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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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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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The Buzz

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.
- C-Train

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
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Friday, December 29, 2006
Three Trivial Things I Didn't Know Before...
Trivial Pursuit...In the spirit of wanting to post something but having no time to really post anything of interest or value - here are some trivial tidbits to pacify you until I can post something of substance...

[1] The lion's costume from the original "Wizard of Oz" movie was made from real lion Pelts.

[2] Pope Benedict is a fan of finery - having worn red Prada shoes in the past.

[3] The word "Time" is the most popular English noun.

[4] The Mona Lisa used to hang on Napoleon's bedroom wall.
posted by Daniel @ 9:53 AM   15 comment(s)
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Not That You're Interested...
I am still busy with that large project at work - which means I still have a couple of outstanding threads that need to be addressed yet (I do plan to address them if and when the Lord allows however).

Nevertheless, I have a few moments to quickly describe the madness of the last few days.

When we purchased our current house about five or six years ago, we bought five new appliances (washer, dryer, fridge, stove, and dishwasher). In purchasing the dishwasher, the salesman asked us whether or not we wanted a "stand alone" model, an "in counter" model, or a hybrid model that was a "stand alone" for now, but could be converted into an "in counter" model later on - should the need arise.

We opted for the one you could convert later on, since the layout in the kitchen left very little cupboard space, and we didn't want to lose any of that by buying the under-the-counter model, not only that, we had just purchased the house, and frankly we were financially able to renovate the kitchen at the time.

This past couple of years my wife has been concerned about the counter and sink in our old kitchen - the counter was a particle board, and the tap had leaked into the counter causing it to swell, and even to rot around the sink. So, because I couldn't really put it off any longer, we decided that this would be the year we redo the cabinets - and consequently, convert that dishwasher.

In September we sat down with my wife's uncle (who owns a cabinet shop) and looked at cabinets. I opted for a beveled "Shaker" style in maple, and tried to argue for a granite counter top, but my wife didn't like the idea, so we went with plain old (green) arbrite. Then, the days began to go by, and no word came from her uncle, October came and went, then November. See, her uncle deals mostly in the "pressed board with laminate" style doors and whatnot, and doesn't do hardwood cabinets himself per se, so the measurements were taken, the doors were ordered, and the wait commenced. December was halfway over when whispers of the cabinets began to stir.

Meanwhile, the Lord was pleased to grant me several speaking engagements thrice on the weekend before Christmas (the same weekend I was scheduled to clean the church building), and twice again on the Christmas eve Sunday - that is five times in seven days - and wouldn't you know it - that was the week that the cabinets showed up.

Now, prior to learning that our cabinets were in, we had arranged to have Christmas eve with my family at my place (about 25-30 people), I figured I could swing it, I would make a meal the night before (I am the one who does the "fancy" cooking in our family), then we I could go and speak in the a.m., rush home to greet my family for the afternoon get together, then hasten them out, and go and speak in the p.m. - it was going to be tight, but that is how I figured it would go.

The work in the kitchen was only supposed to take a couple of days and was tentatively scheduled for Monday. My wife's father (being a carpenter) had agreed to put the cabinets in for us - praise the Lord for that, it saved us an installation fee; but it also put us at the disposal of his schedule in a way that wouldn't have happened if we were obligating someone by a contract to be there and get the job done according to our schedule.

Monday passed without a sound.

I took Tuesday off of work, intending to assist in whatever way I could, but Tuesday was a no-show as well. Not wanting to waste the day, I took out the top cabinets, and re-installed them in my laundry room - which I had to drywall just then in order to hang them - my wife was quite pleased with my sudden "handyman-esqued-ness" since hanging drywall and kitchen cabinetry is clearly a masculine endeavor, and perhaps more importantly, (and even surprisingly) I didn't botch it.

I should mention that my wife wanted a new faucet for the kitchen - and somehow that mushroomed into a new faucet and new sink - since if we were going to buy a new sink, now would be the time to do it - before they cut the hole in the new counter top for it. So I went out, and 500 unanticipated dollars later we had a new sink and faucet waiting to be installed as well.

Wednesday I went into work, but my throat was raw, and I was starting to lose my voice. I had picked up a bug and it was starting to turn nasty. I wouldn't even have gone into work on Wednesday except I don't like to take a vacation day and immediately follow it up with a sick day - it looks suspicious. So I went in sick.

That day (Wednesday) my wife's dad showed up with a helper and a truck load of cabinets, and they installed the cabinets. The countertop wasn't ready yet, and the rumor was that it wouldn't be ready until after Christmas. The reason (we found out later) was because the pattern my wife picked out for the countertop was no longer available. But, since we couldn't really do without a kitchen sink and counter, my wife's father installed a temporary countertop, and we installed the new sink onto the temporary countertop. It was not pretty, but it was functional.

I told my wife to go and pick another pattern quickly, not from the samples book, but from what her uncle had in stock (in the hope that this might accelerate the counter making process and possibly get us a "real" countertop before my family came on Sunday.

Thursday I was a wreck, and called in sick. My wife's father came over and I kept him company as he worked on the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher. My wife went and picked out a countertop, and later that day her uncle called to say that the counter was ready, to our delight - though I think it put her father out a bit (now he would have to install the sink all over again!

Friday came, and I was still sick so I stayed home (-I could barely speak-) and my wife's dad showed up with the countertop. I was excited, because it looked like we might get the new countertop installed that day, but her father had some other commitments he needed to get to and wouldn't be able to install them that day - though he did finish installing the dishwasher (which cost me another hundred or so in hoses, little pipe clamps, and whatnot). He was torn between wanting to help us get this in before Christmas and his own work schedule, so it was quite a blessing to us when he agreed to come on Saturday and put in the counter top. I asked what I could do to "prep" and he had me uninstall the sink, remove the temporary countertops, and put some backing in to support the countertop - all of which I did on Friday night. I still couldn't raise my voice above a whisper.

Saturday he showed up around nine, and we got straight to work. By eleven we had the sink and counter in - though the counter wasn't screwed down yet. It was then that we noticed we couldn't open any of the drawers on account of the counter lip coming down too low. So we made spacers and put them under the counter - which worked, but took another hour, and meant that we couldn't screw down the countertop right then and there. We then worked on getting all the toe-kicks cut and installed, etc. and doing some of the finishing work. He left around two thirty in the p.m. and by three I was off to the hardware store to find a hood rage for the stove, a new white, globe of glass to go over the broken kitchen light (one of my son's friends was showing off his lightsaber skills in the kitchen - nuff said), some wood screws, and all the knobs and whatnot for the drawers. I got home about six thirty, and started installing knobs, then I installed the hood range, a strip of 1" maple cove finishing, latexing in all the gaps, and finally finished around midnight. Then I started making lasagna for the meal the next day. I crawled into bed at 2:30 a.m.

It turns out my speaking engagement in the morning was cancelled, which was a kindness I thank the Lord for.

My family came over, and everything went off without a hitch, though my younger sister wrote me a long letter detailing exactly how miserable I had been to her as an older sibling. She poetically rehearsed (and I think managed to capture the flavor of my early years well) just exactly how I had damaged her for life, how awful it was, and how it is only just now that she was able to forgive me for the way I had ruined her life. I made the mistake of reading that before I preached that night, but I trusted the Lord's timing. I surely was a wretch, and was able to earnestly thank the Lord for this reminder - however unpleasant and awkward it might be.

On Christmas day my wife's parents came over for breakfast, then we went over to their place for supper, then we were off with the family for a two night stay at a local hotel with other Christian friends. We feel our children have enough gifts to last them two lifetimes, and so rather than buy them a new stash of toys, we took them to a hotel that had themed rooms, a giant play structure (3 stories!) and a pool. It was quite fun, though I was severely deprived of sleep by the time we got there.

All in all, it was a very memorable last couple of weeks. I am thankful that the Lord was so gracious to us. I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas this year.
posted by Daniel @ 8:49 AM   3 comment(s)
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Recalling The Savior's Birth!
Merry Christmas everyone.
posted by Daniel @ 10:05 AM   9 comment(s)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Single or Double?
Having no time to write blog entries seems to agree with me...

Truly, contrary to appearances, I really do have very little time - I am just pumping this out as fast as I can type, so be generous to me as I am not really going to proofread it, or check for logical consistency - hopefully it won't flop.

Now, some of you who read this may not be savvy with respect to various, almost useless theological nuances, so please allow me to savvify you (at least inasmuch as differentiating between single and double predestination):

Single and double predestination are the theological children of supra- and infralapsarianism. Supra (before), and infra (after) are combined with the word lapse (fall) to describe two opposing views (supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism) of God's perspective with regards to election. These opposing views try to answer the "how" question behind what scripture plainly teaches regarding election - that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

We want to be careful to recognize that however we consider these two points, both share this common concern - they both impose a temporal perspective upon something that took place in eternity - that is they took place in a realm wherein "before" and "after" have no temporal frame of reference. Frankly, no matter which position we endorse, we -must- be aware that just because we perceive time as chronological does not give us freedom to impose that same chronological perspective upon the "order of events" with regards to God's election. Our musing about what took place when, ought never to become more in our estimation than an imperfect model by which we attempt to examine the "how" questions of election.

That having been said, single predestination (or as I like to say, "redemptive predestination") is the idea that when God predestined sinners to redemption - that is, that God determined to predestinate men unto salvation from the perspective/foreknowledge that -all- men would earn condemnation through sin, such that God's election is redemptive as opposed to preemptive. When we say that God's decision was to redeem sinners we say that God's decision to save took place (at least logically) after His decision to allow the fall - we call that infralapsarianism (infra = after, lapse = fall).

"Double predestination" or as I like to call it, "condemnational predestination" is the idea that before God ever contemplated the fall He had already made up his mind to send some men to heaven and others to hell - that is, that God predestinates some men to heaven, and others to hell. This view, since it places God's decision before the contemplation of the fall, is called supralapsarianism (supra = before).

Now, because one of the main philosophies of our day is humanism, our perspective is often tainted in that direction - that is, we imagine that human life (both temporal and eternal) is more important than everything else including God. We might not articulate it that way, but if we are -consistent- we will note that the main objection we have to God creating men to destroy them is because we believe that it is fundamentally wrong for anyone to end the life of a human, and that the "anyone" here includes God - thereby when God commands men not to murder one another we imagine that this binds God - so that God would be wrong if -He- put anyone to death, even if the death were judicially sanctioned. When a person exalts their own creation-o-centric, human-o-centric moral perspective upon God, they stand in judgment of God if God dares to take a human life - and since they don't want to do that, they instead reason that God would never, ever transcend their self-generated moral standard.

The end result is that they say God could not create a man for the purpose of allowing him to sin and thereby condemn himself - for if he did, God would be "wicked" (according to their humanistic philosophy). Thus, there can be no such thing as predestination or election, because according to their worldly philosophy, that would make God a murderer, since they reason that if God allows men to sin, it makes God guilty somehow.

That was the point of the previous posts - to bring us to the place where we examine this humanism in the naked light of truth - to expose it for what it is - a clashing of biblical moralism, with human moralism. The fact is, God can create a man and kill him and there would be no sin in it. Likewise, God can create a man knowing that the same man will eventually sin - and God is not culpable for that man's sin when he does. God gives life and God takes away life because it is God's prerogative to do so. Truly, sin happens when man does a thing that God has not given him the authority to do - does a man have the authority to take life? No - that is why it is sin - not because the taking of life is sinful, but doing so without the authority to do so is sinful - God has that authority all the time - we only have that authority when we are acting in accord with God's judgment (the sword is not wielded in vain by those authorities God places over us). Thus what is sin for a man is only sin because God has limited man's authority - this doesn't limit God's authority, so that what is sin for man is not necessarily sin for God. God is not a man, and as such God is not bound to the boundaries the Creator has put on the creature. The potter indeed has all authority over the clay to do his will whatever it is - but the clay has no authority except what is granted by the potter. The potter can destoy any vessel he makes, but the vessel does not share that authority.

Now some who understand this go the way of double predestination (supralapsarianism) - they (rightly) reason that God is certainly able to elect some men for salvation, and others for condemnation, and that He does no wrong if that is what he chooses to do, He is not a man, He is God - and for this reason those of this theological persuasion see no fault in double predestination - God is God, after all - who are we to moralize? If God creates men to destroy them in hell, he is not unjust in doing so for the laws that bind the creation are given by the Creator, and do not necessarily bind the Creator.

I personally reject that position, though I don't dismiss it as though the reasoning were flawed.

I don't have a problem with God creating a man ordained to hell - but I personally don't think it fits in well with what I see of God's character in scripture, nor what I see of God's character in creation. God created all things "very good" - they became corrupt of their own accord (even if God perfectly anticipated that same corruption), and did not enter into creation pre-corrupted as it were. I want to be careful here to say that I believe that because of the curse we see a whole lotta corruption -but that is the fault of the curse, and not creation.

Likewise, I do not find anything of this ordained corruption revealed in the character of God - that is, while I see God granting mercy and grace to those who fail to deserve such throughout all of history (and scripture for that matter) yet I nowhere find God dispensing condemnation unless where it was not first earned.

Perhaps for that reason, more than any other, I tend to regard single predestination as more consistent with the character of that God that is revealed to us in scripture.

Now, to be sure - it really doesn't matter to me which is right - it doesn't affect the gospel, it doesn't affect my witness, and it in no way changes any conclusions I might draw - God is sovereign in both scenarios, and the biblical case for double predestination (as opposed to single) is not that convincing.
posted by Daniel @ 8:50 AM   18 comment(s)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Christian Ethical Dilemma - Part II
I am still mega-busy, but since this thought only takes a minute or two, I think I can manage...

In the previous post I presented a scenario that begged the question, if it is within our power to stop another person from committing a sin, and we fail to stop them, are we culpable for the sin they commit.

I would extend that example a bit here, and see what we all think before I take this where it belongs.

Suppose the fellow, upon learning that his roommate is suicidal, determines (in love of course) to "make sure" that his roommate has no opportunity to commit suicide. Although his solution is excessive, he decides the only way to avoid sinning against his brother is to use the most secure solution (the "maximum" effort) available to him - and since he is much bigger than his roommate, he easily overpowers him and thereafter binds him to a chair in their apartment, and for the remainder of his roommate's life, he keeps him bound - though he feeds him and looks after all his needs, yet he never allows the roommate freedom, because he knows that this same freedom will eventually be used to terminate his own life. The fellow acts thus because he feels that if he has the power to stop his roommate from killing himself, and doesn't use it - then he will in fact be in some sense culpable for his roommate's suicide, since it was within his power to thwart it.

Now, surely the fellow has embraced a wacky solution - and some of us would be inclined to criticize the solution as being dumb, or will suggest better solutions that address the situation in a more realistic way. Let's not go there. The point isn't to find the best solution to a made up scenario, it is to answer a question of culpability.

I won't pretend that the example is all that realistic, but it -does- give us an appropriate context in which to ask the question: If a man fails to do everything in his power to stop another man from sinning - is that failure sin? Surely there is room to bicker over where to "draw the line" - and, sure as there was an yesterday, there is some merit in pursuing such a discussion sometime - but let's leave that as an aside for today. Today let us answer the simple question: Just because a fellow has the power to stop another fellow from sinning is he culpable for the sins that the other fellow commits?

We are eventually going to tie this discussion to the doctrine of predestination, if you are curious where we are going...
posted by Daniel @ 10:50 AM   5 comment(s)
Monday, December 11, 2006
Christian Ethics and Sin...
I know, I don't have time, but this will only take a moment to type up, and if I type it up I won't waste any more time thinking about typing it up...

James 4:17 says, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." [ESV]

Consider the case of a "good" man who discovers that his roommate in college is suicidal. He begins to make every effort to spend time with him, to encourage him and also to restrain him if need be. This goes on for months, but eventually he is away and in his absence the roommate indeed kills himself. Truth be known, the fellow could have stayed home that weekend, but wanted to go skiing. He may even have been concerned about the safety of his roommate, and made a poor, and even selfish choice - but in the end, what is the bottom line? Is he, or rather was he culpable for his roommate's suicide? Can we blame him because he didn't spend every waking moment restraining his roommate?

Surely there was some selfishness on his part - and no doubt there was sin on account of it - but the question is not about whether selfishness is sin - it is about whether or not he is to be blamed for the suicide of his roommate.

I wouldn't mind some thoughts before I let the other shoe fall.
posted by Daniel @ 2:36 PM   4 comment(s)
Still In Overload...
I thought I should post something just to let people know that I am still alive, but my present overload of work is continuing to make it difficult to post with any content. I may comment here and there as I have time, but it looks to be a coupla weeks before I can post regularly again.
posted by Daniel @ 8:46 AM   3 comment(s)
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