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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources


Living in Light of Two Ages



Islamic Hip-Hop?


According to the Times Online (UK), Islamic hip-hop artists are taking the call for the Caliphate (Islamic empire) and the Ummah (Islamic state) to the streets (Click here: Islamic hip-hop artists are accused of indoctrinating young against the West - Britain - Times Online).

"HIP-HOP and rap artists are teaching young Muslims the ideology of radical Islamism through songs about the war in Iraq, the oppression of Muslims and the creation of an Islamic state governed by Sharia, or religious law.  Intelligence agencies have identified music as a `tool for indoctrination'. The phenomenon began with an American group called Soldiers of Allah. The group has since disbanded but its music and lyrics remain popular on the internet. Other groups in Britain, France and the US have been identified as giving cause for concern. Many use the derogatory term `kufur' to describe non-Muslims.

Madeleine Gruen, an American intelligence analyst, highlighted the lyrics of a British group called Blakstone as a possible gateway to extremist politics. Ms Gruen has studied how music, internet forums, boardgames and fashion have been used to radicalise youths. She said: `The music is very persuasive because it is giving young people ideas, and those ideas are what might motivate someone to become a jihadi. The material is all in English. It’s spreading a radical message to domestic populations that don’t speak Arabic or Urdu.'

Ms Gruen said that Blakstone’s lyrics echoed the views of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT), the Islamist political movement. Blakstone operates from an industrial estate in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. The group could not be contacted yesterday. In an interview last year, its founder, Ahmed Ashley Welbeck said that the music was `about the underdog' and offered `a middle way' between Muslim tradition and street culture.

Last night, a spokesman for HuT said that it had no formal links with Blakstone or any other rap groups. He said: `Our message is out there, it is very widespread and it is hardly surprising that groups might pick up on it. HuT is a more traditional political movement. We use conferences, websites and leaflets, but rap music is not one of our things. There is a lot of anger out there, especially about the Iraq war. Our challenge is to channel that frustration and anger into political activism."

Here are some of the lyrics . . .

"Yesterday I was dreaming I dreamt of The State we made, a place with purpose and meaning. I saw my people they were smiling not grieving, I saw our kids they were safe they were breathing . . . And no more talk of war and of bombs to drop, under Allah’s Shade and Shield and fearing not. No more bleeding due scheming dogs on thrones, whom plot with foes to spread woes, the stench of rot. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. I look around and all I see today is poverty and misery from systems ruling over me with blasphemy. Their tool, kufur rule it’s a catastrophe"

From Close 2 Me, by Blakstone

"No Khalifah [Islamic state] Where are we heading? Without Islam we’re stressing, implement Allah’s blessing, that’s what I am addressing. Apart from this kufur scheme. Bring Islam back to the scene. Let’s unite the Ummah [Muslim nation], following only the Koran and the Sunnah. Even if all the kufirs got together, they still couldn’t stop this Ummah. We love Islam More than we love life."

From Bring Back Islam, by Soldiers of Allah


This is yet another wake-up call.  It won't be long before this is an issue in every American city.  Let us pray for confidence in the gospel and boldness in proclaiming it.  The cross always trumps the crescent! 


The Purpose-Driven Middle-East Peace Plan

Warren in Syria.jpgHere's the lastest from Orange County's own Rick Warren.  You won't believe it--well, maybe you will.

According to the Syrian News Agency (notice the headline--Click here: American Priest Says no Peace without Syria SANA , Syria) . . .

"American Protestant Pastor Rick Warren on Monday said there was no peace in the region without Syria, noting that 80 percent of the American people rejected what the US Administration is doing in Iraq and considered the US policy in the Mideast as wrong. 

Syria’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun received the American Pastor in Damascus in which he referred to the importance of spreading culture of amity, peace and coexistence instead of the 'clash of civilizations'.

The Mufti called for conveying the real image of Syria, national unity and its call to spread peace, amity and justice to the American people which the US administration has distorted their image before the world.

Pastor Warren expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country."

Lets assume that Warren is quoted correctly (he may not have been in an Islamic state-run newspaper).  80% of Americans oppose the war in Iraq?  American foreign policy in the Middle East is wrong?  Syria is a model for Islamic-Christian co-existence? 

Aside from the legitimate differences that American Christians have over the war in Iraq, my question is simply "when did Rick Warren become Secretary of State?"  Or is he acting as Billy Graham's replacement--the "official" evangelical spokesman?  Or (allowing for the obvious confusion of the two kingdoms) is he attempting to be both?

Your thoughts?


Who Said That?

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Who said that?

"Whoever says in the Spirit, `give me money,' or anything else [like that], do not listen to him."

OK . . . who said this?  Please put your guess in the comments section below.  No google searches please!


A Calvinistically Warped Mind -- B. B. Warfield on John Miley


In light of Gary Johnson's review of Roger Olson's new book on Arminianism (Click here: Pyromaniacs: Arminianism: Semi-Pelagianism?), and because Dr. Olson chose to respond on this blog to my comments about being "dissed" by him (Click here: Riddleblog - The Latest Post - Dissed by Roger Olson), I thought that it might be useful to post that section from my Ph.D. Dissertation (The Lion of Princeton) which deals with Warfield's review of John Miley's Systematic Theology.

To read "A Calvinistically Warped Mind -- B. B. Warfield on John Miley, click here


Who Said That?

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Who said this?

"The world religions in order of quality:

1.  Judaism (Reform)  2.  Judaism (conservative)  3.  Unitarianism  4.  Christianity (Mainstream Protestant)  5.  Islam (Muhammad Ali/Ahmad Rashad type)  6.  Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, etc.  7.  Christianity (Roman Catholic)  8.  Judaism (Orthodox)  9.  Christianity (Fundamentalist)  10.  Islam (Fundamentalist)."

Please, no google searches or cheating.  You gotta guess!  Leave your answer in the comments section.


Dissed by Roger Olson

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A number of you have asked me about my thoughts on Roger Olson's new book, Arminian Theology:  Myths and Realities (IVP).  I am one of those mean-spirited Calvinists singled out by Olson for supposedly misrepresenting Arminianism and Arminians.  I have not read Olson's book yet, but will certainly get around to it, since it is an important occasion when a noted Arminian theologian, like Olson, enters into direct debate with Reformed theology and its advocates.

According to Dr. Olson, in an article I wrote on Arminianism for Modern Reformation back in 1992 (Vol. 1), I am way over the top when I take Arminianism to task for departing from the evangel, when I state that in Arminianism, God's grace makes people savable, but does not actually save them.  Am I wrong, or is that not what Arminians themselves actually teach? (See, for example, the writings of John Miley, who states that Arminians teach a "genuine conditionality of salvation in accord with the synergism of the truest Arminianism," Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, p. 169).

Throughout my essay, I quote from B. B. Warfield's "Review" of the just quoted Methodist theologian John Miley's Systematic Theology.  As Warfield was supposedly unfair to Miley (complains Olson), I am also being unfair to Arminians when I make comments to the effect that human freedom is fundamental to Arminianism (Olson, Arminian Theology, p. 98).  Olson then disses me in a footnote on page 40 of his book by writing, "I wonder whether the author [Riddlebarger] ever read Miley or only B. B. Warfield his critic." 

I can assure Dr. Olson that I've read Miley's Systematic Theology several times (with great appreciation for Miley's unabashed commitment to the Arminian system and all its consequences).  In fact, my comment about human freedom being the Arminian fundamentum, is a quote from the very same John Miley, who, supposedly, I did not actually read.

When Olson takes B. B. Warfield to task for misrepresenting Miley and Arminians, I am tempted to take up the pen in Warfield's defense, since I am well-familiar with Warfield's critique of Miley (as I am with Miley himself).  I can tell you that Warfield is anything but mean-spirited to John Miley.  In fact, Warfield is most gracious and deferential to Miley, as one scholar reviews the work of another.  Dr. Olson could learn much from Warfield's graciousness, as could we all. 

However, Gary Johnson, pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Mesa, AZ, beat me to the punch.  Phil Johnson has posted the first of Gary Johnson's three part review of Olson's book over at Pyromanics (Click here: Pyromaniacs: Calvinists in the Hands of an Angry Arminian).  I highly recommend that you check this out.  Gary Johnson does a stellar of job of defending Warfield, while hoisting Olson on his own petard.  It is patently clear to anyone who has read Warfield's "Review" that Warfield is far more charitable to Miley, than Olson is to Warfield.

Don't you just love it when those who complain about "mean-spirited" Calvinists, behave in such a manner?  Olson does not like Calvinism.  That's fine.  But to be so mean-spirited when complaining about people being "mean-spirited," empties Olson's argument of most of its punch.  Calvinists have no excuse for being mean.  But Calvinists often get back far worse than they dish out.  Olson's treatment of Warfield is a prime example.


The Triumph of Thomas Paine?

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A recent Harris poll confirms what many of us suspect. America is not only secularizing, but Evangelical Christians are more and more apt to think and act like deists--echoing the view of Thomas Paine that morality is far more important than theology.

Some of the Harris poll numbers are not surprising (see read the raw numbers for yourself, Click here: While Most U.S. Adults Believe in God, Only 58 Percent are 'Absolutely Certain': Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

For example, only 58% of those polled are absolutely certain of God's existence.  That's down from 66% in 2003.  This doesn't really surprise me, especially during a time of war and after the events of 911.  In a world of continual violence and uncertainty, people become increasingly sceptical about God. 

More revealing of the state of Christianity in America are the following numbers:  "Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God?"  "About half (51%) of all adults, including a majority of Catholics (63%), believe that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God.  One-third (32%) believes they do not and 16 percent are not sure.  On this question, as on the others, the views of Born Again Christians are different - a 54 percent majority believes they do not worship the same God and only 34 percent believe they do."

While a slim majority of evangelicals understand that the Triune God of Christianity is not Allah of Islam, more than one third of Christians polled do not understand this fundamental point of Christian theology.   

And then when asked "How much control does God have over events on earth?"  The result was that "less than one-third of all adults (29%) believe that God `controls what happens on Earth' (this includes 57% of Born Again Christians).  A plurality (44%) believes that God `observes but does not control what happens on Earth.'"  While a slight majority of Christians believe that God controls what happens, a deistic world-view is commonplace among Christians.

So, what can we say?

1).  America is a nation of doubting deists who practice a moralistic religion which often times bears little, if any, resemblance to biblical Christianity.

2).  Many Christians echo the views of a secularizing culture.  The numbers show that many Christians are functional deists in terms of their views of God's relationship to the world.  I guess people aren't really buying Rick Warren's "God has a purpose for your life" argument--but then, maybe they are.  After all, according to Warren, God's purpose for your life is that you control your own destiny through the choices you make--and how is that different from a practical deism? 

3).  The default setting of many Christians and non-Christians alike is that everybody worships the same God.  The differences among the religions stem from prejudice, or personal experience, or preference.  This is no longer seen as a matter of competing truth claims.  Many people see no possibility of one religion being true and the others false.  It is all a matter of subjective and personal factors.

4).  Given the depth of moralistic deism in the culture, it is no wonder that Reformed theology is hated in so many quarters (even in the churches). 

5).  Reformed Christians should see this as a moment of great opportunity.  Our Christ-centered covenant theology (the mediator of the covenant is the Word made flesh) is a powerful antidote to moralistic deism.  Therefore, let us be fully prepared to give to everyone who asks, a reason for the hope that is within (1 Peter 3:15).

Any thoughts?



Who Said That?

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Who said that?

Thus it is probable that the womb in which our Savior received the auspices of life (whence he entered into this world, as from a temple) was so consecrated and sanctified by so great a guest that she [Mary] always remained untouched by man; nor did Joseph ever cohabit with her."

OK . . . who said that?  Please, no google searches or cheating.  You have to guess!  Leave your comments below.


Does Anybody Know???

Question Mark 2.jpgBlogs are a great way of disseminating information.  Blogs can also serve as an important means of gathering information from diverse places.

One of the elders at Christ Reformed asked me a great question which I thought I would pass along to you.

"Are there any Reformed churches with outreach ministries, or parachurch organizations specifically devoted to witnessing to Muslims in America?  Are there any Reformed groups devoted to apologetic issues raised by Muslims here in America (such as groups like CAIR)?"

If you know of any, please leave your answer in the comments section below.  It would be great to learn of people out there laboring in this very important mission field.


Who Said That?

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Who Said That?

"Christianity was propagated by light, instruction and knowledge, reasoning and enquiry. These things were encouraged by the gospel. And by these means the gospel prevailed.  But Islam was not propagated by light and instruction, but by darkness, not by encouraging reasoning and search but by discouraging knowledge and learning, shutting out these things and forbidding inquiry and so, in short, by hoodwinking mankind and blinding their eyes."

You know the rules--no google searches or cheating.  I pick these quotes to make a point.  This one is no exception.  Place your answer in the comments section below.