we fish don't know what our water is. We do not know what seeking God or suffering for God is.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

From National Right to Life

As National Right to Life has previously noted, Senator Reid's bill [on page 118] would authorize the federal government to pay for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, the "public option," and also to subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand. President Obama and Reid know that the substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes. Obama and Reid wanted debate – so now they'll get debate, on their cloaked provisions that would cover abortion on demand in proposed new government-run and government-subsidized insurance plans. Obama and Reid are seeking to block enactment of the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts compromise, adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7 by a vote of 240-194. This amendment would prevent government funding of elective abortion through the proposed "public option," and would also prevent federal subsidies from paying for private insurance plans that cover elective abortion.

During the weeks ahead, National Right to Life will continue to fight the efforts of President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders to cover abortion on demand in two huge new federal health programs. The Senate bill faces additional 60-vote hurdles in the future. Moreover, a courageous group of pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives will oppose final approval of health care legislation if the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is gutted or removed.

Defeat: What Now, Christians?

The Senate--including both Colorado Senators--has disgraced America by voting for statist, socialist, abortion-funded health "care." I think the legislative battle is now lost, but I may be wrong.

Now we must consider prayerfully other ways to resist paying for the killing of the unborn through tax money. This will likely involve suffering and sacrifice for those who care. God have mercy on all of us. To begin, read Francis Schaeffer's book, A Christian Manifesto (Crossway, 1981).

Friday, November 20, 2009


Oh, Sovereign Lord shake the world again; put unquenchable fire in the bones of your blood-bought children; shake down everything evil; stir up all that is good; may zeal for your house and your world consume us, Our Consuming Fire!

No, in the name of God

These people know where to draw the line on the social issues of the day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Obama Team Catering to Terrorists, Again

Holder’s al Qaeda Incentive Plan
By William McGurn
Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2009

When it comes to terrorists, you would think that an al Qaeda operative who targets an American mom sitting in her office or a child on a flight back home is many degrees worse than a Taliban soldier picked up after a firefight with U.S. Army troops.

Your instinct would be correct, because at the heart of terrorism is the monstrous idea that the former is as legitimate a target as the latter. Unfortunately, by dispatching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda leaders to federal criminal court for trial, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be undermining this distinction. And the perverse message that decision will send to terrorists all over this dangerous world is this: If you kill civilians on American soil you will have greater protections than if you attack our military overseas.

"A fundamental purpose of rules such as the Geneva Conventions is to give those at war an incentive for more civilized behavior—and not targeting civilians is arguably the most sacred of these principles," says William Burck, a former federal prosecutor and Bush White House lawyer who dealt with national security issues. "It demolishes this principle to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed even more legal protections than the Geneva Conventions provide a uniformed soldier fighting in a recognized war zone."

We don't often speak of incentives in war. That's a loss, because the whole idea of, say, Geneva rights is based on the idea of providing combatants with incentives to do things that help limit the bloodiness of battle. These include wearing a uniform, carrying arms openly, not targeting civilians, and so on.

Terrorists recognize none of these things. They are best understood as associations of people plotting and carrying out war crimes, whether that means sowing fear with direct and indiscriminate attacks on marketplaces, offices and airlines—or by engaging enemy troops without distinguishing uniforms, so that the surrounding civilians essentially become used as human shields. Terrorists reject both the laws of war and the laws of American civil society. To put it another way, they reject both the authority and the obligations their legal rights imply.
None of this seems to bother Mr. Holder. Since he dropped his bombshell on Friday, much commentary has focused on the possibility that KSM might be found not guilty. That, however, is unlikely: Mr. Holder is not a fool, and everyone in the Obama administration appreciates the backlash that would occur if a KSM trial results in an acquittal. Thus, the men he will send for trial will be those against whom he has the most evidence.

The perversity here is that the overwhelming evidence of their war crimes gain them protections denied a soldier fighting in accord with the rules of war.

It even gains them more protections than their associates who attack military targets. This double standard means that the perpetrators of the USS Cole bombing are sent to military tribunals while the perpetrators of 9/11 are sent to federal court.

Andrew McCarthy has a unique perspective on the move to criminal trials. As an assistant U.S. attorney in 1993, he successfully prosecuted Omar Abdel Rahman (the "blind sheikh") for the first bombing of the World Trade Center. Even though the cases were somewhat different—that plot was conceived, plotted and carried out on U.S. soil—Mr. McCarthy says the experience persuaded him that federal trials are a bad way of handling terror.

"At first, I was of the mind that a criminal prosecution would uphold all our high-falutin' rhetoric about the constitution and majesty of the law," says Mr. McCarthy. "But when you get down to the nitty gritty of a trial, you see one huge problem: The criminal justice system imposes limits on the government and gives the defendant all sorts of access to information, because we'd rather have the government lose than unfairly convict a man. You can't take that position with an enemy who is at war with you and trying to bring that government down."

By going down this line, says Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Holder has invited any number of dangers: making the Manhattan courtroom a target for terrorist attack, inviting the disclosure of sensitive intelligence, opening the possibility that some al Qaeda operative will be acquitted and released within the U.S., etc.

Worst of all, he says, is turning the laws of war upside down: Why fight the Marines and risk getting killed yourself or locked up in Bagram forever when you can blow up American citizens on their own streets and gain the legal protections that give you a chance to go free? With this one step, Mr. Holder is giving al Qaeda a ghastly incentive: to focus more of their attacks on American civilians on American home soil.

"It is foolish to think that al Qaeda does not train to our system and look for our vulnerabilities," says Mr. McCarthy. "Remember what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his captors when we got him, 'I'll see you in New York with my lawyer.' It seems he knows our weaknesses better than our government does."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From The NY Times

China Holds Firm on Major Issues in Obama’s Visit

President Obama was confronted, on his first visit, with a fast-rising China more willing to say no to the U.S.

Of course! China is economically advancing; the US is economically (and morally) declining. With this President, we are in no condition to stand in and speak out of the bully pulpit (as did Reagan). "The leader of the free world" (as US Presidents used to be called) is making his own country less free and less a force for good in the world.

But God often works in the underground, not in the foreground. The Chinese house church movement may prove to be far more influential than the Chinese civil government or the man sadly shaming the White House today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To My Senators: On Tax-Supported Abortion

Senator Michael F. Bennet:

Senator Mark Udall:

I am a taxpaying constituent concerned by the fact that the health care reform bills passed by both the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee would allow federal funds to pay for elective abortions and plans that cover elective abortions.
I was heartened that the House of Representatives voted to adopt the Stupak Amendment, which protects the conscience of the taxpayer on this sensitive issue by banning these funds from paying for elective abortions and plans that cover elective abortions.

I have been following this issue closely and I understand that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is planning on offering this bipartisan amendment into the Senate health care reform bill.
I am writing to request you to build upon the bipartisan consensus of the House of Representatives and insert identical language into this bill.

The vast majority of Americans do not want federal funds to go towards elective abortions and plans that cover elective abortions.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Please inform me of your decision on how you will vote on this critical issue.

Susan B. Anthony List Activist

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.

Converting to Christianity

Pray for his young convert to Christianity. Her life is in danger if she goes back to her Muslim father. God forbid we wake up to find another Fort Hood, this time with one dead: a 17-year old girl.

An Open Letter to George Will, Also Posted on his Facebook Page

Mr. Will:

I have great respect for your political and cultural judgments.

I hope you will rethink your position.I do not understand your antipathy to the Intelligent Design movement. I am a philosopher and author who has studied Darwinism and its critics for three decades. The Intelligent Design arguments against the idea that there is no evidence of design in biology are profound, as exhibited by Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Steven Meyer. Perhaps the most profound analysis and argument thus far is Dr. Meyer's magisterial work, The Signature in the Cell (HarperOne, 2009).

I hope you will rethink your position.

Doug Groothuis
Professor of Philosophy
Denver Seminary


The mainstream media is on a tare to exonerate Hasan of religious motivation for which he is responsible. It turns out it is all the military's fault--not because it failed to do anything about Hasan's dangerous Islamic statements and activity, but because it was not "sensitive" enough. Consider the following quotes, I received from "Cyberalert." I do not watch TV myself.

* "The Pentagon has made a real concerted effort to create a military that is culturally sensitive and religiously tolerant, but Muslims in uniform today face a challenge not seen since Japanese-Americans fought in World War II. They taste suspicion from some fellow soldiers who question their loyalty and resentment from fellow Muslims opposed to both American wars."-- Correspondent Bill Weir on ABC's World News, November 6.

"How disturbing is it to you that it looks like various agencies failed to connect the dots on Major Hasan?...We know from the beginning of the Iraq war, the escalation in number of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. The other fact is, is that the more people go back to these fields, these theaters of war, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, it multiplies the incidence of these kinds of things occurring."-- CBS's Harry Smith questioning Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on the November 11 Early Show. Hasan never served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Now consider what the press would do if a Christian soldier turned on his own while shouting, "Praise to King Jesus."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Deniable Darwin

Still jamming on my outline for "The Deniable Darwin" talk tomorrow at 11:45 at Auraria Campus (Multicultural Room). How to fit it all in coherently and cogently in 35 minutes?! I thought I was done on Friday. Hope to see some of you there.

How Do You Live?

More on Chan's new book, Crazy Love by Paul Adams's.

The Deniable Darwin

Look here for a list of over 600 people with earned doctorates in science who question the adequacy of Darwinism to explain the biosphere.

They signed the following statement:

A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

Learning How to Fight

Corrie Ten Boom, Defeated Enemies. Christian Literature Crusade. 16th printing, 2002

This short pamphlet helps equip the Christian for faith and victory in spiritual warfare. The deceased author, a noteworthy teacher and evangelist, presents a basic biblical view of the spiritual topography (God, Satan, and demons) and how to resist the devil and experience freedom and victory through the work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ms. Ten Boom salts the text with many pertinent Scriptures along with accounts of her own dealings with the realm of the demonic. She challenges her readers to know the power of God and to not give the enemy a foothold through any sin, especially that of involvement with the occult. If she were alive today, Corrie would be warning Christians about the spiritual dangers of yoga, since it is a form of Hindu occultism. (On this, see the DVD, "Yoga Uncoiled.") Sadly, many Christians are involved in this ungodly practice and are thus opening themselves to demonic influences.

I recommend this booklet as an encouragement to Christians to lay hold of the power of the blood of Christ in their struggles against their enemy, the Devil (1 Peter 5:8-9; Colossians 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). For a more advanced treatment of the topic, see Gary Kinamman, Winning Your Spiritual Battles and Ed Murphy, Handbook on Spiritual Warfare.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Are you a lukewarm Christian?

Another Guru Gone

I just read in a book review that the Indian guru, Sri Chinmoy, died in 2007. I knew of him first as a teenager when I saw his blissful face and incoherent verses in albums by Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, two of my guitar favorites at the time. (I still listen with interest to McLaughlin, a jazz virtuoso, but not much to Santana, who chops to get old after a few decades.) At that time, I was intrigued by Eastern thought, not having any real roots in Christianity or logical thinking. I had no idea what Chinmoy actually taught, but he seemed otherworldly and inspired such good music. He and his followers believed he was an avatar, a manifestation of the Hindu God. His teachings were pantheistic and included reincarnation and karma.

I saw Chinmoy in Anchorage, Alaska, some time in early 1975. He spoke to a small crowd, including some adoring followers dressed in Indian garb. He spoke in esoteric epigrams for about twenty minutes. One man became impatient and said, "We want to know what you teach. What is your philosophy?" How Western! He wanted proposition about reality that might be rationally assessed. To this, Chinmoy replied, "I have written many books. I have traveled the world." He then went into a trance, his eyes disappearing into his forehead, and began chanting: Ohm.There it is. You must simply bask in the ambiance of the God-enlightened guru, not ask questions. I was not a Christian at the time, but could not look at him in the eye. It was too strange. The young woman I went when said the opposite, "I couldn't look away."

Now Chinmoy, along with Maharishi and Da Free John (whose deaths I have written about on this blog), is dead. He faces the reality he counterfeited for so long. I thank God that a little over a year I saw Chinmoy, I became a follower of the only Incarnation of God, Jesus Christ, and that thirty three-years after that God's grace is still sufficient for me.

Bernard Ramm on Nietzsche and Evangelicals

What is the devil’s due Evangelicals can glean from Nietzsche? It is the willingness to be driven like Nietzsche. It is the willingness to spare no pains in the search for truth. It is the willingness. . . .to work into the late hours of the night or to start in the earliest hours of the day; to pick up a new project as soon as we have finished an older one; to grow weary and exhausted in our quest for truth; to have...our eyes watery from too much reading, and our bodies bent over from long, weary hours at the study desk.

No Evangelical whose reading habits are a disgrace to the seriousness of the Christian ministry, or who spends more time before a television set than he does in serious reading in his study has the right to damn Nietzsche from the pulpit to some gruesome place in the Inferno.--Bernard Ramm, The Devil, Seven Wormwoods, and God (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1977), 61-62.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Water on the Moon

Water on the moon.
Blood on the earth.
Tears on the Throne.
We are not alone.

Listen to that sound:
A Word spoken loud.
But not for the proud.

A Word speaking Truth for
A world needing proof, but
which remains too aloof
to look past the moon
and into that room
where moons are made
and blood is shed
to wake the dead.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Curmudgeon's Cry

All Americans should be forbidden from writing or saying "awesome" for two weeks. During this time they can take out a dictionary and learn some new adjectives. I doubt they would return to this tired and tiring cliche.

Can You Do This?

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.--2 Corinthians 10:9-10.

Is ID Viable?

Listen to Bill Craig debate Franis Ayala on the viability of intelligent design.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doug Groothuis on Spiritual Warfare at Denver Seminary

Women's Forum - November 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Location: Denver Seminary, 6399 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, CO US 80120

Join us for stimulating lectures and discussions designed for women in our community to wrestle with relevant issues of today, cultivate their own worldview and pursue a deeper relationship with Christ.

The November Women's Forum features Dr. Doug Groothuis who will share on the topic of "Everyday Spiritual Warfare: Finding Your Way." The Bible speaks much of world of angels and demons, yet most American Christians read past these references without taking them seriously. Others develop unbiblical views of the spiritual realm based on fantastic testimonies or other unreliable sources. But the Christian needs a proper understanding of their relation to the world of angels and demons in order to faithfully serve God. To that end, we will discuss the basics of spiritual warfare for the Christian today.

The Posters are Going up at Metro State

Master Plan Ministries at the Auraria Campus is getting the word out about my November 16 talk at 11:45 called, "The Deniable Darwin."

Groothuis Apologetics Articles

Nine out of ten of my TrueU apologetics articles are back on line at Denver Seminary.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Darwin's Children: Run for Cover

This is a profound piece, despite pot shots at scientific criticis of Darwinism, on the social and moral implications of Darwinism. It is heartening to find it published in a respected British paper. See also John West, Darwin Day in America (2007).

Classic Ad hominem Fallacy

This was posted at Amazon about my review of Living Buddha, Living Christ.

PHD, YOU? Who cares? You're nothing but a stupid Christian moron! JESUS CHRIST IS A FRAUD!!! The Judeo Christian bible is a medieval tale about talking donkeys and snakes,man who supposedly lived inside a whale,men who supposedly lived more than 900 years and a lot of nonsense! One need to be VERY mentally retarded to believe in such things! BLIND FAITH IS IGNORANCE!!!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

This just in from National Right to Life

The House adopted the NRLC-backed Stupak-Pitts Amendment, 240-194. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment removed two major pro-abortion components from H.R. 3962. Specifically: (1) the amendment would permanently prohibit the new federal government insurance program, the "public option," from paying for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest; and (2) the amendment would permanently prohibit the use of the new federal premium subsidies ("affordability credits") to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). It was supported by 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats. It was opposed by 194 Democrats. One Republican withheld his support by voting "present."

I am somewhat happy about this vote, but...what this means, if the public (statist) option goes through, is that many women may claim rape or incest in order to get federal funds. When the civil government promises to pay, many people lie to get it. Consider all the Medicare fraud going on! That means pro-life people will be paying for abortion that they do not agree with.

In fact, I do not think rape or incest justifies abortion, since a human being has been conceived, however wrongfully. You don't solve one problem (illicit, immoral intercourse) by another one (aborting an innocent human being made in God's image). I do not want my money going to pay for these abortions.

Pro-life people have some hard days ahead. It will be worse for the unborn.

Groothuis Talk at Auraria Campus, November 16 at 11:45 AM

"Collision" DVD Review

"Collision" recounts several debates between atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian pastor Douglas Wilson.

This production suffers from all the worst of the postmodern sensibility and aesthetic. While billed as a "debate," there is no linear presentation of ideas in a classic debate forum. Rather, the video jumps from one setting to another. Now it's a TV exchange; then it's a debate at a seminary; next they are in a bar. I lost track of how many settings there were. It is maddening to anyone trained in linear logical thinking and analysis. All the actual arguments between the two men are clipped and lack sufficient context. Moreover, the camera angles, set conditions, and lighting are deeply annoying. There are strange high-glare closeups, jiggling cameras, as well noisy backgrounds. It is unnerving. Call it videographic ADHD.

Despite all this unnecessary clutter and chaos, a few arguments stand out. For example, Wilson claims that Hitchens has no philosophical grounding for his moral pronouncements, and Hitchens admits as much while denying God as a foundation for morality. Those trained in apologetics, will note that Wilson uses the Van Tillian presuppositional method (with some help from C.S. Lewis on objective moral law). This approach, while helpful for critiquing non-Christian worldviews, has deep limitations in apologetics, since it can marshal no genuine constructive arguments based on natural theology, science, and history. At several points, Wilson seems to concede that he and Hitchens inhabit different thought worlds entirely. If so, how can you build a logical or evidential bridge with the unbeliever? The cumulative case approach--used by William Craig, J.P. Moreland, Douglas Geivett, (if I may) myself, and many others--is the far better method. See Craig's debate with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, God: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist (Oxford, 2003).

Unlike Hitchens, Wilson is not that articulate. However, he is knowledgeable, civil, courageous, and funny at times. He reduces Hitchens worldview to this at the end: "There is no God: s--t happens." We need more Christians, who, like Wilson, are willing to engage in meaningful debates with unbelievers. However, we need less DVDS in which the original debate form is debauched through the insane postmodern insistence on fragmentation and incoherence.

On Not Speaking Truth to Power

Obama refuses to meet with the Dali Lama and figures opposed to tyranny. This is typical of the hard left. They refuse to support those who speak truth to tyrannical power; instead they curry favor from the powerful, as long as they are hostile to the West. This is unjust, perverse, and ungodly in the extreme. Wake up, America. Your president is a no friend of freedom, democracy, or "hope."

Beyond the shiny spectacle of this "historic" president is an empty suit, political mantras (meaningless), a magic teleprompter, and a man who is putting America and its deepest ideals at risk for the sake of his neo-Marxist ideology.