Here are some thoughts I jotted down a while back about whether we are responsible for our feelings and dispositions even if we do not choose them or act upon them. This matter comes up generally in theological discussions of guilt and culpability, often with the assertion that we cannot be held morally responsible for how we feel but only for how we act. This perspective is frequently expanded to vindicate same sex attraction by suggesting that the absence of volition also removes culpability. The follow-on to that suggestion is that such feelings and inclinations must be viewed as innocent and natural if they are inborn. Quite apart from the ethical incoherence of this latter expanded position, the former assertion, that we are not morally responsible for our dispositions or feelings, is entirely contrary to biblical morality.
Heart sins are still sins even if they are not taken to the level of overt actions. For example, this is Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5.21ff regarding heart dispositions of hatred and overt actions of murder, in Matthew 5.27ff regarding heart dispositions of lust and overt actions of adultery, in Matthew 5.33ff regarding heart dispositions of duplicity and overt lies. James teaches us that overt sins arise out of sinful dispositions or desires (1.13ff; 4.1ff). As we confess in Westminster Larger Catechism 99 part 2, the Moral Law of God addresses inward dispositions of the soul and not only outward actions. ‘2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.’ (Romans 7.14; Deuteronomy 6.5; Matthew 22.37-39; Matthew 5.21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 37-39, 43-44)
Of course, this is part of what folks find so offensive in this context. If I’m born this way, they say, then I can’t be held responsible because I didn’t choose. This is one reason why Reformed Protestants are sometimes despised: we teach the doctrine of original sin; that is, we are conceived already guilty of Adam’s first sin, and corrupted in our whole nature, apart from any act of our own will (Westminster Shorter Catechism 18).
This is an excellent five minute civics lesson by constitutional law professor Robert P. George. Most citizens don’t know this basic information about our system of government. This is well worth the time to listen.
‘Freedom can be taken away, but it can also be given away — out of sheer ignorance.’ ~ Robert P. George
Reverend Batzig provides practical and biblical advice for parents when their children stray from the faith.
Of all the painful experiences that I have had to face through nearly a decade in ministry—the death of a mother, couples enduring the heartbreak of miscarriage, strife, abuse, divorce, scandal, etc.—having to walk with a godly father and mother through the dark shadows of having a child rebel is among the most difficult. There are many difficult and painful experiences that ministers face, but the spiritual rebellion of a child of a believer weighs heavily on the heart of any true minister of the Gospel. Perhaps it weighs heavy on my heart because I was one such rebellious child brought up in a Christian home. Though I was nurtured in an extremely spiritually and theologically strong Christians home, I ran from it–and to the spiritual darkness and sin of this world–as far and as fast as I could.
Drawing from the example of his own parents when he strayed from the faith as a young man, Reverend Batzig describes practical spiritual care focussing on the power of prayer and God’s Word in the mystery of God’s Providence. I encourage you to read this helpful article at the Feeding on Christ blog.
Dan Phillips over at the PyroManiacs blog asks us to imagine…
Suppose political reporters wanted to pretend to be anything vaguely approximating even-handed.
Hey, I said suppose. Stop laughing. Use your imagination, and work with me here.
We know they’re going to ask every Republican presidential candidate deep and probing vital-issue-of-the-day questions like:
- Should “gays” be stoned?
- Would you go to a “gay” “wedding” if you were invited?
- Would you go to a “gay” “wedding” if it were your son or daughter?
- Is being “gay” a choice?
…and so forth. I don’t need to do their work for them.
So what if they were even to pretend to be even-handed on this issue? What questions could they ask of the Democratic candidates?
I’m absolutely serious about these, and I’ve come up with the lot of them on the run, without even breaking a sweat. Here goes:
He goes on to offer some questions that highlight the real differences between the ethical perspective of a genuinely Christian morality (also known as moral sanity) and the default ethical position assumed (and promoted) by the popular news media. Enjoy.
→ Let’s pretend: imagine an even-handed media
It’s remarkable to me that this is from 1978 — 36 years ago.
‘Freedom is not the natural state of mankind. It is a rare and wonderful achievement.’ —Milton Friedman
Day One is an elegantly designed journaling application that runs on iOS and on OS X. It’s cloud integrated so that everything stays in sync and is accessible from anywhere. I use it and it’s an excellent tool. I highly recommend it.
Day One has been the App of the Week on the Mac App Store this week and today is the last day to get the OS X version (Mac) for 30% off ($6.99) and the iOS version (iPhone / iPad) for free.
Day One is made by Bloom Built, LLC and here’s their description.
Day One is a journaling app for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Record life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to everyday moments, Day One’s elegant interface makes journaling your life a simple pleasure.
More about Day One is available on their web site.
I use a Mac, and I’m thankful that the OS X platform has a history of fewer problems with malware than Windows. There are some ‘design’ reasons for that benefit to OS X users, but either way, it’s a good idea to keep the tools handy for protection against malware attacks.
ClamXav is a Mac port of the free and open source virus scanner called ClamAV. I have found it to be stable and reliable. It has been updated recently to version 2.6.4, and MacUpdate.com provides information about this latest release along with a description of the software provided by the developer.
Free virus checker, based on ClamAV
ClamXav is a free virus checker for OS X. It uses the tried, tested, and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end.
I hope you like and use ClamXav a lot and that it helps keep you and your friends/colleagues virus-free. Although I’m providing ClamXav for free, I am increasingly spending more and more time developing it and would really appreciate if you would consider making a donation please. All donations (no matter how small) are gratefully received and would be a huge incentive to help me work on future versions of ClamXav, but more importantly I rely on donations to pay for my bandwidth costs. Please consider it, see the ClamXav homepage, click the ‘More Information’ link above on this page.
- ClamAV engine updated 0.98.4
- ClamXav now supports going full screen on OS X 10.7 or later
- Fixed issue where ClamXav might incorrectly report a file being moved to quarantine
- Fixed issue where ClamXav would crash if the RunFreshclam tool was missing
- Fixed issue where clamdscan gets stuck in a loop using 100% CPU
- Improvements for OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Transmission is my favourite BitTorrent client. It’s fast and efficient, has a very nice GUI, and it’s multi-platform. I enjoy using it to download free and open source software, especially Linux distributions.
Here’s the information from MacUpdate.com.
Transmission is a fast, easy and free multi-platform BitTorrent client.
Transmission sets initial preferences so things “Just Work”, while advanced features like watch directories, bad peer blocking, and the Web interface can be configured with just a few clicks. Macworld put it this way: “It’s fast, it’s extremely lightweight, and – even though it’s available for a variety of platforms – it behaves just as you’d expect a Mac program to.”
Transmission supports full encryption, file selection, a web-based interface, groups, peer exchange, automatic port forwarding, webseeds, watch directories, tracker editing, global and per-torrent speed limits, and more.
Its code is freely available online and is licensed under either the GNU Public License v2 or the MIT License. The development team welcomes anyone who is interested in contributing code, documentation, translations, or other help.
- Fix peer communication vulnerability (no known exploits) reported by Ben Hawkes
Apple updated the OS X and iOS operating systems yesterday. Of note in these updates is a new version of Apple’s native web browser, Safari, which addresses several security issues. From Apple, here’s the description and some relevant links.
The OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 Update is recommended for all Mavericks users. It improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.
- Fixes an issue that prevented some Macs from automatically connecting to known Wi-Fi networks
- Fixes issue causing the background or Apple logo to appear incorrectly on startup
- Improves the reliability of waking from sleep
- Includes Safari 7.0.5
OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 Update
OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 Update (Combo)
This update contains bug fixes and security updates, including:
- Improves iBeacon connectivity and stability
- Fixes a bug with data transfer for some 3rd party accessories, including bar code scanners
- Corrects an issue with data protection class of Mail attachments
For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222
Available via iTunes or OTA
Calvin offers these helpful insights in his comments on Deuteronomy 30.6.
6. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart. This promise far surpasses all the others, and properly refers to the new Covenant, for thus it is interpreted by Jeremiah, who introduces God thus speaking,—“Behold, the days come that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, … which covenant they brake, … but … I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” (Jer. 31:31–33.) Moses now declares the same thing in different words, that, lest the Israelites, according to their wonted instability, should fall back from time to time into new rebellions, a divine remedy was needed, i.e., that God should renew and mould their hearts. In short, he reminds them that this would be the chief advantage of their reconciliation, that God should endow them with the Spirit of regeneration. There is a metaphor in this word circumcise; for Moses alludes to the legal sign of consecration, whereby they were initiated into the service of God. The expression, therefore, is equivalent to his saying, God will create you spiritually to be new men, so that, cleansed from the filth of the flesh and the world, and separated from the unclean nations, you should serve Him in purity. Meanwhile, he shews that, whatever God offers us in the Sacraments, depends on the secret operation of His Spirit. Circumcision was then the Sacrament of repentance and renewal, as Baptism is now to us; but “the letter,” as Paul calls it, (Rom. 2:27,) was useless in itself, as also now many are baptized to no profit. So far, then, is God from resigning the grace of His Spirit to the Sacraments, that all their efficacy and utility is lodged in the Spirit alone.
Calvin, J. & Bingham, C.W., 2010. Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Emphasis added.)