Thursday, June 30, 2005

Law and Gospel

Rush Limbaugh reminded the audience the other day of how he came to be a conservative talk show host. When he was younger he intuitively recognized that liberals were wrong, but he could not explain why until he started reading what he calls the "God Fathers" of the conservative movement. Then he was equipped to explain why he thought what he thought.

In the same way, I have noticed an implicit denial of the sufficiency of Scripture among certain Southern Baptist and American Baptist leaders (I am a member of the American Baptist denomination). The problem is that these leaders say things like "Scripture Alone" and the "Bible is the Word of God" and yet denying the Law in the life of the Christian (a form of antinomianism). Over time, it has become obvious to me that they do not mean what the terms have historically meant, but I could not quite figure out why.

In a recent Founders Journal Dr. Tom Nettles wrote an article entitled Recapturing the Complementarity Of Law and Gospel. In the article he states:

Churches of the American Baptists have fallen prey to this annoying error. The 1970-90's saw resolutions on human rights, freedom, Christian unity and human sexuality...Even the greatly agitated controversy over sexuality called for new attempts to "consider prayerfully the mind of Christ..."

Though the Bible provides source material and stands ostensibly as "central to our lives," a clear divide between a settled word and the 'Living Christ' determines the burden of the interpretive task. "The Christian faith is centered in a person," they argue. "It is not a legalistic code which forms our faith; it is the living Christ."

Dr. Nettles is right on. It is not that we all say the "Bible is the Word of God". Even Mormons say that. The question is "what do we mean by that?" But the issue goes even further. The question really becomes, "What is our hermeneutical principle?" or our mode of interpretation. Do we know the mind of Christ apart from studying God's Law? For many American Baptists apparently, the Law is merely a "legalistic code" and that we really should be looking for the "living Christ."

Dr. Nettle goes on to say that "the defining authority of objective truth has no place in their concept of freedom and contradicts, in their opinion, the ongoing work of Christ in His people." This is most certainly a dangerous trend. When "Law and Gospel" are pitted against each other in such a way as to deny the Law of God as having a role in the life of the believing one, antinomianism will surely follow. Hence, the reason why so many deny the Old Testament Law or are ignorant of it.

So how does a church proclaim deliverance from sin when there is no law?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Imputation on the D/L

Since the doctrine of "imputation" seems to be the next big target of those who wish to erase the reformed faith from our memories (if evangelicals even have any), I decided to call into an internet version of the Bible Answer Man, The Dividing Line. What is good about this "Answer Man" is that you actually get exegetically based answers.

I have been struggling to see how justification and imputation of Christ's righteousness work in Romans 5. Is there some kind of "infusion" of the life of Christ and by that perfect life that is possessed by the believer, the believer is also imputed with Christ's righteousness? His answer was a good one, and I have recorded it if you would like to listen in.

Click Here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I've Had It!

The U.S. Supreme Court has made yet another decision that overrides the will of the people. They stated that two Kentucky Court Houses must take down their displays of the Ten Commandments.

World Net Daily has reported:

Justice David H. Souter said, "The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion."

Souter said, "When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates tha central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality."

So I am now officially issuing a public challenge.

I, Howard Fisher, challenge anyone to a moderated public debate on the question, "Does the First Amendment apply to the removal of the Ten Commandments from Judge Roy Moore's Court room in Alabama?" I will take the negative. I am willing to speak second and my opponent may get the last word. My opponent may have 5 minutes of more time in each portion of the debate. My opponent will be allowed to have team of scholars if he so desires.

The reason I am willing to give any opponent the advantage is because my position is so strong and so clear and so devasting, I know that the average American will be able to see through the crap that leftists speak. I firmly believe if the truth is allowed to be presented, it will win the hearts of true God fearing Americans.

Any takers? Perhaps our local New York Times Editor? I didn't think so.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Who Wants To Be President?

Senator Bill Frist, now is your chance to shine. Will you be the defender of Religious Freedom? Will you be the defender of the "Right to Own Property"? Will you be the defender of the Right to Life? Do you want to be President of these United States?

This morning I found out that the minority rights of the Supreme Court (the minority are not able to filibuster there) were violated. The right to own property secured in the Fourteenth Amendment was struck down by the U. S. Supreme Court. This comes as a shock to many people, but not to me. Let me explain why.

If the Supreme Court is able to say certain people in this nation do not have an inalienable right to life, if the Supreme Court is able to say the First Amendment is to be applied to the States, if the Supreme Court is able to say during a questioning session dealing with a case on prayer "Well Mr. David Barton, you have provided an overwhelming case for prayer in school. Yes, the Founders did pray in school. Yes, the Founders were very clear that it is the duty of public institutions to teach religion, the Bible and morality. But that just goes to show how much the Founders did not understand the Constitution that they wrote," if the Spureme Court can do all of the above, why can not the "modern leftists" strike down the Constitutional right to own property?

I am willing to bet one of my paychecks, the next Republican who stands up and says these Judges need to be impeached, will become the next Republican nominee. The question is, though, who has the guts to ignore the Media and do what the electoral base of the party is clamoring for?

Bill Frist, do you want to be President? Perhaps Tom Delay? Anybody.......?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Remember When You...So Shut Up

"You can't rob banks."

"Oh yea, why not?"

"Because it is immoral."

"Well, you used to do it, so you are just being a hypocrite."

"Oh...hmmm...I guess I'll just stand here in the corner and shut up."

Just in the last few months, I have heard the hypocrite argument used several times, even against me for something I did 15 years ago. Is it truly a legitimate way for people to reason? It has become so much a part of our culture to use it, surely it must have merit.

Jesus teaches so often against hypocrisy, that it is clear from His teaching that men will be judged for it in the future judgment. In Matthew chapter 23 however, Jesus does not allow us to use it as an argument against doing what is right. He says, "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them." Here Jesus holds men accountable for their obedience to rulers who are in authority over them. Even when they act hypocritically.

So why is the hypocrisy argument used? It has been my observation that those who use it wish to marginalize people out of public discourse. If a person who is defending what is right is put in the corner with his dunce hat on, then that person will not be allowed to engage in public discourse and the evil that men do is allowed to remain.

In my own recent experience, I had something held against me in hopes I would shut up. What was bizarre, was the argument that I posed had nothing to do with what hypocritical charge. So many today can't see the issues and are always attacking people, who put forth their beliefs. I guess having beliefs and attempting to persuade our fellow man is wrong and believed by many as to being unconstitutional.

I actually heard an atheist say to Sean Hannity that the Framers of the Constitution should be ignored as to their interpretation of the Constitution because many of them owned slaves. Imagine that. The people who wrote the constitution should be ignored because some of them were inconsistent in their beliefs and practice, and therefore should be barred from public discourse.

This is exactly what has been happening to Christians for a long time. If you are a Christian, people will always look for some fault and exploit it. What does this have to do with the substance of issues, I haven't the foggiest idea. Just read the response to my "Left In Mouth Disease." Simply because the U.S. did something in the past that may have been wrong, somehow neutralizes her from doing what is right today. I never said anywhere in that post that "Muslims[...]equal "people trying to blow us up"", yet somehow I am accused of saying that in a two short paragraph post that never contains the word Muslim. Nor did I say we should lock up all Muslims like we did the Japanese in WWII.

Well, those of you who use the hypocrisy argument, please do not speak anymore on important social issues. You are all hypocrites, and I now hold you to your own standards.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Another Cross Examination

Can a non-Christian enter heaven? Does everyone need to hear the Gospel in order for them to be fairly judged? What if there was someone who would have believed if they heard the gospel, but they never got the chance to hear it?

AOMin has added another portion of the cross examination in which Dr. White was answering questions fielded by Bill Rutland. It is quite revealing as to how people outside the reformed view think of God and the gospel of Christ. To watch the video...Click Here

Saturday, June 18, 2005

John 6 Under Examination

AOMin's Blog today has a 5MB video clip in which Dr. White cross examines Bill Rutland on John chapter 6 (click here). Bill Rutland is trying to defend the Roman Catholic belief that people can be saved without hearing the gospel of Christ. People such as Muslims, who worship the same God as Christians do, but do so in ignorance, could possibly be saved.

This is an extremely important debate (similar to the one Dr. White had with Dr. Sanders), since it deals with human ability that is assumed by most of mankind. The idea that men are free and just need God to come along and point the way and men will just freely choose to follow is destructive to the heart of the gospel itself.

The Gospel must totally be of God and God centered. Otherwise man is not that bad of a sinner. Man may decide, "You know, I'm not ready to come to Christ today, maybe next year." This notion that man has this ability to come to Christ anytime he freely chooses is destructive to the doctrine of the atonement. Substitutionary atonement becomes a "maybe" and Jesus' work becomes a "might be".

Jesus put it this way, "No man is ABLE to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day." John 6:44

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Left In Mouth Disease

Once again, the left in this country is criticising our military. WND is reporting that Sen. Dick Durbin is comparing our country's treatment of enemy combatants to the KGB and Polpot (just a reminder, enemy combatants = the people trying to blow us up). The left in this country has nothing but contempt for our American heritage and way of life.

Before the left keeps putting their foot in their mouth, perhaps they ought to watch this TV commercial and see how most Americans feel about their sons and daughters who serve our country with honor and respect. Click here if you have Windows Media Player.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wilkin Revisited

For about a week now I have had in my MP3 collectiont the debate on Regeneration and Perseverance between Dr. White and Dr. Wilkin (for a mere $2.30 you too can own this mp3). This was the debate that my wife and I went to in Oklahoma City a couple of months ago. As I was driving around today, I decided to listen to it via my IRock (128MB) mp3 player (yes, I am attempting to live in the 21st century).

Apparently my note taking ability is dead or "ineffective" as Dr. Wilkin would define it. I had some ability to take notes, just not very well. The debate was worse than I remembered, or to be more specific, Dr. Wilkin was far worse than I remembered.

During Dr. Wlikin's opening statement, he said that being dead does not mean "inability but ineffective." He then seemed to think that the Reformed position is that men are spiritually insensitive. I am not sure what Reformed books Dr. Wilkin reads, but if he is reading books by say Hodge or Edwards or Owen, he simply has no reading comprehension.

He then demonstrates the term "dead" as used in the New Testament with the passage from Colossians in which Paul commands us to "put to death your flesh" as showing that you should not "give power to your flesh". So being powerless is equal to being dead according to Dr. Wilkin at this particular point. THAT'S RIGHT DR. WILKIN! Now be consistent. If man is dead or powerless, then he is powerless in his spirituality.

For Dr. Wilkin and most evangelicals this point must be driven home. Men are dead to God and totally unable to please God at all. Nor do they desire to do so. This however does not mean that men are not religious. Men are very religious. But they hate the truth. They surpress the truth (Romans 1). They hide their evil deeds from the light. Men love their religions and power. Men love their philosophy.

All of man's religions are about synergism or how God's power and man's power cooperate. Biblical Christianity will not allow God's power to cooperate with man in salvation. Men are dead, dead ,dead (Powerless by Dr. Wilkin's own definition!). This is why it can be asked, "Why did I believe and not Joe or Mary or someone else who goes to hell?" Am I better in some way? Am I more spiritually sensitive? Am I wiser?

To God Alone Be the Glory was the fifth cry of the Reformation. Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

George verses Billy: Round 6

Star Wars Episode 3 was an excellent movie for those of us who are big Star Wars fans. The light sabre fights, good verses evil, the temptations of the dark side, the eventual victory of light over evil make the series of movies a good lesson for us to learn in this life. So why does George Lucas seem to take as many pot shots at Biblical Christianity as he can?

In Episode 6 you have Obi-Wan explaining to Luke that truth depends on a person's "point of view." In Episode 1 Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan that truth depends on your "point of view." Now in Episode 3, Lucas takes a big swing at Biblical Christianity. Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker are about to have their big duel. Anakin (my summary of the conversation) says to Obi-Wan, "If you are not with me then you are against me." Obi-Wan responds by saying, "Only the dark side sees things in absolutes."

So are Christians on the "dark side." Are those who believe truth is not dependent upon the individual person "evil"? Is Lucas' belief true and is it true absolutely?

A little later in the fight, the most amazing contradiction occurs in Lucas' religious philosophy. Obi-Wan explains to Anakin that his mind has been twisted by the dark side. Anakin's response was anything but an absolutest view of the world. He simply uses Obi-Wan's moral relativism against him, and dare I say...against George Lucas?

Anakin says, "From my point of view, you're on the dark side." Now whoda thunk Anakin could all of a sudden be so non-absolutist? Obi-wan's response..."Well, then you are lost!!!"

Now Obi-Wan, settle down now. That sounds too Christian like...too fundamentalist like...too much, a reformed baptist.

Perhaps George Lucas is a bigger evangelist for morality being absolute than Billy Graham, and that he just doesn't realize it yet?

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's A Wonderful Life

Dr.Walter Williams, the Libertarian, has hosted Rush Limbaugh's show again. I love listening to his libertarian viewpoint. He actually believes a person "owns himself", and that we have the right to committ suicide. Basically, as long as I do not hurt anyone else in this life, I can do what I want. So Rush's show today basically went from talking about leftwing wackos to libertarian freedom. These are 2 opposite ends of the spectrum I believe.

I would love to have challenged Dr. Williams on his worldview and assumptions. No, Dr. Williams, we do not own ourselves. No Dr Williams, there is no such thing as secret sin that only affects the individual. If I choose to kill myself today, Dr. Williams, there will be a whole host of people who will be directly and indirectly affected.

I agree with Dr. Williams when he demonstrates the left's worldview and assumptions to be false. But simply assuming a libertarian freedom is not anymore intellectually honest or challenging.

Perhaps Dr. Williams needs to watch "It's Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bonds In The Kingdom

Joel and Anya Kasselman have been here for almost a week. What a blessing they have been. They are missionaries to the Ukraine with Campus Crusade For Christ. Anya, as you might tell from her name, is from the Ukraine. They were married a year ago and have finally made it to the states.

Having fellowship with a former Soviet is just beyond this world. Having grown up in the 80s and being told how the Soviets wanted to nuke us all was just a little unnerving. Just goes to show that God's Kingdom transcends earthly kingdoms. Not only is God's Kingdom in heaven, but it is now appearing on earth. In the church you will find a special bond that goes beyond national borders, tribal or family feuds, and even language.

In this present evil age, Jesus has warned us that many false prophets and teachers will come. He also warned us that we must prepare ourselves for persecution. Evil men must co-exist with the sons of the Kingdom. Let us encourage each other during this time with God's truth and prayer. Let us be encouraged with the fellowship that the Spirit gives to us, His people, until His [Jesus'] appearing.

Kingdoms may rise and fall in this world, but God's Kingdom shall reign forever.