Posted by: johnnyp1978 | March 31, 2011

An Objection to Cremation

I have objections to cremation theologically, but I am not very good at articulating theological arguments on subjects such as this. Having had this topic come up more than once I thought it good to find someone who has articulated my same thoughts on the subject. I found this to be a good argument: http://opc.org/qa.html?question_id=347

I particularly like how it points out that it’s not the problem that God can’t paste us back together at the resurrection because it is true that we all could be ashes before the Resurrection, but it’s the idea behind burning the body and the testimony that a burial gives to man that this isn’t it and this body will be brought back from the grave at the Resurrection. The number one argument is that it makes no sense to spend the money on a burial, but it’s not like it’s just out of the world costly and with insurance and even putting away just a small amount of money really in the end can you really say it’s a waste of money? Think of a burial as your last testimony to this world of the hope of the resurrection and the fact that death is the destiny of all people.

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Posted by: johnnyp1978 | March 4, 2011

King of Limbs: A Review

Well, I guess it’s about as good of time as any to review the new Radiohead album “King of Limbs.”

Let me first say, wow, I think this album has gotten stuck in my head. While I agree with the #1 complaint about this album and that’s the length, there’s still something very structural about this album. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Radiohead learned about structuring an album after their first album, Pablo Honey. You can tell that Pablo Honey doesn’t really blend very well, but from then on their albums seem to have a great flow. Of course, I still believe their Kid A album to be their masterpiece. There are greater songs from other albums, but as a piece of work I believe Kid A is perfectly structured.

So, let’s now go track by track on KOL:

#1: Bloom – Perfect beginning to this album. It instantly drew me into the album.  Thom’s singing is yet once again mesmerizing. I just love the first line: “Open you mouth wide, the universe will sigh.”  This is definitely a jazzy song… with a bit of acid thrown in.

#2: Morning Mr. Magpie – I actually hear some Beatles in this song. Most of you are probably like, huh? Well, give Ringo some crack and maybe you’ll hear it. Am I the only one who hears “Within You Without You” from Sgt. Pepper when Thom sings the line “Good morning Mr. Magpie, how are we today?” To tell you the truth this is probably one of my least favorites of the album, yet it gets stuck in my head and I’m singing the line that I just mentioned. Plus, I do like the way it is wrapped up in the end.

#3: Little by Little – This is a fun one. I love the guitars and the cling clang.

#4: Feral – A very eerie instrumental song. Thom has vocals in this song but his voice is used as an instrument. Now, it’s possible he’s actually saying something that are actual words, but I don’t think so and when I looked up lyrics the website just said “instrumental” under Feral.

#5: Lotus Flower – This is the song that gets stuck in my head the most off this album. I sometimes just want to stand up in my cubicle and start doing the crazy Thom dance (he actually stole that dance from me). I absolutely love this song. Definitely one of their best dance songs. I love the synth keyboard sound in it. They have used this sound in other albums. It kind of reminds me of synth music from B-horror films from the 80’s.

#6: Codex – Definitely the most beautiful song off this album. In fact, it may be one of their most beautiful songs period. I love the horns throughout the song. And at the end the strings are a nice touch.

#7: Give Up The Ghost – The vocals are appropriate for this song because they sound ghostly. I will say something that makes this album different from many of their others is the fact that you can understand most of the lyrics in this one. I still mumble my way through a lot of their stuff and really never know what Thom is really saying. On KOL I find myself able to sing along and know exactly what is being said.

#8: Separator – Just a perfect book ending. Maybe this is just me, but for some reason this song kind of has a Paul Simon feel to me. I just hear a similar echo effect to Thom’s voice that Paul Simon liked to use and a similar beat as well. It ends much like a Radiohead concert… you don’t want it to.

Well, that’s my review. Hope you enjoy the new album. Really hoping they are going to pull an Amnesiac like they did with Kid A and gift us with some more great music.

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | March 2, 2011

Machen on Church and State

Here’s some good stuff by Machen on Church and State:

http://opc.org/nh.html?article_id=693

Also read about Machen on public education: http://reformed.org/christian_education/Machen_before_congress.html

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | December 8, 2010

Preserving Hymns

I was reading this article which sparked some thought on why all churches should continue to sing hymns throughout the history of the church: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features-the-religion-world/2010/12/07/o-come-all-ye-faithful-the-backstory/

No matter where you fall in the spectrum of worship (traditional to contemporary) there is a need to keep old hymns in worship services. In the article I mention we see the history behind the hymn “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Why did John Francis Wade waste his time preserving this hymn and other older church music? I think he saw the importance of preserving a gift given from the church fathers before him. When you go to the extreme end of the contemporary spectrum and you throw out historical hymns you also throw out gifts of our church fathers and singing songs sung by the saints before us. I personally am a hymn only guy, but I can tolerate blended worship because at least I get some of the old hymns with the new. I know some of these hymns can sound odd and are not necessarily “hip” but Christianity isn’t about being “hip” it’s about being pilgrims, and pilgrim music isn’t always going to sound “hip” but it can be more moving than any contemporary song if one looks at the rich heritage behind old hymns and the saints who sang these songs in the past and even some who were killed for believing in this pilgrim religion.

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | October 16, 2010

Old prof of mine on Glenn Beck

Here’s an old college professor of mine, Cal Beisner, on Glenn Beck:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4375125/beck-let-there-be-stuff/

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | October 15, 2010

Find YOUR Bible???

What’s wrong with this ad?

For one, there is not such thing as your Bible. And I’m sure you know what I mean. Of course, I have my own Bible when speaking of having a bound copy, but there isn’t my version of the Bible.

The Bible is the infallible Word of God, but when we say this what do we really mean? Is the KJV, NIV, ESV, etc. the infallible Word of God. Well, not entirely. They are copies of the infallible Word of God which is found in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek. As the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1.8 says: The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them.

This is not to say translations can’t be trusted. But the farther you get away from the original languages the more they get away from the infallible Word of God. I have done some textual criticism when studying Greek and found translations such as the NASB and the ESV to be very trustworthy translations. The NASB can be a wooden but the ESV smooths out the translation without moving too far away from the Greek. I find it wise to compare translations and see what they have in common and if they differ do some research to see why they have been translated differently. Of course, for devotional reasons I don’t think you have to take time out from your devotions to do this practice, and that’s why I would suggest using a translation like the ESV for devotions because it’s one of the closest to the original Greek and yet is very readable and not wooden like the NASB.

I would steer clear of The Message as it should not be seen as a translation but only Eugene Peterson’s take on the Bible. I mean, if you have a copy I don’t think you need to burn it or anything but keep in mind it is not a translation but one man’s interpretation of Scripture and it should be used with caution.

Also, there’s the question of the study Bible. Now, I have no problem with study Bibles. I use them as handy commentaries if I just need a quick note on a puzzling verse. But even these must be used with caution because the notes aren’t infallible and are still opinions. There are better study Bibles than others. I suggest R.C. Sproul’s The Reformation Study Bible which can be found in the ESV and NKJV. I also like Richard Pratt’s Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible which comes in the NIV, but I’m not as big of a fan of the NIV translation, but you can do much worse. I suggest not bringing your study Bible to church. It can be really distracting and your pastor’s teaching may not agree with the notes which could become a distraction, and just because your pastor’s teaching doesn’t agree doesn’t mean he’s wrong; it could be that the author of that note is wrong. Be careful with study Bibles that have a very narrow focus such as The American Patriot Study Bible or the Green Bible. You want something that’s focus is to teach the whole of Scripture without some narrow agenda.

Personal devotion is great. And yes, there are a few translations that I feel are good translations. So, in a limited way there can be a personal preference whether you will go with the ESV or the NKJV. It might be good to have both and compare. Here’s a good endorsement for the ESV: http://opc.org/review.html?review_id=99

The Bible is not your book, but the Church’s book. It has been written to a people and though it has a universal message it was still written at a particular time in two particular languages. Let’s start moving toward a our Bible mentality.

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | October 8, 2010

Reformation Needed Today

I hope to start writing on why the Reformed faith is such a big deal, but because of time and lack of patience for the moment I am just going to direct you to a short article I really enjoyed:

http://opc.org/nh.html?article_id=93

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | September 28, 2010

Athiests know more about thiesm than Thiests

I found these articles interesting: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_food_blog/2010/09/barnies-celebrates-national-coffee-day-sept-29-with-free-java.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+features%2Ffood%2Fforkhead+%28Cooking+Gal%29

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/09/atheists-belief-pew-religious-knowledge/1

This is pretty shameful. I think this is a result of weak faith. I often wonder if people are actually scared to investigate their faith out of fear of finding they are wrong. I’m part of a thumb nail in the Christian world called the Reformed faith (Calvinism) which used to be a giant. The Reformed faith has a deep respect for the intellect in the Christian faith. Too many people think you have to divorce the brain from the heart in Christianity. People use the cliché “blind faith” when Christianity is not at all a blind faith. God even found it important to not just give us one gospel but four gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Even Paul says that nature leaves man without excuse for denying God’s existence.

Now, to be clear Christianity isn’t to divorce the heart from the brain but neither should the brain be divorced from the heart. There is an invisible reality that can’t be proven by scientific methods. There’s a world that not even the most powerful telescope or microscope can observe. Only through the eyes of faith can these things be observed, but it isn’t a blind faith. In fact, it is those who deny Christianity who are blind.

Christians open your Bibles and don’t just read them for personal devotions, but also study the history of redemption starting from Genesis to Revelation. Buy a book on the history of the faith. If you really don’t know who Martin Luther is then you are definitely in some trouble and need to get a book today. Alister Mcgrath has written some good church history books. Here’s one that looks like a good introduction to the history of the Reformation that seems a little less text-bookish: http://www.amazon.com/Christianitys-Dangerous-Idea-Revolution-Twenty-First/dp/0061436860/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_12  I certainly hope you at least know who Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus are; these are pretty significant persons from the Bible, especially the one whose name starts with J.

I know I have failed in studying church history the way I should. I did study under a very smart church historian, Dr. Frank James, but talk about information overload. 2000 years of church history in two semesters is quite a feat. I also study under a great apologist, John Frame, but I am in no ways an apologist. But I do know the answer to how many of each kind of animal did Moses bring on the ark (None… that was Noah).  

I Peter 3:15 tells Christians to be ready to make a defense for what they believe. Not every one has to excel at apologetics to defend the faith. But it is good to at least be able to say why you believe even if you can’t answer every objection out there.

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | August 31, 2010

Inception is for dreamers

Okay, I’m not going to write a review on Inception even though I absolutely loved the movie and it is now in my favorite list of movies (not sure if that’s top 10 or top 20). I haven’t heard many negative comments about the movie besides that some came out confused, which is no surprise, I saw it twice and the second viewing cleared up more stuff for me but I think the movie will forever have questions and I think that is part of Christopher Nolan’s intent.

The problem that some have had with the movie is the believability of the movie. This is where I believe this movie is really for dreamers. I don’t think Nolan’s main concern is with the science of dreams. An example I will use is the machine to enter dream. The science behind the machine is never explained, and that is perfectly fine. Nolan only cares for you to know that they use some weird machine to be put into the dream. Nolan is also not concerned about the true science of dreams. I’m sure Nolan did put research into this and there were truths about dreams in the movie, but really the movie is Nolan’s dream about lucid dreams. The rule of dreams in this world are created by Nolan. But the movie doesn’t mean for you to shut down the left side of your brain completely because it is a very thought-provoking movie.

Posted by: johnnyp1978 | August 31, 2010

Alcohol Prolongs Life

This is an interesting article about a study how drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. I think it’s funny how they are emphasizing how heavy drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. I want to focus on the moderate drinkers who have a 41% mortality rate versus non-drinkers who are at 69%.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,600482,00.html

Paul does prescribe to Timothy wine for his stomach ailments (I Tim 5:23). Psalm 104:15 speaks of wine making the heart of man glad. I think both general and special revelation teach that moderate alcohol use is beneficial to our well-being.

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