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2015 year in reviewAnother year of blogging has come and gone. And since New Year’s Day represents a convenient opportunity to reflect on the year past as well as look forward to the one ahead, it seemed good to me to summarize 2015’s postings as well as consider where this blog may be headed in 2016.

But before I get to that, thanks are in order. In the first place, I would like to thank the Lord my God. I have written Lux Lucet since 2009, but it has only been since November 2014 that I committed to a regular weekly writing schedule. Writing takes work. And in truth, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to maintain the frequency and quality of writing that I had in mind. But God has been gracious. He has provided me an abundance of interesting and relevant topics to discuss, the necessary time to research and write, and the stamina to make it happen. If there be anything about this blog at all praiseworthy, truly I must say with the reformers, Soli Deo Gloria.

Second, I would like to that the late Dr. John W. Robbins of the Trinity Foundation. It was eight years ago this month that John proposed to me a writing project that would eventually turn into a book titled Imagining A Vain Thing: The Decline and Fall of Knox Seminary. Up until that time, the biggest writing projects I had undertaken were high school and college term papers. But thanks to John’s help as well as the help of current Trinity Foundation president Tom Juodaitis, I was able to see the project through to its completion. This blog is an outgrowth of my experience working with John. You might even say it’s an extended thank you to him, the man whose work has done so much to inspire me.

Third, I would be remiss if I did not extend a sincere thank you to my readers for their support. Were you to ask me why I blog, habitual joker that I am, I’d probably tell you I’m in it for the money. It has always been my prayer that this blog would be used by God to edify his church. But the nature of blogging is such that it can be quite lonely. You sit at your computer and write and publish, but the question remains, What good is any of this doing? In light of that, it is tremendously encouraging to see that my posts are read. Please know that your clicks, comments and likes are greatly appreciated.

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DarthVadersEntrance.png

Darth Vader entering the captured rebel blockade runner, the iconic character’s first appearance on screen, 1977.  

It was the summer of 1977, and my family and I were in Philadelphia to attend my aunt’s wedding. While in town, it just so happened that we stayed at a large hotel complex featuring two movie theaters. One of them showed Herbie the
Love Bug Goes to Monte Carlo. The other, well, it was playing that summer’s surprise blockbuster hit, Star Wars. My brother was eight at the time, and it was decided that he was probably too young to handle Darth Vader and all that. So both he and dad were bundled off to see the Love Bug. But mom and I, we got to see Star Wars. It’s family story we still laugh about to this day.

 

And what did I think about Star Wars? Simply put, I was blown away. It was absolutely captivating. It was, apart from watching my Cincinnati Reds win back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976, the greatest thing I’d ever seen. Have the movies ever featured more awesome portrait of evil personified than Darth Vader? And who couldn’t root for Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie and Leia? When Luke dropped his photon torpedoes in the exhaust vent and blew up the Death Star, the whole theater exploded in spontaneous applause. It was electric. And like just about every other kid my age, I couldn’t get enough.

The Force Awakens

So as something of a confessed life-long Star Wars geek, it was with great anticipation that I awaited the release of this year’s latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens. But as details of the plot slowly leaked out, my interest in seeing the film began to wane. As much as I hated to admit it to myself, Star Wars had gone over to the dark side. It had become another propaganda vehicle for the sort of ubiquitous girl-power feminism that, any time it rears its head in something I’m watching, prompts me to reach for the remote faster than the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run.

Star Wars is not and never has been a Christian enterprise. The obvious pantheism – the Force that binds the galaxy together is most definitely not the triune, personal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – displayed throught the series indicates the movie is not operating within a Christian intellectual framework. And yet, there were themes in the original movie and in subsequent episodes that were very attractive to one with a Christian worldview. Perhaps chief among them was the notion of the humble, underdog Good Guys versus all-powerful and arrogant Bad Guys. Star Wars, it seemed,  had more than a little David and Goliath in it. And this is a theme that is profoundly attractive to men.

STAR-WARS-FINAL-SCENE-facebook

Star Wars:  A New Hope, final scene.

 

God created men to care for their families, to be brave, to be strong. To teach and defend what is right. To oppose and defeat what is wrong. These are the actions of a patriarch. And the entirely of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation virtually screams patriarchy at us. It is God’s design for humanity. And it is very good. And watching Luke Skywalker play the man, even if it was in a sci-fi flick flashed upon a silver screen, was a great joy to me, reinforcing what I already knew to be true from God’s revealed word.

Those were the days.

Finn-Rey

Star Wars, the Force Awakens. 

 

But now things are different, and not just a little bit. The lead character in The Force Awakens is young woman named Rey. When we first meet her, she’s eking out a scavenger’s existence on a forlorn desert planet. But not long into the movie, we find that there is much more to her. In quick order, she demonstrates the fighting skills of Bruce Lee, shows herself a techie the equal of Bill Gates, and pilots the Millennium Falcon with a brilliance on par with Han Solo himself. And not only that, but her whole persona radiates an independence such that 1977’s Princess Leia comes off like a southern belle by comparison. Sigh. I’m so tired of it all. Are we to be spared nothing?

Apparently not.

For the girl-power propaganda doesn’t stop with Rey. Captain Phasma, commander of the First Order stormtroopers on Starkiller Base, is another of the movie’s galactic valkyries. This backstory on this character is interesting. It turns out that the Phasma character has more than a litter Caitlyn Jenner in her. Originally conceived as a male character, writers J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan pulled a switcheroo in the face of internet criticism alleging a lack of female characters in the new Star Wars installment. That’s how it works today. The feminists have a hissy fit and suddenly the First Order commander is translated to the distaff side. Thanks guys. But for my part, I thought Boba Fett made a better imperial lackey.

But a Commander in Chief of the army a woman? I think it’s unspeakable.

Ayn Rand

And the feminist agitprop isn’t over yet. Princess Leia is no longer a princess. She’s General Leia, thank you very much. In the original Star Wars, Leia was hardly a wilting daisy. She evidenced a strong and at times rather sarcastic personality. But one never got the sense that she was trying to be a man. Leia did not engage in light saber duels with Darth Vader or try to play Chuck Yeager behind the controls of an X-Wing fighter. But times have changed, and merely possessing a strong personality doesn’t cut it with today’s feminist keepers-of-the-flame. They demand action. The princess must now be a general. According to Carrie Fisher, “What was really fun about doing anything girl power-esque is bossing men around. I know a lot of you women out there haven’t done that yet and I encourage you to do so late this afternoon.”

This woman as commanding officer theme brought to mind a response Ayn Rand gave to the question why she would not vote for a woman president. When questioned on the Phil Donahue about her stance, Rand gave the memorable reply,

It is not to a woman’s personal interest to rule man. It puts her in a very unhappy position. I don’t believe that any good woman would want that position…But a Commander in Chief of the army a woman? I think it’s unspeakable.

In this one comment, atheist Ayn Rand demonstrates a far superior understanding of human nature than that of Abrams and Kasdan and a heart closer to God, at least in this matter, than the many Evangelicals who foolishly seek for their Deborah in the likes of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Carly Fiorina.

Conclusion

It has long been the opinion of this author that feminism is among the most destructive, inhumane and ungodly philosophies that has ever been foisted on any people. One may object to my discussion above by saying that it’s making much ado about nothing. After all, it’s just a movie. It’s only make-believe. True enough. But if the makers of the movie see it as a vehicle for promoting feminist agitprop, and they do, those who attend should do so with their eyes wide open and know they’re be propagandized.

For my part, I find the ubiquitous, physically aggressive, feminist Mary Sues of current day movies and television to be revolting, unrealistic and unwatchable. Femininity has all but disappeared. And if you doubt it, just ask yourself when was the last time you ever saw a woman in a mainstream movie or television show give the slightest hint of the gentle and quiet spirit that Peter tells us is precious in the sight of God? This is a woman’s greatest strength. But what God calls precious, the feminists call worthless. Ironically enough, by insisting that their strong, liberated female characters utterly reject femininity and walk, talk and fight like men, it just may be that the feminists who run and influence the entertainment industry are the worst misogynists of all.



What Sweeter Music

 

herrick

Robert Herrick, English poet and cleric, 1591-1674.

 

A Christmas Carol

by Robert Herrick

 

What sweeter music can we bring

Than a carol for to sing

The birth of this our Heavenly King?

Awake the voice! awake the string!

Heart, ear, and eye, and everything

Awake! the while the active finger

Runs division with the singer.

 

Dark and dull night fly hence away!

And give the honour to this day

Than sees December turn’d to May.

 

If we may ask the reason, say

The why and wherefore all things here

Seem like the spring-time of the year.

 

Why does the chilling winter’s morn

Smile like a field beset with corn?

Or smell like to a mead new shorn,

Thus on a sudden?

 

Come and see

The cause why things thus fragrant be:

‘Tis He is born, whose quickening birth

Gives life and lustre, public mirth,

To heaven and the under-earth.

 

We see Him come, and know Him ours,

Who with his sunshine and his showers

Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

 

The darling of the world is come,

And fit it is we find a room

To welcome Him.

 

The nobler part

Of all the house here is the heart,

 

Which we will give Him; and bequeath

This holly and this ivy wreath

To do Him honour, who’s our King

And Lord of all this revelling.

Jesus

Pope Francis_Unholy MixNot content with parading around the nation’s capital, New York City and Philadelphia, Pope Francis I, the current occupant of the office of Antichrist, has big plans for the U.S. Mexican border. According to a recent report,

The Vatican has announced the program for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Mexico, which will include a visit to the U.S.-Mexican border with the celebration of a “cross-border” Mass.

The focus of the pope’s border visit, which is to take place during his February 12-17 tour of Mexico, will be to press for immigration reform, which is code for flooding the U.S. with taxpayer subsidized third-world Roman Catholics. According to a statement by El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz,

During Mass, Pope Francis will undoubtedly call attention to many realities that are lived on both sides of our U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the plight of so many migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries, in search of better lives for themselves and their children.

As the Breitbart article notes, the pope’s visit will take place, “just as voters are heading to the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, where immigration policy is a major issue.” The timing of the papal visit almost certainly is no coincidence. Rome has long sought to turn the U.S. into a majority Roman Catholic country. To date, its efforts have failed, as the Roman Catholic population of America is about 65 million in a nation of over 300 million. But with a virtually bottomless supply of potential immigrants from Latin America at its disposal, the Church hopes to finally realize its goal of a majority Roman Catholic America. What are American Evangelicals to make of this latest push by Antichrist?

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300

Thermopylae inscription

Memorial at Thermopylae bearing Simonides famous epitaph: Tell them in Lacedaimon, passer-by / That here, obedient to their word, we lie.   

 

“Come and take them,” retorted king Leonidas to the Persian envoy who had asked him to surrender his arms. Brave words those. Especially in light of the overwhelming odds facing the Spartans. The Persians had an army numbering in the hundreds of thousands. One ancient source puts it at over two million. In any event, the Persian forces vastly outnumbered the small Greek army of about 7,000 men. After two days of heroic fighting, Leonidas and the 300 other Spartan soldiers who were with him were surrounded and killed by the Persians.

 

Those familiar with ancient history immediately will recognize this as a reference to the Battle of Thermopylae, fought in 480 B.C. The Spartans’ stand against the Persians was the stuff of legend, even in ancient times. Simonides, a Greek poet from about the same time, composed a famous epitaph for the slain that reads,

Tell them in Lacedaimon [Sparta], passer-by,

That here, obedient to their word, we lie.

Today, these words are inscribed on a memorial plaque at the site of the battle. In more recent times, interest in the Battle of Thermopylae has been inspired by a graphic novel titled 300 and a movie by the same name.

From the account of their actions at Battle of Thermopylae, it is clear that the Spartans were a remarkable people. What can we say about them? First, they were great warriors. It was often commented that Sparta, unlike most other ancient cities, lacked defensive walls. Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus reportedly explained this by saying, “A city is well-fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick.”

Second, they had a strong sense of honor. Not all the Greek forces at Thermopylae fought to the death. Some surrendered. Others retreated. But Leonidas and his men went down fighting. In ancient warfare, it was considered shameful for a man to drop his weapons and flee. Such was the Spartan love of honor that Plutarch, an ancient Greek writer, quoted Spartan mothers as telling their sons as they went off to battle, “Come back with your shield, or on it.”

Third, they lost. Doubtless they were very brave. And doubtless they were heroic. But in the end, they were all dead. The Greeks went on the win the war, perhaps in part due to the efforts of the Spartans at Thermopylae. But it was the Persians who held the field at the end of the day.

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Common Sense Tyranny

Obama_san-bernardino-shooting

This has been a rather eventful week in the news. Of particular interest is the ongoing attempt by President Obama and others of his ilk to spin the recent shootings in San Bernardino to advance both the police state at home and the warfare state abroad.

Within hours of the outrage, Obama was on television reiterating his attack on the Second Amendment rights of Americans to own and use firearms. He called for “common sense” gun laws that would prohibit those on the federal governments “no fly list” from purchasing a gun.

During his 12/6 White House Address to the Nation, Obama repeated the call saying, “To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on the no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.” This is simply amazing. You see, the argument against Obama’s proposal is so simple and basic that even a Harvard-trained Constitutional lawyer should be able to understand it. The no-fly list itself is the problem. No one seems to understand how a person gets on it, and having one’s name removed can require a lawsuit. As Time reports,

The problem lies with the terrorist watch lists themselves, which are both secret and routinely updated without the typical due process given to those who are accused of breaking the law, such as court proceedings. Without a trial, the government can add anyone to watch lists who it believes may be a threat to national security – and exactly how the government defines such a threat isn’t even public knowledge.

“The government doesn’t release its criteria,” says Elizabeth Goitein, a co-director of the Liberty & National Security Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. “It’s really a black box.”

Due process is the bane of tyrants and a shield to the people. Remove it and the rule of law dies. Does Obama understand this? Of course he does. Common sense tells you he simply has no regard for the Constitution.

Worth noting too is that while American citizens are constantly harangued about the alleged common sense need for them to sacrifice their Constitutional liberties for security, the shoe is never put on the other foot. Federal officials from the president on down never stop to consider that their aggressive foreign policy of empire building and preventive war may be a major reason for the jihadist attacks on the US. Not only does Obama show no interest in understanding the simple “common sense” notion that killing people and occupying their countries creates resentment among the population, some of whom become militants, but every time an attack occurs he and others engage in a perverse contest to see who can promise to invade the more nations than the other guy.

Americans in general don’t like to think about foreign policy. Most people have a hard time seeing how events on the other side of the globe have any effect on their day to day lives. But if we can take one lesson from 9/11, it is that our foreign policy has very practical consequences here at home. There is a close connection between the policies our federal government pursues abroad and the laws Americans live under in the course of the everyday lives. The constant unconstitutional surveillance carried out by federal agencies such as the NSA and attacks by the president on Second Amendment are just two examples of the evil fruit of the aggressive and immoral foreign policy carried out by the federal government in the name of the American people. The time is now to put a stop to it. What could possibly be the argument against ending the wars? After all, it’s just common sense.


 

The Incarnation by Gordon H. Clark (Jefferson, Maryland: The Trinity Foundation, 91 pages, 1988), $8.95.

For several reasons, The Incarnation
is a noteworthy book. First, it is Gordon Clark’s final publication, written at the very end of his life and published posthumously. Second, it is a masterpiece of logical reasoning and clear writing. As if to prove correct the psalmist’s comment about the righteous, that they “still shall bear fruit in old age,” Clark’s thinking is just as acute in this book as at any time in his long and distinguished career. Third, it is brief. At 91 pages, it makes for a short it can be read in a single sitting. and yet for all its brevity, it is also quite profound. Fourth, it is perhaps Clark’s most controversial writing, in which he weighs the Creed of Chalcedon in the balance and finds it, if not entirely wanting, certainly in dire need of renovation.

IncarnationAlthough Gordon Clark (1902-1985) died before completing The Incarnation, he left it in a state such that, practically speaking, it was a complete work at the time of his decease. As John Robbins commented in the book’s Foreward,

At the time he [Clark] was stricken mortally ill in February 1985, he was writing the present volume, which he titled Concerning the Incarnation. He did not quite finish the book, intending to add a few more paragraphs summarizing his hundred pages of analysis and argumentation, so he asked this writer to complete it for him…I have added only two paragraphs to his words (ix).

The additional summary paragraphs written by Robbins fall at the very end of the book and are clearly marked.

As for the book’s analysis and argumentation, it is first rate start to finish. Clark brings a logician’s eye to the Creed of Chalcedon and finds much that is lacking. This likely comes as a surprise to many readers. For since its formulation in A.D. 451, Chalcedon has been held up as the final word on the incarnation. But Clark makes a compelling case that the Creed, although helpful in some places, also is beset with serious shortcomings, chief among them being the lack of clear definitions for its principle terms.

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