Monday, November 29, 2004

Philadelphia Presbytery Report on Avodat Yisrael Gives More Confirmation on My Reporting

In late 2003, I published an article exposing soteriological problems within Avodat Yisrael and with Rev. Andrew Sparks. Reaction has generally been positive. Most within the evangelical community or the conservative wing of the PC(USA) assume that Avodat Yisrael supports the sound preaching of the gospel and of evangelism simply because they are Messianic Jews. Sadly, that is just not the case.

Beyond information uncovered in that article and information in the public record, I received confirmation of Andrew Sparks' unwillingness to affirm the need for Jews to believe in Jesus from a NPR reporter.

Well, now we have confirmation from the Philadelphia presbytery, which oversees Avodat Yisrael. I am also pretty confident that I am mentioned in the report, although not by name.

All quotes in this post are from the report.
Moreover, while the congregation affirms Jesus, whom they call Yeshua, as the promised Messiah of ancient Judaism, they also maintain that insofar as the church has been engrafted into the people of God it follow that Judaism and Christianity are sister religions and that both religions always and already are an equal and irrevocable covenantal relationship with God.

The term "equal and irrevocable" should raise warning flags. I leave it to the author of Hebrews to determine if unbelieving Jews are in equal covenantal relationship with God. I've handled this objection in my Presbyterian Outlook artilce. The point here is not to debate the issue but to show where Avodat Yisrael stands. Furthermore, the report goes on to say: "Avodat Yisrael is clear that it is a co-member of one covenant."

Regarding evangelism, the report is succinct and clear.
Avodat Yisrael does not seek to persuade Jews to become does not seek to make converts to one or the other of the two traditions it represents.

This is great. Avodat Yisrael represents two traditions. Believing and not believing in Jesus. Jewish leaders believe this congregation is "dangerously syncretistic." They probably believe this because they feel any identification with the greater Jewish community and Jesus is syncretistic. I disagree. However, standing for Jesus and not Jesus is indeed syncretistic.

Best of all, I think I was mentioned in the article. The congregation is under fire from three different groups. Jews, Progressive Christians, and Evangelical Christians (by that I think they mean Geoff Robinson, because I know of no other evangelical Christians who have been opposing Avodat Yisrael). I have already had an email exchange with Andrew Sparks, where he took issue to my opposition. I would assume Sparks conveyed that opposition to the committee. I do not mean, at all, to toot my own horn. Others have supported me and written me. I very much appreciate that. I'm sure others have read what I've done and are glad my article was written. If there are any others opposing Avodat Yisrael, please get in contact with me. There may indeed be conservative opposition within the presbytery of Philadelphia itself. That would be wonderful.

Unfortunately, my concerns are not accurately represented by the committee. "Evangelical Christians, who question the mission of a new messianic church development that eschews targeting Jews for salvation as its primary mission."

Again, I can only speak for myself. I don't want a congregation to simply be an evangelistic outreach. That isn't a church. But if a church (messianic congregation, etc.) does not preach the gospel then that congregation is not a church, at least in any Reformed sense. My concern is that Avodat Yisrael does not believe in the gospel and does not preach the gospel! Let alone evangelism. Evangelism does not need to be the only concern of a church. Avodat Yisrael has problems which go beyond a lack of commitment to evangelism and the Great Commission. I would be pleased if they simply preached the gospel from the pulpit. Evangelism without a belief and commitment to the gospel would be a whited sepulchre.

Lastly, we come to one of the recommendations in the report. "We recommend that there be at least one conference organized to explore the breadth of Presbyterian thought on Christian theological responses to Judaism." That's a very good idea. I would love the opportunity to actually interact with views I'm opposed to, both in Avodat Yisrael and the progressive wing of the PC(USA). In turn, I want them to interact with my views as well.

Soli Deo Gloria.

How One Swift Vet Has Suffered

Maybe, just maybe, some Swift Vets were against Kerry because they believed they were telling the truth.
This is the story of a military veteran whistleblower. He spoke out against someone he thought was dangerous for the nation, talked to local newspapers, and appeared on talk shows. In return, he was vilified by reporters, threatened by a political operative, fired by his company, and now he's broke.

His name is Steve Gardner. He's also known as "The 10th Brother," as in Band of Brothers. He's one of two members of Sen. John Kerry's 12 Vietnam swift boat crew members who refused to stand with Kerry at the Democratic Convention. The other man remained silent.

"They said I had a political agenda. I had no and have no political agenda whatsoever. I saw John Kerry on television saying he was running for the Democratic nomination for president, and I knew I couldn't ever see him as commander in chief -- not after what I saw in Vietnam, not after the lies I heard him tell about what he says he did and what he says others did."


Paralyzed Woman Walks Again From Stem-Cell Therapy

The stem cells weren't derived from babies. They were taken from umbilical cord blood.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Trouble With Kinsey
Kinsey was a perverted monster, and no one can excuse the harm he did to the safety of children from pedophiles. Indeed, the only sex that Kinsey considered abnormal was abstinence, celibacy, and delayed marriage.

There are some facts in this article which will make you squemish. Read with caution.

Globalization Reducing World Poverty

If leftists have to choose between helping the downtrodden and anti-capitalism, I think they'll pick anti-capitalism. Obviously, they really don't think that globalization is a good thing. There are downsides. But overall, it is indeed a beneficial thing. And it is inevitable anyway.
What explains all this good news? The short answer is this thing we call globalization. Over the past decades, many nations have undertaken structural reforms to lower trade barriers, shore up property rights and free economic activity. International trade is surging. The poor nations that opened themselves up to trade, investment and those evil multinational corporations saw the sharpest poverty declines. Write this on your forehead: Free trade reduces world suffering.

Kofi Annan's Son Has Ties to Oil-For-Food Payments
One of the next big chapters in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal will involve the family of the secretary-general, Kofi Annan, whose son turns out to have been receiving payments as recently as early this year from a key contractor in the oil-for-food program....The importance of this story involves not only undisclosed conflicts of interest, but the question of the role of the secretary-general himself...

10 Year Reunion

Well, my 10-year high school reunion was last night. It went well. We only had 90-100 people who graduated, so it wasn't a huge affair.

I can only sum the night up with one word. Surreal.

Our foreign exchange student friend, Tommy, was there. Everybody was nice and glad to see me. I realized that those of us who went to the same elementary school have a special bond for some odd reason. One girl was asking how my mom was doing. She probably hasn't seen my mom in 15 years.

It was surreal. I saw a classmate's kid sister. She's 24 years old and drinking beer and the only thing I can think of is "she shouldn't be drinking a beer; she's too young."

Many of us, including myself, are fatter. Our old photos look like we are cancer patients. Some look better. Some are very similar.

There were some people who I remembered who looked like nothing in my memory. Please wear a name tag.

One person without a nametag kept asking me to give messages to other high school friends. And I couldn't remember who she was!

Friday, November 26, 2004

ABC Set to Report That Matthew Shepherd Was Killed During Robbery, Not Hate Crime

I fully expect all the blame directed towards Christians and conservatives to be retracted. Ok, not really.

ABC does mention that this doesn't impugn the debate after Shepherd was killed regarding hate crimes. I'm tired of the liberal noble lie, but they have a point. "Rogerberta Menchu may be a complete liar, but what she's saying is true." "The documents may be fake, but they still have a lot of truth in them." Blah, blah, blah...

I never liked hate crime legislation. It criminalized thoughts we could never be too sure about. And do we want to criminalize motivation or the crime itself? I always felt that these concerns should be addressed as mitigating factors in sentencing, not as a separate crime.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Canadian Patients Told to Go to America For Tests

Ahh, the beauty of socialized medicine. Canadian doctors, concerned about the health of their patients, tell them to go to America.

Economic Freedom Ranking of States

New Jersey comes in 42nd; California is 49th. That sounds about right. World Mag Blog speculates:
The conventional wisdom of liberal Republicans and libertarians is that moral freedom and economic freedom go together. But this does not seem to be the case. Why is it that the more culturally liberal states, which make a point of their moral tolerance, have less economic freedom, while culturally conservative states have more economic freedom? Could this be a "Brave New World" inversion of Karl Marx, in which moral license is the opiate of the people, keeping them pleasure-saturated and thus more easily exploited and controlled?

U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Asks General Assembly Why They Exist If They Won't Condemn Genocide in Sudan

*Geoff stands up and applauds.*

First Review of Scorcese's Aviator: Great Film, DiCaprio Really Good

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Corruption at the U.N. as a Way of Life

The United Nations is the ultimate bureaucracy. Since it has no oversight, it will inevitably become corrupt.

The blog entry mentions corruption with the Palestinian refugees as an impediment to peace. I'm very interested in learning more about that.

How Marxism Almost Destroyed Plymouth Colony

A good example of why socialism doesn't work. Let's be thankful for our economic freedoms.
Here now, in its entirety, the William Bradford journal, what he wrote about the social experiment after abandoning what essentially was socialism shortly after the Pilgrims had arrived in the United States or in the new world:

"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote. 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They un-harnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products.'"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Thanksgiving is so utterly important to the human race. It is my firm belief that all people are built to give thanksgiving unto God. Therefore, a lack of thanksgiving produces a whole host of problems. Why? We go against how we are made when we don't give thanks.

In Romans chapter 1, we find an amazing description of human nature and the effects of sin. The apostle Paul tells us that we suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We know the truth deep down inside. We just supress it. This supression, like holding in anger, causes problems in other areas.

What is the first way we show our sinful nature? Murder, stealing, lying, etc. No. "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him."

We do not give thanks. Those other things come later. But the lack of thanksgiving is before all of the lying and stealing and other things we identify more with sin. But sin is more extensive than just what we do. It's about who we are and what's in our heart.

Other attitudes rush into the vacuum. "But their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."

As Douglas Wilson would argue, we still have feelings of thanksgiving. It is built into us. It would make sense that it is meant to be directed to someone.

It is good then, given that our nature is to eschew thanksgiving, to have a day set aside to direct us to give thanks. People who are thankful are happier and healthier. Healthier? I suppose people who don't completely supress how they are made will be healthier, even if they don't direct thanks to God Himself.

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 22, 2004

"Christmas With the Cranks" or "Skipping Christmas"?

A new movie comes out tomorrow called "Christmas With The Cranks." It is based on a book called "Skipping Christmas." That is a much better title. I wonder who was in the focus group. Or maybe I'm just odd.

Mitch Album: Brawl Due to a Distorted View of Respect

Excellent point.

Fact is, respect is what started this in the first place.

Oh, not real respect. Real respect has traces of kindness. Real respect is deferential, like a young apprentice and his patient mentor. Real respect knows, at its core, humility.

I'm talking about the bastardized "respect" in today's sports world -- where the word means nobody does anything to you that you don't like, want, accept or appreciate.

I Have Not Come to Praise Santa, But to Bury Him

I'm in favor of the pro-Santa camp, but here is a dissenting view. I know him. He's a nice Catholic man and isn't unbalanced, etc.
A priest tells kids the truth and gets in trouble for it. (Link from Amy Welborn’s blog.) IOW, the alleged followers of “the Way and the Truth and the Life” think that perpetuating silly lies about demigods and heroes is a good thing for kids.

Balderdash. Children can enjoy Santa just fine without believing in him. Just as they enjoy Barney, Thomas the Tank Engine and Spiderman. Santa is great make-believe, but telling children that he’s real is a horribly stupid thing to do. I attribute my early skepticism and atheist directly to having been lied to about Santa, and I’ve met loads of people who say the same thing.

If you want to raise skeptical atheists, by all means tell them Santa is real. Go ahead. Destroy your credibility with the kids. Teach them they can’t believe their own parents. What a great idea!

Clarification on Biere D'Art

Their website says it comes out in Nov. So if you want it before Thanksgiving call your favorite liquor store now!!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Google for Scholars

Google has a search engine in beta (still under initial development) which seems to be very promising. It searches academic sources. This would be a big improvement for researching academic papers using regular Google.

2 Double Cheeseburgers Hold the Buns

That's what I heard in Burger King. This is official confirmation that the Atkins diet has gone too far.

BBC Reports That U.N. Knew About Oil-For-Food Thefts

One of the worst scandals that at least I can remember is getting even worse.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Resurrection of Iraqi Ba'ath Party on French Soil

This would be why some of my friends would eschew French beer for Thanksgiving.

What Beer Should You Bring to Thanksgiving Dinner?

Given the diversity of beer, there may well be many correct answers.

However, we must turn to our beer and food guru, the man from Brooklyn, Garrett Oliver. He suggests a French beer style, Biere de Garde. According to Mr. Oliver, this style matches the traditional Thanksgiving dinner perfectly.

If, like some of my friends, you don't like the idea of pumping money into France, I have only two suggestions for you. Heavyweight, which is available in the Mid-Atlantic region, makes Biere D'Art. This style appears more in the spring, if memory serves, so non-French versions are hard to come by.

If you are west of the Mississippi, you should try finding a bottle of New Beligium's Biere De Mars. That is definitely a spring seasonal, so you will have to look hard or know someone.

Of Bondage of the Will and Lightsabres

I was in a Borders today. They had a bunch of $100 lightsabres. Real sound effects and a purple color.

But the more interesting thing was that they had a copy of Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will. This was Luther's magnum opus; his response to Erasmus. He shows how our will is enslaved to sin.

This book isn't carried in a lot of Christian bookstores, so I was very impressed.

U.N. Workers Issue No-Confidence Vote on Annan

If you were watching the news, you may have missed this.

This is huge. They've been stonewalling the corruption investigation. Annan and the higher ups have a lot to answer for.

Outraged Greeks Say Alexander Was Not Bisexual

That would be news to me. Most ancient Greeks, at least in the upper classes, had both a wife and a boy (just came of age, 13ish or so). That is what I learned in my history of Philosophy class. But hey, what do I know.

This factoid made me think that sexuality isn't as completely genetic as we'd like to think. There are a lot of environmental factors. That doesn't mean sexuality is chosen per se. But it is more complex than genes = sexuality.

Pacers Players and Pistons Fans Get Into Brawl

I'm so glad this didn't happen in Philly. If it did, you would never, ever hear the end of it. Philly is sometimes mentioned in articles about bad fans even if they had nothing to do with the incident. And despite the numerous incidents in New York, Cleveland, etc. over the years, Philly is always the red-headed step-child.

My theory on why the media overdoes bad fans in Philly is because the media is based out of New York. If the same behavior occured in New York, which it sometimes does, you wouldn't hear anything mentioned over and over again.

That's not to say that this behavior is acceptable. But two batteries being thrown at J.D. Drew does not mean 60,000 fans were out to burn him at the stake.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dissent Starting to Pop Up in North Korea

And maybe some false propaganda about the current Kim killing the elder Kim.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Racism and Sexism in Cartoons About Dr. Condi Rice?
The depiction of Dr. Condoleeza Rice by Jeff Danziger, Pat Oliphant and Garry Trudeau as an ebonics speaking, big-lipped, black mammy who just loves her 'massa' is a disturbing trend in editorial cartoons," said Michelle D. Bernard, senior vice president of the Independent Women's Forum. "These cartoons take the racism of the liberals who profess respect and adoration for black Americans to a new level. It is revolting."

Not to mention that some papers which will remain nameless are using "Ms." instead of "Dr."

Reports of U.N. Obstructing Oil-for-Food Investigation

About the CIA Shakeup

Elements in the CIA were trying to undermine a sitting President. Regardless of your politics, this is incredibly unacceptable. Many heads should roll. This has nothing to do with the fact that many members of the CIA are liberals. It has to do with common sense. The CIA has a job to do regardless of who is President.

Disney to Make Toy Story 3 Without Pixar

Disney needs money. Ever since Katzenberg left the studio, their animation studio has been steadily in the decline. You can look forward to Peter Pan, Return to Neverland special edition DVD.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Acid-Attack Man

I'm not having the best week. But when I was in New York City, I saw a man who was attacked and horribly scarred with acid.

Thank you for putting somethings into perspective.

Frankly, who would do such a thing to a fellow human being? It was so incredibly sad.

Fight Against U.N. Corruption Going Bipartisan

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Legal Travails of Nutkin the Squirrel

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Very Interesting Article on a Liberal Who's Gradually Changed Into a Conservative

What's interesting is that he is on disability but he now believes on relying on each other and not demanding support from government. It's easy to say that when you have no need for government. Quite another if you are in this guy's spot.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Prayer for the Military in Fallujah

Dear Lord,

I ask in Jesus' name that you show mercy to the troops in Fallujah. I pray you guide and protect them. I pray that the Iraqis will be able to live in peace and safety. Thank you for the relative safety we have in America. Thank you for troops who put their life on the line for other Americans and for others.


Monday, November 08, 2004

New York Times Article on Fox News

Is Fox News biased? First, liberals shouldn't be throwing stones here.

Second, Fox News does have a bias to the right. But compared to 95% of all daily newspapers, all major networks, PBS, NPR, CNN, etc., it is not even remotely biased.

There are stories of closeted conservatives at networks being found out and snidely told (in jest) to go to Fox News. Maybe it's conservative because because it's a refuge.

To the network's credit, they have hired known liberals like Gretta Van Susteren and Geraldo.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Thomas Friedman Sums Up Arafat's Sad Life

He will judged most harshly by history because he has failed his own people.

David Brooks Debunks Some of the Values Voters Stuff

Brooks argues that a lot of it shows how out-of-touch some are.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Where Are Arafat's Stolen Billions?

Yes, billions.

I wonder if the average Palestinian knows that billions of dollars meant for them are in Swiss bank account.

Someone Sums Up My Thoughts on the Values Voters Better Than Myself
Right now, Democrats seem to be leaning toward the idea that Bush’s victory is based primarily on turning out religious nuts to vote for him. These people are viewed in certain Democratic quarters as the American Taliban. It is thought that if they gain political power, not only will abortion and gay marriage be banned, but so will dancing, rock and roll, and any movie with an “R” rating.

This is nothing but nonsense, but is commonly believed in places like Hollywood and New York’s upper west side. They really believe that Bush is the Ayatollah and it’s only a matter of time before all women are walking around in burkas. No wonder they fought Bush so strenuously.

The truth is that the issue of values, which motivated many of Bush’s supporters according to exit polls, has much less to do with religion than Democrats believe. Ironically, the real problem is that liberals have imposed their beliefs on America in exactly the way they imagine that conservatives want to do. In many cases, the real frustration isn’t even with the liberal goal, but they way they achieved it.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Unity for Unity's Sake Is Overrated

When the loser asks the winner to act like the loser, something is wrong. How about this? If the loser wants unity, they compromise instead of the winner.

All You Ever Need to Know About French Politcos

Chirac snubs Iraqi Prime Minister, but meets with Arafat.

So Terrorism and the War Didn't Matter?

Based on some exit polling (that same reliable exit polling which predicted a Kerry landslide) the media is saying that gay marriage and other moral issues tipped the scales in favor of Bush.

That may be true. But don't doubt for a second that Bush had wide support in his voters for Iraq and the war on terror.

A lot of Democrats voted conservatively on the gay marriage issue. And then voted for Kerry. I would suspect Bush got a lot of votes from Democrats like Ed Koch. Liberals who voted based solely on Iraq and War on Terror.

Some Republicans probably voted for Kerry on the basis of stem-cell research (which isn't banned btw, just no government funding for new baby-tissue).

Also, the exit polling simply had "morals" as an option. That can mean a lot of things. A more scientific telephone-based poll would be welcomed.

The Most Exciting New Republican

An Indian American from Louisiana. An India Indian. No matter his race, he sounds very cool.

The Link Between Socialism and Islamic Terrorism
All totalitarians, whether religious or secular, need scapegoats for their failure to produce better lives for their people. For bin Laden, it is Jews, Christians and Westerners who are at fault for keeping Arabs and Muslims "down."

This is spot-on. Socialists, the real kind like in Europe, and radical Muslims project their failures on America instead of realizing the fundamental flaws in their own system. If you don't believe this nor understand this, Muslim terrorism will be extremely hard to understand.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Some Elections Thoughts

I'm weary of politics and elections right now. The 2002 mid-term elections seem like a second ago. The presidential campaign, at least for the Dems, started soon after. And that is entirely too long.

This blog is devoted to what interests me. Many times that involves whatever is in the news, which involves a lot of politics. Since I'm feeling burntout on politics, I'm going to focus more on other things. At least I hope to.

But before that, here are my general thoughts:

The exit polls were hillariously out-of-whack. They oversampled women and urban areas.

I would suspect most of Kerry's support was anti-Bush instead of pro-Kerry. Given that, I think the realization that Kerry was an anti-war activist was what killed him. A lot of Vietnam Vets figured out "oh, that's the guy who testified before Congress." Kerry is example number one for why you shouldn't have a front-loaded primary season. This will bite the Republicans on the butt someday too. Why oh why didn't Edwards actually try to go after Kerry?

The blogs did a tremendous job of debunking mainstream news stories which would have been damaging to Bush. They also gave the Swift Vets publicity before they had money. This election marks the decline of the mainstream media.

I'm very proud of Bush, but he needs to get control of spending.

I'm feeling more relieved than happy.

Let's remember that just because we have substantial disagreements that doesn't mean the other side is intentionally evil. I support tax cuts for moral and macroeconomic reasons. Liberals support gay marriages because they think it is morally right.

Don't get angry when someone disagrees with you. Listen more, speak less. That is advice I need to follow a lot more.

Beer is better than wine and that's just a fact. Ok, that has nothing to do with the post. But it's a good way to end it.

Bush Wins

While I think it is appropriate Kerry has called for all of the provisional ballots to be counted, it seems to be a mere formality at this point. Bush will win Ohio, and with it, re-election. There is a big difference between the thousand votes which separated Gore and Bush in Florida and the 100,000+ votes Bush is leading Kerry by in Ohio.

Many historical trends were broken last night. When was the last time there was a back-to-back two-term President?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Last Post Until After Election

I'm hoping and praying Bush wins, while I'm fully prepared to pray for Kerry and wish him success if he wins.

C.S. Lewis once mentioned that people in any age have more in common than they realize. It is only until you can look back across the corridors of time before you can see the undeclared commonalities.

William Safire's Osama Insight

Osama calls for a truce. Does a winning general call for a truce? Of course not.

Another Article Detailing Kerry's Anti-War Record and Meetings with the Enemy

NY Daily News: Right War, Right Time, Right Man

According to Memri, Osama Will Direct Attacks Against Bush States

Memri translates Arabic-language news into English in order to give us an insight into what's going on. They believe there was a key mistranslation of one word in the Osama state.

When you boil it down to the nuts and bolts, Osama was threatening attacks of Bush-supporting states and to bypass Kerry-supporting states.

My wife and I were discussing this briefly the other day. Kerry supporters think Osama wants Bush because he polarizes the world community and unifies the Muslim world. Bush supporters thinks Osama wants Kerry to win because he is weaker.

I'll admit I have thought the latter. Now I'm beginning to think he makes excuses and will hate whoever is in office.

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