The Sin Of To Much Knowledge

Below is an exchange with a chap I’ve known for quite some time who lives in the Mid-Michigan area. He is pentecostal and ana-baptist. There are a great number of these kinds of people in Mid-Michigan. The two of us, for a few weeks, tried to do a Bible study together along with other men from Mid-Michigan but they didn’t like the Reformed faith while others of us, though trying, weren’t to hip on their pentecostal, ana-baptist explanations of texts. I have kicked myself and prayed often about my failure to get through to this group. The Lord Christ caused our paths to cross again so perhaps the Lord Christ intends to keep the conversation going, though it still doesn’t look like it is going to go anywhere.


Thanks for the link to your web-site, unfortunately it’s far too intellectual for a simple man like me.


Well, the simple can at least aspire to be more intellectual and work to that end. As a simple man myself that is what I have always tried to practice and it is what I’ve tried to teach my simple children to practice.




I don’t aspire to be more intellectual, but rather less. I aspire to have the Lord impart Godly wisdom which is easily entreated. Knowledge and intellectualism are dangerously seductive, and lead many astray, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

My Lord and Master was criticized for not being learned and yet exemplified Love, Truth and Wisdom such that no “learned” man could answer anything. My pursuit is the Love of Truth, and Jesus said that He is the Truth. So if I pick up knowledge and understanding along the way to the knowledge of the Truth, so be it, but they will never be the things I seek after nor love.


* The god you make is the god you must defend;
* the God that made you needs no defense.


Let’s see… we agree that each of us consider ourselves simple men.

We each agree that we need to pursue truth.

Now, mind telling me how we simple men pursue truth apart from the intellect? Does truth come in through our pores? Does the Holy Spirit give us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom apart from the faculty of the mind that God created to absorb those things? Does the Holy Spirit just kind of pour knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in us the way I pour gravy over my mashed potatoes?

The Holy Scriptures teach, ‘above all, get understanding.’ Now I freely concede that is not the exact same thing as ‘be intellectual’ but one can not get understanding, or gain wisdom apart from the intellect. Also, I fully agree that intellectual men can be worthless pagans but it is not their intelligence, nor the amount of what they know that render them pagan but rather because they seek to keep their knowledge in defiance of the God of the Bible and His Christ. This is where their intelligence really reveals its ignorance since nothing can be truly known without presupposing the God of the Bible.

Also, Pete, you might want to be careful about drawing to many parallels between you and ‘your master.’ He had the advantage of being Divine. You don’t.

Scripture teaches we are to ‘be transformed according to the renewing of our minds.’ We are to have ‘this mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus.’ We are to ‘take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.’ That is every thought Pete, not excluding the intellectual thoughts. We are to Love God with all our MIND.

Frankly you are inhibiting your sanctification by seeking to place a false dichotomy between love of Jesus and love of knowledge. Jesus is King over all knowledge. If and when I learn anything it is because it comes from Him and it is His knowledge because He is Lord over it. It is precisely because of my Love for Jesus and my conviction that He is Lord over all knowledge that I seek to KNOW Him and make him known.

Quit with your pursuit of experience and come to know Jesus and love God with all your mind. God gives no extra brownie points of holiness to anyone for purposely being stupid just as he gives no extra brownie points for holiness to anyone for thinking that God will love them more if they are smarter.

Pete, the church is in desperate need for people who will once again love God with all their minds. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a Rocket scientist but it does mean that from the pew to the pulpit all must seek to know what they believe and why they believe it and what they don’t believe and why they don’t believe it, as it applies to every area of life that they traverse. The church needs, perhaps more then any other time, intellects that approach the intellect of the Apostle Paul. Instead to many of our churches play to the lowest common denominator of base experience and reasonless emotion.

Finally, I fully agree that the intellect can become an idol. Perhaps this is what you mean by ‘intellectualism.’ Do you fully admit that the emotions or experience can become an idol so we end up with ‘experientialism’?

Well, I’m sure I’ve just confirmed, in your mind, my alleged arrogance. So be it. I am content to be considered a fool because I insist that people should be smart for Jesus.

I pray God that neither of us will fall to idols.



Stephen Mansfield’s Coming Book On Obama’s Faith

Steve Mansfield as written a book entitled “The Faith Of Barack Obama.” On his blog he complains that people are consigning him to the nether realm for writing this book. He claims that this is unjust since nobody has yet read the book. But, even given his blog explanation for the book, one wonders what Mr. Mansfield was thinking unless he intended to write a book telling us about the pagan faith of Barack Obama.

Before we get into that though, people need to realize that Mansfield is the same guy who wrote a book entitled, “The Faith Of George Bush.” Now, if Mansfield could, with a straight face, write a book finding the Christian faith of George Bush, what makes anyone think that he couldn’t similarly find the Christian faith of Barack Obama? If a guy can write a book telling me about that the beauty of Congressperson Nancy Pelosi, I suspect he can write a book telling me about the beauty of Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Mansfield starts his defense of by saying he wanted to take a “fairly objective look at how Obama came to faith.” The problem already, is that this assumes that Obama has come to faith. Can we really conclude that someone has come to faith who wants to violate with repeated regularity the 6th (support of abortion), 7th (support of homosexual civil unions) and 8th (wants to increase confiscatory taxation) commandments? The fact that Mansfield can suggest that Obama has come to faith raises questions about Mansfield’s clarity of understanding as it pertains to what it means to “have faith.”

Next Mansfield says that he believes that “Obama’s story of faith captures the current religious trends in America just as George W. Bush’s did five years ago when I wrote The Faith of George W. Bush.” Certainly nobody can disagree that it may be the case that Obama’s faith may capture the religious trends in America, but all that means is that the religious trends in America are decidedly not Christian, just as Obama’s faith, to date, is decidedly not Christian.

Mansfield then suggests that not having had a brain bypass he is interested in how ideas shape culture. Great! Many of us share that interest. The evidence of Mansfield having a brain bypass surgery comes to the fore though when he suggests that Obama’s ideas have a relation to Christian faith. That is almost as bad as suggesting that George Bush’s ideas have a relation to the Christian faith. When Mansfield makes these kind of correlations it is not a wonder that some people might question his Christian or conservative credentials.

Mansfield insists that in his book he was just trying to objectively understand and explain Obama. That is a noble undertaking, but it can be done without suggesting that there is anything Christian about the candidate. Indeed, one could write such a book by opening up declaring that,

“It is not my intent in this book to speak to Barack Obama’s faith. My intent instead is to simply try to explain and understand the man. I have come to my own conclusions regarding Obama’s faith but I want to allow the reader to come to their own conclusions as I explain and seek to understand the candidate. My book seeks to be even handed, so readers should expect to find here me giving Senator Obama every benefit of the doubt that I can. To give someone the benefit of the doubt should not be mistaken with agreeing with them even after the benefit of the doubt has been extended.”

It doesn’t look like Mansfield wrote that kind of book, therefore Mansfield’s head is being handed to him on a platter by much of his readership.

Finally Mansfield seems put off that people could be upset with him since in the book he plainly said he would not vote for Obama. Mansfield seems to think that whatever perceived favorable treatment he gave to Obama in the book would be finally negated by the omission that he could not vote for Obama. This communicates a lack of understanding on the part of Mansfield on how people are influenced. If I write something that can be taken as a favorable reflection on somebody, but finish by saying that I can’t vote for them, the effect may very well be that my written work provides a bridge for some people to cross to support the candidate even though I myself as the author might not be able to. Such a written work, could communicate how it would be understandable that Christians would vote for Obama and so could very well lead to be a work that would influence Christians to vote for Obama or at least make doing so seem reasonable.

Overall, I think the problem here is that you have a guy (Mansfield) writing a book about another guy’s Christian faith who is himself confused on what the Christian faith really is or looks like.

Baxter’s Psychological Testing For TRGM

Each of the candidates in training, including Baxter, were given an appointment, with the Transylvania Reformed Global Missions Psychologist, during their orientation week, in order to review the battery of personality tests that they had take before being accepted to TRGM.

When Baxter had received the test 6 months prior he decided to be a little proactive in his test taking. He knew a little bit about these tests having volunteered to be a ‘guinea pig’ for a older friend of his who was doing some Ph.D. work that required her to give some of these same kinds of tests to a control group. She had asked Baxter to be a part of her control group and he, wanting to help her, agreed with the stipulation that she explain to him a little bit how the tests ‘worked.’

“They are really not that difficult Baxter,” she offered when her agreed upon explanation finally came.

“The way these tests work is that they create a standard by compiling and collating responses that are received from those who take the tests. Once the results are compiled and collated those results are reified into numbers and percentages which are made the standard for future tests and test-takers.”

Baxter thought on that for a bit. Finally he responded,

“Doris, do I understand you to mean that it is the responses of people who take the test that end up becoming how average and normal are defined for future people who take the test?”

Doris replied affirmatively and went on to explain,

“Every time the tests are taken by somebody their results become part of the standard for what is being measured. So, for example, should we desire to be looking for obsessive compulsive behavior in people, we would find that in someone by looking at their answers that were in excess to whatever the compiled and collated answers from these tests would tell us.”

Baxter asked, “Doris, what if the tests were taken by a culture that was largely obsessive compulsive?”

“Well, I guess that nobody would be discovered to be obsessive compulsive then,” she replied.

“What if the tests were taken by a culture that was largely dysfunctional,” Baxter pressed.

“Baxter, I know what you’re getting at,” Doris replied. “This test does not provide answers that are anchored in absolutes. The norm in these tests is sliding according to those who take the test.”

Baxter repeated himself, “Doris, what if the tests were taken by a culture that was largely dysfunctional?”

“Well, I would think that normal people would be found to be abnormal since the norm would be established by the abnormal,” Doris finally answered.

“Thanks Doris,” Baxter said. “One more question Doris. As someone who is interested in this psychology stuff can you explain to me how this methodology doesn’t replace God’s Word as the standard with Man’s tests responses as the standard via his collective responses? In these tests we have gone from God’s Word the standard to man the standard. I mean God didn’t take the test and yet this methodology acts as if he did.”

“Baxter, that’s not a question,” said Doris, “that is a accusation.”

“And a damn good one” Baxter thought.

“It sure doesn’t seem like this psychology stuff has come a long way since it began by feeling the bumps on people’s heads,” Baxter said as he took his leave of Doris.

When Baxter had received the tests from TRGM he decided that he might be better safe than sorry about the results, since he had heard more then one horror story about people being rejected for the mission field due to their psychological tests results, so he visited a pagan friend of his across the street who worked as a Pharmaceutical Engineer at Pfizer and asked his buddy if he would take the psychological tests for Baxter under Baxter’s name.

Baxter’s neighbor loved to operate on a quid pro quo basis and so he asked Baxter,

“What will you give me?”

“Will a couple of six-packs be enough incentive,” Baxter asked.

“Sure,” Marc replied. “Should I take those tests before or after I polish off the six-packs” he asked capriciously.

“Better take them afterwards” Baxter said. “It’ll make for better test scores.”

The next day Baxter dropped off the tests with his name and information on it already filled out along with a couple six-packs of Budweiser.

Baxter knew that Marc was an unbeliever. He had spoke many times to Marc about Marc’s harem of revolving girlfriends and had warned him that all those uppers that Marc took to keep going were eventually going to catch up with him. Marc hadn’t yet hit the wall of his sin but Baxter knew the time was coming when Marc would be willing to listen to him with more interest. Until that time Baxter kept up a sincere friendship.

Baxter figured, given Doris’ explanation about the tests, that a comparatively well adjusted pagan like Marc would score better on these exams then somebody like himself who was really quite counter-cultural.

And so on the day after Baxter had given him the tests Marc showed up with both the completed tests and the Bud empties to return. As he handed the tests and the empties to Baxter, Marc offered;

“That was a strange test.”

Baxter smiled, took the completed tests and the empties from Marc, and good naturedly said, “Yeah, I know, that’s why I asked you to take it.”

They both had a good laugh and Marc soon left. Baxter grabbed the TRGM envelope stuffed the completed tests in and after applying the proper postage dropped it in the mailbox.

Now, 6 months later, the time of truth had arrived. Baxter showed up at the TRGM Shrink’s door at the appointed hour. He was tempted to stretch out on the couch but he figured the Shrink had probably had that gag pulled on him a thousand times.

Dr. Darryl Meanswell opened their time together with a word of prayer. Upon saying ‘Amen’ he opened up their conversation with small talk asking how Baxter was doing at orientation. Baxter hit all the proper reply buttons and things were going smoothly.

Dr. Meanswell, said, “Baxter, I wish we had more time to go over these tests more thoroughly but since we are on a schedule I think we need to get down to business.”

Meanswell continued, “There is nothing in your tests that serves as a red flag to us that would prohibit you from serving on the Mission field with TRGM. The tests seem to indicate that you function well.” You seem to have a real affection for people…”

Here Baxter smiled and envisioned all the affection that Marc had for all those revolving women.

“And the tests seems to indicate you have boundless energy…”

Baxter could barely contain himself as he recalled Mr. Upper’s (Marc’s) 24-7 schedule.

Meanswell paused, and asked Baxter, “Does that sound like you Son?”

Baxter barely had enough energy to reply, “Yes sir it does.”

Finally, Dr. Meanswell, pointed out the bar on the test that indicated Baxter’s high intelligence, and said, “Baxter, the Mission field needs smart people. You’ll be a real asset.”

Baxter always knew that Marc didn’t get to be a Pharmaceutical engineer by watching the three stooges, but he also figured his plan to have Marc take the psychological tests was its own unique stroke of genius.

“These tests never miss,” replied Dr. Meanswell. “I don’t know how the church operated without them all these years.”

“Hard to believe, isn’t it Doc,” said Baxter.

Meanswell spent the rest of the time talking about some predilections that tests had pointed out that Baxter should beware of about himself. Baxter, compliantly agreed with each one.

Soon the shrink time was over and Dr. Meanswell dismissed Baxter.

Baxter, left, looking forward to telling his non-Christian friend Marc how ready for the Mission field he was.

Linguistic Playtime

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean . . neither more nor less.”

Today the news reported that California has actually begun to dispense ‘marriage’ licenses for homosexuals. In the news report it was noted that State officials, being the clever bunch that they are, had changed the licenses which previously had spaces for the names of the ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ to provide spaces for the names of ‘partner A’ and ‘partner B.’

I thought that odd.

I means, hells bells, if your going to go ahead and redefine the meaning of the word ‘marriage’ so that it no longer means the joining of a man and woman in a covenantal bond why not go ahead and change the meaning of the words ‘bride’ and ‘groom.’ If the word ‘marriage’ can now mean the ‘uniting’ (even that word needs to be redefined) of two people of the same sex (and what does the word ’sex’ mean anyway?), why does the word ‘bride’ have to carry the connotation of a female party? And why does the word ‘groom’ have to carry the connotation of a male party? And for that matter what do ‘male’ and ‘female’ really mean?

And why stop there? If we are about redefining words to fit our pleasures then why should we constrain and limit the word ‘marriage’ to two parties? If we are about redefining words to fit our pleasures then why should we constrain and limit the word ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ to refer to human species? Is it only social convention that prevents us from defining marriage as a joining of three or more species?

There was a time when the Lewis Carroll quote we started with was clearly understood as satire.

Obama’s ‘Christian’ Faith And Commentary

Back when Barack Hussein Obama was a lowly Illinois State Senator he did an interview with the Chicago Sun Times that was resurrected recently at a Dispensational News Service. In that interview Obama spoke freely of His ‘Christian’ faith.

“So, I have a deep faith. I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

Barack Hussein Obama’s deep faith rests in the idea that there are many paths to the same place. How is that faith rooted in the ‘Christian tradition?’

That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.”

This would suggest that Obama is not Post-modern. Keep in mind that some of those values that transcend race or culture that all of us as individual and as a community have a obligation to take responsibility for in order to make those transcendent values live is the murder of the unborn, theft in the way of confiscatory taxation, advocacy for the Nanny Government, and socialized health care.

When queried about the exclusive claims of Christianity when compared to his many paths understanding Barack offered,

That depends, Obama says, on how a particular verse from the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me,” is heard.

Now this would suggest that Obama is post-modern. The text has no meaning except for how the reader or listener reads or hears the text.

Still, Obama is unapologetic in saying he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” As a sign of that relationship, he says, he walked down the aisle of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ in response to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s altar call one Sunday morning about 16 years ago.

BHO relates that his sacramental aisle walk (thank you Billy Graham) was not the result of an epiphany but rather the confirmation of a long simmering faith.

Can’t you just here the Sermon from Racist Wright before the altar call?

“All you that want Jesus to save you from white oppression, all you who want to be saved by Jesus from the government’s plot to infect you with AIDS, all you who want to be part of the remnant that is saved from God damning America, He be, and we be waiting here at the altar for you.”

“Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this (his Christian Faith) is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you,” he says. “Oftentimes, that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.

Every time BHO talks about ‘hope,’ and ‘change’ that emboldened quote ought to be a hammer that hits people between the eyes.

“The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they’re going to hell.”

Does this therefore mean that BHO believes that evangelizing and proselytizing is bad?

“I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die,” he says. “When I tuck in my daughters at night, and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.”

I think Obama is the disciple of that great Christian Saint John Lennon,

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

I wonder if Obama has a Motown version of this song he does?


So you got yourself born again?


Yeah, although I don’t, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.

His views on tolerance could allow him to sing along with St. John Lennon’s Second verse,

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

Do you suppose his Harvard graduate is also disturbed by people who are absolutely certain that there is no certainty and who have no tolerance for those who who don’t agree with them about tolerance?

I think that, particularly as somebody who’s now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there’s an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.

Is he certain about that? Can certainty about uncertainty bring us all together?


What I believe (about heaven) is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.

How is it possible for one not to be aligned to their faith and values? If one is not aligned to their faith and values doesn’t that mean that their faith and values is something besides what they say they are thus showing they are indeed aligned with their faith and values? I am so confused.

When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.

I actually agree with this. The problem though is the question of what standard Obama is using to measure honesty, kindness and curiosity. One has serious doubts that he is using a Christian standard to measure those transferred values. For example, how kind is it to be one of the biggest supporters of killing unborn babies?

Do you believe in sin?


What is sin?

Being out of alignment with my values.


What are your values?


Abortion, Confiscatory Taxation, Wealth Redistribution, Black Nationalism, Global Government, Global Warming, Reparations, Friendship with Bombers, Racists, and Assorted fruitcakes… to name only a few.