December 06, 2004

(Belated) Christian Carnival XLVI

is up at A Physicist's Perspective, and indeed it has been for some time, but I just haven't gotten around to blogging it until now. With 37 entries this week, David's done a pretty good job for his first time hosting.

Once again, no submission from the Crusty Curmudgeon. That will change with CCXLVII. But here are the highlights:

I'm always a sucker for expositions of Romans, particularly chapters 8 and 9 - I have an edition of the Bible that I've opened to this place so many times, it opens there naturally now. So it's understandable that I appreciated Jeremy's exposition of Christ's deity in Rom. 9:5 over at Parableman:

Someone emailed me asking what I thought about different translations that give very different readings of Romans 9:5. The issue has a bearing on whether this verse affirms Christ's deity, so it makes a big difference to those who believe that the Bible doesn't teach Christ's deity. I don't think much rests on this verse for those who think the Bible teaches that doctrine over and over, as I believe, so even if this verse doesn't teach the deity of Christ that doesn't mean that other passages don't. The grammar of the verse is technically ambiguous (as is the earliest translation I have access to, the Latin Vulgate), but I think there are good arguments for thinking it probably does refer to Christ as God, and I don't think the arguments against that view are very strong.

[Read Christ's Divinity in Romans 9:5]

A few blogs have recently been doing series on the five points of Calvinism. Great, I say, it just saves me the trouble. Especially when people like the Jollyblogger are doing such a great job of it. He makes a covenantal argument for particular redemption (or "limited atonement," that horrible, dangerous L in TULIP), which is the best kind (in fact it was James White's version that turned me into a full-fledged, card-carrying Calvinist):

Point number one in the argument for "limited atonement," or "particular redemption," is simply to note that all of these things - Passover, Day of Atonement, sacrificial system - were intended for the people of Israel, not for everyone in the world. True, the foreigner could have his sins atoned for, but he had to become a member of the people of Israel to do so. God never intended to provide a sacrifice for sins for those outside of the people of Israel.

[Read L - Limited Atonement (Five Points of Calvinism, Part 3)]

Also be sure to read through the comments section for this post. One comment raises the important side issue of the sincerity of the Gospel call if Calvinism is true. I don't recall seeing an answer to this question in the blogosphere, so I will be tackling it myself in the next couple of days (hopefully in time for the next Carnival).

Here's a neat post from Uncle Sam's Cabin illustrating that vis-à-vis idolatry, there is still nothing new under the sun:

So Demetrius gets the craftsmen all riled up and they essentially start a riot in Ephesus. They grab themselves a couple of Christians and head off to the local gathering place. This is where we pick up the story. The mob doesn’t really have a clue what’s going on or what they’re rioting against but they know that, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

This episode reminded me very much of the mobs today in Muslim countries who gather to shout, “Allah akbar!” until they have no voice left. They are willing pawns of corrupt leaders who see their power over the people threatened. Any one of those Ephesian craftsmen could have said, well if they don’t want shrines we can make other things for them. Just as any Muslim leader or average person on the street can say, Allah akbar but we don’t need to kill ourselves or others to prove it.

[Read Great is Artemis and Allah akbar]

The King of Fools takes on a columnist who is bitter at the outcome of the presidential election, whose (typical) reaction is to quote the Bible back at the Christian Right:

The election was a decisive victory for the President and for the Republican party. The President's percentage of the national vote was the largest since Reagan while the Republicans increased their margin in both chambers of congress. Was the election a victory for Christians? I'm not convinced it was. Definition of marriage initiatives were overwhelmingly passed in 11 states but only a fool would tack a Christian label on all Republicans (or a pagan one on all Democrats).

[Read Religious Right = Wrong?]

Alan at Imago Veritatis draws a parallel between the attempts by the Chinese government to promote a Maoist-compatible "Christianity" by revising its tenets, and the historical revisionism of the Maryland educational system, in whose Thanksgiving God is no longer the object of thanks:

It seems to me that what is going on here is a deliberate cover up. It has the appearance of a purposeful distortion of historical fact. I really can’t see much difference between what the state is doing in the Maryland public schools and the type of brainwashing being engaged in by the Chinese government. Through its manipulation and distortion of the truth of history, the state of Maryland is creating the false impression that religion was irrelevant to the historical formation of our society.

[Read China, Maryland and Religious Distortion]