Condemning Condemnation

It always makes me laugh when, during the course of a debate, one of the participants resorts to the “Condemning Condemnation” card. You know. Like when someone says that such-and-such is wrong and their opponent immediately declares, “But it’s wrong for you to judge!”

Wait… what?

One of my favorite parts in Gregory Koukl’s Tactics is when he shares a conversation where this sort of fallacious argument reared its ugly head. He promptly nips it in the bud.

Lee: I’m not a homosexual, but I think it’s wrong to condemn anybody for anything.

Greg: Why are you condemning me, then?

Lee: What?

Greg: I said, why are you condemning me if you think it’s wrong to condemn people?

Lee: I’m responding to the fact that a lot of Christians condemn people.

Greg: I understand. And it sounds like you’re condemning me because I just condemned homosexuality as wrong.

Lee: Yes, I am. You are supposed to love everybody.

Greg: Wait a minute. You’re not listening to yourself. You just said it’s wrong to condemn people. And now you admit you’re condemning me. So I’m asking, why are you doing the very same thing that you say is wrong when I do it?

Lee: No, I’m not. [Lee pauses as the light slowly begins to dawn.] Okay, let’s put it this way. I’m not condemning you, I’m reprimanding you. Is that better?

Greg: Then my comments about homosexuals are simple reprimands as well.

Flotsam & Jetsam (3/8)

Book Giveaway: March – Hop over to Erik’s blog and enter to win a copy of J.C. Ryle’s classic book Holiness.

Is Gay the New Black? [Caution: Mature] – Careful! If you’re anti-perversion you may just belong to a hate group! Gary Demar writes, “Any time the liberal media want to disparage the right side of the political spectrum, they call on a pool of go-to guys and gals to make their case for them. It’s not news reporting; its ideological position marketing.”

Trio – Laughter is such a wonderful thing…

What I’d Have To Deny to Deny Hell – From Tim Challies: “What would I have to deny in order to deny hell? If I am ever to come to the point of denying the existence of hell, what will be the doctrinal cost of getting there? Though I am sure there is much more that could be said, I came up with four denials.”

I’m Readin’ A Book – When one’s passion for reading goes a little too far. (There’s brief name-calling, so I recommend parents preview this one before allowing little ones to watch.)

This Is Where I Am – Short, but very thought-provoking. Thanks Persis!

Does God Love the Sinner? – Tackling another evangelical cliche: “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.”

The Sorrows that Come from God’s Hand – Stephen Altrogg over at The Blazing Center shares an encouraging quote by John Newton.

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is
an inconvenience rightly considered.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Fetus… or Baby?

I’ve never followed House, but this particular clip caught my attention. It’s from Season 3, Episode 17, in which Dr. House operates on a fetus in utero. Based on actual events, the scene shows the baby’s hand emerge during the procedure to grasp the doctor’s finger. Apparently, after the operation House refers to the child, not as a “fetus”, but as a “baby”.

HT Sherry @ Semicolon and Trevin Wax @ Kingdom People

A Few, Easy, or Gentle Strokes

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

“Let no man think to kill sin – with a few, easy, or gentle strokes!

“He who has once smitten a serpent, if he does not beat it until it is slain – may regret that he ever began the quarrel!

“Just so it is with the one who undertakes to deal with sin – and does not constantly pursue it to its death!”

~ John Owen

HT Grace Gems

Book Review: The White Company

The attention of the insurgents had been drawn away from murder to plunder, and all over the castle might be heard their cries and whoops of delight as they dragged forth the rich tapestries, the silver flagons, and the carved furniture. Down in the courtyard half-clad wretches, their bare limbs all mottled with blood stains, strutted about… Yet all order had not been lost amongst them, for some hundreds of the better armed stood together in a silent group, leaning upon their rude weapons and looking up at the fire, which had spread so rapidly as to involve one whole side of the castle. Already Alleyne could hear the crackling and roaring of the flames, while the air was heavy with heat and full of the pungent whiff of burning wood.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: the name usually calls to mind 221B Baker Street and it’s resident, arguably one of the most famous characters to ever grace the hallowed pages of classic literature. Yet despite the popularity of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Doyle’s favorite among all his creations was a book of quite a different nature – an epic historical narrative of the Hundred Years’ War entitled The White Company.

The year is 1366, and England is at war with Spain. At age twenty, Alleyne Edricson leaves the abbey where he has been raised and sets out on his own, in accordance with the terms of his father’s will. In due time, he falls in with rough but likeable Samkin Aylward, lately returned from France to recruit for the White Company, a motley band of mercenary archers. Alleyne also makes the acquaintance of Sir Nigel Loring of Christchurch, and becomes his squire. Loring soon after accepts leadership of the White Company, and departs with his followers for France to aid Edward, the Black Prince.

Needless to say, adventures abound throughout the remainder of the book. There are skirmishes with pirates, a bloody siege, jousting tournaments, and countless acts of courage, honor, and fortitude, as well as a brilliantly rendered account of the Battle of Najera.

I have a great degree of respect for the genre of historical fiction in general; but every now and then, I encounter a book like The White Company, which not only earns my respect, but leaves me completely awestruck. Doyle managed to combine meticulously researched history with a marvelously entertaining tale of chivalry in a way that perfectly balances both aspects. The book never reads like a history textbook, and yet it never reads like a fable, either. The blend is perfect.

As far as objectionable content is concerned, there’s very little to worry about, and this book is an excellent choice for readers aged 13 and up, especially boys. However, let the sensitive beware: battle violence and carnage abound, complete with beheadings, lynchings, thoat-slittings, impalings, stabbings, and the like. It’s certainly realistic, and never goes over-the-top, but some may have more trouble stomaching it than others.

In conclusion, The White Company, though relatively unheard of today, is one of the best, most vibrant historical novels I have read – and I’ve read quite a few. With assiduous attention to detail and a robust style, Doyle paints a fantastic picture of the 14th century, occasionally adding a flourish of humor along the way.

So go pick up a copy at the library (if you can find it). Better yet, just buy it. You won’t be disappointed.