The “Hunger for Some Unvarnished Truths”

Insightful article on why “American Idol” is refreshingly judgmental in today’s WSJ Taste page:

Ostensibly the whole point of “American Idol” is to watch a field of amateur singers get whittled down from the initial thousands of contestants to the current cast of 10, and then to see them voted off one by one until at last we come to the real-life American Idol. … But none of this accounts for the massive appeal of the show, which is just a high-stakes karaoke contest. The real draw, I suspect, is the judges, each of whom acts as a kind of stand-in for a moral idea–a theory of justice, if you will–at work in America today.

Even if you don’t watch it, you’ll appreciate the article, I think.


  1. Andrew C. Bain said,

    March 29, 2005 @ 6:06 am

    Hi, Your Shorter Catechism states that in order to escape God’s wrath we must use the “sacraments” (Q91). Is this in line with the Bible? No, God begs to differ. He says that CHRIST has redeemed all believers from the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13). It’s by Christ’s atoning blood and imputed righteousness *alone* that a believer escapes God’s wrath. A believer does NOT escape God’s wrath by Christ’s work + Lord’s Supper. NONE of man’s works are “effectual to salvation.” After all, isn’t salvation from God’s wrath 100% Christ’s work, and 0% man’s works?

    I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Andrew C. Bain

  2. Pip said,

    March 29, 2005 @ 2:57 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Andrew. It sounds like you’re conflating two of the Shorter Catechism ( answers into one, and thereby you create an answer (and an equation) that’s not actually expressed in the catechism. You reference question 91, which is:

    Q. 91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?

    The question about how we escape God’s wrath is actually asked earlier in the catechism:

    Q. 85. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
    A: “To escape the wrath and curse of God, due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.”

    A few questions later (#88), we find the answer to how Christ communicates to us those “benefits of redemption” referenced in #85:

    “The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.”

    You mention that “NONE of man’s works are ‘effectual to salvation.'” Presumably, you’re referring to the catechism (and specifically Q91), but it itself affirms this: “… not from any virtue in them [the sacraments], or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit…”

    The Presbyterian Church in American holds, as protestants have for many years, that we are justified by grace through faith alone (not our works), as clarified in the answer to uestion 33 (“What is justification?”):

    “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”

    Again, thanks for taking the time to comment. Please let me know if I’ve misunderstood or misrepresented your comments.

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