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.