Home page of Eric Pement



Welcome to the Pement home page

This web space was produced by Eric Pement. If your last name is Pement (or used to be), I'll be glad to offer you some free space here. (Er, probably. Contact me for approval.)

About me: I'm a Christian, happily married, father of three, experienced in computer technology, including Unix shell scripting, batch languages, and web programming. After becoming a Christian, I developed a special interest in the Bible, the evidence for Christianity (pro and con), and the beliefs and practices of different religions, ranging from world religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) to small sects and cults.

For many years I was a proofreader, writer, and senior editor for a widely-circulated Christian magazine. Later, I worked as a PHP programmer, monitoring engineer, tech support, and Unix engineer for companies in the medical and financial sector.

Most of my adult life was spent in full-time Christian ministry, studying the Bible and Christian doctrine, both for my own instruction and also to teach members of my local church. In my twenties and thirties I taught at many churches, conferences, radio and television shows, usually on the topic of cults and countercult ministry. I have a master's degree in divinity with formal study in biblical languages, church history, philosophy, and theology. I treasure the years we served at Jesus People USA (24 years) and Armitage Baptist Church (10 years), both in Chicago. For the past seven years, my wife and I have been members of Harvest Jacksonville, a Bible church in Florida led by Pastor Brett Maragni.

Pement family

This photo is not current, but I like it. My wife Barbara is working on a book chronicling her life growing up in Maple Park, Chicago. Our oldest daughter Lavinia (center) has a master's degree in Chinese language and culture; she teaches English at Haidian Foreign Language School in Beijing, China. Our twins John and Lorelei, on the ends, live in Australia and Chicago. We are blessed to say that all of our family have personally and individually put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Truly, I give thanks for whatever I have accomplished to Jesus Christ, who saved me from a wasted life of self-absorption and aimlessness. He gave me a new life through the power of His Spirit, and—I firmly believe—He will one day return to claim this world He created. Like Bob Dylan sang in Slow Train Comin', "He's got plans of His own, to set up His throne, when He returns.

The older I get, the more I realize how transitory this life is, "a vapor that appears for a little time and vanishes away." Please understand this first and most of all:

There is a living God who loves you, regardless of what you've done or the mess you've made of your life. All of us have sinned and come short of the standard that God expects and requires of us. We have broken God's word and will, both by our active rebellion and by passive neglect and complacency. And believe me, there will be Hell to pay. Said another way, the penalty for our sin is so painful, that none of us can hope to repay this debt of sin.

Yet, God has provided a solution for this awful crisis. God has sent to the world a Savior—Jesus Christ—who died in our place. Three days later, His body came back to life and He presented Himself alive to His disciples, proving that our sin was cancelled by His blood and that He has power over death itself. Through Him we can have a fresh start, a new beginning, a new heart and eternal life with God the Father. For more details, you may contact me if you have questions or want to know a little more.

Originally published by Campus Crusade many years ago, you can read Barbara's testimony here.

My conversion and post-conversion spiritual journey is, well, "complicated." I came out of the RLDS church, and many curious things happened after my conversion. However, for the basic story of my salvation, you can read Eric's testimony here.

If for details on my investigation and opinions about spiritual and religious topics, check out the various sections on God or the other topics on the navigation menu to the left.

Biblical Languages

During my ten years at North Park Theological Seminary, I learned biblical Hebrew and Greek, the original languages parse, and interpret the Bible in both Greek and Hebrew. I had some great professors to teach me. I learned Greek under Fred von Kamecke and Linda Belleville, biblical interpretation under Grant Osborne and Klyne Snodgrass, and biblical Hebrew under Jim Bruckner.

One challenge while writing papers for school was knowing how to insert foreign language characters—especially Greek and Hebrew—in the middle of an English document composed with Microsoft Word. So I made available a range of Hebrew and Greek fonts for my fellow students. Since about 2007, the near-universal adoption of Unicode has made this effort almost obsolete. However, I am keeping one page with some explanation about how fonts were managed in the "old days", for those who may still be using (for example) Microsoft Word 2002 on a Windows XP machine. If you are on a more recent version of Microsoft Word, the older fonts won't be of much use. Unicode makes it easy to keep the same loaded font (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.) and insert scores of foreign alphabets, glyphs, and diacritical marks, without switching to a different font set.

Perl and web development

I've been coding in the Perl programming language for several years. My first contact with Perl came from rock guitarist Stu Heiss who was also the sysadmin for our community's mail system and first network.

Somewhere I still have that horribly awkward script. But the nice thing was, it worked, it handled input lines of unlimited length, and it got the job done. And as Larry Wall, the inventor of Perl, says, "A Perl program is correct if it gets the job done before your boss fires you."

An interesting Perl project I worked on several years ago was a script to detect Bible references in a plaintext or HTML file, and automatically generate hyperlinks (clickable links) to online-Bible web sites. Biblical passages can be written in many different ways, such as "1Jn 5:12" or "I John 5:12", and they may take a string of references: "John 3:3, 5, 7-8, 16; 8:28; 10:8-10".

The trick was not only to recognize also when passages stop, but also how to determine when references are continued on second and third lines. The script also offers to link other formats which people often want hyperlinked, such as "chapter 4", "vv. 7-12", "cf. 14:6" and so forth.

I wrote it at Moody Bible Institute several years ago. It's been surpassed by several other things, including a nice piece of JavaScript wizardry called Reftagger, but it's good at what it does.

Other stuff

You'll find a few pages on software tools, text editing, sed, awk, batch files, Take Command (formerly called "4DOS"), web tools, and things related to text editing. A lot of people find it easier to work with plain text than two work with the proprietary and restricted formats of things like Word documents.

There is also an obligatory page of miscellaneous links to items or info or programs I find useful and interesting.

If you came here looking for something, I hope you find what you're looking for. If you were just mindlessly surfing (as I tend to do, against my better judgment on occasion), then I hope you stumbled across something new and stimulating. If you have feedback or comments, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for visiting. God bless you!

These pages created with GNU Emacs, xhtmlpp, Take Command, and Altap Salamander. Icons courtesy of Qbullets
Last modified: 2019-08-04