Books I Heard and Read in 2022

Generally, at the end of every year, it has been my habit to list out the books that I either heard on audio, or read electronically or in physical form. I honestly hadn’t planned on adding a list this time around because I have been spending the last year either prepping lessons for 3rd graders or writing on a forthcoming book (hopefully in print at the end of this new year) on apologetic methodology.

But someone in the Twitterverse asked when I was publishing my end of the year book list because he needed to know what to read this next year and I was shamed into writing up my reading list.

It’s not a whole lot. In fact, my reading has been rereading old apologetic books, which I have actually enjoyed. I only read and listened to a few new things. BTW, In order to hurry up the publishing of this list, I won’t supply purchase links to all of the items listed. I trust you can search out the titles on Amazon or what ever book seller you use.

And if anyone is wondering, I secure my epubs from either Amazon Kindle, or I get a hold of the pdfs and translate them into epubs via Calibre and then listen with an app call Evie. That was a game changer for my book consumption.

So here we go (in no particular order):

Books I Heard

Against All Opposition – Greg Bahnsen. An excellent treatment on the basics of apologetic methodology. Well done, like much of Bahnsen’s material. If you look on the American Vision website, you’ll find that this book is a part of a trilogy of books on apologetics by Bahnsen.

The Justification of Knowledge – Robert Reymond. This is an overlooked work by the late theology professor who gave us one of the absolute best systematic theologies ever written with his New Systematic Theology. The Justification of Knowledge is his class notes on apologetic methodology that he worked up into a short, readable book. Some folks claim the book is dated (it’s no longer in print), but the material and ideas he covers are timeless. It is available for free at the Monergism website, that has available loads of free books. I also downloaded the epub of the Existence and Attributes of God by Charnock and the attributes of God by Thomas Watson (that book is the section on God and His attributes from his famous work on the Westminster Confession, A Body of Divinity).

In The Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy – Fredric Martel. This book, written by a openly gay Italian author, chronicles the secret goings-on at the Vatican, which according to the book, is led by sodomites that reach up to the highest levels near the pope. The book is controversial because it’s critics claim the author exaggerates the experiences he had while staying at the Vatican. But even if some of this work is exaggerated, it still is troubling that the worlds largest religious organization is ran by flaming homosexuals. What else would we expect to come out of the antichrist and the beast?

The Quest for Cosmic Justice – Thomas Sowell. This was a quick listen as it is a series of essays written a number of years ago talking about what really is the seeds of the current woke heresy we are dealing with in our modern times. Sowell is brilliant and prophetic.

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self – Carl Trueman. I kept hearing all the reviews gushing how it was a fantastic, life-changing work. It was good. And Trueman does a fine job documenting the descent of sinful man into all the trans madness we are experiencing these days. It wasn’t life-changing, though.

Books I Read

Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty: Recovering a Biblical Doctrine – Peter Sammons. My dear friend Dr. Peter took his doctoral thesis that traces the history and theological development of the doctrine of reprobation and turned it into a reader-friendly book. He does a study on the relevant texts from Scripture showing us how the Bible clearly teaches the often despised doctrine, even among professed believers.

The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack. – Ralph Blumenthal. John Mack was a Harvard trained psychiatrist who wrote a Pulitzer prize winning biography on T.E. Lawrence, you know, the Lawrence of Arabia guy. Anyways, Mack turned his research toward the alien abduction phenomena, and began dealing with individuals who claimed they were taken by aliens. He of course was ridiculed by his uppity, elitist snob academic friends like Carl Sagan. I believe he was documenting genuine demonic experiences these people were having. The book goes back and forth between his UFO/abductee research and his dysfunctional life with his marriage, his Cold War activism, and other boring elements. I skipped a lot of those sections of the book. I wished it would have stayed focused on the UFO stuff.

The Mystery of the Trinity – Vern Poythress. I was told by 1689er cage-stage Thomistic fanboys that Poythress’s work is heterodox and I shouldn’t read it because it would make me Socinian. 1689er cage-stage Thomistic fanboys are some of the most annoying and irritating people on social media in recent days who are consistently wrong about a lot of stuff, so I picked this book up at ShepCon back in March. I thought it was good and I was largely encouraged by reading it (It is a bit heady in the academic theological sense, btw) and I didn’t become Socinian. Ignore the complaints of 1689er cage-stage Thomistic fanboys.

Every Believer Confident: Apologetics for the Average Christian – Mark Farnham. I recently started this book so I could add it to my apologetic research collection. It was a Christmas gift to myself. Farnham is professor of apologetics at Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania. It is a brief book that provides a basic overview of apologetic systems and then focuses upon presuppositionalism as the most effective means for defending our faith and sharing the gospel.

Dispensational Hermeneutics: Interpretation Principles that Guide Dispensationalism’s Understanding of the Bible’s Storyline – Michael Vlach. As that Puritan sermon length title suggests, it is a book that discusses the hermeneutics of dispensationalism. Vlach interacts with other systems like typology and the so-called christocentric hermeneutic employed by covenant theology and presents the historic-grammatical way to read the Bible like God intended.

The Expanse Series – James S.A. Corey. The Expanse is a running series of novels written by two SciFi nerds, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. James Corey is their joint pen name. The books take place in the future (like all good scifi) where humanity has colonized the solar system. Mars has become it’s own independent planetary nation/state and the outer planets like Jupiter and Saturn are also their own political entity, though they are broken into various groups and tribes. The three factions of Earth, Mars, and the OPA (outer planet alliance) are always at odds with each other. Each has developed it’s own unique societies and cultures. Then, an alien molecule was secretly discovered on one of Jupiter’s moons and a shady tech company from earth (always a shady tech company) has been developing it as a weapon. The molecule gets loose and the stories take off at a blistering pace.

These are probably some of the best scifi books I have read in years because of the author’s attention to the details of the story and the realism of space. For instance, going super fast in space will still have the same physical effect on your body like it would here on earth. If you stop immediately in space decelerating from 17,000 miles an hour to 10 miles an hour, you’re instantly dead. They are available at various places on the internet in epub and pdf form as well as Amazon. I will be starting the next volume, Nemesis Games, sometime this year. (They turned the novels into a tv show, which is good, at least the early seasons. When the SciFy channel canceled the series due to expense, Amazon picked it up and finished it out. There’s swearing and such in the episodes, just to give you the heads up. But as is always the case, the books are far, far superior to the episodes).

How to Find and Film a Bigfoot: An Exercise in Critical Thinking – ThinkerThunker. So I love Bigfoot; and one evening, after watching a Les Stroud Survivor Man episode on Youtube, I stumbled upon the YouTube channel of the anonymous ThinkerThunker and was immediately enthralled with his work analyzing footage and sonic fingerprints of Sasquatches. He provides some original insights into the legendary forest giants, what he calls Bigfoot. His work is extremely well done and researched, especially the aspect of scientific measurement when it comes to body proportions, as well as the breakdown of audio sounds that are unique to a Bigfoot. He constantly asks, if these photos and videos are hoaxed, would the hoaxers come forward and demonstrate how they did it, because there is a lot of impossible situation that an average man in a monkey suit in the middle of the deep forest would be unable to pull off. ThinkerThunker is one of my youngest daughter’s favorite channels.

Ancient Apocalypse: A Review

I’m a time traveler. I point and laugh at archeologists – Dr. Who

I was recently reading on Twitter about a dangerous series on Netflix called Ancient Apocalypse. Stuart Heritage, professional hysteric and opinion writer in The Guardian, is one of many who has sounded forth the alarm.

With his pearls clutched firmly in his hand, Stuart insists that shows like this one will do nothing but stir up conspiracy theorists uncles around the dinner tables during the holidays. That in turn will trigger their magenta-haired nieces on break from their first semester at state college, whipping them up into lathering paroxysms so that they will sob and scream uncontrollably on TikTok. A program like that is “dangerous,” and shouldn’t be allowed on television. (BTW, all the scaremongers throughout the media copiously use the word “dangerous” for describing the series). The host of the docuseries, Graham Hancock, was even interviewed by JOE ROGAN! For crying out loud! We know what that means. People may get the idea to use horse steroids and fish cleaner to fight the flu.

So at the great risk of experiencing soul-rending peril, I binge watched the series forthwith!

I am happy to inform my readers that not only will you not die or experience any sort of memory erasing brainwashing, but the series was absolutely delightful! FIVE STARS and thumbs up all around!

Each episode is roughly 30 minutes in this 8-part miniseries. It is hosted by a fellow named Graham Hancock. He is British, so I knew it would be narrated with precision and grammaly correct words as he walks us through the locations of interest.

The Sin of Graham Hancock

Hancock is scorned as a kook and pseudo-scientist by the mainstream SCIENCE! academy. The first episode opens with the producers documenting all the extremist rhetoric he receives from various critics railing against him as nutty, dangerous!, conman, and all sorts of derisive names that are meant to convey the idea that he is someone no one should pay any mind to. Throughout the series, when he is showing us one of the massive stone structures built by ancient civilizations, we’re occasionally cut to interviewers and skeptics ridiculing his conclusions about the site.

For instance, clips from atheist skeptic, Michael Shermer, are shown from some podcast or Youtube program blasting Hancock as an untrained and unqualified idiot for holding the views he does. Of course, Shermer is just as much of an untrained and unqualified idiot as Hancock. He’s grifted off the atheist community for years as a pretend expert on, like, everything. He is nothing more than a hack repeating the so-called “authorities” he happens to agree with and has no more of the ability to evaluate the legitimacy of their conclusions than he does of what is being shown to us on Netflix.

Hancock informs us himself that he isn’t an archeologist, nor does he maintain the “credentials” the academic magisterium insists one must have to speak with any sort of authority on differing SCIENTIFIC! matters. He calls himself a “generalist” who has spent considerable time and money exploring massive temple complexes scattered around the world in mountains, jungles, deserts, and even underwater. His conclusions about those sites is the problem, so what exactly is it that he believes that draws the cruel mockery of so-called “experts?”

Hancock maintains that those sites are what remains of an ancient human civilization that had rebuilt itself after a cataclysmic global flood wiped out most of the earth after the last ice age era about 12,000 years ago. He draws those conclusions based upon a number of factors including the shared, cultural stories of unrelated civilizations regarding a “giant serpent” falling out of the sky that created ancient floods that washed away humanity and “giant” men who taught the survivors how to rebuild.

His take is that ancient men were brilliant architects and engineers on levels far superior than our modern “experts” are want to admit. Around 12,000 years ago, the earth’s orbit passed through the tail of a comet that caused huge debris particles to strike the earth (the giant serpent “falling” out of the sky shared among all the cultural stories). Multiple impacts unleashed torrents of catastrophic flooding all around the world, obliterating most of the major cities of ancient civilization including the legendary Atlantis. In the aftermath, giant men (Hancock suggests “giants” in importance and mental acuity; not physical size) taught the survivors of the comet cataclysm to rebuild their societies with the massive temples and other cyclopeian structures. Those structures, Hancock points out, are aligned to mark the summer and winter solstice, as well as specific astronomical events and stellar objects. In other words, they are enormous, oversized calendars he believes were built in order to predict any possible future cosmological catastrophe.

He draws the ire from the “experts” and “specialists” because his research into these sites circumvents the intelligentsia’s collective “wisdom,” daring to challenge the conventional historical narrative of the academy that says civilizations began settling into societies around six to seven thousand years ago, not before 12,000 years ago. Additionally, prehistoric men were turnip farmers and goat herders who were never sophisticated enough to build stone superstructures before that acceptable time frame. If Hancock’s research is correct, why it would overturn years and years of study by recognized archeological experts! Journal articles and books would have to be re-written and we can’t have that now!

What Hancock Gets Right and Gets Wrong

As a Bible-believing Christian who is absolutely certain the age of our universe and earth is under 10,000 years old, much of what Hancock observes about ancient civilzations is an affirmation of much of what I know to be true about ancient civilization. In fact, as each episode is presented, the area he explores and the conclusion he draws from the evidence comes across like an exhibit at Answers in Genesis’s Ark Encounter. As I have talked with friends both in person and online, many of them have noticed the same ideas that the creation ministries like AiG, CMI, and ICR have taught for years. One guy quipped, “It was like Ken Ham was helping write the scripts.”

But there are some significant deviations from what Scripture teaches and what Hancock shows us in his Netflix series. I think he conflates the events occurring during the flood of Noah with the aftermath that happened after the attempted building of the Tower of Babel.

First, he is a secular unbeliever, so as much as his take overlaps with biblical perspectives and challenges the conventional archeological narrative about when civilizations started and the construction abilities of ancient men, he still affirms deep time chronology. The ancient apocalyptic flood was 12,500 years ago, not under 10,000 as biblical chronology would tell us, and he argues that some of those ancient structures date back as far as 24,000 years. (As a side note, he may be showing us at time some of the remnants of pre-flood cities).

Secondly, he is correct about ancient man’s abilities. It is modern hubris to think ancient men were uneducated and unsophisticated nomadic tent dwellers who were incapable of designing and then building the mega monuments that in many instances, still stand today. Ancient man is always underestimated by moderns, to the point that instead of recognizing their engineering capabilities to hoist multi-ton stones to construct a pyramid, they’ll entertain the sci-fiction notions that aliens either built them or at least helped with the building of them. (BTW, here’s a long Youtube documentary debunking the ancient alien crackpottery if anyone is interested).

Third, he is correct about the fact that ancient men shared a common flood story in their culture. The shared common flood stories in nearly every human civilization around the world is one of the major confirming pieces of evidence for the biblical events surrounding Noah’s flood. The thing with Hancock, however, is that he sees Noah’s flood as one among the many flood traditions, rather than the true record of the events from which all the others sprang.

Fourth, he makes the astute observation that temples around the world in unrelated cultures share remarkable similarities to the original ziggurats found in the cradle of humanity in Mesopotamia. The similarities are so uncanny that there is no other way of looking at them than by recognizing that they must share a common origin, a conclusion modern archeologists are loathe to acknowledge. But one cannot deny that the stack-tiered designs of the temples in Mexico, and others in Indonesia, China, and Iraq to name just a few locations, are near copies of one another.

The question is how did that similarity originate? Hancock’s thesis is that ancient builders, escaping from areas where the comet did significant damage took with them the design plans for such temples and the know-how to construct them and taught the lowly hunter-gather types to build them. Their purpose were to act as enormous calendars predicting when a future catastrophe like the one they experienced would happen again. The biblical explanation, however, is that after God scattered the languages at the Tower of Babel, and the people of the same language migrated to those areas taking with them a desire to continue building major temples of worship.

While it is true that many, if not all (some, like the pyramids in Egypt served as tombs for the pharaohs), of those massive temples were aligned astronomically with the winter and summer solstices, and the ancient magi/priests were detailed astronomers when observing the night sky, the primary purpose for those structures was for their pagan rituals, many involving human sacrifices and other torturous and bloody practices. Attempting to predict the future or divining the destinies of men’s fortunes from the stars was certainly a part of those places, but it wasn’t necessarily for predicting another possible ancient apocalypse. Seeking divine revelation from false gods through astrology is why God forbid the practice for Israel, but it why we see societies like the Babylonians obsessed with linking the fate of men with the stars.

Fifth, Netflix does a good job visualizing what Hancock believes was the pre-flood world. Before the earth passed through the comet tail and was bombarded by the debris that melted the ice age glaciers and caused the oceans to rise in a flood, places like Indonesia, Malta, and the Bahamas, were connected to the mainlands. It was easier for men to travel places around the world and take their engineering knowledge with them.

The biblical model developed from a global flood as recorded in Genesis 6-8, fits what Hancock theorizes. Creationists have been writing on the topic of human migration after the flood and certainly after the Tower of Babel for a number of years. (See HERE for a list of resources). For sometime after the flood, the flood waters were frozen in the ice sheets at both the Arctic circle and Antarctica. What are now islands were at one time mountain peaks, and as the earth warmed and the oceans cooled, the glaciers melted, rising the waters to the levels we see now. Hancock connects the sea rising to the comet apocalypse, whereas Scripture records for us the true mechanism for the flooding.

Sixth, Hancock and the Netflix crew travel to the northwest of the United States to show viewers the canyons in eastern Washington, specifically the location of the so-called Missoula ice dam break. According to Hancock, the comet was the trigger that broke the ice dam and caused the canyons to form in a matter of weeks. I would certainly agree with him about that, but the Missoula ice dam break more than likely happened post-flood. It is probably what wiped out the thriving dinosaur population in that area where we find their bones buried in mass graves in Montana.

We are also taken to the southern boarder of the U.S. near northern Mexico to view another supposed piece of ancient flood evidence. Oddly, the entire crew flew over the Grand Canyon, probably the greatest, most visible display of catastrophic flood evidence on earth.

Conspiracy Facts

While I personally don’t agree with the conclusions of Hancock, it is baffling that he receives so much ridicule for his views. I can get how establishment archeologists don’t like him because he pushes against the narratives they have concocted over the decades. But it is bizarre that they won’t even consider some of the possible takes he presents regarding the evidence. He interviews a few researchers in Indonesia and in Mexico who have used ground penetrating radar to identify unexplored areas within some of those temple structures. A person would think any serious researchers would have an interest in exploring those areas, but regrettably, many do not and they wave off their findings as hokum.

Even more eye-rolling are the uninformed, arm chair critics, like our Guardian opinion writer, who want to cancel Hancock because he is perceived as a threat that will tear a hole in the fabric of society. Am I to seriously believe a British lecturer, who has done immense field research at some of the worlds most important archeological monuments, is dabbling in crazy conspiracy theories because he interprets the evidence differently than what the “academy” has taught for years? Am I really supposed to believe that a theory suggesting that ancient men are more intelligent than modern archeologists believe, who engaged in marvelous feats of engineering, and that a comet bombardment did considerable damage to ancient civilizations, is some sort of democracy ending insurrection on the level of the January 6th riots!? Seriously?

I don’t know if any of you youngs out there had the privilege of watching a documentary called The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. It was all the rage back in the early 80s when I was a baby. It documents the prophecies of Nostradamus, the 16th century French physician who dabbled in astrology and predictions about the future. He was courted by wealthy French patrons who obviously had interest in knowing future directions for their lives, so he was able to con them with his alleged abilities well enough to make a living full time.

At any rate, a documentary was made about his “predictions” that was hosted and narrated by Orson Welles. (I would consider it a great honor to have been personally insulted by him during one of his epic rants, but alas). The show enjoyed multiple airings on HBO during its infancy as a cable channel when it needed programming to fill it’s late night hours. Welles documented all the “startlingly accurate” predictions Nostradamus allegedly made about the 20th century. Like the rise of Hitler (Nostradamus called him “Hisler” missing the spelling of his name by one letter!), the assassination of JFK by a shooter on the grassy knoll, Halley’s comet supposedly hitting the earth in 1986, and nuclear war with Iran. I can still hear Welle’s dulcet tones gravely warning us about worldwide famine that would kill millions with starvation.

Apart from one oddball freshman college guy I knew at my church who was all into date setting and Chick tract levels of fantasy, pretty much everyone moved on after the program ran its course on HBO, and democracy kept chugging right along. The same about every weirdo “conspiracy” crank who has published a book or has a Youtube channel. Stuff like what Graham Hancock believes is talked about almost nightly on Coast to Coast AM. People need to get out of their bubbles and see the world more.

All of that to say, if you have Netflix and want a fun and entertaining, and I would even add, informative at many points, you’ll enjoy Ancient Apocalypse. Oh. Each episode has a little warning sign that says “language.” Aside from one clip from Joe Rogan’s podcast where someone curses once, I didn’t hear any bad language and I specifically listened for that.

Ecumenical Nationalism

The second chapter of Judges opens with the Angel of the LORD – the Messenger of YHWH, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ – visiting with the leaders of Israel and giving them a stern warning, reminding them of their duties to God. He tells them,

and as for you, you shall cut no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not listened to My voice; what is this you have done? (Judges 2:2).

He goes on to say,

“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides, and their gods will become a snare to you.’” (Judges 2:3).

As early as Exodus 23:20-33, God’s people were to “cut no covenant” with the pagans in the land they were to conquer (Exodus 23:32), but instead they were to “tear down their altars,” in other words, totally eliminate their false worship. If that didn’t happen, those very same pagans would not be driven out by God, but instead, would become thorns in the sides of Israel and their false gods would ensnare them.

That prohibition doesn’t change when we come to the NT. While the focus is upon the church rather than a physical nation with borders, the warning remains the same: God’s people are to separate from unbelievers and the world, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. The church risks not only becoming irrelevant when they compromise with worldlings, but incurring the wrath of God.

Living in America

While on the one hand, God’s people are to remain separate from the world, on the other, they are called to engage the world with the gospel and make disciples of the nations (Matthew 28:19,20). Such a commission obviously entails the Christian coming into contact with the ungodly world, and if we believe the promises of our risen savior, sinners will be saved and their lives discipled in the Faith. That in turn means nations are impacted and transformed by the gospel for Christ’s sake. The clearest example of that transformation is a society, culture, and government filled with saved people who build a nation that reflects God’s laws and the ethics expected of the people who live according to those laws.

That of course is an ideal situation; but it isn’t completely realized this side of the millennium given that our Lord is pleased at this time to allow the weeds to grow up among the wheat. Still, our goal as the church of the living God is to remain salt and light, and if that salt and light is faithful to Scripture, the gospel, and obedience to Christ, it will have great influence in the world, including the politics governing the nation.

The United States, however, is unique in that our governing constitution allows religious freedom for the citizens, and places restrictions upon federal and state government from legislatively limiting how individual religions practice their faith.

But those constitutional ordained state/religion boundaries were tested the last couple of years when the government overstepped their limitations and began dictating to religious bodies how and when they can conduct and practice their worship. The government ruled against all manner of religious peoples, but mostly against Christians and the various denominations and sects. Moreover, a prevailing godless spirit has also crept in among the general populations of our society and manifests itself in the form of such things as pervert men dressed as women reading to school children, as well as mentally ill men forcing their way into women’s spaces, especially competitive sports all to the thunderous applause of our media and pop culture elites. Things are only made worse when such insanity is emboldened by government officials, and in some cases, state law, for their intrusions.

Religious people can certainly sense what they understand is the demise of our way of life, so they seek alliances with those groups, that while they may wildly differ with each other on important particulars, like say how one is saved, and who God is, and whatnot, they are like-minded on such things as men are men, women are women, and against such things as the medical mutilation of gender confused children by their deranged parents (usually the single wine mom).

But how far and to what extent do those alliances extend?

Consider this meme,

The meme was accompanied by these comments:

Catholics and Protestants can unite as co-belligerents in Christian Nationalism. Why? Because it’s about enforcing the second table of the law which relates to proper treatment of our fellow man and not the first table which relates to proper worship of God.

In the last few years or so, secular, worldly folks have taken up labeling any religious, Bible-believing conservative a “Christian Nationalist” who may express patriotic, American ideas and insists that Christian faith is important for defining our values as Americans. They further affirm the historical reality that God’s moral law undergirds our constitution and that Christians morals have always manifested in our society’s ethics. Getting marked out as “Christian Nationalist” is supposedly a terrible thing, but what secular folks claim is Christian Nationalism is what garden variety Christians have always believed is necessary for maintaining the spiritual health of our American nation. There is nothing at all sinister or “against Christ” with those convictions.

Whether or not “Christian Nationalism” is genuinely a “thing” especially one that is brand new on the American scene, is outside the scope of this brief blog article (I don’t believe it is in case anyone is wondering). There are, however, certain groups of Reformish folks who have actually embraced the slur and advocate for believers to join their cause as Christian Nationalists. Establishing Christian Nationalism, however, may involve more than just committed Christians, but also an alignment with other non-Christian conservative groups, as well as heretical, outright false religionists in order to usher in that Christian nation. I believe such an alliance will incur the wrath of the Angel of the LORD. Let me respond to the twitter comments accompanying that meme in order to explain.

FIRST, any genuine unity a Christian seeks with other parties is a unity around doctrinal truth and conviction. Hence, a Christian, as I noted in our introduction, is not at liberty to strike hands with unbelievers. More so if the unbeliever is a false religionist. In that alliance, there are two or more participants with fundamentally different theological worldviews. My vision of God is gonna be different than a Mormons or a Hindu, for instance.

SECOND, Catholic and Protestants fundamentally disagree on soteriological grounds. Meaning, their understanding of man’s sin problem, the foundational cause of much of our political and societal ills, and the solution to that problem, is at its root opposed to what historic Christianity and Protestantism believes. Additionally, our ultimate authority informing our theological convictions are not the same. Catholics will reject out of hand the idea of Scripture alone as our governing authority in matters of theology, let alone political engagement.

THIRD, the second table of the law, the so-called table that is meant as instructions informing our place among our neighbors and our treatment of them, cannot be separated from the first table of the law, the declaration of who God is and our obedience and worship of Him. The reason why we don’t cheat our neighbors, murder them, or lie against them, is because our ethics are anchored in the holy character of God as revealed in the first table. God’s law is a unified whole. The second table, the neighborly ethics, cannot be enforced apart from our submission to the first.

FOURTH, God’s law condemns us. While it is true the second table of the law reflects God’s holy morals and the ethical expectations of His people, ultimately, keeping those laws are a matter of a changed heart. Man is in need of having God write His laws on his heart (Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10, 10:16), and that is a divine work accomplished by the preaching and teaching of the gospel.

May we keep those truths in mind as we seek God’s empowerment for reclaiming our American culture for the gospel’s sake. That is not accomplished by striking hands with individuals diametrically opposed to the gospel we proclaim and who do not worship the true and living God. They will only become snares and thorns to us if we do.

Books I Heard and Read in 2021

My blogging has reduced to a trickle. I just don’t have the time like I used to when I began my blog nearly 17 years ago. Occasionally, I become stirred in my spirit over some issue and I can pound out an article in a couple of hours if not less. I can say, however, that even though I am hardly blogging, at least my actual blog is still active. That’s something I suppose.

I did make a commitment (because I have a smidgen of down time during and in between holidays) to catalog the books I either heard in audio format or read. I like to provide recommendations for fellow friends and other readers.

Books I heard

Striking Back – Aaron J Klein. A brief history of the terrorist attacks against Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and how Israel hunted down all the terrorists and wiped them out. The book provides an interesting background to the development of Mossad and Israeli spy craft.

Norco 80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History – Peter Houlahan. The retelling of the worst, poorly conceived bank robbery ever. Attempted by a group of 5 men, two of them former members of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa who had become end-time survivalists. They were heavily armed with machine guns and the pursuit by law enforcement resulted in 30 patrol cars damaged, a police helicopter damaged, numerous houses and businesses damaged, and one officer killed.

Intellectuals and Society – Thomas Sowell. I am hoping to read more Thomas Sowell in the years to come. I prefer listening to audio books; but sadly, our local library system only has this book available in audio. It was an overview of how intellectual, liberal elites think they know better than everyone else how to live their lives and make a society.

The Political Incorrect Guide to American History – Thomas E. Woods. This is a short history of America. Published by the fine folks at the Political Incorrect Guide group who have produced some wonderful titles over the years. The one on the Vietnam War is worth getting, as well. The authors and the books are always described by reviewers as “controversial” which means they are right with their views of historical reality.

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe – Thomas Cahill. A history of Ireland and the unique place of the Irish people, not only in Europe and the US, but throughout the world. They had one of the first libraries that copied and preserved important manuscripts from antiquity. The background to St. Patrick was especially well done and I would recommend the book just for those couple of chapters or so detailing his life and influence.

Books I Read

Leviathan Awakes and Caliban’s War – James S. A. Corey. I have enjoyed watching The Expanse series on Amazon Prime, so I thought I would read the novels, that of course are much better. I was able to work my way through the first two. The author’s name is a pen name for two authors who wrote the series. The stories take place 300 years or so into the future. Humankind has colonized the solar system, but instead of Star Trek ships that go 6 times the speed of light and alien cultures everywhere, it is just people who have normal ships that go fast, but it takes time to get from point A to point B. Mars is an independent planet, no longer associated with Earth, and miner clans colonize the asteroid belt. The tense situations between all the groups explode when an alien molecule is discovered on one of Jupiter’s moons and a mysterious corporation begins to weaponize it.

Holiness Unto the Lord – Allan P. Ross, Leviticus – Mark Rooker, Lectures on Leviticus – Joseph Seiss. I taught through the book of Leviticus with my volunteers this past year and those three books were extremely helpful in my preparation.

The Failure of Natural Theology: A Critical Appraisal of the Philosophical Theology of Thomas Aquinas – Jeffrey Johnson. The book is a bit heady, and readers uninitiated with Aquinas and the issues pertaining to his natural theology may find it a tad daunting; but overall, pastor Johnson does a fantastic job laying out the case against Aquinas’s “baptism” of Aristotle as a filter through which we do theology. The neo-Thomists on social media have been whining about this book for a number of weeks, calling pastor Johnson to repent for writing it, so you know it is worth the time.

The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament – Michael Vlach. An excellent survey of how the New Testament writers quoted from, and used, the Old Testament in their writings to the church. Vlach works through the major passages like Matthew 2:15, Galatians 3:16, and others that are referenced as proof the NT writers re-wrote or poured new meaning into what the OT writers stated. An excellent resource to have on hand as a rejoinder to Reformed folks who insist the Bible is one big picture book that is read according to types.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization – Arthur Herman. I am currently working on writing my various blog articles on apologetics, evangelism, and apologetic methodology, into a book. I have returned to re-reading works I haven’t visited in some years. In my research, I heard a podcast on which one of the hosts mentioned how great this book was. I found it for cheap and began reading through it and it truly is a fantastic work. Herman chronicles the lives and philosophical worldviews of Plato and Aristotle and their lasting impact on western society, especially (and regrettably to a degree) the Christian church all the way up to the Reformation. The book is informative and entertaining to read. If you want to see how Greek philosophy had such an influence on Christian theology, it is worth the time reading.

From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology – Andrew Steinmann. Without a doubt this is the best book I read all year. Not only was it informative and a joy to read, it is an important work for apologetics. The Bible is a historical book. The events recorded within it’s pages really happened in time and space. And because the Bible records real, historical events, the Bible also records time markers by reference to other historical events taking place at the same time those written down in the Bible happened. That is also the importance of genealogical lists found throughout Scripture. Those time markers provide key, chronological dates that establish the historicity of the events in Scripture.

Steinmann works his way from the life of Abraham, establishing key, historical benchmarks that anchor the events in Scripture into history. He works his way forward to Christ and the ministry of Paul that ends in Acts 28. The study he provides on the life of Christ is one of the big reasons to have this book. Though it is a bit pricey (around forty dollars or more), the book is a valuable edition to your library.

William Lane Craig Has Always Been A Threat to the Faith

I have been saying for many years that William Lane Craig, the so-called Christian philosopher and famous apologist, is really a menace to the Faith he claims to defend. He advocates for a number of doctrinal views that are – to be blunt – heretical. He defends Molinism, the counter-Reformation system that was created to safe guard libertarian free-will against the clear Scriptural doctrine of God’s monergistic sovereignty in salvation. He touches the eternal nature of God by having Him exist in time, bound chronologically along with His creation. And he is a self-proclaimed “Neo-Apollinarian” (which is really just classic Apollinarianism), the ancient heresy that denies the full humanity of Jesus Christ.

Recently, Craig published an article at First Things arguing for his view of the “historical” Adam. His “historical” Adam “plausibly lived sometime between around 1 million years ago to 750,000 years ago,” or so he concludes. That is an imaginary, fantasy Adam that never existed except in the fevered minds of Bible rejecting Socinians who re-read the Genesis narrative according to deep-time, evolutionary constructs.

But his denial of the real, historical Adam that is recorded in the pages of Scripture, isn’t the worst part of the article. It’s a hot mess of heretical nonsense that declares among other things, the denial of original sin, the Mosaic authorship of Genesis, and the innerancy of Scripture. There have been a few quick responses to his overall take on Adam, but I wanted to highlight the overlooked heretical notions Craig presents in his article.

His Rejection of the Historicity of the Genesis Record. Craig states that Genesis 1-11 “functions as mytho-history,” a description he borrows from Thorkild Jacobsen, a Danish Assyriologist who was recognized as a world expert in the ancient Near East. Jacobsen is an unbeliever who rejects the inspiration of Scripture, so I understand why he would make such a claim. One wouldn’t, however, expect a famous Christian philosopher/apologist to believe such nonsense. But Craig has always been a man-pleaser, seeking ways to save face before the academic and intellectual ceiling-gazing, chin-rubbing, pipe-smoking intellegensia. Labeling Genesis mytho-history prevents those weird portions of Genesis from embarrassing him before his academy friends. That’s why he derisively scoffs at such events like Eve being created from Adam’s rib, or a talking snake in the garden, or Adam’s offspring living to 900 plus years describing those stories and characters as “fantastic.” Those are just fables; and he wants everyone to understand that he knows it is plain silly to take any of them as real, literal history.

But Jesus took them as real, literal history. So did the inspired prophets and apostles who often reference the events in Genesis 1-11 as real history. None of them ever considered those first eleven chapters as mytho-history. Especially Jesus, the Son of God, the incarnate second Person of the Trinity who was, you know, THE CREATOR! He was there. He created everything. He is clear to his audience in his teaching that Adam and Eve were real, historic people who lived recently in time, not a million years ago. Craig’s mytho-history endangers the integrity of not only Genesis, but all of Scripture, making the Lord Jesus and all the inspired writers of Scripture teach as truth, what were really myths, which means they are mistaken as to the reality of the world and in essence passing along lies and errors in the pages of our Bible.

A true apologist for the Christian faith should want to instill confidence in the integrity of God’s holy Word, not placate worldly notions of Darwinian SCIENCE! by sowing doubt in God’s Word among believers.

He Denies the Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch. At places within his article, Craig speaks of the “Pentateuchal author.” If readers are not paying attention, they’ll miss the subtle significance of those words: Craig doesn’t believe Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible that has been historically attributed to him. But again, Jesus and the prophets and apostles ALL said Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, when they would cite from those texts and proclaim that “Moses said such and such.” There is no doubt that both Scripture and church history affirm the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Yet Craig adopts the secular worldly view of some unknown writer or writers who are lost to ancient history who authored the first five books.

His View of Adam Ultimately Denies Adam’s Sin and Christ’s Saving Work. Christ is called the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), and His work on the cross imputes His righteousness to His people like Adam’s fall imputes his sin and guilt to all of humanity (Romans 5:12-14, 1 Corinthians 15:22). That’s the core message of the Gospel. However, the historical Jesus imputing His righteousness to guilty sinners does not work with a non-historical, mythical Adam who, according to Craig, couldn’t possibly have lived in a utopian garden, disobeying God by eating from a magical tree after his wife was tricked by a talking snake. That is just ridiculous. He wants us to believe that Adam lived a million years ago and did something that is undefined and left to the mysterious of prehistoric history that caused sin to have come to all of humanity and placing them under God’s wrath. The ramifications of his position directly strikes at the heart of the Christian faith and the Gospel message. And he is supposed to be the world renowned apologist?

Craig is teaching heresy plain and simple. What is worse is that he has become a scoffer and mocker of the faith. During an interview with Sean McDowell he discussed his forthcoming book that will apparently develop his rejection of Genesis and Adam in more detail. Craig contemptuously sneers at the idea that Genesis can be taken as a literal, historical record and ridicules those who would do so. He sounds like the many “ex-vangelical” atheists who are scattered across the internet posting their scornful remarks against God. This is not a recent development. He has always rejected the biblical history of Genesis 1-11. He hates creationists who affirm a young universe and God’s miraculous creation of the universe, the world, and all that is contained in it in 6 24-hour days. He is an individual who should be marked and avoided as a false teacher, and not held up and praised as a famous apologist. Christians should not affirm anything that he does, because he is working to tear down the very Faith he is claiming to defend.

I would recommend these resources as a refutation to Craig’s view of Genesis,

The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary on Genesis 1-11

Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth

What Happened in the Garden

Searching for Adam: Genesis and the Truth of Man’s Origin

Contrary to Craig’s ridiculing assertions, all of those works are written by solid, scholarly men who all affirm and believe in a real, historical Adam as recorded in the pages of Scripture, who disobeyed God by falling into sin after eating the real, edible fruit of a literal, historical tree.

Did John MacArthur Change His Views on Christians and Government?

John MacArthur preaching to a reduced congregation after lock down, March 15, 2020

I want to dispel a particular myth that has taken root across social media. It is the claim that the legal battles with the state of California and the county of Los Angeles during the corona virus pandemic has brought John MacArthur to change his fundamental views of Romans 13 and the responsibility Christians have toward the government. That of course is ridiculously untrue. John has been consistent in his position, and anyone claiming he changed it demonstrates a deep unfamiliarity with what John teaches and has taught on the subject of Christians and government.

What Has John Taught?

If a person were to review John’s sermons on the topic of Christians and government, specifically the ones that were expositions of the relevant passages like Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13 ff., he will find that John has always maintained that Christians must submit to the authority of the governments where they live. That would include those governments that are hostile to religious faith and may engage in oppressive tyranny. So that we are clear, John isn’t saying that Christians should roll over and allow themselves to be killed by hateful governing authorities. He means that Christians should live peaceable lives, seeking the welfare of the city. The Christian Church should not have a reputation of subversion and political agitation. Believers shouldn’t be out in the streets leading protests fomenting rebellion to overthrow the state.

Take for example his comments from a sermon on 1 Peter 2:13 that was preached in 1989. John states,

The command is simple, "submit yourselves," from the Greek word hupotassō. It literally is a military term meaning to arrange in military fashion under the commander.  It's talking about being subject.  The best translation would be, "Put yourselves in an attitude of submission.” “Put yourselves in an attitude of submission."  By the way, that is distinctively Christian because attitudes of submission and humility in ancient times were looked upon as those things which characterized cowards and weaklings.  And no man of strength would ever think of submitting himself or being humble. So God's people were to live in a humble, submissive way in the midst of a hostile, godless, Christ-less, sinful, wicked, accusing, slandering society.  In fact, God's people had often been accused of insurrection, would continue to be accused of insurrection but were never called by God to engage in it, never.

He goes in the same sermon to say,

Frankly, I believe it is sad to see Christians who set the example of public civil disobedience, Christians who set the example of the violation of law, Christians who harass the police, because if we are the righteous then what will the unrighteous feel that they should do?  If we are the virtuous of society, if we are the righteous who serve the God who ordained government, how can we defy the very God and the very government He has ordained?  And if we set the example who are the righteous, then what will the unrighteous do?

Consider his sermons from Romans 13. Those messages were given in 1985, and there he teaches the exact some thing. In the opening message to his series “The Christian’s Responsibility to Government,” John provides some reasons for why the Church should not be leading the way on political activism, the more notable being that God has not called Christians to that duty, and the Church can swiftly become compromised with both the secular state and other groups of false religionists who may advocate for the same goals.

He states,

Seems to me that the church needs to use all of its power and all of its resources, and all of its energy and forces to convert men and women to Jesus Christ.  And that's what God has called us to do.  The Scripture speaks not at all about Christians engaging in politics.  It has nothing to say about it.  Other than the fact that we're to be model citizens, it says nothing. It speaks not at all about Christians engaging in civil change.  That is not our priority.  It doesn't mean we're not to be involved as citizens where we can be.  It's a question of priority.[emphasis mine]

I highlight that one sentence because there will be choruses of critics saying John is hypocritical. He says the Christian Church shouldn’t be involved in politics, but then he said Christians should vote for Donald Trump. But it is not “political activism” to encourage people to vote for one particular candidate over another. That’s doing our part as citizens in our American system, which is totally acceptable. But I digress…

That One Exception

The ONLY exception for the Church’s duty in submitting to the authority of the government is if the government imposes orders for Christians to disobey God and the commands of Scripture. John says as much in the conclusion of his first sermon on Romans 13,

Now you say, "Wait a minute.  You mean we're to submit to everything?  Everything, everything without limitation?"  No, there's one limitation.  There's one limitation.  And we'll deal with that and conclude our study tonight. ... The one time we have a right to disobey the authority and the government is when the government commands us not to do something God commanded us to do.  Or when the government commands us to do something God commanded us not to do.  Okay?  When it invades that domain. For example, if all of these laws that are supposed to be being made for the rights of homosexuals come to the point where they make demands on Grace Community Church to hire homosexuals, that's where we say sorry, you have just told us to do what God forbids us to do.  We will not do that.  Those are the only places where we have justification.  And I hope, if it comes to that, we have the opportunity to speak loudly and clearly as to why we stand with the truth of God. [emphasis mine]

John has been clear since the time he taught through Romans in 1985 and later in 1 Peter in 1989: It is the duty of God’s Church to submit to the governing authorities, either good or bad, and to seek the civil peace with those authorities. The only time those duties are overridden as it were, is when the government imposes laws or commands that cause the Church to VIOLATE God’s will for His people as revealed in Scripture. That has been John’s consistent position throughout his ministry and it is still reflected in the commentaries adapted from those messages, as well as other printed material, like his book, Why Government Can’t Save You.

Did Corona Virus and Government Lock Downs Change Any of That?

A week after the 2020 Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church, California governor, Gavin Newsom, issued a lock down of the entire state that was to last three weeks. The goal of the lock down was to slow the spread of Covid-19, preventing the state’s healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed by the then prediction of hundreds of thousands of people succumbing to the choking horror of the virus.

The Thursday before the lock downs were to go into effect, the elders of Grace Community Church met to decide how they would move forward handling the mandate. At that time, due to the unknowns regarding the virus and the urgency from state and local health officials for preventing its spread, the elders decided to defer to government authorities and suspend services at GCC for three Sundays.

That of course is an entirely reasonable decision. It was never sinful for GCC, or any congregation for that matter, to cancel services for three weeks in compliance with a state health mandate that helps the general welfare of the city. Again, at that time, it was prudent given the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Yet, immediately after GCC chose to suspend services, John and the elders came under scrutinizing criticism from other believers for “bowing to Caesar” by allowing the STATE to dictate their services. The bulk of those criticisms, though, came from individuals who attended small congregations in rural areas of the United States, or in locations that were favorable to churches staying open. They were not navigating a 5,000 member congregation at a high profile church in a major city in California.

Those critics overlooked the fact that the elders of GCC had determined at their initial meeting that IF the state began abusing it’s authority by preventing churches assembling together for worship and fellowship, they would have to reconsider their obedience to that mandate. Phil Johnson stated in an article at his blog addressing that very issue. He writes,

How long until the government-ordered quarantine is undeniably excessive, or we conclude that it's targeted persecution against our worship and therefore an illegal attempt to make us disobey Hebrews 10:25? That time may come, and when it does, we may have to implement the principle of Acts 5:29. The question of whether we have already passed that point is another subjective issue, but it's clear that among believers—in the church itself—there is not yet consensus on whether the quarantine has gone too far.

That consensus on whether the quarantine has gone too far is, as Phil states, subjective. That means the leadership in various congregations must have the liberty to make those decisions they believe are best for their members, not placating the finger-wagging of online scolds.

On April 19th, John did a Q&A on a Sunday evening. Keep in mind this is just over a month since the lock down mandate went into effect and had since been extended past the three week mark. A question was asked about churches who were defying the various state mandates and what John thought of that. He responded,

Yeah, let me make very clear this question because it keeps coming up. If the government told us not to meet because Christianity was against the law, if the government told us not to meet because we would be punished, fined for our religion and our religious convictions, we would have no option but to meet anyway. And that takes you to the fifth chapter of Acts where the leaders of Israel said to the apostles, “Stop preaching.” And Peter’s response was very simple. He said, “You judge whether we obey God or men,” then he went right out and preached. 

If the government tells us to stop worshiping, stop preaching, stop communicating the gospel, we don’t stop. We obey God rather than men. We don’t start a revolution about that; the apostles didn’t do that. If they put us in jail, we go to jail and we have a jail ministry. Like the apostle Paul said, “My being in jail has fallen out to the furtherance of the gospel.” So we don’t rebel, we don’t protest. You don’t ever see Christians doing that in the book of Acts. If they were persecuted, they were faithful to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ even if it took them to jail; and that’s been the pattern of true Christianity through all the centuries. 

But this is not that. Might become that in the future. Might be overtones of that with some politicians. But this is the government saying, “Please do this for the protection of this society.” This is for greater societal good, that’s their objective. This is not the persecution of Christianity. This is saying, “Behave this way so that people don’t become ill and die.” [emphasis mine]

He goes on to say in his answer that the church doesn’t want to come across as defiant at the expense of hurting those vulnerable to the disease, and so at the moment, it is best to obey the authorities. But, as I emphasize in that answer, a response of defiance against government “might become that in the future.” He left open the possibility that such may happen.

And that is exactly what did happen. As the pandemic plodded onward, it became increasingly clear that the virus was not as severe as was originally claimed. In fact, the absurd over reaction to the virus with lock downs and stay at home orders was creating more catastrophic devastation to people than the virus itself. The state of CA and the county of LA continued their draconian overreach infringing not only on the rights of the general society, but the Church’s duty to gather for worship and ministers to each other. It was quickly coming to a place that an Acts 5 approach would be necessary. That decision with John and the elders was solidified during the summer riots, when the same politicians and health officials who had upended society with their medical police state mandates, tossed them all away to excuse the outrageous looting and mayhem caused by “protesters.” It was at that point GCC’s compliance and obedience to the lock down came to an end.

So the elders issued a statement on July 24th, and the following Sunday, John preached a message explaining the decision they made. In it he states,

“We must obey God rather than men.” Does this mean we have no responsibility to our leaders? Not at all. God has ordained human government for the peace and well-being of temporal society. Romans 13, “We are to recognize the authorities are designed by God. We are to submit to them in the sphere in which God has designed them to operate.” We’re to do more than that. We’re to honor them, show them respect. Through the years we’ve done that here. We continue to do that with the authorities in our city every opportunity we have. We render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. We even have been called, 1 Timothy 2, to pray for their salvation, as I did this morning. When orders come, however, to us that contradict the orders of our King, we have to obey God rather than men.[emphasis mine]

I believe there is a false perception that John changed his views because this was perhaps the first time in the history of his ministry and the life of GCC that what was taught from the pulpit regarding the Church’s responsibility to government was put into actual practice. The critics are either entirely unaware of what John genuinely believes on this subject, or they have some differing take on the relevant passages than what he does. So, when they see him genuinely apply his convictions in real time, they falsely conclude: “He changed his position!” That is hardly the case.

A couple of other articles that may be of interest along these lines is a time line of events from the beginning of the lock downs to the legal victory GCC had over LA County. And Phil Johnson’s article that was written last year, but was just published officially detailing the medical fascism of health procedures as dictated by the LA County health department.

The Whisper of Plagiarism

Dr. Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama, was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention after contentious debate and a lot of dirty political maneuverings by his supporters. He was hailed by the academic elite in WokeEVA Inc. and the secular media as this moderate choice for the SBC after the convention attendees were able to beat back those terrible legalistic ultra-conservatives.

I’ll let readers do their own research regarding the aftermath of the 2021 convention and what all of it forebodes for conservative, Bible-loving Southern Baptists. What came to light within the week or so after the convention is what is most concerning.

Back in January 2019, then SBC president J.D. Greear, “preached” a sermon (really more of a TEDtalk) on Romans 1:26-32, where Paul condemns homosexual sin. Greear downplayed the seriousness of the sexual perversion by declaring homosexuality as no more sinful than heterosexual sin and saying how God speaks much more loudly about injustice, theft, and other similar lesser sins, and “whispers” about sexual sins. We as Christians, he says, should only whisper about those sins God whispers about. He was rightfully criticized and his sermon was another sad illustration of how big megachurch elites in the SBC were not only wildly off-target regarding the wickedness that struts throughout our culture, but also terrible handlers of God’s Word.

Fast-forward to the week of the 2021 SBC convention. Some alert soul happened to remember that Ed Litton had said something similar to Greear regarding God whispering about the sin of homosexuality. People who take sin seriously and know God has never whispered about any sin, especially the gross perversion of same-sex attraction and homosexuality, just face palmed and wondered why Litton wasn’t vetted before he was nominated to be the SBC president. Of course, he was vetted. Lots of solid men posted articles and podcasts detailing the problems with the man’s thinking and overall direction his leadership would take the SBC. But, no one really cared. They only wanted to beat those MAGAtard, white Christian nationalists who hate women.

While the SBC tumultuously wrestled over who would be the next president, another curious individual noticed that Litton’s whispering comments sounded way too familiar to what Greear said. He took the time to find Greear’s original sermon and then listened to Litton’s sermon preached exactly a year later in January 2020 on the same subject and was shocked — SHOCKED — to discover that there wasn’t a few similar comments, but entire sections literally plagiarized, including the opening illustrations and the exact outline of the passage! He edited the the two sermons together:

Many evangelical elites have roundly condemned plagiarism in sermons over the years. For example Justin Taylor contributed to an article at Desiring God, What is Plagiarism? back nearly 15 years ago. The same for Al Mohler who spoke against pastors plagiarizing sermons in one of his The Briefing daily podcasts, Plagiarizing in an Internet Age. Jared C. Wilson wrote for the 9 Marks blog an article entitled, “Thou Shalt Not Steal” that tells pastors that any plagiarizing of sermons is breaking the 8th commandment. And unironically, J.D. Greear wrote an article back in 2012, What Counts as Plagiarism in a Sermon? In it, he lays out 5 rules he follows so as not to plagiarize other men’s sermons, and Ed Litton broke every. single. one. of them.

Litton’s sermon on Romans is such a flagrant example of plagiarism that in a born-again, God-fearing Christian community that values holiness, obedience to God’s law, and personal integrity among it’s pastors, it should cause an instant disqualifying scandal for Litton. He should not only resign as SBC president, but also as pastor.

Regrettably, that won’t happen. Those who voted him in are not spirit-filled God fearing individuals who value God’s Word and personal holiness. It may be that a number of them aren’t even born-again, but I digress. In fact, all of those men who thundered against pastors plagiarizing sermons won’t say a word. Everyone will rush to defend him with some contorted, deformed version of the truth.

The sad reality is that such sermon mining has been going on for at least 2 decades since the advent of the internet. It’s not only practiced regularly by pastors at all levels, it’s actually encouraged by various websites who host prepared sermon outlines for either free download or purchase. The mindset excusing this naked intellectual laziness is that it frees up a pastor from having to spend his time in the study so as to concentrate on people and spreading the gospel. Why spend hours on a Thursday afternoon preparing a sermon when you can have one already made for you!? That way you can counsel, and hospital visit, and whatnot, and just read over the prepared sermon on Saturday afternoon.

It reveals the heart of a lot of what is wrong with the SBC and honestly, with the Church throughout the United States. No one values the Word of God anymore. They don’t want to study it or disciple others how to study it, and until that foundational attitude toward Scripture is changed in the heart of pastors and the people they shepherd, Bible-loving Christians will continue to be rolled by those latte-sipping worldlings.

Update as of June 27, 2021: Litton has responded to his plagiarizing by essentially confessing to it. In his statement, he says that he had permission by Greear to swipe his sermon. In a similar statement, Greear affirms that he did in fact give Litton permission to use it, so all is good and everyone should calm down. The problem, however, is that Litton at no point during the sermon alert his audience that he was borrowing heavily from Greear’s message from the previous year. That doesn’t help at all. Greear’s very first point in his article outlining his five rules for preventing plagiarism states,

1. If I ever preach the gist of another person’s sermon, meaning that I used the lion’s share of their message’s organization, points, or applications, I give credit. I don’t ever think it’s a good idea to preach someone else’s sermon… but in those rare times when you feel like you just can’t help it, you have to give credit. A sermon is a major thought unit. If it’s not yours, you have to acknowledge where it came from.

Litton’s sycophantic “yes men” all cheered those statements as “demonstrating integrity,” and said the charges of plagiarism need to be dropped. Well, if Greear’s rules are right, Litton certainly violated that first one.

Furthermore, as of Sunday morning following the revelation of his plagiarism, Litton’s church has scrubbed his Youtube channel or privatized over 100 videos of his sermons. That’s bizarre, and demonstrates a cover-up rather than the so-called transparency he and the SBC are supposed to be operating under these days. I have it under good authority that there are many other plagiarized sermons of his out there that are word-for-word verbatim. He and his team can scrubbed all they want but they must remember that the internet is forever.

Interviews on Royal Deceptions

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed for my book on KJV Onlyism

Royal Deceptions: Exposing the King James Only Conspiracies Against God’s Word.

Here are the links if anyone is interested.

The Biblical and Reformed Podcast

Andrew Rappaport’s, The Rapp Report.

I did two interviews with Chris Arnzen of Iron Sharpens Iron radio

Part One and Part Two

Andy Olson’s Echo Zoe Radio

And with Justin Peters

Books I Heard or Read in 2020

As the hell year of 2020 closes out, I wanted to post the books I heard and read in 2020.

I’ll begin with the ones I heard (I listened to some Star Wars novels, but I don’t feel the need to highlight them).

Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson – S.C Gwynne

A wonderful biography. Because Jackson was a Confederate general (and one of the greatest in all of American history), he is treated by our woke moderns as a racist villain. He was nothing of the sort, even founding the first black Sunday school to teach literacy and biblical theology to the slaves.

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution – Nathaniel Philbrick

Philbrick is a brilliant historian on the American colonial and Revolutionary eras. Excellent overview of the events and people leading up to the Revolutionary War and the drama surrounding Arnold’s betrayal. I would also recommend Philbrick’s history on the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. Great Christian history even though it is not specifically written as such.

Foundation – Issac Asimov
Dune – Frank Herbert

Both of these books are getting a film treatment this next year. All the fanfare around them gushes how both books are brilliant empire building epics that inspired George Lucas and other film makers. I had never read Foundation, but it was one of the most boring stories I have listened to. I almost gave up on it. The scientists are the heroes who use their SCIENCE! to predict the future and put the Scientists! all in power when the idiot dummies who run the empires in the galaxy collapse upon themselves.

Dune, on the other hand, was fantastic. I had started reading the book when I was a kid, but it didn’t interest me. I became familiar with the 1984 movie version and the 2000 SciFi channel version. I liked the TV version over the movie version. At any rate, Frank Herbert did a much greater job of writing an empire building story with memorable characters and dialogue than Asimov.

Now to the books I read.

First, the ebooks.

Disloyal Opposition – Julie Kelly. A biography of sorts on the NeverTrump movement. It was entertaining to say the least.

Cynical Theories – Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsay. A book written by two secular unbelievers on the destructive ideas put forth by the current trends of critical race theories and other postmodern nonsense.

A Testimony of Jesus Christ – Tony Garland. An outstanding commentary on the book of Revelation. Over 1000 pages (I’m still reading). The commentary is available in various formats for free on the internet. I bought the Logos version so it can be searchable.

Now to physical books.

Note the photo. Beginning from the top.

The Absurdity of Unbelief and Expository Apologetics are both apologetics oriented books. Presuppositional and Scriptural, as apologetic methodology should be. Picked them up at G3.

He Died For Me explores the extent of the atonement in various Calvinistic expressions. I thought it laid out the discussion rather well. Another G3 find.

Creation Unfolding is written by my old seminary friend from Australia, Ken Coulson. He has since obtained a doctorate in geology. I left a fuller review at Amazon HERE.

Before the Throne is a lay level study on the holiness of God and how we as believers should be shaped by God’s holiness. It’s a good book to utilize in small group Bible studies.

God Doesn’t Whisper, written by my friend Jim Osman, is a book dismantling the disastrous idea that God speaks to Christians through personal signs, omens, murmurings, and unintelligible impressions that a believer then has to decode in some fashion or he will miss out on God’s will. Highly recommended!

History of Christian Thought is the second volume in Justo Gonzalez’s major work on Church History. The 2nd volume covers the middle ages up until the Reformation.

The remainder of my book stack I plan to read this next year. Or in the case of a few, finish them.

1 & 2 Thessalonians. My friend Cameron has started the personal project of reading through all of John MacArthur’s NT commentaries. He told me, “You know, we listen to his preaching every week, attended TMS, and work for GTY and I have never just read his commentary work.” The same with me. The only ones I have read through have been Galatians and 2 Timothy, because I taught those books. So I took up his habit. Cameron began with Matthew and is currently in the Gospel of Luke. I thought I would begin with some of his smaller works first.

Holiness – JC Ryle. I read big portions of this book decades ago and loved it. Ryle set me thinking correctly about sanctification. I was planning on preaching on the topic of holiness with my volunteers this past year, but then stupid COVID lockdowns happened.

What About Evil? This is Scott Christensen’s magnum opus on the problem of evil and how Christians should have a biblical response. Well researched and written. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

The Genesis Account is a commentary on Genesis 1-11. Sarfati, who has become a distant friend of mine on social media, provides a detailed, apologetic work that presents Genesis as legitimate history. Thoroughly exegetical, dealing with all the major views naysayers use to dismiss this foundational book.

A History of Christian Thought Volume 3. Justo Gonzalez’s third and final volume in his historical survey of Christian doctrine. Look forward to starting it.

Royal Deceptions: Exposing the KJVO Conspiracies Against God’s Word

Over 15 years ago I began blogging at Blogger. My primary purpose for blogging was to have an outlet for articulating what I was learning theologically and apologetically. One of my earliest series of articles was on the topic of King James Onlyism. As a new believer, I was sucked into believing the polemics of various advocates like David Cloud and Gail Riplinger. I morphed into becoming a belligerent KJV Onylist who pestered everyone with my newly acquired dogma. I thought I had a pure, God-fearing, Bible-loving belief in God’s revelation and I wanted to tell everybody about it. I wasn’t allowing any spiritually corrupt, fake Christian tell me my Bible had errors in it and that I needed to read a modern “perversion!” Then, in God’s grace and with the means of solid men pouring their lives into mine, I saw the foolishness of my KJVO convictions. I abandoned them and embraced the truth of how God transmitted and preserved His written revelation.

Reflecting on my decade or so as a KJVO “true” believer, I put together a number of articles engaging the apologetic talking points of KJV onlyism. I gained for myself a lot of notoriety with those dozen or so articles. KJV proponents swarmed to my blog wanting to refute me, and their ridiculous responses only provided me more material for my blog. What really blessed my heart, however, were the individuals who contacted me privately, expressing how they were helpful in drawing them out of hardcore independent, Fundamentalist legalism concerning the doctrine of Scripture. I was grateful for those testimonies and that God used me as a means for encouraging those brothers and sisters.

Eventually, I journeyed from Blogger to the WordPress platform and updated and reposted those articles for a wider audience. Over a year and half or more ago, a friend of mine asked if I had anything in print on KJV onlyism. He particularly wanted something simple and basic. An older lady had contacted him and wanted a response to a KJVO book she had received from Chick tracts publications. Most of the material I knew in print was excellent, but maybe disheartening for someone who isn’t familiar with all the terminology within textual criticism and translation circles.

I was moved to putting something into print, but didn’t really know where to start. I began pulling together my primary articles from my blog and re-editing them into what I thought could be a pdf file of some sort. Then I had a few other friends suggest using Amazon’s free book service. I looked into it, and for what I wanted to provide, they offered a simple (and free) way of getting my material into the hands of folks interested in the topic.

My friend, Jim Osman, who pastors Kootenai Community Church in Idaho, was extremely helpful with formatting my Word document into a book manuscript. Pastor Jim has some excellent books on spiritual warfare and evaluating the “hearing the voice of God” false doctrine so entrenched in modern evangelicalism, so check those out. Josh Comstock put together the brilliant cover art for my book and helped me brainstorm book titles that eventually became Royal Deceptions.

Those interested in the book or Kindle edition can find it here, Royal Deceptions: Exposing the King James Only Conspiracies Against God’s Word.

The online version of these articles have already been removed, so for any readers who may have benefited from sharing them in the past, I thank you, and please considering directing others to my book. It would be deeply appreciated.