Saturday, December 07, 2013
But I am convinced that much of it is more playing the busybody than the noble voice of righteousness.
Caner and I are not part of the same church. None of my offerings are going to support him or Brewton-Parker College. We are not part of the state convention. Our only connection is that we are part of the same association of autonomous, voluntarily-connected local churches known as the Southern Baptist Convention.
Do I have authority over Ergun Caner, or is he in authority over me? Nope. Not in the slightest. Therefore, I do not believe that a public rebuke of him is either my duty or my right.
People confront Caner about his background stories less because they are concerned about his background and more as a result of his harsh treatment of Calvinists and Calvinism. I would also say (to be an equal opportunity offender) that many have defended him for the same reason – they supported his attacks on Calvinism!
But Paul told us to leave wrath in the hands of God and not to attempt to bring vengeance and justice on our own.
Is there not some value in private instead of public rebuke? I know that many have argued (convincingly to me) that Matthew 18:15 does not directly apply to blogging…I think the same principle works for personal conflict.
Do I have a relationship with Ergun Caner? No. Never met him. Never exchanged a word, even an online word, with him. He and I are not in the same church or association.
Within its historical context, therefore, the conception of the “earth” in Gen 1 is most probably that of a single continent in the shape of a flat circular disc…Being a scientifically naive people, it is probable that like other scientifically naive tribal peoples the Hebrews thought of the earth as being surrounded by a circular sea and floating upon that single surrounding sea.
The book of Genesis also clearly says that the initial arrangement of land and water on earth involved the land being grouped together in one place (Genesis 1:9-10). Scientists never even considered that possibility for the vast majority of the history of science. However, science now agrees that at one time, all the continents were grouped together in one supercontinent.
|The Council of Trent|
In the comments, a Roman Catholic writer named Erick Ybarra left a long and convoluted plea in favor of “the Tridentine doctrines”.
I’m responding here at length (in one long blog post), while responding over there to his individual comments individually, with essentially the same responses.
Erick Ybarra said:
I am not quite sure why many of you [have] an issue with the Tridentine doctrines.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Nelson Mandela was a hero to the world. His bravery in defending human rights against the great evil of apartheid made him a symbol of courage and dignity, as well as an inspiration to people everywhere. As Blessed Pope John Paul II noted during his visit to South Africa in 1995, Nelson Mandela was for many years, “a silent and suffering ‘witness’ of your people’s yearning for true liberation,” who, as President of South Africa, had to then “shoulder the burden of inspiring and challenging everyone to succeed in the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction.” In succeeding in these crucial and difficult tasks, Nelson Mandela truly made the world a better place.May he rest in peace.
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
-0.45% (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 222
17.36 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
total population: 49.48 yearscountry comparison to the world: 222male: 50.43 yearsfemale: 48.51 years (2013 est.)
17.8% (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 4 5.6 million (2009 est.) 310,000 (2009 est.)
total: 49.8%country comparison to the world: 5male: 45.4%female: 55% (2011)
While best known for his work in race equality as South Africa’s first black president, he also created the Rainbow Nation – a country where gay rights and marriage equality was enshrined in the constitution.
And so he ensured that the new South African Constitution specifically included sexual orientation and gender identity into its protections for all South Africans.
President Nelson Mandela has signed South Africa's new abortion bill, clearing the way for one of the world's toughest abortion laws to be replaced with one of the most liberal. The law gives girls of any age the sole right to decide whether to have an abortion.
The South African debate [i.e. physician-assisted suicide] began 15 years ago. President Nelson Mandela engaged the South African Law Commission to carry out a project addressing end-of-life decisions. The result was the proposed End of Life Decisions Act — a Bill that was tabled in Parliament in 2000 but did not get further than that.
South Africa has extremely high levels of sexual assault. "The prevalence of rape, and particularly multiple perpetrator rape … is unusually high," according to a 2012 report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) thinktank.
South Africa has one of the most progressive sex offences acts in the world, a new version of which became effective in 2007, Lancaster points out. "It covers marital rape, consensual sexual acts involving a minor and even the making of pornography.
The 2012-13 statistics released Thursday are the worst in a decade, analysts said. The figures show increases in the crimes South Africans fear most: murder; attempted murder; violent, armed house robbery; and carjacking.The rise in the murder rate was slight, at 0.6%. But the number of attempted murders rose by 6.5%, violent house robberies by 3.6% and carjackings by 5.4%. Drug-related crime rose by 13.5% and truck hijackings by nearly 15%.South Africa has some of the world's highest rates of violent crime, with casualty figures mounting like those in a small war.
I really wish my friends would do their homework on Nelson Mandela before uncritically praising him as a moral hero. A man must be judged by all he did, not just for the parts we find praiseworthy.
Mandela worked to overthrow the government and wanted foreign militaries help the ANC take over the country. He was a communist so it's likely he wanted to help establish South Africa as a Soviet satellite. Whether that would have been better than apartheid I can't say. But let's not make Mandela out to be something he wasn't.
During the Rivonia trial, it came out that he advocated cutting off the noses of blacks viewed as traitors or white collaborators.
Also, why did Mandela turn a blind eye to the torture and execution of dissident members in training camps in Angola during the 1980s? (http://www.britannica.com/.../nelson-mandela-flawed-saint/) Do the ends justify the means when your enemies are on the wrong side?
He was the co-founder of the armed wing of the African National Congress and it's "commander in chief." That was a group that carried out real terrorist attacks against civilians throughout the 1980s. The ANC also routinely tortured prisoners at their detention camps. I don't recall the Founding Fathers doing anything like that.
Now it's true that Mandela was in prison during this time. But he was offered early release if he would renounce the use of violence and break links with the Communist Party. He refused. While his party was killing civilians, he was tacitly approving their actions. Why do you think Mandela was on the U.S.'s terrorism watch list until 2008?
If the ANC had never been involved in terrorist activities (and Mandela had openly condemned such attacks) then I might see the parallels with our Founding Fathers. But to me the more relevant comparison is to the PLO in Israel. Both the ANC and the PLO believed that the ends justified the means.
And it should be noted that it wasn't the violence of the ANC that led to the changes in South Africa. de Klerk was the one who extended the olive branch and ended white rule in the country.
First, recent Twitversations with Georgia Southern Baptists who tweeted their support for Caner once he was hired by Brewton-Parker college.
A few pastors of what appear to be medium-large churches conversed with me, but not well.
To take one example, Jeffrey C Hawkins, @hawkjeff, resorted to calling me a fool just b/c I was pressing him to answer my questions, yet also called me a brother. I was unaware that Proverbs thought followers of God could be fools or vice versa.
Frighteningly, this man apparently trains pastors.
Probably even more frighteningly, among his pastor mentors and heroes, he lists such men as John Maxwell, Rick Warren, and Andy Stanley. Wow.
Second, this article from "SBC Voices". Of course, that website also hosts writings by unrepentant homosexuals who hop churches to escape discipline, so why does this surprise me?
Here is my reply to this foolish article:
Recall what I said earlier, when discussing the other gospels, about John the Baptist's anticipation of Jesus' adult ministry and the initial responses to John and Jesus. The same principles apply to the fourth gospel.
I now realize the interview should not have occurred at all. I should have contacted Tyndale House directly to alert them to the plagiarism issue. And I never should have brought it to the attention of listeners publicly. So I would like to apologize to all of you and to Mark Driscoll for how I behaved. I am sorry.
For my part, her obviously sincere apology should strengthen our respect for her as a credible journalist, radio host, and committed believer. Thank you, Janet, for following both godly Christian counsel and your mature Christian conscience.
I thought that Ms. Mefferd acted unprofessionally and that authors should know something about her modus operandi here. First, she has every right to raise the issue, but it should have been done first to Mark or his publisher offline. It’s a violation of the Golden Rule.
Third, she told an untruth (conspiracy theorists notwithstanding) that he hung up on her. Her producer even emailed a breathless report to bloggers trying to make a story out of this. Maybe she has apologized for this but I haven’t seen it.
This is not the first time I’ve observed this behavior from her. I think it is very problematic that she has given a platform to a known slanderer regarding the SGM situation. She also tried to try the case in the court of public opinion and proceeded in an unbiblical way. In other words, this didn’t seem like a one-off situation.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
According to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), DNC Chair:
You know, for millennials, young adults in particular, because they have an opportunity to stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26 years old, many of them need to be aware they can do that. That's going to give them comprehensive coverage that so many of them don't have now. And the focus needs to be on making sure that we can get young people who are often healthier into the pool so that it lowers the overall cost of health insurance. Whether it's making sure they get access to preventive care like mammograms...
1. Okay, so it sounds like Schultz thinks it's a good idea for all women in their 20s to use mammograms.
2. On the face of it, it might seem like a good idea for all young women to get a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. (I doubt Schultz is referring to using mammography diagnostically, which would be an even more thorny issue to discuss.) Who doesn't want to take every precaution and make use of every possible resource to detect breast cancer early?
3. Indeed, mammograms could be a good idea for women under 40 if the woman is at significant risk for developing breast cancer (e.g. if the woman carries the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes). But that's not what it sounds like Schultz is getting at. No, it sounds like Schultz is addressing all young Americans, including young women, which includes young women who don't have a significant risk for developing breast cancer.
4. What's more, call me cynical, but it sounds like Schultz is using mammograms as one of the ways to sell ObamaCare to "millennials," particularly young "millennial" women.
5. In any case, it's quite arguable whether it's beneficial to use mammograms to detect breast cancer in women under 40.
a. For instance, according to a reliable medical resource widely used by physicians called UpToDate:
Performance characteristics of mammography are poor for women younger than 40. In a review of results of 73,335 initial screening mammograms in women aged 35 to 39 years, the recall rate was 12.7 percent and positive predictive value was 1.3 percent .
b. Moreover, according to the Mayo Clinic:
When to begin screening mammography
Experts and medical organizations don't agree on when women should begin regular mammograms or how often the tests should be performed. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors, your preferences, and the benefits and risks of screening. Together, you can decide what screening mammography schedule is best for you.
Some general guidelines for when to begin screening mammography include:
Women with an average risk of breast cancer. Many women begin mammograms at age 40 and have them every one to two years. Professional groups differ on their recommendations, with most, including the American Cancer Society, advising women with an average risk to begin mammograms at age 40 and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommending women wait until age 50 to begin regular mammograms.
Women with a high risk of breast cancer. Women with a high risk of breast cancer may benefit by beginning screening mammograms before age 40. Talk to your doctor for an individualized program. Your risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, may lead your doctor to recommend magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in combination with mammograms.
In addition, the Mayo Clinic notes risks associated with mammography. Here are some of the risks and limitations (I'd especially note the third point about difficulty in interpretation):
Mammograms expose you to low-dose radiation. The dose is very low, though, and for most women the benefits of regular mammograms outweigh the risks posed by this amount of radiation.
Mammograms aren't always accurate. The accuracy of the procedure depends in part on the technique used and the experience and skill of the radiologist. Other factors — such as your age and breast density — may result in false-negative or false-positive mammograms.
Mammograms in younger women can be difficult to interpret. The breasts of younger women contain more glands and ligaments than do those of older women, resulting in dense breast tissue that can obscure signs of cancer. With age, breast tissue becomes fattier and has fewer glands, making it easier to interpret and detect changes on mammograms.
Read the rest here.
c. Similarly, the National Cancer Institute lists benefits and harms of mammography screening here. Note the benefit best applies to women above age 40 since the study was conducted among women aged 40-74, while the harms can apply to all women who undertake mammography screening.
I'll simply list the headings, and suggest people click on the link to read the entire page:
- Decrease in breast cancer mortality
- Overdiagnosis and Resulting Treatment of Insignificant Cancers
- False-Positives with Additional Testing and Anxiety
- False-Negatives with False Sense of Security and Potential Delay in Cancer Diagnosis
- Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer
6. This post is not at all to denigrate mammography as a screening tool. Mammography is highly useful. But in the right context. And that's something a woman (or man) should discuss with their physician.
Obviously no one should take the word of a blog post such as this one. After all, who knows how trustworthy any of this truly is? By the same token, neither should they take the word of the Chair of the Democratic National Convention on this topic.
Throughout its history, evangelicalism has consistently empowered dynamic leaders. Dating back to its inception in the colonial period, George Whitefield’s itinerant ministry blossomed both as a result of his skill in promoting his ministry and his ability to connect with auditors in a manner that transcended most other preachers of his day. This popular appeal marked a “new model of leadership” in Christian circles that circumvented both established ecclesiastical patterns and ministerial norms.**
Social media has only exacerbated personality-driven leadership as individuals can friend, follow, and subscribe to a constant stream of thought-forming and ministry-shaping information that comes via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. As a result, acolytes consume a steady diet of material from their favorite evangelical leader (or his/her assistants) increasing affection, loyalty, and commitment.
You can follow him on Twitter @msmullin
Welcome New Anxious Bench Blogger Miles Mullin!May 4, 2013 By Thomas Kidd
Because of the personality-driven leadership inherent in contemporary evangelicalism, the tribalism it nurtures, and the reality that most of American evangelicalism subsists in some variation of the free church tradition, the final outcome of this story is clear. There is no authority that can adjudicate this matter other than the authority upon which both Driscoll and Mefferd have built their ministries: evangelical popular opinion.
This is the troubling reality of the personality-based leadership that encompasses much of American evangelicalism. Often, charisma and dynamic communication skills trump character and integrity as popular appeal wins the day. And for those of us who wish it were otherwise, there is no court of appeal with the authority to hear our case.
But the degree to which a great speaker has influence multiplied exponentially in the American context where a religious marketplace void of any overarching ecclesial authority emerged. Before the 18th century, there were legitimately powerful checks upon popular embrace of great speakers. Even today, there are checks in hierarchical church structures. In contemporary evangelicalism--especially in the free church tradition--there are virtually none.