Monday, 26 December 2016

Monday quote

This is the wisdom that acknowledges the small are great, the last are first, the humble are exalted, and the servants are lords. For those who think in carnal categories, power is always power over, and this means that for them the difference between white magic and black magic has to be power over for good ends, and power over for evil ends. But the gospel is power under. Jesus humbled himself in obedience, even to the point of death on a cross, and God has therefore highly exalted him and given him the name that is above every name.

Douglas Wilson

Monday, 19 December 2016

Monday quote

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Trump and white evangelical voters

I don't envy the choices that US citizens had during their recent presidential elections. Were I eligible I would not have wanted to vote for either of the main candidates, and even the Libertarian candidate does not seem that libertarian. In the lead up to the election and the aftermath there has been much analysis but I have not found it convincing. A  recent piece in the Atlantic by Merritt doesn't do much better.

One of the few things he gets correct is the appeal not to leave evangelicalism because of disillusionment over the election. There comes a time to leave groups but he is correct that this is not the time to be walking away from evangelicalism—not least because the US is smaller than the rest of the world.

But I want to challenge several of the assumptions here because the issue is a little more complicated than: lots of evangelicals voted for Trump.
81 percent of white evangelicals voted for the Trump ticket—a higher percentage than voted for George W. Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.
A major premise of the article is that white evangelicals support Trump and in higher numbers than other Republican candidates of earlier elections. But did they? And what else explains their voting behaviour?

Using Merritt's source (which is exit polling data and will have a margin of error) we see that the numbers of white evangelicals for Republican and Democrat are

Percent white evangelicals voting for Republicans and Democrats
2004 R78% D21%
2008 R74% D24%
2012 R78% D21%
2016 R81% D16%

It is uncertain whether there is anything in such a small percentage change. It may well be within the margin of error. What it clearly does tell us is that historically evangelical whites have voted Republican and continued to do so this election consistent with historic trends.

But percentages do not tell us how many people voted, they tell us proportionally how people voted. If everyone voted the percentages would be helpful but not if the turnout is significantly different.

This election an estimated 133 million votes were cast* (55% of eligible voters), 129 million for Trump or Clinton. In 2012 129 million votes (55%). In 2008 131 million votes (58%). In 2004 122 million votes (57%).

Votes (millions)
2004 Bush 62 Kerry 59
2008 Obama 69 McCain 60
2012 Obama 66 Romney 61
2016 Trump 63 Clinton 66

But combining these tables is quite hard. We need to know how many white evangelicals actually voted. Pew tells us that the electorate is composed of 26% white evangelicals which is essentially unchanged since 2008. Do they mean by electorate voters or potential voters? If the later (which is what electorate usually means) that isn't definitive because potential voters are not actual voters and it could be that white evangelicals disproportionately vote (or don't vote) or didn't vote as much in a specific election. Either way, what we actually need to know is how many white evangelicals voted for Trump (or Clinton) and what that number is as a percentage of eligible white evangelical voters (each election), and has that changed over the last couple of decades.

Therefore we do not have definitive data to say that white evangelicals voted for Trump more enthusiastically than Republican candidates of yesteryear, nor can we say that the voting behaviour this year was significantly different based on reasonable inferences from data we do have. We see the same old same old, just as black females voted Democrat like they have done for the last several decades.

Which brings us to the second issue that Merritt fails to mention: Trump's rival. Merritt quotes several evangelicals who were unhappy with Trump as a candidate, to which I concur. (Ironically, that he can name so many examples kind of works against his argument). A large number of my conservative friends and colleagues disapproved of Trump. I have never heard more negative comments spoken by conservative Christians about a politician running on a conservative ticket. But one can't discuss Trump in isolation. He was running against Clinton. And a large number of conservatives have concerns about her also. They find her as dishonest as Trump if not more so. Interestingly—contra my comment about Trump above—only one of my liberal Christian friends denounced her. Now one need not necessarily vote for Trump for fear of a Clinton presidency, but it is an understandable position. Who did Merritt vote for? He did not say, though obviously not Trump. But Merritt's argument works both ways. If Christians want to wash their hands of evangelicalism because some voted Trump, cannot other Christians want to wash their hands of those who would vote for Clinton?


*Accurate numbers are hard to come by, this is a low estimate.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Monday quote

Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog.

Philip Yancey

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Antarctica is big

Really big. Wikipedia have same scale maps for comparison. The Antarctic map is ice covered so is larger than the ice-free continent would be, but it is still remarkably large: twice Australia; similar to Russia; half Africa.

Area (million square kilometres)

Antarctica: 14
Australia: 8.6
Russia: 17.1
Africa: 30.4













Monday, 5 December 2016

Monday quote

Believing in Jesus is not enough, only when belief becomes obedience does it mean anything.

Trevor Geddes

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Jesus quoting Scripture

These are all the quotations of Jesus from the Scriptures. The quote is italicised. How Jesus frames the quote is bolded. The Sermon on the Mount is excluded.

Matthew
  • But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Mat 4:4 | Deu 8:3)
  • Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Mat 4:7 | Deu 6:16)
  • Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” (Mat 4:10 | Deu 6:13)
  • But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mat 9:13 | Hos 6:6)
  • For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. (Mat 10:35-36 | Mic 7:6)
  • This is he of whom it is written, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.” (Mat 11:10 | Mal 3:1)
  • Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.’ For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.” (Mat 13:14-15 | Isa 6:9-10)
  • He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ ” (Mat 15:3 | Exo 20:12; 17)
  • You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Mat 15:7-9 | Isa 29:13)
  • He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Mat 19:4-6 | Gen 1:27; 2:24)
  • Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mat 19:18-19 | Exo 20:12-16; Lev 19:18)
  • Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” (Mat 21:16 | Psa 8:2)
  • Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Mat 21:42 | Psa 118:22-23)
  • And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God:  ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (Mat 22:31-32| Exo 3:6)
  • And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40 | Deu 6:5; Lev 19:18)
  • He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet” ’? (Mat 22:43-44 | Psa 110:1)
  • “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” (Mat 23:37-38 | Psa 118:36)
  • “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand). (Mat 24:15 | Dan 9:27)
  • Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ (Mat 26:31 | Zec 13:7)
  • The high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mat 26:63-64 | Psa 110:1; Dan 7:13)
  • And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mat 27:46 | Psa 22:1)
Mark
  • He said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ” (Mar 4:11-12 | Isa 6:9-10 )
  • Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mar 7:6-7 | Isa 29:13)
  • For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ (Mar 7:10 | Exo 20:12; 21:17)
  • Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ (Mar 10:5-7 | Gen 1:27; 2:24)
  • You know the commandments: “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.” (Mar 10:19 | Exo 20:12-16)
  • He was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mar 11:17 | Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11)
  • Have you not read this Scripture: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”? (Mar 12:10-11 | Psa 118:22-23)
  • Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (Mar 12:26-27 | Exo 3:6)
  • Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mar 12:29-31 | Deu 6:4-5; Lev 19:18)
  • “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), (Mar 13:14 | Dan 9:27)
  • Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ (Mar 14:27 | Zec 13:7)
  • The high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mar 14:61-62 | Psa 110:1; Dan 7:13)
  • And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mar 15:34 | Psa 22:1)
Luke
  • Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ” (Luk 4:4 | Deu 6:13)
  • Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luk 4:12 | Deu 6:16)
  • And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luk 4:17-19 | Isa 61:1-2)
  • This is he of whom it is written, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.” (Luk 7:27 | Mal 3:1)
  • He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ (Luk 8:10 | Isa 6:9-10)
  • For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luk 12:52-53 | Mic 7:6)
  • Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Luk 13:35 | Psa 118:26)
  • You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” (Luk 18:20 | Exo 20:12-16)
  • And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Luk 19:45-46 | Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11)
  • But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? (Luk 20:17 | Psa 118:22-23)
  • For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” (Luk 22:37 | Isa 53:12)
  • For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luk 23:29-31 | Hos 10:8)
  • Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luk 23:46 | Psa 31:5)
John
  • It is written in the Prophets, “And they will all be taught by God.” (Joh 6:45 | Isa 54:13)
  • In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. (Joh 8:17 | Deu 17:6)
  • Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” (Joh 10:34 | Psa 82:6)
  • But the Scripture will be fulfilled, “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” (Joh 13:18 | Psa 41:9)
  • But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: “They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25 | Psa 35:19)


Verses included
Matt 4:4; Matt 4:10; Matt 4:7; Matt 5:21; Matt 5:27; Matt 5:31; Matt 5:33; Matt 5:38; Matt 9:13; Matt 10:35-36; Matt 11:10; Matt 12:7; Matt 13:14-15; Matt 15:3-4; Matt 15:7-9; Matt 19:4-6; Matt 19:17-20; Matt 21:13; Matt 21:16; Matt 21:42; Matt 22:31-32; Matt 22:37-39; Matt 22:43-44; Matt 23:38-39; Matt 24:15-16; Matt 26:31; Matt 26:64; Matt 27:46; Mark 4:11-13; Mark 7:10; Mark 7:6-7; Mark 10:6-8; Mark 10:19; Mark 11:17; Mark 12:10-11; Mark 12:26-27; Mark 12:36; Mark 14:27; Mark 14:62; Mark 15:34; Luke 4:4; Luke 4:8; Luke 4:12; Luke 4:17-19; Luke 7:27; Luke 8:10; Luke 12:52-53; Luke 13:35; Luke 18:20; Luke 19:46; Luke 20:17; Luke 20:37-38; Luke 20:42-43; Luke 22:37; Luke 23:30; Luke 23:46; John 6:45; John 8:17; John 10:34; John 13:18; John 15:25.

Verses that are Scripture references in the Sermon on the Mount
Matt 5:21; Matt 5:27; Matt 5:31; Matt 5:33; Matt 5:38; Matt 5:43; Matt 7:23

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