Wednesday, November 27, 2013

President Jefferson's Wax Nose

Pseudo Christians who profess to believe the Bible, but deny that it is true (aka Liberals) have always confused themselves and Christians. David Barton is no exception – to being a confused Christian, that is. His recent work, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson attempts to refute those who claim that Jefferson hated the Bible by pointing to Jefferson’s frequent financial support of efforts to print and distribute Bibles, his lifelong efforts to compile and read various extracts and summaries of the Bible in multiple languages, and his assessment and promotion of Jesus as the greatest moral teacher that ever lived.
Compared to the leading atheists of our day who openly denigrate Christ and his Word, Jefferson does appear to be “a horse of a different color.” But is he?

In assessing the religious convictions of President Jefferson and determining whether he was a friend or foe of Christ and his Word, one needs to remember that theological heresy is more frequently defined by what it won’t say than by what it will say. The long apostate Presbyterian church, that once was the home of faithful men like Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller, was recently assembling a new hymnal. One hymn the committee really loved had a beautiful verse which read,

For on the cross as Jesus died
The love of God was magnified.

However, when they sought permission to use the hymn from the copyright holders, they learned that the correct words were:

For on the cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied.

When the copyright holders, to their credit, refused to grant permission to use the modified words, the committee reluctantly dropped the hymn. Now both of those statements are true, having strong Biblical support. Had they included the altered version in the hymnal, few could have found any theological errors with their work. But in this case their unwillingness to affirm another foundational truth of scripture exposed their heresy. Heretics and infidels are not what they are because they don’t say anything right. They are heretics because of the wrong things they do affirm or the right things they won’t affirm that are foundational to the gospel.

Thomas Jefferson’s views on Scripture and Jesus Christ need to be seen for what they really are – an indirect, but nonetheless deadly attack on Christ. Jefferson was a liberal in the same mold of the liberals of early 20th century. You can identify liberals (I use this word in its technical theological sense. It is not meant to be a pejorative or complimentary descriptor of someone's character.) by their answer to a question couplet. It goes like this:

Ask a liberal, “Do you believe the Jonah account is true?" They will typically say yes. Then ask if they believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a fish? A liberal will say no. Other couplets will also work.

Do you believe the gospel account of Jesus birth? Many liberals will say yes. Do you believe Jesus was born of a woman who had never known a man? A liberal will say no. Do you believe the Genesis 1-11 account of creation is true? Most will say yes. Do you believe the earth is about 6000 years old? They will say no. (Granted, many liberals today would answer no to both questions of these couplets, but these types of honest liberals don’t confuse others and are not my focus.)

A liberal uses the same words as Christians, but he doesn't mean the same thing by those words. This was the case with Jefferson. In defending Jefferson, Barton summarizes his views by saying,

“Jefferson owned many Bibles, belonged to a Bible society and contributed to it, gave out copies of the full, unedited text of the traditional Bible, and assisted in publishing and distributing Bibles. In each of these situations, Jefferson had the opportunity to indicate his personal displeasure with the Bible or at least refrain from participating, but he did not do so.” [Emphasis in original] p69.

But in his short chapter defending Jefferson’s view of the Bible, he never tells us about the fundamental statements that Jefferson won’t affirm or of his blatant denial of Christ’s deity. Let’s take a look at a few of these statements from his own letters.

“That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore. But that he might conscientiously believe himself inspired from above, is very possible. Letter to William Short Monticello, August 4, 1820, Vol 19, p14

Elsewhere in the same letter Jefferson heaps mountains of scorn on God’s word and the holy men who were moved by the Holy Spirit to write it:

I say, that this free exercise of reason is all I ask for the vindication of the character of Jesus. We find in the writings of his biographers matter of two distinct descriptions. First, a groundwork [i.e. the gospels] of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications. Intermixed with these, again, are sublime ideas of the Supreme Being, aphorisms and precepts of the purest morality and benevolence, sanctioned by a life of humility, innocence and simplicity of manners, neglect of riches, absence of worldly ambition and honors, with an eloquence and persuasiveness which have not been surpassed. These could not be inventions of the groveling authors who relate them. They are far beyond the powers of their feeble minds. The parts fall asunder of themselves, as would those of an image of metal and clay.[emphasis added]

There are, I acknowledge, passages not free from objection, which we may, with probability, ascribe to Jesus himself; [In other words, denying that the whole Bible is the word of Christ, Jefferson even finds some of Christ’s own words objectionable. -PA] but claiming indulgence from the circumstances under which he acted. His object was the reformation of some articles in the religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust. [This is pure blasphemy on Jefferson’s part calling the just and righteous God cruel, vindictive, unjust. -PA] Jesus, taking for his type the best qualities of the human head and heart, wisdom, justice, goodness, and adding to them power, ascribed all of these, but in infinite perfection, to the Supreme Being, and formed him really worthy of their adoration. Letter to William Short, Monticello, August 4, 1820, Vol 19 p13.

But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, (*) invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted mankind; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from the chaff of the historians of his life. [Who are the historians of his life – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to begin with. - PA] I have sometimes thought of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerable translated into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract from the Evangelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination of Jesus. Letter to William Short, with a Syllabus, Monticello, October 31, 1819, Vol 19, p11.

What are the artificial systems invented by ultra- Christian sects from which the historical Jesus needs to be rescued? We don’t have to guess. He lists them himself at the end of the paragraph. They include (*) the deity of Christ, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, and election to name a few.

In Biblical terms Jefferson was an antichrist in that he denied that Jesus was the Christ and that he was God in the flesh.

  • 1 John_2:22 Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son.
  • 1 John_4:3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
  • 2 John_1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

In the terms of church history, Jefferson is an Arian who denies that Jesus is God in the flesh or that he had anything to do with creation or our atonement. Arians have been anathematized by the Christian church as infidels since the 4th century. That means the catholic church (i.e. worldwide, not Roman) has long held that people who do not believe Jesus is God are not Christians. He denies the resurrection. Paul said that if the resurrection was not true, then our faith was in vain. Paul even says that those who taught that the resurrection was past have shipwrecked the faith. (1 Timothy 1:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:17-18) What would he say about someone who denies it altogether? Jefferson denies the Bible is the word of God, calling much in the gospels chaff from which the word of God needs to be separated. He denigrates Christ’s power over creation and the grave. Paul’s assessment of such statements is: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3

Paul said that if Christ be not raised our faith is in vain. If Christ is not God, he died in vain. Those who don’t believe the Trinity are to be anathematized according to the Council of Nicea (325AD). To deny all these truths about Christ makes one an infidel.

Jefferson was an infidel like many liberals who filled the pulpits of the 20thcentury churches and signed documents like the Auburn Affirmation of 1924. They studied the Bible, but rejected it message and its Savior. These are dangerous people in that they might appear to many to be sheep, they are, in fact, wolves seeking to destroy the church of Jesus Christ.

Yet despite all these clear statements, Mr. Barton inexplicably states that "there was never a time when he was anti-Jesus or when he rejected Christianity." p167. If the denial of the resurrection, the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Christ's eternal pre-incarnate existence isn't a denial of Christianity, I don't know what is! Mr. Barton, what do you think Christianity does believe?

It is true that Thomas Jefferson faced many trials, including losing his wife at a relatively young age. But that is not an excuse for denying God. A Christian will ultimately persevere through the trial by the grace of God. It is also true that Jefferson said many good things, even things that might appear to indicate that was a Christian. But one must remember, heresy is often more defined by what people will not affirm than by what they do affirm. Also it is not uncommon even today for politicians to "speak like a Christian" in order to appeal to the masses. But even some of the "better" thing he said indicate he believed a false gospel. For example, in a letter to Salma Hale on July 26, 1818, he wrote, "[I]t is only by ... getting back to the plain and unsophisticated precepts of Christ that we become real Christians." This, or a variation of it, is common liberal notion. But it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a false gospel that has deceived many, sending them to eternal judgment under the wrath of God. We are not saved by getting back to the simple precepts of Christ. Precepts are laws. Laws don't save anyone. We are saved by faith in Christ. Keeping the golden rule may make many think they are good people, but God's word says otherwise.

Jefferson may have thought of himself as a Christian because he was a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. But as we have seen, he denied all the important, foundational doctrines of the gospel. He was a disciple of a god of his own making, not of the historical Jesus who was made flesh and dwelt among us. He may have believed in god, but it wasn't the Triune God of the Bible.

Jefferson may have been a very moral man. But morals don't save anyone. As Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:22-23

The evidence in Jefferson's own words is clear. Contrary to what Barton writes, "...but what cannot be questioned is the fact that throughout his life, Jefferson was pro-Christian and pro-Jesus in his beliefs, demeanor, and public endeavors" (p192), Jefferson was an infidel. This fact is not altered one bit by the fact that there were many churches teaching similar false doctrine to what Jefferson believed. Even if everyone in the entire world is teaching a lie, God word is still True.

Mr. Barton, please stop promoting an infidel heretic as "pro' Christ and "pro" Christian. You are spitting in the face of your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Update: A parallel article by World magazine raises similar concerns. (11/30/2014)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Price of Liberty

This man says it well. Defending yourself takes a lot of practice and a willingness to die doing so. It is worth listening all the way to the end!
See this earlier post for a fuller discussion

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Missing Money Almost Totals Entire National Debt

Why are we not seeing these headlines?

Here's a great graphical overview of the accounting fraud being perpetrated by the United States. Apparently Eron's only crime was that its fraud was not grand enough - or a case of professional jealousy over their inept and puny attempt at imitation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Government Medicine Increases Costs

Government medicine plagued us long before Mr. Obama became president. Just as socialized education and socialized medicine began with accepting the government's money, so undoing those evils begins with rejecting their money, as homeschoolers have been doing with socialized education.

This hospital is now following the same path with socialized medicine by rejecting government subsidies and they are getting the same results that homeschoolers are getting. Look at those healthcare prices fall! Parents can educate their own children for a fraction of what it costs socialized education to babysit children. So it's no surprise to learn that hospitals that reject government subsidies can treat patients for a fraction of what it costs socialized medicine to treat those same patients.

Here are a few examples:

  • Mercy Hospital charged $16, 244 for a breast biopsy; the procedure will cost $3,500 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Medical Center billed $20,456 for the open repair of a fracture; the procedure will cost $4,855 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Medical Center billed $21,556 for a gall bladder removal surgery; the procedure will cost $5,865 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Medical Center billed $23,934 for an ankle arthroscopy; the procedure will cost $3,740 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Integris Baptist billed $37,174 for a hysterectomy; the surgery costs $8,000 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Family Affair

When was the last time you read an article like this in your local newspaper?

A joyful gathering of a large and happy family at the old homestead.

One of those days that seldom come in the life of a large family, but which is so full of the joy and happiness, was successfully celebrated at the home of Mr. & Mrs. William Shade of Wayne Township, Mifflin county, on last Saturday, August 10, 1901. It was the day set apart for the reunion of their family.

With the children come the grandchildren, and with the grandchildren come the great-grandchildren, and with such kindly favor surely the giver of the ever good and perfect gift looked down upon this family. So strong and mighty has it become that the old house could no longer shelter the family as in the years gone by, so that it was necessary to hold the gathering in the beautiful grove which forms a part of the homestead. Had an all wise Providence allowed man to dictate the conditions that should prevail upon that day, they could not have been better suited to the occasion.

Very early in the morning the dear ones began to arrive, coming from all points of the compass, and as the venerable couple greeted the last arrival their feelings were well expressed in the words of the Psalmist; "Surely goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

At 11 o' clock the exercises of the day were opened with singing by the young people, after which the assemblage was led in prayer by the Rev. Vondersmith, followed by addresses by Rev. H. W. Koehler, Rev. Vondersmith, and Jacob Stine, each dwelling on the happiness of the occasion and rejoicing with Mr. and Mrs. Shade.

The article goes on to list 30 recitations, skits (called dialogues), and songs, and instrumental pieces performed by family members. In closing,

Ten of the eleven children, sixty two grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren, together with their wives and husbands, made a gathering that numbered over one hundred, and excellent testimonial to the love and esteem in which Mr. and Mrs. Shade are held by those whom they love and have nurtured and raised.

- Democrat Sentinel Paper of Lewistown, Penna. Saturday August 17, 1901.

The couple mentioned in this article are my wife's maternal grandmother's paternal grandparents.

For good or bad, the press controls the tempo and topic of the national conversation. There is no such thing as a neutral or impartial press. It is  always promoting or denigrating something. The question is, What? Skillful press is able to do so without the typical reader even realizing what is being promoted or denigrated.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Absurd Ridiculous

The budget deficit isn’t our biggest problem, by a long shot.

Furthermore, it’s a problem that is already, to a large degree, solved. The medium-term budget outlook isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either — and the long-term outlook gets much more attention than it should. It’s true that right now we have a large federal budget deficit. But that deficit is mainly the result of a depressed economy — and you’re actually supposed to run deficits in a depressed economy to help support overall demand. The deficit will come down as the economy recovers.

So opined the Fool as Economist, Dr. Paul Krugman, in a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times.

How could a Nobel prize winning economist say something so absurdly ridiculous? Just what are they teaching in the schools these days?

In contemplating this, I first assumed that the Fool was a man of great intelligence whose thinking was logical given some set of presuppositions and premises. But what could they be?

Ah yes, silly me! It's the Federal Reserve. As the Fool is well aware, the Federal Reserve has the legal ability to create money out of debt. They are authorized to buy debt with money they have created out of nothing. Of course no one can create money out of nothing. But they pretend to do so and as long as everyone believes the con, they appear to do so. In a pinch they could buy the entire US debt tomorrow at 2:33 PM or, if you please, at midnight tonight.

Since the 1940's the Fed has been returning the interest on the notes they create to the US Treasury. If they were holding the entire US debt, the interest would be a wash in terms of the federal budget. All the interest the US paid on the debt would be returned to the US Treasury, minus operating expenses, which are an insignificant fraction of the total interest. At that point, the Federal Reserve could simply cancel the debt with no one appearing to lose any money - including the Fed themselves.

Such a move would be hyper-inflationary and it would tend to destroy confidence in the faith and credit of the United States, stealing trillions in the process. But it would remove the debt, or any portion of it that the Federal Reserve desired. If one ignores or denies this devastating effect of fiat money (and John Maynard Keynes was probably right when he said that inflation was a tax that only one man in a million could diagnose), then our Fool appears to be right.

But God is not mocked. He has the last word which is that those who borrow and do not pay back are wicked. (Psalm 37:21) All men, including the respected Federal Reserve, will reap the wickedness they sow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

An Honest Liberal

I was eating lunch the other day with a colleague and the conversation turned to guns. Like most Brits, he considered Texans' paranoid clinging to their guns and the 2nd Amendment both outdated and just plain stupid - although he was too kind to use the latter word. Of course a wide ranging conversation quickly ensured covering all the usual arguments at least once.

There were a few misconceptions of the constitutional position, such as the idea that gun ownership does not prevent tyranny because many European nations did not have guns and their governments had not become tyrannical. (Debate of that assertion was reserved for another lunch. But that’s analogous to saying that sprinkler systems don’t keep buildings from burning down because one knows of several buildings without sprinkler systems that haven’t burned down.  It should be obvious that if the buildings haven’t burned down it’s because no one started them burning, not proof that sprinkler systems are unnecessary. Sprinkler systems do impede or stop a fire once it’s started just like guns impede or stop the advance of tyranny when such sins break out from rulers.)

But the most interesting and revealing comment came following a comparison of the gun death numbers in both countries.

Honest Liberal: Gun deaths in the UK are only 35 compared to 35,000 in the US.

Me: Yes, but violent crime is far higher in the UK than in the US. I pointed him to a UK site with some figures. 

I thought this data from a British source showing a violent crime rate over 4x the rate in the United States (466 compared to 2034) would surely be convincing. While that was not the case, his response did turn out to be highly revealing.

Honest Liberal: OK ... I'll give you that ... statistically more people in Britain may say they have been victims of crime ... but they are alive to talk about it. Getting your purse snatched versus being mowed down with a fire arm ... that's the choice.

Therein lies the heart of the difference. Liberals would rather have their life than their freedom. They would rather live in a world of petty robbery, home burglary, muggings, government directed health care, government mandated education, government monopoly money, government supervised sanitation, government provided water, government approved food, with confiscatory taxation to implement it all and be alive to talk about it than risk death in the cause of liberty.

Of course, liberals want freedom too- freedom to watch the movie of their choice and vacation in the country of their choice, freedom to choose which company will send 3/4 of their pay to the government and which government approved doctor will oversee their health, freedom to vote for which politician will drop the tax on them 10% and raise it 20% on the other guy, freedom to either walk or drive their 1.1 children to the government mandated school, freedom to go to bed at the time of their choosing, freedom from being fired by their employer or injured in their wood shop, and freedom to be robbed and live to talk about it.

Nothing illustrates the contrast between liberals and patriots better than to compare this actual conversation about how liberals view life with this actual flag about how patriots view liberty.

This is the Troutman flag hanging in the Texas State Bar building in Austin, TX. It is blue pigment on a plain white sheet. In 1835 the Texan's fight for independence from the Mexican confederation attracted attention throughout the United States. Although the US rightfully did not entangle itself in this foreign issue, hundreds of individuals properly responded to the call for help. This flag was made by 18 year old Joanna Troutman for one such group from Macon, GA.

The flag was raised when the Georgians arrived at Velasco and became an inspirational symbol in the dark months leading up to the victory at San Jacinto. Virtually the entire GA command along with the Red Rovers from Alabama and the Texans under Col Fannin were taken prisoner and massacred following losses at Refugio and Colete.

Those who are unwilling to risk their life in the cause of liberty usually have neither. Those who are willing to risk their life for the sake of honor and liberty usually have both. But yes, the tree of liberty does need watered with the blood of patriots from time to time.