Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jor-El, Kal-El, and why God sent His Son (Or Superman is not Jesus)

There has been a lot written over the years about parallels between Superman (Kal-El) and Christ. With the new Superman movie, these are making a comeback. It is not my intention here to list all the parallels, but to discuss one.

God sent His only Son to earth, and so too did Jor-El.

Superman's origin, like most early superheroes has developed and picked up details and revisions over the years. The story of Kryptonian scientist Jor-El placing his son in a rocket to escape his planet's destruction came about gradually. The earlier stories I read gave the impression this was an act of desperation on Jor-El's part. His planet was about to explode, but if his son was sent off planet he might survive somewhere. Over the years this became a deliberate act of Jor-El, and an Earth landing was his goal. And so grew the parallel. But beyond someone sending their only Son to earth to serve the people the parallel breaks down.

I have not seen the new movie yet. (I'll probably wait until it is on DVD, and rent it.) But there is a quote from the movie I saw in the newspaper. (Sorry, I can't find it on the internet.) The quote stuck out. Jor-El says,
"For this reason above all--their capacity for good--I have sent them you, my only son."

This is exactly the opposite reason God sent His Son to us. He sent Jesus to fulfill the Law, die to pay the penalty for His people's sin, and rise from the dead to defeat death. He did this because we can not. It is not our capacity for good, but our capacity for evil that is the issue here. We are all sinful. God did not choose to save us because we're just so lovable.

And yet He does love us. He sent His Son to save His people because He loves us.

When I look at it closely, Jor-El sent his son to earth for a combination of selfish reasons and love for his son. God sent His Son for selfless reasons and love of the unlovable.

Jor-El sending his son to earth is then more an example of deism, than a true parallel of Christ.

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Theism and Deism

This post is primarily to set up a point in the one that will appear above it.
I tried fitting this in the other post--but it felt too forced.

In this post I am presenting a general broad definition of these two worldviews.
I acknowledge there is a lot of variation among those who hold these views--and I can't cover them all here.

Theism is a view that says there is a God (or gods.) Christianity is theistic. While there are those who would call themselves Christians who are not theists, if we look at it biblically & historically, all Christians are theists. The reverse is not true, for not all theists are Christians.

Theism goes beyond just believing there is a God/gods. It speaks to the nature of God. The Bible says there is a God, and that there is one God, and so Christianity is not merely theistic, but monotheistic.

In his book "The Universe Next Door", James Sire outlines several world views, starting with theism and deism. He lists characteristics of Christian theism-
God is infinite, personal, transcendent (beyond us, otherly), immanent (He is with us), omniscient, sovereign, and good. From there he points out the Christian view of God's relationship to the world and people. God created the Universe and cares for it. He is involved in His creation.

Deism is different. There are many variations of deism, but in general to the deist, God is otherly but not with us. The song, "From a Distance" is often used as an example of deism. God is "watching us from a distance." He is not directly involved. Some deists do believe in a personal god, but that god is distant. He may watch, but he doesn't get involved-or perhaps he cannot.

For many deists "Reason" replaces a personal god. God is impersonal to them. He is more of an "it" or a "force." He started things rolling, but lets it run itself.
The deist god is not sovereign. Whether this god is good is a relative concept.

I have heard deism described as "God without the baggage." While I do not want to ascribe motives to others, it seems likely many deists hold to their beliefs to have some comfort from belief in God, or they make some sense of the world by this belief. Yet they do not want a god who has claims on their lives. So they have a god who, if he watches us (for many deists would say he does not watch us), it is "From a Distance."

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General Assembly

I haven't had the time to listen to much of the PCA's General Assembly (see 2 posts below.) So unfortunately, I can't comment yet.

Now if anything from GA affects Presbytery, maybe I can get to that.

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Book Recommendation-Introduction to Defending the Faith by Robert A. Morey

Since my header reads-
A listing of recommended reading, links, random thoughts and comments from a reformed Christian perspective. And it's Western Canadian too.

Maybe I should have another book recommendation.

I can't recommend every book by Robert Morey, but there are some well worth reading.
When he's good, he's very good.

The format of this book is a little different than most—as it’s not one you would just pick up and read like most books. (You could do that-but it's not structured that way.) Instead it is made up mostly of outlines-(with details added)—and charts, all intended to show the importance of defending the faith. Then he deals with how to get started doing it. As the title suggests it is introduction, but it does contain a “Suggested bibliography” if you want to dig in further. The suggested books are aimed at various levels of readers.

Morey looks at the basics of and the application of the gospel and the Christian world view. He uses ethics, marriage and the arts as examples of application.

One of Morey’s strengths is getting at the real reasons for people’s views. What’s behind them? What presuppositions are behind them? Morey takes a pre-suppositional approach to apologetics (the fancy word for “defending the faith”). Briefly, this approach realizes all people have presuppositions-so instead of just banging people over the head with evidence—it gets at the reasons people hold the views they do—and takes into account how those pre-suppositions affect how they interpret the evidence.

Taking that into account it shouldn’t be a surprise I found the appendix highly useful. In it Morey addresses objections non-Christians often use against Christianity and the pre-suppositions that are often behind the objections. Therefore Morey refers to the objections as “surface objections”-they aren’t the real reason that person rejects Christianity. Morey doesn’t leave it there as he also gives the Christian answer to the real reasons/pre-suppositions.

This book is valuable for its defense of defending the Faith, and it’s outline approach to getting you started.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

PCA General Assembly

The highest level of Church Government in the PCA is currently holding its Annual General Assembly.

ByFaith has several links to it. We can read, hear and watch what's going on.
Hopefully we will see men working together for the Kingdom. Working on ways to reach the unsaved, and worshiping God.

Here are some links-
This the main General Assembly page on ByFaith
You can go here to register or sign in to view archived sessions, or see what's going on at live
The Official Blog of Gneral Assembly
General Assembly's Schedule

Check them out.
I may be blogging on some of the sessions I view online, if my schedule permits.

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Things in the PCUSA

I'm not here to gloat about these things, but to shake my head and pray for the Church at large.

When Sola Scriptura is disregarded this is what happens.

Presbyterians (PCUSA) OK Leeway for Ordaining Gays

Presbyterians (PCUSA) allow experimenting with alternatives to 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit'

Presbyteer, who is a PCUSA member comments on the second story on his blog, here.

Like I said--these sorts of things call for prayer.
What's wrong with "Father, SOn & Holy Spirit"? These are titles found in the Bible.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

LOTW-June 15, 2006

Many of you know of Dan Lietha from his one panel comic, After Eden on the Answers in Genesis site. I've posted some of them here before.
He also has his own site that includes Launch Pad, a more contemporary Christian comic. They use the same style and sense of humour as Afetr Eden.

The City of Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan has a page on the city website about pruning trees. For some this advice may be too late, but here it is.
Perhaps one day I'll do something on the pruning God does in reference to this link.
But then, I'm not an arbourist.

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What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine-Conclusion

I have presented Ralph Erskine's work "What Sinners Should Plead with God" in six parts. Links to each post are here to review.
Plead His promise...
Plead your own feebleness...
Plead His power...
Plead your necessity...
Plead His mercy...
Plead Christ's commission...

Here's how Erskine sums it up:
Thus I have laid before you some directions, in order to the receiving of Christ. O cry for grace to follow them, and put them in practice, so you may indeed close the bargain with him. O shall all these directions be lost, and Christ be still slighted and rejected! O friends, you cannot please God better, than by coming to Christ and embracing the offer of him; and you cannot please the devil better than by refusing the offer of Christ; and putting him off with delays, till you perish in your unbelief.

And now, after all that has been said, what are you resolved upon? Will you receive Christ or not? Our glorious Lord and Master has sent us to pose you man, woman, and demand whether you will receive him or not? O! what answer shall we return with? Must we go and say, that all this people, upon no terms, will receive him; none of them are for precious Christ? Oh! God forbid! shall he not see the travail of his soul, who travailed through all the armies of God's wrath for you, and gave his soul an offering for your sin? O give your soul to him, saying, Lord, in spite of the devil and of unbelief, through grace I will open my heart and arms to receive Christ! The Lord himself help you to receive him, and walk in him.

You can find more by Ralph Erskine, and his brother Ebenezer, on this site-
Fire and Ice

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Stuff on blogs I've been reading

Just a quick round up of some good stuff-

Clint at Cowboylogy posts a translation on the Church Father Irenaeus
Irenaeus, Systematics and Spiritual Friendship

Daniel at Doulogos has this post asking, "Did The Law...
...produce righteousness in Christ?"

Guy at Exiled Preacher has some interesting points to consider in
PowerPoint and the death of preaching

RevGot of lenscleanse waxes about materialism antidotes
(The link is to the comments page as I didn't see a link to just the post--still you can read it there.)
RevGot & Dan of Spudfiles both review Sovereign Grace Music’s CD "Worship God - Live"-RevGot's is here, and Dan's is here.

While he has a lot of serious material, Kim Riddlebarger often has humour on his Riddleblog. Here's A fashion statement

The Catechizer at The Wittenberg Door has this excellent post on

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Book Recommendation-Gospel Truth/Pagan Lies by Peter Jones

Once upon a time Peter Jones was invited by my congregation to present a series of talks on the New Age movement and the Gospel. Those of us there heard much of the same content as this book -in slightly altered style. For all of us, this book is a wonderful way to see what the gospel is. (We do tend to forget things over time, unless we are reminded.) It also exposes teachings in the world, and the Church, which are opposed to the Gospel.
Jones proposes there are really only two world views—the Lie and the Truth. As the title suggests-this book compares the two. After some introductory information he looks at 5 areas to compare the Truth and the Lie.
The five areas are numbered as Pagan Lie #1-5 and Gospel Truth #1-5. #1 deals with whether God is all-and all is God or whether God is One and He is creator –and distinct from His creation. #2 looks at all people as one-or all believers as one in Christ alone. #3 compares all religions as one with only one truth-other religions are false. #4 compares what we think the problem is—is it that we have forgotten our divinity or that we sinners. #5 is on the way to escape—do we look within ourselves, or do we look to Christ? The first option of each point above is widely held by many today—even those who profess Christ. The second option of each point, however much in the minority it is, is the Biblical view which Jones explores and then summarizes. At under 90 pages this is a short, but useful overview of worldviews-pointing us to Christ and the Gospel.

More information on this book, as well as the New Age movement and the DaVinci Code can be found at Peter Jones' website.

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LOTW (Links of the Whenever)

It really has been "Whenever" since the last LOTW.

Well then let's get to them then-

First up-
"The Instigator" is cartoonist Charlie Teljeur.
He does some rather humorous cartoons based on hockey and especially the NHL.
I don't always agree with his point of view or his sense of humour, but usually I get a good laugh out of his work.
The link will bring up his latest cartoon, and there are links on that page to his archived work.
The Instigator

I like reading history-especially Church history. The Church Fathers are good reading for a variety of reasons. Here's one of my favorite writings by a Church Father. The link is part of
CCEL, which is an excellent site for older writings.
(Check it out as well.)
This is The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.
More information on Clement of Rome can be found on Wikipedia, and other sites. But I would advise caution when reading about Clement, as Roman Catholic Tradition considers Clement the fourth Pope. He was bishop of Rome, but the papacy did not yet exist.

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What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine Part 6

6. Plead Christ's commission, Isa. 61:1, that he came "to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Cry, Lord, here is a poor prisoner, a locked and bound up heart; here is employment for you. O loose and knock off my fetters, and bring my soul out of prison. O here is a naked sinner for you to cover, a wounded soul for you to cure, a lost sheep for you to seek and save; and was not this your errand? You came to seek and save that which was lost. And will you not find a lost sinner, that desires to seek you through your grace? Plead his commission under the broad seal of heaven; for, "Him has God the Father sealed." And plead the value of his blood, and merit of his righteousness: and upon that ground whereby all grace is purchased: plead for faith and grace to receive Jesus Christ the Lord.
-Ralph Erskine.

(Thanks to the fine folks at Fire and Ice, for their wonderful Puritan site. It's an excellent resource, and where I've been getting Ralph Erskine's writings.)

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Habitat for Humanity and Serving Others

Over at the Sojourner blog. Brad Williams asked for comments about Habitat for Humanity. There was an objection raised that they build houses for people living in sin. There's a short discussion about it, and I left a comment.
(The post is here)

I don't have a problem with supporting them, and don't think that's supporting those living any "lifestyle" I wouldn't condone. It's about helping others in a tangible way. The bonding some in our Church had was valuable as well.

ByFaith magazine has an article online, Covenant College Students Build Habitat for Humanity House.

Go read it. (Their house is for a single mother.)
Yes, use discernment, but don't let misplaced morality stop you from helping others.
Be like those students and serve others-it doesn't have to be through Habitat.
But as Christians we do need to be serving others.

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