Saturday, May 25, 2013

BIG AL'S JOVIAL JUKEBOX #13: MEMORIAL WEEKEND EDITION: "Tenting Tonight On The Old Campground" Song from 1863!

Albie's Note:  This is a genuine Civil War song, written by one William Kittredge at the very height of the hostilities.  It become a huge seller,  one of the true "hits" of the 19th century, as it was a particular favorite of Union soldiers on the field and of their families back home. 

When one listens to the words it's easy to see why. They are honest, plaintive, and even chilling.  Some writers have actually considered this tune an early example of an anti-war protest ballad, but the lyrics are simpler and more poetic than that would imply.  In an old book called Stories of Great National Songs, the author, on p. 155 quotes composer Kittredge  as recalling: "I wrote the words and music at the same time in one evening, soon expecting to go down South to join the boys in blue, and I desired to have something to sing for them, as that had been my profession, giving concerts for a few years before the war. ... The song was composed in 1863, and published by Ditson, Boston, in 1864."

I any case it is a sobering reminder of the sacrifice of all the Americans who ever "camped in the Hell of war," from Valley Forge to Afganistan.

As the song says: "We are tired of war on the old camp ground..."

Here is a great version by some fellows called The 97th Regimental String Band:

We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home
And friends we love so dear.
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts looking for the right
To see the dawn of peace.
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight,
Tenting on the old camp ground.

We've been tenting tonight on the old camp-ground,
Thinking of days gone by,
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand,
And the tear that said, "Good-bye!"

We are tired of war on the old camp ground,
Many are dead and gone,
Of the brave and true who've left their homes,
Others been wounded long.
We've been fighting today on the old camp ground,
Many are lying near;
Some are dead, and some are dying,
Many are in tears.
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
To see the dawn of peace.
Dying tonight, dying tonight,
Dying on the old camp ground.

 "And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
--Micah 4:3

Saturday, May 18, 2013

MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM SERMONS #4: Warren Wiersbe On The Over-Rating Of The Puritans, 1995... Classic!

Albie's Note: Warren Wiersbe (born 1929), who just celebrated his 84th birthday this Thursday last (May 16) is one of the great American Bible commentators and preachers of our time.  He is perhaps best known for his series of 50 books in the "BE" series of informal commentaries: Be Real, Be Rich, Be Obedient, Be Mature, Be Joyful, etc. and many. many other books. 

I transcribed these words from the great site (you can hear the entire "Q and A" session-- recorded at a Bible conference in 1995--  HERE)

In this excerpt, Wiersbe, a Baptist and long-time radio minister/communicator, answers a query as to which are his "favorite Puritan authors."  His common sense answer is a classic... and a great antidote to much of the shameless "Puritan worship" one runs into occasionally even today:

"Well, I may make some enemies when I say this, but I'm not a great devotee of the Puritans!  I'm not against them-- I have them in my library-- but I find some of them are very boring.

"I know there's a lot of  'groceries' in there, a lot of good food in there, but you've gotta plow, and you've gotta dig so much.  That may be good for me. 

"I was preaching through the Book Of James, and I was using Thomas Manton [1620-1677] on James, and I almost resigned from the ministry!  [audience laughter]

"Man, if we preached today the style the Puritans had, we'd empty our churches!  If anybody comes along and says 'the Puritans are the model'-- NOBODY is the 'model'-- Jesus is the model! [several audience "amens"]

"The Puritans had as many problems as we have-- they had just as much sin as we've got! And don't let anybody tell you he have to go back to 'the age of the Puritans'-- we don't! Or anybody else-- If you're gonna go back, go back farther than that, go back to Pentecost-- that'd be a good place to go back to!

"I don't have a favorite Puritan writer, unless Alexander Whyte [1836-1921] would be considered a Puritan.  I that case I do, he is a favorite of mine.

"Do not become a 'system disciple'-- whether it's  Arminianism, Calvinism, Dispensationalism, whatever-- Puritanism-- don't become a 'system disciple' because 'we know in part.' [quoting I Cor. 13:9]

"Nobody knows enough to be able to say 'here's God-- this is it!' 

"See, I read Calvin. I read Finney, who disagreed with Calvin.  I read Presbyterians, I read Assembly Of God.  I think most of my reading is of people I disagree with,  including secular folks!  I do a lot of secular reading.

"Don't become a devotee of a system. We may get to heaven and discover the system wasn't God's system!  See?"


Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Since I spend way too much time watching Classic TV in re-runs out in my "man-cave" anyway, I decided to begin a new blog series of reviews of certain episodes of various series that I find interesting-- for one reason or another.

I decided to begin with an episode of TV's 2nd longest running series western BONANZA, since I have been meaning to re-evaluate this show for quite some time, anyway.  A few years back, in one of my very earliest blogs ["Some Thoughts About Westerns"-- see it HERE if you like], I said some pretty harsh things about both BONANZA and GUNSMOKE-- basically the two most cherished TV westerns of all time-- and a few people called me on it. 

Now, I still have little patience for GUNSMOKE-- [I'm sorry, but that show just doesn't do it for me... between the irritatingly flawless character of Matt Dillon and the strange refusal to develop any of the main characters over literally decades of time... well it just bores me!  Please let's just agree to disagree on that'un]--  I have been watching BONANZA on TVLAND and feeling a little-- I repeat a little-- more partial to it.

First of all... the show does present Capitalism in a pretty cosistently sympathetic light-- always a big selling point with me-- and... it also strives quite often to have serious and well-developed moral undertones.  Now mind you, this last "quality" is always a two-edged sword, as moralistic intentions can always morph into mere  "preachiness" and "pedanticism" in the wrong hands-- and frankly,  BONANZA-- I am afraid-- really suffers from this particular syndrome quite often.

Still, I am just as often impressed by those old writers' frequent attempts to address moral issues and their definite-- if infrequent-- artistic success in so doing.

Also, I should note that-- in the early seasons at least-- these same writers really tried for some actual historical veracity, and some of the best episodes I have seen involved actual historical characters [Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Nobel Prize winning astronomer Albert Abraham Michelson all make appearances] who had a real-life connection with Virginia City, Nevada in real-life frontier days.

Now... the episode I would like to discuss-- "The Way Of Aaron," first aired on March 10, 1963-- is a notable example of this attempt at realism and historical veracity.

Aaron Kauffman, a Jewish peddler, makes a sales call at the Ponderosa Ranch. He is already a familiar friend to the Cartwrights, but on this visit he is accompanied by his lovely daughter-- newly arrived from back east-- Rebecca [played well by future Andy Griffith Show regular, "Helen Crump" herself,  Aneta Coursault-- who, by the way, looks great with long hair!] 
Adam Cartwright [Pernell Roberts] and Rebecca are immediately attracted to one another, and Adam contrives a way to meet with Rebecca again on her peddler father's return visit a week later. After this second visit, Adam talks with his father Ben [Lorne Green] about arranging a party at the Ponderosa to help Rebecca and her somewhat reclusive father [played expertly by character actor Ludwig Donath] to meet other folks in the area. Ben agrees to this, and so Adam rides off to carry the invitation to Rebecca in person.
When he reaches them, Adam discovers that Aaron and his daughter have stopped on the trail to camp for the night, as it is sundown on Friday and old Aaron is extremely strict in his observance of the Hebrew Sabbath.
Adam is even more impressed when he learns of Aaron's great faithfulness in the practice of his Orthodox Jewish faith.
Unfortunately, two nasty outlaws-- the nastier of whom is well-played by a very young Harry Dean Stanton-- have been stalking the kindly peddler. 
Without giving away any spoilers, let's just say-- in closing-- that Aaron and his daughter are in grave danger... unless Adam can help them.


All in all, I couldn't help but like this episode. 

For one thing, it is the one and only western I have yet seen that actually gives some time to a pretty prevalent real-life frontier character type: the Jewish Peddler.  Old western shows often have peddler characters, but the Jewish aspect is usually non-existent [See my review of Harry Golden's book on the subject HERE, if interested.]

Not only that, but the details regarding an old-time peddler's life are very interestingly and factually presented.  I know that Golden's book had not yet been published yet in December of 1962 when this episode was filmed [1963 was the first year it was published] but there is a great scene in the episode where old Aaron basically gives a  poor frontier wife material for a dress under the pretense of having her make a "prototype" dress out of it to encourage future customers for himself-- a common act of the peddler's unique capitalistic charity that Goldman described almost identically in his great book!  Perhaps the episode writer had access to the same research later used by Golden.

Also, the scene of father and daughter celebrating "Shabbos" on a western roadside was displayed very respectfully-- and in alarming detail-- including the recitation of several full-length prayers in Hebrew!  This, I thought, made for pretty unique television.


In short... while the episode's climax was one of those tidy and convenient "wrap-ups" so common on these old television series-- and... while the overall tone was kind of melodramatic and preachy to say the least-- I was still pretty darned impressed with this one and I would have to give the episode a composite 4 stars out of a possible 5.

The high rating is due mainly to 2 things:  the noble attempt to realistically portray a little known aspect of frontier history; and the overall message of tolerance to one's fellow man.

And by the way...

Westerns rule!

"The Way Of Aaron"
March 10, 1963

Written by: Raphael D. Blau Directed by: Murray Golden

         Guest Stars: Aaron Kaufman...Ludwig Donath,...Rebecca Kaufman...Aneta Corsaut,...Stiles...Harry Dean Stanton,...Hank...Jason Wingreen,...Mrs Cardiff...Sarah Selby.

         Filmed on location at: Iverson Ranch
in Southern California.

Filming dates: December 4-11, 1962


A JACK KELLER HOT ROD CLASSIC: "Slow Joe The Thinker," 1965

Albie's Note: If the sub-genre known as "Hot Rod Comics" had a dominating Shakespeare-type figure, it was undoubtedly the late Jack Keller! (1922-2003)

Ol' Jack did not invent the genre, by any means, but he unquestionably mastered it, defined it, refined it, and left by far the largest and finest legacy within it! Although he remains more famous for writing and drawing Marvel's KID COLT series for many years on end, Jack's HOT ROD stories are still widely sought out-- not so much by comic collectors as by automobile enthusiasts [which explains how cheaply one can still purchase those vintage Charlton Car Comics]-- and one can easily see why.  He not only had meticulous attention to detail and realism, but always told vivid, exciting stories with valid moral undertones.

"Slow Joe, The Thinker" first appeared in the June, 1965 issue of Charlton's Drag Strip Hot-Rodders (#4)

I really liked the character of "Slow Joe" Hyland as presented here. I have no idea whether Keller was a Christian or not, but characters like this one-- and there are several other examples-- really make me wonder Joe exhibits so many New Testament Christian virtues it is hard to list them all: Patience, Pacifism, Forgiveness, Peacemaking, Hard Work,  Slowness to Wrath...  if some publisher would re-release these old comics in a new, hardbound full-process edition-- (as has actually been done more and more with the classic comics of my childhood)--  I would be just about the first patron to shell out my hard-earned money for them,  and then gladly hand them down to my own son. 

They are just THAT good.

A Great American writer and artist was Jack Keller-- may he never be forgotten:


"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."
-- I Thes. 5:14-15

WORDS TO LIVE BY: Harold Sightler's "Advice to Preachers"

Albie's Note:  You can quote me on this.  My all-time favorite preacher of the Gospel-- and I am an ARDENT student of preachers and preaching-- was a man I never actually met:  Harold B. Sightler [1914-1995], long time Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greensboro, SC

To me, "Brother Harold" was everything a preacher should be: Bold but Loving, Honest but Compassionate, fiercely dedicated to God and His Written Word but alarmingly gentle in his appoarch to lost sinners.   It helps also that his voice was one of the greatest ever lent to the "pulpiteering" trade!  Here, Brother Sightler gives his advice to young men who feel called of God to proclaim His Word-- a sober responsibility to say the least! 

These words show the wisdom and grace of this departed servant in a special way.

"God calls a preacher for a ministry.  The greatest thing that you will ever discover, is God's will for you and then set out to do that will of God.  Be yourself and serve the Lord where you are.  The most absurd thing you can do is to try to  be somebody else.  Be yourself and serve Him to the best of your ability.  I don't place much stock on glowing reports. I think you ought to serve the Lord where you are, do what you can, and then go home at night and sleep and rest, then get up and do the same thing the next day.  Mind your own business, and keep on preaching the
gospel.  Let the Lord take care of the results.  One of the problems in the ministry is that we try to do what someone else has done, that's a very foolish thing.  I want to do what I can do.  God called me for a job, and I want to do my work.  Do what you can do where God put you.  Do it in your way and God's way, and God will bless you.  You can't have peace in your soul as you grow older unless you have done the will of God.  That amounts to a whole lot when you get to my age.  You will have knowledge in your soul that you have done the will of God.  Don't measure your ministry by the standard of the world.    A lot of what you read is propaganda and promotion.  I heard a preacher say, " If somebody does not walk the isle one Sunday, I am dead."  I feel sorry for him.  It must be awful to live under that kind of pressure, and have that king of attitude, and then to give your church the idea that you think that way is some kind of suicide.  You'll never pastor a church for any length of time with that attitude.  Let the Lord give you the results.  If somebody walks the isle, praise  the Lord.  If not, praise the Lord anyway.  God called me to preach. If they walk the isle, praise the Lord.  If not, I am going to preach anyway, and go on for the glory of God."


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

COOL STUFF FROM LIBRARY BOOKS #25: Memories of "Uncle Bud" Robinson

Albie's Note:  There was once a legendary American preacher of the Nazarene persuasion named Rueben "Uncle Bud" Robinson. (1860-1942) 

I have long believed the greatest testiment to his enduring appeal is that you will, to this day, hear him quoted in not only Methodist/Nazarene, but also Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentacostal and other pulpits as one of the great old preachers of yesteryear.  Trust me, it takes a pretty wide appeal to manage that kind of interdenominational reputation!

A great old book about "Uncle Buddy" is BUD ROBINSON, A Brother Beloved by James Blaine Chapman, Copyright 1943 By Beacon Hill Press.  It is chock full of great biographical info on this unusual servant of God [he was the son of a drunkard, a hard living cowhand as a youth before his conversion, stuttered all his life, and had very little formal education!]

Bud was first converted at a Texas camp meeting in the 1880s.  He preached all over America for decades all the way up to early years of World war 2!  There are even some extant recordings of his unusual voice and style.   One of the best parts of this book is a chapter that simply collects individual memories from fellow ministers of the man they refered to as "everybody's uncle."  I really enjoyed this passage that follows-- a set of particularly touching recollections by one Pastor U.E.  Harding:

When I was pastor at First Church, Pasadena, Bud Robinson was a member of my church. Once when he was at home for the holidays, we announced he would speak on Sunday afternoon. Those who know southern California, know that folks do not rally for a Sunday afternoon service, especially during the holiday season. But Bud Robinson never failed to draw a crowd, even in his home town. While eating my Sunday dinner, I told my family that this service would test Uncle Bud's popularity in his home church. Before the meal was over the custodian called and said to me, "Get the ushers on their job for the house is filled now and they are going to the galleries."  This was long before time for the service.

One day we were invited out together for dinner. A long platter was filled with golden brown fried chicken, everything from light to dark meat, drumsticks to gizzards, was set before us.  The lady hostess, so pleased that Bud Robinson was in her home for the first time, stood back of  him and said, "what is your choice piece Uncle Bud?"

He replied, "Why pick over it; ain't we goin' to eat all of it!?"

He was a man who loved children, and they all loved him. When our little girl, Mavis, at the age of eleven, went to be with Jesus, Uncle Bud was unable to attend the funeral. Some months later we saw him, and when Mrs. Harding and I met him we were all crying. He put his arms around both of us and called us "Children," and said amid sobs, "children, we know where she is when the curfew blows." We received many letters and wires of words of sympathy, but the words of this mountaineer philosopher have cheered us thousands of times and we have passed them on to others passing through sorrow.

Bud Robinson always had good things to say about everyone. If he ate a meal and the lady had only fried apples, he would boost the cook and say she was the greatest cook since Eve fried apples for Adam, and her husband was a miracle worker. Once when he had spent the night with a family in Missouri, in a preacher's home where there was a large family, he bade them good-by and asked God's blessing upon the home, and then gave them the love offering he had received the evening before. Driving away he sat in silence until one of the party asked him what was wrong.

He said, "Well, we will have to go back." They took him back and he gave the preacher's wife some more money and then rode away singing cheer to the rest of the party. That family of children are growing into manhood and womanhood. They are here where I am pastor, attending college, but they still remember Uncle Bud's wonderful visit.

Years ago, we were walking across the camp ground together. A lady came running up to him and looking him square m the face said, "And you are Bud Robinson?"

He said with a chuckle,  "I pay his tax."

She said, "I came five hundred miles to see you." Then she said, "You look like Jesus." He didn't swell up over this, even though it was the greatest compliment any man could receive, but he cried and wiping away the tears said, "Just pray that I will live like Him."

When with a group of his fellow ministers he was the center of attraction and entertained them with his stories. Sometimes professional men get critical of others in like professions, or of the people they serve. Immediately Uncle Bud would lose his interest and you would hear him singing "Amazing Grace" as he twiddled his thumbs. He perhaps knew more human weaknesses and sometimes even sins of the folks under discussion, but he knew it would not help them to tell it, but would hurt him.

Some of his close friends, given to impersonations, sometimes entertained their friends imitating Uncle Bud, with his quaint lisp. Even this writer they say is proficient at it. On one occasion in company with my friend of years, Rev. N. B. Herrell, for whom I was holding a meeting, said to me, "Call up Mrs. Herrell and imitate Uncle Bud and we will have a good dinner today." I did so, and when Mrs. Herrell said, "Well, Uncle Bud, what do you want for dinner?" I said, "Oh, chicken and dumplings, I guess, and some home-made ice cream." When we got to the house, using Uncle Buddie's phrase, "the perfume of chicken broth pervaded the settlement." The nice white linen table cloth was spread and one of the boys was on the porch turning the ice cream freezer.

But I would prefer to imitate him in his humble spirit, his forgiving heart, his optimism, and to look only for the good in everyone. This humble philosopher, Second Reader preacher, and author from the Tennessee hills! He was at home with a King in his parlor, or with a Peasant in the kitchen.

-- U. E. Harding, Pastor College Church, Nampa, Idaho.


"I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds." 
-- Jer. 5:5

Sunday, May 5, 2013

COOL ARTICLE: "In Defense Of The Automobile" from BARRACUDA MAGAZINE

"In Defense Of The Automobile"

There’s a disturbing trend afoot where the automobile is being demonized in the press and by environmental types as a scapegoat of the impending global warming crisis. The automobile is being unfairly portrayed as a foul, pollution-spewing dinosaur with no redeeming qualities that is the sole culprit behind global warming.

Lay off the automobile, ingrates! It doesn’t deserve to be vilified in this way. The automobile is one of the greatest inventions of the last 100 years. The automobile has literally powered cultural, social and economic change in this country. Every single person in this country has benefited and continues to benefit from the personal mobility that the automobile provides. So let’s not take it for granted and don’t act like the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels haven’t made your life better.

Aside from obviously providing an incredible amount of mobility to us on a daily basis, with any halfway decent used car and not too much money, any resident of the U.S. is capable of personally relocating to anywhere in the contiguous 48 states within one week. Imagine your employment prospects if you didn’t live in a big city and were limited only to the jobs that were available within 15 minutes of your home.

Before the advent of the car, Americans were either stuck in urbanized areas or isolated on a farm in outlying rural areas. Most Americans died within 25 miles of the place where they were born. Let us not underestimate the effect that this kind of isolation had on hindering everything from the free exchange of new ideas to commerce.

Fossil fuel automotion does more than get us to work in the morning. (Although many of us go to work to create the goods, services and technology that we all take for granted.) It powers trucks, trains, airplanes and cargo ships. These all make it possible for goods and services to be transported nationwide and globally in relatively short periods of time.

This equals an increase in commerce and affordable goods, which contributes to a healthy economy and technological advancement. Most shortages of vital goods and supplies around the world are caused not by a lack of production, but by a lack of distribution, which is dependent on transportation.

As Henry Ford once said, “It is not prosperity that makes the automobile, so much as it is the automobile that makes prosperity. It gives momentum and diversity to the people’s activity which tends constantly to increase and is most difficult to stop.”

The Myth of “Clean” Transportation and The Economics of Ecological Smugness

The demonization of the automobile shows not just an appalling lack of appreciation for what the automobile has done for this country historically, it also overstates the feasibility and cleanliness of the current alternatives.

A recent issue of EVolution Magazine told the story of an electric vehicle owner named Kris, who managed to drive an EV across the country. (This was all with the aid of charging stations specially set up just for him, of course. GM’s EV1 has a relatively short range before needing to be recharged for five or six hours.)

EVolution told of the driver’s stop at the Grand Canyon, where the National Park Service is considering a ban on internal combustion vehicles because of pollution problems. The magazine crowed, “He drove to the canyon rim knowing his vehicle shared no blame for fouling this natural wonder. ‘It’s good to know you’re the only one whose car is not polluting the air,’ [Kris] says.”

This example shows the condescending attitude and oversimplified understanding of ecological problems shared by many armchair ecological do-gooders. They are quick to point a finger at internal combustion cars while holding themselves completely blameless for contributions to pollution and global warming simply because they drive an EV.

Contrary to popular belief, electricity is not “clean.” EVs absolutely do generate exhaust gases that contribute to global warming, you just don’t see the emissions coming out of a tailpipe.

Where does the electricity to charge the batteries in EVs come from? The majority of electricity in this country is generated by burning coal, which happens to be a fossil fuel, which happens to have emissions that contribute to pollution and global warming.

So, the exhaust gases generated to make an EV run are simply shifted to some far-away smokestack at a generating plant, rather than out of a tailpipe on the car. This is not a case of clean transportation, it is a case of out of sight, out of mind.

An argument can clearly be made that electricity generated at a plant is a cleaner and a more efficient use of the potential energy of a fossil fuel than gas burned in a car’s engine. But, does that make our cross-country EV driver completely blameless, as he would like to believe? Does that make an EV truly a zero emissions car? Hardly.

Consider an EV’s exhaust gas contributions, very specifically, solely in terms of the emissions generated by a daily commute. If we compare those emissions to a similar internal combustion-powered commuter, yes, an EV is contributing less exhaust gases to the atmosphere. But that is much different from saying there are no emissions whatsoever. (And all of this assumes that these commutes are taking place over relatively short distances in an urbanized area — the only place where EVs are practical.)

However, if you want to address the issue of exhaust gases seriously, and in terms of whether the EV driver in our example can back up his claim of absolutely un-sullied ecological karma, the equation gets much more complicated.

Excerpted from Barracuda issue #09.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BIG AL'S JOVIAL JUKEBOX #12: "Ezekiel's Boneyard" by SLEEPY LABEEF

Albie's note: I almost made this part of my HYMN TIME series but decided it fit the Jovial Jukebox theme a little better-- even if it is a recording of an old folk spiritual.  Sleepy LaBeef is a legendary 6-foot-7 Rockabilly singer from Smackover, Arkansas who has been nick-named "the human jukebox" for his amazing ability to perform requested songs by memory.  His "basso profundo" voice is as legendary in some circles as that of the late Johnny Cash's-- even if it is nowhere near as famous. [Interesting sidenote: Sleepy is often rumored to have been fellow "Arkansawyer" Charles Portis' real life model for the LaBeouf character in the classic novel TRUE GRIT!]

Here, Sleepy sings an old sermon-song based on the "dry bones" vision in Ezekiel 37.  While I do think the prophecy here is primarly about the re-birth of national Israel, I still like songs and sermons that use it to preach spiritual revival.  Both are perfectly acceptable interpretations, whether the hyper-dispensational fellas like it or not. [If you have no idea what i mean by that, great! You're better off!]

The truth is, that Old Book often says many different things within the same passage... The Bible is just amazing!

About this song.... I gotta warn ya... if you pay attention to the lyrics it gets a little sobering!

by Sleepy LaBeef

1. It was down on the boneyard circuit, there was no way to shirk it
A preacher named Ezekiel was sent
He landed at the station and saw the situation
A valley full of bones was his audience
By way of a suggestion the Lord asked him a question
"Can these dry bones be raised up from the dead?"
The Spirit was beseeching, so Ezekiel went to preaching
And from the pulpit this is what he said.
Oh! You old dry bones hear the word of the Lord
Stand up on your feet and His goodness repeat
Lay aside your dry profession, Get a Holy Ghost possession
You've been bleaching in the valley long enough
2. The bones begin to rattle, like muskets in a battle
When Ezekiel took his text and started in
It was plain it didn't matter, in spite of all the clatter
Ezekiel kept right on a-clubbing sin
The bones all came together, in spite of stormy weather
To hear the message from the Lord's right hand
It made them sit and wonder to hear this voice of thunder
And from the pulpit issued this command

3. The rattle was terrific; the message was specific
Repent! The preacher roared in thunder tones.
There'll be no absolution 'til you make restitution
The muscle then appeared upon the bones
You'll have no good beginning until you quit your sinning
The muscle soon was covered o'er with skin
His breathless congregation was filled with consternation
As Ezekiel's voice rose and roared again.

4. They sat and warmed the benches while Ezekiel rushed the trenches
And preached the word with all his might and main
It caused a big commotion when he with deep emotion
Said "breath of God come breathe upon these slain."
The wind was soon a-blowing, the bones were soon a-going
Around the place as fast as they could run
While Ezekiel's still addressing they got a second blessing
And now the real excitement had begun.

May 14, 1948 newspaper:



Albie's note: My favorite book of the Bible is Luke's Gospel, and I have read several different commentaries on it over the years.  Now i am going to tackle Peter Ruckman's 762 page opus dealing with the "Gospel of the underdog" (to borrow William Barclay's memorable label.  I have a love/hate thing with Ruckman's books; I hate all the vindictive slams against other commentators (for one thing they take up too much space!); but  I love it when Dr. Ruckman simply teaches the Bible.  At his best, he has a down-to-earth style that is absolutely unique... as demonstrated here in (most of) his intro to the LUKE commentary. 
To The Gospel Of LUKE

The third biographical account of Jesus Christ in the New Testament was written by Paul's missionary companion Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). From the time he joined the apostle in Acts 16:10–17, Luke accompanied Paul (2 Tim. 4:11) all the way to the time of his execution. For further discussion on the authorship of the book, we refer you to our comments under Acts 1:1 in that Commentary.

Luke’s writing is that of a highly educated, very intelligent man. While we won’t go into the fineries of Greek here, suffice it to say that the language of Luke is a very precise, correct, classical style not found in the writings of a commercial fisherman like John or a publican like Matthew.

Now you don’t need to know Greek or Hebrew to see that the writers of Scripture have different styles and personalities. The truth of the matter is that although “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16), the Holy Spirit didn’t override the “holy men of God” He “moved” to speak the words of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21).

Like the living Word, the written word of God has two natures: a human one and a divine one. The divine nature was, of course, the Holy Ghost, and the human nature was the men who wrote it. The men who wrote down what the Holy Spirit gave them had individual personalities, and God spoke through those personalities without changing them.

Because of Luke’s command of the Greek language, the teaching of modern apostate Fundamentalists and Conservatives is that Luke himself was a Gentile Greek. Of course, that proves nothing, for Paul could speak and write Greek quite well when he wanted (see Acts 21:37 and our remarks on the authorship of Hebrews in the introduction to that Commentary). Romans 3:4 says “the oracles of God” were given to the Jews, and the singular exception of Job (written 300 years before Moses penned the Pentateuch) does nothing to overthrow that divine rule. Scofield correctly points out that Luke was “of Jewish ancestry...a Jew of the Dispersion,” probably from Antioch (!).

The Gospel of Luke contains 24 chapters, 1,151 verses, and 25,939 words. The exact time and place of its authorship isn’t fixed. It was obviously written before the book of Acts (see Acts 1:1), which wasn’t finished until after the events of Acts 28 (probably around A.D. 65). Because Luke wrote his Gospel from the eyewitness accounts of Christ’s life (Luke 1:2), the most logical time for him to have interviewed the various disciples and folks who saw and heard Jesus would have been when Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 24:27). The most probable time for the writing, then, would be between A.D. 58 and 60.

Luke is what is known as a “synoptic Gospel”; that is, it, along with Matthew and Mark, gives a synopsis of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there is nothing wrong with that label per se, but the Liberals use that to isolate and get rid of John’s Gospel as a genuine historical account of the life of Jesus Christ.

You see, it is obvious to anyone that John had a purpose in writing his Gospel.

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

John wrote his Gospel to show you Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and to get you saved. Such things are “verboten” to unsaved and apostate scholarship. Historians aren’t supposed to write anything to prove any Biblical, theological truth. After all, “all religions are the same,” and “we are all working to get to the same place.” Yeah, and you’re gonna make it if you don’t watch out.

The reason for the so-called “synoptic problem” is the amount of New Testament revelation each author had. Matthew and Mark were the earliest two Gospels, and neither one had anything the Apostle Paul wrote. Luke would have had 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans, and 1 & 2 Corinthians. John, though, would have had the entire body of Pauline revelation available to him. When Luke wrote, the destruction of Jerusalem had not yet taken place, but John wrote twenty years after the Jews had ceased to be a nation. That explains the alleged “disparities” between the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and John’s Gospel.

Each one of the Gospels has a special theme and these are given in the Old Testament prophecies on “the Branch” (see our comments on Zech. 3:8 in the Bible Believer’s Commentary on the Minor Prophets, Vol. II). As we pointed out above, John wrote about Jesus as the Son of God; it has a universal appeal not found in the other three Gospels (e.g., John 1:10–12, 3:16, 4:42, 12:32, 21:25). John has Christ’s genealogy going back all the way before Genesis 1:1 (see John 1:1–3). So John emphasizes Christ’s Deity, and he writes to the world at large.

Matthew presents Jesus as the King of the Jews. He traces Christ’s genealogy back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish race (Matt. 1:1). Matthew is a Jew writing to Jews, so his emphasis is on Christ as the “King of the Jews” because those Jews were looking for their Messiah to show up as a conquering King.

The Gospel of Mark is fast-paced with a lot of action. There are not a lot of doctrinal discourses in Mark like you find in the other Gospels. For that reason, the scholars say Mark writes to the Romans. Be that as it may, the emphasis in Mark is on Christ as the Servant of God. Because of that, you won’t find any genealogy given by Mark. Nobody cares from where a servant comes.

The Gospel of Luke, though, traces Christ back to the very first man, Adam (Luke 3:38), so the theme of Luke is Jesus Christ as the Son of man. Luke writes to the Greeks as a group, so he presents Jesus Christ as the perfect man. Luke puts the emphasis on Christ’s human nature, which is why the Liberals prefer it over John’s Gospel, because John emphasizes Christ’s divine nature.

Because of his audience, you will notice a peculiar Gentile slant to Luke’s Gospel. It’s all through the book. In the famous Christmas passage in Luke 2, the angel told the shepherds, “behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL PEOPLE” (Luke 2:10). At Christ’s circumcision, Simeon said He would be “A light to lighten THE GENTILES” (Luke 2:32). Luke changes the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14–30), which was a Jewish weight, to the Parable of the Pounds, a Gentile weight.

While Luke is a “synoptic Gospel,” still there are things peculiar to the book, which are found in no other Gospel account. Luke is the only Gospel to give you the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the story of the rich man and Lazarus. You won’t find the annunciations of John the Baptist or Jesus Christ in Matthew, Mark, or John. Although Matthew will tell you what happens after the birth of Christ with the wise men, only in Luke will you read about the actual birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. And only Luke gives you the conversion of the dying thief on the cross. So without the Gospel of Luke, you would have an incomplete picture of the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. The idea that you can use the “synoptic problem” to get rid of one or more of the Gospel accounts is straight out of Hell. You can take the “Q document theory” and the “Jesus Seminar” and deposit them in “File 13” where they belong.

As in every book in the Bible Believer’s Commentary Series, we will take a believing approach to the work of Dr. Luke. We will accept it as an absolutely, 100% correct, historically accurate account of the events as they are recorded. We won’t give a “Continental dollar” (I forbear to give the “original”) for the opinions of apostate scholarship in the matter. Why would we take the conjectures and guesswork of a bunch of educated jackrabbits over the witness of people who lived, worked, and talked with Jesus Christ face to face? Our approach to what the Holy Spirit recorded in the Book He authored is that of the Thessalonian Christians.

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13).

If that’s not the approach of the other bunch, that’s their problem; it’s a free country. They can believe anything they want about the Book; just don’t ask us who believe it to give them any more respect for their position or education than we would give to a two-year-old Ubangi baby. They will answer to their Creator just like I will answer to mine (Rom. 14:12). All my chips are on the Book.