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All of Scripture...

In The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, I am reading about the uses of Scripture.  In this discussion, Frame begins by talking about the varieties of biblical language; what makes Scripture authoritative?  Is it the propositions which provide the authority?  He points out that Scripture contains many forms of language other than propositions, such as command, question, exclamation, promise, vow, threat, and curse.  He says this:

All of  Scripture is propositional in that it seeks to convey to us the truth of God.  But all Scripture is also command; it aims to change our behavior in every aspect of life.  And all of Scripture is question, promise, and exclamation (shout of joy).

I really like how Frame exposes the many nuances of Scripture.  I like that: "All Scripture is question, promise, and exclamation."



Sometimes, the UN really is annoying

I read a story, courtesy of Cranach, regarding a couple from Sweden, whose child was taken from their custody.  The reason?  Because he is homeschooled, and the powers that be determined that homeschooling is an inappropriate way to raise a child.

A Christian home schooling family could permanently lose custody of their only child simply because they home-school, reports . . .

Swedish authorities forcibly removed Dominic Johansson from his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson, in June of last year from a plane they had boarded to move to Annie’s home country of India. The officials did not have a warrant nor have they charged the Johanssons with any crime. The officials seized the child because they believe home schooling is an inappropriate way to raise a child and insist the government should raise Dominic instead.

“It’s one of the most disgraceful abuses of power we have ever witnessed,” said HSLDA [Homeschool Legal Defense Association] attorney Mike Donnelly. “The Swedish government says it is exercising its authority under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in their unnecessary break up of this family. In addition, the Swedish Parliament is considering an essential ban on home schooling. We have heard that other home-schooling families in Sweden are having more difficulty with local officials. We fear that all home-schooling families in that country are at risk.”

Swedish social services initially limited visitation to the child to two hours per week but now have curtailed that to one hour every fifth week and no visit at all for Christmas because the social workers will be on vacation.

On Dec. 17, a Swedish court ruled in Johansson v. Gotland Social Services that the government was within its rights to seize the child. They cited the fact that Dominic had not been vaccinated as a reason to remove him permanently from his parents and also claimed that home-schoolers do not perform well academically and are not well socialized.

I can't get my mind around the fact that the rights of the child are invoked in a case where the child is taken out of the loving nurture of the family.  It boggles my thinking that anyone believes that "the state" ought to raise our children.  I can't imagine what the child is going through, being away from his parents.  Children definitely have the right to protection, but it seems to me that this is less about the rights of the child than it is about the rights of the state to spread its dogma.  The same people who would think they are protecting this child would probably be the same people who would deny a fetus its right to be born and live.



I liked this

I have long been of the opinion that philosophy is everybody's business - but not in order to get more information about the world, our society, and ourselves. For that purpose, it would be better to turn to the natural and the social sciences and to history. It is in another way that philosophy is useful - to help us to understand things we already know, understand them better than we now understand them. That is why I think everyone should learn how to think philosophically. ~ Mortimer Adler.

I've never felt that I was good at thinking philosopically.  I have thought about things and wondered, but I don't know as if my thought could be considered "philosophical."  I started reading a book by Adler called Aristotle for Everyone.  I guess it could be considered the Aristotle for Dummies.

I like the subtitle to this book: "Difficult Thought Made Easy."  As I have plodded through John Frame's book The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, I have seen that as I wrestle through difficult concepts, I often fail to think through things in the most efficient way.  Never too late to learn better how to think.



THE best Christmas cookie ever!

I am not a true, die-hard sweet eater.  Take for example the dessert I had for our family Christmas last Sunday:  pumpkin torte.  I love pumpkin.  But this has cream cheese and whipped cream, and it was sweet.  I only ate one small piece.  My boys ate it for breakfast the next morning.  When there are parties for ladies at church, the tables are generally filled with all kinds of sweet goodies.  I want to know where the french fries and potato chips are.

Because of my lack of sweet toothiness, I don't really go in much for Christmas baking myself.  I bake, but I don't eat as much of it as my family.  I do, however, love cinnamon, and this recipe is perfect for someone like me who doesn't really crave chocolate, gooey, rich treats.  This is the one family tradition that my kids will never let me skip on.


Blend with a pastry blender:

1 cup margarine

2 cups flour

Add to the mixture, one egg yolk and 3/4 cup sour cream.  Mix together well and shape into three balls.  Refrigerate for about an hour or more.


3/4 c white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)

After dough has chilled, roll out on a floured surface, making the circle approximately 7-8 inches in diameter.  Spread 1/4 cup of the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the surface.  With a knife, cut the dough into 16 equal wedges.  Do this by cutting across the diameter to divide in half, then in four, then eight, and so on.  Roll each wedge into a little crescent-looking roll, beginning at outer edge of the circle.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

They are wonderful.  They just melt in your mouth.  I already have some in the freezer, and today, I must make more.  Also on the baking agenda, Chocolate Nut Fingers.


The Final Cure

That is the title of the last chapter of Martyn Lloyd-Jones's Spiritual Depression.

I have to say that this book is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read as a Christian.  It rates right up there with others I have read, like The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, and No Place for Truth by David Wells.  Those books caused me to think very hard, and so did this one, albeit in a different way.

Lloyd-Jones's words continually caused me to examine my own heart; not to bemoan things, or to dwell on myself in a way which is unhealthy.  In fact, I think that he would have been quite against something like that.  No, it was, rather, an encouragement to evaluate my heart over and over again, to ask myself questions, or to put it in a phrase he used quite often to "talk to myself."

Some of my friends who knew I was reading this book (most had never heard of it) wrinkled up their noses in surprise because of the title.  One woman even went so far as to offer this sarcastic remark:  "Oh, that's cheery."  They didn't get it, obviously.  This book is not a cure-all for someone who is depressed.  It isn't even for someone with clinical depression, although that person could glean much from it.  This book is for every Christian, because it is a book for a Christian who finds himself discouraged, and we all get discouraged from time to time.  The reasons for discouragement often arise from our own attitude toward things, and what the Doctor does in this book is help the reader to see that reality and then help him to fight those attitudes.  Time and time again in this book, like no other, Lloyd-Jones described someone very much like me.  I could see myself in the pages of this book over and over again.  I feel almost a little sad at having finished, because it was such an encouragement to me.  Of course, I will find encouragement in other things, most notably the Scriptures.  That is the continual exhortation from Lloyd-Jones:  to study deeply the Word of God.

I just want to share something very simply put in this final chapter of Spritual Depression which I think really summarizes well what the book is getting at:

The Christian life after all is a life, it is a power, it is an activity.  That is the thing we so constantly tend to forget.  It is not just a philosophy, it is not just a point of view, it is not just a teaching that we take up and try to put into practice.  It is all that, but it is something infinitely more.  The very essence of the Christian life, according to th New Testament teaching everywhere, is that it is a mighty power that enters into us; it is a life, if you like, that is pulsating in us  It is an activity, and an activity on the part of God.

It is this pulsating life which Lloyd-Jones continually exhorts the reader to grab a hold of.  While the Christian life is one of struggle and difficulty and suffering, it is a life that can be lived with pulsating power.  That is something to be encourage us.