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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011
Καλή ανάσταση σε όλους σας!
Happy Resurrection (Sun)Day to you all!

The Paschal Greeting of "Christ is risen" is answered with "Truly, He is risen" (or alternately, "He is risen indeed")

It isn't necessary to practice such things - but many of us do it. If someone says to you today Χριστός ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti! - Christ is risent!), you can say Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithos anesti! - Truly risen!).

Spend time with God today!

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posted by Daniel @ 8:57 AM   0 comment(s)
Friday, April 22, 2011
Good Friday vs. Earth Day
Today is the anniversary of the single most significant/important event in all history. It is the anniversary, in fact, of the one event in history that actually allowed there to be such a thing as history. Had Christ not come, God would have destroyed the world with Adam's sin. The cross stands, therefore, as the guarantee that there would be a history.

Today is the anniversary of this event. The anniversary of the day that our Lord offered Himself as the Mercy Seat for all those who repent and call upon His name. He became the place of propitiation - the ark of deliverance for those who believe. All of history points to this event, whether looking forward to it prior to His coming, or back to it.

Yet thanks to some oil spill in 1969, it is also the same day that, in 1970, the late Gaylord Nelson, a former Senator from Wisconsin (democrat) founded "earth day".

I find no joy in having to explain to my little ones the difference between real holy days, and those Hallmark™ days that activist dream up because they imagine that mankind might actually be able to destroy this world before our Lord returns.

It seems vulgar to me to mention earth day in the same breath as Good Friday. It is like the person who tells you that they have just came from the doctor's and learned that they have six weeks to live, and that their death will be so painful and horrible, that they can't stop thinking about it. To which you say that you also have your own troubles, having picked up a hang nail that morning.

I don't want to vent though - the world, and the people who live in it, pursue sin and avoid God because that is what sin leads us to do. Without Christ, we cannot expect the world to be more than it is. There will be some well meaning, but eternally misguided people today who will exalt the man-made celebration of the earth above what God has done for His children. It is tragic only in that it puts the depravity of sin on display, and most people won't even understand it.

To that end, enjoy the second Psalm:

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
"Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
"As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."

I will tell of the decree:The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


[ESV]

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posted by Daniel @ 11:15 AM   1 comment(s)
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Holiest Weekend
Today is the day that our Lord took bread and wine with His disciples in the upper room. On that evening He was betrayed by one of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, arrested, questioned, mocked, beaten, shuffled off to Pilate, then to Herod and back.

These things are so important to remember, in fact Christ commanded us to remember them. He didn't command us to invent (or celebrate for that matter) Christmas, nor are we to regard that convenient invention as something holy - it isn't. It is just a Christianized pagan thing, and anyone who says or believes otherwise has been sold a bill of goods. Don't get me wrong, I give my kids presents on Christmas, but I don't think of Christmas as anything holy. I know better, and if you are a believer, so should you.

Yet I am not writing today to bash Christmas. Here it is the passover season - what was pictured in the OT passover, and came to be on Calvary - the inauguration of the new covenant in Christ's blood - this is something that is holy, holy, holy! Something every serious believer ought to celebrate and recognize.

I wonder how many Christians will regard this weekend as holy? I mean, holier than the "lip-service" variety of "holy" (which isn't holy at all)? Consider the OT orthodox Jew, who regarded as "set apart" (i.e. as "holy") the seventh day of the week (Saturday) - the day on which God rested - and observed the day as a day devoted to the worship of God, and denial of self. This was done each and every week. A day where you maybe fasted, or devoted yourself to prayer and holy meditation. A day entirely unlike a day of work - on the Sabbath you could set aside the whole day for focused worship. Maybe you shared the Sabbath with your neighbor, or your family. Maybe you refused to open your mouth even to speak, lest you defile the day of worship with some offhand and thoughtless outburst.

I think a lot of us don't have a clue what setting a day apart actually looks like.

But if the typical Jew understood what it meant to keep the Sabbath holy - it is far more weighty a matter, in my thinking, to regard the holiest days of the year - the days in which our Lord was crucified, buried, and risen, and treat them like any other long weekend.

Will you set aside time to be with God tomorrow, or Sunday? How much? Fifteen minutes? an hour? Will you sit down to watch movies and play games this weekend, will you go out to the cabin? Will you entertain company? How are you going to spend the holiest days of the year? Will you, just this once, be holy as God is holy? I mean, seriously! What is it going to be this weekend for you?

Are you going to dress up this weekend in the standard finery of a holy appearance (or two) at church, followed by just another day and night of watching TV, playing games, and entertaining yourself? Will the thrust of your "worship" be a big old meal somewhere? Surely everyone and there dog is going to eat turkey on Sunday - is that what this is about?

I don't know why exactly I am personally so moved this year to regard this time as sacred, but I tell you I am. I look to the days ahead with a holy dread - not that I dread to think of the horrors my Lord endured for me, but that I dread to think that I will plod through this weekend with nary a care for what my Lord did. I dread to think that I will stumble along, like a drunken oaf, through a holy place, and be all the more offensive in doing so as I am oblivious to how oblivious I really am. Even as I think on it my innards quiver in the anticipation of my failure to magnify the Lord sufficiently during this time.

Brother, sister, child of God - how are you going to honor the Lord this weekend? Will you follow through on your tradition of dressing up the long weekend in holy attire, even as the days remain nothing more to you than time off from the grind? God help us all to honor Him in a way that is befitting His glory. God help us to regard this time as more holy than the holy of holies in the temple of Israel, for even the blood that was spilled there, was only the blood of animals - we remember during this season, the true altar, the true holy of holies, and that blood that opened that way for us.

Instead of merely tithing your time this weekend, why not give it all to God?

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posted by Daniel @ 9:25 AM   3 comment(s)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Baptism for the dead
Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? - 1 Corinthians 15:29 [NASB]

επει τι ποιησουσιν οι βαπτιζομενοι υπερ των νεκρων ει ολως νεκροι ουκ εγειρονται τι και βαπτιζονται υπερ αυτων - 1 Corinthians 15:29 [Koiné]


Do you remember the unbaptized thief on the cross next to Christ? Jesus told him plainly that he would be in paradise with Christ. That truth not only ends the argument about whether or not the rite of water baptism is necessary for salvation, it also helps us to know that whatever else 1 Corinthians 15:29 might mean, it does not teach that we should baptize living people as a sort of proxy baptism for believers who died without being baptized. Nor does it suggest a practice of exhuming the dead and baptising their rotting corpses.

I think we must be dogmatic about what this passage does not teach, but I don't know that there is room to be dogmatic about its proper interpretation. Several interpretations have been offered, but no one interpretation rises far enough above the others to settle the matter.

Certainly some have interpreted it as described above - either baptizing a corpse, or performing a vicarious baptism for a corpse on a living person, but these notions are universally rejected by all three branches of the original church (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism). The Mormons practice a vicarious baptism for the dead, and there are a few flaky churches about that do so also, but by and large, that interpretation is refuted.

So what does it mean then? I think we have to begin in the context. Verse 29 was intended by Paul to fortify the affirmation Paul was making. What was that affirmation? The argument that Paul is making is that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the dead. He supports this argument first by stating that there were hundreds of eyewitnesses some of whom could still be consulted at the time of the writing. He follows this up with the argument from absurdity - you know the one where you follow a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and showing that the conclusion is absurd, you dismiss the argument? He argues that if Jesus died and remained dead our faith would be pointless.

Paul then explains that the order in which things are going to happen, Christ reigns until the resurrection, then comes the judgment. Said another way, Christ reigns until all things are put beneath his feet - the last of which is death, hence the resurrection must wait (logically) until death is finally put beneath the feet of Christ. Only then will Christ deliver the kingdom to God the father.

It is at this point that Paul brings the question, "Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?".

Whatever that means, it is supposed to fit into what Paul is saying about the resurrection.

Some suggest that the the baptism for the dead is intended to be a metaphor for martyrdom, as in, if there is no resurrection, why are some martyred?

Still others note that the preposition huper (υπερ) is normally translated as "above", and if translated this way, the passage is asking if there is no resurrection, why are they performing the rite of baptism above the dead? Suggesting that normal baptisms were being performed over the tombs of departed saints. Others also noting the normal translation of huper suggest that baptism "over" the dead, refers to the spiritual victory if life "over" death - as in baptized into Christ, is a victory over death.

Yet, the problem may simply be that we have punctuated the passage incorrectly. Remember the argument Paul is making is that resurrection is rational, it is real, it is true.

If we punctuate the passage in this way, see how it matches the flavor of Paul's argument:

Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized? For the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized? For them?

We are not violating any rules of grammar in punctuating the text thus, but see how it changes the flow, and agrees with Paul's premise? Here he is saying, in essence, if there is no resurrection what will those do who are baptized? Are they baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized? Are they baptized for them?

Think that through for a bit. The rite of baptism, is a rite that proclaims our resurrection - our union with Christ, through death, and into life. Paul's argument seems to be that if there is no resurrection, then why do we perform the rite of baptism which is a picture of our death and resurrection?

Of all the interpretations I have heard, I like that last one best because it doesn't require me to change the text (recall, the punctuation that we see in our translations does not exist in the original texts, but was added later in order to parse the text into thoughts expressed in English), knits perfectly with the context, and Paul's style of argumentation, and doesn't require me to depend on strained metaphors or wayward prepositions. Frankly, it is the only interpretation I have found that does no harm to the text, the context, or the argument Paul is making - and the only one that makes sense without requiring me to trust in an additional speculation.

I mean, if I go "the metaphor" route, I have to trust that the metaphor has been rightly identified. If I could do that, my understanding of the book of revelation would be far more dogmatic. If I go the "nuanced preposition" route, then I am left to try and figure out what it means to be baptized over, or above, the dead, which I find just as speculative as guessing at unqualified metaphors. I cannot go the "vicarious" route because the rest of the scriptures deny that route, and so I am left, for now, to conclude that the proper interpretation of this passage relies on punctuating it properly.

Having said that, I am not going to be dogmatic about my understanding. I will say that it sits right with me that Paul is arguing for the resurrection first from the eye witness accounts of Christ's resurrection, then from showing the absurdity of holding the view that there is no resurrection - first by showing that without the resurrection faith is pointless, and then by showing (according to my understanding) that baptism is likewise pointless.

If someone asks me what the passage means, I begin therefore with the context, show the argument that Paul is making, and then show how the passage, punctuated in this way, supports that argument perfectly, without compromising the grammar of the passage, changing words, or speculating on metaphors. In this way the passage is easily understood, and I explain that I think this is what Paul meant.

If you have a better understanding, don't be shy, the meta is there for discussion nd/or comments.

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posted by Daniel @ 7:41 AM   2 comment(s)
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
For David...
Perhaps I see only the evil in all men, but I presume that the primary reason Mr. Kjos triple-dog dared me to write a "square poem" was because in writing one I would be inclined to post it, and having posted it I would be inclined to link Back to David's blog in order to give the quote some context.

Well, done David. Well done.

Without further ado, here is my square poem. If you don't know what a square poem is, you haven't read David's post.

Mouth agape in silent wonder,
Agape love tears the wound,
In tears I search around,
Silent the search is longing,
Wonder wound around longing love.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:26 AM   3 comment(s)
Friday, April 01, 2011
Stupid 3D TV
I am putting on my curmudgeon hat today in order to rant on about a technology that I think is about as stupid as they come. Yes, I am talking about 3D.

Like you, I can only focus on one thing at one time, and my eyes tend to wander all over the place - picking out details to focus on, and letting the rest remain in the periphery. The trouble with 3D is that it doesn't work, and cannot work (at least for now) the way my eyes work. It may be that in future days someone will invent a 3D system that tracks my retina's as I watch a movie, and immediately centers the 3D effect wherever my eyes are looking - but until they do that, 3D ends up being a bit of a headache because even when the direction of a movie is excellent, my eyes are not always focused on the exact pinpoint necessary to make the 3D effect work properly.

What ends up happening is I see a color washed movie that has broken moments of 3D effect at the expense of a headache. Frankly, I find it hard to put up with that for an hour and a half - and I certainly am never going to put up with it in my home.

Don't get me wrong, 3D televisions have better refresh rates - which means less ghosting and blur - so I am all for better TVs - I just think getting a 3D TV for the sake of watching everything in 3D is stupid.

Weren't 3D movies originally just a gimmick? The "sideshow freak" of entertainment, that you went in at looked at just to say you did? What happened to this generation that it has gone off the deep end chasing down headache inducing, color washed entertainment?

For me, at least, this is one trend that can't die soon enough.

There. I said it. You were all thinking it, so don't look at me like that.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:18 AM   4 comment(s)
 
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