Saturday, December 26, 2009

On Worship

A brief guiding statement on Christian Worship -

Worship is privately and publicly acknowledging the absolute sovereignty of God, His complete sufficiency and our complete inadequacy1, all done in spirit and truth2.

Christians accomplish this good work, in general, by loving God with their full selves and loving others3, so that all may ascribe glory to Him alone4.

Corporate worship is the gathering of the church specifically to worship as a unified body. Corporate worship includes the proper and orderly5 public practice of the spiritual gifts, preaching, praying, singing, giving and other elements which are required, allowed and outlined by God in His Holy Word6.

While the practice of worship may vary in terms of inclusion of all or some of the elements, no element may be added that is not clearly outlined in Holy Scriptures7.

(Intended as a Scripturally based guiding principle, not as an exhaustive declaration.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

God is Great, God is Good

God is Great, God is Good edited by William Lane Craig and Chad Meister... while reflecting the simple words with which children are sometimes taught to pray looks to prove anything but childish. In fact, after reading a discussion of it's contents and writers over at Apologetics 315, I believe this book will not only prove one of the greatest and best selling books of it's time, but will be a book apologists and the common reader will want on their shelf for years to come, and beyond. Check it out here, then buy it and promote it. It's DEFINITELY on my Christmas list this year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Gimmicks

Perhaps it's because there's more press, but it seems to me I'm reading more and more of pastors and/or churches performing "gimmicks" to draw attention to themselves this Christmas. While I admit I do not know their hearts, and while I admit that some good comes through their actions, I also have noted some aspects of the things I've read, even quotes coming from the individuals themselves, which are not in keeping with Scripture.

We must keep in mind that some things are done for charitable and right reasons, and it's only because others draw attention to them that they receive the press they do, but at the same time, there's the possibility that some things might be done (even in the name of religion, or under the guise "God laid it upon my heart to do it) which are done to gain attention.

I'll not mention specific incidents here for various reasons, but keep in mind that all which is done even in the name of charity is not of righteousness.

Christian Influence and Religious Freedoms

Among all regions, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest government and social restrictions on religion, while the Americas are the least restrictive region on both measures.

Type your summary here

Type rest of the post here

Christian Influence and (Religious) Freedoms

Among all regions, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest government and social restrictions on religion, while the Americas are the least restrictive region on both measures.

Interesting article and report entitled Two-thirds of global population live in religiously restrictive countries

Not surprising to find the America's where they are listed.

Not surprising to find Muslim countries listed where they are.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Carl Trueman on Displays of Pride & Practices of Humility in Blogging

Carl Trueman's Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear To Tread is not only an interesing read, a convicting piece of work, but useful in raising awareness of sins commonly espressed expressed in the world of blogging.

Ha! - I know I'll get the question: Did I post this so I could use Carl Trueman's name on our blog? ... but his great insight and writing reflects no credit to us (I can even say I don't know him and have never talked with him), but simply felt his article was a good read and of great benefit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quotes opposing "Value Free Parenting" fr. Clifford Longley (& Commentary by Matthew Boudway)

“There is no such thing as value-free parenting,”

Simply to avoid all discussion of the parents’ religious beliefs…is to impart the clear and strong message that religion does not matter.

... of course public schools approach important matters all the time, and cannot avoid doing so. However fastidiously they dodge metaphysical questions, they cannot dodge what Socrates called the most important question: how to live.

Quotes taken from here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do Christians and Muslims worship the Same God?

"In our country, if one refers to Allah or mentions kalimah Allah, it will bring to one's mind that it refers to the god for Muslims. Kalimah Allah is sacred to the Muslims and put at the highest position, and its sanctity must be protected," he said Monday, according to local sources

The above quote is taken from here. Regardless of the use of Allah, what's clear in this article is that Muslims too recognize they refer to and worship a DIFFERENT God than Christians.

If Christians and Muslims both acknowledge that the God Christians worship is different from the object of Muslim worship, why do people go around suggesting: "We all worship the same God"? That fact is ... we don't! Any statements to the contrary reveal either naivete or ignorance, or arrogance in suggesting the holder (without authority) knows more than all the adherents to the other religions.

Note also the statement in the article:

The use of the word ‘Allah’ by other religions may arouse sensitivity ... among Muslims," explained Abdullah Zin, the de-facto minister for Islamic affairs,

While the suggestion that such use "may arouse sensitivity" may refer to cultural considerations or may even underlyingly serve as a threat, what's clear is that Muslims would not take lightly the suggestions of those that would suggest their object of worship is no different and should be mingled or interchanged with others.

While Christians who worship in spirit and in truth recognize it's a sin to take God's name in vain, we also recognize the authority and power given to the church today is spiritual and ecclesiastical (as opposed to physical or civil) and as such we neither possess the power of the sword physically nor are we to assume that power for ourselves individually for to do so would be to usurp the authority of the Scripture and to strike or kill people (apart from legitimate authority acting in accord with God's Word) would be to commit sin.

Friday, December 11, 2009

False View of Ten Commandments and Salvation

Paul writes "For while we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."

Too often, one comes across participants or members in Christian churches who have the idea that God saves those who are GOOD. You know the type, I'm a Christian because I try to keep the Ten Commandments, or God saves me because I'm different than others who do not go to church or pray - at least I'm trying to do right and serve him.

But Scripture presents a different teaching when it comes to salvation. Christ did not come to die for those who are good, or for the godly, but for the ungodly.

Part of the problem is that many misunderstand the use of the Ten Commandments. Many live or speak as if the Ten Commandments were given for us to try to keep as if to "prove" our righteousness to God or show how good we are or can be. However, God knew of man's fall in the garden and the fact that through Adam's sin all became sinners and are therefore incapable of keep the Ten Commandments. Then for what reason were the commandments given? Paul writes: "the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ" (Gal 3:24). It does this by setting the standard of God's righteousness before us and proving to us our unrighteousness and therefore our need for Christ, one who has come in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be met in us, not through our own works, but through the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us.

In this light, we come to see that before one comes to understand salvation and the grace offered by Jesus Christ, they must first comes to see themselves as "ungodly". (Note, it's not those who are well but those who are sick who need a doctor; likewise it's not those who think themselves good or godly but those who have come to admit themselves to be ungodly who need a Savior.)

This condition of thinking Christ came for those who are "good" is a plague that looms over many and must be addressed not only if these individuals are to be saved but if our churches are to serve as effectively lights to the world in regard to God's saving grace. Make it a point to draw attention to this distinction for many are blindly unaware of it.

Christmas Encouragement of Global Evangelization

Iranian Republic, Not Islamic Republic

Above quote is a slogan held up by brave protesters in Iran who seek and fight for freedoms under a banner which perhaps sheds insight into greater things to come not only for Iran but for the hope which has been communicated for the world.

I'm grateful this Christmas of the encouragement that globalization gives toward the fulfillment of Christ's Great Commission and the evangelization of the world. As it is the understanding of all reasonable men that each person should have freedom of discovery and belief when it comes to religion, it seems the globalization of the world, including the greater exposure it brings to all ... as well the greater influence and pressure exerted by the larger masses will serve in significant ways to facilitate the expansion of the Great Commission and the ushering in of the fulfillment of the words spoken by Christ (and his messengers) that the gospel will go forth and spread to the ends of the earth and the fullness of the conversion of the elect will come to pass, afterwhich there will be the final coming of Christ, the judgment of the living and the dead, and the eternity of reward and punishment of the saints and of the lost respectively.

I think of the encouragement this year as I consider the continuing news of the number of Christians in China; and who would have considered the just a few years ago the door being opened for the gospel to freely go into places like Iran, but the above slogan, and the demonstrations taking place in Iran give hope and point to the day whether sooner or later when the things prophesied will come to pass. It's a great time as we consider what's taking place around the world and the prospect and promises of things to come.

Some may say there doesn't seem to be any good news in the world, but even in the midst of the battles and strife, there's hope and encouragement for who have eyes to see even this Christmas season! For isn't that what the gospel is all about... that even in the midst of all the conflict and strife, God brings about salvation through the truth and mercies of his Son, who gave himself that men might be reconciled to God redeemed along with creation itself. If this doesn't bring Christmas cheer, I don't know what will. We have reason to rejoice, even as we look in faith to the fulfillment of God's purposes and to the consummation of those things which are to come!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

America: an Islamic Nation?

In President Obama's nobel acceptance speech, he made reference again to Islam as "a GREAT religion" (Caps, my emphasis, though it reflects the tone in which the statement was made).

While I recognize both the political and practical benefits of using such a term (i.e., seeking to drive a wedge to separate the greater Muslim community from those presently and publicly endorsing jihad.... so as to avoid WWIII), at the same time I wonder if any News organization would consider counting and reporting the number of times the President of the United States has made reference to Islam as a Great Religion and the number of times he has publicly referred to Christianity as a Great Religion? I guarantee the difference would be ASTOUNDING!

Question: Where's the CONSISTENCY when it comes to what many refer to today as "separation of church and state"? Seems while there may be "separation of Christianity and state", there is no "separation of Islam and state". Where is Barry W. Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on this? While outcry would be heard if anyone in a rural classroom even mentions anything related to Christianity, the President of the United States can speak and be broadcast to the world stating "Islam is a GREAT Religion", and no one says a word.

Several Points
1. While I don't believe our forefathers meant what most people say "separation of church and state" means today, at the same time the inconsistency in applying the principle (as commonly accepted) is gross.
2. While calling Islam a "great religion" may presently have political and practical implications, the consequences of such a high profile figure repeatedly making such references may have great and devastating consequences in the future.
3. Distinction between present expouses of jihad and the greater Muslim community can be made without referring to Islam as being "great". (Note: the reference "great" can not only be taken to mean Islam has made contributions to the world but also to mean Islam is worthy as a religion and not only worthy of endorsement (if not acceptance) but is publicly being endorsed with grand appraisal by the high profile person making the statement.)
4. If we do not need government competing against our business in the marketplace, we certainly don't need government competing against our religion in the world.
5. I'm grateful that while the President(s) of the U.S. may refer to Islam as a great religion, the greater witness found in Jesus and heaven itself not only has spoken with a powerful Word to the contrary but will also win the battle since the certainty of victory lies not in human persuasion (even those with high profiles) but in the sovereignty, power, and faithfulness of God himself.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter's Speech at Parliament of the World’s Religions

Carter, who left the Southern Baptist Convention nearly a decade ago in part because it does not allow women to be ordained as pastors, said discrimination against women in religious settings not only contradicted the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of the world’s major faiths, according to Christian Today.

Quote from here.

In Carter Rails Against Religious Discriminaton of Women, it seems former President Jimmy Carter continues to stump for "equality of women's roles" in the church while denying Scripture and positing authority in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and the teachings of the world's majoy faiths, though he also inconsistently goes on to condemn some of the practices of those faiths which has first upheld as the standard we should base our views and practice upon.

I won't waste the time on a new rebuttal. Readers can find what needs to be said in my previous post.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Call and Reminder to Christian (and Non-Materialist) Scientists regarding Collider

Seems the Collider is powering up and though it might be next year before any significant findings are made (or up to three years), let me express by hope that Christian scientist will not only be involved in reviewing the evidence but also in posting reviews, for if history teaches us anything, it's that not only is the evidence important, but so are the presuppositions with which one comes to the evidence, and history reveals that often those with humanistic/materialistic views like to try to beat others to the press espousing not only their positions but claiming them to be scientific and undebatable fact, a situation which not only misleads but also creates a more difficult environment and challenge for communicating the truth in those areas where a more thorough and comprehensive view of the evidence proves their positions to be wrong.

My understanding is that the Collinder data is to be published where scientists around the world can gain almost immediate access to it. Hopefully, scientists from the creationist and/or intelligent design positions will not only give this matter significant attention but also remember matters related to publication and the press (i.e., timing, caution people ahead of time of the need to be patient and not simply accept everything they may first be told by those who want to make a name for themselves or to hijack the media attention and public, etc.)

Personally, I'm grateful for the work and advancements I see Scientists making on the side of truth. Keep up the good work and may science be a field where the glories of the creator, sustainer and governor of the world are recognized and his due worship and praise rendered to Him!

Cal Thomas on the Left's Position on the Climate


Quote taken from here.

While the remark should taken in context (which admits generalizations), this was a good example of taken the familiar (i.e., a verse from Scripture) and applying it in an engaging and powerful way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Opposition to Anti-Blasphemy Laws

A group of Islamic nations, led by Algeria and Pakistan, is lobbying to bring before the U.N. General Assembly a proposed treaty banning mockery of religion,

The letter seeks to outlaw utterances that are “grossly abusive or insulting” to religion without defining precisely what it deemed grossly abusive. That kind of spongy language leads many to suspect that the treaty would be used against political dissidents as much as it would be used to protect the feelings of the devout.

The above quotes are taken from Editorial: Free speech ... crackdown in name of religion

This writer makes a very good point.

While we all realize the following:
(1) Freedom of religion is good and to be protected
(2) Speech can abusive and sinful
(3) The context of speech is important and should be taken into account
(4) Beliefs that are true should not fear standing against tests
(5) Harm can occur when false beliefs are protected and kept from being addressed,

I say the writer makes a very good point because if a global anti-blasphemy law were approved and put in place, additional persecution and violence in Muslim countries would not only be great, but be conducted under a new veil of protection.

Dawkin's Response to Why He Refuses to Debate Dr. William Lane Craig

You can tell from the tone of his voice, he's agitated. Being publicly exposed might easily explain it.

Perhaps he won't be as busy "after Christmas" and will accept the invitation next year. ;)

My prediction: Similar to a boxer who gains a little fame for a time but knows he can't stand up to real competition, Dawkins will find some stiffs or dead weight to debate and then claim he's fought the competition...

I hope the question continues to be put to him, often!

About Dr. Craig

Friday, December 4, 2009

Biblica/theological resources and the...

Biblical/theological resources and theology to avoid:

Interpreting Scripture:

Commentaries - use when reading Scriptures - these are trustworthy theologians:

Systematic Theology - to set your doctrinal focus (Reformed Theology):

In general - television preachers are to be avoided - LOTS of false/bad doctrine - here is a list of some others to avoid:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Illustration of Grace (& Misunderstanding Grace); Matthew 20:1-16 - Parable of the Vineyard

Carrying this new deal being offered by this restaurant to its logical conclusion, they are actually charging those families and individuals who don't go to any church more money for their meal over those that those do go to church. Additionally, those tourists who may be visiting the area without a special bulletin will be charged more as well.

The above quote is taken from a post from the Mississippi Atheists website. What's clear, when one reads the post, is the author either doesn't understand the meaning of the word "discount" or he's prejudiced against grace shown to Christians, or both.

The situation is this: a restaurant advertised a 10% discount to customers who presented a copy of their church bulletin. The blogger suggested this was paramount to charging some people (who don't go to church) more than others.

This fails to understand how grace works. The owner, here, is not selling the food for two different prices, but for the same price, and yet has chosen to give a discount - (an amount the business owner could legitimately charge, as evidenced in the amount the business charges other customers - but an amount which the business owner chooses to absorb the loss and pass on benefit to the customers of his choosing.) Hence, it is not that other customers are being cheated (but are paying the price they justly owe), but that some - at the pleasure and expense of the business owner - are shown grace and thus experience more than they deserve.

I suspect the motivation behind the post is most clearly revealed in the writer's statement:

My initial question would be "Why is a church goer so much more favored at the restaurant over all others"?

Just as with the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16, those who have a problem with those who dispense grace reveal a problem of the heart. Shouldn't we all enjoy seeing individuals experience grace and even see individuals who are willing to sacrifice so that others may experience more than they deserve? And doesn't the business owner have a right to choose how he will run his business and to whom he will show favor? Could the problem not be a social and ethical problem where one shows special treatment for specific subsets of people of a certain ideology over others, but rather a prejudice toward believers and a wrong attitude toward those who (justly and graciously) bless them?

(Note: I recognize this example is not without some weaknesses, but the essential point remains. Weaknesses include:
1. The grace of the gospel is different in that in this example the customers must perform an act - show a bulletin, whereas the grace of the gospel is such that it is completely without works on the part of the recipient.
2. In this illustration, there is incentive for the business owner which stands behind the marketing, whereas in the gospel the incentive to the one giving grace is not of the same nature as the benefit of the one receiving the grace.)

CS Response to post by Atheist Revolution

With the idea of karma, there is a certain inevitability of justice. If one screws up enough in life, there is no forgiveness and no absolution of "sin" gained by repeated hail Mary's. No deathbed confessions will save your ***. Your fate will be determined by your own behavior, just as it should be. The various Christian denominations seem determined to offer short-cuts - ways to get away with sin. [*** Curse Word deleted]

The above quote was taken from a blog called "Atheist Revolution". I draw your attention to a several issues raised in the statements:

1. Note how the writer acknowledges one's fate will be determined by their own behavior. The writer even adds this is "just as it should be". To this end, the writer will have no excuse on the day of judgment, for his own words will testify against him. (Note: the writer leaves the issue of representative & substitutionary atonement unaddressed.)

2. Note how the writer reveals his ignorance of Christianity when he states "The various Christian denominations seem determined to offer short-cuts - ways to get away with sin." Christianity, unlike atheism, takes sin seriously. Statements like this reveal both a misunderstanding of Christianity as well as the tendency of unbelievers to condemn Christianity for something other than what Christianity really is.

3. Note as well the position taken on deathbed confessions. Unlike God, this writer shows a lack of mercy and a refusal to recognize the righteousness and effectiveness associated with true confession and repentance regardless of the time of its occurance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More Proof That Atheism Is A Religion

From Atheist Group Takes ‘Godless Holiday’ Campaign Nationwide


1.) Atheism holds a specific view of God (that goes without saying).

2.) Atheism holds a view of sacred things (the term "holiday" denotes a sacred, "holy" day.)

3.) Atheism holds a view of morality (as quoted in article, "Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God"). What is good?

4.) Atheism is trying to build an ecclessiastical unit ("the atheist group claims its campaign is designed to reach out to fellow atheists on what is normally a religious holiday").

5.) Atheism has a view on law (ACLU, etc.).

Atheism bases its worldview on particular views of God, man, law, ethics, rights, etc. They claim an exclusive avenue to public policy based on those views. Yet when Christians do the same, we keep hearing about the mythical "separation clause".

This clearly shows that there is no neutral territory in any area of life. Far from being neutral, atheism is an extremely dogmatic religion.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Continuing Attempts to Curb Sin

“Children are altruistic by nature,” he writes, and though they are also naturally selfish, all parents need do is try to tip the balance toward social behavior.

Quote taken from here.

History has shown a plethora of attempts to suggest education, rewards, drugs, or a combination thereof, etc. are all that is needed to produce acceptable behavior and among humanity to put an end to sin. Here's another approach, and this one is simply to "tip the balance" between the two (altruism and selfishness). Seems the world which fails to accept the Bible's position of both humans as image bearers as well as the need for a change of heart will always be trying to come up with something new, but to no avail, until man accepts that the the sinful nature of man cannot be solved apart from the cleansing and renewal found in Christ.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What it means to be Reformed

It involves one's view of God, a view that sees Him as Holy and just and sovereign, and man as His creature. It stands apart from man's religions, and the vast majority of "Christendom," in acknowledging God's absolute right to do with His creation as He sees fit.
It is absolutely theocentric, purposefully and willfully rejecting the impulse to focus upon man, instead acknowledging that the glory of God's grace is worthy to be praised for all eternity. To be Reformed means you believe in a Savior worthy of worship, One who actually saves, not one who just does His best.
You believe the Gospel is Trinitarian, holy, lofty, awe-inspiring and worthy of the entirety of your life and being. You not only accept the five points, you accept the consistent exegesis and hermeneutics, let alone the view of an inspired, authoritative, consistent, sufficient Word from God, that leads to those five points. And as a result, your view of God, yourself, church, worship, and the world, is inalterably changed.
To be Reformed is to worship God in a way the world just doesn't get, and which evangelicalism as a whole doesn't get, either. You long for the Word, you long to hear His truth proclaimed and honored, and you find anything that detracts from the glory of His truth reprehensible.
You see God's grand decree in His Triune self-glorification from creation to consummation and your heart is drawn out in worship and adoration and awe as a result. That is what it means to be Reformed.


From here

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christian Response to Humanist Advertisement about Labeling Children

The final phase of the atheist bus campaign (/advertising) will begin this week. The advertisement will display a picture of a girl with the text: "Please don't label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself."

This is an example of half truths (and half lies) being propagated. Additionally, while the advertisement is in response to religious schools, Christians should be aware of attempts to further confuse thinking as well as to interfere or encroach upon the teaching or tear down the home.

Several Things Christian Parents Should Remember
1. God Commands It

Christian parents are to train up our children in the way they should go. In Deut. 6:1ff, we read: "These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you...Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates... be careful that you do not forget the LORD..." Additionally, the Scripture instructs us to: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it"(Proverbs 22:6).

Not only this, but God blesses our homes and our children as we serve him - as displayed through sanctification (not necessarily redemptive, through relationship with believers, 1 Cor 7:14) and the administration of the sign of baptism.

It is GOD, not the humanists, nor Richard Dawkins, etc. whom we are to follow.

2. As Parents, we choose, not the humanists, how we bring up our children.
Humanists have no authority to tell us how to rear our children. They may suggest their opinions, but believers are to weigh such opinions in light of God's authoritative and instructive Word.

3. The Advertisement Fails to Acknowledge Christian teaching of Individual Liberty and ResponsibilityWhile the Bible does instruct parents to train up and provide for their children, the Bible no where suggests Christian parents are to restrict the conscience or try to force belief upon another.

The hypocrisy of humanists is shown in their own attempts to train up children at their humanist summer camps. While one might point out there's a difference between providing training and "labelling" an individual, just give it time and see if humanists don't "copy" the religious community the way it is doing in other areas (summer camps, financial collections, churches, etc.). Besides this, there's a difference between labeling as an association and labeling as representing an actual and lasting reality.

4. From a Humanist perspective - what difference does it make anyway?
The truth is from a humanist (/darwinian) viewpoint - it's hard to explain free thought and will (not to mention purpose and lasting significance) so what difference does it make anyway if one is groomed early with the environment of their parent's beliefs or if one is left to another environment later.

Conclusion: Christian parents, don't be fooled and don't let your guard or practice down when it comes to training up your children in the Lord and protecting your right to do so. As we read in the book of Joshua, "...if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

Blindness and Islam

15-year-old Egyptian girl Dina el-Gowhary, who converted from Islam to Christianity, has sent a plea to President Obama, complaining of mistreatment by the Egyptian Government and asking for his mediation. “Mr President Obama,” she writes, “we are a minority in Egypt. We are treated very badly. You said that the Muslim minority in America are treated very well, so why are we not treated here likewise? We are imprisoned in our own home because Muslim clerics called for the murder of my father, and now the Government has set for us a new prison, we are imprisoned in our own country.”

Paragraph taken from here.l

While it's true one must distinguish between Muslims and their beliefs, shouldn't the overwhelming examples throughout the world be enough to cause people to reject Islam, ... unless they are blinded in their unbelief.

The bloodshed and killing of people who believe differently
The attempts to force outward confessions and submission even though they can't change the heart
The failure and refusal to allow religious freedoms
The tyranny displayed through threats, kidnappings, forced marriages, etc.
The treatment of women without dignity

Kadhafi - Another Example of Muslims Making Stuff Up

"You think that Jesus was crucified, but this is not true. God took him to heaven. They crucified someone who looked like him. The Jews tried to kill Jesus because they wanted to put the religion of Moses on the true path," ANSA news agency quoted him as saying.

Kadhafi, in a one hour lesson on Islam, to a paid audience, stated in regard to Jesus' crucifixion: "They crucified someone who looked like him." And his evidence is?????

This is just another example of an uneducated madman speaking about historical events he knows nothing about in order to deceive people into buying into more of his lies. (I'd love to hear him provide rationale along with respond to questions regarding the overwhelming view of scholarship, the witness of Christ's own mother, the willingness of Christ's disciples to give their lives, etc.) But hey, if he either doesn't comprehend Islam which he professes or believes (in regard to women) he can make up his own rules, then why should we believe he wouldn't make up stuff about other religions?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dever Christian Apologetics Examiner on "God: The Failed Hypothesis"

This unscientific response is a picture of the entire effort of the book: to bring an infinite and transcendent God to the bar of finite human reason.

Shawn Mathis (Denver Christian Apologetics Examiner) provides an excellent review of
Stenger's book "God: The Failed Hypothesis" here. Be sure to read part 2.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Question on the order of Decrees - Lapsarianism

I got this email from one of my younger (but sharp!) brothers in the faith

Shorter Catechism Question 13:
Q. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.
As we all know, Adam and Eve were not in bondage to sin yet still capable of sinning. The triune God had ordained from eternity past that the Son would be redeemer of a fallen people, implying that God knew they would sin against Him. Could the case be made that God, in his foreknowledge of the fall, designated the Son as redeemer rather than God ordaining the fall. I know a good Calvinist doesn't accept this parallel in regards to salvation (the "corridors of time" fallacy used to dodge Romans 9 which contradicts verse 11.) But with lapsarianism, we're not dealing with merits of salvation but merely the question of whether or not God's ordainment was reactionary to the first humans or not. I suppose I'm flirting with Infralapsarianism. Give me some of your thoughts on the matter. Can this question not be solved by solely invoking God's foreknowledge? It seems like to go beyond mere foreknowledge would mean Adam and Eve had no choice but to sin which is the consequence of the fallen state. If they truly were able to sin AND able not to sin (as St. Augustine wrote), how could God have any involvement beyond looking down the corridors of time?
Here is my response to him.

Let's see if I can lay this out in a way that Christ is honored and confusion avoided:

Pre-Fall Man was ABLE not to sin, but not INCLINED - they were INCLINED to sin over obedience - out of their own self-generated pride - all God did was actualize the events that would lead to the Fall being realized for His good purpose.

Remember, foreknowledge is about fully knowing a person or events prior to actualization - that is, predestination.

The order of decrees logically necessitate the activities that follow.

Decree 1) In eternity past,the Godhead enters into covenant to be glorified through the Son as the Redeemer and Judge of a created people. Not to give God something He needed, but to give opportunity for others to commune with Him - out of His own good pleasure.

Acts 2:23
this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

John 5:22
The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,

Decree 2) God plans the creation from alpha to omega with the Savior Son as the center and purpose of creation and Mankind decreed as the vessels of His purpose.

John 1:2-4 (English Standard Version)

2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Revelation 21:6-7 (English Standard Version)

6And he (Jesus) said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Romans 9:21-23 (English Standard Version)

21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory

Remember, we don't care about "What if's" -only "What is". Christ as Redeemer of Man necessitates the Fall, but does not necessitate sin be generated by the Father, as Man was able or not able to sin as a moral agent, however it was not POSSIBLE for Man not to sin.

In other words, Man had the ABILITY to sin or not to sin, but no PROBABILITY under God's sovereign plan that they would not - that is, while the ability existed, there was no confluence of events that would ever be that Man did not - all things worked together (were actualized) so that it WOULD NOT be. Man was not a slave to sin, but loved it over obedience, so it became his master - as God foreknew that Man would be - in order that the Son might glorify Him and His people and judge those that are not.

That is why even the Fall was a good and necessary consequence of God's plan. Romans 8:28

Thus, there is only one theologically tenable lapsarian position - supra :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Colson on the Sex-Ed Lobby

The sex-ed lobby has always claimed it was all about health-teaching kids how to stay safe. But in reality, their goal was not preventing disease, pregnancy, and emotional distress. It’s about indoctrinating them into a radical ideology-sexual freedom. Kids are urged to consult websites that urge them to begin “exploring” their sexuality at a young age, insist that sex at any age is a right, and encourage them to engage in bizarre and dangerous activities.

Once again, science is backing up the truth of the Judeo-Christian worldview. That is, sex ought to occur exclusively within the context of marriage. And anybody who tells us otherwise is sacrificing truth, science, and the health of our children.

Quotes from Colson taken from here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Faith" Inspired Violence?

The claim comes as officials in different branches of law enforcement and the military squabble over who knew what when about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's leanings toward faith-inspired violence, ...

The above quote was taken from here.

It seems journalists need to either coin a new term or be more specific when they use the term "faith". For example, Hasan conducted this violence while living apart from true faith (i.e., it was NOT faith inspired violence, but "faith-less" violence) and thus to refer to it as "faith-inspired" violence is misleading in that it can suggest the horrible acts were carried out in the name of faith (as opposed to what society considers those "without faith"). Sure, some will suggest Hasan still this this based on his "faith", though it be in Allah rather than Yahweh. While the latter is true, it should also be noted that everyone exercises faith on some level (even atheists), so the term is not helpful unless the object of the person's faith is qualified. This point is all the more important in a day where "anti-religion" or "anti-faith" sentiments are expressed and distinguished in the media.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Scientists ... in all seriousness

But the difficulties faced by those working on the project have prompted some members of the scientific community to speculate, in all seriousness, that the machine is sabotaging itself — from the future.

Let all our friends who declare to us that scientists always deal with "the rational" take a look at Large Hadron Collider Halted By Bird Crumbs where the above quote is found. It's the phrase "in all seriousness" that I draw attention to, for while this quite possibly or even likely was the addition of the writer, I suspect by the wording there is more behind this than meets the eye.

It should be noted that if it's only evidence scientists look to, then the "bit of baguette" was responsible. But what a leap to suggest the machine is sabatoging itself! While I do not doubt the things which have occured have done so within the providence of God, it's another thing for scientists to suggest a machine is sabatoging itself - from the future. ... And those who proclaim scientism is the answer to all suggest believers are irrational (when it comes to faith)?

Invitation to Atheists (and Consistency, please)

In Stand up, stand up, against Jesus, Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk state the following:

Surely the claims of religion — of all religions — merit scrutiny from every angle, whether historical, philosophical, scientific, or any other.

It's WONDERFUL to see atheists admitting this, now if you will just do it! We invite you to do so.

However, the authors then go on to state:

As atheists, we should state clearly that no religion has any rational warrant, ...

Are we now to assume that they have done what they previously suggested? I doubt it. Like others, they seem quick to declare one thing, but then render an unsubstantiated assertion. Wouldn't it be great if they actually did what they declared, for think of the many former atheists who did just that ... and set out to try to prove biblical Christianity false but were converted in the process!

Sure, anyone can find fallacies among the ignorant, or uninformed, or those blinded by their sin & persuasions, etc., but it's something altogether different when one examines the rationality of biblical Christianity.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Unbelievers Are Without Excuse

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20)

When liberalism, pluralism, and emerging theology speak of the greatness of God as being too much for the human mind to understand, do not think for a second that they are giving any honor to God. They do just the opposite, for they render God as weak and powerless, unable to make Himself understood in any adequate way to His own creation. For example:
"Bahá'u'lláh taught that God is too great and too subtle a Being for the finite human mind ever to understand Him adequately or to construct an accurate image of Him." (From The Bahá'í Concept of God)

This is a self-refuting statement, for how did the mind of Bahá'u'lláh manage to understand this, and how accurate can his image of God be? If this statement were true, then

1.) We could never know it to be true, and
2.) We would have no reason to listen to anything Bahá'u'lláh says about God.

This is what happens when the Holy Scriptures are rejected as God's revelation of Himself. Once someone makes any kind of statement about God, they are acknowledging that He can be known, is known, and that the unbeliever is without excuse.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

CBN Video Warning Anti-Christian Attitude & Practices Coming to America

Video warns of anti-Christian attitudes & practices coming to America.
Note the inclusion of a reference to the passing of the "hate crimes" legislation.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CS Response to Austin Dacey post (The secularist case against '"Atheism 3.0")

Read the article here.
Let me begin by saying I'm not surprised to see an article come out on this subject and to come out so soon, for people realize that when there's a fire in one's own kitchen, you better try to put it out quick. Atheism 3.0 is a division within the atheist camp (over whether religion is the enemy New Atheism touts it be, or not) and the last thing atheists want to division within their ranks, the need to have to defend their positions even against their own, and for the platform where they have kept their high horse to be taken from them and controlled by others.

This being said, let me simply address the issue Dacy raises in his post under the header "A secular conversation-starter". He states "I don't go after God. Why go after God when you can come before him? I argue that the free individual conscience comes first, before God, before society. Conscience cannot be found in duty to God, for it is conscience that must judge where one's duty lies. The commitment to the free conscience, and to the open society that makes space for it--this is secularism." In response, I point out that by asserting that conscience comes before God, Dacey falsely presumes that man is not subject to God to begin with. While one might argue either way, let examine Dacey's claim. If man's conscience is "free" as Dacey puts it, then 1) Man could be free to "do anything", 2) Society would be wrong to condemn man if indeed his conscience comes "before society", 3) Man should not be subject to consequences (though he is), 4) There's no need for secularism to be committed to standing for the "free conscience" if indeed the conscience is free. Besides this, is the conscience equipped with it's own irrefutable and unquestionable foundation and basis for morality and ethics? If not, then one must follow the line of questioning of where such a standard comes from, and where that comes from, etc. It seems, Dacey makes the same mistake of others in the past who falsely suggest that man is in a position to be the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality and who want men to live and do as he sees fit in his own eyes.

It's a good thing secularists are not the ones running the bookstore, or you might find the philosophy and science sections trying to be their own bookstore(s)which stand on their own, but soon being found to be bankrupt!

First U.S. Army Buddhist Chaplain's Foundational Beliefs Shown to Be Impractical

Although his faith is grounded in pacifism, the 43-year-old Dyer says war has become a necessary part of peace. "My teacher has concluded that without the military, without civil protection, the world would enter into a very dark place very quickly,"

The above quote from U.S. Army Sending First Buddhist Chaplain to Iraq reveals the impractical nature of foundational beliefs associated with pascivism in a world full of sin and depravity.

Another example of where the Bible speaks truth (and is proven over time) where others have been given to false beliefs and practices which do not mesh with the real world.

While his Christian colleagues may respect his freedom to serve, that does not mean respect is in order for all the beliefs he brings. Military personnel should not confuse issues of freedoms and professionalism with issues of truth and falsehood.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calvin on Requests for Rational Arguments for the Credibility of Scripture

...Profane men think that religion rests only on opinion, and, therefore, that they may not believe foolishly, or on slight grounds, desire and insist to have it proved by reason that Moses and the prophets were divinely inspired. But I answer,that the testimony of the Spirit is superior to reason. For as God alone can properly bear witness to his own words, so these words will not obtain full credit in the hearts of men, until they are sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who spoke by the mouth of the prophets, must penetrate our hearts, in order to convince us that they faithfully delivered the message with which they were divinely entrusted. (Calvins Institutes, Chapter 7, Section 4)

It's a fallacy to believe that the authority of God's Word rests upon the opinion of man. Readers should note however, Calvin goes on in chapter 8 to provide rational proofs (for the credibility of Scripture) for use when they may be beneficial.

(Thanks to the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics for the reference to the Institutes)

Samuel - a Noble Example of Dealing with Changing Generations

At times, when faced with change, some people take the attitude "if you can't beat them join them", so they get on whatever bus comes along. Others are tempted to throw their hands up and quit. Then there are those who suggest they have done their duty, and therefore it's time for the younger ones to take the helm.

Samuel set a noble example in choosing none of the above options. Samuel when dealing with a generation who was rejecting God as their king set the matters before the Lord. He warned the people and when they would not listen he continued to set the matters before the Lord. Even when it became clear to him that God was going to give the people over to their desires and when it became clear that he himself would be cast into obscurity and become of no reputation, he did not compromise; he did not hide what he believed to be truth, he continued to be a man of influence, he continued to pray & represent the people before God, and he established a school of prophets to ensure the truth would be preserved so that future leadership would have wise and mature counselors. Alexander Whyte puts it well when he says Samuel's experience and wisdom were needed in Saul's day an Samuel (as Saul's counselor) was full of new and still more fruitful ideas and intentions for Israel.

I believe this speaks volumes about how Christians today should look upon our service and our relationship with changing generations. Who knows what God has in store for the future? We do know that God takes seasons to train up and ripen his servants for the times of service (for Samuel, it was over twenty years). At the same time, we know God calls his people to speak truth and call men to repentance and to the worship of God only whenever hearts are found to have gone astray. Let us, like Samuel, not let God's Word drop to the ground, be active in keeping the temple clean, willing to endure arduous service, faithul in prayer, active in service, and always using our influence for good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vote for Christian Skepticsim

If you would like to see Christian Skepticism added to the Reclaiming the Mind Toolbar, go here and suggest it or count your vote.

CS Response to Hitchen's "Faith No More"

Here's a quick follow-up to Christopher Hitchen's Faith No More article in Slate Magazine

Hitchens: "Usually, when I ask some Calvinist whether he is really a Calvinist (in the sense, say, of believing that I will end up in hell), there is a slight reluctance to say yes, and a slight wince from his congregation. I have come to the conclusion that this has something to do with the justly famed tradition of Southern hospitality: You can't very easily invite somebody to your church and then to supper and inform him that he's marked for perdition."

Response: The truth is that unless Christopher Hitchens repents and beleives the good news that comes through the gospel of Christ (...that the kingdom of God is real and near... and that God offers the gift of righteousness and reconciliation through the union with his Son which comes by faith) then Christopher Hitchens like all others who fall short of the glory and righteousness required by God will receive the deserts of his guilt and sin in receiving and experiencing hell forever.

Several issues are noteworthy:
1. While Hitchens may be right on one level about "southern" influences affecting the responses he's been getting, on another level, no one is quick to want to give anyone bad news to their face. This too, is a factor that must be taken into account.

2. Another reason Calvinists may have been slow to answer his question directly is that Calvinists recognize that while Hitchens has rejected the gospel to this point, the Spirit may work in the future to open his eyes and lead him to faith (upon which occurence any present declaration of his eternal destiny would be proven false given the rescue and change associated with such an act of the Spirit and change in Hitchen's position). As Calvinists, we hold out hope for our unbelieving friends and contacts and therefore are careful to refrain from making declarations which with speak with certainly regarding matters which could change in the future.

3. On another level, Hitchen's statements ought to cause us to think whether our witness and declarations are as direct and forceful as they should be ... especially when dealing with individuals who are as outspoken and ask for forthright perspectives such as Hitchens. Christian should consider this matter and not only ask whether perhaps we've tended (for whatever reasons) to shy away from publicly communicating this truth with the directness and forcefulness we should... and whether or not wisdom would have us do so moreso in future encounters. While the circumstances (i.e., situations and individuals we talk with) will affect such determination and decisions, the issue is raised whether greater boldness in this area might at times be more productive. On some levels, I believe this is the case.

4. At the same time, Hitchens must understand that reluctance on the part of some to speak the truth forcefully does not deny the truth and will not serve as an excuse come the day of judgment when God holds each one to account.

Hitchens: "Thanks to the foolishness of the "intelligent design" faction, which has tried with ignominious un-success to smuggle the teaching of creationism into our schools under a name that is plainly stupid rather than intelligent, ..."

Hitchens is either ignorant or confused when it comes to differences between intelligent design and creationism.

Paul Copan: Inferring Design from Anti-Design

John Barrow calculated that the chances of moving from a bacterium to homo sapiens in 10 billion years or less is 10-24,000,000... [1] We’re not even addressing the origin of the universe ...whose chances of happening are exactly zero. Nor are we speaking of the fine-tuning of the universe (non-theist Roger Penrose calculates this as being one chance in 1010(123)).[2] Nor ...of getting the precise DNA sequence of the necessary 250 proteins to sustain life (whose chances have been calculated as 1 in 1041,000).[3] We are stacking such outrageously remote possibilities on top of more outrageously remote possibilities on top of still more.

So, if we’re surrounded by appearance of design (as atheists like Crick and Dawkins acknowledge), must we insist that it is only apparent design rather than genuine design?

... It seems to be pure philosophical prejudice—not scientific observation—that disqualifies design

Paul Cohen at Parchment and Pen has an insightful article useful to Christian apologists on the subject of design. See Inferring Design from Anti-Design Scientists

... and what does the denial of "apparent" design given the "appearance" of design say about all those who claim science is based simply on the evidence?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dr Dvir Abramovich's Article on Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.

The point is that fanatics can be found in both religion and atheism.

Anyone wishing to discredit theology should at least know some.

Good article by Dr Dvir Abramovich exposing the weaknesses & fallacies of leading atheist's arguments and methods: Celebrity atheists expose their hypocrisy

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chuck Colson on When Atheists Believe

In recent years Great Britain's chief export to the U.S. has been a payload of books by atheist authors ... They contend that faith is irrational in the face of modern science. Other prominent British atheists seem to be having second thoughts. Is there some revival sweeping England? No; they are examining the rationality of Christianity, ...but are coming to opposite conclusions.

Good article by Chuck Colson. While atheists make much over recent increase in sales of their books, that doesn't mean all who buy them will buy into their claims. Once again, God in his soveriegn mercy can and does use even these things to lead people to the truth found in his gospel.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sad State of Abortion Shown By Statistics

Abortion Kills More Black Americans Than the Seven Leading Causes of Death Combined, Says CDC Data

Abortion killed at least 203,991 blacks in the 36 states and two cities ...that reported abortions by race in 2005, according to the CDC. During that same year, ...a total of 198,385 blacks nationwide died from heart disease, cancer, strokes, accidents, diabetes, homicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases combined.

Rev. Clenard H. Childress, Jr., founder of, told that ... 1,784 blacks are aborted each day.

Statistics like these should open people's eyes to the extent of the problem of abortion.

For full article, see here.

Global Blasphemy Laws

One of the interesting things about discussions surrounding blasphemy laws (whether by the UN or others)is they cannot be conducted without coming back to the central question: What is Truth?

Seems this was the question in Jesus' day, it's the question which comes us today, and it's a question which cannot be avoided.

... suppose God intended it to be this way?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Internet Apologetics & Evangelism: A Call to Christians

One of the factors leading to my devoting the time I do on the internet was Panta making the statement one day that the Internet today is the Mars Hill of Paul's day.

Consider the following quotes from an article published today by The Christian Post
Non-seekers are often not interested in visiting Christian Web sites, but churches can still meet them by going to their Web turf.

“[T]he church must not isolate itself on its own Web sites; instead, it must take part in the fluent online traffic and develop initiatives on various platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia,” says Fischer-Nielsen...

So churches need to be technologically savvy and create Web sites that can be found through popular search engines such as Google, as well as create an online presence on growingly popular social networking sites.

For more on the entire article, see Scholar: Churches Can Use Internet to Reach Non-Seekers.

Ida - Reported Not a Missing Link

The research is the first independent assessment of the claims made in a scientific paper and a television documentary earlier this year.

Dr Erik Seiffert says that Ida belonged to a group more closely linked to lemurs than to monkeys, apes or us.

''The suggestion that Ida [was]... specifically related to the higher primates, namely monkeys apes and humans, was actually a minority view from the start.

Not surprising...

(Perhaps the hairy sketches were closer to reality than we thought!!!) LOL

Full article here.

Rewriting Scripture

I provided an earlier post on the Conservatives' efforts to produce a "conservantive Bible" so I won't repeat it here, but the following statements from Joseph Farah in a new article on the subject bear repeating:

I'm almost too embarrassed to write about this kind of trivialization and politicization of the Scriptures, but something needs to be said.

Either the Bible is the Word of God, or it's not.

If it is, how dare anyone rewrite it?

If it's not, why bother?

Atheism and Communism - a post by Shawn Mathis

And when in secure power, the socialistic overlords magnanimously allowed "freedom of religion" all the while covertly intent on undermining Christianity.

The plan was to lure inquisitive religious people into the thinking of the communists. Of course, that was easy since the entire social milieu was essentially owned and operated by the State. Repress freedom of the press, spy on worship services, control the major means of production and promote State-loyal workers and the pressure on Christianity multiplies one hundred fold beyond what atheists even feel today in America.

Over the decades in the USSR there was a general attempt to stamp out religion by withholding educational and job positions, control or closing of religious locales, imprisoning dissenting clergy, and atheistic requirements for Party membership

Shawn Mathis (the Denver Christian Apologetics Examiner) provides an insightful article on the relationship between atheism and communism here. I encourage you not only to read this article but his other posts as well... they are very good! While as Mathis points out at the end of this article atheists today are not guilty by association and that atheists today use a more democratic approach, at the same time the items mentioned are noteworthy - for similarities exist on some levels today and we do not want to repeat history in the areas mentioned. The way to avoid this is for Christians to be informed of the past.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Douglas Wilson on Atheism

So if the universe is what the atheist maintains it is, then this determines what sort of account we must give for the nature of everything -- and this includes the atheist's thought processes, ethical convictions, and aesthetic appreciations. If you were to shake up two bottles of pop and place them on a table to fizz over, you could not fill up an auditorium with people who came to watch them debate. This is because they are not debating; they are just fizzing. If you were to shake up one bottle of pop, and show it film footage of some genocidal atrocity, the reaction you would get is not moral outrage, but rather more fizzing. And if you were to shake it really hard by means of art school, and place it in front of Michelangelo's David, or the Rose Window of Chartres Cathedral, the results would not really be aesthetic appreciation, but more fizzing still.

Douglas Wilson on atheism and the results which flow from its preconditions. For more, read Collision: Is Religion Absurd or Good for the World?

Good Without God??? (Christian Response to New York City Atheist Advertising Campaign)

Most have heard of the advertising campaign "Good Without God" associated with the Coalition of Reason and the new book by William Morrow to be released on Oct. 27 by William Morrow; but let's consider the Question: "Are a Million New Yorkers Good Without God" and "Are You?"

1. Claims of "Goodness Without God" must depend on some definition and standard of goodness. The question is: What is that definition and upon what standard is it based?

If goodness is defined and the standard is dependent simply upon social norms and expectations, then perhaps some people can be "Good Without God". Several factors could contribute to this goodness including (a) the fact that if man determines the standard, then man can simply lower the requirements and marginalize goodness(b) goodness could be achieved through relative comparison, (c) or goodness could be attained based on subjective evaluation or limited scope of evaluation.

However, if goodness is not relative or subjective but in keeping with moral absolutes which transcend individuals, societies and generations, and involve scrutiny which extends beyond the surface and superficial and includes distinctions in regard to such things as motive, objective evaluation, and moral uprightness and consistency in all things and at all times in all circumstances, etc., then I suppose the assertion that "one Million New Yorkers are good without God" might be more of a stretch if not delusion.

For more reading and evaluation, read the requirements of the Second Table of the Ten Commandments in the Westminster Larger Catechism (Q's 122-149) and then ask yourself again whether one million New Yorkers - or whether you yourself - are good without God.

2. Claims of "Goodness without God" deny the inherent nature. Are we to suppose that man has more than one nature or that man (through evolution, mind control, etc.) can overcome his nature himself? If man is found to do things such as lie, cheat, steal, etc., then where does such things originate from if not a sinful nature? If man possessess a sinful nature, then isn't it a little overinflated or misguided to believe that man can be good without God?

3. Claims of "Goodness without God" also deny man's ability. Proof is found in the multitude of testimonies of those who attempt to perfectly keep the law of God and yet admit they cannot do so (even the requirements found in the second table of the law which the majority of unbelievers would agree upon). I find that claims of "Goodness without God" often would include giving people a "pass" on many things under the rubric that "we are not perfect and everyone makes mistakes" (something which in itself refutes the premise) and yet the ones who make such claims may not be as lenient if and when they find themselves to be the objects of not just the lack of goodness but intended and outright lawlessness and evil perpetrated by others.

4. Finally, claims of "Goodness without God" deny the very foundations and obligations that result in the meaning and requirement of goodness. For example, if man is the determiner of goodness, then cannot man violate the principle set forth by humanity? Even if one claims the majority determines morality, who is to say the majority is right or that the majority's authority is right? What happens when the majority flipflops on what it deems right? What then? And if one argues that morality is innate within human beings, then where did that morality come from? Are we to believe that morality originated by chance, or by matter, etc.?

I thank the New York Atheists for raising this issue, for their doing so not only shows their lack of thought into such things and lack of foundations in such matters, but provides a great opportunity for communicating the truth of the gospel, that even the testimony of all men (including atheists) points to the fact that goodness and righteousness is a legitimate requirement upon our lives that we all acknowledge. The ultimate question though is how does man attain it? Is it by lowering the standard, making it relative, denying the absolute nature of the law, covering up our failures, limiting evaluation to just surface issues, etc., or do we look outside of ourselves to God's offer of both pardon and provision which comes through Christ's atoning sacrifice and the renewal and empowerment that comes through the Holy Spirit? Experience shows that those who look to their own goodness and righteousness will never be satisfied (especially under the light, for the closer one gets to the light, the greater the dirtiness is discovered to be); however, those who rest in the Lord's goodness and gift and are filled with the living waters of his Spirit which both fill and overflow are raised to both newness of life and not only live according to the truth but participate in the graces and goodness of God himself.

Egypt and Muslim Tyranny

My heart and prayers go out to Egyptian Christians who continue to suffer persecution and pain at the hands of Muslim tyranny in Egypt.

See: Christian Father Arrested for Rescuing Daughter from Muslim Husband

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English Project

Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English with Scripture Proof Texts Project

Edited by JD Longmire (and, of course, all the blame for errors and omissions!) - Worship & Arts Pastor - Mosaic Church - Gulf Coast

Printable version

here is the original for reference

Q. 1. What is the chief purpose of man?

A. Man's chief purpose is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. [b]

[a]. Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11
[b]. Ps. 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa. 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil. 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4

Q. 2. What has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, [a] is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. [b]

[a]. Matt. 19:4-5 with Gen. 2:24; Luke 24:27, 44; I Cor. 2:13; 14:37;
II Pet.1:20-21; 3:2, 15-16
[b]. Deut. 4:2; Ps. 19:7-11; Isa. 18:20; John 15:11; 20:30-31; Acts 17:11;
II Tim. 3:15-17; I John 1:4

click here for more

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Theistic Arguments and Regeneration

While theistic arguments have their valid purpose and place,
one should not confuse the difference between the belief that comes as a result of regeneration and the persuasion which may come from theistic arguments, though the latter at times may serve a role in the former.

Regeneration is followed by faith whereas persuasions (even of God's existence) may still lack saving faith. Regeneration is accomplished by power and results in new being and life whereas persuasions from argument can still leave one spiritually impotent and dead.

Hence, while the goal of an apologist may at times be to persuade using theistic arguments, the goal of an evangelist is never satisfied simply by theistic arguments. It's important that believers understand the difference so as not to be deceived into thinking that once theistic arguments have accomplished their purpose that the work of reconciliation (and redemption) is done.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Islam and Christianity Comparison

Quick Comparison between Christianity and Islam

Islam –Qur’an is the inspired word of God and supercedes all previous revelations. The Bible has been corrupted along with Christian doctrines.

Christianity – The Bible is inspired by God and has been preserved and propagated by him. Scripture is able to make man wise unto salvation. The Quran is not of divine origin and is not only filled with contradictions and inconsistencies but leads man astray from God and the gift of his righteousness.

Nature of God
Islam – God is absolutely and indivisibly one, beyond being, extremely transcendent, absolute divine will without essence or nature, sovereign, capricious, impersonal (basically unknowable), deterministic and divorced from His creation.

Christianity - God is Triune (one God in three persons, not three gods); with divine being, essence and will, which consists of all holiness (goodness, righteousness, truth); transcendent but knowable, exercises ultimate authority provides for and recognizes human agency and responsibility, and involved with His creation.

Nature of Creation and Humanity:
Islam – Both are created by God, but discrepancy exists regarding the length of creation and contradiction exists as to whether angels can sin and whether or not man is superior to angels. Humans are not sinful and have no fallen nature, nor are they born with a sinful nature, but are fallible, weak imperfect and forgetful and in basic need of guidance. Man’s fall was not so much the result from a sinful act but a result from being imperfect and needy (as well as God’s vice-regent on earth.) Humans are born innocent and remain so until they incur guilt by their deeds. Most Muslim scholars reject the belief that sin is inherited.

Christianity – Both are created by God. Humans were made in the image of God, but have fallen into a state of sin through disobedience. Sin is both passed down and personally committed. Because of man’s sin and sinfulness, he cannot please God apart from a mediator and redeemer.

Purpose of Man
Islam – Man is God’s representative and servant on earth. The purpose of man is not to know God or be conformed to his character, but to understand his will and become more obedient to his commands. (Taken from Answering Islam by Geisler & Saleeb)
Christianity – Man’s purpose is to glorify and enjoy God forever. This involves knowing God, repenting of sin, and serving him as a son rather than simply like a servant.

Nature of Sin
Islam – Sin is lack of obedience to Allah. Man is sinful by act only, not by nature.

Christianity – Sin is any want of or transgression of the law of God. Sin corrupts and affects man’s nature and standing before God.

Islam – Salvation on one level is not needed since man is not in a predicament where he himself cannot achieve the favor and blessings of God. On another level, the Muslim must earn his salvation. sure and favor of God for himself.

Christianity – Salvation cannot be earned or merited but comes as a gift from God who Himself (in the person of Jesus Christ) atoned for man’s sin and provides for his redemption.

Person and Work of Jesus
Islam – Jesus, a human being was a great and sinless prophet but was not the Son of God. Jesus was superseded by Muhammad who was the last and greatest of the prophets. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross (some believe Judas was crucified in his place, others believe he was on the cross but did not die).

Christianity – Jesus is the incarnate Son of God and Savior of sinners. Jesus provides salvation through his substitutionary righteousness and atonement through the cross of Calvary. Jesus was vindicated as God’s Son and the promised Messiah through his resurrection from the death. Jesus’ accomplishment was sufficient for man’s salvation and accepted by God.

After Death
Islam – There is an eternal paradise for those who believe in Islam. Infidels, those who reject Islam, will experience eternal hell.
Christianity – There will be a judgment of all. Those who have received redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ will go to heaven (with God as their great reward along with the pleasures of the new heavens and earth). Those who are guilty of sin which has not be atoned for by Christ will experience hell forever.
Assurance of Salvation
Islam – Short of becoming a martyr in jihad, salvation is never certain since it is based on a works system and ultimately the will of Allah.

Christianity – Since salvation has been accomplished and is secured by God, the believer may know through faith that he has eternal life.

Conclusion: Best summarized by Josh McDowell and John Stewart (Handbook of Today’s Religions) who write “Islam rejects the key doctrines of the Christian faith – the Trinity, the deity of Christ, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and the sin of man and his salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ.”
Steven Neill (Christian Faith and Other Faiths) also speaks to the issue well stating “It is perfectly true that the central concern of Jesus was with the kingdom of God. But everything depends on the meaning that is put into the word ‘God.” Here is perhaps the very heart of our differences. Islam conceives the possible relationship of man to God in one way, and the Gospel in another.

While God was the exclusive source of the revelation to Muhammad, God himself is not the content of the revelation. Revelation in Islamic theology does not mean God disclosing himself. It is revelation from God, not revelation of God. God is remote. He is inscrutable and utterly inaccessible to human knowledge… Even though we are his creatures whose every breath is dependent upon him, it is not in inter-personal relationship with him that we receive guidance from him.
At this central point the teaching of Jesus diverges from what the Muslim believes to be the essential prophetic witness. His God [the Christian] is a God who cares for his creatures, who is prepared to enter into fellowship with them, and is concerned that they should love him in response to his love. Under the law, man was in the position of a slave; now under the Gospel he is called to freedom, to the freedom of grown-up sons in their Father’s house. The Qur’an never uses the word ‘Father’ of God. Jesus taught his disciples to address him as ‘Our Father.’ The whole of the Gospel is summed up in these two words.”


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Climbing Mt. Improbable

Discovery Institute's Climbing Mt. Improbable - a clip from the Darwin's Dilemma video

Defendable as The Greatest Show on Earth?

Leading Darwinist Richard Dawkins Dodges Debates, Refuses to Defend Evolution as The Greatest Show On Earth

Is it defendable as The Greatest Show on Earth? If so, then why is Dawkins ducking out and refusing to debate Dr. Stephen Meyer?

I for one would like to see such a debate. Seems Dr. Meyer is not afraid of a debate.

Christianity vs. Islam

In view of the recent news of 1 out of every 4 people worldwide being Muslim, let me give some thoughts to consider (both for Muslims and for those considering the differences between Christianity and Islam):

1. One of the central issues centers on the authority and trustworthiness of the Scripture and the Koran.

When a person examines such things as the methods of receiving, preverving and propagating the truth ,along with the measure of internal consistencies vs. contraditions, the Bible proves worthy of acceptance and belief whereas the Koran and Hadith do not.

2. Another issue of consideration is the difference between the God of Christianity and the God of Islam.

The God of Christianity is one who atones and is a redeemer whereas Allah is a determinst and hater.

3. A third issue regards differences in the person of Jesus Christ. In Christianity, Jesus is the only begotten Son (Son of God) and came to reconcile man to God through the cross whereas Islam recognizes Jesus only as a man and a prophet (even one whose words cannot be trusted because the record of them is corrupt).

4. A fourth issue involves the crucifixion. In Christianity, God himself secures man's redemption by paying the cost himself through his Son and vindicated him by raising him from the death whereas in Islam man is left to secure his own salvation either by jihad or by good works (though good works may still not be sufficient and hence assurance of salvation cannot be attained or possessed).

5. A fifth issue involves the difference in the witness in that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the Old Testament whereas Mohammed does not. In fact, Muslims claim that Jesus Christ stated Mohammed was coming, but this is not found in Scripture. The fulfillment of Christ's words are found in the Holy Spirit not in Mohammed.

6. A six issue involves differences in views of human relations. Christianity recognizes both the equality and differences in men and women (and their respective roles) while Islam does not and even fails to respect women. Additional differences are seen in marriage including the rights and consequences of it's participants.

Sexual Liberation and Practical Consequences

Sexual liberation seeks to strip sex of this weighty dignity so that adults can enjoy it without any serious moral commitment, yet at the same time insists that such enjoyment may not be pursued in violation of the consent of one's partner. It is, however, almost impossible to maintain such earnestness about the importance of consent once sex has been stripped of its intrinsic moral content.

Carson Holloway provides an insightful article about the practical dilemma brought upon and faced by sexual liberation in Roman Polanski, Hollywood, and the Mystery of the Missing Outrage

It goes to show again that you cannot violate God's laws without consequence. Let this be a reminder to us all regardless of the moral law (/commandment) which seeks to be changed or set aside.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Conservative Translation of the Bible

The challenge of Christian believers is to adhere to the Word of God, not to bend the Word of God to our preferred ideology. Doing the former requires discipline and a clear understanding of the the Bible. Doing the latter makes God subservient to an ideology, rather than the other way around.

Good quote taken from Ed Morrissee at Hot Air from a post entitled: Do conservatives need their own Bible translation?

Seems the 642.65 translations of the Bible already in existence are not enough (I'm being facetious in coming up with that number), now it seems political parties are entering the fray and trying to invent their own translation.

Questions to Ask Darwinists

But once science comes to be taken as the only universally valid form of knowledge within a culture, it follows at once that methodological and metaphysical naturalism become for all intents and purposes indistinguishable. They are functionally equivalent. What needs to be done, therefore, is to break the grip of naturalism in both guises, methodological and metaphysical. And this happens once we realize that it was not empirical evidence, but the power of a metaphysical world view that was all along urging us to adopt methodological naturalism in the first place. Yes, the heavens still declare the glory of God, and yes, God's invisible attributes are clearly seen from God's creation. But to hear what the heavens declare and to see what the creation makes manifest, we need to get rid of our metaphysical blinders.

The statements above are drawn from an article entitled What every theologian should know about creation, evolution and design written by William A.Dembski, Ph.D..

This is an insightful article that will prove very helpful for Christian apologists in the coming days given the distribution of Dawkin's latest book on evolution.

Of particular note in the article are the questions Dembski provides which should be asked of Darwinists:

Why does Darwinism, despite being so inadequately supported as a scientific theory, continue to garner the full support of the academic establishment?

What is it that continues to keep Darwinism afloat despite its many glaring faults?

Why are alternative paradigms that introduce design or teleology ruled out of court by fiat?

Why must science explain solely by recourse to naturalistic, materialistic, purposeless processes?

Who determines the rules of science?

Is there a code of scientific correctness which instead of helping to lead us into truth actively prevents us from asking certain questions and thereby coming to the truth?

What keeps Darwinism alive? Why is it so difficult to debate its merits fairly? In so pluralistic a society as ours, why don't alternative views about life's origin and development have a legitimate place in academic discourse?