THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BLIND BEER TASTE TESTS (Or, BEER BATTLES: WHO HOPS TO THE TOP?)

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“Stop listening to your heart and your mind, and start listening to your taste buds.”
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This is the Fourth and final installment.
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If you missed Part 1, you can read it HERE.
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If you missed Part 2, you can read it HERE.
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If you missed Part 3, you can read it HERE.
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You are HERE.
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Before we begin this final installment of Blind Beer Taste Tests, Brother Nappy and I would like to proudly acknowledge our sponsor ‘Dale McHale’s House Of Ales In Avondale’, and his catchy little advertising slogan: 
“You’ve tried the rest, now try Dale’s.”


As I type this I’m listening to ‘Bad Karma’ by Warren Zevon:

Bad Karma
Coming after me
Bad Karma
Killing me by degrees
Bad Karma
Bad Karma


It's a dog's life
And it's not my fault
Ought to hang my picture
In the All-Time Losers' Hall of Fame
Bad Karma
It's a low down dirty shame

Yeah, “It's uphill all the way”, but these Blind Beer Taste Tests provided a wee-wee bit of refreshment during my trudging climb. So, without further ado, let’s get to the results of the Finals and find out which 12-ounce warrior triumphed in these Beer Battles.

“THE BEER BATTLES COME TO AN END!” 
(Or, "Nappy And Stephen Finish Sacrificing Their Livers In A Search For Truth")

Our scoring system looks like this:

A+ = “Goes up to Eleven” points (Think: ‘Spinal Beer Tap’
A = 10 points
A- = 9 points
B+ = 8 points
B = 7 points
B- = 6 points
C+ = 5 points
C = 4 points
C- = 3 points
D+ = 2 points
D = 1 point

The last four beers standing were ‘Big Sky IPA’, ‘Hop Knot’, ‘Little Sumpin’ Ale’, and ‘Odell Red Ale’. And here’s how it played out . . .

TEST #16: MAY, 2012

Odell Brewing
Co., ‘ODELL RED ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Total =  33 points

Big Sky Brewing Co., ‘BIG SKY IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Total =  34 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
The big underdog, BIG SKY IPA, pulled off yet another upset, beating ODELL RED ALE by one lousy stinkin’ point. Nappy and I both felt that the beers could have been a bit colder, and knowing that ODELL RED ALE’s flavor seems to suffer more so than most others when it’s not properly chilled, we decided to give RED ALE the benefit of the doubt by conducting a third round face-off after both beers had spent 9 minutes in the freezer. Unfortunately for RED ALE, it didn’t alter the results.

Nappy gave ODELL RED ALE a “B+” after the 9-minute freeze, and he gave BIG SKY IPA an “A-”. I gave RED ALE an “A-” and a full “A” to BIG SKY IPA. After a Ninth Avenue Freeze-Out, BIG SKY IPA still came away with a 19 to 17 victory.

TEST #17: MAY, 2012

Lagunitas Brewing Co., ‘LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A
Total =  36 points

Four Peaks Brewing Co., ‘HOP KNOT’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Total =  35 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
And yet another 1-point victory. This time the favorite, LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE, managed to hold off the little-known but heavy-hitting hoppy challenger, HOP KNOT. Hokey-Smoke, these last four brews were darn close to each other in quality and it’s unfortunate that any of them have to be tagged with a “loser” label. But some warriors must fall in order to reach the one-on-one Championship Round. And now we know who the two leaders are.

In the Championship Round, the big favorite LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE, representing California and the American League, went up against the National League’s underdodger BIG SKY IPA from Montana. And here’s wha’ happened . . .

TEST #18: MAY, 2012

Lagunitas Brewing Co., ‘LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Total =  33 points

Big Sky Brewing Co., ‘BIG SKY IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A
Total =  36 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
And BIG SKY I.P.A. polished off his last competitor to win the Beer Battles’ Blind Taste Testing Challenge. BIG SKY - the Heavyweight Champion! “He didn’t know it was a damn show, he thought it was a damn fight.”



BIG SKY IPA knocked out the following quality brews during our Blind Beer Taste Tests: Sierra Nevada RUTHLESS RYE, BRIDGEPORT IPA, Sierra Nevada PALE ALE, Ponderosa IPA, Odell RED ALE, and Lagunitas LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE. Luck had nuttin’ to do wid it.

And if anyone still wonders why these brews must be taste-tested blindly so that name recognition, packaging, and reputation can’t interfere with the important work of the taste buds, let me point out to y’all that at the website BeerAdvocate, our winner, BIG SKY IPA only scores an 88 (out of 100) consensus grade. Good, but not good ENOUGH for a such a fine ale.


So, Brother Nappy and I determined that BIG SKY IPA was our collective favorite, but our taste tests also showed us which brews are our individual favorites. And here’s that list:

Brother Nappy’s Favorites:

18 points
Hop Knot

17 points
Big Sky IPA
Little Sumpin’ Ale
Ponderosa IPA
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Mojo IPA
West Coast IPA
Odell IPA

Stephen T. McCarthy’s Favorites:

19 points
Odell Red Ale
Big Sky IPA
Little Sumpin’ Ale

18 points
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

17 points
Ponderosa IPA
Hop Knot
Odell IPA

We hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as we enjoyed drinking it.

You do eighteen tests and what do you get?
Quite a bit drunker and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go
I drank my soul to the depths of Sheol.

"Expensive beer and cheap women – that’s for me!"
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

KITTEN OF CUTE (Or, BEWARE THE FELINE BEAST)

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by ProvDog . [The boy’s a jeen-yes!]
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It was truly my hope that I would get Part 2 of ‘Womanolatry & The Beast' written and posted before I left for vacation, but that’s not gonna happen. Somehow, sufficient sobriety eluded me. And what a shame, too, because I know the hope of the country was resting upon my posting.

Oh well, shit stuffs happens. I’ll get to it upon my return. Hang on, Americonned People, and I promise to return and save you soon'z I can. 

In the meantime, listen and tremble, men!  I realize that their high-pitched voices aren’t likely to make you shake in your boots, but don’t fur-git that they come “in numbers too big to ignore” and that she “am invincible (invincible).

I'am Woman / Sex and the city 2 (Original de Helen Reddy) [“I’am Woman”, but I can’t punk-shoe-ate.]



~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

BLIND BEER TASTE TESTS (Or, BEER BATTLES: WHO HOPS TO THE TOP?)

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This is Part 3.
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If you missed Part 1, you can read it HERE.
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If you missed Part 2, you can read it HERE.
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Our official slogan:
“Stop listening to your heart and your mind, and start listening to your taste buds.”

OK, so we’ve reached the Semi-Final Rounds and the final eight beers still standing face off against each other to see who advances to the Finals and then the Championship Round on Tuesday.

But before I show you what happened in the Semi-Finals, there’s . . .

A QUESTION OF “CLASS”

Those of you who are old horse players already understand this, but for the benefit of the others, I want to explain how class impacts the grades, or to put it another way… to explain why the beer grades are “relative”.

My Pa was a lifelong horse player, but even so, Mama Couldn’t Be Persuaded not to marry him. (Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day, Ma!) It was from my Pa, while hanging out with him for years at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park race tracks, that my brother Nappy and I learned about “class” in a horse race (and wherever else it might apply).
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In explaining to us how to read The Daily Racing Form, Pa told us why the seemingly fastest horse in the race, with the best times on that same track in other races, might not necessarily be the favorite to win the race if he happens to be “moving up in class”. Class in a race horse has to do with previous races for bigger purses – bigger races involving more money determines the class a horse is running in.

A horse who is moving up in class, facing different horses who have raced in more expensive races can sometimes be intimidated and lose a race despite having better times than the other horses at that same distance.

“But how does the horse know?” Nappy and I both questioned our Pa. His response: “Have you ever heard of ‘horse sense’?”

Well, it sounds crazy, but I saw faster up-and-coming horses lose to slower, higher class horses so many times that I became convinced my Pa knew what he was yakking about and betting on. Not all horses will be intimidated by the other more well-established horses when they move up in class; some will run the “classier” horses right off the track. But not always. It’s a variable that MUST be taken into account when attempting to handicap a horse race.

It’s a bit like Heisman Trophy winners in college football. Every Heisman Trophy winner is a superstar in college football, so why are so many of them selling cars or insurance 4 years after being drafted by a professional football team? It’s because although they may be superstars at the college level, their talent doesn’t always translate or hold up when they move up in class to the professional level of football. Suddenly the competition is better; this is the cream of the cream, and sometimes the Heisman Trophy winner’s talent and skill, while notable at the nonprofessional level, reaches a plateau there and can’t make the leap into the highest class of competition.

This has been the scenic route way of explaining why the beer grades Nappy and I have affixed to some of these better beers don’t always seem consistent with the grades they scored when going up against lesser competition.

For example, in Test #9, I gave a “B-“ twice to  Dogfish Head’s ‘90 MINUTE IPA’. I also gave a “B-” minus twice to ‘NOMAD PILSNER’ in Test #11. Does this mean I like both of those beers equally? Not at all. I can tell you that had ‘90 MINUTE IPA’ gone head-to-head against ‘NOMAD PILSNER’, I would have had to elevate the grades of ‘90 MINUTE IPA’ if I had continued to give the grade of “B-” to ‘NOMAD PISNER’. Because although I didn’t really care that much for either beer, I did prefer the Dogfish Head brew. You see? The competition the beers are facing will also have an impact on the grades they receive; it’s a variable that must be kept in mind when evaluating the grades these beers are receiving in the Semi-Final and Final Rounds where all the beers are really the best of the best, in our opinion.

Alright, now that you understand how “class” affects the beer grades as we move forward, let’s see what happened in the Semi-Final Rounds:

“THE BEER BATTLES CONTINUE!”
(Or, “Nappy And Stephen Continue To Sacrifice Their Livers In A Search For Truth”)

Our scoring system looks like this:

A+ = “Goes up to Eleven” points (Think: ‘Spinal Beer Tap’
A = 10 points
A- = 9 points
B+ = 8 points
B = 7 points
B- = 6 points
C+ = 5 points
C = 4 points
C- = 3 points
D+ = 2 points
D = 1 point

TEST #12: MAY, 2012

Lagunitas Brewing
Co., ‘LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Total = 33 points

Green Flash Brewing Co., ‘WEST COAST IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B
Total = 29 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
This is a good example of what I was attempting to say about how “class” can alter our perceptions of a beer and cause a change in its grades. WEST COAST IPA is a fine beer, and it is certainly worthy of more than two “B” grades from me, but not when it’s being compared to LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE, which seems to score 33 points no matter who it goes up against. LITTLE SUMPIN’ must certainly be considered one of the favorites to win as it advances to The Final Four.

TEST #13: MAY, 2012

Prescott Brewing Co., ‘PONDEROSA IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B
Total = 29 points

Big Sky Brewing Co., ‘BIG SKY IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Total = 33 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
Despite PONDEROSA IPA getting beaten by 4 points (a considerable margin), this match was much closer than the score would seem to indicate. In fact, Nappy and I both gave PONDEROSA IPA a “B” in the first round but we both, independently of each other, said that we had wavered between a “B” and a “B+” before each of us settled on the lower of the two grades. Had we gone with the extra plus (+) which we’d seriously considered for a few moments while PONDEROSA IPA’s grade hung in the balance, it would have lost this match by only 2 points. That’s darned close.

Nevertheless, in a surprising turn, BIG SKY IPA knocked out the favored PONDEROSA IPA and moves into the Final Four. We’ve got one of two underdog stories brewing here.

TEST #14: MAY, 2012

Odell Brewing Co., ‘ODELL IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = A-
Total = 33 points

Four Peaks Brewing Co., ‘HOP KNOT’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Total = 33 points

Yes, we had our first tie! The few degrees variations of the beers’ temperatures in conjunction with how incredibly close they were in quality (which is excellent) seemed to wreak havoc on our grading. So, for the first time in these Beer Battles, we had to go to “Extra Innings” to determine the winner. And this damned contest between these two beers turned absolutely MONUMENTAL! People will be talking about THIS contest long after Kirk Gibson’s home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series has been forgotten.

EXTRA INNINGS

‘ODELL IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B+
Total =  31 points

‘HOP KNOT’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B
Total =  32 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
Incredible! After four rounds (that’s eight rounds total, counting both Nappy and me together), HOP KNOT finally managed to beat ODELL IPA by one measly point. And we have our second underdog story brewing as HOP KNOT, which really only got entered into these Beer Battles by a kind of fluke, has advanced to become one of the final four warriors.

This contest between ODELL IPA and HOP KNOT caused an unforeseen necessity to consume more beer than usual in determining the outcome, and by the time HOP KNOT was found to be a one-point winner, I was too intoxicated to go into work. So I called my boss and told him that my Brother Nappy and I were conducting these Blind Beer Taste Tests and we had to go into Extra Innings on one, and now I was too drunk to make it in for work.

My boss, being a typical Irishman, said: “A’right, mate. Take the day off, but don’t be late on Monday. And don’t forget to bring me a six-pack of the winner.” (It’s good to be the employee of an Irish employer.)


It was a shame there had to be a loser in Test #14. ODELL IPA may be gone but he won't be forgotten. 

TEST #15: MAY, 2012

Odell Brewing Co., ‘ODELL RED ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Total =  34 points

Lagunitas Brewing Co., ‘HOP STOOPID ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Total =  33 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
Another super-close one! Poor HOP STOOPID scored 33 points (An A- and a B+ three times) and STILL lost! ODELL RED ALE scored 34 points - the most in a Semi-Final Round - and so going into the Finals, I think we can say it might be the favorite to win.

Our Final Four finishers are . . . 

ODELL RED ALE (Colorado)


 who will battle BIG SKY IPA (Montana),



and the winner of that match will meet the winner of the match between . . .

LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE (California)



and HOP KNOT IPA (Arizona).


Well, this Tuesday night we will have our champion; Tuesday night we will know “WHO HOPS TO THE TOP”. 

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WOMANOLATRY & THE BEAST (Part 1 Of 2)

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THE PREFACE BEFORE THE INTRODUCTION
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There are only two kinds of people who disbelieve that The Bible was Divinely inspired: those who have not studied it, and those who have not studied it enough.
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Nevertheless, many times over the years I have said that there is no such thing as a Bible scholar.
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Oh, I’ve read plenty of Christian apologetics – books by many highly intelligent writers who have engaged in very detailed studies of ‘The Word Of God’. I have even strongly recommended some of these books to others in various places throughout the Internet. (Currently I am halfway through the book ‘God In The Dock’ by the brilliant C.S. Lewis.)
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But I have always maintained that The Bible is too rich, too deep, too intricate for anyone to be thought of as a “scholar” when it comes to Biblical studies. Naturally, I also excluded myself, despite the fact that I do not personally know anyone who has read The Bible from cover-to-cover more times than I have. And I haven’t just “read” The Bible, I have “studied” The Bible, devotedly, doggedly and with, I believe, the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
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But I ain’t no Bible scholar and I knows it!

THE INTRODUCTION BEFORE THE PROS

Well, I’m about to change my tune – first time ever. There WAS a Bible “scholar”. He was an Englishman who died in 1913 (the year the Federal Reserve – a demonic agency if ever there was one – was established in the United States). The scholar’s name was Ethelbert William (or, E.W.) Bullinger, and he picked a good year to leave this planet!
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I first heard of E.W. Bullinger about 5 or 6 years ago from my good friend BR’ER MARC. You see, Bullinger is a hero of sorts to Br’er Marc, and my buddy had recommended a couple of Bullinger's books to me.

It took me quite awhile to get to them, but I have now read two Bullinger books – ‘HOW TO ENJOY THE BIBLE: 12 Basic Principles For Understanding God’s Word’ and ‘COMMENTARY ON REVELATION’ – and I have come to the conclusion that I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that in Bullinger I have found a genuine scholar of The Bible.

I read Bullinger’s ‘How To Enjoy The Bible’ first (despite the fact that I had already been enjoying The Bible for 18 years). I wasn’t even out of the Introduction when I already suspected I was going to like this English bloke. On page xxvi he writes:

“The majority of mankind think that they think . . . when they have actually grown to manhood, with scarcely a conviction that they can call their own.”

Bullinger may have written that well over a century ago, but I see things haven’t really changed any.

And it took only 20 pages before the author had my attention in a major way!

It has been said that "the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed".

In all my years of devoted Bible study, I have found that particular saying to be precisely accurate! Just the incredibly intricate foreshadowing of the details of Christ’s life and mission found in the Old Testament should be enough to convince any intelligent, rational human being that what you have in The Holy Bible is a remarkably interwoven work by multiple writers over multiple centuries that couldn’t possibly have anything less than a supernatural origin.

On page 20 of ‘How To Enjoy The Bible’ Bullinger writes:

“In the wood laid upon Isaac (Genesis 22:6), and not carried by the servants or on the ass, we shall see Him [Jesus] who was led forth bearing His Cross (John 19:17).”

WHOA!

Not “Whoa!” because that was news to me. (Many, many years ago I learned to read The Bible looking for foreshadowing symbolism and hidden clues to deeper meaning, so that “wood-on-the-back” connection between the Old Testament human sacrifice, Isaac, and the New Testament Divine Sacrifice, Jesus, had been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit long ago.) But “Whoa!” because I wasn’t sure if anyone else had ever picked up on that little detail. I couldn’t recall having ever seen it mentioned in any other Bible-related books I’ve read.

So, when I saw that the “wood-on-the-back” connection had not gotten past E.W. Bullinger’s mind, I realized instantly that this dead cat really knew his stuffs and his book was going to be well worth reading. (Right I was on both counts!)

Or how about these? . . . 

Bullinger remarks on the historical existence of the Nephilim (which I believe are demonic beings that now plague mankind in the form of UFOs and their occupants). 

He also provides the fascinating revelation that due to mankind’s fallen state, over time, word definitions ALWAYS degenerate, they never acquire higher meanings! 

And exhibiting a correct view of modern (so-called) "science", Bullinger states:

SCIENTIA means KNOWLEDGE, and nothing in Scripture will be found to contradict what we really KNOW, which is true science. Much that goes by the name of “science” is only hypothesis; and, in much more, supposition is so mixed up with knowledge that the result is vitiated.

Can you say “Macro-Evolution” and “Anthropogenic Global-Warming” anyone?


THE PROS BEFORE THE CONS

Why do I contend that Bullinger is an authentic Bible scholar? Well, first of all, his powerful intellect is apparent on every page of his books; this is a man who thought deeply about The Bible and who approached it from nearly every conceivable mental angle. Bullinger made use of word studies, comparative dispensation studies, universal applications outside of specific dispensations, literary form, structural analysis of verses, Scriptural meanings based upon initial utterances, idioms or figures of speech, and many more tools, including even a basic form of gematria.

Yes, I was tremendously impressed by Bullinger’s nearly comprehensive approach to Bible study! This man was a true “scholar” and anyone who can make me think so deeply, reevaluate some of my own views or simply force me to dig deeper, question myself again, and find better, more satisfying arguments for my current Biblical world-view, or even alter it – now THAT is a person I appreciate being introduced to! (So a major “thank you” to Br’er Marc!)

Yes, I know, most Americans today do NOT want to think at all, let alone think “deeply”. Most Americans do NOT want to have their predetermined notions challenged, particularly when it comes to religion and politics. Americans today will not be remembered in future history books as seekers of truth. Sadly, we will be remembered as silly children who happily digested all the spoon-fed shit that our media and so-called “leaders” shoveled into our minds.

Well, that’s not me. I have ALWAYS enjoyed thinking. Thinking hard about things is – [gasp!] – F*U*N! How many times will I quote myself on this?: I would rather KNOW an unpleasant truth than BELIEVE a pleasant lie.

THE CONS BEFORE THE APOCALYPSE

Does all this mean that I kowtow to E.W. Bullinger? That I agree with his every utterance (or written word)? Not even close. It is my belief that no small number of errors and misunderstandings crept into the brilliant Mr. Bullinger’s Biblical assessments. And some of those mistaken ideas and concepts arouse in me a nearly violent vexation.

For example, it was not uncommon for Bullinger to make statements similar to the following:

It is surprising, when we really come to examine ourselves closely in this matter, how much of what we already believe has been “received by tradition from our fathers”. How little has actually been derived from our own direct personal study of the Word of God itself. We believe what we have received from man; and we do our best to get it confirmed by the Bible. When we are unable to get the confirmation we are in search of, then we find what we call a “difficulty.” But the difficulty is not in the Word of God itself; it is in our own minds. The real difficulty is in giving up our own views because we fail to make the Bible conform to them. It does not, at first, occur to our minds that we may have to abandon some of our views if we would get rid of the difficulty.
~ ‘How To Enjoy The Bible’; pages 184/185

Despite Bullinger’s astute observations like that one above, it seems to me that in arriving at more than a few of his theological beliefs, he himself was unable to follow his own advice.

For instance, probably nowhere did Bullinger make my blood boil more heatedly than on page 51 of ‘Commentary On Revelation’. After multiple admonitions throughout his writings that we ought to ALWAYS take God at his Word, that we do not twist, fold, spindle, or mutilate God’s Words in order to make them conform to the interpretation we favor, he then proceeded to write the following concerning the Old Testament promise that the prophet Elijah would precede and announce the arrival of the (New Testament) Messiah, Jesus:

John the Baptist was therefore invested with Elijah’s “spirit and power” (i.e., Elijah’s spiritual power), and was specially designated as “the prophet of the Most High.” Therefore our Lord could say in Matthew 11:14,15: “If ye will receive HIM [John the Baptist], this is (i.e., represents) Elijah which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

In other words, Bullinger took “this IS Elijah” to mean simply that “this REPRESENTS Elijah”. The word Jesus used, “is”, got retranslated into the word “represents” as a way for Bullinger to avoid the obvious Truth that Jesus was really expressing. That Truth being that John the Baptist IS (or was) quite LITERALLY Elijah: John’s soul and Elijah’s soul were one and the same soul; they were the same person born hundreds of years apart and inhabiting different human bodies.

This is a very old trick that Christian apologists still use today in order to avoid admitting that human reincarnation sometimes occurs. If they were to admit that inconvenient Biblical truth about reincarnation, “orthodox” Christian tradition would have to be rewritten. In order to avoid that predicament, Christian apologists old and new – including E.W. Bullinger – choose to accept the “tradition from our fathers” over the Truth that is revealed by God and His Son for those Bible students who “hath ears to hear” it. I have made this same point in some of my previous writings. [‘Reincarnation & The Holy Bible’]

Bullinger was also devoted to the Trinitarian concept, and I wonder whether or not he ever even attempted to test that standard Christian theological plank against the many Biblical passages that seem to clearly wipe it off the Christian map. (Even the astoundingly bright C.S. Lewis seems to have accepted it out-of-hand, direct from the palms of the early Church fathers.)

Never mind that a 712-page tome (‘One God & One Lord’) could be assembled to dispel the Trinitarian dogma and still not quite cover every single argument against it.

Another issue I have with Bullinger is his concentration on the study of Greek words and their often subtle shades of meaning when digging deep into the New Testament. As I have articulated in a few other places on the Internet, I stand with George M. Lamsa in his claim that the majority (if not the entirety) of the New Testament was orginally recorded not in Greek but in Aramaic, the language that Jesus Christ spoke and wrote.

Therefore, in my opinion, a devotion to studying the New Testament exclusively in the Greek language is unavoidably going to lead to multiple errors in understanding.

But the single most important issue I have with some of E.W. Bullinger’s interpretations stem from his strictly intellectual methodology of Scripture study. I found a website called WithCHRIST.Org that I believe nails down this contention solidly. Below are some excerpts:

Bullinger's copious notes contain vast amounts of technical information, typically overwhelming the average reader today.  He clearly and faithfully believed that the original canon of Scripture was the inerrant Word of God.  However, his views on biblical inspiration contained subtle error, which in turn caused anomalies in his views regarding interpretation.  While he acknowledged the Holy Spirit as "guide and teacher of His own Word", he did not believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the new-creation believer and thus the biblical doctrine of the Spirit's illumination was conspicuously absent from his theology. 

At a time when German Higher Criticism had inflicted much damage upon Christians, he rightfully lamented the fact that believers were more steeped in religious traditions than in the Word of God.  However, his efforts to remedy the situation were deficient and focused on secondary issues.  For Mr. Bullinger, the problem for believers was exclusively one of interpretational methodology.

His answer to understanding the Bible, doctrinal truth, and resolution of ecclesiastical division was in applying appropriate methods of interpretation.  Due to his failure to clearly understand or articulate the truth of spiritual blindness, all could and would be solved by simply using his comprehensive and technical approach to reading and studying Scripture.  Again he states:

By the aid of these twelve simple canons or rules, other passages and subjects may be taken up and pursued both with pleasure and profit -- subjects which are even yet matters of controversy and of conflict.

Mr. Bullinger did not clearly acknowledge the necessity of the Holy Spirit's sovereign illumination of the Text. ... Approvingly he quotes a Bishop Butler, who said:

"...the only way to study the Word of God is the way in which physical science is studied.

"...it [study of the Word] must be in the same way as natural knowledge is come at, by the continuance and progress of learning and liberty ...

Again, not a word about the Holy Spirit's sovereign ministry of revealing truth (John 16:13) nor of the natural man's inability to understand spiritual things, as expounded by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2.

In light of his immense intellect, Mr. Bullinger appears strong on man's native ability and weak regarding the sovereignty of God -- the root cancer found in all forms of religious humanism...

He believed conflict would disappear and unity would be restored to Christendom if believers simply read their Bibles using "appropriate methodologies".

By contrast, we will do well to heed the words of dispensationalist Lewis Sperry Chafer:

There is not the slightest possibility that the most educated and brilliant mind can make one step of progress in the understanding of spiritual truth apart from the direct [sovereign], supernatural teaching to the individual heart by the indwelling [Holy] Spirit.

There is no didactic [pedantic] discipline in the world comparable to the teaching of Christ by the Holy Spirit, both because of the fact that infinity characterizes the themes which are taught, and because of the Teacher's method of approach by which He, by the Spirit, enters the innermost recesses of the heart [mind] where impressions originate and there not only tell out the truth of transcendent magnitude, but causes the pupil actually to grasp the things thus revealed.

All of that having been said, I still find E.W. Bullinger’s writings, his examination of The Holy Bible to be profoundly insightful, exciting, challenging, and valuable. I may have my disagreements with him – some of them being vehement disagreements that incite a good deal of irritation in me – but I nevertheless suggest that anyone who really wants to learn, and not only learn but have some of their precious theological beliefs severely challenged to see if they can withstand careful scrutiny, I recommend that person read some of Bullinger’s writings. In Bullinger we have the first Bible student I have thus far encountered who I think is authentically worthy of the label “scholar”. And again I thank my McBuddy, Br’er Marc, for making me aware of Bullinger’s works.

THE APOCALYPSE BEFORE THE END

Despite my disagreements with some of E.W. Bullinger’s theological beliefs (a few of those disagreements being A-list blood-boiling) I have tremendous respect for him as a deep, serious, devoted, God-loving thinker. I don’t always have to agree with someone to appreciate them. Anyone who arrives at their beliefs honestly, critically – objectively willing to analyze and evaluate all the evidence available before coming to their conclusions (no matter how incorrect those conclusions may sometimes be), that person has my respect.

I don’t doubt that I myself am holding incorrect ideas about some things, religious and spiritual or otherwise, but I can only hope that those who disagree with me would at least respect and value the objective methods I applied and the careful study I undertook in arriving at these beliefs, be they right or wrong.

In one of the blurbs on the back cover of Brian Garfield’s book ‘WESTERN FILMS: A Complete Guide’, the New York Daily News says: Garfield is articulate and opinionated, a good arguing partner.” And that’s how I feel about E.W. Bullinger. If Bullinger was not a Biblical “scholar”, then surely such a thing does not exist. And I loved reading his writings, as he forced me to rethink ideas I held, to sharpen my mental arguments against his, and in some instances, to either alter my ideas or at least accept the possibility that other views, backed by good evidence, may be equally valid and possibly more accurate.

I LOVE IT when someone really forces me to think. But be forewarned: If you are generally highly entertained and enthralled by books and programs like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Survivor, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and any number of “Reality TV” shows, then the odds are that the writings of E.W. Bullinger are going to be too weighty to hold your interest. If you like silly, superficial stuffs, then you’ll find Bullinger to be ancient, boring, and painful – painful as in: “Ow! My brain, it hurts! He’s making me use it!”

Additionally, I don’t think I would recommend the reading of Bullinger to anyone who doesn’t already first have a basic understanding of The Holy Bible’s primary themes. That is to say, familiarize yourself with The Bible BEFORE you try to tackle Bullinger’s studies; at minimum, one must comprehend a simple overview of a subject before intricate complexities can be fathomed. (I remember how in late 1993 or early ’94, my employer gave me a copy of the Zola Levitt pamphlet ‘The Seven Feasts Of Israel’. I read it, but having never read much of The Bible beforehand, it made no impression on me whatsoever. A few years later, after having now read through The Bible a few times, I went back and reread Levitt’s ‘The Seven Feasts Of Israel’ and was utterly blown away by it.)

Therefore, you should have at least a general, if shallow, knowledge of the Biblical world-view prior to diving into the deep end of the pool with Ethelbert - as sometimes the lifeguard is watching the tanning beauties more than he is the floundering swimmers, and you don’t wanna drown in the details! (The ideal study guide for the novice, and perhaps even for some of the more knowledgeable Bible students, might well be ‘LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS’ by Dr. Chuck Missler. I recommend it highly.)

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In my next and final installment of  WOMANOLATRY & THE BEAST’ (a satirical title inspired by an E.W. Bullinger term and by the story ‘Beauty And The Beast’), I will examine some of Bullinger’s views concerning the Biblical End-Times described in ‘Revelation’, illustrating the surprising and unique belief he held, and briefly comparing and contrasting his thoughts about the Great Tribulation period with my own.

Be here or be . . . . . . somewhere else.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy 

For PART 2 click HERE.

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