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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.
My complete profile...
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.
- Marc Heinrich
His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole
[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.
This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos
Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead
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.
- Carla Rolfe
| Mysticism vs. Christianity (How to do God's will).
"Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." - Genesis 2:15 [NASB]
Recently I made a post about how I understand God's sovereignty. The main focus of that post was to show that God's sovereignty does not require micromanaging the universe - that when an apple falls to the ground on earth, or a moon orbits a planet on the other side of the universe - both are obeying a natural law (gravity) that God designed into the fabric of this universe. The only way one of these natural laws can be broken is if God Himself intervenes to break it.
After the fall, Adam's body still obeyed the law of gravity - even though Adam Himself had rebelled against God's command. The fact that Adam's sin was volitional tells us that his rebellion did not come from his flesh (which continued to obey the natural laws of God even after the fall) but from his spirit.
A lot of people make no distinction between the soul and the spirit. But there is a difference. As I understand it, the soul is the breath of life that God breathed into Adam after creating him from the dust of the earth. Adam possessed the breath of life from God, but Adam wasn't the breath of life itself. Adam possessed a body, but Adam was not the body itself. The part of Adam that was Adam is what I understand to be the spirit. The spirit directs the life that animates the body, even as Christ created all creation according to the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are made in the triune image of God.
Just as we are free to do whatever we are able, we are not free to do what we are not able to do. I can jump up and down, but I can't read minds or turn invisible. I can speak, or stay silent, but I cannot leap over a tall building in a single bound. I am free to do only what I am capable of doing, just as I am free to "not" do it.
Thus even though we have free will - we are not free to do things that we are incapable of doing.
Why did Jesus act in a righteous way? Was it in order to become righteous, or was it because He was righteous to begin with? He was righteous to begin with. A well produces either fresh water or salt - not both. A well does not produce fresh water one day, and salt water the next. The well produces what it produces because that is the kind of well it is. James describes it this way in James 3:11-12:
Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. [NASB]
produced fresh water (i.e. righteousness), because in him was
a the fountain that produced fresh water (i.e. righteousness). He didn't become righteous by doing things that were righteous, he did things that were righteous, because He was righteous.
A sinner only has in himself a salt-water well. It cannot produce righteousness, it can only produce unrighteousness.
Thus a sinner is free to do whatever he or she desires to do, but he or she will never desire to do righteousness, because there is no righteousness in the sinner whatsoever. When an unsaved person does something that seems righteous - it isn't. It may seem righteous, but it is still a filthy rag (c.f. Isaiah 64:6). It may look like fresh water, but it smells and tastes different, because it comes from a place that isn't righteous.
When a sinner becomes a Christian - they are joined to Christ, such that His life becomes theirs - even as they are still living their old sinful life in the flesh. Romans 7 describes this new state. The life of Christ in them is producing in the desire and ability to do righteousness, while the flesh and the old sinful life that will be put to death in Christ continues to provoke them to sin, or to shallow/false righteousness.
The point is, even when we become a Christian, our righteousness is not our own. Any righteous thing we do, we do in spite of and contrary to our old self - the life that we are living.
So in the believer there are two springs - one salt and one fresh, and we are called to draw our water from the one and not from the other. To walk in the one, and not in the other, to obey the one and not the other, etc.
The question is How?
A great many Christians embark on this question without a very firm understanding of who they are in Christ, and what they are and are not capable of. They come to this thinking of themselves as a "new creation" entirely different from the old one - and wonder why they still sin, since that contradicts their own theology. They struggle and fret, and try harder, and fail, and many just give up trying. They don't know how to obey Christ when they are still struggling with sin in their life. It all seems wrong or patchy at best.
Well one solution people come to is pretty weird. It is the mystical approach. The idea that God is constantly trying to speak to you and direct you in this life, but you are too immature to hear it, let alone obey it.
This is as destructive to a faith as it is misleading.
Did God micro-manage Adam's cultivation/keeping of the garden of Eden? Did God tell Adam how many breaths he was to take each day or how many times he should chew before swallowing each bite? No matter where we stand on this, we have to draw the line somewhere. At some point God gives Adam some autonomy. Surely Adam was allowed to breath as often as seemed right to him. To chew his food as many or as few times as seemed right to him. Adam wasn't a sinner, so what seemed right to him would have seemed right to God also. God very likely gave Adam instruction (just like He gave Adam instruction about which plants could be eaten and which could not) and left Adam to function independently thereafter.
Yet in the last century or so, some have begun to teach that God has so specific a plan for your life, that He is leading you moment by moment into it, and that you will be sinning if you don't follow that plan.
The trouble is that you're spiritual antenna is too short, so you're not getting God's message very clearly. This is where mysticism takes over - and you're taught to interpret your own intuition as being a message from God.
Now I believe that God works through providence, and that He will use His word to remind you of what is expect of His children - and that as you live your life conformed to the expectations of God outlined in the bible and in the New Testament in particular, you will know when you're doing something you shouldn't be doing, and you will know when something you're doing is "right". It won't be an airy-fairy feeling, it'll be a conviction that you are being obedient to an objective expectation made clear in the scriptures. You may have some false hits, because we're fallible, but the more you conform yourself to the word of God - the more this will become natural and obvious.
But I do not believe that God is whispering constantly in our sin-deaf ears and that it is our job to interpret our own intuition into commands and expectations from God. That is a road doesn't bring anyone closer to God - it only makes us being to trust our own intuition, over and eventually against the word of God. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. When we use our hearts to interpret what we think God wants us to do - we eventually and inevitably end up satisfying our hearts, and convincing ourselves that we are holier for having done so.
I know too many Christians - genuine, sincere Christians who follow every waft in the wind thinking they are being obedient to God, when they are in fact contradicting the clear expectations of a Christian as laid out in the scriptures.
Listen to what Paul tells Timothy, and ask yourself if Paul missed the boat:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:15-17 [NASB]
Do you want to be equipped for every good work?
You shouldn't be looking for liver-shivers and special feelings. You should be studying the word of God so that you know it, and knowing it you are familiar with both the character of God and what God expects from you. He expects you to be able to function autonomously having been given clear instruction from his word. There is no mention of intuition or feelings, or visions, or whisperings, premonitions or any such nonsense. You will be equipped to do the good work you're called to do, because what God has called you to do can be found in the scriptures.
Know them, and you will not only know the Lord who inspired them, you will know what is expected of you as a believer.
Throw the mysticism in the trash where it belongs.
posted by Daniel @
| How a Fender/CRL Style 5-Way Switch Works
|Although I post mostly theological articles, today I want to discuss something practical for anyone who is trying to figure out how exactly a Stratocaster style 5-way switch works. I'll try and keep it short and simple.
There are different ways to wire a five-way switch, and depending upon what brand you get, the pin-outs can be a little different - but the theory is the same, and this will help you to understand what is going on in that switch.
More often than not, the only time you bother to read about how a five-way switch works, is when your looking at a wiring diagram for an electric guitar, and feel a little flabbergasted by all the wires going in and out of that five-way switch. You've told yourself that perhaps if you understood how it worked a little more - the rest of the diagram would make a little more sense.
Well the first thing you need to understand is that your five-way switch is really two three way switches sandwiched together - take a look at this fancy graphic I made just for this post:
It took me all day thank you.
On the left you see my rendition of one side of the five-way switch (labeled Pickup connections). Don't mind the rest of it for a moment - what I want you to look at is the four connections or terminals (the things you would solder wires to) on that side. One of the four terminals is longer than the others. This allows it to always contact that white part you see in the diagram. Basically when you rotate the switch, the white part connects blue part to one (or two) of these terminals.
The same thing happens on the other side (see the other switch graphic - the one with the purple and orange terminals). Think of one side of the 5-way switch as it's own switch, and the other as a separate switch - moving the switch rotates wipers on both sides of the 5-way, so that in each position a similar connection is made on each side of the switch.
If you physically have such a switch with you - you don't need a multi-meter to tell you which posts/terminals are connecting - in any of the 5 positions - you just need to look at the wiper blade and see which terminals it touches (on each side) - those that are touching are the ones which close the circuit in that position.
The reason we say that a 5-way switch is actually two 3-way switches is because there are three terminals on each side that can connect to the longer terminal. But the blade is just the right width that in two of the five positions - it actually connects the longer terminal to two of the shorter ones at the same time. I'm not surprising anyone here, but that is how the physical connection is made to play through two pickups at the same time.
You can see that in this (rather similar, but slightly different) graphic:
Note the color changes?
You've probably noticed also that I've labeled one side of the switch "pickups" and the other "tone pots". That's because that is how we use the switch - one side turns on the pickups - the other side selects which tone circuit will be used. The standard way to wire a Strat is to have the tone control closest to the neck pickup, adjust the neck, and the other tone adjusts the middle pickup. The Strat was designed when surf music was popular, so the bridge pickup typically doesn't have a tone control - but you can (if you want) just wire a jumper between the neck and bridge terminals on the "pickup" side of the 5-way, so that the same tone settings for your neck pickup affect your bridge pickup up - easy-peasy - and since you don't normally play the bridge and neck pickups at the same time - you don't really lose anything - you just gain more versatility in your tone control.
But I digress.
The point is that whatever pickups you turn on (on the pickup side of the switch), you should be turning on the appropriate tone control on the other side.
Most wiring diagrams have something like the third graphic from the left - representing the "top" of the switch (really it's the bottom, but when your soldering it, everything is upside down, and that looks to be the top, as it were. I included the colors so that you could see which side is what. The top half is for the pickups, the bottom, for the tone controls. When you wire up your Stratocaster, you typically put the side that connects to the tone pots, facing the tone pots, and the side for the pickups facing away from the tone pots.
The last item in my graphic is the schematic representation of the switch. I call them "two 3-way switches" but what we're really talking about is a two "pole" switch - that is a single switch that closes two circuits at the same time. In this case the circuits that are closed are each 3-way circuits. Don't let the five positions fool you. You have five positions because two of the positions purposely combine two pickups.
You may read about 5-way "super" switches - they have four poles instead of two - which means twice as many terminals, and four circuits being set by the same switch. It follows the same principles as are laid out here. I personally think you get more useful mileage out of a DPDT push/pull pot (dpdt = double pole, double throw) - unless you're doing something really fancy with split coiled humbuckers, you probably won't use these - but you'll understand them, because they follow the same basic principles.
In these diagrams, I have the posts labeled as follows:
- C: Common
- N: Neck
- M: Middle
- B: Bridge
But that is just because 5 way switches are typically used where there are three pickups (usually single coil) - so rather than call them something generic like 0, 1, 2, & 3 - I went with how these switches are typically used in a Strat.
In the graphics, the blue and red posts correspond to the pickup side of the switch, and the purple and orange are for the tone controls and by the way, ...yes, I have noticed that the red and orange are sadly similar to one another - I should have used green instead of orange...
Using the colors, you can see how the switch is portrayed in various circuits. It really helps when you're trying to think your way through the circuit (I like to design my own circuit mods) and you're trying to understand the path the current takes through the switch.
That's the last of the pics. The pictures are actually a little bigger than they appear in this post. You can open one or more of them up in another browser tab if you want to make them bigger.
I hope that helped you understand this clever little switch a bit better. I've found bits and pieces of this over the years, but I hadn't seen anyone put it all in one place - so I thought I'd do that and maybe save someone a few hours of searching, and a few more of trying to make heads or tails of it.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or thoughts.
posted by Daniel @
| A poem I wrote just now...
|Inspired by this puritan's prayer: Need Of Grace...
Lord I confess that in my heart,
I've welcomed every fiery dart,
Abusing Your abounding grace
I've turned away from Your embrace
I've grieved Your Spirit from the start,
Lord I confess it from my heart
My life is like the leopard's spots
I've chained my heart to sinful thoughts
In shame and fear I've fled from grace
Ashamed to stand before Your face
My heart can't bear sin's hardened clots,
O free this leopard from his spots,
I've suffered in my rigid sin,
Afraid to let my Savior in,
Who'll free me from this miry place,
And teach my heart to walk in grace?
Lord, only You can draw me in,
I want to rest in you, not sin.
Who called me to my knees in prayer?
Who's sovereign in my soul's despair?
Who drew me to His throne of grace,
To find my rest in His embrace?
He's sovereign over my despair,
He draws my heart to Him in prayer.
Now shall I rise up from my knees,
To go on sinning as I please?
Will not my Lord grant me the grace,
To finish well and run the race?
Lord let me not rise from my knees,
Until my heart, with yours agrees.
posted by Daniel @
| How I understand the Sovereignty of God
Note: All bible references noted in this post are taken from the New American Standard Bible.
You're probably familiar with Psalm 115:3? It reads, But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.
That's a good description of God's sovereignty. He does whatever pleases Him. We could say that God has the power and authority to do whatever He pleases - but that is implied in, "He does whatever He pleases." So that'll be our working definition: God's sovereignty means that He has the power and authority to do whatever He pleases.
In Genesis 2:19 we read:
Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
Adam was obeying God in naming the animals - his obedience, and presumably his creativity - were both pleasing God. Adam was given the authority to name the animals, but it was God who gave him that authority. God did not become less sovereign for delegating his authority to Adam.
I really can't imagine anyone having an honest nit to pick with anything I have said so far.
The point is that God's sovereignty doesn't lose anything when He delegates a task to someone (or something) that obeys Him.
I say, "or something" in that last sentence because I think of natural laws, such as gravity as obeying the function for which God created them. That is, when an apple falls to the ground, it is obeying the law of gravity - it follows that God intends for apples to fall to the ground (how else will their seeds find purchase in the earth?). I don't believe that God needs to personally intervene in creation to cause each apple that falls from a tree to fall.
I am not saying that God is unaware of a falling apple. I am saying that when an apple falls, it falls in accord with God's created order. As the season continues the apple grows, and eventually the stem is no longer able to bear the weight of the apple, and it falls, where it eventually breaks down so that its fruit can nurture the soil in the very spot where the seeds have fallen. Gravity is part of that design, and we who look at creation and see its design, see in that design the will of the Creator.
That is, incidentally why we are all without an excuse before God - anyone who sees a tree knows that the seed that formed that tree would not have formed that tree unless the natural laws at work in the world were in place. These laws are what keep the earth producing fruit.
What about where it says that God ...causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous...? (c.f. Matthew 5:45) Doesn't that imply that God is especially making the sun to shine and the rain to fall on everyone?
Yeah - it means that, but not in the "Divine Intevention" kind of way. It just means that God does not have one set of natural laws for saints, and another for sinners.
In Luke 13, our Lord addresses some of the bad theology that was present in the crowd who were questioning Him. From the context we conclude that they believed that people became righteous by obeying the law, and that some people were righteous, and others were not - based (presumably) on their level of obedience - either to the word of God, or to the oral traditions of the Pharisees (or both). But righteousness is not produced by keeping the law, much less by observing traditions that God did not ordain.
The scriptures tell us plainly that the law does not make anyone righteous, it just teaches us that we are not righteous - and thus that we need a savior.
James, the brother of our Lord, writes an answer for anyone who imagines that in "keeping the law" you became "righteous". Because even if you do manage to keep some portion of the law - it counts for nothing ( cf. James 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all). So even if you manage to do some of the law, it doesn't count for anything, unless you keep it all.
Paul likewise (quoting from ) Psalm 53), writes in Romans 3:10 that ...there is none righteous, not even one. There really isn't anyone who is righteous, which is why we need the righteousness of Christ as our own if we are to pass through the judgment unscathed.
With this theology in place, we find the crowd in the opening verses of Luke 13 asking the Lord questions about those Galileans that Pilate had put to death. From the context we imagine that these Galileans were involved in offering sacrifices to God at the time they were slaughtered by some Roman soldiers who were under Pilate's command.
It seems (given our Lord's replay) that the crowd was trying to figure why God allowed this to happen. What did they do to deserve this?
Our Lord's answers them as follows in Luke 13:2-5:
And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
When our Lord rhetorically asks, "Do you suppose that those 18 were worse sinners?" the implied answer is, that no - these 18 were no worse sinners than anyone else.
Sin is in the world, and death through sin (c.f. Romans 5:12) - it all goes back to Adam's sin. He brought death into this world, and people die because death is with us. Creation itself was cursed, mankind in particular was cursed. I will one day die of some malady or other, unless violence finds me sooner, be it accidental or otherwise. So will you. God has put those laws in effect, and so we suffer the curse, and God is the one who put it there.
Let me say that another way - it is God's will that everyone who dies, ... dies. If it wasn't God's will, it wouldn't happen that way.
But that isn't the same as saying that God personally comes down and murders each one of us when it's our time to go.
God can be sovereign, without having to order everything in creation by an ongoing, all encompassing act of Divine Intervention.
So I don't view the sovereignty of God as God directing the path of every elementary particle in the universe - knowing where it is, and moving it to where it will go, so that every electron that orbits it's atom in my body is being micro-managed by God, and so that I, along with all of creation, am truly just a puppet in an ongoing play that God is directing.
It is clear from the scriptures that God does intervene. No one in this sinful world can be saved apart from God's direct intervention in their sinful lives. No, not even one.
If God did not intervene, none of us would be saved. None of us would seek after God, not even one of us! (so says the Holy Spirit who inspired Paul to write Romans 3).
So when we talk about "free will" vs. the "sovereignty of God" - I believe that we are only "free" to do those things we are actually capable of doing. Even as the leopard cannot change its spots, so those who have inherited death from Adam cannot produce any act of righteousness because there is no righteousness within them that would produce it.
Let me unwrap that a bit.
Jesus didn't "become" righteous by obeying the law. He was able to obey the law because he was already righteous. In fact the law served two purposes - it showed everyone but Christ that they were not righteous, and it showed Christ that He was righteous. He didn't start off neutral and become righteous - he was righteous, and his life testified to that - even as your life testifies to you that in you, just as in the Apostle Paul, no (morally) good thing dwells.
When Adam brought death into the world, he brought a separation from God, who is life. Being cut off from God, is to be cut off from life - and from God's righteousness. Make no mistake, we sin because there is no middle ground between righteousness and unrighteousness. We are either the one or the other - and whichever we are, that is the source of all that we do, and it saturates all that we do.
That is why no one can come to Christ, apart from God drawing them - because coming to Christ is something that only a righteous person can do, and no one is righteous. That is why salvation is an act of God from beginning to end. It begins while we are yet sinners, with God drawing us to Himself, and culminates in our salvation when we receive the life of Christ, and become able - through that life - to live righteously (genuinely so) insofar as we obey the life of Christ within us, rather than our old sinful life which continues to remain with us - though we are no longer slaves to its desires.
The point is, that this cursed world obeys a set of natural laws that we cannot escape. We all die, and that is something God has sovereignly ordained on account of the fall. The truth is we will not come to God unless God draws us, so that the only reason anyone is saved is because they were given the ability to call upon the name of the Lord in earnest - an ability that cannot spring from anyone who is born dead in their sin and trespasses. It is only through divine intervention that any of us come to know our Lord. It is only through divine intervention that any prayer is answered by God. It is only through divine intervention that any (saved) sinner is able to obey the Spirit of Christ within him. God is sovereign - but he isn't micromanaging the sinful world.
He still brings judgment against nations, and the like - and he, being the one who has cursed the earth, is the cause of any calamity that comes from it - since no calamity befalls us apart from the natural laws that God has set in place to govern us. But in the case of those whom God has chosen to redeem? These live lives sprinkled generously with moments of intervention.
By that I don't mean lives filled with miracles like walking on water, etc. I mean lives wherein God's children are chastised, for their greater good, where they are taught through the emptiness of their sinful choices to repent of what gives them no rest, and cling to the life of Christ that was put into them the moment God granted them the ability to repent and believe the gospel.
In summary: We live in a sinful world where no one is seeking the Lord or can seek him apart from Divine Intervention. We live in a world wherein God is sovereign without having to control the minutia of reality through an ongoing act of divine intervention. God rather has set in place laws that obey him, and contains creation within these laws, so that all of creation is subject to these laws. For the believer, God transcends these laws, first in saving them, then in keeping them, and eventually in bringing them to glory.
I reject the notion that God is controlling all things in a way that suggests that God causes one person to believe, while "causing" another to not believe. The fall and the curse "cause" people not to seek God, and make it impossible for anyone to be saved. But God will do all that he pleases, and it has pleased God to elect some of us sinners, to salvation - and it pleased God to draw those sinners to himself such that not a single one will be lost. And it pleased God to do this through the life of Christ, which is imparted when God grants one of his elect the ability to receive the gospel as true, and grants that believer the grace to repent and receive the life of Christ.
posted by Daniel @