Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I know he wasn't a first rate theologian. In fact, he was not a theologian at all. I realize his atonement theory was skewed and had too much of "ransoming from the Devil" theory mixed in. I know he was not a Calvinist nor did he come to understand "all" of the bible's wonderful truths about God sovereignty. I don't care.

C.S. Lewis' story The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was fantastic. I simply loved it. From the first scenes during the bombing of England and the children being forced on the train to the country, to the Final Battle scene with Knight Peter battling against the White Witch. The only draw back to the movie was Liam Neeson's voice as Aslan's.

I have loved the Chronicles of Narnia for many years now. I own Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre's adaptation. I reread the books with my children every year or so. They simply stir the imagination to think of truths that are beyond us in creative ways.

Although there have been many objections to Lewis' Christianity, we must keep in mind that he was a product of his day. Lewis embraced Christianity after being an atheist for many years. He was foremost an intellectual and had more philosophical baggage than we could possibly imagine. In the end, God's grace had taken a man who was in "outer darkness" and shown him a glimpse of Christ. The Light of Christ being enough to save any man, including Lewis. He trusted Christ and Christ alone.

In my reading of Lewis, it seems to me that it was his story telling that may have given him the underlying reason to embrace Christ and Christianity. After writing stories since he was a child, a friend and author challenged Lewis as to the meaning and purpose stories point to, even more than philosophy and science. Does not every story have an author? Does not every story seem to be a battle between good and evil? A Character needing to overcome some problem? If this is true in fiction, why could there not be a God who has also written a story?

As Paul's letter to the Romans clearly teaches, men have the laws of God written upon their hearts. C.S. Lewis simply came to see a truth that men by their evil nature surpress. God has taken that heart of stone and given Lewis a heart of flesh. I pray that God would do that for the next generation of Americans. Perhaps with more movies that assist the general public in forming a Christian worldview, the Gospel may not be far behind.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pastor Gorman Agrees To Blog

One the high points for me at every Payne Christmas gathering is getting to visit with Pastor Chris Gorman. He is my wife's cousin, who pastors a North American Baptist church in South Dakota. Even though we have had different backgrounds in our Christian life, we have both come to embrace the Doctrines of Grace about the same time. We both have come to see the strength of the Reformed faith in its exegesis of Scripture and ability to be consistent with God's truth. Consistency has been key for both of us in our walk with Christ.

During our visit this year, I asked Chris if he would consider being a contributor to this blog. Now, I can avoid being a Blog Hog and actually have a pastoral viewpoint occasionally being expressed. Since he is a pastor, he probably won't have a lot of time to write, but I have assured him the freedom to express his thoughts on this Blog. (As long as it agree with me ;-) )

So be looking for Pastor Gorman's posts. I am sure he will have some interesting things to say.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Science Being Redefined

In an article on WorldNetDaily Rush Limbaugh was quoted saying,

"Let's make no mistake. The people pushing intelligent design believe in the biblical version of creation. Intelligent design is a way, I think, to sneak it into the curriculum and make it less offensive to the liberals because it ostensibly does not involve religious overtones, that there is just some intelligent being far greater than anything any of us can even imagine that's responsible for all this, and of course I don't have any doubt of that. But I think that they're sort of pussyfooting around when they call it intelligent design."

I don't want to say Rush is all wrong here, but when there are Intelligent Design theorists who don't believe in the Bible, it is hard to accept Rush's statement at face value. It is however understandable with Jonathan Witt's response to Rush's statement.

The article goes on to say:

Jonathan Witt, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the nation's leading intelligent design think tank, says Limbaugh's suggestion that design theorists appear disingenious when drawing a sharp distinction between creationism and intelligent design is mistaken.

"Since newspapers routinely mangle our position on this matter, it's little wonder," he said today.

"Traditional creationism begins with the Bible and moves from there to science," says Witt. "Intelligent design begins and ends with science."

So here is the problem. If the ID position is to use the definition of science that fits the evolutionary worldview, then Rush's viewpoint is wrong. The ID position becomes a merely negative assertion in showing Evolution to be unable to explain "irreducible complexities" within its own system.

As we all can plainly see however, ID doesn't stop with the Evolutionary definition of Science. It actually attempts to redefine science to be more open-minded by allowing alternative explanations and theories of the evidence. Therefore, by allowing alternative theories, this gives rise to alternative starting points and worldviews.

ID can be an obvious gateway in allowing Biblical Creationism to be taught in public schools. The greatest fear of any Evolutionist is that people might view the world through what God tells us to be true. Modern Man simply cannot give up his sovereignty to some mythical God of the Bible who requires blood sacrifices (or any other repugnant idea that offends Modern Man).

Over the years I have liked the ID movement. Instead of being a merely negative critique of evolution, it may have something more to offer. The information theory in my opinion was a great breakthrough. For it gave the movement something positive for evolutionists to turn to. The problem being however, that it is still a worldview that men concoct in their minds in order to remain palatable to Modern Man instead of allowing God to define our world.

Many have been predicting a revolution in science as science advances beyond what the theory of Evolution can handle. So in the end Rush may be (in practical purposes) right. If we allow for an Intelligent Designer, then people might just turn to the only coherent system out there, and who wants that?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Opportunity

It's Christmas Eve and the Fishers are trying to make the best of things here. Rachel was up all night with the pukys. I was up reading her stories in between. She thought it helped keep her mind at ease while I read Clifford. She is trying to get some rest now while the wife and son go to the Kidwells Christmas gathering. So while you are all at your Christmas Eve services tonight, pray for Rachel.

On the lighter side, last night before we went to bed, Steven and I had some great conversation. He asked why Jesus could not have died for our sins as a child. This led to a whole host of more questions. We talked about Justification and Sanctification. We talked about God's "discriminating" love for men as opposed to "peanut butter love". We talked about why Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and has chosen to use weak earthly vessels to proclaim the Gospel today.

Christmas is a great Holiday to explain the Great Truths of Scripture with your children. Don't miss the opportunity. As Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice..." Teach children diligently and be faithful raising children in the admonition of the Lord. He will be faithful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Contradictions and Atonement

The Muslim apologist, Shabir Ally, believes that the Bible has many contradictions. As he was making his case, he argued for one I have never heard a Muslim apologist use. In fact, outside of Christian circles, I have rarely heard it at all. Yet he attacks a belief that most modern Evanjellycals hold dearly to. Listen to this contradiction given by a Muslim and see what kind of answer you would give to him. (I realize the recording is not the best.)

Please post a reply. I look forward to hearing what answers some of you might have.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Semi-Praise of Man, Full Praise of God

What if Mary didn't cooperate? What if Joseph didn't want to marry Mary? God certainly would never violate the wills of these two individuals. So we are blessed by Mary and Joseph's obedience. Otherwise, Jesus' birth may have been in big trouble. At least that is what I concluded after the narration that I was "forced" to read yesterday (I am saying "forced" tongue-in-cheek).

I just have to wonder why the questions are even raised in an evangelical church. Does Scripture raise these issues or questions? I see no evidence that Scripture ever makes the assumptions that so many evanjellycals make today. Simply asking the questions above would be like asking, "Is God really the Creator? Let's look at the evidence." Scripture in no place defends the concept that God is the Creator. It simply assumes it. In the same way, Scripture assumes God saves His people without any Creature getting in His way, even Mary and Joseph. It just assumes it and proclaims it.

I certainly hope we are not on the road back to Rome's view of Grace and man. With more and more Protestants embracing man-centered theology, it seems praising Joseph and Mary is just the beginning. Even if it is just a semi-praise. Perhaps next time, I'll be a little more careful as to what I agree to read in a worship service before God's people. (P.S.: I am sure it was not the intention of the music to praise Joseph and Mary, but instead to call Christians to obedience.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Redneck Theology

I know most of you may think this is not funny, but for those of you involved in the Calvinism/Arminianism debate,well...humor goes a long way. Alan Kurschner posted "You might be a Red-neck if..." My personal favorite was "you hear someone say Ordo Salutis and think they had too much moonshine."

Thanks Alan

You might be a Redneck Calvinist if…

the church you attend is not seeker-friendly, but cigar-friendly.

you hear “Free Will,” and think about bailing out your cousin “Will” in jail.

your dad uses the double barrel shotgun for his own “effectual calling.”

you think that an Amyrauldian is road kill.

BHT means Barbeque Hogs Tonight.

the only overalls you will buy are made by Calvin.

you compliment your wife with, “God has ordained your voice to sound like a chainsaw.”

your church has justified to include the banjo and harmonica under the Regulative Principle.

your church refuses to call the church picnic a Potluck.

you have the five solas tattooed on your arm.

Alan Kurschner

(HT: Marie, Allan, Sean, Claire )
Posted by Alan Kurschner on 12/16/2005 @ 12:49 am

December 15, 2005
Are you a Redneck Arminian?

You might be a Redneck Arminian if…

you hear “Irresistible Grace” and think of your cousin.

there is a fiddle accompaniment with Just as I am.

your exegesis consists of having 2 Peter 3:9 tattooed on your arm.

when you hear “RC” you think of Cola.

you think that supralapsarian is a newly breed dog.

you possess more Charles Finney books than teeth.

when the preacher mentions that we are but lumps of clay, you think of Mud Bogs.

you hear someone say Ordo Salutis and think they had too much moonshine.

you think “Spurgeon” is something you catch with rod & reel from your brother-in-law’s boat.

when you hear the Institutes you think of where many of your relatives live.

“The Chief End of Man” is where you end up after “The Fall of Man.”

you think that “Limited Atonement” is a single barrel shotgun.

you purchase your Dave Hunt books through the Home Shopping Network.

when you hear “five points” it reminds you of your average monthly reduction in your driver’s record.

you have a bumper sticker on your truck that says, “If there ain’t free will in heaven, I don’t want to go.”

Alan Kurschner

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Islam Not A Religion For Nations

Is Islam a religion for the Nations? History has shown that Islam cannot exist side by side with other religions. Current events equally show that. On his Internet program the Dividning Line, Dr. White critiques Shabir Ally's arguments from a debate with Sam Shamoun. The debate was over whether or not the Bible is the Word of God verses the Koran.

Anyway, listen to a great reason among many why Islam should not be a religion of the west. It is just a short clip, but worth listening to.

Liberalism and Freedom From Islam

An Anonymous person said in my last post,

"I don't think there should be any state-sanctioned religion. How would you feel if Muslims took over and made Islam the Kansas religion? I think the separation of church and state was one of the wisest decision our founders made."

This is the problem with the left in this country. They honesty think that by being passive to the rest of the world, we will get the world to like us. The problem is that this country is not making immigrants become part of a common culture. Multiculturalism simply cannot work.

Leftists however think they will be able to remain in power. The Islamic peoples of the world are in a massive move to make the world Islamic by immigration. They will use Leftists to their advantage. Eventually they will throw down their "allies" once they see the opportunity. Anybody following what is going on in France?

Therefore we must as a Nation go back to the Christian Worldview as the basis for government. Liberalism will not be able to withstand Islam. So if Anonymous really wishes to keep a separation of church and state, he better abandon his left-wing liberalism.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Road Back To England's Church

I have received more forwarded e-mails from Christians trying to remind me that the Founders of this country did not believe in a separation of church and state. I am not sure what Founders these Christians read, but they most certainly did believe in a separation of Church and state. Terminology is always the most difficult part in any public debate, especially one in which Christians do not recognize their own Traditions.

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution most certainly recognized that if the Federal government endorsed a particular church (state church at the Federal level "for those of you in..."), then there would be major clashes between states with different churches and also states that had religious freedom from any particular denomination. Therefore, we have the First Amendment. So the question really is, "What is the role of religion in the public square and in particular our governments?"

The answer is quite simple. The Federal government has no authority to involve itself in state or local levels. It is simply restricted by the First Amendment. The Federal Government however must embrace the Worldview that gave rise to it. Otherwise, it will pull the rug from beneath itself, and collapse upon itself with its owns weight. The Federal Government must embrace the Bible as being the Word of God and revelation of His Will and Laws. This is the only means of preserving religious pluralism.

States, however, are not governed by the First Amendment, and the quicker Christians get off of this First Amendment argument, the better. States are free to recognize any religion they desire. Christians must be persuasive in their argumentation for their Christian worldview.

I do not want to go back to England's or Germany's or Rome's State (or an atheistic) church. Do you?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Flow Chart For Salvation In RCism

On JohnMark's Blog, I originally thought this "flow chart" was made tongue in cheek. Apparently I was wrong. "That is the flowchart from James McCarthy's _The Gospel According to Rome_. Good book. Great flowchart." According to Rhology.

So, if you are Roman Catholic, enjoy figuring this out.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Celebrating Christmas VS. The Lord's Day

It has come to my attention that several Meg-Churches are closing for Christmas. The consumers apparently don't feel the need to celebrate Christ on the Lord's Day, which also happens to be Christmas. Isn't there a big hub-bub about boycotting Target for saying "Happy Holidays"?

We are so worried that the world is taking Christ out of Christmas, we forget to take the plank out of our own eye? I didn't realize that Christmas and the Lord's Day were in competition.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

State and Church

On the Laura Ingram show, a debate insued with those who oppose Christianity, in particular those who think Christmas carols should not be sung at school. This is an interesting argument, but simply telling non-Christians they must accept Christmas carols being sung by their children in the public school is absurd.

I have yet to understand why Christians think a non-Christian should have to sing religious songs to get a grade, when the parents are against it. Now Christians could argue that if the majority of people are Christian, then the person who does not want to participate does not have to, but the school may go ahead with a Christmas program. Let's say however that a particular city is atheistic. Should children there be forced to sing Christmas carols when the majority of people are not Christian? I don't think so.

Should the government's worldview be Christian? Yes. Should the government publically advocate Christianity as their worldview? Again, yes. You may say this seems contradictory. It is not. I believe Christians need to persuade their fellow man of the superiority of Christianity. I think we Christians need to make a solid case as to why governments need the Christian worldview. This however is different from forcing people to go to church and believe in Jesus

We as Christians must demonstrate that atheism as a worldview is inconsistent with reality and is not even able to explain the world around us. Atheism has no basis for arguing why laws should be the way they are except from perhaps a pragmatistic view. Even then, that has no basis in sound thought. Atheism's worldview cannot even suppport religious freedom. It simply is impossible for atheism to exist as a coherent and consisten foundation for government.

Some might say that perhaps another religion should be the foundation for America, such as Islam. Again, one only needs to take a quick glance around the world to see Islam is not a consistent worldview and need not apply. The religious persecution that takes place against Christians is too well documented, even in countries that are not seen as "extreme". It is simply not possible to have religious freedom within an Islamic state (or an atheistic one for that matter).

Christianity is the only worldview that is consistent and coherent. It provides for the moral underpinnings that governments need to be God honoring while allowing for relgious freedom. Although religious freedom does not mean a religious free-for-all. It does mean a government based on solid Scriptural teaching can provide a basis for stability among a people of differing views.

It is difficult to maintain order in a society, whose citizens are taught all worldviews are equal. If Christians desire true unity in this great nation, then we must not be ashamed to show from the Bible that God governs both the state and the church, and it does so on separate grounds.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bible First, Then Philosophy

If I am being misunderstood by everyone, then I accept the blame for not being as clear as I should be. So I will make one more attempt at explaining presuppositional apologetics. Many atheists use the problem of evil against Christians, and many Christians are defeated at different points. The question should however be turned against the atheist. Why should the atheist even ask the question? For there cannot be evil in an atheist world.

Now I realize that several atheist philosophers have made water tight cases for a system of morality. In fact there are philosophers of the past who have made systems of philosophy that absolutely destroy Christianity. Systems that simply can't be beat.

An example of a philosophy was given in a talk by the late Dr. Walter Martin. Years ago I listened to him speak about getting Feuerbach stuffed down his throat in college. He saw that in Feuerbach's system that Christianity had been dealt a death blow, and he searched high and low among Christian philosophers to find an answer. He never found one.

He then went on to explain how he came across a German philosopher, who was known by the name the Pessimist (I believe he was referring to Arthur Schopenhauer). This philosopher did what no one else had done. He refuted Feuerbach. But he did it not by beating the system, for that was solid. He did it by challenging the assumption of Feuerbach's system.

The assumption was that Christians try to make reality based on their inner desires. Once Schopenhauer refuted the starting point that reality is not reality simply because of our desires, Feuerbach's unbeatable system was destroyed. In the same way, the perhaps unassailable morality systems of atheists come crashing down. For their systems must presuppose truth that can be known outside of their own worldview. Their worldview does not start with the presuppositions that are needed to consistently explain what they are arguing for.

This is why they must borrow from the Christian worldview when dealing with Christians on the problem of evil. By simply asking the question about a loving God and the problem of evil, they must assume there is a God, truth, laws of logic, a Creator creature relationship and ect for their question to even be valid.

Christians often respond with terrible logic and poor reasoning. Hence why so many atheists reject Christians. Therefore, if you are an atheist, I challenge you to understand that only the reformed apologetic is able to give a Biblically consistent answer. You may still disagree. But as I have heard some atheists say, if Christianity is true, it must accept the Sovereignty of God as taught not by arminian Christian philosophers, but by reformed theologians who start with the Bible first, then produce their philosophy.