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).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 4: John 6:37

In the next part of the sermon notes, Pastor Butler speaks of the relation of sound doctrine to different areas of the Bible's teaching such as the depravity of man and salvation by grace. Since the sermon notes do not say much at this point, I think it is better to refrain and wait for the MP3. However, his understanding of these points comes out later in the sermon notes.

Pastor Butler believes that there are two equal truths. He uses the analogy that with the left eye one sees God's sovereignty and with the other eye one sees man's freewill.
We are not called to express favoritism for the one eye that sees God is sovereign over all his creation, or the other eye that sees that God has given men and women an independence to choose and believe what they will choose and believe.
So as we look at his sermon notes we must keep in mind his presuppositions.

He cites John 6: 37,
"All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out."
He then adds commentary that any Calvinist could agree upon.
My Father has chosen some to give to me, and all these will believe on me and will be in my kingdom, church and family. And to any of you who are considering following me, please know that my arms are open. Anyone who chooses to come to me will be received."
Yet it is his understanding of his own statement that reveals his presuppositions. He approaches this philosophically and not Biblically. He adds his left eye/right eye analogy to this statement. In other words, he is assuming in this one statement that God has absolute power to bring a sinner to come to Christ, while on the other hand, man has an autonomous libertarian freewill. He believes both truths are equally taught. As he states here,
Yet Jesus was also saying that men and women have a free will, that each of us is responsible for our decisions and conduct, even decisions of faith, and that any one who will come to Jesus will be eternally saved.
He defines this statement to some extent.
This is a statement without limitation of any kind.

It leaves God's free grace open, and whosoever will may come and may be assured that he or she will not be refused.
So again, a Calvinist could agree with this technically, but the text itself says the exact opposite when it comes to man's will. Notice Jesus' words in John 6:44
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jesus explains to us why they are unbelieving. He tells us clearly that man is not able to come to Christ unless something happens. So man's will is not free in and of itself. It is enslaved to sin. It is the Father who frees men from their sin and draws and gives this people to the Son.

In other words, God's free grace is not hypothetical or that it makes men savable. In this text, God's grace actually does something the sinner could never do for himself. It saves him. God's grace is not only necessary (something Roman Catholics taught and still teach), but that it is sufficient in and of itself.

In more technical language, this comes down to Monergism verses Synergism. Is God's grace sufficient to save without cooperation of the sinner, or is the sinner's will needed to make God's grace effectual? This is the battle of the Reformation. To deny this point is to go back to Rome.

So at this point, much of what has been said could be technically agreed upon. However, when looking closely, Pastor Butler abandons the text and imposes his philosophical view of man's will. This is not balanced. This is elevating man's ability and maintaining a philosophically driven contradiction. In other words, it is God who does whatever He purposes. Nothing in the text says man has a similar ability.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 3

Before moving on to the Scripture texts, I need to comment upon this sentence in order for both sides to understand the mindset and presuppositions of the discussion.
We live in a day when people become so dogmatic about a particular doctrine, that all sense and sensibility seems to be thrown out with the bath water.
What is being assumed here is that the non-Calvinist/non-Arminian is balanced. Those who disagree with the non-Calvinist are imbalanced. Why? From their mindset Calvinists are following the teachings of a mere man, John Calvin, while they are following the teachings of the Bible.

To state it another way, when Calvinists say Calvinism is just the teachings of the Bible, what they hear is that we impose our Systematic Theology onto the Bible. There is no comprehension that they too have traditions with which they approach the Bible. Calvinists and Arminians twist the Bible with their man-made traditions while they are above the fray.

Of course not only does this beg the question about their own traditions which they are not able to acknowledge, but it begs the question as to why a Calvinist can not say that what he professes to be Biblical. In other words, why does the non-Calvinist get to say his beliefs are right out of the Bible, while the Calvinist is not even allowed to make his case?

This kind of thinking can become dangerous for it leads to the conclusion that ones traditions are Scripture. In other words, if we are not able to recognize that we have traditions, then we will be confusing the traditions we do not see or know that we have with the Bible itself.

So while calling the Calvinist as being dogmatic for actually believing the Bible teaches what he believes, the non-Calvinist does the very thing he accuses of the Calvinist. He becomes dogmatic about his non-Calvinism.

Keep in mind, it was not my Reformed pastor that preached a sermon against non-Calvinists and then refused to defend his views publicly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 2

Before I get into interacting with the message, a friend of mine told me that even though this pastor does not understand Reformed Theology or Calvinism, the sermon, as bad as it may have been in representing Reformed Theology, actually is a good thing. His reasoning was that this pastor was tackling an important subject that the people at this particular church may have never heard discussed before. This can only cause men to go deeper into the Scripture if they truly desire to know what Scripture has to say on this subject. Isn't that what Reformed people want? We, who are in the Reformed camp, must keep in mind that when we were converted to Christ, none of us had perfect Reformed Theology formed in our minds.

So with that in mind let's look at the first part of the message.
We live in a day when people become so dogmatic about a particular doctrine, that all sense and sensibility seems to be thrown out with the bath water.
There is no doubt that many who have come to Reformed Theology often go through what has been called the "Caged Stage". Quite often we become over zealous and need to be locked up for a time. Yet it has been my experience the non-Calvinist does this as well. Do we hear sermons by Calvinists calling non-Calvinist theology to be "unhealthy", "divisive and not uniting" as we do from non-Calvinists? He goes on to say,
In fact, I've seen Christians break fellowship because of it. I've even seen churches at odds because of this. In fact, I've seen churches deliberately not even want to pray with someone from another congregation because of doctrinal differences.
I have been hearing this claim for years. For some reason, it is never the non-Calvinists who are dividing churches. It is always the Calvinist's fault. It is my opinion based on anecdotal evidence that this claim (also anecdotal) is far overblown.

But this raises another point. The original Reformers were "Calvinistic". The Reformation was not fought over Indulgences or the Mass. The first written debate was between Luther and the Roman Catholic scholar Erasmus. Here is what Luther had to say,
In this, moreover, I give you (Erasmus) great praise, and proclaim it--you alone in pre-eminent distinction from all others, have entered upon the thing itself; that is, the grand turning point of the cause; and have not wearied me with those irrelavnt points about popery, purgatory, indulgences, and other like baubles, rather than causes, with which all have hitherto tried to hunt me down,--though in vain! You, and you alone saw, what was the grand hinge upon which the whole turned, and therefore you attacked the vital part at once; for which, from my heart, I thank you. [Bondage of the Will]
So according to Luther, the entire Reformation hinged on a proper view of man, which in turn relates to a proper view of grace, faith and Christ's person and work. Hence the battle cries of the Reformation, Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone and To God's Glory Alone. So to deny Reformational theology as being unhealthy at best is to deny the basis for the Reformation itself.

I have heard Dave Hunt consider those who are not Pre-Tribulational to be lost in error and heresy. Dave Hunt has preached sermons against Calvinism as well. I have heard sermons by Norman Geisler and read his book in which he stated that Calvinism is "...theologically inconsistent, philosophically insufficient, and morally repugnant." This is language he did not even use in his book about Roman Catholicism.

So for all of the rhetoric that Reformed folks are divisive, I simply don't hear a clarion call among Reformed preachers preaching against non-Calvinists.

As for Calvinists not wishing to pray with non-Calvinists, I am not certain what is meant by this. Is there a context that this may be happening? Is this in the context that may cause a Reformed person to have to honor his conscience due to the regulative principle of worship?

I am curious though. Would Pastor Butler go evangelizing with me if I were handing out Reformed tracks? By his own words, Calvinism is unhealthy and divisive and imbalanced.

Now to be fair, Pastor Butler may be referring to Arminian theology more than Calvinism. Yet does anyone know of a church that is full blown Arminian? Or even better yet, a divisive one? To be honest, I am not certain I have ever met a person, who calls himself a Protestant, that is fully and consistently Arminian.

Consistent Arminians do not teach the doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement. That teaching belongs squarely in Reformed Theology. Those who teach this outside of the Reformed view of Christ's work do so inconsistently. As one Arminian scholar, J. Kenneth Grider has written,
A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred in recent decades. Thus many Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty of our sins. Yet such a view is foreign to Arminianism, which teaches instead that Christ suffered for us. Arminians teach that what Christ did He did for every person; therefore what He did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternall perdition. Arminianism teaches that Christ suffered for everyone so that the Father could forgive the ones who repent and believe; His death is such that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will strive to cease from anarchy in the world God governs. This view is called the Governmental theory of the atonement.
His opening concludes,
While knowing & understanding Sound & Balanced Doctrine is vitally important to the health of the Christian & Church, it doesn't always have to be a fellowship issue.

I think we could all agree that we need more Balance in the Family of God today.
I agree. So again, if Pastor Butler is willing to go to the pulpit and say the things that he has, then Scripturally, he must be able to defend the claims he has made (Titus 1:9). So let us gather together publicly and discuss these things in a balanced fashion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From the Pastor's Desk: part 1

I was recently forwarded an email that had gone to several fellow church members of FBC, St. Francis and asked for my thoughts. Apparently, a sermon was recently preached by the pastor of the Community Church in St. Francis, David Butler, who obviously sees Calvinism as a potential problem to having true fellowship among believers. As it turns out, the sermon notes in the e-mail are published on the internet (read here).

Since this pastor has decided to go public with his views in both a publicly preached sermon and via e-mail and a website, then I think a public review of his message from a Reformed Baptist viewpoint is justified and hopefully helpful in reducing some of the misunderstandings that many, including this pastor, have about Reformed Theology.

It is my hope that this would lead to a time of personal public discussion/s in front of our churches and the people of God. I think between myself and my pastor and other leaders of our churches, we could easily have fruitful interactions with Pastor Butler that would benefit our churches. In this manner, we could at the same time affirm our differences while working together for the proclamation of the Good News of Christ. This would equip the people of our respective churches to come to an understanding of both sides of an issue and remove ignorance that often causes stumbling blocks to true fellowship.

So again, if Pastor Butler truly desires fellowship between our churches, I think this may be one avenue that would secure such a desire.

Learn the Shocking Truth

Some time by back I purchased an item from Catholic Answers, and I apparently managed to get on their email list. Here is their latest advertisement.

Learn the shocking truth!The Shocking Truth About The Pope And The Bible

If there's one thing that unites non-Catholics of all stripes, it's a refusal to accept the Church's teaching on the authority of the pope. Tragically, that refusal has led to wide divisions among, and heated arguments between, Christians all over the world.

Catholic apologist Tim Staples knows these arguments all too well. Having once been a "Bible-believing Fundamentalist" himself, he took great delight in convincing Catholics that their belief in the Pope's authority was just a lot of Romanist nonsense based on human tradition instead of Scripture.

But then Staples was challenged to actually study the faith he was bashing. After scouring Scripture, history, and the writings of the Church Fathers, Staples was forced to conclude that Christ himself had established the institution of the Papacy.

Am I also really to believe that Tim Staples "took great delight in convincing Catholics that their belief in the Pope's authority was just a lot of Romanist nonsense"? I mean really. Who takes great delight in that? I have relatives, who are Roman Catholics. I don't sit around taking great pleasure in that sort of thing. In fact, I find it most difficult to explain to a person that their faith is misplaced.

So the rejection of the authority of the Pope is my main mission in life. I am out to get Roman Catholics to reject the Pope. I guess in a sense that is true. I would like to see not only Papists reject the Pope as the ultimate authority, but I would also like to see Jehovah's Witnesses reject the authority of the Watch Tower, Mormons reject the authority of Utah, Muslims reject their tribal leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, Buddhists reject Buddha, and so on and so on.

Are we really going to believe that Roman Catholics are more united than everyone else? There really is no division among RCs at all that would be as significant as divisions among Protestants? If you believe that, then I guess if a lie is told often enough it will be believed.

But also notice that Tim Staples claims to have found this doctrine in Scripture. Was his study of Scripture his own private interpretation? Does he offer an infallible exegesis of certain texts? In other words, was Scripture sufficient to explain to Tim Staples that Scripture is not sufficient to explain to Tim Staples and that he needs the Pope to rightly understand the text of Scripture?

The claim that God is not able to sufficiently tell His church through His Word what needs to be believed and that some man must be looked to in His place is simply blasphemous.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Horton: From a Movement to a Church

Michael Horton wrote an article on the role of the Christian life at church or at his secular calling. Read here.

A Couple Political Thoughts

A few political quotes of the day. Thomas Sowell comments on the role of government.
photo Thomas Sowell: Random Thoughts
If politicians stopped meddling with things they don't understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.
On the topic of the Fort Hood shooting Rush stated on his show,
This guy gets branded a terrorist outright except he's at war with the cops, not the population at random. So he's a terrorist outright. Meanwhile, this Hasan guy blows away 13 and wounds 30, and, "Ahhh, we can't jump to conclusions, Mr. Limbaugh. We really must be very, very careful here deciding how we characterize him." Well, I don't remember Obama not jumping to conclusions when he pronounced the cops up in Cambridge stupid in the "Skip" Gates case.
Now if I had said something even remotely close to the terrorist at Fort Hood, I would have been drummed out of the military and probably thrown in jail by Anonymous.

Now this brings up another question. Every military installation I have been on, the majority of people are unarmed. This has always struck me just a bit. I would think military bases would be targets of terrorists. Perhaps if military members owned weapons and carried them, this incident may have been stopped before it became as bad as it did. Then again, if political correctness had not run a muck in this country (see General Casey's comments on ABC News), we might not have this problem.
General Casey told me on This Week that he’s worried that diversity could become another victim of Thursday’s mass killing at Ft. Hood. The incident was not the first case of fratricide by a Muslim and when I asked how the military plans to deal with this potential problem in its ranks, Casey said, “Speculation could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers and what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here. It’s not just about Muslims, we have a very diverse army, we have very diverse society and that gives us all strength. But again we need to be very careful about that.”
Diversity is so important, that we won't do what is right? How careful do we need to be. The military is not about doing the politically correct thing. It is about defending our nation, or so I thought. Ralph Peters nails it with this statement.
"Now 12 soldiers and a security guard lie dead. 31 soldiers were wounded, 28 of them seriously. If heads don’t roll in this maggot’s chain of command, the Army will have shamed itself beyond moral redemption.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Why So Threatened?

So Anonymous asks a question, "Why so threatened?" when it comes to science. Although I have already answered this question in different ways, I thought perhaps attempting to interact might be helpful.

First, in one sense I am not threatened at all. I do not go to bed at night wondering if science is going to destroy us all. I am a firm believer that Jesus' Kingdom is, in some sense, not of this world. Although as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, I recognize that His Kingdom is breaking into this age, it does so in ways that are unexpected. The United States, or any other organization for that matter, is of this world/age. Jesus' Kingdom will not be fully revealed until the age to come. (So no, I do not believe Jesus was/is/will be a Republican.)

Why is this important to state up front? The context of why I do not lose sleep at night must be understood. I fully expect those who reject the Creator/creature distinction and relationship to be fully swayed by sin and in full rebellion against God's revelation to man.

Even those who accept the Creator/creature relationship, the problem of sin is still a large part of this age's thinking. Man is not morally neutral but a slave of sin and perverts all areas of life. It is God's written/special Revelation that is able to give man a framework to correct man's thinking. However, man will pervert God's written revelation and the teachings and person of Christ. This should cause us to think very carefully about every facet of life.

So, although our culture may come to a place where Christians are persecuted or worse, Christians know that this age is hostile to the age to come. We are sojourners who look forward to the resurrection.

2) My so called "angry posts" are being read not from a morally neutral viewpoint, but from a viewpoint that wishes to throw me in jail. Yet the irony is that I would (I would like to think anyway) fight to defend Anonymous to have the freedom and liberty to believe what his conscience binds him. I do not wish Anonymous to go to jail for disagreeing with me. That is Medieval thinking and dangerous.

I was simply commenting on a so-called news story in which science (who's science?) is making huge claims. I have noted in other places that there has been an unholy alliance between left-wing political thinking, philosophical/theological liberalism and the vehicle of science. Can this really be denied? Well, if you're on the other side of the issue, there is no understanding of science other than your own. Biblical Creationists are just a bunch of biased religious zealots who are ignorant and have nothing meaningful to say.

3) One of my favorite movies is Blade Runner with Harrison Ford. It is Ford's character that is played about by the representatives of clashing worldviews of modernism and postmodernism. So worldviews matter. Science doesn't exist outside of a worldview. It heavily promotes whatever view it ascribes.

4) Now I have three children. Like most people, I would like my children to live in a world that is better than the one I grew up in. So on the one hand, I am fully aware that God may allow a new generation to have to deal with the age old problem of sin in an entirely new way. Nevertheless, I want my children not to feel adrift in a sea of postmodernism, but to know who they are in this age. I also would love to see religious liberty and freedom continue in this nation's great experiment.

So you might be wondering what does science have to do with this? Two reasons.

First, a people who know their history and where they come from will not be easily swayed down a path of destruction. America may have her flaws, but she has a solid foundation to continue the promotion of freedom and liberty. However, take away or rewrite a society's history, then the new powers that be will have an easier time in the overthrow of that previous culture.

The authority of science has been promoted in such a way as to be able to redefine mankind's and earth's history. The entire modern public educational system was designed to remove children from the home and to be educated by the powers that be. Of course, who do you think that would be?

Second, as I pointed out earlier, science has been making ridiculous claims for a long time. The reason is Leftists use science as a propaganda machine. It is the current vehicle by which liberty is taken from citizens.

For all of my life I have been told we are going to run out of gasoline and oil in just a few years. I have been told we are about to enter an ice age. I was told CFCs are going destroy the ozone hole. Now I am being told the planet is about to be destroyed by CO2. We could sit here and go through all of the Leftist attempts to overthrow capitalism and liberty.

So in conclusion, I am concerned for my family friends and neighbors. I do not want to see a culture sink further into the rot. Then again, every generation must struggle with thinking the same things. (How often have you heard this generation is worse than before?) I want to see religious liberty continue as I have been so blessed to have been raised with. Yet I know full well that persecution often brings about a far greater and better result for Christ's Kingdom. But as John Quincy Adams once said,
Duty is mine. Results belong to God.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Gospel Divides Campus Ministry

On October 29th, Christianity Today published an article titled, Not All Evangelicals and Catholics Together. To be honest, it is quite refreshing to see some Protestants still believe the Gospel is worth not only defending, but also see the Gospel as what defines a Christian. For far too long many have taken the position stated by Timothy George in the article.
"The gaping divide between evangelicals and Catholics is ecclesiology and authority, not justification and salvation, as important as that debate remains," George said. "There is enough commonality that evangelicals and Catholics with a living faith can recognize one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ with a common Lord and common grace that brought them together. The hard issues are questions related to the church, such as the Petrine office [the papacy] and the Eucharist. Those discussions will occupy us for the next 100 years."
So the Gospel will not be the center of discussion, nor the idea that man needs the imputation of Christ's righteousness alone through faith alone. In other words, Christ's life being given to the believer as a free gift as opposed to the sacramental system of Rome is not enough to divide a true religion from a false one.

I have seen this personally in churches I have attended. This is not merely an academic debate but a debate which affects the life of the local church.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Reformation Weekend MP3s

Fred Malone's messages from this past Reformation Weekend is now available. Go here for the MP3s. Richard Smith, Associational Minister of the Spurgeon Baptist Association of Churches, has written in this week's newsletter.


The 2009 Reformation conference this past weekend in St. Francis was without doubt a time that many spent soaking in the goodness and glory of God. Dr. Fred Malone was the speaker and he spoke on the five sola’s of the Reformation. He wove the teaching of Luther and Calvin with that of Scripture and gave those who were listening a picture of how God uses His Word and servants to literally change the world. The first session was on Sola Scriptura or the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God. He said that many hold to the inerrancy of Scripture and yet reject the teaching of Scripture as to its authority and sufficiency. Yet during the Reformation it was Luther and Calvin’s adherence to Scripture as God’s Word and their highest authority rather than the traditions of men that God used and honored to bring true revival. It was only then Scripture was the authority and believed as the Word of God that Luther searched it for what the righteousness of God really was and so the Gospel of grace alone through faith alone began to be trumpeted across the land by the preachers of it. Without going into detail on each session, Dr. Malone connected each sola with the others and set out the glory of the Gospel of Scripture which is indeed by grace alone through faith alone so that it may be by Christ alone to the glory of God alone.

The recordings of these sessions can be listened to at and are certainlyworthy to be listened to. After each session there were people talking about the things of the Lord and the content of the sermon. In other words, true fellowship around the Scripture was found. The conference was truly a feast for the soul in terms of the teaching, preaching, and the fellowship. While the signs on I. 70 say that Colby is the oasis of the plains, I certainly found that First Baptist Church of St. Francis was an oasis this past weekend. The church has also been blessed with good cooks and so there was a lot of good food supplied for those who attended. As the host pastor J.W. Glidewell of First Baptist in St. Francis put it, there was plenty of food for both the soul and the body. I would urge all who can to make plans to attend this conference in St. Francis next year.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Science Discovers They Are Wrong Again

What's wrong with this first sentence of this YahooNews story.
A 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean eventually, researchers now confirm.
So now we have a confirmation among scientists that something might happen. A couple of paragraphs down the article states,
"We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this," said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study.
So they never knew this? Ummm really? Perhaps it is because most scientists are taught science from a naturalistic, materialistic old earth model?

The fact is, there is nothing new here. First, Biblical Creationists have been offering models that explain this for a long time. Second, even non-Creationists have had to admit that much of their scientific understanding of life in general and geology in particular has been flawed.

Years ago, either Nova or one of the other PBS programs went to Mt. St. Helen after her 1980 explosion. I remember watching scientist after scientist admitting that their predictions were all wrong. Why? Because in my opinion they were all taught the evolutionary model of the earth. They unwittingly brought with them to the field the close-minded academic view of Earth's history. Now we all do that, but to what extent is another question.

Today, Bob Gonzales, Dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary, offers a Blog post that I think may be of service to the Christian, who desires to be faithful to the Bible and yet desire not to come to the scientific world with false presuppositions.

Follow the Money to Gore's Pocket

As they say, "Follow the money." The NY Times is reporting Al Gore to be profiting from Global Warming. The article states,
Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.
I wonder if the earth is going to get a little warmer due to the printing of all that money. Perhaps the Pay Czar will cut his profits by 90% since it is just not fair he gets to be a billionaire, and we don't.

One of the other things that bug me about this article is that it admits that critics are "mostly on the political right and...skeptics". I am always being told by the Left that there is no bias in the media, yet why would the Left not be just as skeptical about this. They are always accusing the Political Right of doing these things as immoral. Is this story only being written because they have to and not because the NYTimes is curious about the corruption of the Political Left. Oh, wait. They are the Political Left.

So you might be thinking, "Gee Howard. They wrote the story, which proves they are not biased." Ummm, this story is old my friend. The fact is, we have all known about this for a very looong time, and it didn't start with Al Gore.

In the early 90s I remember watching a French scientist on C-Span challenging the scientists at Dow in their support for laws restricting the use of CFC as a refrigerant. This French scientist explained that CFC was non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Dow was seeking to use refrigerants that were toxic and carcinogenic.

He raised the obvious question. Why? The answer is simple for those of us, who have refrigerators from the 50s. CFC lasts a loooong time. The newer refrigerants do not last as long and cause the compressors to break down sooner. So in the mane of saving the planet...well...just follow the money.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Director of Abortion Clinic Becomes Prolife

I don't really know for certain what is meant by "conversion" and being free from "guilt" in this video, but one thing is for certain, this woman has abandoned the murder of children.

What is interesting in the referenced court case is that the former Director is being sued because something she might reveal would cause "irreparable harm". Now it is one thing if someone reveals secret information as to what spices are in KFC's special sauce or breading. It is quite another if someone reveals tactics to get more "abortions in the door". The irony in my mind is that the Political Left always claims that the Right is judgmental. Yet here is a case of the Left taking someone to court to have a judgment pronounced against a potential action.

Building Bridges With Islam

Just thought this might be an interesting story for those concerned about Islam's spread into the West. The Guardian UK is reporting that "Matrix Producer" Barrie Osborne, who was "part of the Oscar-winning team behind the Lord of the Rings films", will be working on a movie about the life of Muhammad.
Osborne told Reuters that he envisages it as "an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures. The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam".
Since most Hollywood types are afraid of telling the truth that would lead to political incorrectness (especially if it involves Muslims rioting), I have to wonder how one could attempt to do such a movie with the intentions of building bridges. Islam only desires freedom when it is in the minority. That is just an obvious truth for anyone to see if they are willing. So will Osborne truly show Muhammad as he truly was? I guess we will see. Though, I wouldn't hold my breath.