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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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Tuesday, March 27, 2012
More on Paul's epistle..
One notes that the epistle to the Romans begins with an appeal to the scriptures. The Messiah was not some innovation Paul (or anyone else) dreamed up, but was Someone whom God had promised (in the scriptures) to send to His people -- the same God who raised Jesus from the dead. It was this God who appointed Paul to be His apostle, and charged Paul to bring about the obedience of faith among the nations - for the sake of God's honor.

The bible doesn't explicitly describe how the church in Rome began, but it does say that there were present at Pentecost, Jews and (Gentile) proselytes who lived throughout the Mediterranean basin (including Rome), who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to be present on the day of Pentecost (c.f. Acts 2:10). Most likely these "Roman" Jews and Gentile proselytes were converted at Pentecost, and returned to Rome as a congregation of new Christian converts.

Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans around 56 A.D. (a couple of decades after Pentecost). In that time I expect that some of the members of this new congregation would have travelled elsewhere, and come into contact with other believers (perhaps even visiting Jerusalem and receiving doctrinal instruction from the Apostles theme selves. Yet even though this is likely, the fact that the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write this epistle is evidence enough to tell us that this congregation was in need of instruction in the very foundational doctrines that explain Christianity. Paul introduces himself to this congregation as the Apostle whom God has charged with bringing about the obedience of faith among the nations (i.e. among such Gentile converts as were living in Rome and receiving Paul's epistle).

A lot of commentaries look to Romans 1:16-17 as the summary statement for all that Paul is about to write, but Romans 1:5 is helpful in putting what Paul is about to write into perspective. By his own testimony, he is charged by God to bring about obedience to the faith. Paul wrote this as the first work in bringing about this obedience to the faith in the believers at Rome, and what is foundational for their faith is also foundational for my faith, and yours also if you are in Christ.

Thank God for this, because what Paul is teaching in this epistle applies to every believer who intends to pursue that same obedience of faith which the Apostle was charged to bring about. What he has written to these Christians in Rome, the Holy Spirit has preserved for your instruction in the very same thing. Do you want to know what God expects of you Christian? Devour Paul's epistle to the Romans - it is Christianity 101 - it is the foundation of Christ explained.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:48 AM   3 comment(s)
Friday, March 23, 2012
One of Paul's Epistles...
I hadn't really given it much thought, but when scripture describes the Apostle Paul as having travelled around the Mediterranean basin, preaching Christ - I sort of pictured it differently. I mean, Paul was, by his own testimony, the Apostle sent to the Gentiles, and given that his journeys were more often than not, taking him through the various Roman provinces that bordered the Aegean sea, I sort of envisioned Paul's ministry as something akin to a foreigner standing on the street corner pitching a new religion. I suppose my default opinion was that all of Paul's missionary encounters in the Gentile lands resembled (more or less) his experience at Athens (Where he preached directly to pagans).

But this image is very wrong. Historians such as Cicero, Strabo, Philo, Seneca and Josephus all bear witness that in this ("Gentile") region where Paul was preaching, Jewish populations could be found in each city. These outside witnesses lend credibility to what Luke affirms in the book of Acts, that when Paul came to such cities as Salamis, Antioch, Perga, Iconium - and even at Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus - he would seek out the local synagogue and preach Christ there on the Sabbath. Of course there would be Gentiles also in these synagogues, but those Jews who rejected the notion that Christ was the Messiah, quickly turned against Paul wherever he went.

In fact, most of the suffering that Paul endured in the Gentile lands, came about because the Jews in those cities had not only rejected the message of Christ, but gone so far as to incite the communities they lived in against Paul.

It is worth noting that it wouldn't take very long to polarize the Jewish community in each of these Gentile cities. After a few Sabbaths worth of teaching, I expect most of the Isrealites living in these communities would not only have heard Paul speak, but would have formed an opinion for or against his teaching. The same could be said of those Gentiles who were God fearers. Some would reject Paul's teaching concerning Christ, and some would receive it. In the case of the Jews, Paul's instruction given in the synagogue would find its way into every Jewish ear in a very short order as people who were not there for the instruction were brought up to speed (Remember, Paul's teaching was "turning the world upside down" according to the scriptures - so it is no stretch to imagine that the buzz in the Jewish community spread quickly and thoroughly). But the Gentile community was exponentially larger than the Jewish communities, and so while the buzz saturated the Jewish community in a few weeks, yet the same could not be said of the Gentile community. Thus Paul's message - preached to Jews in their synagogues, bled over to the Gentiles who eventually made up a much larger body of believers.

For all that, I think it is safe to say that Paul learned the hard way not only what sort of reception he could expect from the Jewish community, but also what sort of arguments they would bring against the gospel, and what was lacking in their theology to cause them to pursue those arguments. After ten years of preaching the gospel in the Gentile lands, Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans. We should not marvel therefore that Paul not only anticipates what conclusions his readers will likely jump to, but he also anticipates why they will jump there, and so he makes a point of answering anticipated objections thoughtfully and thoroughly - a consideration we must bear in mind as we look into Paul's epistle to the Romans.

If you have a moment sometimes today - open your bible and skim over Paul's letter to the Romans. Note how Paul carefully qualifies each item he begins to teach, showing in every qualification that his teaching hasn't fallen out of the sky, but is in step with all that the OT scriptures teach. Maybe read over Luke's rendering of Paul's message to the church in Antioch (c.f. Acts 13:14-ff) to get a feel for how Paul typically presented Christ to people, reasoning from the OT to the Christ, and then reasoning from the Christ to the people of God. See how, towards the end of that message Paul begins to teach how Christ frees you from all the things the law could not - and see that as soon as Paul teaches that grace overcomes what the law could not, the Jews begin to reject him and set out to contradict the message he was preaching.

Paul is anticipating just this sort of reception - and so, like a carpenter building a house, Paul makes sure he digs deep before he lays in the foundation. That is what I want you to look for as you skim over the book of Romans - identify the "prep" work that Paul is doing prior to laying down those sacred doctrines that are the lifeblood to every living faith.

In one or more follow-up posts, I'd like to ask (and answer; if the Lord provides the grace to do so) why Paul bothers to tell us about Adam's sin, and our bondage, etc. Is it just information? Is Paul just reading off a shopping list of "Christian facts" - or are these facts bound together to answer a bigger question Paul is addressing?

I hope this will be a fun and edifying read.

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posted by Daniel @ 12:08 PM   3 comment(s)
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Kidnapping or Valid Arrest?
Article 494 of Canada's Criminal Code reads this way:

494. (1) Any one may arrest without warrant

(a) a person whom he finds committing an indictable offence; or

(b) a person who, on reasonable grounds, he believes

(i) has committed a criminal offence, and

(ii) is escaping from and freshly pursued by persons who have lawful authority to arrest that person.

Marginal note:Arrest by owner, etc., of property
(2) Any one who is

(a) the owner or a person in lawful possession of property, or

(b) a person authorized by the owner or by a person in lawful possession of property,

may arrest without warrant a person whom he finds committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.

Marginal note:Delivery to peace officer
(3) Any one other than a peace officer who arrests a person without warrant shall forthwith deliver the person to a peace officer.


Let's say that you come home to the house and property that you own, and you find that a group of kids aged 10-14 have broken into your home, and are vandalizing it, and stealing things. They scatter when you come in, but you manage to grab one of them, Let's say, it's an eleven year old boy.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, article 494.3, you are not only allowed, but I daresay - required - to deliver the "perp" up to a peace officer "forthwith" (ie. before you do anything else)

Now let's say that you have no phone in the house, and no cell by which you could call for an officer of the peace, so that in order to fulfill your legal obligation (having arrested and detained the lad), you must now deliver him to a peace officer; so you dutifully drag said child, crying and resisting, to your car, and drive with the boy to your local law enforcement agency, and deposit him there. No fuss, no buffoonery - just doing your civic duty, and doing it by the book.

Are you a kidnapper, or are you a law abiding citizen? According to the letter of the law, so long as you caught the perp committing the crime on your property, you have every right to arrest and deliver him to a peace officer - and no one would raise an eyebrow if the perp was in his twenties - but the fact that this is a child makes the whole matter one big mess.

As a father, I can tell you I am not comfortable with the law as it stands. Don't get me wrong, My heart does not bleed for young criminals, nor do I blame society or low income for criminal behavior. I blame both parents (especially in the case of a broken home!), I blame our culture, in that it entertains itself to the point of idolizing crime and violence, but above all, I blame the child. So don't get me wrong, I am all for justice - my concern is that the law, as it is written, appears to allow citizens to legally abduct children in Canada.

This is tricky stuff. I mean children do not have the same rights as adults - they cannot vote, they cannot marry without parental consent, they cannot drive until they reach a certain age, or work before a certain age. If a child breaks someone's window, guess who pays for the window? Not the child, but the child's parents. We recognize, however it might be worded, that there is something legally (and socially) significant about a parents relationship to their child; How many "permission slips" did you get your parents to sign when you went to school and wanted to go on some field trip. Your teachers weren't allowed to take you into their custody without your parents consent.

The reason we take such precautions with our children is because we recognize that they are in need of parental protection - that they are not old enough to protect themselves - both physically and legally. The question before us is which "right" has precedence? Does the right to protect our children trump the right to protect our property?

I think most of us, instinctively recognize that protecting the weak (children) trumps protecting one's property - but how will that play out in the law? Do you add a clause to qualify the third point - that if the perpetrator is a child, you are not allowed to confine that child, or take then into custody?

It will be interesting to see how this develops. As it stands, the law seems ripe for abuse, imagine the paedophile caught in the act of abduction using this law as his or her defence: I wasn't abducting the child, I was arresting the child and delivering the child to a peace officer...

(shudder)

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posted by Daniel @ 8:02 AM   3 comment(s)
 
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