Archive for Uncategorized

A theologian’s thought on emotion and the nature of man

// December 27th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Cornelius Van Til

Here’s an interesting quote from a theologian. This quote from Van Til reminds us that lost behavior springs forth from a lost nature, and likewise those actions that accompany salvation (that are fruits of the indwelling Holy Spirit) come from a new inward redeemed nature. It is not so much the intellect that produces these things as it is the nature of the creature.

“It is sometimes argued that unless one asserts the primacy of the intellect one may justly follow any or every sort of emotion. But this would be true only in the non-Christian concept of the nature of man. Only in the non-Christian concept of man are the emotions inherently unruly …. But, when sin has entered into the mind of man, the intellect is as unruly as are the affections. The whole man refuses to subject itself to the rule of God. When a saved sinner learns to control his passions, the reason is not primarily that he has understood the meaning of the primacy of the intellect as a psychological truth, but the primary reason is that in the whole of his being he is born of God.” —Cornelius Van Til


Reposted Article: “For the most desperate, it’s about faith, love, and human kindness” by Miranda Fielding, MD

// November 21st, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

For the most desperate, it’s about faith, love, and human kindness

Article from KevinMD

Author: Miranda Fielding, MD

“Thirty three years ago my husband and I went to Jamaica for a belated honeymoon.  We got married on the last weekend of my internship year, and immediately flew back to Boston for me to start my second year of internal medicine training.  Seven months later in the dead of winter, we flew to Jamaica to a lux resort in Ocho Rios where I spent a blissful week drinking sweet rum laced drinks and sleeping them off on a white sandy beach where the water was warm and turquoise, a far cry from the sodden gray snow banks of Massachusetts. We managed to get into the town once, long enough for me to buy a wood carving of two lovers kissing, made from lignum vitae, the national tree of Jamaica.  The sculpture still sits in the window by my front door.


Two weeks ago I finally had a chance to go back to Jamaica, as the invited guest of Dr. Dingle Spence, radiation oncologist and palliative care/oncology specialist at the Hope Institute, a small cancer hospital run by the Jamaican Ministry of Health.  I was there for two working days, spending the first at the large urban Kingston Public Hospital, a 500 bed hospital which houses the only government funded radiation oncology unit on that side of the island.

In the morning, we did teaching rounds with the ear, nose and throat surgical team, along with the residents and medical students.  Patients and their families waited outside our conference area and were brought in one at a time, to be examined and questioned by the team such that each had our full attention. Several patients had advanced disease, and I learned that one major problem is that the pathology department is overwhelmed with cases from all over the Caribbean, and that oftentimes it takes two to three months to get a pathologic diagnosis.  By that time, many cases have progressed so far as to be incurable with the resources at hand.  Still, the dedication of the team, and in particular that of the head surgeon Dr. Natalie Whylie was very apparent and heartfelt.

That afternoon, I had the opportunity to see several patients with Dr. Spence — all with various forms of advanced lung cancer requiring radiation to palliate symptoms of shortness of breath, and hemoptysis — coughing up blood. Simulation at Kingston Public Hospital is done the old fashioned way — by taking an x-ray with markers on the skin in the approximate area of the tumor, then shifting the “field” to match the tumor accurately.

On that day, all of the x-ray machines in radiology were in disrepair, and non- functional.  We escorted the patients to the emergency ward, where the radiology tech told us that the ER was too busy, and that we would have to come back later.  All three men, quite ill from their cancers, took a seat in the waiting room without food, water or complaint.  Three hours later, when we were called back to do the simulations, they were still there.  We simulated each in turn, then escorted them back to the radiation department, where they waited some more until it was their turn to be treated on the Cobalt machine later in the evening.  The therapists work 12-hour days on that machine, and we left before those patients had their turn. After a short visit to the private radiation oncology facility in Kingston, where cash paying patients can be treated on a linear accelerator, we returned to Dr. Spence’s home high up on Jacks Hill.

The second day was spent at the Hope Institute.  Founded in 1963 by the Jamaica Cancer Society, the hospital has grown to 45 beds, for patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation and for end-of-life hospice care.  Since patients frequently travel long distances for cancer care in Jamaica, beds are often used to house patients for prolonged courses of treatment.  The wards had clean crisp linens, and the smells of fresh cooked meals in the large recently modernized kitchen wafted through the rooms.  The nurses had an air of easy familiarity with their charges and the atmosphere was upbeat, despite the fact that many of the patients were gravely ill.

I was asked to lecture on several subjects, and given an air conditioned auditorium and three hours which I doubted seriously that I could fill.  As it turned out, the nurses, therapists, residents and students who attended felt comfortable enough to ask questions, and a home cooked midday meal helped pass the time quickly.  My old resident’s manual, given to me at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1982 and carried with me for over thirty years as a souvenir, was a major source of interest, because it contained information pertinent to the treatment of patients with the equipment that is available to cancer patients in the public sector of Jamaica, equipment that has long been abandoned or replaced in our own country.

The thing that struck me the most about my experience in Kingston was the fact that despite the human suffering that I saw, in a country short on both technology and morphine, the patients remained hopeful and even cheerful in the face of extreme adversity.  I asked my host, Dr. Spence, how this could be, coming from the land of complainers, myself chief among them.

She replied, “Most people in Jamaica have a deep faith.  They truly feel that they are in God’s hands, and what will be, will be and only God knows best.”

As I watched her move from bed to bed, giving comfort to the dying with only her soft voice and her cool touch upon their feverish foreheads, I realized something that sometimes I have forgotten in my excitement over the technology that I have available every day, without even thinking about it.  In the end it’s not about the technology at all.  For the most desperate among us, it’s about faith, and about love and human kindness.  For this reminder, I will be forever grateful.”

This article has been re-posted from KevinMD

Best coin ever spent.

// November 20th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

A girl’s donation to a street busking musician gets an unexpected surprise:

I think this street performance deserves just as much recognition and applause:

America’s Only Rare Earth Mine

// November 4th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Molycorp Mountain Pass rare earth facility in California’s Mojave Desert; Credit: The Atlantic

I read an article today about the only Rare Earth mine in the U.S. (there are many abroad in international locations and most of them are controlled by China, which uses them to corner the market on consumer electronics). It would be interesting to start new Rare Earth mines in the United States so that we can recoup some of the control over electronics from China. More importantly, mining rare earth metals in the U.S. would also allow the U.S. to control future energy sources derived from rare earth metals of relative abundance, such as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR’s) that we should build to take advantage of the relative abundance of rare earth metal’s that can be used for clean, more efficient energy such as Thorium. There are so many types of nuclear energy and Thorium is the safest that I’ve heard of. If I were wise I’d invest in Rare Earth metals. I think that would change up a lot of the way this country runs. (It currently runs on gasoline.)

Here are some highlights from the article, entitled, A Visit to the Only American Mine for Rare Earth Metals:

“That big hole in the ground? It’s a pit mine at the Molycorp Mountain Pass rare earth facility in California’s Mojave Desert. Metals mined from pits like that were used to make the cell phone in your pocket and the computer screen you’re staring at right now.”
“At one point, the majority of the world’s rare earths were mined at the Mountain Pass facility. Then, in 1998, Molycorp halted chemical processing at the mine following an environmental disaster…”
“At the same time, China was dramatically increasing its rare earth production. The resulting lower market prices forced Molycorp to close their mine in 2002. …China now produces between 96% and 99% of the world’s total rare earth supply. The government carefully allocates supply to individual companies to support domestic electronics production.”
“In 2009, they cut export quotas of rare earths from 50,000 to 30,000 tonnes, sending already-high prices on international markets even higher.”
“[In 2012], they [reopened] the Mountain Pass mine, an operation they’ve aptly named “Project Phoenix.” Getting to this point, however, has been expensive — about $1 billion so far — and has required a lot of special environmental permits.”
“The heavy rare earths terbium, yttrium, and dysprosium are necessary for manufacturing wind turbines and solar cells, so the government has a particular interest in finding sources of those elements within the US.”
“The Department of Energy released a Critical Materials Strategy report… which found that rare earths are necessary for clean energy technology, that the supply of those heavy rare earths is particularly at risk, and that Molycorp is the most promising rare earth project outside of China.”
“…the mine runs 24/7 because the equipment is hugely expensive; it couldn’t be profitable otherwise.”
“By controlling the world supply of rare earths, China is trying to create a barrier for anyone attempting to manufacture electronics elsewhere. While most electronics are still manufactured in China, plants are opening around the world. All of these plants are currently subject to China’s export taxes and artificial limitations of supply — if Mountain Pass production is as high as expected, that may change.”

Article in The Atlantic: Wiens, K. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Happy Reformation Day 2013!

// October 27th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Steve Lawson's Cartoon - Reformation Day 2013This was drawn by one of my Facebook friends, James Lawson, to commemorate Reformation Day 2013

Reformation day is celebrate on October 31st or the last weekend of October. It’s a celebration of the day that Martin Luther (1483-1546) nailed the 95 Theses to the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany, in 1517. Who could have known that the boldness of the pounding of Luther’s 16th century hammer could be heard as late as 2013 and that the reformation and the rescue of the revelation of scripture from corruption would affect us in so many ways today?

The Reformation is important not because it’s some new system of thought (by far; if that were the case it would be discouraged and abandoned as infamous, not celebrated; it is nothing new but in history can be found even in the 4th century with Augustine of Hippo, in the writings of early church fathers, and all over the Bible). It’s important because it represents a turning point in the history of the Christian church in which it recovers the purity of the faith as preached by Jesus and His apostles — a recovery from the darkness of the influence of false doctrine within the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther did 2 main important actions, in my opinion of which we still feel the liberating effects today:

He protested the RCC

1. Luther was a Roman Catholic Monk who would eventually leave that church. By nailing 95 Theses or points of contention with his Roman catholic rule he protested against the evil deviations it had made from scripture. He protested the selling of indulgences as a means to salvation through ‘springing’ people from an imaginary, non-biblical purgatory. He stated boldly that ‘if the Pope had the power to sign papers and set people free from ‘purgatory’ then why doesn’t he do it out of love for the people and why do we have to buy them?’ This was the crack in the dam that lead to the ‘Reformation.’ Though there were many ‘reformers’ other than Luther (Zwingli, Huss, Wycliffe, and on and on), but the Reformation is attributed to Luther, I think partly because of his boldness where others would have been silent.

He translated the New Testament to put it into the common man’s hands

2. He translated the New Testament into the common language of the day — German — from which all people could read the Word for themselves. Previously, the Bible was mostly disseminated mainly to the Roman Catholic priests, and in Latin. The priest would often study commentaries and writings/works of RCC church leaders rather than the Bible and in ceremonial practices and preparing sermons would study the Bible, quoting from the Latin. This made the Bible inaccessible to most people (who most likely could not read Latin), it made was only in the hands of the priests, who didn’t really understand the Bible but saw it mostly through secondary, tertiary or quaternary church sources.

The RCC taught ecclesiastical (church) doctrine over Bible doctrine as a result, and there was the idea that only the Roman Catholic Pope and appointed RCC officials could interpret scripture for the people. Even Martin Luther, as a Roman Catholic priest, wouldn’t own a Bible of his own until he actually graduated seminary! Even Luther had to study the Bible for himself and later it lead to his salvation (yes, that’s right, he was not saved, yet a priest — common even today). He beat the pages of scripture incessantly, discovering a phrase, ‘the righteousness of God in Christ,’ that he couldn’t understand and hated. After time he gave way to the context and discovered that this thing called righteousness can be attained not through works or confession as in the Roman Catholic Church but by faith in Jesus Christ alone, just as the scriptures alone had said. This, of course, did away with the entire Roman system with its confessions to a priest, Maryism, and transubstatiation. His whole life changed. Eventually he would live very contrary to the Roman priest and monk style of life, even marrying and breaking celibacy.

Moreover, not only did Luther make a translation that people could read, rescuing the Bible from secretive, private interpretation, but he had this version distributed to the people. It was early on at this point of history that the Gutenberg Press (the printing press) was invented and put into use just in time to distribute Martin Luther’s translation (you know, like WordPress or Kindle or Nook only for physical books made of paper; old stuff, I know). It was then that the Bible could be read and interpreted by every individual, scripture being perspicuous and clear. No longer did one need to listen to filtered doctrine from a priest but one could then read it for oneself. This was important because — who, after all, is the Author of scripture? Though there were about 40 attributable writers, there’s but one Author — the Holy Spirit. Men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, the Bible itself declares, to the Reformation represents putting the Holy Spirit back in control of the visible church.

These things changed everything — it destroyed Rome’s rebuilt Leviticus-like system and put in its place salvation by grace through faith and not of any of our own works. It emphasized salvation for each person and by Jesus Christ not the visible church institution — which it had always been since before the RCC meddled with it. It made possible true fellowship, true worship, better ecclesiology… It made Christ the leader and not the Pope, the scriptures the guide and not cardinals or monks, confession to God alone and not confession to a priest, Jesus Christ and not Mary. It pointed to the work of the Christ and Jesus Christ’s effort to save us and not our own works and fulfilling an irreparably broken law that we can’t keep. The Reformation is then a pivotal point in Church history that marks the emphasis by the Church of 5 things through which it overcame Roman Catholic control and was placed back into Holy Spirit control (that of scripture) — All of these points countered the false teaching of the Roman Catholic Church:

The reformers taught…

1. Sola Scriptura — By Scripture Alone

2. Sola Fide — By Faith Alone

3. Sola Gratia — By Grace Alone

4. Solus Christus — By Christ Alone

5. Soli Deo Gloria — To the Glory of God Alone

These are not about some denominational wing or sect of a larger whole; these unite just about every church that teaches the Gospel rightly. The world calls us Protestants, evangelicals; God the Son calls us His bride.

These are the 5 main points (five solae) of teaching, points of contention against Roman control, and to summarize these latinized phrases overall I would add another one — Ecclesia semper reformanda est. This phrase is often shortened to Semper reformanda, which both mean “The church is always to be reformed.” The idea is that the reformation didn’t begin and end in the 1500’s. The spirit of the reformers was that the church was to always reform itself and carry on the same example and mind that the reformers had. The Apostles command us in the New Testament of this principle that the church is always to examine its doctrine and teaching, essentially to always reform, as Paul taught Timothy in the epistles he wrote that he’s to be careful of the teaching delivered to him for the saints.

What a rich history, right? These are definitely things to celebrate! Here are some resources for more information.

More Information:

What Reformation Day is All About, by R.C. Sproul:

Reformation Sunday Messages:–Multimedia/Holiday-Sermons/Reformation-Sunday/

More cartoons by Steven Lawson:

Google “Reformation Day”:

Google “The Five Solas of the Reformation”:

95 Theses (translated into English), written by Martin Luther:

Luther's 95 Theses
Keren_ / / CC BY-SA

The Doctrine of the Aseity of God, Dr. R.C. Sproul

// October 24th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized


I AM: The Aseity of God, by R.C. Sproul

What does it mean for God to be self-existent? RC Sproul considers the doctrine of the aseity of God: “Paul tells us in Romans 1 that “although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (1:21). We should expect unbelievers to deny the truth, and this should lead us to thank our Lord that He shined a light in the darkness of our hearts when we, too, persisted in unbelief.”

Give it a Watch or Listen:
Length: 23 min, 20 seconds long

I was busy and played it while doing something else, but I really loved what I heard.



Meeting Dr. John MacArthur

// October 6th, 2013 // 3 Comments » // Blog, Uncategorized

Today was a great day for me as by the grace of God I was able to meet someone whose faith and ministry I’ve greatly respected and admired, having listened to hundreds of his sermons. I met at a church service Dr. John MacArthur, president of The Master’s Seminary and author of almost 300 Christian books, pastor of Grace Community Church (a 5th generation Pastor), and primary host of the Grace To You radio program. When thinking about John MacArthur who could forget his defense of the Gospel several times on Larry King Live or The Shepherds’ Conference, where he pastors other pastors? It was wonderful to finally meet him in person. He’s someone who’s teaching has had a significant influence on shaping my faith — I’ve listened to hundreds of his sermons of the years, some of them a half-dozen times when I realized how important they were, and some years nearly every day. Today he visited and preached a sermon on Isaiah 53, one of the greatest sermons I’ve heard him preach. I had a wonderful shot of the back of his head for the entire hour.

This sermon illustrated why I took an interest to MacArthur and his preaching. He highlighted the contextual importance of the chapter and gave a long introduction to his sermon by talking about the history and important of Isaiah, particularly this one chapter. He riddled biblical facts about Isaiah and brought in how it mirrors what’s in the Gospel. He got to the text and talked about the Hebrew and the the meaning of the changes in tense behind this particular chapter.

He then dissected each verse and gave his meaning, first by passage and then by individual verse, and then highlighting phrases. It was incredible. I love MacArthur’s teaching because he sticks to the teaching of the Word. He majors in teaching and focuses on conveying the meaning of the text and its importance. What we heard was actually the summarized points of a 10-week, 10-hour sermon series he preached on Isaiah Chapter 53. He was really in town on vacation with his wife visiting his children and grandchildren, as he’s taking 50 days off with his wife Patricia to celebrate 50 years of marriage (what a great shepherd of church and family).

MacArthur’s great teaching stands in stark contrast to some of the prominent heretical teachers of our day in popular media and on TV, whose teaching is found mirrored nowhere in church history. MacArthur wasn’t afraid to call out false teachers even in today’s sermon, also, always looking to shepherd the flock against the major heresies of our day. One thing I admire about MacArthur’s teaching is that it’s just so biblical. Where others would fill in an illustration with some funny story in the media or news he gives illustrations about the faith of Abraham or from the life of the Apostle Paul, comparing scripture with scripture. He teaches chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and dissects deeply into passages, having a great understanding of the original languages. I’ve listened to enough of his sermons to know he’s also very well-read as he reads a lot of commentaries and works from theologians and bible scholars so that he’s not alone in his interpretation.

This was a really treasured opportunity to me — I said after introducing him, “I’ve listened to hundreds of your sermons, mostly while jogging!” He said, “Better while jogging than before you go to sleep!” with a smile. My wife Kristen snapped this picture of MacArthur and I, with my John MacArthur Study Bible in hand. I’m praising God for the opportunity to meet this gentleman. because to me it’s like meeting someone admired from church history (A.W. Pink, Charles H. Spurgeon, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards) — I think that after MacArthur is done here on Earth his teaching and ministry will be remembered on that scale. MacArthur is definitely a lion in the pulpit but a lamb in the pews — he took the time to be kind to everyone at the door that wanted to speak with him and shake his hand (like myself), joking with people and exchanging smiles, just like Mark Dever who invited him to preach today. MacArthur has a lot of energy.

John MacArthur, Isaac M. Dodd

John MacArthur (left), Isaac M. Dodd (right), with The John MacArthur Study Bible (a.k.a., the “JohnnyMac Bible”

John MacArthur praised Pastor Dr. Mark Dever, his church, and his ministry. I think that one of the most important ministries and men of our day besides MacArthur is actually Mark Dever and the 9 Marks ministry (and to be complete R.C. Sproul’s ministry Ligionier Ministries and also Ray Comfort’s Living Waters ministries). The Word says to honor men who labor in the teaching and preaching of the Word (1 Tim 5:17). I praise God for these mighty men of God of whom I am learning very much. I aspire to be like these men of God that the Lord obviously uses in a mighty way to challenge our day and age.

Abortion Horror Story

// September 15th, 2013 // No Comments » // Health & Fitness, Uncategorized

“Abortionists will do whatever it takes to get women into their abortuaries.

And after they’ve persuaded them to come in to their mills to abort their babies, with false assurances like their baby is “just tissue,” they’re not so keen on letting them leave.

A horrifying example of this took place just recently in West Virginia.

Abortionist Rodney Stephens has a long history of malpractice suits for botching abortions.

And this most recent case makes number nine for him.

When 26 year old Tia Gravely came face-to-face with an unplanned pregnancy she called his clinic.

After a brief discussion with his staff she was persuaded to abort her unborn child.

Soon, after assuring Gravely that the abortion would be quick and painless, the staff prepped her for the “simple procedure.”

As they forced the cervix open to begin the abortion it was obvious that the pain medication was not working.

In agony, the woman demanded that they completely halt the abortion prep so she could leave.

But while there seem to be no limits to what abortionists will do to get women into their abortuaries — once they’re on the table they’re not so keen on letting them slip away.

So, instead of heeding her instructions, Stephens had his staff hold her down and force the abortion on her.

Tia, weak and bleeding, was half carried to her car.

The excruciating pain continued until the next day when emergency room doctors found several pieces of the baby’s body, including the skull, still in her uterus.

Shocking? Not really. Abortionists do not gently tend to a woman’s health.

These are cold, calculating murderers for hire that will do whatever it takes to slaughter unborn babies.

So the next time you hear claims that women’s health is abortion proponents’ first concern, remember Tia Gravely’s nightmare and the thousands of women injured by abortion.

Remember also, 56 million beautiful babies who’ve been cheated out of life and are silently pleading for us to end the barbarism and overturn the disastrous Row v. Wade decision.

For Life,

Martin Fox, President
National Pro-Life Alliance”

The letter speaks for itself.

Thank you Lord!

// June 28th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Oh yeah, since before my last post on this site I greatly, greatly understate that by the grace of God He’s brought me into medical school, through my first year, and now into marriage to my lovely wife Kristen Dodd. 🙂 I’m thanking God that that’s the most understated sentence I’ve ever written. Lord, you’re amazing and greatly deserve all the glory!

Encouragements Towards Self-Discipline

// June 28th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I’m always looking for passages of scripture that will drive me to do greater things for Christ. This is also a helpful comment that draws the line between Christian self-discipline and asceticism, which is unbiblical. Here’s something I read recently: “…Christian discipline never despises earthly blessings, but consecrates them to spiritual ends. It permits their use with thanksgiving, but not their abuse. It sanctifies the physical by restraint and direction, offering the whole to God for sacrifice or service. It will not bow in slavery to the senses, but neither will it destroy them as evil. Its hallmark is not abstinence from God’s gifts, but temperance; but more than temperance, complete dedication to God’s glory.

True Christian discipline may at times deny itself God’s good gifts as rigorously as a hermit, but such denial will not be a means to holiness but a means of service. It will be practiced, not because the thing sacrificed is believed to be evil, but because the sacrifice in this particular instance is helpful in achieving a yet greater good. Some evangelists deliberately sacrifice marriage in order to be free to evangelize more effectively. In doing so they are casting no reflection on marriage itself; they are not rejecting marriage per se. Their celibate life is niehter a mark of holiness nor a means of holiness; it is simply a practical means to a greater liberty in roving evangelism.” The Discplined Life: The Mark of Christian Maturity by Richard S. Taylor


Oh yeah, since my last post on this site I greatly, greatly understate that by the grace of God He’s brought me into medical school, through my first year, and now into marriage to my lovely wife Kristen Dodd. 🙂 I’m thanking God that that’s the most understated sentence I’ve ever written. Lord, you’re amazing and greatly deserve all the glory!