Monday, June 30, 2008

No Babies in Hell!


By R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and Daniel L. Akin

Few things in life are more tragic and heartbreaking than the death of a baby or small child. For parents, the grief can be overwhelming. For the minister, to stand over a small, white casket and provide comfort and support seems to ask for more than he can deliver.

Many console themselves with the thought that at least the child is now in a better place. Some believe small children who die become angels. They are certain these precious little ones are in heaven with God.

However, it is important for us both to ask and answer some important questions if we can. Do those who die in infancy go to heaven? How do we know? What evidence is there to support such a conclusion? Sentimentalism and emotional hopes and wants are not sufficient for those who live under the authority of the Word of God. We must, if possible, find out what God has said.

It is interesting to discover that the Church has not been of one mind on this issue. In fact, the early and medieval Church was anything but united. Some Church Fathers remained silent on the issue. Ambrose said unbaptized infants were not admitted to heaven, but have immunity from the pains of hell. Augustine basically affirmed the damnation of all unbaptized infants, but taught they would receive the mildest punishment of all. Gregory of Nyssa offered that infants who die immediately mature and are given the opportunity to trust Christ. Calvin affirmed the certain election of some infants to salvation and was open to the possibility that all infants who die are saved. He said, “Christ receives not only those who, moved by holy desire and faith, freely approach unto Him, but those who are not yet of age to know how much they need His grace.” Zwingli, B.B. Warfield and Charles Hodge all taught that God saves all who die in infancy. This perspective has basically become the dominant view of the Church in the 20th century.

Yet, a popular evangelical theologian chided Billy Graham when at the Oklahoma City memorial service he said, “Someday there will be a glorious reunion with those who have died and gone to heaven before us, and that includes all those innocent children that are lost. They’re not lost from God because any child that young is automatically in heaven and in God’s arms.” The theologian scolded Dr. Graham for offering what he called “. . . a new gospel: justification by youth alone.”

It is our conviction that there are good reasons biblically and theologically for believing that God saves all who die who do not reach a stage of moral understanding and accountability. It is readily admitted that Scripture does not speak to this issue directly, yet there is evidence that can be gleaned that would lead us to affirm on biblical grounds that God receives into heaven all who have died in infancy. Some evidence is stronger than others, but cumulatively they marshall strong support for infant salvation. We will note six of them.

First, the grace, goodness and mercy of God would support the position that God saves all infants who die. This is the strongest argument and perhaps the decisive one. God is love (1 John 4:8) and desires that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). God is love and His concern for children is evident in Matthew 18:14 where Jesus says, “Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” People go to hell because they choose in willful rebellion and unbelief to reject God and His grace. Children are incapable of this kind of conscious rejection of God. Where such rebellion and willful disobedience is absent, God is gracious to receive.

Second, when the baby boy who was born to David and Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:15-18), David did two significant things: 1) He confessed his confidence that he would see the child again and, 2) he comforted his wife Bathsheba (vs. 23-24). David could have done those two things only if he was confident that his little son was with God. Any other explanation does not do justice to the text.

Third, in James 4:17, the Bible says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” The Bible is clear that we are all born with a sin nature as a result of being in Adam (Roman 5:12). This is what is called the doctrine of original sin. However, the Scriptures make a distinction between original sin and actual sins. While all are guilty of original sin, moral responsibility and understanding is necessary for our being accountable for actual sins (Deuteronomy 1:30; Isaiah 7:16). It is to the one who knows to do right and does not do it that sin is reckoned. Infants are incapable of such decisions.

Fourth, Jesus affirmed that the kingdom of God belonged to little children (Luke 18:15-17). In the passage he is stating that saving faith is a childlike faith, but He also seems to be affirming the reality of children populating heaven.

Fifth, Scripture affirms that the number of saved souls is very great (Revelation 7:9). Since most of the world has been and is still non-Christian, might it be the untold multitude who have died prematurely or in infancy comprise a majority of those in heaven? Such a possibility ought not to be dismissed too quickly. In this context Charles Spurgeon said, “I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to paradise. Think what a multitude there is of them.”

Sixth, some in Scripture are said to be chosen or sanctified from the womb (1 Samuel 1:8-2:21; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15). This certainly affirms the salvation of some infants and repudiates the view that only baptized babies are assured of heaven. Neither Samuel, Jeremiah or John the Baptist was baptized.

After surveying these arguments, it is important for us to remember that anyone who is saved is saved because of the grace of God, the saving work of Jesus Christ and the undeserved and unmerited regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Like all who have ever lived, except for Jesus, infants need to be saved. Only Jesus can take away their sin, and if they are saved it is because of His sovereign grace and abounding mercy. Abraham said, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). We can confidently say, “Yes, He will.” When it comes to those incapable of volitional, willful acts of sin, we can rest assured God will, indeed, do right. Precious little ones are the objects of His saving mercy and grace.


On September 29, 1861, the great Baptist pastor, Charles Spurgeon, preached a message entitled “Infant Salvation.” In that message he chastened some critics who had “. . . wickedly, lyingly, and slanderously said of Calvinists that we believe that some little children perish.” Similar rumblings have been heard in some Baptist circles of late. Spurgeon affirmed that God saved little ones without limitation and without exception. He, then, as was his manner, turned to conclude the message with an evangelistic appeal to parents who might be lost. Listen to his plea:

Many of you are parents who have children in heaven. Is it not a desirable thing that you should go there too? And yet, have I not in these galleries and in this area some, perhaps many, who have no hope hereafter? . . . . Mother, unconverted mother, from the battlements of heaven your child beckons you to Paradise. Father, ungodly, impenitent father, the little eyes that once looked joyously on you, look down upon you now and the lips which had scarcely learned to call you “Father” ere they were sealed by the silence of death, may be heard as with a still, small voice, saying to you this morning, “Father, must we be forever divided by the great gulf which no man can pass?” If you wilt, think of these matters, perhaps the heart will begin to move, and the eyes may begin to flow and then may the Holy Spirit put before thine eyes the cross of the Savior . . . if thou wilt turn thine eye to Him, thou shalt live . . .

Little ones are precious in God’s sight. If they die, they go to heaven. Parents, who have trusted Jesus, who have lost a little one, if they have trusted Jesus, can be confident of a wonderful reunion someday. Are you hopeful of seeing again that little treasure God entrusted to you for such a short time? Jesus has made a way. Come to Him now and someday you will see them again.

[Note: This article and hundreds of other resources are available at]

Join the Rebelution!

Wow - now this is a youth movement I can appreciate!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

(On one level) As Goes the Pulpit, So Goes the Church

Good article. Does survey reveal a 'pulpit problem'?
But, as I look out from my window at the snow-capped hills surrounding Santiago, I cannot help feeling that we risk losing what nature is if we couch its value in human terms.

Quote from here.

At least this environmentalist admits that a "man-centered" approach does not provide all the answers.

Skeptical of blurring man-ape distinction

Well, why not?

Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes

What if they refuse to work, pay taxes, run around naked, or steal things?

I guess they’ll be voting soon, if they haven't been already...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Islam's Low View of Marriage and Sex

Saudi marriage officiant Dr. Ahmad al-Mu’bi told Lebanese television viewers last week that it’s permissible for girls as young as 1 to marry — as long as sex is postponed.

See here for article. See here for video. See here for transcript.

Problems with his view:
1. He communicates a low view of marriage where a spouse need not be ready or fit for the roles within marriage to be married.
2. He refers to marriage as simply a contract rather than a spiritual union and covenant.
3. He communicates such a low view of marriage that a one year old can meet the qualifications and readiness.
4. He suggests the qualification regarding readiness for sex are determined by environment and traditon without any reference to marriage, maturity, or marital purpose and fulfillment.
5. He suggests both that marriage can exist without sex and yet suggests sex constitutes marriage.
6. He suggests that mere protection and provision constitutes reason alone for marriage. (He doesn't consider: a. Perhaps the man should not have multiple wives he cannot care for to begin with; b. Perhaps the man should consider not taking the trip and rather providing for a wife he has married and pledged to support, etc.)
7. He states "The prophet Mohammed is the model we follow" without providing argument for why this prophet and not the others, and for why this prophet apart from other inspired principles should take precedence.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Response to Explanation Which Seeks to Justify Pluralism

"What do people really mean when they say that many religions lead to eternal life? It might mean they don't believe their particular truth at all. Others might be saying, 'We believe a truth but respect other people, and they are not necessarily going to hell.'" ... Nearly across the board, the majority of religious Americans believe many religions can lead to eternal life: mainline Protestants (83 percent), members of historic black Protestant churches (59 percent), Roman Catholics (79 percent), Jews (82 percent) and Muslims (56 percent)...

"What most people are saying is, 'Hey, we don't have a hammer-lock on God or salvation, and God's bigger than us and we should respect that and respect other people,'" said the Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

Quote taken from here.

The issues is not whether God is "bigger" than us but whether the God who is bigger than us can be "trusted" (/believed) when he both states and shows that there is only one way to heaven... that being through Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer of God's elect.

One must also distinguish between "respecting other people" and accepting or validating all their beliefs on the basis of "respect".

Finally, lack of knowledge and failure of some (or many) to embrace God's truth does not change the truth, therefore while some may take great delight in the numbers themselves, it's not the numbers that should be their ultimate concern.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Islamic Confession

But this year, the government is beginning to make substantive changes. The schools are moving from rote learning — which was always linked to memorizing the Koran — to critical thinking, where teachers ask students to research subjects and think about concepts.

Yet the students and teachers are still unprepared, untrained and, in many cases, unreceptive.

“Before, teachers used to explain the lesson,” Malek said. “Now they want us to think more, to research, but it’s very difficult for us.”

The result of years of Islamic domination in Algeria. Quote taken from here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Excellent Worldview/Aplogetic Framework

from this site: Van Til Diagrammed
"It is exceedingly dangerous to confuse the orthodox concept of the incomprehensibility of God with the ultimate mysteriousness of the universe as held by modern thought. Modern thought in general, and modern logic in particular, holds . . . that God is, at most, an aspect of Reality as a whole. Hence, God is himself surrounded by darkness or mystery, just as man is surrounded by darkness or mystery. In other words, modern thought believes in an ultimate irrationalism, while Christianity believes in an ultimate rationality. It is difficult to think of two types of thought that are more radically opposed to one another. It is the most fundamental antithesis conceivable in the field of knowledge. . . . The very foundation of all Christian theology is removed if the concept of the ultimate rationality of God be given up."
-- Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1995), p. 13

I am just starting Bahnsen's Van Til's Apologetic - looks to be very edifying.

WOW - the SBC passes excellent membership resolution - great start!

2008 SBC Annual Meeting - Indianapolis, Indiana

Complete text of amended membership resolution
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 4:43:00 PM

Following is the amended version of the resolution passed this morning, "On Regenerate Church Membership and Church Member Restoration." Messengers passed two amendments to the original resolution. (See previous post in this blog.) Additions are in bold here:

WHEREAS, The ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle, with Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message describing the church as a “local congregation of baptized believers”; and

WHEREAS, A New Testament church is composed only of those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word, becoming disciples of Jesus Christ, the local church’s only Lord, by grace through faith (John 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9), which church practices believers’ only baptism by immersion (Matthew 28:16-20), and the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-30); and

WHEREAS, Local associations, state conventions, and the Southern Baptist Convention compile statistics reported by the churches to make decisions for the future; and

WHEREAS, the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention annual Church Profiles indicate that there are 16,266,920 members in Southern Baptist churches; and

WHEREAS, Those same profiles indicate that only 6,148,868 of those members attend a primary worship service of their church in a typical week; and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures admonish us to exercise church discipline as we seek to restore any professed brother or sister in Christ who has strayed from the truth and is in sin (Matthew 18:15-35; Galatians 6:1); and now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, urge churches to maintain a regenerate membership by acknowledging the necessity of spiritual regeneration and Christ’s lordship for all members; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we humbly urge our churches to maintain accurate membership rolls for the purpose of fostering ministry and accountability among all members of the congregation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we humbly encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, even if such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we humbly urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and their pastors to implement a plan to minister to, counsel, and restore wayward church members based upon the commands and principles given in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-35; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).

Discussion over on the Founder's Ministries blog

I am incredibly heartened over this resolution.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Dr. Wayne Dyer vs. Christianity

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is another of the self help gurus touted by Oprah. Let's compare him with Christianity.

Nature of God:
Dyer - God is an energy field. God can also be equated with soul, spirit, cousciousness. God is always creating and loving and it excludes no one. It is a source that has no judgment.
Christianity - God is divine. God is personal. God judges between right and wrong, good and evil. Only those who walk in truth and righteousness may abide with him.

Nature of Creation:
Dyer - Everyone and everything that shows up in the world of form in this universe originates not from a particle, as quantum physics teaches us, but from an energy field.
Christianity - God (a personal, intelligent, creator-designer) is the creator of the universe. In Him we live, and move, and have our being.

Nature of the Universe:
Dyer - The universe is friendly.
Christianity - The world was created good, but due to sin displays a curse as evident in such things as simply as loss and deterioration but also in destruction and death.

Dyer - Attitude is everything, so pick a good one. Attitude determines things. So, it's really about modeling it and letting people know you are an inspired person, a person who is in spirit, and then those forces that Carl Jung called synchronicity begin to show up and, lo and behold, the universe provides for you.
Christianity - God preserves and governs all his creatures and all their actions. God is sovereign and controls all things regardless of man's attempt at "positive thinking".

Ontology / Future:
Dyer - Man came from nowhere. We show up, and we are now here. It's all the same. It just is a question of spacing. While we are in the "now here," we all contemplate where we are going. Where we are going is back to the "nowhere."
Christianity - Man was created by God, possesses real being (soul & body), and will be raised at the final judgment to spend eternity with God or in hell.

Nature of Man:
Dyer - You are a divine, infinite creation making the choice to be on purpose and to be connected to the power of intention. It all revolves around your being harmoniously connected to your Source. who you are is a piece of God—who you are is a piece of the source
Christianity - Man is a finite creature subject to limitations, whose purpose is derived from and directed toward his creator, who is the source of all life, sufficiency and truth.

Humanity's Purpose & Philosophy:
Dyer - Happiness. Enjoyment. Feeling good is what you should be doing every day of your life.. Enjoy the moment, because that is all you have. You never are going to arrive someplace else.
Christianity - Glorify God. Holiness. Our present choices have consequences. Our future is real.

Purpose in Business:
Dyer - Retailers should not be filling their minds with all the things that are wrong, with how the economy is going, or with trying to get someplace in the business world. They should enjoy being in this moment and in this day and serving the people who come in.
Chrisianity - In serving God through business, wisdom does not deny or reject evaluation and assessment of what is revealed in providence. In addition to serving God and serving others, there is a place within righteousness for goal setting.

Humanity's problem:
Dyer - Not being in harmony with his inner self.
Christianity - Not being in harmony with God (Creator, Ruler, Judge).

Dyer - Guilt from everything you did in the past should not affect the present moment.
Christianiity - Guilt does not go away simply by wishing it away. Removal of guilt involves confession, redemption, restitution, etc.

Salvation (solving humanity's problem):
Dyer - Man simply needs to go to the source of himself and get realigned
Christianity - Man needs to look outside himself to the gift of salvation that God offers based on the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

Dealing with Fear:
Dyer - Just say "I want to feel good."
Christianity - "Ultimately" God works all things for the good of those who love him. While humanly speaking there are reasons to fear, a purpose for fear, and even good that can result from fear (physically speaking); in the end God has not given his people a spirit of fear, but of love, power and discipline.

Dyer thinks he's received riches because he's gotten in touch with himself and therefore the world serves him. The truth is he's received riches because he speaks the message of the world to the world and they reward him for telling them what they want to hear - "God does not judge"; "Sin and guilt are not a problem"; "Man's only goal is to be happy"; "Man can achieve this happiness and the problems he faces are not problems, just issues they can deny or quit creating."

As August so astutely put it in regard to Tolle, the same applies to Dyer and those confronted with the difference between Christianity and New Age Philosophy: It is decision time. Who will you follow? There's a fork in the road. It matters where you put your trust!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Concern regarding Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Thirdly, religious faith potentially has a crucial part to play in shaping the values that can help to guide the modern world. It can and should be seen as a force for progress and betterment. But there is a risk that it either falls prey to extremist and exclusionist tendencies ...

Quote from here.

While Tony Blair and his faith foundation have recognized the important role faith plays in society and while they state their intentions are not to "engage in doctrinal inquiries or try to subsume all faiths into a world faith of the lowest common denominator", at the same time the above quote concerns me when they refer to "exclusionist" tendencies. By this, do they simply mean there's a problem with those who have an elitest attitude, who look down on others and are prejudiced toward them, even doing them harm; or do they also see a problem with Christians who hold to and proclaim the "exclusive" claims of the Bible?

This is certainly an organization that deserves a close watch. While much good can be accomplished through it, at the same time, we need to understand that even in Jesus' day, it was the religious or faith community (be they misguided ones) that led not only to Christ's crucifixion but to the persecution of Christians and opposition to the church.

Compromise Impossible when it comes to the Gospel

But Dowd’s preaching also draws on more contemporary scientific thinking. Central to his pitch about a “God-glorifying, Christ-edifying, Scripture-honoring way of thinking about evolution” is how findings from evolutionary psychology might help people overcome guilt about their immoral or unhealthful behaviors. “We live in a world today that is very different from the world that our instincts evolved to deal with,” he says. “We have cravings for sugar, salts and fats because for 99 percent of human history, we didn’t have easy access to those things.” Likewise, he says, addictions like sex and drugs are part of our inner proclivities. “Today we have a far more empirical way of talking about human nature than through stories like the original sin,” Dowd says.

Quote taken from here - Darwinists for Jesus.

Another example of one who seeks compromise (Christianity & Evolution) but in order to do so must reject and oppose an essential element of Christianity (i.e., man's guilt).

Thomas Brooks on God, His People, and the Mouths of the Ungodly

But God will have His people at last appear glorious, that the
mouths of ungodly wretches may be stopped, that they may
justify God in His goodness and mercy towards His own people.
When they shall see those who they accounted as the monsters
and fools of the world, men not worthy to live in the world—
when they shall see crowns set on their heads, and glorious
robes put on their backs—oh how will ungodly men gnash their
teeth, and say, "Oh! we thought them fools and madmen, who
thus served God, and walked with God—but now we see that
we ourselves are the only fools, the only mad ones, who have
turned our backs on God, and have said—It is futile to serve
God. What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and
going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?"
Malachi 3:14

Church Planting and Lessons Learned

Does the Church Need to Rethink Leadership?

Church planting lessons learned along the way

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

John Piper - spiritual gifts and signs and wonders

What I am listening to/reading

Gifts of Healings and Workings of Miracles
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
March 4, 1990

The Elders, the People, and the Prayer of Faith
James 5:13-18
March 11, 1990
Read | Listen | Download

The whole series here

When Will Prophecy Cease?
1 Corinthians 13:8 - 14:5
March 18, 1990

The Authority and Nature of the Gift of Prophecy
Acts 2:14-21
March 25, 1990

Tolle vs Christianity

Since we have had a lot of comments here that say that Tolle and Christianity are saying the same things, let's have a quick comparison.

Nature of God:
Tolle - God is an impersonal force and/or cumulative energy of the universe.
Christianity - God is personal,sovereign, transcendent, knowledgable, and interested in the universe.

Nature of Creation:
Tolle - Everything in the universe is interrelated as the same underlying consciousness and energy, and constitutes God.
Christianity - God is the creator of the universe and is separate and distinct from the universe.

Ontology of God and creation:
Tolle - All reality is a one unified consciousness called God, and everything that exists is part of God.
Christianity - God is outside of the time/space dimensions of the universe.

Nature of truth:
Tolle - Truth is within the person. ("Your very Being is the truth"). Your version of the truth depends on your state or level of consciousness, and that affects how you view reality.
Christianity - Truth is what is revealed by God in His Word. 66 books written by human authors inspired by God over thousands of years with one central ground motive, creation, fall and redemption.

Nature of Reality:
Tolle - Reality is ultimately illusionary and temporary, and one can create their own reality by achieving a higher level of consciousness.
Christianity - Both the physical and spiritual world and has absolute form and existence. Denying either realm of reality has real consequences.

Tolle - Right and wrong is relative. It depends on your inner self what you consider right and wrong.
Christianity - Man is created in the image of God, and that includes an absolute sense of right and wrong as God-given. The Bible serves as an explanation of God's moral law.

Tolle - All that exists is a self-propagating evolutionary system.
Christianity - God created all that is by the power of His Word, with universal and transcendent laws to govern His creation, subject to decay after the fall.

Nature of Man:
Tolle - Humans are part of the overall spiritual consciousness, along with everything else that exists, with the potential to reach a god-state.
Christianity - Man is made in the image of God, but is fallen into a state of sin.

Humanity's problem:
Tolle -Unaware of his own potential because he is in a underdeveloped state of consciousness.
Christianity - Original sin that made man unrighteous before God, no matter how many good things he does.

Salvation (solving humanity's problem):
Tolle - Become conscious of your own self, reach higher levels of consciousness through self-awareness and disposing of thoughts in the ego.
Christianity - Believe in and trust in the substitutionary atonement of Christ, through the free gift of faith through grace from God.

After death:
Tolle - The self dissolves and becomes part of the greater universal consciousness again.
Christianity - The soul passes on to judgment before God and an everlasting existence in heaven or hell.

It is clear that the teachings are significantly different and mutually exclusive. While Tolle quotes Christ, what he teaches is by no means compatible or related to Christianity.

For those calling themselves Christians, it is decision time. Who will you follow?

Killing with Kindness

I've observed a trend that continues to this day especially among New Agers/Tolle adherents and emergents) where when pressed into a corner regarding the validity and integrity of their beliefs, they either seek to decry "unkindness" on the part of those they debate or they attempt to heap praise upon the "kindness" of their partners of like-mind (regardless of the fact their their arguments are just as empty/lacking as their own) as if by doing so this might perhaps settle the argument or at least have them come away as if they stand on higher/better ground. (It is a shame when those who stand on a faulty foundation cuddle themselves to their own destruction.)

This is an area where Christian apologists have been silent, but an area deserves comment and at times addressing (perhaps this post may serve as a reference or resource for those who encounter it that they may point others to it rather than having to spend lengths of time in other debates making this point).

The truth is it's not unkind to speak truth to an individual; at the same time shifting debate from the merits of one's position to the demeanor (or lack of demeanor) of (either of) the participants does not change the validity or defensibility of one's position. There's a tendency among opponents of orthodox Christianity who purpose positions contrary to Christianity (though perhaps even in the "name" of Christianity) to suggest one's "supposed" kindness trumps truth. However, as has been stated many times before, truth involves doctrine (orthodoxy) - attitude/relationship - and action. One area does not trump another. Nor is one area complete without the others or independent from the others. Put another way, while some may try to point to "kindness" on the part of others as a means of covering up error in doctrine, true kindness exists only when one speaks truth to another and leads and encourages them in the way of truth. There are many in the world who smile and say "kind" things even as they lead others astray. While those who oppose the truth of the gospel may consider those "unkind" who speak truth to their them (and about their positions); it is true that a man who accepts truthful instruction (even a rebuke) becomes wise, while fools despise correction.

Consider the teaching of the Proverbs: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."; Prov 15:1 " He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise."; "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."; "He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue."; "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse."; "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?"; "The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment."; "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil."; "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."; "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception."; "You will say, "How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!"; "He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."; "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."; "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored."; "A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence."; "Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die."; "A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Reading List for the Next Few Weeks

I'm like a child in a candy store! No, I'm not going on vacation. I've not inherited a million dollars. But for the next few weeks, my secondary reading is going to be in the area of worldviews. The following books (which were recommended to me) have just arrived:

The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog by James Sire
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
Revolutions in Worldview by Andrew Hoffecker
Total Truth: Liberating Christianithy from Its Culture Captivity by Nancy Pearcey
Worldview: The History of a Concept by Arthur F. Holmes.
A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test by Kenneth Samples

Remember: The Bible says 'Don't Be Envious!' Order them and read them as well!

I'd write more, but time's a wasting! There are some pages calling my name!

Abortion and Health Care Options

Yesterday, a speaker for Planned Parenthood in recommending one political candidate over another stated that one who had opposed abortion would not be favorable to women because he was opposed to giving them "health care" options.

Mirriam Webster defines "health care' as "efforts made to maintain or restore health especially by trained and licensed professionals". Short of emergencies, abortions do neither. Not only do they immorally end the life of the child, they cause negative spiritual and psycological effects (on both the one having the abortion and/or others involved); can cause negative immediate and/or long term medical effects, and can cause negative effects on future children, etc.

To refer to abortion as "health care", one must first re-define health care to simply mean whatever the individual wants or believes will satisfy them at the time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Answering Tolle's disciples **WARNING - SOME MATURE CONTENT**

Over the last few weeks, we had quite a few visitors who dropped by to comment on what we posted on Tolle. I hope I got all of the comments from the different visitors.

We always appreciate comments, and want to thank those who took the time to comment on this issue. It is hardly surprising that most of the comments were negative, given the emotional smokescreen that surrounds the whole topic.

Before I get into the details of answering the comments, I want to ask a few questions to start with, so that those who wish to comment on the topic in future can start from that point, by answering those questions, and we can move the discussion forward.

Christianity has a history that goes back thousands of years, and has produced billions of followers throughout the ages. The majority of the comments here say that all of those people were deluded, or wrong, that Christian teachings, history and traditions are all a load of nonsense. So the responsibility lies with them to prove that it is so.

To help these folks out a bit, here are a few questions to start with then:

1.Please demonstrate Tolle's teachings, in which he acknowledges Jesus as a “great teacher” from Scripture. Feel free to use the historical-grammatical method, or any of the other accepted methods of exegesis. (Not fair, you say, that is just doctrine and that is exactly what Tolle says is wrong with Christianity. Nope, sorry, if he, and by implication you, are going to quote Jesus then you cannot simply disregard the historical and grammatical context for your own benefit. Or you can, but then we will stop right there since you are simply begging the question in your favor, and it is clear that you have no interest in the truth, just in promoting Tolle at all cost.)

2.Please explain how the obvious conflict between exclusive truth claims from Tolle and Scripture are resolved without destroying either, something that Tolle says is quite possible. To do that, I strongly recommend starting by stating the basis of your hermeneutic for both Tolle and Scripture, follow that by establishing your theory of ontology, and by demonstrating how your epistemological basis flows from that. Or if you want it in simple terms, explain on what basis you interpret Tolle and Scripture, tell us what characteristics of being you have and why, and where you get that from, and finally, based on what you are, how you come to know things, such as how to interpret Tolle and the Bible, for example. (Not fair, you say, you are making this waayyyy too complex, typical of religious doctrine. Nope, sorry, those three things are the most basic of preconditions to even start having a discussion about spiritual things. Now you can choose to ignore it, and comment anyway, but why then should we believe anything you have to say? Feeling good about something is unfortunately not a valid argument, because (as we ourselves have been accused here on this very topic), you may be delusional.)

3.Since Christian beliefs are being (harshly) judged here, please show by which standard you propose to do so. Hint: Your opinion is not a standard, and neither is Tolle's opinion. Because if that was a valid standard, then so is my opinion, which is that you are wrong. Since that is what we want to discuss in the first place, then we are back at square one. My standard is Scripture. (No fair, you say, you want to make this a discussion about theories and doctrine, while Tolle's teaching is way beyond that, it is about a living reality inside a person. Nope, sorry, this is exactly about reality and how we understand and interact with reality. Even should you wish to level a higher level of criticism, on that abstract personal spiritual level, then you still have to do so by some standard, or we are back at the delusional opinion argument.)

Hopefully any future comments on this topic will start from there so that we can move the discussion forward. Now I understand that you may not have these answers right away, but then I would implore you to investigate these issues before coming here and blindly attacking Christianity.

Now on to the comments:

"moderator" said...
Well, that is a pretty big assertion right out of the chute. Let's see if Mr./Mrs. Moderator actually backs up this rather impressive claim.

Oprah is not the problem. She believes in a Big God, not a God made up of 21st century Americans that call Jesus their Buddy. Yep, say a little prayer and you go to heaven.
Hmm, 'k. Please describe this “Big God” that Oprah believes in. What are his characteristics? How did she come to know this god, and from where? On what basis is this god called big? What does “big”, in this context mean anyway? Please describe the God that 21st century Americans “made up”? On what basis do you say that their god is made up but Oprah's isn't? Please tell us which American Christians call Jesus “their buddy? What churches are these? Please quote examples. Please tell us which churches preach “say a little prayer and you go to heaven”? Please show specific examples. Since this looks like an internal critique of Christianity, please establish your standard by which to criticize that practice, then demonstrate from Scripture that it is wrong to do so, and finally, most importantly, please show that it is wrong, that people who say this prayer don not go to heaven.

**So far no proof that anything the church teaches is false, just some random arbitrary claims. Mr/Mrs moderator has clearly not been to my church.

Then you can vote like Jesus and vote for War and Republicans, because after all Jesus did say blessed are the war makers. Oh, and make sure to go after Gays as well, because Jesus never said a word about homosexuals in the bible, so I guess the WWJD doesn't apply here.
Please state how you know what party Jesus would vote for. Also, please establish a Biblical basis for saying that all war is wrong, since you are making a general statement about “war makers”. Also, while we are on the topic, can you please explain why only the teachings of Jesus should be accepted as the totality of Christian teachings. Please explain what Jesus meant when He said “Mat 10:34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

As for homosexuals, Jesus had this to say: “"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' {5} and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? {6} So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Now you may argue that that is not explicitly about homosexuals, but you would be wrong. Because this is a clear teaching of the Biblical basis for relationships, and it is only between a man and a woman., and is consistent with the rest of the Bible's teaching.

**Still no proof that the church is teaching falsehoods. There is an interesting little sidenote inside view of Mr/Mrs moderators political views, which seem to be the goggle through which he/she chooses to view the world. But no proof, just some politically motivated rhetoric.

But if you are a Christian in America today, have lunch after church at Red Lobster, even though the bible says it's an ABOMINATION to eat Shrimp- oops, sorry, didn't get that scripture. And have all the Christian leaders like Ted Haagard, the Evangelical Big Dude, preach family values, yet he gets caught sucking a young boys penis and doing meth.

Now while I enjoy a reasoned discussion as much as the next guy, I don't quite know how to answer these childish and inane comments. If Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality, then where did He manage to slip in the little bit about Red Lobster? I have read through the Bible a few times, and probably more in the NT than anywhere else, and I must have missed that bit. Please enlighten us. As far as Pastor Haggard is concerned, you are a liar. Maybe you should know your facts before trying to offer an irrelevant argument. We all agree that what he did with a male prostitute was wrong (no mention of young boys, by the way). But you have not established a standard to tell us that he was wrong. Just one paragraph above you wanted us to lay off the homosexuals, yet here, strangely, you seem to think that there was something wrong when Pastor Haggard engaged in such behavior. Of course, we as Christians were rightfully horrified by what he did, but we also know that the blood that Jesus spilled on the cross is big enough to cover even those sins. Please tell us what Mr Tolle offers Pastor Haggard, or even why it is necessary for Pastor Haggard, from your point of view, to be offered any hope, if what he did was seemingly acceptable in your eyes.

***And still no proof that the church is spreading falsehoods (except if you have been to a church that tells you to go have the shrimp at Red Lobster afterwards, in direct contradiction to a yet to be named explicit teaching from Jesus not to do so). But an interesting little bit of hypocrisy on display, along with a rather lame attempt at guilt by association. (I can assure Mr/Mrs moderator that the church are full of sinners, some like Pastor Haggard, that doesn't make Christianity false, it makes it true.)

WWJD, lol. And Be like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn, and tell people that if they give money, they are doing God's work, but if they build an orphanage for young girls like Oprah- now that's EVIL!

Again I don't quite get what this has to do with the topic. I would agree from my vantage point that Messr's Hinn and Copeland will have a lot of 'splainin to do one day. However, to characterize them as mainstream or valid examples of Christians is simply committing the fallacy of poisoning the well. We do see a little bit of doctrine weaved in here, apparently we have to do good things to get in God's good graces. Maybe Mr/Mrs moderator can enlighten us to the number of good deeds and amount we need to do, give or contribute in order to earn our way into heaven. I mean, if Oprah is the one setting the bar then she, Bill Gates and God will have a nice tea party one day while laughing down at the rest of us in hell. And maybe Mr/Mrs moderator can enlighten us to the orphanages that he/she has opened so that we can make a small contribution (not wanting to miss out on this “good deeds get you into heaven deal”.) There is no doubt that Oprah does do good things with her money sometimes, but to equate that with spiritual maturity is a non-sequitur, and it is even more laughable to think that has anything to do with salvation.

****Sigh. I had such high hopes, but nope, still nothing. No proof of those falsehoods yet. Some more poisoning the well and guilt by association fallacies though.

If Jesus came back today, most evangelical blogs would condemn him as some new age crazy guy, just like they did 2000 years ago because he didn't fit in the religous box of the time. No, the Jesus taught by the church today is Pro War, Pro Judgement, Pro hate and knows that they have truth and everybody else is wrong.

Ok. This is getting a bit tiresome. This is just another set of blind assertions. And even more scary, an implied Tolle=Christ type argument. And the same set of questions as above. Please prove what you are saying. How is the Jesus that churches proclaim today “ Pro War, Pro Judgement, Pro hate”? Where are these churches that teach this? Please provide examples. And please tell us why you are allowed to judge, but the church apparently isn't? And on what basis do you evaluate the exclusive truth claims made by the church? What is your standard?

*****Still no proof. More political rhetoric. More baseless assertion.

My bible says, you shall know them by their fruit. Look at Oprah. What has she done? Hardly the antichrist.

You have a Bible? And you want to quote that to us? Great. Please provide us with an exegetical argument for that verse, based on the historical-grammatical or on of the other accepted methods of Biblical interpretation that proves your implied theory that “fruit” here means giving like Oprah does, and that that is what gets you into heaven.
As for Oprah being the “antichrist.”, who said that? Anyone here? Nope, but she did say this, herself:
Oprah: “There are many paths to what you call God.”
Audience Member: “There is one way and only one way and that is through Jesus.”
Oprah: “There couldn’t possibly be just one way!”

Now that, Mr/Mrs moderator, certainly does not sound like someone bearing the fruits referred to in your Bible. (Unless your Bible differs substantially from mine.)

******Alas, still no proof about all these falsehoods. Just some random comments about the Bible (vaguely referred to) and an attempted sarcasm-laced vindication of Oprah, who then spoils it herself by straight-out denying what Jesus says about Himself.

Yet look at all the "Christians" like Larry Craig, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haagard, Ken Copeland, on and on. Fornicators and war mongers and deceivers of the true Gospel. Anyway, have a nice day and remember, Jesus loves you very very much, and if you don't want to believe it he will burn you in hell.

This line of reasoning was already addressed above. Pointing to sinners in the church does not prove anything. And to summarize, it is committing several logical fallacies in the process. Now maybe you think that this line of “argumentation” gets you somewhere, but I'm afraid that it does nothing but show that you yourself are guilty of the very things you accuse us of. You are judgmental, hateful and woefully ill-informed. You present no arguments, but prefer to rant in ignorance through politically tainted-glasses.

******Nope, we did not see any proofs of these falsehoods that was so confidently announced in capital letters above. We did see a mildly entertaining example of how not to defend the great Tolle though.

Sigh, now that did not get us very far. So how about “incredulous”?

Clap, clap, clap, Moderator. Well said and finally a breath of fresh air and (new age!) truth to this tired place of closed minds and fear-based beliefs.

Mr/Mrs incredulous does not start off in promising fashion, by offering praise to what Mr/Mrs moderator offered up, which was really not much.

I grew up in a cult like this and if it weren't for people like Tolle, Oprah, Wayne Dyer, Denise Lynn, Louise Haye, Debbie Ford, Neale Diamond Walsch, Abraham (the list of these "false teachers" is endless, THANK GOD!), my mind would still be closed and my spirit trapped in the fear-based cage of this narrow-minded ancient way of believing.

Well, we are glad to hear your mind is not closed anymore, at least when it comes to denying Christianity. You offer some choice subjective descriptions (ancient, narrow-minded, fear-based etc) of Christianity. Before asking for proof that those statements are true descriptions of the Christian faith, please establish your basis for making those moral judgments. Again, your opinion, feelings, dreams, moods and experiences are not considered an objective basis to make those judgments. If you do wish to pursue that line of thought, then I will present my opinion to you, which is that you are simply delusional.

I love learning new things and I feel so blessed to living in this New Age (sorry, folks, I know you all hate that sinful phrase) with a mind and spirit that know no bounds :-) And most especially, NO FEAR OF "HELL"; NO FEAR OF "SIN"; plus the absolute LUXURY of knowing that it is my BIRTHRIGHT to be loved by my Creator!!

We are glad you are happy. Please tell us what will happen to you should you die today. And please tell us where you get your concept of “creator” from? And on what basis you demand this creators love, by birthright? And if you don't fear hell, do you deny that such a place exists, or that you simply are not going there? If you deny that such a place exists, why does it matter if your creator loves you or not? If you believe that it does exist but you are not going there, on what basis do you believe that?

My joy and ultimate salvation are not dependent on my ability to accept some loony story that originates with a "virgin birth";

Hmm, despite your username, incredulity is not a valid argument. Please prove that a virgin birth is “loony”, or that it did not happen.

I no longer fear each big world event as "a sign that the end is near" where crazy monsters are going to be killing people and fire is going to engulf us all and "all hell is going to break loose." The list of crazy beliefs attached to this lunacy is as long as my beloved list of "false teachers" ;-)

Now let's make this short. Christians don't fear any of that. Furthermore, you choose to beg the question, poison the well and argue ad-hominem, not very convincing. But since you seem to want us to disbelieve some things, apparently vaguely related to Christianity in some way, why don't you offer up some critique that proves what you are saying?

Does anyone ever stop to wonder WHY these supposed "false teachers" are so popular? It's because their messages FEEL RIGHT. THEY ARE NOT SCARY. THEY ARE NOT SHAME BASED. THEY JUST ARE.

Hey, hang on, we can just do what “feels right”? That case, I feel that you are a misguided soul. And Hitler felt right about killing millions of innocent people. I don't think Hitler was scared or ashamed either.

This board is right, people ARE "waking up regarding Oprah." They are seeing a very respected, generous, gracious loving woman STEP OUTSIDE OF THE TINY BOX OF CHRISTIANITY, AND ALLOWING HER SPIRIT TO SOAR!

Respected? Gracious? It's not very gracious or loving to tell the billion or so Christians that they are “close-minded”, “narrow-minded” and Christianity is “loony”, lunacy” “crazy beliefs” and “scary and -shame-based”. But don't let the hypocrisy stop you.

What is a soaring spirit? On what basis do you judge Christianity to be a “tiny box”?

Sorry folks, I hate to disappoint you, but the loss of a mere 7 percent ratings caused by narrow minded fundamental Christians who are now her worst critics pales in comparison to the amount of personal growth she is embracing and instinctively wanting to share with others.

Trust me, the only thing that disappoints me is the complete lack of understanding you have of Christianity. But way to go on adding the insults here, that is really convincing argumentation. As for her “spiritual growth” and “sharing”, because it is based on the relativistic and emotional beliefs that Tolle espouses, then I'm afraid you are the one that is mistaken. That is not growth, it is merely the denial of truth.

Don't flatter yourselves and don't waste too much time worry about Oprah. At the end of the day, I'm pretty sure she'll be just fine :-)

And don't flatter yourself by thinking that what you and others offer here in support of her and Tolle is in any way damaging to Christianity. In fact, it sounds like the atheist arguments from 100 years ago. Oft refuted, tired and an entirely useless direction of thinking or being.

These comments are fairly typical of what we have seen from the Tolle supporters. Now if moderator or incredulous wish to respond, they are of course welcome to do so. I would suggest they start with the questions at the beginning and work from there. That will tell us whether they are truly intellectually and morally honest, or whether they just wish to engage in mud-slinging and baseless assertion.

Friends, there is just one truth. That there cannot be a creation without a Creator. And that the Creator, despite the imperfections of that creation, so loved the people He made in His image that He sacrificed all He had, His only Son, so that He may be glorified, and we may be with Him. That Creator is the one and only triune and personal God, not some abstract consciousness that appeared from nowhere at the time of creation, as Tolle wants it.

And however the self-important people like Oprah and Tolle want to wish that truth away, it won't happen. Because that God is bigger than their ego-god, the one they make in their own image.

Come to know the one true personal God, our Father who loves us more than we can ever know.

PS: I know there are several more comments on this topic, I will deal with those in the coming days.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Barber's Adagio for Strings in Voice

Incredible...I consider this an excellent musical accompaniment for meditating on the Psalms of lament - particularly the Messianic lament of Psalm 22.

Psalm 22 (English Standard Version)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 "He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"

9Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

12Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

19But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!

21Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

25From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.

29All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Relationships: The Triune God (Trinity) and Man

Baby Survives Abortion

An example of how an attempt to abort (/kill) could have taken a human life.

See: Baby Miraculously Survives Abortion, Expected to Live a 'Normal' Life

WCF Q. 68 What is required in the sixth commandment?
Ans: The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

WCF Q. 69 What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
Ans: The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking awaay of our own life, or the life of our neighbor, unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.

Experiencing the Truth

A timely publishing considering the news lately about the African American Church.

New Book by Anthony Carter on bringing the reformation to the African-American Church. For interview with Anthony Carter with ByFaith Magazine, see here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Chance" - what does that mean to a Christian?

I think chance, in context, is equivalent to God's permissive will - that is - for the reprobate, since they are not saved, dwell within a continuum that God allows them to exist in a state of circumstantial indeterminism - that is - except for their final dispensation or to the degree that they are used as components for the sanctification of the elect.

The redeemed, however, exist within a continuum of full circumstantial predeterminism - all things work together for the ultimate good of the elect.

Nothing is purposeless for the elect.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Does Science Possess All the Answers?

Some would have you and me to think that science in on the verge of having all the answers (even for a world apart from God). The question is: Does science have all the answers? The answer unsurprisingly appears to be No.

See Dark, Perhaps Forever and An Overflowing Five-Day Banquet of Science and Its Meanings

Monday, June 2, 2008


I have been thinking about joyfulness lately. Particularly since I am in a time of subdued joyfulness. Several things have happened in my life lately that have caused me to wonder what the Lord has planned for me and how I will react to the unknown.

It is an uncomfortable place to be.

Hard to find joy, so I am understanding better and better the saying:

"It's a choice to rejoice!"

Lord, in your mercy, please give me the wisdom to understand your Providence and the strength to do Your will. Also, help me to refine my actions to be glorifying to you and not self serving. Amen

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;let them ever sing for joy,and spread your protection over them,that those who love your name may exult in you.