The book reading group at our church is currently going through “A Case for Amillennialism” by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. It is a book about Eschatology- a combination of two Greek words, ‘eschatos’ and ‘logos’ which mean last and the word, respectively- or the doctrine about the last things. The book begins with four major views of the Millennium, or a thousand-year period mentioned in the book of Revelation. Those four major views are Dispensationalism (both classic and Progressive), Historic Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism.
While all agree on one blessed hope of the second advent of Christ, each has its own distinctive interpretation of the millennial kingdom. While Dispensationalism, popularized by Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (I still keep a copy of it) in the 1970’s and lately by the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, is quite possibly the most widely embraced view in the American Christianity, is quite possibly the most embraced view in American Christianity it is not the faithful interpretation of the Scriptures. Continue reading “A Case for Amillennialism”
The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.
Gladwell, Malcolm (2007-04-03). Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Kindle Locations 3123-3124). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
I just finished reading “Blink”, an interesting book by author Malcolm Gladwell.
In this book the author gives a lot of interesting researches and fascinating real-live examples about the power of rapid cognition-the kind of thinking that happens in the blink of an eye.
The author takes his readers to the idea of “thin slicing” situations to make a split-second decision what we often have to make. Many times we thin slice the situation and come to an “AHA” moment without being able to fully explain why we think the way we think. As if by impulse, we just know that it is right. In other situation, we made devastating mistakes because we wrongly thin slice the situation. Continue reading “Blink”
Above is a question from Grade 7 Math Practice Test in California.
As students in grades 3-8 and some 11th graders are completing their “Common Core” field test in California (officially it is called CAASPP which stands for CAlifornia Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) and many other states, a lot of people, myself included, still don’t have a clear answer of “what is Common Core Standards”? Is it good for our students, or is it bad?
“The TEA Party people hate this. They are just so resistant to changes, and I don’t know why”, and “There are so many people bashing Common Core.” are just a few of many comments that I heard at work. A lot of teachers sing praises to Common Core for its rigor, while many others think it is bad for our students. The question remains, “Will Common Core make our students more competitive compared to students from other countries, or will it dumb down our students?” (The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which collects test results from 65 countries shows in its 2012 report that US students ranked below average in Math. 29 countries outperformed the United States by statistically significant margin) Continue reading “Common Core”
I’ve been blessed by my recent reading of “John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology”. Praise be to God for raising men like Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Guido de Brès, Ursinus, and countless others who stood for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On this Reformation Day I’d like to share a tiny part of the book.
Calvin realized that through faith in Christ all the blessings of the gospel were his. Second, he saw that his life must be rooted and grounded in fellowship with Christ. Perhaps it was the personal realization of this that led him to wax lyrical at the climax of his exposition of the christological section of the Apostles’ Creed:
We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him” (1 Corinthians 1:30). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth…. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross (Galatians 3:13); if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge*.
*Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.19
Various Contributors;Burk Parsons;Burk Parsons. John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology (Kindle Locations 588-597). Kindle Edition.
It is common to encounter grave distortions of the biblical concept of the atonement. For instance, according to one popular view, God the Father is enraged at man, but God the Son identifies so closely with our fallenness that, in essence, He sides with us in our need and acts as our Mediator to calm the Father’s anger. The Father is about to punish everybody and send them to hell, but the Son says: “Punish Me instead. Let Me stand in their place. Let Me not only mediate the discussion, but let Me absorb the anger. You can heap Your wrath on Me.” According to this view, there is a tension or a split within the Godhead itself, as if the Father has an agenda and the Son persuades Him to change His mind.
This may sound like a ridiculous scenario, but it is a serious objection raised at a technical level by sophisticated theologians. It’s also a widespread, prevalent belief among Christians, perhaps because the Son seems more loving, patient, and compassionate than the Father. In this sense, evangelical Christians tend to be Unitarians of the second person of the Trinity. There’s much warm affection for Jesus, but the Father is almost totally ignored in Christian study, devotion, and liturgy.
R C Sproul. The Truth of the Cross (Kindle Locations 278-286). Kindle Edition
Just finished reading “Black List”, a fiction book by Brad Thor, the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
The books started with a quote by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) more than three decades ago, on August 17, 1975 in which he said, “[America’s intelligence gathering] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
The story develops around the intricate nature of many governmental agencies and their non-governmental organization (NGO) counterparts working together to accomplish specific tasks. Through technologies and many unconstitutional policies drawn up during crisis (remember who recently said, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid….”? Answer: Rahm Emanuel) the government via its many tentacles keep track of every citizen’s digital “bread crumbs”, such as e-mails, telephone conversations, social media posts, credit card transactions, (energy) smart meters, etc. Continue reading “Black List”
“Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced- a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level”
– DAN SITARZ, Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet
If you’re looking for a light fictional reading this Summer, I recommend “Agenda 21” which was authored by Harriet Parke, with afterword by Glenn Beck. The book is a fictional story of life in the future when Agenda 21 is fully implemented. It is a little stretched, as admitted by Glenn Beck; however, it provides a glimpse look into lives on the planet Earth which is controlled by a group of elite authority where there is no more individual freedom for the mere citizens. The Government provides everything, and thus, controls everything.
The government, or rather the Republic, provides food for the citizens. Don’t think of steak or cheese cake! No, the food government provides is rationed, 1 cube in the morning, and 1 cube in the evening for every citizen. Citizens have to eat their cubes every day (I thought forced feeding is against human rights?) so that they have energy to walk their “energy boards” every day. Energy board? What the heck is energy board? It is board that I envision more like a treadmill that produces energy when you walk on it. It has an energy meter that shows how much energy you have produced, and you have to produced a set number of energy every day. If you don’t meet the quota, the guard will come knocking on your door. Continue reading “Agenda 21”
Many times I met people, even leaders in their churches, who didn’t have any idea what Reformed theology is. It appalls me to realize that most of the professing Christians do not have any knowledge of their root in the 16th century Reformation movement. Most of them live in the “here and now” self sufficiency attitude, disconnected from the past and the communal sense of the communion of saints that transcends over time.
A few years ago we had a trainer came to my office to train us on a new software program. I picked her up from the airport, and during our trip to Visalia we talked about church. She was a lay leader and a Sunday school teacher in her church- an Evangelical Free Church in Wyoming, but she had no idea what Reformed Christian was. Continue reading “What is Reformed Theology?”
“That you have found me… among so many millions is the miracle of our time! And that I have found you, that is Germany’s fortune!” -Adolf Hitler
I just finished reading “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin”, a nonfiction book by Erik Larson that tells in somewhat graphics about the ascent of Hitler from chancellor to absolute tyrant. In 1933 President Roosevelt appointed a new ambassador to Germany, and the book was based on first-hand eyewitness experience of the Dodds family living in Berlin. There are a few things that I saw as striking resemblance of what happened then with what is happening nowadays:
On the surface everything was fine, but underneath a foundational transformation was taking place.
Everything changed quickly in one day without warning.
People were immune to their surrounding. They applauded evil as good and good as evil.
I just watched a few years old movie “Kite Runner” based on a fictional story book by the same title authored Khaled Hosseini. It is one of a couple of good movies I saw this year. If you’re looking for some good movies to fill your holidays this year, I would recommend this one.
It tells a story of a bond between two Afghan boys, Amir who came from the higher class Pashtun, and Hassan from the lower caste Hazara. They lived in the pre Soviet Afghanistan, and even though they were very close friends at first, through some incidents they grew cold to each other and finally Amir accused Hassan of stealing his watch. Continue reading “Friendship and Redemption”