Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Is There a New Creation Without an Old One

Let's suppose for a moment that the earth is billions of years old, then what? Does this satisfy the Christian intellectual who is trying to reconcile Genesis and Evolution?

If the earth is billions of years old what was it like. Genesis says it was very good. Death did not enter the scene until after Adam's sin. The curse was not given till Adam had sinned. Therefore was the earth just a wonderful place for billions of years? Was it the paradise we all long for in the New Creation?

I have yet to hear a Christian, that presupposes Theistic/Evolution, describe the ancient world in this manner. Mostly I hear how God used death and struggle to bring about the earth as we know it today. Is this the "good" that God speaks of in Genesis? Is the what we have to look forward to in the New Creation?

Perhaps salvation is not a new creation at all. Perhaps there is no resurrection. Perhaps we are just looking forward to a new evolutionary period? If you can't believe that God created out of nothing in a short time period the current creation, then why would you believe in a new creation composed of resurrected bodies and a regenerated earth?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Why Presuppositions Matter

I had an interesting conversation today with a good friend of mine, whom I will not name for his own protection J. We were discussing a little bit of Ken Ham’s new museum in Kentucky, and eventually the conversation turned to a discussion on Biblical interpretation and science. It was believed that the scientific evidence “clearly” shows that the earth is billions of years old, so how do we reconcile the Bible and science?

This is a good question. For this question is not coming from someone who rejects the Bible, but from someone who actually has come to believe in God and his Son Jesus Christ. Perhaps for many Christians who have already resolved this issue in their minds such as myself, we may easily tend to forget that others who may be coming out of an evolutionary worldview may still be struggling. So I would like to interact with some points that were made in order to give rise to honest and sincere dialogue.

One issue that was raised was the fact that there is so much disagreement among Christians. Since this is the case, could it be that perhaps Christians are wrong in their interpretation of the Bible? Could it be that the Bible is not clear or that “we have only translations and copies that may not be reliable?

This is one of those situations where one could spend arguing evidence for the Creation account and never get anywhere. We could argue the many “clocks” that one could use to judge the guess the age of the earth. When I pointed out that all conservative interpretations of the Bible show that Genesis 1 & 2 are clear as well as the rest of the Bible is clear as to an actual 6 day Creation account, it was agreed that perhaps the Bible is clear. So how do we reconcile the apparent problem? The problem is not evidence but our thinking.

Why is guessing the age of the earth clear? Is not reason involved? Is logic involved? How do we account for such things? Does Reason become our ultimate authority? Simply using the naturalist’s arguments while borrowing from the Christian worldview when convenient is not satisfying. Which “supernatural” worldview does one accept if we agree that naturalism doesn’t answer our presuppositions? If we think naturalism is true, then which theory of man do we follow? How do we account for such presuppositions?

Why does science trump the clarity of Scripture? Why should I as a Christian accept man’s reasoning over God’s revelation? I realize that it is extremely tempting to believe what appears to us to be obvious. Yet we must be willing to examine the presuppositions that give rise to such conclusions as an old earth. Old earth theories are not based upon science. They are based upon a non-Christian worldview. Then the presuppositions are read into the evidence.

As a Christian I have come to understand that you may not have more than one ultimate authority. To simply think that science is one area of knowledge while religion is another and both are equal is to fool yourself into thinking you are somehow objective and neutral. Man is not morally neutral and is by nature an idolater. He exchanges the truth of God for a lie.

Col 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,

Col 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Col 2:4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

Col 2:5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Col 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Col 2:7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Do not be deceived. Verse 3 is clear. Christ is the fountain of all knowledge. How could it be otherwise? Would not the One who created us and is the Creator of all things be the source of all knowledge? We must start with Christ and finish with Christ. Anything else is to fall into foolishness.

Naturalistic Science is making a claim. It is making claims upon the lives of men and women worldwide. Jesus Christ is making a claim. He makes His claim upon the lives of men worldwide. You may not have two Masters. You must follow one. Which will it be?

Greg Bahnsen 3 -part lectures on this very topic is a must. You will be blessed.

Memorial Day With Jacob

Once again we celebrate Memorial Day by going to the cemetery and attending the service. It has become a new Tradition to actually take part in the service itself.

This year it was neat to have our new 10 month old participating with us. Jacob got his first graveside teaching on the wonder of the resurrection. I take the kids to Aunt Ella's grave since they Steven and Rachel knew her and attended her funeral. I attempt to paint a picture of the Coming of Christ and His raising the Dead.

Memorial Day truly is a great time to equip our children with their heritage, to secure them in their identity and give them a solid future.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Infallible List Please

Dr. White found this quote through the internet:

If you read a little more on the blog, you’ll see that at one time I had a sola scriptura philosophy. Then I realized such a philosophy is unbiblical. I couldn’t find anywhere in the Bible where the Bible says that the Bible is the sole authority for all matters related to faith. Rather I saw the Bible pointing back to the Church as an authority. History shows that the Bible is authoritative because the Church says it is (by virtue of the fact that the Canon was determined by the Church) and not the other way around. But, you’ve heard that argument before and have closed your eyes to it.

I don't know how many times this has been said to me by RCs over the years. Even on Crossed the Tiber's Blog I was told that this argument is not circular. Yet how do they know the church has authority? Well, the Bible says so. How do they know the Bible is able to tell us who has authority? Well, the church says so? If this doesn't pit Scripture as an ultimate authority against the church's ultimate authority, I do not know what does?

In other words, how can there be two ultimate authorities? Either God speaks and that is ultimate, or the church speaks and that is ultimate. For those who wish to trump God's Word with their Traditions, the choice is obvious. Sola Ecclesia!

So those of you who are RC and are always asking the question "How do you Protestants know what is in the Canon without the church?", I ask is there an infallible list of infallible Traditions please. If it is demanded of me, then turn-about is fair play. I have only been waiting for close to 13 years or more.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Answers In Genesis Is Open

I just love it when atheists and secularists and naturalists and evolutionists are put on the defensive by a good Christian apologetic. Answers In Genesis is doing just that. Yahoo News has linked to an ABC News video story that the Answers In Genesis Museum is finally finished.

What is great in this video clip is how the Evolutionists hate being challenged. Their dogma may not be questioned even though their own Poll shows that 60% of Americans believe God created the world in a literal 6 days.

One museum person states that evolutionists have no logical or rational basis for morality. This truly must anger the Evolutionary community. Yet they need to be called on the fact they they are doing exactly what Creationists claim. They are leading the world into an immoral swamp. They question the very foundational book of the Bible, without which there is no reason for Christ or sin or salvation. They know this only too well.

What the museum will do for the Christian is equip him to be able to trust that God is able to consistently explain to us His world. God's Word is reliable and trustworthy. It will also challenge the presuppositions of a world view that is irrational and inconsistent.

Also a recent Scott City graduate, Adam Taylor, wrote an excellent paper on this very subject. It is such a good paper I thought I'd put it up on my site. You can read it here. Keep in mind it was written in Word format, and I had to attempt to edit it slightly to make it work. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Australia On Immigration

Rush Limbaugh points out an interesting story on immigration in Australia and comments:

"The Australians have a citizenship test for immigrants. "The controversial citizenship test being introduced by the Federal Government has been branded 'biased' and 'unAustralian' by the nation's key Muslim body. Australian Federation of Islamic Councils today released a statement strongly questioning the proposed test, saying members 'share the serious concerns' it has raised in 'the wider Australian community.'

'While AFIC does not oppose regulated immigration, it believes that a test with biased questions targeting particular cultural or ethnic groups goes against the very values of democracy and a fair go that the government is trying to inculcate,' said President Ikebal Adam Patel. ... But he said he it is 'unfair and un-Australian to expect them to study about Anglo-celtic and Judaeo-Christian values, especially when those migrants are coming from a different religious and cultural background.'" And the Australians are saying, no, it's not; this is who we are. We are an Anglo-Celtic and a Judeo-Christian country and these are the values. If we're going to have immigrants, we're going to have a citizenship test. Now, the Islamofascist immigrants need to be taught, why do they want to come here? Why do they want to go to Australia? What's the point? Our culture's not like theirs at all, especially the radical Islamists. They need to be reminded that the comfortable lifestyle, the ample freedom in choices, the high standard of living, freedom of speech, and all the other freedoms, particularly freedoms for women in secular Western society are directly related to the Judeo-Christian tradition."

He then asks the relevant questions that seem obvious to the average conservative.

"What the Islamic world has given us is theocracies, convert-or-die choices, and laws about stoning women and honor killings and so forth, stoning rape victims. They treat women as genuine second-class citizens. They are truly anti-Semitic and the same thing is happening in our country here, although we don't have a citizenship test. So the question arises, why do they want to come here?"

Exactly! Why do they want to come here? I admit that many probably enjoy the freedom. If our immigration policies do not bring the best immigrants have to offer and at the same time teaching them to leave behind the reason that made them want to come here, we will only be converting to the worst Islamic countries have to offer.

Islam has nothing to offer the American way of life. A simple test to promote the best may be politically incorrect, but it sure seems wise. Yet I agree that an assimilation policy where average Americans force the average immigrant to learn the language and common culture just seems like common sense. If one wishes to be elected to a public office then they must take an oath on the Bible, not the Koran. If this is against their conscience, then why come here if it is not to overthrow the American way of life?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kirk's New Moral World

This past week's Local New York Times/Scott County Record printed an article of a former Scott City resident, Andrew Kirk, receiving a scholarship from the Point Foundation. There is no source cited as to the article's origin. I say this since I am not at liberty to reprint the article, nor am I even able to give an internet link.

The article states, "'The Points Foundation provides financial support, mentoring and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity,' according to the Foundations website."

So here is a former Scott City student receiving a scholarship from an organization that flaunts God's Law in the most radical of ways. They go after our youth, and we simply hand our children over to them.

Kirk is quoted at one point in the article saying, "I grew up in a community where fear and ignorance dominated perceptions of homosexuality, and consequently, I didn't have any openly gay role models."

Kirk seems to have found a home with this group. One of the purposes the Point Foundation is "to identify students who are physically, intellectually and morally capable of leadership to play an influential part in the betterment of society."

Here is one place I must take issue. I have often wondered why those who take theologically liberal positions are allowed to make assertions while conservative Christian's are not. If I made a similar statement to this last quote in reverse, would I not be challenged at every point? No conservative Christian that I know says homosexuals may not be physical or intellectual. In fact, are they saying that one must be physically capable for the ability to be a leader, but that is a double standard we must review at another time.

The question is one of morality. In James White's and Jeff Neill's book The Same Sex Controversy, by citing liberal theologians and the many positions they have on key Biblical texts, they demonstrate that Liberals seek to make clear passages difficult and impossible to interpret. This is done purposely by those on the Left in order to cloud straightforward biblical texts. It is simply to make the Bible unclear where it is clear. In doing so, the Bible becomes a book that is not able to speak to our modern situations. God becomes a mute and His people become deaf and ignorant.

The problem with this kind of hermeneutic is that it requires the Christian to be on the defensive. Trying to justify a belief system while assuming the Liberal's worldview. This simply can not be done. To reject that God is able to clearly speak to His creatures in the bible is to embrace an irrational worldview. This is where homosexuality takes us...to irrationality. It is to be forced to believe in the impossibility of the contrary.

God's Law is clear no matter how difficult it might be for man to accept His revelation. In fact, Romans 1 tells us that Andrew Kirk's sin is sin. Since Kirk refuses to repent of his sin, since society intuitively recognizes homosexuality as sin (man is made in the image of God and therefore knows...), since the church must proclaim the Law/Gospel message, then those like Kirk must fulfill the passage's description. They must surppress the truth of God. They simply hate being reminded of their sin and seek to rid society of every reminder that demonstrates this to them.

Here is the real problem. In exchanging the truth of God for a lie, they must undermine the very system that gives rise to their liberty. Society simply can not live in a world where God is not allowed to define the creation He has created. If a vccuum is created then someone will fill it. By what authority will this someone step in? Might makes right and whoever has the might will be right. If God is not right, then some man and his man-made system will be.

How will homosexuality withstand a Hitler? How will it withstand a Stalin? How will it withstand Islam? It can not. A system that denies there is any ability to say there is no wrong can not in turn tell Stalin he is wrong. Stalin shot everyone that he feared would question his authority.

Now it could be that the homosexual movement is the next stalinist movement. Are they not seeking to silence free speech by refering to Biblical passages and anyone that preaches them as "hate speech"? Canada and Western Europe have already demonstrated where this is all leading. So Kirk's new morally better world will be one without God and Christians, and it will and must remove them by force.

Andrew Kirk's sin is not the unpardonable sin. If someone knows this young man, with gentleness and reverence, he must be called to repent of his sin and believe in Christ. It is in Christ where true forgiveness is to be found. It is in Christ where Andrew may come into a fellowship beyond anything that his homosexual friends may give him.

This is not a little matter. With the life span of homosexual males being reduced significantly to the 30s and 40s, this is truly a matter of life and death, spiritual life and spiritual death.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's Your Fault

There was never a more true saying in New England than anywhere in the country I have been yet. If you don't like the weather wait a minute. Yahoo News among many other Drive-Bys are now reporting that this season will have plenty of hurricanes to destroy us. Never mind the fact that they were wrong after attempting to capitalize on Katrina's destruction and scare people last summer. A summer without ANY hurricanes that hit the U.S. seems to have slipped their puny little minds.

The Template drives the story. It is already written. Somehow scientists know the future with some certain degree of probability. They may be right or they may be wrong. It doesn't matter. Global Warming is going to kill us all and bring the end of the earth. So hand over your freedom and liberty to an Almighty Taxing and Bureaucratic Government.

Yes, it is your fault. It is your fault that Global warming has caused the earth to be so much colder this winter. It is your fault that Polar Bears are drowning (never mind the fact that they can swim up to 60 miles). It is your fault that ice caps are melting, even though that is just sheer nonsense. In fact, it is your fault that the earth has experienced this many times throughout its history. Never mind the fact that being warmer is a good thing!

All of you Al Gorites and those who bite this bait hook line and sinker need to be aware. The earth is far grander than you can imagine. It's Creator is infinitely greater. Get a grip.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Prayer For Diligence

Last Saturday I received 2 of at least 4 books that will be used for the classes to be taught by Dr. White on the cruise prior to his debate with Shabir Ally. My wife and I read the first chapter of Martin Hengel's Crucifixion. The writing is a little more on the difficult side but worth every minute of work. I learned more about the "foolishness of the cross" as to Paul's understanding in the first century than I have ever truly understood. It was simply a blessing.

I also received my text book, work book and flash cards of Basics of Biblical Greek by Mounce. I started tonight working into just becoming acquainted with the material (it also has a CD rom). I am sitting here at my computer trying to figure out how I may be disciplined in my studies in order to gain the most out of all of this material (not including the several books I have recently purchased for study in other areas).

So I ask that you please pray for my puny little wretched soul. Working full time, being on EMS and the Fire Department often being called into work for gas leak calls & ect. may certainly cause me to neglect my studies. The real reason I ask for prayer is that I actually do love my wife and three children, and somehow I must maintain a balance.

Pastor Groover (pastor in Dighton) will also be attempting to learn Greek (I simply was not to be outdone by him! ;-) ). Perhaps together we may accomplish more than we think we are able.

I plan to Blog about things I am learning as time allows.

God Bless

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Religious Persecution In Pakistan

More Evidence that Islam and Christianity may in no way mix (click here for story of religious persecution against Christians). Christians and non-Christians alike need to be aware that a world in which Islam rules is the day religious freedom and the whole concept of "separation of church and state" dies.
Now I understand that many Muslims may just want to live their lives in much the same way as Christians do. They may just want to go to work, feed their families, educate their kids...basically just live a normal life. Yet the cult-like leadership of Islam based upon the religion itself will never be able to tolerate such a world.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Defense Of The Decalogue

In Defense Of The Decalogue: A Critique of New Covenant Theology published in 2001 by Winepress Publishing is an excellent modern defense of the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments. (Yes, I just finished another book, w00t!) In dealing head on with New Covenant Theology’s attempt to walk the line between Dispensational and Covenant Theology, Richard Barcellos’ critique gives the reader an exegetically based understanding of the “law written on the heart at creation” and how that law was applied to the Nation of Israel and now to the church.

Barcellos does a fine job at defending the belief that the Ten Commandments are not just laws given at Mt. Sinai. He shows that the Laws including the Sabbath are based in the Book of Genesis. In doing so he actually avoids New Covenant theologian John Reisinger’s rebuttal:

“The Decalogue is the tablets of the covenant. Barcellos's statement, just quoted, could also be legitimately changed to read, "This critique ends up being a defense of the perpetuity of the document that formed an essential part of the terms of the old covenant that established Israel as a nation." Barcellos never admits that the Decalogue was the basic Old Covenant documentiii that initially established the nationhood of Israel. Actually he denies that the tablets of the covenant were a real part of the Old Covenant that was done away in Christ.”

Barcellos explains throughout the book the nature of the application of the moral law of God to the Old Covenant people. Barcellos also clearly shows how the New Covenant applies these Laws to the Christian. Resinger’s rebuttal, “He insists on calling the Decalogue the "moral law," with no textual evidence” rings hollow. Perhaps I am going out on a limb here, but every writer I have ever read that discusses the Ten Commandments almost always says at some point that they are a summary of God’s Moral Law. Whether or not you agree with Barcellos’ ability to argue his this point from Scripture seems moot to me.

Two differences are also given in Reisinger’s rebuttal that he considers foundational:

“Our difference is, (1) whether Moses is the greatest lawgiver that ever lived, including the Lord Jesus Christ himself, or (2) whether Jesus replaced Moses as the new prophet and lawgiver in the very same sense that he replaced Aaron as the new high priest.”

In my opinion, Barcellos dealt with these issues. Reisinger makes an attempt to differentiate between Moses and Christ where the New Testament isn’t making one. There is obviously discontinuity between the Covenants. But there is also continuity between the Covenants. We ought to allow the New Testament decide what those things are. This I think Barcellos does well.

Another book that I highly recommend that explains the nature of the New Covenant is Sam Waldron’s A Reformed Baptist Manifesto: The New Covenant Constitution of the Church.

Both of these books are fairly short and easy reading. So if you want to understand Covenant Theology from a Baptist perspective, get these works.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

She Told Me So

I just seemed to know. She took me into her bedroom and asked, "Did you take anything out of my purse?" I am sure there was denial, but I eventually confessed. She did something I have never forgotten. She made me read with her Exodus 20, "Thous shalt not steal."

Although I was far too young to read, it was as if I was reading it! I remember being so certain that it said I had done what I should not. What was even more important about that event was she dared to mention God. God gave this command to not steal, and I had broken it.

Somehow I knew she was right. I knew there was a God. I knew I had broken His law. To this day I can not escape this reality.

Perhaps this form of apologetic does not satisfy the unbeliever. Perhaps it is too simplistic. Today, I may very well believe in the existence of God due to my mother.

Of course, I am not talking about any God. For no other God than the Trinitarian God may exist. No other form of Theism is consistent with reality. It is only the Christian God that is self evident and true. He is the only consistent explanation for the world around us. In reality, He is the only One that is able to explain the creation around us.

I just want to say, "Thanks Mom!"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Has God Been Neutered?

In a recent sermon a familiar argument was used that diminishes the sovereign grace of God and the sufficiency of grace. Since the original Greek was cited I decided to go home and check my Greek sources. Since I am not a Greek scholar I may only interact on a layman’s level, and you will have to judge whether my arguments make any sense at all.

Since Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament made an even stronger case than did my pastor I will mainly interact with him. Basically the argument that was made is based upon a phrase in Ephesians 2:8-9. So I will quote the verse below:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

As a note, the “it is” in verse 8 is italicized. That is because the Greek does not have it. It is added to the English translation in order for an English speaking person to understand the thought.

The word “that” in the phrase “that not of yourselves” is the point in question. What does “that” refer to?

Kenneth Wuest states:

The definite article appears before the word “grace” here, pointing the reader back to the same statement in verse 5, and informing him that the writer is to elaborate upon this previously mentioned statement. The reader of this exposition is urged to go back to the exegesis of verse 5 and refresh his memory as to the total meaning of Paul’s statement, “For by grace are ye saved.”

I could not agree more. The context bears this out. There is no other source of salvation, and Paul is clearly being consistent with himself in other places. But Wuest goes on to formulate an argument, which is very popular in the next paragraph. Read carefully.

The words, “through faith” speak of the instrument or means whereby the sinner avails himself of this salvation which God offers him in pure grace. Expositors says: Paul never says ‘through the faith.’ As if the faith were the ground or procuring cause of the salvation.” Alford says: “It (the salvation) has been effected by grace and apprehended by faith. The word “that is touto, “this,” a demonstrative pronoun in the neuter gender. The Greek word “faith” is feminine in gender and therefore touto could not refer to “faith.” It refers to the general idea of salvation in the immediate context. The translation reads, “and this not out from you as a source, of God (it is) the gift.”

I had reread this paragraph several times looking for the unspoken assumptions. It is one thing when your pastor announces from the pulpit his tradition that God gives every man the ability to exercise faith and that man must be a morally free creature in order for God to be able to judge him for choosing sin. This I can handle and find rather easily. It is quite another when dealing with a scholar, who’s traditions may be much more subtle. That is exactly what we have here.

Part of the assumption is that God is merely the source. The unspoken tradition here is that man must have a free-will to go and get this present called grace that awaits every individual out in the mail box. Unless you activate the grace of God, it remains only a gift waiting to be opened. Notice Wuest’s words, “…this salvation which God offers him in pure grace.”

However, Paul is in no way giving this definition of Grace. Grace is never “offered” in this text! I can’t stress this enough. This underlying assumption must be challenged. Paul says we are saved by grace, not made savable.

Let’s go back through the text and see how Paul arrives to verse 9 when he makes the grand closure, “that not of yourselves”. Since chapter divisions are not inspired I will begin with chapter 1.

1:4 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”

1:5 “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself”

1:6 “He freely bestowed [grace] on us in the Beloved”

1:8 “He lavished on us” [forgiveness]

1:13 “you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise”

2:4 “His great love with which He loved us”

2:5 “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”

2:6 “raised us up with Him”

2:6 “seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”

So let’s review our English. In every verse of action, the subject is God. We are His objects in Christ including when Christ was raised from the dead. God chooses. God predestines. God bestows grace. God lavishes grace. God seals us. God loves us. God makes us who were DEAD to be alive. God raises us up with Christ. God seats us with Christ.

Now I am to believe that even though there are references to believers believing, this is supposed to be the activator of God’s grace? God sovereignly acts all throughout the text as saving perfectly. Yet Wuest would have us believe grace is only offered? The believer is the sovereign of whether or not God’s grace is effective? Even Wuest seems to contradict himself when he says in the second paragraph, “…therefore touto [that] could not refer to “faith.” It refers to the general idea of salvation in the immediate context.”

Does Christ not procure faith for the believing ones? How do dead men believe? Does salvation not consist of faith too?

The text is about God, not man. Yet our Traditions are so man-centered we do not even realize that we have followed the worlds thinking. Every religion is not about whether grace is necessary, but whether or not grace is sufficient of itself. Only the Reformed Faith is consistent on this point.

Another serious problem in the above exegesis offered by Wuest is if faith is not a part of the “that not of yourselves”, then we do have exactly what Paul says we should not have, room to boast!

Think carefully with me. If God has given all men some form of prevenient grace so that all may believe equally with equal ability, then why do some men believe and others do not? Is it because some are smarter or more spiritual or wiser or is it just the luck of the draw?

If my believing is not caused by the above list of things that God does, then when in heaven I can say to the one who did not believe, “I believed and you didn’t, therefore I have the ability to boast over you.” The truth is, God did not choose me because I believed. I believe because chose me, predestinated me, raised me from the dead (explain free-will with that!) and loved me, IN CHRIST!

You might be asking why I have bothered to be nit-picky. To be honest, it is simply a matter of truth. God’s Word should have the final say over our Traditions, whether we are aware of them or not. Also formulating this kind of theology offers no apologetic to the religions of men. When big named philosophers such as Francis Beckwith (President of ETS) revert back to Rome, what could possibly be argued for him to stay in Evangelicalism? He believes Grace is necessary too.

The argument of the Reformation has never been that Rome rejects Grace, but that Grace alone is sufficient to bring about a dead sinner and raise him to spiritual life. That’s why we believe.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jacob Laughs

Jacob has his big laugh. I was at work. The beauty of the cell phone. How did we ever live without them? Listen here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pictures Make Us Prolife? I Hope So

I realize I am being skeptical, but Albert Mohler's recent post "In the Womb" -- One Look and Your Eyes Are Opened, states in its opening paragraph:

The public discussion about the power of ultrasound and modern imaging technologies has revealed something fascinating -- the pro-abortion movement does not want us peering into the womb. The view inside the womb transforms the moral debate over abortion. Once that image is seen, the vocabulary necessarily changes.
Now I have to ask the obvious question. If the pro-abortion movement doesn't want us "peering in" the womb, why are members of the Left the source of his post? Look at the picture that is used.

Mohler even states the source as being National Geographic. Now I am not arguing National Geographic can not be used as a source. But last I checked, National Geographic was not a bastion of conservative pro-lifers. So if a bunch of Evolutionists are publishing this material, then their worldview still forces those on the Left side of the isle to suppress the truth of God with even more force. Mohler should know this. So I am left wondering if God has truly hardened the American Left and even many Christians as a part of His Judgment?

The pictures will be amazing. Perhaps Mohler is right. Yet when so many abortion doctors have been literally pulling babies apart limb from limb, when so many babies have literally been burned to death kicking and looking for a place to escape the poisonous solution while mommy struggles wondering what all the fuss is about, when Tiller the Killer in Kansas is allowed to illegally give birth to a baby up to the head and then kill a kicking infant by stabbing it in the back of the head, if all of this can take place now, what are a few pictures going to do? How many abortionists philosophers admit the baby is a human being?! Some pro-abortionists actually have funerals for their babies and encourage women to grieve over their planned loss!

Perhaps I am being cynical, but until Americans are forced to face the truth that we are suppressing God's law and that we are in fact committing murder in His sight, how will this ever stop. John Piper asked a great question. Suppose Mohler is right (and I desperately hope he is), what do we do if abortions become illegal? We as Christians must be willing to stomach the idea that some people will still commit murder. Are we willing to follow through with what that may entail for our judicial system? Are we ready to condemn those that still seek to murder the most innocent, our children? This could be your 15 year old next door neighbor.

There is much the pro-life movement must work out if they are going to be convincing to the American people as a whole. Unless God and His Law become the center of attention, we will only be seeking further trouble.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Redemption Accomplished and Applied...Finally!

I have finally finished it! Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray is a work every man should read and teach to his family. The first half of the book deals with the nature of the Atonement itself, its Perfection and its Extent. This is foundational to the applied work of Christ by the Spirit.

The Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) is then discussed. From Effectual Calling to Glorification, all aspects of salvation are explained. So much of this is sorely lacking in Evangelical churches today. We know how to write a check or lose weight for Jesus, but many of us have no idea why the Trinity is foundational to salvation.

One of my favorite chapters in this book was entitled Union With Christ. Page 164 asks great questions then offers a great answer:

What is it that binds past and present and future together in the life of faith and in the hope of Glory? Why does the believer entertain the thought of God's determinate council with such joy? Why can he have patience in the perplexities and adversities of the present? Why can he have confident assurance with reference to the future and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God? It is because he cannot think of past, present, or future apart from union with Christ. It is Union with Christ now in the virtue of his death and the power of His resurrection that certifies to him the reality of his election in Christ before the foundation of the world--he is blessed by the Father with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ just as he was chosen in Christ from eternal ages.

Again on page 169 he says,

The life of faith is the life of love, and the life of love is the life of fellowship, or mystic communion with Him who ever lives to make intercession for His people and who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

The case is clear. Not only does the Christian have his identity in Christ and is joined to Christ's life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, but he also has Christ in union with his earthly life. The Christian knows by faith that when he suffers, Christ is there with him. It is a two way street. By this the Christian is strengthened to endure his many trials in this age. As Peter says in the Spirit, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation."

Get it. Enjoy it. Be blessed by it. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

God's Wrath At VT?

Sitting back and waiting to see how Christians would respond the Virginia Tech shootings has caused me to wonder if anyone has a Christian worldview anymore. The Blogs I normally read seem to understand the Biblical worldview, but hey, I would expect nothing less from solid Christian men. Yet many give poor answers to what happened at Virginia.

In my own church an emotional video was played with a compassionate male voice talking about how God was at the Twin Towers in a deep personal way. "I was there." was literally repeated over and over again. It was almost nauseating for the answers were not coming (atleast they weren't till I preached. I simply hate contradicting others in my own church, but oh well.).

One web site asks the relevant questions about the recent situation at Virginia Tech:

Immense tragedies such as this raise a host of questions. Where is God in all this? How could he allow this to happen? What kind of anguish would cause someone to randomly shoot people, and then commit suicide? What can we do as a society to prevent such tragedies in the future?

These questions are needed to be dealt with but must be done not seeking some way to help God out. God doesn't need a defense minister. This is exactly what happened when the Tsunami occurred and 9/11. Minister after minister came running out to defend why God would allow such things. None of the answers were ever dealing with the Biblical text.

For instance, Father John was asked why did these shootings happen. His response to Fox News:

Antoinette, I have been asking myself similar questions. Over the last few days, as new information about Cho has been revealed, my opinion on how this particular case is relatable to societal causes has evolved. From conversations with medical professionals and from my own pastoral experience, I think an increase in this type of violent act is due primarily to a combination of things. First, it’s due to an upswing in psychiatric instability in our youth. Secondly, a copycat phenomenon is made possible by worldwide communication. In response to other e-mails, I will explain later on why I think we are seeing an increase in psychotic behavior.

Mental instability is the problem. Perhaps if this man lived during the times when Asians were being used to forge the Railroad in this country, he would have shot all of the fat cats too? Was this man living in such a life of poverty or lower class or race that he had to have hatred for fellow students?

At Christianpost.com CBN is quoted as saying:

Meanwhile, the world-renowned evangelist says, "God has given us a free choice and there's evil in this world. I tag this on the devil. He's responsible. He's the one who wants to seek and he's the one who wants to destroy," according to CBN.

So now the Devil made me do it is being offered by some Christians. The glaring contradiction should be obvious to all. Free choice, but the devil....

Graham says,

"The Bible makes it very clear that God loves us. He cares for us," he added. "I want students to know that God loves them and God has not abandoned them and that He's there for them right now if they'll just reach out by faith."

What does this mean? Tell that to those non-Christian students being shot. "Hey, on your way to destruction I just want you to know God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life."

Grant Thomas comments on Christianity Today:

Why do people wonder why God doesn't stop all evil in the world? God allows us to make the choice and most people choose to follow the evil human nature. People are NOT innately good. They are wicked and selfish by nature and the problems caused by humans are their fault NOT God's. It has always been that way and it always will. God will not intervene and stop all evil, but He will punish the evildoers. The people who follow God will get their reward when they are judged. In the meantime, WE are responsible for the evil that happens. If anything...God weeps at how wicked we are.

God is weeping and is wondering what to do. In the end He will judge us, but why bother with all of this. This is no answer. In fact, if we are just "choosing to follow the evil human nature", how could God ever stop sin? Will there be the ability to sin in heaven? What is the purpose of sin?

I'd like to attempt to give a more Biblically based answer in 3 points. First the wrath of God as explained in Romans 1 and 9, then the nature of sin in sinners from Romans 3 & 5 and finally looking at the Son of God as Lord and Judge of men.

1) On September 10th 2000, I was talking with my son about Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,..." Here we have a text that speaks of God's wrath always being revealed from heaven above. Yes, I admit I am an oddball. Talking with my then 4 year-old son is hardly something that is practiced by most Christian parents. Yet is it not going to eventually have to be dealt with? The next day I had to only reinforce what I had already been teaching my son, while many were coming up with excuses.

God's wrath is being displayed in this world. It is an attribute of God that He actually desires to demonstrate. For my 15 years as a Christian I have seen this attribute displayed in various ways I would never have guessed God would do. Yet every time this happens, God is being blamed for destroying the lives of innocent men and women. Although it is true that the students at Virginia Tech were innocent in the sense they did nothing to deserve being shot by some murderous geek, yet no one is innocent. All men must die and then the judgment.

Events like Virginia Tech, 9/11 and the Tsunami are great reminders that men are by nature children of wrath and abide under His wrath. Without reminders like these men would simply ignore God. Notice this text in 2 Peter, "He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;"

There you have it. God has been reminding men with examples of a coming Day of Judgment. You might ask what is the purpose? Why does God allow evil men in the world. Romans 9 is very clear, though you might not know it from Christians who manipulate the text.


It is God's purpose to display His wrath against sin and ungodliness. Who better than the mighty Pharaoh and his many false gods to destroy? God has chosen to display not only His wrath but to use wrath as a backdrop for His even greater display of Grace in the salvation of His elect.

Evil has a purpose. Calamity has a purpose. At Plymouth Plantation an acting Pilgrim was asked "Why do you believe in a God that took away half of your settlement that first winter?" His response was most Biblical. "Who are we to question God?"

We may not know what the purpose of a particular event is in the life of this passing age. We do know this. "...that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." If you are a Christian, we have enough Biblical witness from Joseph and his evil brothers to Christ's crucifixion that God is truly working all things for His own glory and our good.

2) The problem of evil is the fact that men are sinners from the heart. How often do we hear today the Semi-Pelagian view that men are sinners but that men still have a free-will. Roman 3 says,


How often this text is said to refer to just those who are not seeking God. Yet we know there are God-seekers, so this text can't be referring to everyone. Much of the problem with Christianity today is that we have appealed to the evangelistic model of "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" that there is simply no fear of God even by many Christians. As has been said, "What you win them with is what you must keep them with."

If we continue to preach a Gospel that doesn't deal with sin and God's Law we will continue to see people attempting to make excuses for God when evil or calamities happen. Our response should be Jesus' words, "Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

We must get back to explaining what the Bible actually teaches about men. All are in Adam and in Adam all die. Men are dead in trespasses and sin. Men are slaves of sin. This isn't just parts of men while their will is unaffected. It is all of man's faculties, mind, body, soul, will, ect..

3) The last point is Christians must stop proclaiming a Jesus that is getting on His hands and knees and begging and failing to save over and over again, but a Jesus that commands men everywhere to repent. We must remind men (and apparently Christians as well) that Jesus is the Lord of Glory. He is the Judge of men's souls. There is a Day coming in which the Son of Man will be revealed in all His power and glory, and He will execute judgment and wrath on all ungodliness. He will also gather His elect to Himself.

This point can not be understated. Simply saying Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life is simply to shallow. We must bring men to an understanding that they must face Christ in the final day. That He will judge their sin and cast out all those not written in the Book of Life. We see everyday, including at Virginia Tech, that Christ has the ultimate authority to bring men to judgment at any time.

Our days in this life are numbered, and men, according to the Scriptures, are like grass in the field. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Jesus said all who come to Him will have eternal life. Come to Him today.

I realize this could be far better said and probably could have used better arguments. Then again, it is just me.

Soli Deo Gloria