Thursday, December 31, 2009

Limbaugh vs Kennedy

Here is a great example from the Politico that shows how differently both political sides see things. For those of you who do not know, Radio Show Personality, Rush Limbaugh, has been hospitalized. So at this point in the article, some are "resisting" the return favor of Limbaugh's comments about Ted Kennedy prior to his death last March when the health care bill was beginning its run. The article states,

"Resist the snark about Rush's rush to the hospital?" asked Corn. "Yeah. But remember what he said about Ted Kennedy." Corn provided a link to a Huffington Post article that referenced a March Limbaugh show in which "Limbaugh suggested that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) would be dead by the time health care reform legislation passes. 'Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill.'"

Wonkette chimed in with a characteristically cheeky, "RUSH LIMBAUGH is in 'serious condition' at a Hawaii hospital, and we shall save the Death Jokes until he earns them the old-fashioned way."

I listened to those shows and, again, it amazes me what is heard as opposed to what was said. Rush was not hoping Ted Kennedy would die nor was he commenting anything about Kennedy personally. We all knew he was dying. He was, in fact, making a prediction that the Political Left was going to abuse Ted Kennedy's death by politicizing it.

Another fact was that Limbaugh was glad Kennedy was not limited by the Democrat's legislation to get the best health care he could afford. He hoped Kennedy would be able to fight his illness and beat it.

So the irony is that the Political Left has done exactly what Limbaugh predicted, and they totally missed it, even now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Whose Revelation?

While driving around the country side this morning, I listened to the White Horse Inn interview a french journalist,Uwe Siemon-Netto. Their discussion was on the ever relevant topic of Christ and culture as described on the Oneplace site here.

What is interesting about their conversation is that they discussed a point with which I have been struggling. Uwe Siemon-Nettoo pointed out that when discussing abortion with an atheist, appealing to God's revelation, the Bible, is not going to help since the atheist does not accept the Bible. Therefore, as Christians, we must appeal to "natural law" in order to persuade our neighbors including the atheist about the moral issues of the day.

Now if you remember my conversation with a commenter on the subject of homosexuality, I actually attempted to use both lines of argument, biblical revelation and natural law. Yet just as it was clear from the conversation that homosexuality is wrong based on natural law, Uwe's appeal to natural law simply begs the question. If an atheist rejects Biblical revelation because he rejects the idea of a Sovereign Creator, then how will appealing to "natural law" be of any assistance since natural law requires by definition a Law Giver?

One of the things (if I remember correctly) I appealed to in my discussion on homosexuality was the Creator/creature distinction and the created order and purpose/design of nature in general and mankind in particular. We now live in a culture that rejects both general revelation and special revelation. Our culture has become completely saturated with the idea that revelation comes from within the belly (as the Mormon likes to put it).

Now I realize that the law of God is written upon man, and therefore he knows right from wrong. In fact, he lives as if God exists throughout every day of his life. I also realize it is to this [image of God within men] that the journalist is appealing. Yet so many of our fellow citizens are suppressing this image of God within them to such great extent, that reasoning with them is becoming more and more difficult.

For now, I will be meditating on how the Christian in particular and the church as a whole in general may remain a prophetic voice of God's law and Gospel, while at the same time living with his neighbor and contending for what is right in the political realm. One idea that has occurred to me partly took place in an interview with Greg Koukl from Stand To Reason the week prior also on the White Horse Inn.

In a question of whether or not the Christian needed to defend the inerrancy of Scripture with the skeptic, Koukl bascially argued no. He noted that Scripture is self-attesting but that the non-Christian would not see that and no Christian evangelist in the New Testament went forth with that as being the main message. This perspective really struck home with me as I have been meditating on Matthew's words at the end of chapter 7.
28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
It is interesting to note that Jesus would obviously know that His own words have their own authority. He needs no testimony of man to verify the truth He speaks. Yet Jesus does not run out and say, "Believe Me because I am self-authenticating." Instead, it is something that is naturally or perhaps supernaturally seen and recognized.

So how does this all tie together? Well, I am thinking (still working through this) there is a time and place for appealing to "natural law" and God's revelation. The Christian must keep in mind that the United States is not a theocracy. Yet at the same time God's has instituted kingdoms to restrain evil and fulfill His purposes. The more a secular state understands their position before God, the better it will be for its citizenry.

The Christian must also understand that there will be times when society will reject God's law. Jesus' Kingdom is not of this age even though it is now breaking in. Using wisdom from New Testament Revelation to guide us should be our first priority as we struggle in our attempt to be salt and light in the world in which we live.

Compare Reporters Perspectives On Obama

The over sensitive Politico came running to defend President Obama.

"Quarrel over the facts"? Here is a portion of Toby Harnden from the Telegraph UK.

4. In his studied desire to be the unBush by responding coolly to events like this, Obama is dangerously close to failing as a leader. Yes, it is good not to shoot from the hip and make broad assertions without the facts. But Obama took three days before speaking to the American people, emerging on Monday in between golf and tennis games in Hawaii to deliver a rather tepid address that significantly underplayed what happened. He described Abdulmutallab as an “isolated extremist” who “allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body” – phrases that indicate a legalistic, downplaying approach that alarms rather than reassures. Today’s words showed a lot more fire and desire to get on top of things – we’ll see whether Obama follows through with action. In the meantime, he went snorkelling.

5. There has been a pattern developing with the Obama administration trying to minimise terrorist attacks. We saw it with Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, a Muslim convert who murdered a US Army recruit in Little Rock, Arkansas in June. We saw it with Major Nidal Malik Hassan, a Muslim with Palestinian roots who slaughtered 13 at Fort Hood, Texas last month. In both cases, there were Yemen connections. Obama began to take the same approach with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. We’ll see whether this incident shakes him out of that complacency. Whether it’s called the war on terror or not, it’s clear that the US is at war against al-Qaeda and radical Islamists.

It may be clear to this reporter, but it is not clear to me that the President knows we are at war. So in a true comparison, Bush would have treated this Christmas plot as a terrorist action and an act of war. Obama treats this as a typical legal issue. If you have any doubts, New York trial of 9/11 terrorists should be more than sufficient evidence to see where the Political Left desires to take this.

Dr. White also offers some insight into the Muslim mindset in his article

Dar Al-Harb: Why You Need to Know This Arabic Phrase.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spurgeon On Baptism

In Malone's Appendix A: Spurgeon On Baptism, I thought this portion towards the end of the section on liberty was interesting.
We believe in what has just fallen from the lips of the Rev. W. Walters respecting the Baptists of this country. "From the beginning," says Locke, "they were the friends and advocates of absolute liberty--just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty." The claim which we make to have been the first expositors and advocates in modern times of religious liberty, is based on the surest foundation, and is capable of the most satisfactory proof." Instead of exalting believer's baptism above measure, we say in the words of our honourable and Rev. brother Noel, "It is not separation from the church of Rome, or from the church of England, nor a scriptural organization, nor evangelical doctrine, which can alone secure our Savior's approbation." They who speak of infant baptism as a putting of the child's name in a will by the parent, need to be reminded of God's prerogative, and of the character of His government as revealed in the words; "All souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Who, believing this testimony, can also believe that unbaptized infants are "sucking pagans," while those kindly baptized through parental influence are sucking Christians?
That last line pretty much sums it up. To make the Old Covenant the New Covenant is to be inconsistent in the view of the perfection of Christ's work.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fred Malone: The Baptism of Disciples Alone

I finally finished Fred Malone's, The Baptism of Disciples Alone (although I still have the 100 pages of appendices). This book is a great follow up to Alan Conner's, Covenant Children Today: Physical or Spiritual? If you are desiring to learn the biblical and covenantal reasons why Credo-Baptists believe that baptism is reserved for believers/disciples only, then both of these books are a must for your library.

I am convinced that Malone's book should be read after Conner's book simply because I think most Baptists are unfamiliar with Covenant Theology. Conner's book truly is a first step into understanding the nature of the New Covenant and its relationship to Baptism.

Malone's book also deals with the covenantal framework of the bible as it relates to the sign and seal of the covenants. What makes Malone's book a second step is that Malone spends much time teaching some basic hermeneutic approaches to reading the bible. Malone emphasizes over and over again the "Regulative Principle of Worship" as a guide to making certain we follow Christ's commands and not man-made acts of worship. He distinguishes between "good and necessary inferences and consequences" as opposed to clear and explicit commands in the New Testament regarding Christ's instituted sacraments. With the ground work set, he makes his convincing arguments for the baptism of disciples alone.

Pastor Malone writes as a concerned pastor. He offers his own personal testimony as a credo- baptist convert to paedo-baptistism (infant baptistism position) back to credo-baptistism. He writes as one who desires to see consistency and reformation among Southern Baptists. In his chapter entitled, "What Difference Does It Make", I feel he is writing to me.
Third, the church as an assembly of baptized disciples demands that the worship and teaching ministry of the church on the Lord's Day be geared toward disciples, people of faith, not "seekers." The Great Commission requires that baptized disciples be taught "to do all that [Christ] commanded [His disciples]." Systematic expository teaching and preaching is a commandment of the Great Commission. This is what is missing in many of our Baptist churches today, though commanded by Jesus Christ. I believe that the expository preaching of the PCA has attracted many former Southern Baptists who are hungry for the Word of God. Oh, that Baptist churches would follow the Great Commission and teach the whole council of God to people! Because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, systematic expository preaching will edify the saints and evangelize the sinner at the same time. Those Baptist churches that commit themselves to an expository, teaching ministry to the saints will see the fruit of obedience to Christ in the method by which He builds His church. The method of Christ is as clearly revealed in Scripture as the message.
I could not agree more. The method pastors use from the pulpit will be intuitively received as the the method to study the bible at home. If pastors consistently use topical sermons with unbiblical methods, then their congregation will soon follow. It is no wonder so many baptists have abandoned their historical roots in favor of seeker friendly methods instead of relying of Christ's Gospel and His instituted sacraments. If we truly desire to follow Christ and obey is commandments, then we must learn to be consistent in our interpretive methodology. If we do so, then we will learn the New Testament's teaching on the nature of salvation and the New Covenant sign of baptism. As he concludes this same chapter.
As the Old Testament children entered the Abrahamic Covenant through circumcision of the flesh, sealed individually by the righteousness of faith, so our New Covenant children enter the New Covenant by the individual circumcision of the heart, sealed by the Holy Spirit, revealed in their confession of faith, and signified by the sign of the baptism--the baptism of disciples alone.
Even though this book is primarily about the subjects of baptism, it has more practical applications than just baptism of disciples alone. Get it. Read it. Wrestle with it. Be blessed by it.

Pastor Malone has done a great service to those who desire to be faithful to the New Covenant that Christ has instituted.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dr. White Responds On the D/L

Dr. White addresses the Manhattan Declaration on his D/L podcast.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Jacob, the 3-year-old, must read the hymnal to know how to sing this Christmas carol. Don't all 3-year-olds read?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WorldNetDaily Takes On MacArthur

Dave Welch at WorldNet Daily has taken on John MacArthur, and those who would agree with MacArthur, about their opposition to the Manhattan declaration. Read the article here. Having read the article, I am wondering where the substance is. In fact, I am wonder if he even read the reasons MacArthur opposes the Declaration, and if he did, is he going to try to interact with them anywhere? If so, it certainly is not in this article. He concludes the article by saying,
I am thankful beyond measure that clergy like MacArthur were outnumbered by the "Black Regiment" of patriot pastors not only of our founding era but through the ages. His position of disengagement against tyrants, perpetrators of injustice and amoral agents bent on destroying God's created order, is, I humbly assert, a denial of the full Gospel that redeems everything a true believer touches.
Ummmm, what does this have to do with the current declaration? Mr. Welch seems to miss the obvious. Standing shoulder to shoulder with our neighbor in doing what is right is not the same thing as declaring Rome's Gospel to be Christian? This is a massive confusion of the two kingdoms. (Institution verses individual counter argument below)

False accusation:
The tragic truth is that if the Christian church in this country were actually carrying out the Great Commission in the form of the early church, from Apostles to martyrs through the ages (including many Catholic priests and missionaries, by the way), our nation would be spiritually, morally, culturally and politically reflective of the righteous fruits of the Spirit. We are clearly not.
To accuse John MacArthur of not producing godly disciples along with the average evangelical church is to tragically miss the mark. I can't even begin to understand this kind of non-argument.

False accusation:

I would concur heartily with Dr. MacArthur that the above has always been and must be the first order of business

for the institution of the church – but not the only business. Using his logic, the early church should have left the unwanted babies to die in the fields, the Reformers should have stayed silent against heresy, and men like Wilberforce were out of line fighting for the dignity and freedom of the slaves.

Are we really going to accuse John MacArthur as teaching disengagement simply because he recognizes a false ecumenical movement when he sees it? Do we really think that John MacArthur would stand against William Wilberforce? Mr Welch, please provide some kind of evidence to support such a claim.

Common Faith?
The Manhattan Declaration is a statement of common faith and First Principles by individuals, not by institutions, and I challenge John MacArthur to personally prove that any or all of the signers are not followers of Jesus Christ. I don't believe he is that arrogant.
All signers of heretical institutions are Christians? I would like to know how Mr. Welch knows this. I think it is completely arrogant to say anyone who claims to believe in the Gospel while ascribing to institutions that explicitly reject the Gospel is arrogance of the worst kind. It is to say you know what they believe personally as opposed to what is stated in their confessions.

By this poor argument, if he were to be consistent, then why not allow Mormons to sign this document. As he states earlier in the article,
However, time and time again over the past 20 years I have stood side by side with Catholics – and Mormons – who shamed the evangelical church by the level to which they put their money and their time where their faith is in standing for life and marriage. According to a California Proposition 8 insider, over three-fourths of the money and volunteers for that effort came from those two religious groups – again.
So hey, if this is merely about individuals, and if being a member of a certain heretical institution is not determinative of whether or not one is confessionally Christian, then change the statement in the Declaration to involve Mormons.

Mr. Welch seems to miss the substance in his response to John MacArthur. In fact, I am wondering to what exactly he is responding.

Who would disagree with this statement?
I can speak with the authority of a quarter century experience in the pro-life, pro-family evangelical grass-roots and "grass-tops" trenches that I don't know one Christian activist or leader I have ever interacted with who did not believe, as Dr. D. James Kennedy asserted, "There is no reformation without redemption"; that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the starting point for all personal and corporate renewal.
As a Christian Van Tillian presuppositionalist, I believe the Christian must start with the Trinity and the Gospel and God's revelation to man. It is with this starting point that we engage the unbeliever and our communities. This, the Manhattan Declaration confuses at best and abandons completely at worst the two-kingdom model and the Gospel. For example,
I do not and will not assert that I agree with the doctrines of the Catholic or Orthodox churches any more than I agree with all the doctrines of the Assemblies of God, Southern Baptist Convention, Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, Episcopalian and over 20,000 other denominations in the United States.
Mr. Welch does not really believe this. For he states a couple of paragraphs earlier that he believes in the "Solas" of the Reformation. Yet it is here he makes his confusion. Rome is not just another denomination. To compare them as such is to make MacArthur's case and prove his point.

In conclusion,
"MacArthur's primary objection is that "The Gospel is barely mentioned in the Declaration." He is also opposed because, "Thus for the sake of issuing a manifesto decrying certain moral and political issues, the Declaration obscures both the importance of the Gospel and the very substance of the Gospel message."

I must state why I believe he has missed the point of the Declaration..."
No, it is Mr. Welch who has missed the point. Never once does he deal MacArthur's charge that the Gospel is obscured. In fact, he demonstrates MacArthur's observation that it does just that.

If we are going to start with the Gospel as the center, then it must be properly defined. The Manhattan Declaration does not do this in any way, shape or form. As far as I can see, it is Mr. Welch, who is wrong on this one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Man With Leprosy

Each Sunday, I try to take time and have a devotional with my family. We have been working our way through the Gospel of Matthew for quite some time. So I thought I would try something new and share some of our devotions as time allows. The text this past Sunday was Matthew 8:
The Man With Leprosy
1When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

This text follows immediately after the Sermon on the Mount. I don't think the importance of this sermon should be missed. For Matthew concludes the sermon with this thought,

28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Why were they amazed? Because Jesus spoke as one who had authority. If we keep in mind the scope of Matthew, we will remember he is establishing Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah who fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures. It may very well be that Jesus is being seen as speaking as a New Covenant Mediator, who is establishing the importance of God's law among the covenant people.

It is quite possible that since Jesus is being seen as one who is able to institute the New Covenant and the Kingdom that the people may look to Him for answers. So what do we see? In verses 1 & 2 a man with leprosy comes to Jesus. He clearly sees Jesus as one who is in authority to free him from his bondage. This man sees that the law has bound to him to a state of uncleanness. Unless a covenant Mediator does something, he will remain in his uncleanness.

The man with leprosy comes humbly to Christ. He comes on bended knee. He asks Jesus if He is willing. Jesus is willing and cleans him of his disease. The man is then commanded to go and fulfill his duty as Moses required. He was to demonstrate that he had indeed been cleansed by the sovereign work of God.

Application #1
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." 3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"
Today, we do not have ceremonial laws calling diseased men "unclean". However, Dear Sinner, is this not a type or shadow of what it means to be a sinner before God? Has not your sin declared you unclean and guilty before a holy and righteous God?

Perhaps you are an outcast where you live. Perhaps you have violated local customs and are seen to be "unclean". Perhaps you have cancer and your disease has made you feel ugly before men? Perhaps you struggle with pornography or alcohol or drugs or stealing or sexual immorality or lying or coveting. Come to Christ.

Will you see yourself as you truly are? Will you come to Christ recognizing that there is no one else with the authority to cleanse you from all unrighteousness? Come today and receive from Jesus the free gift of everlasting life. Enter into His perfect covenant that He has kept before God in your place.

Jesus is indeed willing to receive you.

Application #2
See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.
Today, we do not have priests to go and show ourselves to be clean as in Moses' day. Instead, I believe the text would apply in the life of the Christian believer to exercise wisdom in how he is to live his life.

We do not need to go and brag about how our lives in particular have been changed. For if we make the Gospel about ourselves, then we run the risk of getting men to look at us instead of driving the attention of men to Christ.

Instead, we ought to live or at least attempt to live in light of what Christ has done for us. We ought to govern our lives so as we grow in grace and knowledge of our Savior, we might learn to live consistent and godly lives. In doing so, we might gain an audience with our neighbors, co-workers, friends and relatives and perhaps even complete strangers to proclaim the Good News of what Christ has done in history on behalf of His Covenant people.

In conclusion, although this text was primarily for the Jew living under the Old Covenant, Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the Law and Prophets. He is the one who takes away the sin of the world. He is the New Covenant Mediator. He is the perfect Savior who will save His people from the their sins. As the Christmas message reminds us every year,
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,c]">[c] because he will save his people from their sins."
Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Natural Verses Super-Natural

I should probably clarify the naturalistic verses super-naturalistic explanations of evidence.

By naturalistic, I realize that for the naturalist, everything is within a naturalistic framework. Therefore everything has a naturalistic answer. Even the building of this computer system or the typing of this post is within a naturalistic view. This is why when an evolutionist looks at DNA, he doesn't see the information contained within it in the same manner a creationist does.

For the creationist sees a distinction between things that occur naturally as opposed to things that occur by intelligent design. For a computer system and its software has no natural explanation if we distinguish between and define things that occur naturally as opposed to super-naturally.

Here is the problem for the creationist from the evolutionist perspective. Human beings existence in nature. Therefore we came about by naturalistic means. Chromosomes and DNA do things all by themselves. They are in nature. Therefore they happen naturally.

The response by the creationist is quite simple. Even the naturalist recognizes things that are intelligently designed. When he walks down the street and sees a book on the ground, his first thought is not, "Gee, what a series of accidents." He doesn't even try to justify or rationalize his knowledge that the book has an author. Or perhaps when he is on a nature hike, and he picks up a stone and sees it is designed to be an arrow head. He doesn't think to himself, "Gee, what a series of accidents that formed this arrow head." He just knows the arrow head has a designer.

Therefore, when the creationist says "super-natural", he is simply distinguishing that which has intelligent design, whether it be a computer, car or DNA from that which occurs without intelligent design, such as metal on your car rusting or your computer breaking when it falls to the ground or crystals forming or erosion on a beach.

As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 1
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
In conclusion, the creationist is arguing that DNA is violating natural laws. It does things that would only happen if intelligently designed to do so. DNA does not naturally form anymore than a Blog post. It is incumbent upon the naturalist to demonstrate the consistency of his worldview and to demonstrate that everything that happens does so without any intelligent design at all.

They do not live this way in every area of life in which they do not have to actively suppress the truth of God's existence. It is only when their guilt is pressed upon them by the testimony of nature that they become futile in their thinking and hardened in their hearts toward God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Smoking Gun

If you have followed Mr. Ape's comments on the "Is Evolution a Hoax?", you will see he has the "smoking gun" evidence for the theory of evolution. It is Chromosome #2. Now you need to watch the video to learn the argument supporting the idea that a chimpanzee/human ancestor once had 48 chromosomes. After the chimps and humans split, there was a fusion of chromosomes. Since the DNA among other things is what evolutionists predicted would have occurred, evolution is now an established fact. (Although I am wondering as to what else it would look like for creationist theories)

Now as a layman, I don't necessarily follow all of the complicated scientific aspects of the argument. But the argument basically sounded similar to the star light problem. If the creation is only 6,000 years old, and star light that comes from a particular star that is 3 million light years away and it took 3 million years for the light to arrive on earth, then either we are looking at a false history of a particular star or the star light actually comes from the star, and it actually took 3 million year years to travel to get here. Thereby making the universe much older than what Genesis 1 teaches.

However, over the years, I have learned that there are many assumptions that go into scientific claims, whether they be evolutionary claims or creationist claims. So the issue is not one of evidence, but one of presuppositions. Another problem is that scientific "facts" often change. Although that is really not true, but our understanding of how the world works and our understanding of the "facts" does change. Being that our learning about chromosome #2 is still relatively new, I am most certain that our understanding of this "dilemma" will only increase.

I could sit here and list all of the past dilemmas that have caused Bible believing Christians to struggle. Yet there is no need to do that here. Suffice it to say that Evolutionists will always have a new "smoking gun". Trying to keep up the tit for tats only gives headaches and never deals with the real issues.

However, I thought an analogy for the new smoking gun might help. So I would like to use a schematic design of 2 vehicles that parallels the "DNA" of humans and chimps. As I understand what is being said, chimps have 48 chromosomes and humans have 46. So lets say there are 50 pages of schematics (only information on one side) for a Ford Explorer and only 45 pages for a Chevy Suburban. Upon examination, it was discovered that the Suburban's last 5 pages had copies on both sides. For the rest of the pages, only one side had information. Therefore both really had the same amount of information.

Could it be that both have a common ancestor and evolved into their current form? The evidence could seem that the information on the double sided pages of the Suburban were very similar to the Ford Explorer's one-sided pages. This might cause us to think they evolved. But is evolution the only possibility? According to Mr. Ape, evolution is the only answer.
They [scientists] must use natural explanations for everything. If every time a scientist who was unable to solve a problem said God must have magically created this, then human progress would come to a complete stop.
So even though creationists could postulate an explanation for the analogy I used or an explanation of the Chromosome #2 dilemma, by definition they are kept from doing so. Why? Mr. Ape's presuppositions have blinded him from any alternative explanations. Scientists should be open-minded to alternate theories. Mr. Ape is not. He is nothing short of a Fundamentalist of the naturalistic/materialist kind.

From a creationist perspective, I think the smoking gun is in the "irreducible complexities" argument. It is one thing to argue from information that already exists in DNA. It is quite another to show how DNA and the organism both came into existence. But I live in the world that allows for both naturalistic and super-naturalistic answers.

Mr. Ape lives in the world of creationism. Mr. Ape believes in morality. He uses language and the laws of logic and reason. He believes in the scientific method. He refrains from stepping in front of buses or jumping off of bridges. He lives as a creationist in every area of life except for one.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

RB Christmas Humor

If you have always heard that Reformed Baptists have no sense of humor, well...

Friday, December 11, 2009

NASA Is Involved?

In the mid-nineties, I remember being told that the ozone hole was recorded at its biggest ever. This meant that we were needing to stop our polluting the sky with our CFC hair sprays and building refrigerators with certain kinds of refrigerants. We don't hear much about that anymore simply because the Left won that battle. Big Corporations got rich and the Left moved onto to bigger battles.

However, what I thought was interesting was that NASA only reported part of the story. The same years that the largest ozone hole was being recorded was also the year the smallest ozone hole was recorded. Why NASA and the Media reported these things in the manner they did may be different. For NASA, it was always budget time. For the Media, well I am certain you may figure that out on your own.

NewsMax is now reporting a story on NASA.
Climategate may be just the tip of the global-warming iceberg, according to experts. The next weather-science scandal may erupt right here in the United States. For nearly three years, NASA has resisted the efforts of free-market groups to release e-mails that could reflect the same sort of pro-warming bias seen in the recent e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University.
Well, the evidence is not in yet as to whether this story has any real basis. But knowing what NASA has done in the past, it sure would not be a shocker to find out the same thing has occurred here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The True First Black President

Here is the man who should have been the first black President. Equal opportunity instead of equal outcome is fundamental to liberty. But I am certain Republicans will miss this opportunity as well for some good old boy geezer like McCain.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Sea Has Risen 80 Feet?

I had better call my parents to see if they have had to move because the sea levels have risen approximately 80 feet, and my parent's home is at approximately 70 feet.

Al Gore said in this article that 40% of the North Polar ice cap is disappearing.
These people are examining what they can or should do to deal with the P.R. dimensions of this, but where the scientific consensus is concerned, it's completely unchanged. What we're seeing is a set of changes worldwide that just make this discussion over 10-year-old e-mails kind of silly.* The entire North Polar ice cap is disappearing before our very eyes. It's been the size of the continental United States for the last 3 million years and now 40 percent is gone and the rest of it is going. The mountain glaciers are going. We've had record storms, droughts, fires, and floods. There is an air of unreality in debating these arcane points when the world is changing in such dramatic ways right in front of our eyes because of global warming.
According to HowStuffWorks,
If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet).
Now perhaps just the northern ice cap has melted before our very eyes and not the southern ice cap. So the sea levels have only risen 40 feet. If so, then my parents still have some time to escape the coming wrath of nature.

Al Gore Speaks About Emails has posted this Blog post by Andrew Bolt. The quote is from an interview posted at Slate.

Q: How damaging to your argument was the disclosure of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University?

A: To paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing. I haven’t read all the e-mails, but the most recent one is more than 10 years old. These private exchanges between these scientists do not in any way cause any question about the scientific consensus.

Apparently, anyone who disagrees is not a real scientist, because hey!, there is a consensus. What is really interesting is the facts of the dates on the emails. They range from 10 years ago to last month. Al Gore doesn't debate this topic and for obvious reasons.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Is Evolution a Hoax?

I realize that if you're not a flat-earther...I mean if you're not a Biblical creationist, then anything a Creationist has to say is just bunk. But after watching Clash of the Dinosaurs last night on the Discovery channel, I was reminded how this Global Warming hoax is just a microcosm of the entire theory of evolution.

Years ago I remember reading a quote supposedly by an Evolutionist arguing that evolution must be true since creationism is ridiculous. In this article, an evolutionist tries to defend Dr. Wald's position by quoting him properly.

The original quote is probably in reference to this,
We tell this story to beginning students in biology as though it represented a triumph of reason over mysticism. In fact it is very nearly the opposite. The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a "philosophical necessity". It is a symptom of the philosophical poverty of our time that this necessity is no longer appreciated. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.
To which Dr. Wald responds,
I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. What the controversy reviewed above showed to be untenable is only the belief that living organisms arise spontaneously under present conditions. We have now to face a somewhat different problem: how organisms may have arisen spontaneously under different conditions in some former period, granted that they do so no longer.
Why does Dr. Wald think a scientist has to approach the origin of life through the hypothesis of spontaneous generation? Because in his mind, Louis Pasteur only perpetuated a myth of creationism. Pasteur was rejecting a "common-sense a belief as that in spontaneous generation".

In the conclusion of the article, Dr. Wald is quoted as saying,

The important point is that since the origin of life belongs in the category of at-least-once phenomena, time is on its side. However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at lest once. And for life as we know it, with its capacity for growth and reproduction, once may be enough.

Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two [sic] billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the "impossible" becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs the miracles.

So hey, give something enough time, and something magical will happen. This is called reason over mysticism. Sorry, folks. This is as religious as anything I have read. We didn't observe it. We don't know how it happened. We don't know where it happened. We don't know really much of anything. But we are here, so it must have happened.

I think the misquote by some over zealous creationist got the spirit of the presuppositions correct.

The Coming Global Ice Age

For those of you who do not remember or are too young to remember the Ice Age scare, this article by Gary Sutton at is a common sense reminder of the problems caused when science and government are joined at the hip.

See if this paragraph doesn't remind you of anything familiar about the current "crisis".
In 1974, the National Science Board announced: "During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end…leading into the next ice age."
Now if our government will just "Downplay that embarrassing old chart [then] maybe nobody will notice". The problem is, "Sorry, I noticed." I noticed as well.

If you rob a bank for $50 bucks, you go to prison. If you run a pyramid scam, the government will come after you in a big way. If you extort money from employees retirement accounts in corporate America, the American people want your head. The fact is, science and government are defrauding millions and millions of tax dollars out of the American people's pocket books. Perhaps these emails will cause more Americans to take notice that "Thou shalt not steal" applies to everyone.

His concluding paragraph sums it up.
Sadly, the public just learned that our scientific community hid data and censored critics. Maybe the feds should drop this crusade and focus on our health care crisis. They should, of course, ignore the life insurance statistics that show every class of American and both genders are living longer than ever. That's another inconvenient fact.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Can Baptists Be Reformed?

A recent discussion has been taking place within Reformed circles of whether or not Reformed Baptists have a right to claim the term "Reformed" as a proper nomenclature for their identity. For instance Dean Gonzales has written a blog post here, and James White has responded in part to Dr. Clark as well here.

For those of you who would like to listen to a fascinating discussion of an overview of the history of the three streams of Baptists as they relate to the Reformation and Reformed churches, please listen to the Reformed Forum's, Christ the Center podcast. This particular discussion lasts for over 80 minutes and is very helpful for those who are Baptist and are embracing the Reformed faith.

I don't know who James is, but he does an excellent job at explaining the origins of the English Particular Baptists, the Seven Churches of London. At the 55 minute point, he also makes a very good defense of the Baptist position by showing its consistency with the New Testament's eschatology and the New Testament's interpretation of the Covenantal outworking of redemptive history.

Just download and listen already.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Manhattan Declaration

Both Alistair Begg and Michael Horton have commented on the Manhattan Declaration. Both reviews are very helpful (read here & here).

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 9: Finally, The End

One last post on Pastor Butler's sermon. The last section of his notes state,
Romans 10: 10-15, "For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?"

Interesting! If elected, then why the need to believe?

If elected, then why the need to preach?
Although much of this objection has been dealt with, one other aspect needs to be noted. The fact is, the non-Calvinist's (basically Arminian position at this point) position on the providence of God needs to be explained. The fact that God has decreed all things and governs all things does not mean that men are robots. Please note the London Baptist Confession on God's Decree.
1._____ God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree. [emphasis mine]
It is precisely because God decrees all things that man's will is "established". If God has not decreed all things, then the only logical viewpoint would be some kind of Fatalism. There is no such thing as autonomous free will.

The section in the LBCF on God's providence is also helpful at this point.
2._____ Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
And paragraph 3 states,
3._____ God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.
What the non-Calvinist seems to miss is that God not only decrees the ends but the means as well. So when Paul asks in Romans 10 as to how will unbelievers believe if they have not heard? Well, the Calvinist is not saying God will "zap" them. Again, in God's providence, in this case Special Providence for His people, God uses means to accomplish the end.

Therefore, with what was said in a previous post about the secret decrees of God, since men do not know who the elect are by just some special revelation that God has not given, we must do as the Apostle Peter says.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.
We are not to assume our election as many Dispensationalists/Once Saved Always Saved do. Instead we are to do what Reformed theology has long taught. We are to as Paul says elsewhere,
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
This is not to gain salvation, but because of what Christ has done for us, we may now freely die with Christ.

In conclusion, I am willing to bet that there is much in the Confession that Pastor Butler would agree with at this point. I doubt Pastor Butler is some kind of Deist or Fatalist or Open-Theist. It is my hope that he would be willing to sit down with us and come to an understanding of what Calvinism/Reformed Theology actually teaches as opposed to his caricatures. Perhaps then both of our churches will have true fellowship based upon a mutual understanding of our respective positions, united by Christ's Gospel.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Global Warming's Loss of Data

Friend of mine pointed me to this article on Global Warming.
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
So we skeptics are just crazy?
The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change skeptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.
So much for the so-called "peer review".

Friday, November 27, 2009

Global Warming Hoax and Media Silence

I was likened earlier to a person who believes conspiracy theories in one of my comments sections. Yet the "clmategate" is again providing evidence vindicating what conservatives have been saying all along. Global Warming is a hoax in order to overthrow freedom, liberty and Capitalism. In this article (Which you may read at icecap or the Toronto Sun) by Lorrie Goldstein she states what we all know in the first paragraph.

If you’re wondering how the robot-like march of the world’s politicians towards Copenhagen can possibly continue in the face of the scientific scandal dubbed “climategate,” it’s because Big Government, Big Business and Big Green don’t give a s*** about “the science.”

They never have.

How can she say this?

She says later,
What about saving the planet, you ask? This was never about saving the planet. This is about money and power. Your money. Their power. If it was about saving the planet, “cap-and-trade” (a.k.a. cap-and-tax)—how Big Government, Big Business and Big Green ludicrously pretend we will “fight” global warming and “save the planet”—would have been consigned to the dust bin of history because it doesn’t work. We know it doesn’t work because Europe’s five-year-old cap-and-trade market—the Emissions Trading Scheme—has done nothing to make the world cooler.
The evidence is coming in and the scandal is being demonstrated for what Global Warming represents.

Remember, this same person that basically calls me a wacko also wrote in one comment that the there is no Mainstream Media bias (even though there have been Liberal media people who have admitted as much, but I digress). The silence of the Media is deafening. When the story first broke on the NYTimes, you had to read the bottom of the article to find that anyone actually found anything worthwhile. The article states,

At first, said Dr. Michaels, the climatologist who has faulted some of the science of the global warming consensus, his instinct was to ignore the correspondence as “just the way scientists talk.”

But on Friday, he said that after reading more deeply, he felt that some exchanges reflected an effort to block the release of data for independent review.

No bias though. Nahhh, none whatsoever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Render Unto Caesar Only What Is His

OK, having drove around the country side, I was thinking about something Al Mohler said in his Blog Post, Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration.
But when Catholic Charities in Massachusetts chose to end its historic ministry of placing orphaned children in good homes because the State of Massachusetts required it to place children with same-sex couples, this is not just a Catholic issue. The orphanage could have easily been Baptist. When Belmont Abbey college in North Carolina is told by federal authorities that it must offer abortion services in its insurance plans for employees, this is no longer just a Catholic issue. The next institution to be under attack might well be Presbyterian. We are in this together, and we had better be thankful that, in this case, we are not alone.

Finally, I signed The Manhattan Declaration because I want to put my name on its final pledge -- that we will not bend the knee to Caesar. We will not participate in any subversion of life. We will not be forced to accept any other relationship as equal in status or rights to heterosexual marriage. We will not refrain from proclaiming the truth -- and we will order our churches and institutions and ministries by Christian conviction.

Although I have trouble with just defending a Roman Catholic group and not anyone else outside the document's Orthodox, Catholic and evangelicals, Mohler makes an interesting statement. He states in the second paragraph above,
we will not bend the knee to Caesar. We will not participate in any subversion of life.
The more I think about it, the more I like it. Now will he be consistent with this thinking and the Christian Two-Kingdom model? If he is, then here is what ought to happen. He ought to step out of the pulpit and as a citizen of the United States he ought to lead a movement in Massachusetts that does exactly what the Roman Catholic church did prior to their giving up the adoption service in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

In other words, reinstate the adoption agency, ignore the Court's rulings, and force the State to come in to your offices and remove members of the organization by force. Make certain this is being video taped for all to see that the removal of freedom and religious liberty has officially been enacted upon by force.

If we really want to see the institutions of our society protected from a Left-wing Radical state, then we must be willing to politically team up with any and all who stand for liberty. We must not be tied down to a Christian document that only Christians may sign. We must ever keep the Kingdom of God separate from this kind of action (Jesus' Kingdom is not of this world) while at the same time arguing for religious freedom and being informed by the wisdom of God's Word.

The Christian is to love his neighbor. Jesus taught us as much. As a Christian, I am to proclaim the Good News of Christ to my neighbors. As a citizen of the city of man, I am also to love my neighbor (Whoever he is) in every day living. How might I do this? When I served in the military, I may have had to lay down my life for my country. As a fireman, I may have to lay down my life to save my neighbor's family. As an EMT, I may have to lay down my life in a situation that places me in danger. As a citizen of the city of man, I may do these things right along side of non-Christians. Nevertheless, I will be doing these things as a Christian and informed by the wisdom of my God revealed in the Scriptures.

Mohler states,
Though Christians struggle to understand the extent to which our convictions should be incorporated in the law, we must now recognize that the very respect for these convictions -- and the freedom to follow and obey these convictions in our own lives, families, and ministries is now at stake.
Some questions. How do we keep the idea of standing for freedom from being confused with the power of the Gospel? How do we as Christians make certain that the preaching in the pulpits of our churches do not become another political platform, thereby losing the power of the Gospel? Is this method relying upon the powers of men and not looking to Christ to deliver our society's ills?

At some point the Christian citizen along with his liberty loving non-Christian neighbor will be forced to engage. Are we to go silently or do we defend ourselves? Is this to look similar to the Civil Rights movement by using non-violent protests? How far do we go, and when do we start?

In conclusion, the idea of a merely political Christian declaration confuses these categories. Perhaps what needs to happen is something very similar to the forming of the Republican Party. Perhaps a new political movement under a new political party. Perhaps a party called the Constitution Party? Oh, wait, one already exists.

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration is the new document being signed by many within Evangelicalism to "protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family." It is yet another method that people who call themselves Christian are attempting to engage society. In my opinion, it is yet another document that will fail. Therefore I must agree with John MacArthur's assessment (read here).

If you go to the above link you will see this next statement in the declaration.
We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:
  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
I first heard of this document in the context of Albert Mohler's Blog post explaining why he signed it. (read here). I must confess I was caught off guard. After reading his post and learning about the document, I struggled to really understand Mohler's decision. This is a great example of separation of church and state.

If you read the above citation from the Declaration you will notice who are referred to as Christians, Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals. What unites these Christians? John MacArthur is right in his post. The Apostle's Creed seems to be the only glue. This is merely a cultural glue within Christendom and not the glue of the Gospel. This could easily be called Christendom and not Christian. There is a vast difference between these two terms. Christendom is simply nations that have been historically been dramatically affected by the Gospel. Therefore Christendom is not Christianity nor the church of Jesus Christ.

The document purposefully does not allow Jews or Muslims to sign it. It is meant to unite Christendom together as to make all Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Protestants to be Christian. This is the goal of the ecumenical movement being led by men such as Charles Colson. So what unites these so-called Christians? Is it the Gospel? Not in this document. As Chuck Colson is quoted in this article as saying,
"The Manhattan Declaration is a wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church,"
What church? Any church within Christendom, whether or not the Gospel defines that church.

If Christians truly want to engage the culture, then what is wrong with standing with their neighbors in the political realm, even if their neighbors happen to be Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Atheists and whatever else is out there that may agree with the three basic premises?

Again, I believe this is simply a back door tactic to confuse the nature of the Gospel as being merely cultural so that Christendom may be united again. This is a dangerous move for those who love the Gospel and desire to see churches reformed and united by the Gospel. The Social Gospel did not save the culture when Liberals tried it. The Social Gospel will not save any more just because Religious Conservatives are trying it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scientist Dissects Scientist

In light of the recent email scandal revealing what conservatives have been saying all along concerning Global Warming, I just could not pass this up. The Onion Radio News has reported a story that a scientist dissected a fellow scientist to understand scientists.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: Part 8: Dah, It's Right There

The next two absolute and irrefutable verses are Acts 2:21 & Revelation 22:17. Here are the notes.
Acts 2:21, "And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

This was a prophetic promise made by Peter on the day of Pentecost as he was quoting the Prophet Joel.

Rev. 22:17, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let the him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

This verse is the 5th verse from the end of the entire Bible. A final emphatic message so to speak.

In fact, the two verses after it states, that if anyone adds or takes away words from this book, that God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city.
What is interesting is that non-Calvinists really think there is something here that proves free will. The assumption is "whosoever will" can only be used in the context of autonomous libertarian free will creatures. Why is this so? The assumption is never proved, at least not in the notes.

First, an interpretive principle must be exposed at this point. Allow me to use an analogy. If I have a flat tire on my Chevy pickup, I would then go to my vehicle's owner's manual and learn how to change the tire. However, if I wanted to learn about fixing my fuel injection carburetor, even though my owner's manual may mention some things about my fuel injection, I would get a Chilton manual or a specialized book dealing with the subject.

In the same way, why do many Christians run off to texts that are not primarily dealing with a particular subject in order to prove a point that is more explicitly taught in other texts? If one wants to understand a teaching about the extent of man's sinfulness and free will, then perhaps a text such as Romans 1-3 would be more helpful. If I wanted to know about the Second Coming, although there are some texts that mention certain ideas in passing, I would probably go to texts such as 1 Thessalonians 4-5 among others that offer clear teaching about the subject at hand.

So as a rule, explicit/clear texts should govern our understanding of implicit/not as clear texts. Romans 3 easily trumps any inference reasoning from Revelation 22:17.

Also, another problem about such proof texting at this point is the implied accusation against Calvinists. In the notes for Acts 2:21, it seems to be said that there are those who desire to come to Christ, but are unable to do so because God has not chosen them. Now I know of no Calvinist modern or past that would teach such a wicked doctrine. We have already established the Calvinist understanding of John 6:37-39, so I will not go through the argument again. Suffice it to say, this mis-characterization by non-Calvinists is often done in ignorance.

As for Revelation 22:17, my former pastor would often use this verse because in his mind it is impossible for God to offer the gift of eternal life to men if men did not have a free will to choose to come. When asked to offer an exegetically based argument to support such a conclusion, I would simply get the "dah" look. The same problem seems to be here as well.

The Traditions of the non-Calvinists are so strong that they do not even see the need to defend their position. It is the same in this situation. This is just "irrefutable" and "absolute". How do we know this? Well, I guess I need to wait for the sermon to be published on the website to find out for certain.

But dealing with the "whosoever will" phrase a little further shows that even this is simply wrong. Notice some other translations of Rev 22:17 the last phrase.
ESV: let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

NASB: let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

LITV: and the one desiring, let him take of the water of life freely.

ISV: Let anyone who wants the water of life take it as a gift!

ALT: The one desiring, let him take [the] water of life without cost.
Notice that each of these translations refer to the one desiring. So why do we translate the phrase with "whosoever will" in the KJV? The answer is not that man has a free will. The issue is consistency in John's theology. The Gospel is not limited to Jews or any group of men. The Gospel is for all kinds of men, whether rich or poor, slave or free, male or female, black or white or other, ect ect.

John states it this way in Revelation 5:9.
for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Therefore anyone who desires to come to the water of life may do so. There is nothing here that any Calvinist would disagree. We, Calvinists, just like to read verses in context and not by our hidden philosophically driven traditions.

In conclusion, the charge that seems to be implied that Calvinists are adding to or taking away from the Word of God by their system of theology needs to be demonstrated by Pastor Butler. Simply accusing Christian brothers of such a heinous act without any interaction is a gross Biblical violation. I expect more from men who say they love Christ, His church and the truth.

The fact is, we all have traditions. If we do not acknowledge them, then the very thing Pastor Butler implies Calvinists to be doing is actually being done by the very people pointing the finger. Therefore, I once again call on Pastor Butler to publicly clarify this implication of the notes or be willing to gather together in front of the people of God so that all may benefit from mutual Christian love and understanding.

I'll close with Sam Waldron's comments on the 1689 London Baptist Confession about the spiritual benefits of communion between churches.
3) Its spiritual benefits (paragraph 14c)

The Confession says that these benefits are "their peace, increase of love and mutual edification". Why is communion necessary for these things? Because knowledge and communication are prerequisites to love and edification, while lack of knowledge breeds suspicion and division. 1 John 4:1-3 compared with 2 and 3 John shows that communication and knowledge are prerequisites for love and edification. Testing must precede receiving (Rom 16:1-3; 2 Cor 9:12-15). The events of Joshua 22 teach that lack of knowledge can breed suspicion, division and strife. Communion which has for its by-products communication and mutual understanding is necessary in order to avoid such contradictions of Christian love. It is therefore, a solemn duty.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 7: 2 Peter 3:9

In the next portion of Pastor Butler's sermon, he attempts to show "balance" in his own theology by listing apparent contradictions in the Bible, showing that the Christian must embrace things that appear contradictory when they are not. Although none of the things in his list shows anything that a Calvinist would necessarily disagree, he still comes to a conclusion that is as dogmatic as any of those whom he criticizes. He makes reference to four verses which are in his mind irrefutable. The first one, 2 Peter 3:9, is the topic of this post. He states,
So instead of closing one eye or the other, and swinging to Calvinism or Arminianism, let's see God with both eyes.

Let me leave you with a few verses that are absolute!
They are irrefutable.

To come against them would be a clear contradiction of Scripture:

II Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as
some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing
that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

The Sovereignty of God speaks directly to His Will

If His will is not that any should perish????
Proof texting is not something I have a problem with as long as the text under dispute is not the verse being used to proof text. Proof texting only works when everyone agrees with the proper understanding of the text. Yet here is a great example of proof texting without the necessary exegesis to support your view.

Pastor Butler says this verse is irrefutable. Has he ever interacted with a Calvinist on this verse? Does he provide in his sermon an exegesis of this verse in its context? This is the danger of his position. (see the third post in this series)

What is being assumed in 2 Peter 3 is what needs to be proved. This is another example of importing a tradition into a text without even realizing that one has traditions. The verse is being read in this fashion.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering [waiting and hoping and knocking on the door of your heart, begging you to let Him in since your will is the ultimate factor in salvation being able to work] toward [every single person ever equally], not willing [with His eternal secret purposes] that any [person that has ever existed] should perish but that all [of every person ever] should come to repentance [hoping that He does not fail].
Now does 2 Peter 3:9 really mean God hopes but fails to save billions of men and women? The simple answer is no, but demonstrating that is vitally important. In order to do so, we must read the whole text. If you start with the first verse and follow the pronouns and the contrast throughout the text, the assumed free will tradition falls away.

The context of chapter 3 is that Peter desires to stir up in believers by way of reminder a call to holiness of life due to a delay in Christ's Second Coming. Therefore, since there is a delay, we must be exhorted to the Christian life and duty. Since we know of the coming Final Day of Judgment,
"what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness"
In the first verse Peter speaks to the "beloved". This beloved is then replaced with the terms "you", "us" and "we".

Then notice the contrast of the beloved with the "Mockers". Mockers is substituted with "they", "ungodly", "untaught and unstable" and "unprincipled men".

Peter's thought is quite clear. During the delay of Christ's coming, God is forming a people and saving them. He is not wanting any of them to perish but for all to come to repentance. Therefore, Peter uses one of the godly means of grace to encourage the people of God to remain faithful during times of distress and suffering.

Peter reminds the people of God with the hope that is within us of the new heaven and the new earth. He speaks of the Second Coming and the Final Judgment.

So if Pastor Butler is looking for balance, then in one sense, it could be argued that all men are to repent and believe in Christ while in another sense all that God intends to save perfectly will not perish but come to repentance.

Let us, who trust in Christ, surely be glad God was patient with us, not destroying us in our sin but instead was longsuffering with us in our ignorance. Therefore, 2 Peter 3:9 is not about God waiting upon free will creatures to make up their minds about Christ. Instead it is about God being patient with us while using the means of grace which He has ordained to bring His lost sheep to Himself. It is also about keeping the flock tended to while this work must continue until the Last Day.

Therefore, let us be about the work Christ has called us to. Let us be prepared to endure difficult times while waiting for our Lord's return. Let us be exhorting one another to remain faithful in holiness of conduct. Let us be about calling the lost to Christ, that all for whom Christ died will come and repent of their sin and trust Christ.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 6: That's Insanity!

The following quote is from the end of the section in Pastor's Butler's sermon dealing with God's grace and man's free will. It comes fittingly at the end showing a proper application of what he has been talking about. It is also proper to raise this quote here after the last couple of posts for it demonstrates where Calvinism ought to lead.
A college student at Criswell College told me he didn't know if he could avoid hell and go to heaven. I began to explain the good news of the gospel but he interrupted me, "I know all of that. What I don't know is am I among the elect who can be saved."

Folks, that's INSANITY!!!
This is a great example of not studying Calvinism while giving the impression one has done so. I could not agree more with seeing this idea as being insane but not necessarily for the same reasons.

The doctrine of election has been revealed to us in Scripture. This, however, is different from seeking out the secret decrees and purposes of God that He has not revealed. John Calvin makes it very clear in his book that men must not attempt to peer into the secret things of God. This leads to all sorts of dangers, one of which is hyper-Calvinism.
“It is any wonder that such immense splendour should blunt the acuteness of our mind? Our physical eyes are not enough to sustain a contemplation of the sun. Is our spiritual insight greater than our natural powers, or the majesty of God inferior to the glory of the sun? Is it becoming in us, then, not to be too inquisitive....” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.184-185, emphasis mine)
Earlier on page 165, the section on Exposition of Providence Requires Discretion, Calvin argues with those who would dispute with the Providence of God as taught in Scripture. His arguments and warnings are still relevant for all.
For if anyone is accustomed to have honor from his equals, so that he candidly and modestly judges in matters concerning them that are obscure or insufficiently known, sedulously enquires their significance, and prefers to suspend judgment rather than by too much precipitation to do injury, would it not, I ask, be a more than monstrous enormity to less discretion and to measure the works of God by our standards, investigate His hidden councels, and trifle in a profane way with mysteries so great and so profoundly adorable?
Later in the paragraph he concludes,
It is the device of the devil to involve pious and sound doctrine in monstrous fictions, and so not only to snatch from us its enjoyment, but also to render it partly hateful and partly disastrous.
Keep in mind that the hyper-Calvinist is not the only one susceptible to this problem. How many times have we heard men saying they think they married the wrong woman due to a failure in their marriage, or perhaps the choice of a college in which difficulty arises, or a job that leads to the unemployment line? So to fix these things, we try to guess what God's real decree is for us in each situation of life. That is poor theological thinking and an improper method of applying the wisdom God gives to His people through the Scriptures.

To ask the question of whether or not "I am of the elect" is to miss the point of Scripture and the Calvinist understanding of election. Election is taught to the believer for several reasons. First, it reminds the believer of his utter dependence upon God for His salvation. For apart from God choosing the sinner, he would never come to Christ. However, election isn't what saves the sinner. Christ saves the sinner by dying for him on the cross and imputing him His righteous life through the means of faith. Therefore, we are called to look to Christ.

Second, it gives the believer security to look to Christ and know that Christ will not fail him. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:12,
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
It is also an encouragement to the believer in evangelism. We do not have to manipulate men to come to Christ. Instead, we use every means and method prescribed by God and trust God to accomplish all He intends. Therefore, when times seem difficult in the preaching of the Gospel and the calling of sinners to repentance, we need not fear that we have failed. As Paul says elsewhere in 2 Timothy 4,
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
As Richard mentioned in the last post, the doctrine of election is combined with this statement from John 6,
"Him that cometh to me I will an no wise cast out.”
This is an encouragement to sinners to forsake their sin and turn to Christ in faith. He will not turn you away. Every Calvinist readily proclaims with Jesus for all sinners to come. As Jesus said in Matthew 11,
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Dear Sinner, come to Christ and take refuge in Him. He will not fail you.

From the Pastor's Desk: part 5: Misquoting Spurgeon by Richard Smith

For the last several years, many non-Calvinists have been attempting to cite Charles Spurgeon as a true Calvinist, who affirmed freewill, while denying "modern Calvinism". Due to time constraints, I asked Richard Smith, Associational Minister of the Spurgeon Baptist Association of Churches, if he would write a response to the quote of Spurgeon. Let's face it. Who would be better than the guy who actually reads Spurgeon? Richard Smith was gracious enough to do so.
Here is the article.

The purpose of this post is to show that Spurgeon did not believe in free will and correct a statement by David Butler who interpreted a passage of Spurgeon in a recent sermon as saying man has free will. This is not a personal attack and is not questioning the truthfullness of pastor Butler, but is an attempt to deal with the issue of what Spurgeon really said and, therefore, of the true nature of Calvinism.
In 1884 he said of John 6:37, "These are two great truths; let us carry them both with us, and they will balance each other." He went on to say, "I was once asked to reconcile these two statements, and I answered, "No, I could never reconcile these two friends. These two statements never fell out: they are perfectly agreed... The grand declaration of the purpose of God that He will save His own is quite consistent with the widest declaration that whosoever will come to Christ shall be saved.I think the least profitable of all spiritual activities is to try to remove imagined difficulties in God's Word. The most profitable thing to do when you don't fully understand something in the Bible is to accept and believe it." --(Pastor Butler quoting Spurgeon)
Pastor Butler then goes on to make the following statements and ask the following questions:
"Doesn't sound like a Calvinist to me?

At least not a Calvinist by today's standards.

One of the greatest trials of a thinking person is, "How can God be sovereign and man still have a free will?"

"How can it be true that God elects some to be saved and that whoever chooses may come to Christ and be received?"

A simple reply is that God said these thing are both true, and He understands what we cannot."

The first response is simply that the above quote of Spurgeon was taken out of context. Here is the context of the statements quoted above:

"Him that cometh to me I will an no wise cast out.” This is a statement without limitation of any kind: it has been thought to leave the free grace of God open to the free will of man, so that whosoever pleases may come and may be sure that he still not be refused. We have no permission to pare down either sentence, nor is there the slightest need to do so. The first sentence appears to me to say that God has chosen a people, and has given these people to Christ, and these people must and shall come to Christ, and so shall be saved. The second truth declares that every man who comes to Christ shall be saved, since he shall not be cast out, and that implies that he shall be received and accepted. These are two great truths; let us carry them both with us, and they will balance each other.”

“I was once asked to reconcile these two statements, and I answered, “No, I never reconcile friends.” These two passages never fell out: they are perfectly agreed…Take, then, these two truths, and know that they are equally precious portions of one harmonious whole…As surely as this Book is true, God has a people whom he has chosen, and whom Christ has redeemed from among men; and these must and shall by sovereign grace be brought in due time to repentance and faith, for not one of them shall ever perish. But yet is it equally true, that whosoever among the sons of men shall come and put his trust in Christ shall receive eternal life. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”…The two truths of my text are by no means inconsistent the one with the other: they are perfectly agreed. Happy is the man who can believe them both, whether he sees their agreement or does not see it…First notice, carefully, that if all that the Father giveth to Christ shall come to him, then some people shall most surely come to Christ; and why should not you be among them?...

“In the next place I find that those that come to Christ, according to this text, come because of the Father and the Son. Read it. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” That is, they come to Jesus. Why is it that they are made to come? Because the Father has given them to Christ…The reason that is given why they shall come to Jesus is because something was done for them by the Father and by the Son.”

The context of the quoted sermon from Spurgeon shows that Spurgeon was not talking about free will at all, but instead two statements: 1) God drawing and 2) people coming to God. This is meant to encourage sinners. This is meant to encourage true evangelism. Instead of going to sinners as if it is in their own power to come to Christ, we go to them and tell them that the almighty power of God can draw them. We can tell them with Spurgeon in this sermon that they need a new heart, but that God alone can give them that rather than themselves. People must come but they only have the power and ability to come if God gives that to them by grace. But what did Spurgeon really think of free will? I will give three quotes below to show this. The text given after the quote refers to the sermon on that passage of Scripture that the quote was taken from.

One teaches we are saved by free grace, another says that we are not, but are saved by free will; and yet you believe they are both right. I do not understand that. One says that God loves his people, and never leaves off loving them; another says that he did not love his people before they loved him: that he often loves them, and then ceases to love them and turns them away. They may be both right in the main; but can they be both right when one says “Yes,” and the other says “No.” I must have a pair of spectacles to enable me to look backwards and forwards at the same time, before I can see that. It cannot be, sirs, that they are both right (Rev 8:12).

O may the Holy Spirit enable us to keep the beacon fire blazing, to warn you of the rocks, shoals, and quicksands, which surround you and may we ever guide you to Jesus, and not to free-will or creature merit (Acts 9:11).

It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous…I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, “If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright” (John 5:40).

The definition of a Calvinist is not easy to come by, but B. B. Warfield gave two definitions that are at the very least accurate and helpful. 1) A Calvinist is a person that has seen God. 2) The system of Calvinism hinges primarily on efficacious grace and not the doctrine of election. What we must see from this, then, is that true Calvinism is really all about God and His grace. If we can distinguish between the name of John Calvin and the theology of Calvinism, it will be very helpful. If we can see Calvinism as a theology taken from Scripture and as all about God rather than the man of John Calvin, we will be on the right track. As the quotes show above, what Spurgeon wanted to do by denying free will was to magnify the grace and glory of God.

The real issue with free will is not just about how free man is, but how free God is in saving sinners by grace alone rather than anything found in them or that they have done. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God saves sinners based on who He is in Himself and because of His grace in Christ Jesus and not because of anything in them or of any choice they have made. The issue over free will does not have to do with human souls being robots, but over the issue of whether man has power in his soul to love God in himself and his own power or not. The issue has to do with how spiritual a natural man is before the new birth and before the life of God is in his soul. Charles Spurgeon, who was used to bring thousands and thousands to Christ, did not preach that man had free will but that God saved by free grace. This is the same message that God used in the great revivals of the past. This is what the mighty preachers of old thundered in our nation. Why is that? It is because God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph 1:4-6) and not because of anything a human being is or can do. It is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-10).