Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sin of Unbelief

One Seventh Day Adventist site says:

  • The sacrifice of Christ gave much more than mere physical life. It lifted form humanity the condemnation of the second death, and gave every spiritual blessing and happiness that humanity has ever known. This deliverance from the fear of eternal death is the "justification unto life" that Christ has given to "all men," not merely offered to them. Having died every man's second death, Christ has secured for him the gift of salvation. This means that "all men" are born and live under a legal "verdict of acquittal" "in Christ." and are drawn by the Holy Spirit unless and until they choose finally to disbelieve and thus be lost. (But God does not force anyone; the sinner can spurn what Christ has already given him.)
  • I was reflecting upon the dispute that 1 John 2:2 is often used to argue that Jesus’ death actually takes away the sins of every single person ever and satisfies the wrath of God on all of mankind’s behalf. Consistency is the sign of a failed argument, and those who hold this view teach radically contradictory doctrines. Since most arguments use this verse without any exegesis, I will argue here based upon the unity of the New Testament’s distinctive doctrines.

    There are several reasons for rejecting Universal Atonement by which men only go to hell for unbelief. It separates the different aspects of the work of Christ. In theology, Christians often distinguish between different doctrines that may only be distinguished in order that we may better understand the Faith. They are not to be separated artificially.

    1) For instance, Justification is to be distinguished from Sanctification. Yet all believers must come under both truths. There is no Christian that possesses one without the other.

    2) The doctrine of the non-Imputation of Sin is distinguished from the positive imputation of Righteousness. There are reasons for doing so theologically, but every believer must possess both. It is unbiblical to say an Unbeliever has been forgiven his sin debt while not receiving the imputation of righteousness. Romans chapter 4 speaks of both aspects belonging to the believer. Never once does Scripture teach otherwise.

    3) The Passive and Active obedience of Christ become separated. 1 John 2:2 is used to show that Jesus actually takes away the sins of everyone including unbelievers. The only reason men go to hell (we are told) is unbelief. So Jesus’ work on the cross becomes a work that is totally divorced from His righteous life.

    Why is Jesus’ righteous life not the possession of unbelievers, while His death is? If we take the idea of universal Substitutionary Atonement, why can we not say Jesus lived His life for every single person ever? The simple reason is that Scripture militates against such an idea. Romans 5:12 and following could not be any clearer on the Federal Headship of Adam and Christ with respect to those who are in union with them. The inconsistency here is glaring. If Jesus’ death actually took away the sins of every person ever, then why does His life not make every one righteous?

    4) The doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement becomes divorced from the High Priestly Office of Christ and His intercession on behalf of His Elect. Penal Substitutionary Atonement has an historic definition. This historic understanding declared by the Reformers was closely linked with Christ’s intercession. In Several places in Scripture we are told that Jesus prays for His people and offers Himself in their behalf. This is no hypothetical prayer. Jesus goes to the Father on the basis of His work. In other words, at the Cross-, Jesus actually secures His people by His death. He actually dies in their place and offers that sacrifice to the Father. Today, all believers may say “Jesus died for me” knowing that He bore their sins on the cross.

    If we apply these works of Christ to unbelievers, is Jesus’ death not sufficient to satisfy the Father in their behalf? Does Jesus fail to avert the wrath of God? Does the Father pour His wrath against Jesus and the unbeliever?

    5) Assuming Universal Atonement heavily relies upon an unproved idea that man has a free will. Often I am told that God must in Christ offer salvation to all men. I am ready to agree, but not because God must do so. I agree that all men are commanded to repent and believe simply because God sent His Son to do a work. Therefore it must be believed just because it is revealed God did something.

    However, simply because Christ died on the Cross and it is historical and commanded by God to be believed does not mean Jesus efficaciously applies that work to every individual ever, but only His Elect. Immediately someone will say that is not fair. Jesus must efficaciously offer His work to everyone.

    a) From the Calvinistic perspective, that is tantamount to saying that everyone must be saved before they may be rightly judged having rejected the free offer of the Gospel.

    b) Grace must be radically redefined to mean something God must do. But if God must do something, how is this grace? For a gift to be free, it must be freely given. If God chooses not to efficaciously do something, why is He accountable for our sinful rejection of His offer? To blame God for not graciously and efficaciously freeing us from our sin is to blame God for our sin.

    c) This is also a denial of Original Sin. Man is a sinner by nature. If God freely chooses to free a man from his sin, is God not able to do this perfectly in Christ. The error of semi-Pelagianism has returned. On a fundamental level, this view is no different from Rome’s. Man must cooperate with God’s grace to achieve salvation.

    d) One web site states, “God does not deal with you on the basis of your goodness or your badness. He deals with you on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.” I must ask, “What about the man who has never heard of Christ?” Clearly men are still unbelievers for they reject God through the revelation God has given to all men through creation and their conscience. Far too many passages demonstrate that men are judged for their sin and their sins.

    e) Is Unbelief a sin? Did Jesus die for it? If it is not a sin, then why do men go to hell for it?

    Again, much more could be said. In conclusion we must as Christians distinguish between doctrines, but not divorce them from one another. Christ’s person and His work are at stake. Will we see salvation as being man-centered or will we see the majesty of God in the face of Christ and his work.

    Lord willing, in my next post I will demonstrate that 1 John 2:2 does not teach Universal Atonement not only in its immediate scope but also in the broader scope of John’s writings and the New Testament itself.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Perhaps He Is the Preacher

    Is he preaching what men are in darkness and then what the Light and power of Christ may do?

    As Charlton Heston once said, "Repent and thy will be saved."

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Doctrine Verses Experience

    Lately I have been trying to work through the issue of why so many see the doctrine of Imputation as it pertains to Justification as being so difficult. I am often told I just need to keep it simple. Yet, when I use examples or illustrations that everyone is familiar with, it still seems I am running into a language barrier that is as high as Mt. Everest.

    While listening to the October 7th White Horse Inn, the question of "how relevant is the doctrine of Imputation?" was asked of a person at a Christian Convention. His response (here) really made me think about how Evangelicalism has pitted experience over and against doctrine and even the objective faith in the Gospel. Basically, if we don't experience Jesus (what ever that may mean?) then Christianity isn't real. Pragmatism over Biblical truth is in vogue.

    Problem #1

    A comment was made that really made me think about something we all do. When asked for our testimonies, we often go back to when we were "saved". This quite often means when I experienced Jesus. It also means when I went from being bad to being good.

    Basically the Gospel is a means to help our lives. We will tell a man, who is struggling in his marriage, about how Jesus can help. If you are on drugs, Jesus can help. If you are struggling financially, Jesus can show you the way to living more godly. Jesus is our guide. We become followers of the Osteen Gospel and end up in hell having lived godly lives.

    The Gospel is first and foremost not about help, but God glorifying Himself in saving a people in His Son. The Gospel is Good News that deals with our true need, not what we think we need.

    Problem #2

    Experience that is not based on truth is often experience that leads one astray. How many believe they have experienced Jesus while having no idea what their true need is. How many have experienced Jesus, yet do not really know who he is.

    We just want to "know Jesus", not doctrine. Wouldn't it be interesting if I told my wife on Valentine's Day, "Honey, I quit listening to what you have to say about yourself an hour ago. I just want to get to know you."

    Maybe I am a bit naive here, but....

    Problem #3

    Part of the problem is the idea that love must be based on some kind of libertarian free will. As Americans, we often think we know what our true needs are. Mega churches are now built by taking surveys in local communities in order to build a church on what people want in a church. We basically believe God has left us to decide for ourselves what our churches should be like and how we might wish to worship.

    The Apostles were most certainly backwards when it comes to this kind of thinking. Paul never went into any city and took a poll. He never went into a Synagogue and surveyed the Jews what they would like from God. He simply went and proclaimed the Law and Gospel. He proclaimed man's true need based upon the Law and showed how Christ is the Good News. In other words, the Gospel is not about me. It is about God.

    Problem #4

    Experience leads us to determine our own truth. We think we might be gaining wisdom. We become self-confident in our life's experience. We think we know what reality truly is for ourselves. This reduces Christianity to a form of legalism or moralism/ethics.

    Legalism may follow when someone "discovers" a 12 step program that help Christians gain the victorious life. If we would all just follow these steps, then we all would get better.

    On the other hand, this could lead many Christians to say this worked for me, but something else might work for you. This may be true for non-essential things such as how to quit smoking (assuming smoking is evil) or in other areas such as what songs should be sung in a worship service, yet it is often applied in more essential aspects of the Gospel.

    The Scripture is clear on the proper means of proclaiming the Gospel and the worship of God. Many however think one must experience Jesus and that may be different from my experience. Truth is subjective in many minds. A true Gospel for all people is just too often seen as narrow minded.

    Problem #5

    The Christian is often driven to look inwardly for the basis of his salvation. He gazes at his navel wondering if he is truly saved. Has he done enough? Has he pleased Christ? He becomes disillusioned and depressed.

    The Lord's Day is the day when God's people should gather to hear Good News. They ought to be reminded of what God has done for them in Christ. They are to be reminded to look outside of themselves to another. They are to look to and behold Christ.

    Christians don't need therapy. They need to be right with God!

    Problem #6

    I think another problem is that Christianity is reduced to mere ethics. Morality becomes totally subjective. Christians often can't tell others what truth is. We become embarrassed for making absolute truth claims. We become ashamed of the Gospel.

    I realize that these things overlap and much more could be said. What is simple to one person, isn't to another. Our own Traditions become all that we understand. We refuse to go to the Scriptures and allow God to speak authoritatively. We refuse to be challenged by truth.

    Last one.

    The Gospel was rightly described on WHI. It is external. It is objectively true. It is outside of us. When proclaimed, God is using the proclamation to create faith in the believer. This is an objective truth. One does not need to feel some experience or do some kind of experiential walking the aisle. Men and women are simply called to look to Christ. To believe in Him.

    Paul tells us in what the Gospel is in summary form.

    "1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
    1Co 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"

    Paul also reminds us to "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.- 1Ti 4:16"

    This isn't a suggestion. It is a command by the Spirit

    Saturday, November 24, 2007


    While recovering on my couch yesterday (yes, I waaaaayyyy over did it) I decided to watch Solaris...again. It is one of those Sci-Fi movies that takes more than one viewing to even begin to grasp all of the images thrown at you. The flavor is certainly that old style Sci-Fi outer space weirdo movies, yet the more I watch it the more sense it makes.

    George Clooney plays psychologist Chris Kelvin. From here on, I must confess I will be offering a review that is completely subjective. I have watched this movie a few times knowing full well that I am doing exactly what Filmcritic often reminds me that I am doing. I am seeing my own world being told throughout this motion picture.

    With that in mind I must say that the movie seems far more than just a man who is looking for a second chance to get rid of his guilt. It seems plain to me that this movie is about Modernism verses Post-modernism. Although the dialogue is important, the director mostly uses images to tell his story about Chris' life as a psychologist.

    Through flash backs while on a space station we are told how Chris meets his deceased wife played by the beautiful Natascha McElhone. After they are married there is a scene where the couple is having dinner with snooty friends (other psychologists?) who's arrogance uses typical psycho mumbo jumbo. Chris' wife tries to explain that there must be a God or higher power of some kind to explain mankind's existence. Chris responds with his friends that the idea of God is simply man-made as we project man's qualities on the old man in the sky. We are, in fact, no more miraculous than the trees (see the arrogance? Science has even less of an explanation of trees than it does for mankind).

    Now here comes my subjective part. Chris loves his wife. His world of modernity and all of its supposed answers is never able to get him past his guilt of the dreadful day when he and his wife have a huge fight, and she commits suicide when she thinks he has left her. While on the space station orbiting Solaris (a mysterious gaseous cloud resembling the size of a planet) Chris meets a copy of his wife produced by the mysterious Solaris based on his memories.

    Here is where Chris must choose. He knows this woman is not really his wife. He knows that his past is not able to be just wished away. Yet when he comes to a point to go back to his atheistic life, back to emptiness, back to friends that have nothing to offer, he chooses to enter a world that may or may not be real. A world made in his own image. A world of his own fantasy. It is nothing more than a replacement of the "old man in the sky".

    The Director, like many Emerging Christians, is offering answers that Modernism could not give. Eternal Life through escaping the old world. Yet does this new world really exist? Are our sins truly forgiven? Is trading pure objective science for purely subjective feelings an exchange for the better?

    In the end, the main character deals with his sin by hiding it in another reality. Instead of his suppressing his past in psycho mumbo jumbo, he hides it by living a lie. This is not salvation, but self deception of the highest order. Man is still looking for answers to solve his sin problem. All the while he acts as if his sins are just mistakes, and God still doesn't exist. He exchanges the truth of God for a lie. What a shame, what a loss.

    At this point, although most reviews seem to not like the movie (here is one), I will say I loved the movie. I loved the filming, the editing, the story telling, the struggle of man in dealing with his sin. The film is truly Sci-Fi-ish. Perhaps I should not write reviews, but I just liked this story. Enjoy or be "bored".

    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Happy Thanksgiving

    The problem with Secular Governments is that they fully understand men do not live inside of some kind of bubble. Man is an idolater by nature although he doesn't think of himself as being one. Man looks to something other than God, whether it is himself or some creature he has fashioned in his feeble mind.

    For a political viewpoint, Rush Limbaugh was discussing the wrong-headed idea of government's place in the Leftist mindset. He said on his radio program yesterday:

    "This faith-in-government question, by the way, when did this whole concept of faith in government come about, as though it's a religion? What is this faith in government? I know some people rely on government, you know, to protect us and this sort of thing, but, "How's your faith in government?" "Well, I don't like it.""

    Its a remark that many a conservative has noticed for many years. Liberalism creates a system where a statism occurs and the people look to the Big Government as the Savior. This is precisely what has happened with the Public School system and precisely what will happen to the Health Care system if Hilary Clinton become President. He again remarks:

    "We're going to go through all of these ups and downs, we always have, and we always will. It's always been the resiliency and the entrepreneurism and the devotion, the dedication of the American people that propels this country. The people of this country -- you -- are what make it work, not government, which is why I laugh at these questions regarding faith in government. Government -- Big Government -- doesn't work! The evidence is all over the place, just in the past year. But if you want to go back 60 years, you can see even more evidence of it. The idea that we're going to turn over more of the private sector functions of this country to an inefficient, ineffective, bloated, Big Government, occupied by people who simply want to exercise power over us, that's what scares me, far more than the gasoline price."

    While people often complain about their woes and down times, this is a time of year where men ought to be reminded (something we all need daily) of our need to look to our Creator and give thanks. We are God's creatures, not the State's. The State is instituted by God to protect us from our enemies both foreign and domestic. It's power is derived from God and in our form of government, the "consent of the governed".

    That first winter of the Pilgrims, they lost half of their people. The miracle was that none of the children were a part of those that died. God preserved a people in the harshest of times. We now live in a nation that conducts itself after their model. When communism nearly destroyed the small English colony, which Bradford saw as being worse than that first winter, they immediately switched to a capitalistic society.

    Freedom saved the Plymouth Plantation. The idea that God places
    within man the image of God requires us to work for our own bread. This does not mean we do not serve one another or the poor in any fashion. It simply means that the best economic system is not communism but freedom and liberty.

    For a far more accurate story of the first Thanksgiving, read Rush' story excerpted from his book "See I Told You So". You may just find it interesting even if you disagree.

    We ought to be reminded that there is something Bigger than government. We ought to be reminded that we little idolaters need to burn down our idols and look to the One True and Living God who has blessed us as a nation like no other nation in the history of the world. We ought to be thankful for His mercy and grace and the great abundance He has poured out upon us.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Is Faith a Gift?

    I know some have wondered why I disagree with much of Evangelicalism's view of salvation by Grace Alone in Christ Alone via Faith Alone. On a fundamental level, much of Protestantism is no different from Rome's view of God and man. While driving around the country side I was listening the the White Horse Inn. They addressed the issue of "Is faith a gift?" If you really want to understand historically what the Reformation was truly fought over, then listen here to an excellent program.

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    How Ironic

    The irony is overwhelming. Calvinists are described as a lot of things. Arrogance is quite common. Yet I just now saw this posted on Tom Ascol's Founder's Blog. The Arbuckle Baptist Association in Oklahoma has motioned for the Convention to "take a stand against the presentation of reformed theology--often called "Calvinism"-- as a legitimate topic that we need to debate; and instead of recommending that we should debate reformed theology, take a public stand against reformed theology."

    Notice these open-minded men are not even willing to discuss the differing positions as brothers. Many seem to presume that Calvinism is heretical even though I am willing to bet that these people do not even know what reformed theology is. I can't even count how many anti-Calvinism sermons I have heard, much less the average personal conversations I have had, where people claimed to know what Calvinism is, actually didn't!

    Are these people totally unaware of the history Calvinism has had in Baptist life (read Baptist Confessions 1644, 1689, 1742)? Perhaps they are not aware of the fact that the NH 1833 Confession was written so that Calvinists and non-Calvinists could work together? Are these people even aware that doctrines such as the Penal Substitutionary Atonement belongs consistently and squarely in the Reformed/Calvinistic camp? Did not Luther and Calvin defend Justification (with its imputation aspects) within the Lutheran/Reformed Theological frameworks.

    I find it strange for people to proceed to tell me what I believe and then describe something completely foreign to me. I find it odd that many Baptists find no need to defend their Traditions simply because they do not believe they even have them. So now we have an entire Baptist organization demanding that their beliefs go unchallenged. Dialogue, why bother? The irony indeed!

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace is perhaps not your fast paced shoot'em up Arnold movies that I like to watch when I am emptying my brain into fantasy land, but it is a movie that is quite moving nevertheless.

    William Wilberforce was certainly a man with flaws, yet by the grace of God he perseveres to accomplish the unthinkable, the Abolition of the Slave Trade. I am not certain Wilberforce's character is true to how he actually was in real life. What I did enjoy is the struggle to persevere when all seemed to fail. When he was about to give up, when all his friends advised him to allow someone younger to take up the cause, he found the faith to remain true.

    I think the movie did well at showing that one need not see the actual terrors of slavery but instead to rely on the information given by eye witnesses. It placed us along side Wilberforce in having to think about the morality of something we may have not experienced. It reminded us that when we pray and attempt to help the persecuted church (for instance), we ought to do so as if we were suffering as well. Wilberforce simply heard about a mother/daughter crying out to "King Wilberforce" in a foreign land to be reminded what his solemn duty before God was. Perhaps a little history lesson of great men of the past will remind us of our need for integrity in the future.

    OK, I am a terrible movie reviewer. I shouldn't have started. I'll end with this. Go buy the movie and enjoy it.

    Its Supply and Demand Silly

    It seems strange to me. He said, "The government needs to get out of our lives. They screw up everything with their bureaucracy." This was in reference to taxes and policy. Recently he complained about the price of oil. "The government better put a stop to this or the economy will have problems."

    OK, I just don't get it. Why do people see the government as a problem and then see it as the solution to the problems the create? How many times do I need to explain the law of supply and demand? Anyway, I thought Rush's monologue about the oil industry was excellent. You may read the entire transcript here.

    Let me tell you how the Democrats and the American left look at this energy business. The thing that you have to understand is, it ain't about America. All this talk about alternative energy and hybrids, that's not about making America better. All this talk and conversation is not about making America cleaner. The way they think: power votes, getting as many people in their base to vote for them as possible, as many independents. By keeping the oil that we have, that we could drill and would decrease dependence on foreign oil. By keeping our oil in the ground and untapped, they become heroes to the environmentalist wackos. Then when the shortages, the necessity to import and that suppression of supply is depressed, what happens to price? Look at the price of oil now. Some of it's speculation; some of it's supply and demand. The price is going to continue to go up. And what happens then? When the low supply, the artificially low supply -- there needn't be a low supply given our reserves that are untapped -- that low supply drives up the price, they become the heroes of the poor and the freezing. How do they do that? Because they then attack Big Oil for gouging. And, of course, everybody hates Big Oil, just like they hate the boss.

    So you've got people in the Northeast who use home heating oil and the price is going up because we've got an artificially depressed supply, thanks to Democrats. Those people have to pay through the roof for their heating oil, and the Democrats become their champions. They don't solve any problem unless Hugo Chavez comes to the rescue and sells it cheap. So the very people that are causing rising prices benefit twice from causing it. A, the environmentalist wackos love them and give them lots of money, and B, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the freezing, think the Democrats are the ones standing up for them. That's the way they look at it. They're not interested in improving America's lot in the world, particularly not when a Republican is in the White House.

    In the end, Democrats place themselves in a win/win situation. Simple economic education ought to fix such things. Perhaps I am being overly simplistic in my little mind?

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Anyone Want To Be President?

    Normally I would say that Democrats are guilty of following the Socialism of Europe, yet I simply do not hear anyone, Republican or Democrat, speaking of the greatness of our own ideals that has made America great. After listening to much of this speech I simply have to wonder if there is anyone wanting to be President of the U.S.. Whoever speaks like this man will gain the American populace. It is to bad that a Frenchman has to remind Americans of what America is about.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    He Takes Us By the Hand

    Hebrews 8:9

    "Not according to that covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, says the Lord."

    John Owen's massive commentary has an excellent paragraph commenting on the phrase "I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt".

    "And indeed no heart can conceive or tongue can express that infinite condescension and patience which God exercises towards every one of us, while He holds us by the hand to lead us to rest with him. Our own hearts, in some measure, know with what contrariness and perverseness, with what wanderings from Him and withdrawing from His holy conduct, we exercise and are ready to weary His patience continually; yet do not mercy and grace let go that hold which they have taken on us. O that our souls might live in constant admiration of that divine grace and patience on which they live; that the remembrance of the times and seasons in which, if God had not strengthened His hand on us, we had utterly destroyed ourselves, might increase that admiration daily, and enliven it with thankful obedience!"


    Female Pastors

    Yesterday, Al Mohler blogged about the controversial subject of female pastors. He noted:

    "The feminization of the ministry is one of the most significant trends of this generation. Acceptance of women in the pastoral role reverses centuries of Christian conviction and practice. It also leads to a redefinition of the church and its ministry."

    To which he concluded in the same paragraph:

    “Once women begin to fill and represent roles of pastoral leadership men withdraw. This is true, not only in the pulpit, but in the pews. The evacuation of male worshippers from liberal churches is a noticeable phenomenon.”

    Now this is something I have noticed for a long time. I remember when I first sat in a Baptist church in where a woman stood in the pulpit. To say this event in my life shattered the stereotypes and images of what a Baptist church is would be an understatement.

    What really was interesting was the fact that there were only three men in the congregation, two of which included visitors, my friend and me! The congregation was far too small to be able to sustain a pastor. Yet, they seemed to trudge along.

    ABPNews reported in June of 2006:

    “About 28 percent of the chaplains and counselors in the CBF and ABC-USA in 2005 were women…”

    American Baptist Women in Ministry states on the website:

    “This year there are a total of 374 women senior/solo pastors. Last year there were 361 recognized. The information provided demonstrates a steady increase in the placement of women in ministry in ABC.”

    I spoke with an American Baptist pastor a year ago (via email) as to why his church was leaving the denomination. He stated that there are more women in seminary than men. That was enough for him.

    A few years later I asked a godly Christian woman (my wife’s grandmother) what she thought of female pastors. The idea of female pastors is nothing new and certainly is not restricted to Baptists. Yet I could only see churches being decimated by the trend (of course there are always exceptions). Her response validated what seemed intuitive to me. She basically said churches generally would not flourish. I asked her why she thought this to be the case. Her response again was simple. God didn’t ordain things to function with women over men. It doesn’t work in marriage. It doesn’t work for the church to think it is equal with Christ. It doesn’t work within the church membership either.

    Over the years, I have grown to agree. The Scriptures are certainly not able to support the idea of female pastors. The hermeneutic is flawed and doesn’t take the Word of God at the level which conservatives generally view it. I think Mohler is right when he continues in his next paragraph:

    “Furthermore, the issues of women's ordination and the normalization of homosexuality are closely linked. It is no accident that those churches that most eagerly embraced the ordination of women now either embrace the ordination of homosexuals or are seriously considering such a move.

    The reason for this is quite simple. The interpretive games one must play in order to get around the Bible's proscription of women in congregational preaching and teaching roles are precisely the games one must play in order to get around the Bible's clear condemnation of homosexuality.

    Put another way, once one is satisfied to relativize the biblical texts limiting the congregational teaching office to men, one can (and almost surely will) be satisfied to employ those same strategies on texts condemning homosexuality. In both cases, the texts are relativized by postmodern ideologies.”

    “Relativize” seems to be the keyword. Again, hermeneutics or how we interpret the bible will certainly give away our true belief about God’s Word. Men do not want a female pastor. I certainly do not think men want mushy gushy theology. I am not sure why a denomination such as the American Baptists push for a trend they know is losing members in droves. Liberalism in general and Feminism in particular want to change men as to how they think. Odd that the church is 20 years behind in failed philosophical fads.

    Jer 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots?

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    PBS Wanting Religion Taught?

    PBS is obviously not just some morally neutral organization. I don't ever hear of them having Dr. White on their programs explaining topics such as the transmission of the bible when they are all too willing to allow apostates such as Bart Ehrman spew their false conclusions about the the bible. Now we are seeing their desire to "equip" teachers with arguments against Intelligent Design as being reported by CrossWalk News (here) as being unconstitutional and violating the First amendment. Why is this unconstitutional? Because they are attempting to promote religious viewpoints.

    At first glance I had to wonder why religious people desiring prayer in school and creation science would argue against PBS on grounds that teaching evolution from a religious standpoint violates the First Amendment. If Christians want to use creation science, would not the PBSers be allowed to do the same in reverse? The article states,

    "The Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas that the government must maintain 'neutrality between religion and religion,'" said Randal Wenger, a Pennsylvania attorney who filed amicus briefs in the Kitzmiller v. Dover School District case.

    "Because the briefing packet only promotes religious viewpoints that are friendly towards evolution, this is not neutral, and PBS is encouraging teachers to violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause," Wenger added.

    So here I am still asking myself, "So what?"

    However the article articulates that the ID "theory is not an argument based on what we don't know, but rather an argument about what we do know..." I take this to mean they (Intelligent Designers) do not argue for religious conclusions? So IDers would never point out there must be an Intelligent Designer?

    I guess my thinking is that both sides are going to run into this problem. It is interesting that PBS would take the idea of mixing religion with Evolution when they have attempted for so many years to separate science and religion and their mockery of Christianity every chance they get.

    "'The NOVA/PBS teaching guide encourages the injection of religion into classroom teaching about evolution in a way that likely would violate current Supreme Court precedents about the First Amendment's Establishment Clause,' said John West, vice president for public policy and legal affairs at the Discovery Institute, in a news release."

    I say go for it PBS. When they do, I hope Christians take every advantage of the situation. Of course, I am probably being superficial in my understanding of this case. I hardly think PBS really wants to get into the religion wars in such an obvious way. Certainly they know they would lose if there truly was Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and academic freedom.

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly Age

    Some people wonder why I do what I do. Some wonder why I teach my kids the way I teach. Some wonder why I have taught the High School Sunday School class in the past the way I did. Every once in a while, I get a comment from a former student telling me that everything I warned them about came to pass. They only wished that they had actually paid attention while I was teaching.

    I suppose college life is surreal and off in to the future. The challenges a student will face are immense, but hey, they are invincible. The thought of some professor ripping their Christianity apart or out of them isn't a concern for them nor many parents. It is, however, a concern I have for our youth. Yes, the arrogant, mean, hard teacher thinks youth are too important enough not to waste time with entertainment.

    I know statistically that no matter what any teacher does, students will fall away from the faith. I pray that God would be merciful to my children. I pray that my children will understand the issues that will be brought to bare upon their lives. I pray that my children would see the wolves as they approach them in sheep's clothing.

    Dr. White and his daughter Summer White were recently interviewed by Gary DeMar on the Gary DeMar show (listen here). Summer White is a brilliant young lady who has a firm grasp of the Christian faith (read her letter to the President that actually was read by the President! She also wrote this when her teacher accused her of plagarism.). She understands philosophical issues as well the Biblical ones. She understands issues of original languages and Biblical transmission. She understands how to understand the Bible and interpret it accurately. She just plain understands sound Christian doctrine. I pray my own children will too!

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Edwards Still Speaks

    Several years ago I read the sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, by Jonathan Edwards. After hearing a portion of it via the internet, I am convinced that this sermon could bring true revival in Evangelicalism.

    Back in September, Chris Arnzen, host of Iron Sharpens Iron, had some interesting guests on his radio program. David Hauser, founder of this site has made an audio recording of the famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards, Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God.

    The sermon title often causes Christians and non-Christians alike to wince that someone would write such a sermon. When most pulpits are preaching "Become a Better You", Edwards' sermon really drives home the nature of grace and mercy in contrast to the fierce wrath of God.

    The program definitely helps in setting the background for Edwards' sermon. It was mentioned that it is inappropriate to preach a message of God's mercy and grace that saves sinners if sinners do not know what they need salvation from. However, I personally agree with the First London Baptist Confession (1646), which states:

    XXV. The preaching of the gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely free; no way requiring as absolutely necessary, any qualifications, preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law, but only and alone the naked soul, a sinner and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead and buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Savior for such sinners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him.

    Sometimes people hear the Gospel and already intuitively knowing their own sin come to Christ through the call of the Good News.

    Edwards wrote the sermon to warn those who know not their sin. As the website says:

    The purpose of this terrifying subject is to wake up the unconverted people in this congregation. What you have heard is true of every one of you who do not believe and trust in Christ. That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone is spread right beneath you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of God's wrath. There is Hell's wide open mouth. And, you have nothing to stand on or to grab onto, nothing between you and Hell but the air. Only the power and mere pleasure of God holds you up.

    Perhaps if more preachers relied on the power of the Word instead of gimmicks, in time men would see their true need. Edwards being dead could still speak to our lost generation in ways we have forgotten.

    If you have trouble downloading it, I have made a lower bit rate version here. This just makes the file size smaller by about 1/3. Just download it and listen. You will be blessed!

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Prayer For the Kasselmans

    Every once in a while I get a concerned e-mail from the Kasselman family in the Republic of Georgia. For those of you who don't know them, Joel and his wife Anya do evangelistic work with Campus Crusade For Christ.

    It seems that there is another large protest rally that has many concerned. Here is an article from the Georgian Times. Joel wrote, "At the same time there is a lot of going in the separatists regions (Asetia and Abkhazia). Again last week Russian troops crossed the borders with Abkhazia and attacked the border guards. At the same time the regime of Edward Kokoity continue to torture the people of Asetia, by closing the roads, shutting of the electricity and water off."

    They simply ask for prayer. We know our Lord is faithful and has warned us such things must happen. May He keep season of proclaiming the Gospel to the Georgians open.

    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    Morris On Justification

    Okay, I finally finished it. It has taken me several months to read this difficult book by Morris. So I thought I’d share a few thoughts from the last chapter on Justification. So many want a self help gospel that is presented by the Joel Osteens. However man doesn’t need help. He needs the righteousness of Christ.

    From page 287

    “G. O. Griffith reminds us, ‘It is often said that to speak of “justification by faith” is to use language which, to the modern man, is meaningless. What is often forgotten is that such language was as meaningless to ancient man also, apart from the Gospel which gave it significance…the heart of the Christian gospel is that, while no works of our hands will avail to make us acceptable before God, we are acceptable if we come in faith on the grounds of God’s own action in Christ. And this great truth St. Paul delighted to express in the forensic language of justification.”

    Now many object to the forensic language of Paul citing other passages to override his plain teaching of the imputed righteousness of God in Christ. On page 291 Morris quotes Halliday:

    “it has not always been seen that no man can be justified before God unless his nature is so changed that the assent of God is the assent to a reality.”

    Many use James 2 as a counter argument against Paul’s teaching in Romans 4. Morris says on pg 285:

    “Moreover the epistle does not inculcate a demand for law-works in the accepted sense; there is no thought of an accumulation of merit by the performance of deeds in accordance with the letter of the law. Rather there is a stress on love, humility, and kindred qualities. The ‘works’ of James are very like the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ of Paul.”

    Even the common Muslim argument (one that Shabir Ally raised in the debate with White) offers a similar objection raised on page 280:

    “It is objected to this interpretation that the bearing of penalty by one in place of another is not really just, so that when Christ suffers for us it is not a matter of fulfilling legal requirements.”

    To which Morris replies:

    “There is some force in this objection, and there would be more if we were dealing with human law. But the fact is that we are not. The law in question is the law of God’s holy nature, and that nature is merciful as well as just.”

    Morris spends much time studying the justification word group and sees that it is overwhelmingly used in the forensic sense. So much so, that even his conclusion at the end of the book leads him to the ojective view of salvation. While modern preaching leads many to look inwardly, Morris concludes on page 299,

    “This examination of the evidence has, I think, demonstrated that there is much support for objective as opposed to subjective views of the atonement. None of the concepts we have considered fits naturally into a subjective view. Something happened on Calvary quite objective to man, and it is because of this that we can have the completest assurance of our salvation. In the last resort it depends on what God has done, not upon some effect of that action upon the human heart (which is not to deny that there is such an effect, and that it is important).”

    As the White Horse Inn program has articulated so many times, the preaching of the Law brings men to look inwardly. It is the preaching of the true Gospel that brings men to look outwardly to a Savior who is perfect and will save perfectly. It is Christ’s full and complete alien righteousness that is forensically imputed to me by faith alone.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Pulpit Crime Prevention

    If you were to ask me when I have grown the most in my faith I would have to say it has been when something in Scripture has confused or troubled me. The other student pastor, as well as our senior pastor would probably say the same. In these times we are forced to study God’s Word all the more fervently and it has made us better disciples.
    Paul, Chris, and I have been in one of those times lately as we’ve been studying Galatians. We decided that Galatians was the perfect book to precede our study of Revelation. It has been an incredibly beneficial study for us personally as we have struggled our way through a very deep letter.
    The purpose of this particular post is to provide a forum over the next couple of weeks as Paul and I prepare to preach our way through the later half of Galatians 3 into the first part of chapter 4. This is all really Paul’s fault. He always seems able to ask the questions that we never think of and throw us into an exegetical crisis.
    The following is probably going to seem rather incoherent due to the fact that I can barely express what is plaguing us about the latter half of chapter 3, but, this is less about articulating our confusion and more about spilling our thoughts and getting input from those of you who feel you are able to contribute to the conversation.
    So here we go…

    Galatians 3:15-26

    First, let me start with what we’ve all pretty much agreed on. Paul is directly referring to the covenant made with Abraham and how Christ was always the intended fulfillment of it.
    He is the seed of promise according to verse 16.
    The promise indicates justification (v. 24).
    The promise applies to Christ as the literal seed of Abraham (v. 16).
    We are heirs of that promise, adopted by God, through our faith in Christ (v. 25,26).

    Further, a lot of the obvious objections to Paul’s assertions are answered within the text, all having to do with law. V. 17 begins with an implied objection, “This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. (18) For if inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by a promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.”

    Paul continues with the most obvious objection – What was the point of the law?

    Once again, here’s where we agree.
    The law was never intended to impute righteousness (v. 21).
    It was established to reveal our sinfulness and inability to please God (v. 19).
    It served to point us to Christ (23, 24).

    From this we believe we can preach effectively and consistently without committing any pulpit crimes. We also feel however, that we could understand more. This is because we continue to have a lot of questions about what this passage implies about God’s covenantal interaction with his people.

    I think our confusion lies in the nature of the covenant made at Sinai and what blessing through obedience and cursing from disobedience truly mean and to what they are referring. What is the nature of this covenant? Is it a covenant of works? If so, how is it not contrary (as Paul says in Galatians) to the covenant made with Abraham?

    Is there an evident distinction here between a “Capital C” covenant, as with Abraham, making the Sinai covenant a “little c” covenant?
    Did the original audience understand anything of the covenant’s nature the way Paul did?
    Does the law serve not as a covenant which maintains their relationship with God – but serves the three fold purpose of distinguishing Israel from the rest of the nations, reveal God’s law, and reveal that man is incapable of satisfying it?
    How do any of these purposes serve Israel in the Old Testament? Is that even a good question?

    This doesn’t even really begin to demonstrate how many different rabbit trails we’ve followed during our office time together – but it’ a start. So, I invite you to study Galatians 3 with us this week and contribute to the conversation if you think you can be helpful.
    God bless!
    Cory Kitch
    Student Pastor CVCC