July 15, 2015

I have remained convinced... Part 1

This is part 1 of a response to a blog written by a friend.  My comments are in bold.  His are regular type.
A Covenantal Hermeneutic.  I have found that the root cause of disagreement between Credobaptists and Paedobaptists is the way in which we read the bible.  One side presumes dis-continuity while the other side presumes continuity.  The Credobaptist holds that all commandments and practices of the Old Testament are automatically discontinued in the church unless there is an explicit reaffirmation of such commandments and practices in the New Testament Scriptures. This can (respectfully) be called a dispensational hermeneutic. One problem with this approach is that it engenders arbitrarity. What happens when we do not find God’s prohibitions against bestiality explicitly repeated in the New Testament? (this is only one example among many). Does the Old Testament commandment still continue?  But according to what consistent standard of interpretation?

While I appreciate the attempt to find the root cause of the issue, the presupposition made in the second sentence renders the rest of the paragraph obsolete.  While it is true that there is some dis-continuity can be found between the old and new testaments, that doesn’t answer better reformed Baptist arguments, such as put forth by Pastor Doug Van Dorn in his book, “Waters of Creation”.  Not all Credobaptists hold that all commandments and practices of the Old Testament are ‘automatically’ discontinued unless there is an explicit reaffirmation.  Furthermore, it is hardly dispensational.  As a credobaptist who holds to covenant theology and finds many errors in dispensationalism, this kind of over generalization does nothing for the argument.  Having said that, it isn’t that one has to presume some discontinuity to begin with.  When we read something like, “Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, NOT LIKE THE COVENANT that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, ..” (Jeremiah 31:31-32 Emphasis mine) are we to presume that the New Covenant will be like the covenant made with the fathers or are we to presume that it will not be like that one?  In as much as the spurious charge of “presuming” dis-continuity is made against credobaptists, one could easily be made against the paedobaptist that they view the Bible as if nothing at all has changed, that the continuity they hold to presumes that there is no dis-continuity whatsoever between covenants, that in fact Jeremiah was jesting when he wrote that the new covenant will not be like the old covenant.  What he really means, according to paedobaptist logic is that it will be very much like the old covenant.  This idea of replicating commands I’ve always found to be a weak argument in the first place.  

Paedobaptists, on the other hand, are covenant theologians, and we argue for the exact opposite. We hold that all commandments and practices of the Old Testament are automatically continued, and therefore perpetually binding upon the church, unless of course such commandments and practices are explicitly abrogated in the New Testament Scriptures. The relevant example here would be the application of the covenant sign to our children. The sign of the covenant (circumcision) was explicitly commanded in the Old Testament to be applied to the male infants of God’s covenant people (Gen. 17:12). In the New Testament we find that the old sign of circumcision has been replaced by a new sign – namely the sacrament of baptism (Col.2:11-12). Now, although there has been a gracious extension of its application beyond the boundary of gender specificity (Gal. 3:28) there was never any abrogation of God’s original command to apply the covenant sign to our children. If there is, I have not found it. Therefore, our teaching is that we are bound to continue in that which God has not canonically revoked. 

Again, a presupposition based on an over realized blanket statement.  I am a credobaptist, and yet, I am a covenant theologian.  Who knew?  The author states that he believes all commands and practices of the Old Testament are automatically continued and binding on the church, unless those things are explicitly abrogated in the NT scriptures.  But where is THIS practice in and of itself rooted in scripture?  He then uses the “relevant” example of application of the covenant sign to our children.  There are so many presuppositions taken for granted in that idea, that we need to look at the two most obvious.  First, notice that he said “the” covenant sign to our children.  This implies there has been, and only ever was, ONE covenant sign.  Not only is this incorrect, but it does injustice to the entire Old Testament besides Genesis 17.  Circumcision was in fact NOT “the” only sign of the covenant.  It was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant, but what of the Noahic Covenant, or the Levitical Covenant (which is much more relevant to baptism since both involved water rather than cutting of flesh)?  What of the rainbow?  What of the covenant sign of baptism given to the sons of Aaron?  So not only do we find it spurious at best to declare that there was only one sign, but the author talks as if there was only ONE covenant, the be all end all covenant made with Abraham.  In so doing, he has ignored the covenant with Adam, Noah, David, Levi (Phineas), and for all intents and purposes, Mosaic (which he rolls under the Abrahamic).  

Next, he presupposes – and yet does not actually prove – that the old sign of circumcision is “replaced” with the “new” sign of baptism.  First, nowhere does Col. 2 state that one sign has been “replaced” by another.  Nowhere.  That’s a presupposition being placed on the text.  Credobaptists don’t deny that there is indeed some overlap with the signs (as there are with all signs), but to say that overlap means one replaced the other is faulty logic.  This is so for a couple of reasons.  First, baptism isn’t a “new” sign.  The author has completely (whether ignorantly or willfully) neglected the entire Old Testament teaching on baptism. Baptism existed in the Old Testament, (Ex. 29:4 for example and also, see the book of Hebrews) a fact that is conveniently set aside so that the paedobaptist can claim his “continuity” which turns out not to be proper continuity at all.  Baptism, as has been argued by Van Dorn in his book, preceded circumcision.  Not only that, but baptism and circumcision were practiced side by side in the law! Notice however, what Colossians 2:11-12ACTUALLY says.  Does it say that in him  you were also baptized which replaces circumcision?  No.  It says in him also you were CIRCUMCISED with a CIRCUMCISION made without hands.  One important factor that the paedobaptist doesn’t like to acknowledge is that in true typology, identity is more important than overlap.  Circumcision points to circumcision and is fulfilled by circumcision of the heart (Deut. 10:16; 30:6, Jer. 4:4) something it always was supposed to represent.  Yet, somehow, it points to a completely different sign?  A sign isn’t fulfilled if it merely points to another sign.  

In addition, paedobaptists add to the text in Acts 2.  Where does it ever say that this “new” (which as we have seen isn’t in fact new) sign is to be applied to our natural children apart from faith?  It says that the PROMISE is for you and your children.  It doesn’t say baptize you and your children.  It’s almost as if they think PROMISE is spelled BAPTIZE.  Yet, the promise there is for the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sin, neither of which comes apart from faith.  It’s odd, that the author wants us to apply a covenant sign of faith to those who don’t profess it.  I’m not in the habit of tying my shoes and then putting them on, but each to their own I suppose.  Never is this sign of baptism given without some sort of profession of faith in the New Testament.  

This is simply a matter of hermeneutics; because there is but one body (not two!) which has always served but one and the same God, through one and the same Lord, by one and the same Spirit, holding to one and the same faith, having one and the same hope (Eph. 4:4-6) we believe that it is only right (and consistent) to presume the continuity of every commandment of God unless He Himself has explicitly overturned it by further revelation.

This is fine if you read the Old Testament into the New, rather than let the New define the old.  For example, this idea of “children”.  In the New Testament, there are many examples of “children” referring not to infants or young ones, but rather BELIEVERS, who have professed faith, who have been born of God, and NOT of the flesh or the will of man.  (See John 1:12-13)

Thus, to end this point, it’s a bit misleading to declare you believe in a covenantal hermeneutic when you trace everything back to only one covenant in the Old Testament.  It would be better named the Abrahamic hermeneutic, as that’s the only covenant they seem to want to go back to.  

Indeed, while the author has been persuaded, I remain convinced that a proper view of covenant theology, one that takes into account all covenants, and not just one and then applies it based on a faulty view of colossians 2, is credobaptism. 

April 6, 2015

2014 Books In Review

Very late in posting this, but here it is!  The list of books I read in 2014, divided by category.


Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality by Iain Duguid
Let the Reader Understand by Dan McCartney
Understanding Dispensationalists by Vern Poythress
Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology by Pascal Denault
The Gospel in Genesis by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Jesus on Every Page by David Murray
Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Primer by Doug Van Dorn
The Goldsworthy Trilogy by Graeme Goldsworthy (most read in 2014, finished 2015)
Sermons On The Deity of Christ by John Calvin

Favorite for the Year:  Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Primer by Doug Van Dorn.  So there were a lot of good books in this category for 2014, but I give the nod to my friend Doug here.  (Denault was a very close second!)  I've been waiting for Doug to write something on Covenant Theology for a while, and although I still like his baptism book better, this is an EXCELLENT piece of work.  Perfect for a good understanding of covenant theology from a Reformed Baptist perspective.  I think paedobaptists will appreciate it, and baptists will learn something new.  A very worthy companion to the baptism book and one every Christian should read.  Although make no mistake, you can't go wrong with Calvin or Lloyd-Jones!


Guilty by Ann Coulter
One Nation by Ben Carson

Favorite for the Year:  One Nation by Ben Carson.  I love this guy, he makes a lot of sense, and I am praying and hoping he has a successful presidential run.  This book is inspired common sense and if you have never heard of Ben Carson, google "Ben Carson Prayer Breakfast" and listen to the speech he gave.  Fantastic.  Then, read this book.  Then, go vote for him.


We Were There: Revelations from the Dallas Doctors Who Attended to JFK on November 22, 1963 By Allen Childs.  By default, this is the favorite of the year for this category since I decided to make History it's own category and not mix it with the Biographies.  It was a fascinating book, a collection of stories from the doctors who attended to JFK the day he was shot.  There are one or two tidbits in this book that I didn't already know surrounding the death of JFK, so well worth it.


The Brethren by John Grisham
The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead
What I'd Say To The Martians by Jack Handey
Die Trying by Lee Child
Breathless by Dean Koontz
The Bone House by Stephen Lawhead
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Favorite for the Year: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  Once again, my favorite author, Stephen Lawhead was edged out by Rothfuss.  This is the second book in the King killer Chronicles and it is great story telling.  It does take a little time, measuring at over 1100 pages, but worth it.  There is a section in the middle that I could have done without, but overall, a great story with a great hero to root for.  It left me anxiously awaiting the third book in the series.  Lawhead was as great as ever of course, and I'm enjoying the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child as well.  I'm hooked.  Now, the biggest waste of the year for any category was Breathless by Dean Koontz.  I won't spoil the ending, but it was awful.  Just awful.  Lots of build, fairly interesting, and then at the end, he just completely drops the ball.  I think I remember this from a couple of his other books though.  He just can't finish a story well.  When I finish a book, and I say out loud, "that's it?"  It isn't a very good book.  It might be quite a while before I pick up another Koontz book.


The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
Tarzan of the Apes By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Favorite for the Year:  Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I loved this book.  I knew the story, but Burroughs is a fantastic story teller and it was hard to put this book down.  Captivating.  Highly recommend reading this if you never have, even if you know the story.


The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snickett
Bible Animals by Richard Newton

Favorite for the Year: Tie.  I liked both of these for different reasons.  Snickett is just funny and I appreciate the humor, but Newton does a great job relating Scripture truths to children and i'm a big fan of his work and so thankful they are being published again.


Walt Disney: An American Original  by Bob Thomas
Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon by Stephen Lawson
Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

Favorite for the Year:  The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.  The Disney biography was a very close second.  Anything about Walt Disney fascinates me.  However, Roosevelt is definitely a hero of mine and Morris does a great job with this biography and while long, (780pages) I find myself more and more intrigued with Roosevelt and that's a good thing.  I have the other 2 volumes and plan on reading the second one in 2015.


Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard
Fools Rush in: Where Monkeys Fear to Tread by Carl Trueman
What Did You Expect? by David Paul Tripp
Ordinary by Michael Horton

Favorite for the Year: Fools Rush In by Justin Buzzard.  This is a weird category, I admit.  Not everything in it is actually applied Christianity, but it isn't theology either so I compromise.  Anyhow, Trueman is a funny guy, and I really enjoyed this book.  The Date Your Wife book was excellent too, and a lot more help than I was expecting.

Well there you have it, my own little awards show of sorts for books.  If you have comments, questions or recommendations, let me know!

March 20, 2014

Blessings in Exhaustion

by Heidi Kielian

So this morning, after yet another looooong night, my husband and I were conversing a bit via text about our current “trial”.   In comparison to what so many others face with their children having terminal illness, severe disability, etc. I feel this is so minor and so unworthy of the title “trial”.  However, I have also come to recognize that whatever God places in one’s life that draws out a heart of complete weakness and an utter dependence on Himself can, I think, legitimately be considered a trial.  
Six months ago, the Lord blessed us with our second child…a beautiful son, Everett.  How thrilled we were and how thankful to be holding him in our arms, healthy and perfectly knit together!  We were particularly grateful because at 11 weeks along in the pregnancy, our doctor saw something on ultrasound in utero called an amniotic band.  Amniotic bands can be very dangerous and even fatal for the baby, as they can wrap around limbs or the neck or they can form a compartment in the uterus, restricting the baby’s growth.  We were heartbroken at this news, but continued to pray for protection for this little one day by day.  At almost 17 weeks, at our next ultrasound, we were amazed and speechless when we were told the amniotic band was nowhere to be seen- it was GONE!  We wept tears of joy and gratitude for God’s kindness to us and our little guy.   
And yet, it’s to our shame that we so quickly seemed to forget about this miracle after his birth.  He was extremely fussy almost from the start and I kept thinking he was just a normal newborn adjusting to life outside the womb.  My wise husband Sean kept saying he was so much more fussy than his sister Aisley had been.  It wasn’t until one day when he screamed for about 2 hours straight, inconsolable and totally uncomfortable, that I called Sean and said “Ok, you’re right.  This is NOT normal newborn behavior.”  He had awful reflux, spit up a TON and just cried (or screamed) a majority of the time and overall, has just not been an easy baby.  We finally seemed to get the reflux under control so he didn’t seem so uncomfortable and things appeared to be at least a little more manageable than they were before.  Just a couple weeks ago his spitting up drastically decreased.  However, his sleep has always been an issue and has ebbed and flowed, no matter what “sleep training” or methods we tried with him.  I won’t detail every sleep pattern or specific struggle but just to give an idea, we have had MAYBE five nights of truly restful sleep in the last 6 months (meaning nights of more than 1 or 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time).  He is restless, angry, sometimes inconsolable, crying or screaming multiple times throughout each night for long periods of time.  We are beyond exhausted.  We are out of options and boggled as to what the issue is.  Some nights I just hang my head over the crib, some nights there are tears…but every morning there are new mercies.  
So, what IS God teaching us through this?  There’s got to be more purpose to this than just figuring out how to grit our teeth through each night and somehow manage to “get through this”.  Sean’s answer to this question was patience.  We both have definitely been stretched in our patience.  But one thing I’ve been dwelling on lately is the fact that this sweet little guy (yes, amidst his screaming and fussing, he is a SWEET precious bundle!) was “hand-picked” and knitted together by our Father to give to US- Sean and Heidi.  So I KNOW it is with great purpose, from His sovereign hand.  My prayer has become, “Lord, what are you doing in Sean and I through this challenging season and struggling infant?”  That little guy is a Divine TOOL that He placed in our lives to show us so many things.  For me, I’m learning unconditional love in a whole new way….the kind of persevering, fierce love that keeps me getting out of bed 5, 6…7 times a night to try to comfort, soothe, and train little Everett when every night and many naptimes are the same thing over and over and over.  God has shown me HE has that kind of love for ME….except infinite times more perfect and unconditional!  Have I not tried His patience SO much more than a 6 month old baby has tried mine?  And yet God loves me and pursues my heart and continues to be faithful with me.  I’m also seeing how I need to rely on Him for strength, new mercies, joy….all in a unique way than I’ve had to ever before.  Through past trials I’ve needed all these things and He has supplied them abundantly….but those were past graces and past mercies.  I need all new ones for this exhausting season…and He brings them new to me every day.  How much more I am aware of my need of HIS strength and wisdom and patience!
My last thought- and probably the most impacting for me- is this:  sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) in my moments of exhaustion and discouragement, all I want to do is act on my flesh and obey its first inclination.  I want to be frustrated, I want to give up, I want somebody else to have to deal with it, I want to SCREAM sometimes.  This last Tuesday night was perhaps one of the worst ones yet.  Everett was up almost every 10 minutes for half an hour and then every time we got him calmed down and asleep and laid him back down he would immediately start screaming all over again.  Over.  And over.  And OVER.  So as I was standing there in the dark, holding him and trying to calm him, trying to calm my own heart and emotions, fighting back tears I was pleading with God to teach me through this, to show me what it is He wants me to learn.  So I just prayed and prayed and prayed…for Everett, for Sean, for myself.  And I realized that as his mother, I want to lift this precious infant soul up to the Lord, for whatever God’s purpose is for HIM.  I prayed that in whatever way even Everett in his tiny state is being   “strengthened” and “tested” through this…that it would work to his good later in life.  That it would be forming in him even now godly, Christ-like qualities to be a powerful man of God.  I realized God has purpose even for tiny little Everett in this!  I don’t assume this arrogantly, but am hopeful for my son….What if he will be a little Spurgeon (his daddy would be so proud!)? Or a Martin Luther? An Abraham Lincoln or a William Wilberforce?  Perhaps his struggles as a 6 month old are molding within him perseverance, strength, courage.  Only the Lord knows these things but I can’t help but believe that God has purpose in even that small soul.  Perhaps God is orchestrating all of this just to bring his mommy to her knees more often.  To realize her helpless state without Christ and her weakness without the strength of God and her lack of guidance and conviction apart from the Holy Spirit.  Either way, whatever God is doing, I know that so far one good thing has come out of this and that is that a mommy has begun praying more fervently for her son.  By all means, as Scripture says, parents are to train up their children in the Lord…but let us all be humble enough for the Lord to teach us through our children.

      Everett has been a challenge for us……but only the Lord can at the same time through His grace help us to see what an incredible BLESSING he is.  Yes, regardless of a child’s weaknesses or the extremely challenging times with them, God’s Word tells us they are a BLESSING, not a burden.  The world tells us otherwise but let us fight for the perspective of truth given to us in Scripture.  They are a GIFT and God’s gifts are never to be taken for granted.  They are not to be idolized, but they are to be cherished and nurtured and always in a state ready to be returned to Him.  We are thankful for Everett and so thankful, God, for how you are using this little boy to sanctify us!

February 20, 2014

2013 Books In Review

Here we are once again with a list of books I read in 2013.  Not as many as I had hoped to read, but a certain little man named Everett had something to do with that.  :)


The Law & The Gospel - Ernest Reisinger
The Unfolding Mystery - Edmund Clowney
Faith Unfeigned - John Calvin
How Jesus Transforms The 10 Commandments - Edmund Clowney
Giants: Sons of The Gods - Doug Van Dorn
The Plan of Salvation - B.B. Warfield
Christ And The Desert Tabernacle - J.V. Fesko
Basic Bible Interpretation - Roy Zuck

Favorite - Giants: Sons of the Gods by Doug Van Dorn - 2013 was the year of the law, with a lot of discussion with a lot of good people regarding that subject, but I had to give the nod to my old friend Doug and his book on Giants - which ended up being about so much more than that.  Highly recommended reading.  his thought process continues to amaze me - even after 17 years or however long it's been.  It is probably the best researched book I've ever read, and the notes are worth the price of the book itself.  How does Jesus triumph?  That, at least to me, was the point of the book and it was such an interesting and fascinating - and at times creepy- way to get there.  "The Unfolding Mystery" by Clowney was also fantastic.  You can never have too much of Christ!  Nothing whatsoever against my dispensational brethren, but I also want to note that I was not fond of Zuck's book at all.


The Broker - John Grisham
Infidel - Ted Dekker
The Skin Map - Stephen Lawhead
Arthur - Stephen Lawhead
Playing for Pizza - John Grisham
Three - Ted Dekker
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Favorite - The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - Normally, Lawhead is a slam dunk in this category, and believe me, it pains me to choose another author over him.  Having said that, The Name of the Wind was exceptional.  Rothfuss is a great story teller, and that's a good thing, considering the book is over 700 pages.  A lot of books that length have a hard time keeping your attention, but this one was a great story, and I can't wait to read the next one.  It's in the same vein as Lawhead books, which is probably why I liked it so much.  Although I will say it was a pleasure reading Arthur again.  I never tire of that series.  The Skin Map was a LOT of fun as well, and the good news is there are 4 books to go in that series, so I'll get my fill.


A Bully Father - Joan Kerr
The Courage & Character of Teddy Roosevelt - George Grant
The Big Scrum - John Miller
The Black Count - Tom Reiss
Dad is Fat - Jim Gaffigan
The Art of Intelligence - henry Crumpton

Favorite - The Courage & Character of Teddy Roosevelt by George Grant  2013 was the year of Teddy.  Half of the books in this category that I read were about him.  (Bully Father, Big Scrum as well as Courage & Character)  If Spurgeon is my theological historic hero, then Teddy Roosevelt is my political historic hero.  The man was simply amazing and it really came through in Grant's book.  More of a series of essays than a straight book, he talked about everything ranging from politics, to faith, to humor to sports regarding Roosevelt.  I very much suggest reading this and not walking away from it loving the man.  On the flip side, the Black Count  - which is about the true Count of Monte Cristo, was intriguing and first, and then slowed waaaayyyy down.  Almost to the point of just boring, and that's a shame, because the history is so fascinating.


Think - John Piper
The Pleasures of Reading in An Age of Distraction - Alan Jacobs
The Rule of Love - J.V. Fesko 

Favorite - The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs.  This was a fascinating read, and a very influential book for me.  It helped shaped a lot of my thoughts about reading, and the distractions of life - mainly technology.  if you love to read, then you'll love this book.  Some very practical ideas and points about reading that I found very helpful and thought provoking.

Well, there you have it, and Lord willing, we'll do it again next year!

September 25, 2013

Interview with Doug Van Dorn, Author of "GIANTS-Sons of the Gods"

I've known Doug for a long time, and I was honored to be a part of the preliminary work on his first book, "Waters of Creation".  He has now published a second, "GIANTS - Sons of the Gods" and in it, he addresses the Biblical issue of giants, the supernatural, and the victory that Jesus Christ won.

He was gracious enough to answer some questions about his latest book and about the supernatural in general. - Along with LEGO Legolas.

Sean: Why did you write, "Giants: Sons of The Gods" ?

DVD  I wrote the book for a couple of reasons.  First, it is simply fascinating.  I mean, who doesn’t love stories of giants?  Goliath is one of the best known stories in the Bible.  But when I found out just how many giants were in the Bible, and what the early Jews and church thought happened to them when they died, I thought this is a perfect way to tell the story of Christ in a way most people have never imagined possible. 

Sean:  I know in the book you addressed some of your frustration at the question, "what makes this practical?" But give me an idea of why this particular subject matters to us today.

DVD To our first mother, Eve, God promised that through her, one of her descendants would destroy Satan.  But along the way, there would be a great battle between the “seed” of Satan and the seed of Eve.  The giants are that seed in physical form in the OT.  This battle is a spiritual battle for the very souls of humanity, for our allegiance, obedience, and submission to the God of all creation.  These ancient foes present in very physical terms the spiritual battle that remains for Christians today.  We fight against the same foes.  Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers in heavenly places.  However, Christ has won the war.  It is his victory in this battle that gives Christians hope and freedom in the face of slavery and fear against our spiritual adversaries.

Sean:  If there is one thing you want people to take with them from your book, what is it?

DVD Jesus Christ has won the victory over the giants in the most stunning of ways.  This book is written so that he might be praised for his great work.

Sean: Explain a little more on how Jesus gained the victory over the Giants.

DVD I’m working on a catechism that will hopefully explain this in more detail, but one of the questions answers, “Jesus bound the ... giants in his life, disarmed and triumphed over them at the cross in his death, proclaimed victory over them in his resurrection, and rules over them in his ascension  and through his church, and will finally and totally destroy them in his glorious Second Coming.”  In other words, his entire earthly life was spent displaying his power over the demons, which the early Jews and Church Fathers believed were the disembodied spirits of the giants.  At the time of his death, Peter says that he went and proclaimed to them his victory over them.  Now, in his ascension, he is seated at the right hand of God, the position of power and authority.  This is a power over the powers and rulers and principalities that exist in heavenly places.  His victory and power is especially displayed in and through his church, which is where the kingdom of God comes, for in the preaching of the gospel, demonic strongholds are laid waste, and the people they hold captive are freed from their tyrannical and evil rule.

Sean:  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

DVD Not so far, but I’m always open to suggestions for a revision.

Sean:  Some of what you talked about in the book, for example, the half-breed creatures, was honestly, downright creepy.  Did any of this work keep you up at night knowing the reality of the things you were writing about?

DVD You know, that is actually an interesting question.  My first response was “no.”  However, I would be lying if I said I haven’t had a few creepy dreams about some of this stuff.  If the Fathers were correct, then even if the physical giants have all been slaughtered today (the verdict is still out on that question in my opinion), what they have left behind is perhaps too frightening to really deal with.  But that is exactly why the one thing to take away from this book that you asked a moment ago is so important.  Because Christ has overcome them (and their evil fathers), what has a Christian to fear?  I think Martin Luther may have said it best.  “And though this world with devils filled, has threatened to undo us.  We will not fear for God has willed, his truth to triumph through us.”  Christ will gain all the glory, and his saints will be saved and protected.

Sean:  Why do you think the supernatural explanation of Genesis 6 has been so discarded among evangelicals?

DVD  I’ve thought a lot about this question, and talked about it with several pastors.  My opinion is that we have been much more infected (I use that term like a disease) with modern rationalism and naturalism than we ever care to admit.  We are people of our own times, and this is all the more true when we do not read older things in order to help us see the blindness that our own culture can create in us.  C. S. Lewis wrote about this quite a bit in terms of what he called chronological snobbery, the lack of reading of old books, and the demythologization of our days.  What finally converted him (instrumentally speaking), was when he realized that the Bible was the myth that was true. 
But something else happened a lot earlier than modernistic philosophies.  It seems to me that what happened was that somewhere between the 3rd and 5th centuries, the church lost the worldview of the fathers of the giants—the sons of God, created the heavenly beings.  If the giants’ fathers are not supernatural, then it follows that neither are the giants.  In so doing, the church lost the very categories that makes such belief possible.  I’m not quite sure how it happened, but it is clear that by the time of Chrysostom and Augustine (around the 400 A. D.), this worldview had been thoroughly rejected by the church.  Perhaps the influence of the Rabbis, who basically outlawed the idea of supernatural “sons of God” because of the rise of Christianity after the destruction of their temple in 70 A. D. had some kind of a negative impact in the church in this regard, I don’t know.   Perhaps the sands of time literally buried older stories in the sands and deserts of the Middle East.  The later Fathers sometimes called these things “the silly ideas of the Jews” (and worse).  So it is ironic that it was the Jews that first put the kibosh in believing these things.  
Whatever the case, we need to stop paying lip service to our belief in the supernatural and then denying it when it stares us straight in the face, no matter how uncomfortable that may be for us.  We need to realize that this is no more “silly” than belief in a Trinity or a God-man or a virgin birth.  To secular people, these things are ridiculous and absurd.  To us, they are true, historical, and the core of our faith.
Sean:  I think that's a good way to put it, "paying lip service" to our belief in the supernatural.  In fact, it made me reflect on my own views of things and how at first all of what you write about seems so strange, but then again, so does a talking serpent, a talking donkey, a floating axehead etc. etc... yet all of those are in the Bible as well.  I think it's important to realize that for a lot of people, what you present in your book really is a kind of a shift in worldview for them.  I find it fascinating that many Christians (past and present) scoff at the supernatural view and yet the secular world embraces it. In Hollywood for instance with all the movies and books about vampires, giants, and even all the mythology that is so prominent at the box office with "Thor", the "Avengers", "Superman" etc.  Based on that, do you believe this subject matter could (and should) be used as an apologetic in the same way Paul used "the unknown God" to witness to the Greeks?

DVD  Very much so, and this also gets at the question you asked a moment ago about practicality.  X-Men, Superman, the Avengers—these are but the recycling of ancient myths for modern sensibilities.  We wrap it up in evolutionary and scientific garb, but it’s the same thing.  Thor is probably the best example, as he is both a modern comic superhero and a real Nordic demigod like Hercules, which would make him a giant.  If Christians can understand the old ways of thinking and wrap their minds around the idea that sometime in our ancient dim past, heavenly beings came down to earth and produced a race of demigods who were revered and then worshiped the whole world over, then suddenly we can make sense of why these themes do not go away (these beings never die), and we can begin to think of situations where we can enter into conversations with people to help them understand that there is tyranny involved when such powers are in play, even though it seems fun and cool the way it is portrayed in the comics and the movies.  But Jesus has freed us from that necessity; he has defeated the Prince of Demons, and ushered in the glories of the age to come through his work and his church.  I think two particularly fertile fields here are Mormonism, since they already have a worldview that accepts the gods, and Roman Catholicism, since their practice of saint worship is almost identical to the ancient practice of venerating and worshiping demons through statues.  We just have to figure out ways of making Christ’s absolute rule and authority, his utter uniqueness and power known, and the dangers of engaging in misplaced beliefs and practices to those who do not understand what they are doing.

Sean: By the way, are you aware that LEGO has an entire theme called "Chima", which is based on "Chimera" (and I think it was originally called Legends of Chimera before they changed it)? 

DVD  I’m not sure.  Is this the same LEGO that makes Leggo-My-LEGO-Eggo-Legless-LEGO-Legolas and his friend Legless-LEGO-legolas’s LEGO Lass? 

Sean:  While reading, "Giants: Sons of the Gods", I noticed you were very careful to avoid pure speculation, conspiracy theories, and just plain nonsense.  What did you encounter in your research that kept you looking for facts and reliable stories?

DVD  It is just a bent I have.  Actually, there are two bents that I have.  I’m actually drawn to conspiracy theories.  I find them fascinating.  But I’m not sure how helpful they are.  Did you ever see the Mel Gibson movie Conspiracy Theory?  People always remember that he got one conspiracy right, and that becomes the main storyline of the movie.  What people forget is that he got hundreds of them ... wrong!  In fact, the character was basically certifiable.  That’s what delving into conspiracies can do to a beautiful mind.  So I wanted to go against my darker side and write a book that was researched by respected and peer reviewed authorities.  Besides, there are a growing number of conspiratorial books on giants out there right now, so I needed to be different. 
That’s my other bent.  Perhaps it makes me a bit crazy, given that I like conspiracies.  But even those conspiracies I like to see how well documented and researched they are, and what kind of sources people are using.  I don’t like pure speculation.  I also know that there are a lot of claims I’m making that are difficult enough to swallow, even with good, solid research behind them.  So, I figured, let’s stick with the facts, and give people a good trail to follow in footnotes, so that they can check for themselves if what I’m saying is true.  The reader can draw whatever conspiracy hypothesis he or she wants to draw without any help from me.

Sean:  I think most people are in some way drawn into conspiracy theories.  I think they fascinate us because often times we hope it will lead us into a larger world, or a darker world, or a more mysterious world.  However, I also think they are very dangerous because it breeds fear (even if there are some truth to them) and in Christ, our fear has been cast out. Knowing you for as long as I have, I know you have a great and wonderful burden to proclaim the gospel.  What then is the appropriate response of a Christian embracing the view you present in the book?  Do you view it as a worship issue?  What can and should churches be doing in light of the facts you presented?  (I know, that was 3 questions rolled into one)

DVD  First, I think we need to be willing to embrace that which is clearly taught in the Bible, even if it seems strange to us.  This works on the level of our presuppositions.  It is a basic attitude we approach the Bible with.  Frankly, most of what I write about in the book is perfectly clear—if you have the ancient worldview to comprehend it. 
Second, all of life is in one way or another a worship issue.  So, yes, it is about worship.  We can fall off either side of the boat, however.  People who recognize the supernatural can still fall prey to its seductions.  They can even engage in demonic behavior while justifying that it keeps the devil away.  I think of saint worship or—and I don’t want this to offend anyone needlessly, so I’ll try to say it carefully—much of the “tongues” phenomena that takes place around us.  It looks so foreign to what we see regarding tongues in the Bible, and I believe it can certainly have demonic origins.  On the other hand, when we refuse to understand or acknowledge the invisible realities of what is before us, we can be duped into thinking it doesn’t really even exist or doesn’t really have much of an impact in this world.  This can have serious repercussions if we are not able to recognize that others, especially in places where demon worship is still so strong, are bound up in slavery by forces we don’t understand.  I have serious concern that this is exactly what is happening again in America at the present moment.  Perhaps Hollywood’s fun movies are portending something of a great evil that even now is descending upon our land, bringing about a neo-Dark Age.  But the gospel works at the supernatural level, proclaiming to them that when God saves a person (supernaturally), they no longer have a right to hold them captive. 
Thus, third, the church can start talking about these things again.  There is a ton of solid research that backs up the worldview I present in this book.  We first need to educate the church and understand how to make sense of these things while maintaining Christian orthodoxy.  Then we can strategize how we can use this knowledge to reach people with the only Word that will free them from that which they do not even know binds them in slavery.  This will in turn mean that we must recover the only gospel message that has any power over these entities.  “One little word shall fell them, that word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth.”  It is the message of Jesus Christ, born in flesh, dead in the tomb for our sins, buried to proclaim his victory, raised to life for our justification, ascended into heaven as King and Lord of the universe, returning again to judge the living and the dead.  This Word they cannot stand, for He has defeated them and they are powerless against the risen Christ.

Sean:  Has writing this book inspired you to start on another?  Is there something in your research and or writing that you would love to expound on one day?

DVD   I’m always working on books, too many of them probably.  If I could find a way to write a book on the fathers of the sons of God that was new material or old material told in a new way, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I’m also working, as I said, on a catechism to train people in the supernatural things in the Bible.  I’m calling it The Erie Catechism (a double entendre based on the town I live in). 

I would like to thank Doug for taking the time to do this little interview.  "Giants-Sons of the Gods", is available here  in both paperback and kindle versions.   You can also listen to Doug's sermons preached at Reformed Baptist Church Of Northern Colorado online here.

July 23, 2013

Tears In Heaven & Joys On Earth

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." -Revelation 21:4-

This of course is part of the Apostle John's description of the New Heaven, and the New Earth.  How often have we all thought of it when loved ones have died, or have had it quoted to us when things on this old Earth have been difficult?  It's so comforting to think that those things which cause us pain, which cause us to mourn, which cause us to cry, will be no more!

This verse has not only comforted me, but it has also intrigued me.  Now, I beg of you, don't take what I'm gonig to say here and make a systematic theology out of it, because that's not the point of this post.  Having said that, this verse has always intrigued me because I believe it to be somewhat of a paradox that in the New Heaven, and the New Earth, we will have tears that need to be wiped away!  Why is this?  Perhaps it's because we will remember all the things that drove us to our knees in supplication - sickness, death, the sinfulness of this world etc.  Maybe (and I think this is very likely) it's because we will remember our own sin, and what our great Savior has done for us by redeeming us not only from the curse of death, but our evil natures, and has brought us to the fulfillment of what is so often promised in Scripture.  Or is it possible, that we might have tears in heaven because we miss the joys we were given on Earth? I know what some of you are thinking - blasphemy!  We are so trained in our modern (and in some cases postmodern!) Christianity to think of this world as bad, and heaven as good.  This of course is true in a lot of ways.  Turn on the news and tell me that you don't long for Jesus to come back.  Go through a break-up, and convince me that you don't desire that tear-soaked pillow to be replaced by the bosom of Christ.

There is much evil in this world (and let us not forget part of that is due to the fact that we as sinners, are in this world!) but we would be foolish to forget that God has given us many joys on this Earth as well.  We can't ignore Genesis, can we?  Did not the God who created this world, declare it "good"?  The fall of cousre has destroyed much of it, but this is still our Father's world, is it not?  Has He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ?  Absolutely, but hasn't He also given us so many "earthly" blessings as well?  I believe He has, and despite some of the scoffing I may receive for saying this, I'm actually going to miss some things on this Earth in the here and now.  Who hasn't climbed a 14er here for instance and admired the beauty of God's creation and thought, "I'm sure going to miss this!"  (I know, I know, heaven and the new Earth will be very beautiful as well, but don't miss my point here)

Much of this thought was inspired the other night when Heidi and I were walking around the park near our house with our little darling Aisley.  It was a beautiful night, and we walked towards the park, and heard music getting louder as we approached.  (Apparently there was a sweet 16 Disney themed birthday party taking place)  The music was loud, as I mentioned, but it was fun, and we walked a couple of times around the park, talking and wanting to go to Disney etc.  The last time we were going around, Heidi suggested that we take Aisley to the slide so she could play a little before we left.  Much to my shame, that wasn't something I wanted to do because we were really tired, and it was still warm and I thought we should get back.  I repented of my sin, put on my "happy heart" and we headed over.  Aisley was thrilled.  She would climb the stairs to the top, sit down, and slide down into my arms. 

Then it happened.

Heidi went over to the stroller to get a drink, Aisley climbed the stairs one last time, and she paused at the top, looked around at the other kids playing nearby, then, looking down the end of the slide at me with that smile of hers she very joyfully said, "Hi!".  Moments like that seem so simple, and way too often, I take them for granted, and don't enjoy them the way that I should, but now that moment is etched forever in my mind - that picture of my little girl at the top of the slide before she had the joy of going down.  Afterwards, I teared up, and as we were making our way back to the car, Heidi asked me what was wrong, and it took me a little bit to answer.  Why was I sad?  Why was that beautiful moment with Aisley affecting me this way?  I answered Heidi that I was said, because I knew that there would come a day, where we wouldn't see our little girl at the top of a slide anymore - for any number of reasons.  Something may happen to us, something may happen to her, and unless Jesus comes back first, death will find us all, or it may be as simple as the fact that she will grow up.  Even thinking about it now, I tear up and get emotional.  Sin has ruined the world, but we still have joys in the world.  As I said, one day, I won't see Aisley with that big smile on top of the slide, and it breaks my heart.

In heaven, I'm going to miss that joy on earth, but I'm sure I will remember it.  And when I remember it, I'll need Jesus to wipe away those tears.  For now, I will enjoy those moments and treasure them up, even if it makes me sad to think that one day those moments will be gone.  Enjoy the joys we have been blessed with here and now,  the joys on earth, and look forward to the glorious day when the Great King will wipe away the tears in heaven.

February 25, 2013

2012 Books In Review

A little late, but here is the list of books I read in 2012, in the various categories I've labeled.  I've done a very brief review of my favorites from each category.


Table Talk  by Martin Luther
Right In Their Own eyes  by George Schwab
The Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume II  by Thomas Brooks
The Bondage Of The Will  by Martin Luther

Favorite:  Table Talk  by Martin Luther
     I haven't enjoyed a book like I enjoyed this one in a long time.  I usually mark pages for quotes and passages that I want to remember, or that i love etc.  This one has little page markers all over it.  Luther is hilarious, insightful, witty, and an amazing storyteller.  What I wouldn't give to have been one of the students who sat at his table!


The Two Towers  by J.R. Tolkien
The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins
The Endless Knot  by Stephen Lawhead
Chosen  by Ted Dekker
Patrick  by Stephen Lawhead
Killing Floor  by Lee Child
Mockingjay  by Suzanne Collins

Favorite:  The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins
     My favorite author is Stephen Lawhead, and most of the time, his book(s) would definitely be the favorite.  However, this year, I was intrigued with the Hunger Games.  It was an amazing page-turner, and although Collins isn't the best writer I've read, she can certainly tell a good story, and that's what the Hunger Games was.  Unfortunately, the rest of the series wasn't as good in my opinion, and went nowhere.  The Hunger Games thrived where the other two books, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, lost steam as they progressed.  It was actually a big disappointment by the time I finished the third book, but that takes nothing away from the brilliance of the Hunger Games. 


Through My Eyes  by Tim Tebow
God's Battalions  by Rodney Stark
American Conspiracies  by Jesse Ventura
Walt Disney by Neal Gabler

Favorite:  Walt Disney  by Neal Gabler
     This could have been tied with American Conspiracies, but "Walt Disney" edged out.  It was a long book.  A LONG book, but very interesting and I couldn't really put it down.  Perhaps it stems from our love of Disneyland/World, but it was extremely insightful into who Disney really was.  At the same time, it's a sad story of a man who has left so much conjured up happiness in the world.  I highly recommend this biography to anyone in the least bit interested in Walt Disney.  The sections on Snow White and Disneyland are especially notable. 


Crime and Punishment  by Fyodor Dostoevsky
To Kill A Mockingbird  by Lee Harper

Favorite: To Kill A Mockingbird  by Lee Harper
     Easiest choice of the year.  I didn't get to read hardly any classics this past year which was disappointing.  This is due to "Crime and Punishment".  The book took FOREVER to trudge through and thus deprived me of time to read other classics.  I know a lot of people like this book, but it just never took off for me.  However, "To Kill A Mocking A Bird" was every bit the classic I've always heard it was.  The character of Atticus Finch is one of the best in literature, of all time, hands down.  His morality, courage, and the lessons you get along the way are phenomenal.  My only regret is that I was never asked to read this in high school! 


Lit!  by Tony Reinke
The Trellis And The Vine  by Colin Marshall
The Intolerance of Tolerance  by D.A. Carson
Manly Dominion  by Mark Chanski
The Archer And The Arrow  by Philip Jensen

Favorite:  Manly Dominion by Mark Chanski
     This was the hardest choice of the year.  So many great books in this category.  A very close second runner up is "Lit!".  (Any book on reading books gets my nod!)  However, "Manly Dominion" was very timely, goring through a year with little Aisley.  It has such great insight and knowledge on what God requires of men as men, as husbands, and as fathers.  Given to me by dear friends, I would very much like to see this book read and discussed by groups of men (and women!).