Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama: Repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The Don't Ask Don't Tell policy instituted byPresident Clinton and now being repealed by President Obama has some interesting coverage. In this WashingtonPost story, we are told in the very first paragraph,
The results signal continued widespread public support for ending the military's 17-year ban on gays in the military and come as Congress prepares to vote again on legislation ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law.
First, the Clinton policy did not prevent homosexuals from serving in the military. This is just an outright lie. It has always been illegal for homosexuals to serve in the military. In fact, it has always been illegal to commit adultery in the military (whether or not it is being currently enforced is another question). Clinton's policy just allowed homosexuals to serve secretly in the military because the policy forced the military to not be allowed to ask a potential recruit.

Second, notice this is seen as a victory for Obama. Why? Well, apparently, as this article states over and over again, the American public is not against the idea. Yet did we see reporting of polls about how the overwhelming number of Americans were against Obamacare? The fact is, Obama couldn't care less what the American public thinks.

A third observation I have made over the years is this polling issue. How could it be otherwise? Seriously, who would goes against the politically correct driven argument for homosexuality? You are called hateful. You could easily lose your job. You could be charged with a hate crime. You will probably have to go to a gestapo style camp to reorient your mind to the Left's thinking.

After years of indoctrination or moral relativism, after years of the sexual revolution and the perversion of God's created order for marriage (adultery and fornication), how could homosexuality be anything other than just another "don't judge us" issue? Why would it be surprising that 77% of Americans don't care what gays do in their bedrooms? I would argue that most Americans (including myself) don't care what men do in their homes from a legal perspective. Yet no matter how accepting people may think they are, I am still convinced (based on private talk) that Americans still think homosexuality is wrong. They simply tolerate it, and they always have. Now they are just being forced to tolerate in ways they never have before.

I have written about the homosexual issue in the past and have yet to have a serious fundamentally sound moral argument for its acceptance. The military is not the place to fight the culture war. Yet the homosexual movement knows that to win there is to win big. But even Saturday Night Live once quipped that that is not the role of the military. For once, I happen to agree.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Preached At Shallow Water

Just a quick note. I had the priviledge of preaching at Shallow Water this past Sunday. I decided to press on with Matthew 6. I fully realize that I need to write a sermon for Christmas. One of these days I just might. Here is the link to the message.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Todd Friel and Youth Groups

Hey Todd, don't hold back. Tell us what you really think abot Youth Groups.

Friday, December 17, 2010

WT: Why Did They Reject the Messiah?

Once again, Russell dropped by and gave me another Watchtower magazine. He stressed that I read the article, "Why Did They Reject the Messiah?". So I did.

The article uses three major arguments for why men rejected Jesus. The first is "unfulfilled expectations", followed by "rejected by Religious leaders", and finally that there was "community prejudice and persecution". Now these reasons for the most part are basically true in and of themselves as why men reject Christ. What I find interesting is sin is never mentioned. Basically, the reasons offered are how men remain in their unbelief and sustain their unbelief, but they are not the deep seated reason that would be the true culprit, slavery to sin.

Another interesting observation I noticed in the supporting arguments for the "unfulfilled expectations" is the citations of passages of the disciples such as John the Baptist. This section refers to John's questioning of Jesus, "Are You the Coming One, or are we to expect a different one?"

Yet it is obvious John does not "reject" Jesus as the Messiah. He is never recorded as having done so. Yes, John was confused due to his own expectations and understanding of how the Kingdom of God comes to Earth. Yet this is more evidence that his prophecy is from God and not men since even he could not understand how his own prophecy would be fulfilled.

The Watchtower then cites to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
"We were hoping that this man was the one destined to deliver Israel."
Once again, as confused as they were, there is no evidence they "rejected" Jesus. They simply thought he was killed (which He was) and therefore was not the Messiah by simple logical deduction. Let's face it. Jesus was supposedly dead at this time! The article falls short in making the proper distinctions between rejection, belief in a natural sense and saving faith.

The conclusion of the article also includes some problems. It again assumes that man is a morally neutral creature that may be reasoned into the Kingdom by appealing to his objective justice. It even goes to far as to say:
Today, erroneous ideas about Jesus and His teachings can have a similar effect. For example, many have been taught that God's Kingdom is in their heart or will come about by human efforts.
Now I agree with the latter thought. God's consummation of the Kingdom does not come about by human effort. And yes, the consummated Kingdom is not merely in our hearts. Yet by not seeing that the Kingdom of God comes in two stages, the Watchtower misses the need for the work of the Spirit in this age. For instance, notice Jesus' words in Luke 17,
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,
21 nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
Men are blind by their sin and are unable to see the Kingdom of God. The solution is not more evidence, but a work of the Spirit as stated by Jesus in John's Gospel.
3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
3:4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
In conclusion, the Watchtower is only right in how men remain in their unbelief. It falls short of addressing the Biblical passages that deal with man's truly fallen nature and the remedy that the Triune God has provided in the redemption of His elect.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Noah's Ark In Kentucky

I saw on Yahoo News this little statement,
Noah's Ark Tourist Attraction Sparks Debate
Tue, 7 Dec 9:01 PM EST - ABC
News 2:25 10 views

Some believe using state funds to build a Bible-themed attraction is wrong.
So I decided to look around and found this on this site.
Kentucky Offers Tax Breaks for Ark Project Kentucky's Democratic governor has signed on to the plan, promising almost $40 million in tax breaks for a project that is expected to create 900 jobs. According to a feasibility study for the park, 1.6 million visitors could show up in the first full year alone, and the project could generate $250 million in state revenue.
So which is it? Tax breaks or using State Funds to pay for a museum? Knowing how the Left loves to assume that all money belongs to Government, and if someone doesn't pay the amount of taxes they want, then they are "losing money".

Disinfo states a similar argument,
...should the state be subsidizing what is clearly a religious venture?
There it is again. No citation. No evidence offered that the State is actually giving money to this venture. It is simply assumed in their world that if someone wants to do something, the money already belongs to the government. That is just sick thinking. Windmills are subsidized. Turning corn into gasoline is subsidized. Not taxing something is not subsidizing. It is freedom.

Another interesting thing I have noticed is the flat Earth comments. All the atheists are just unable to allow another perspective of origins because it doesn't fit their dogma. At least the Governor understands free speech and freedom of thought.
"The people of Kentucky didn't elect me governor to debate religion. The elected me governor to create jobs, and that's what we're doing here," said Beshear. "Our laws don't allow us to discriminate as to entertainment subject matter of a theme park. And as long as it is legal and meets all of our criteria, I think it's clearly constitutional."
Personally, I don't care about trying to rebuild Noah's Ark. It doesn't prove anything, and only gives visitors some kind of "Bible experience". Nevertheless, if the Smithsonian can build their monuments to their religious views of origins and get actual State funding, tax breaks for the museum, which only means they get to keep their money, then certainly the Creationists have their right to build their monuments too.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rome Condemns the Gospel

I heard Dr. White read this on the Dividing Line today, and though I should not be shocked, it never ceases to amaze me when Evangelicals want to consider Rome another Christian denomination. In this document, Unigenitus, Dogmatic Constitution issued by Pope Clement XI on Sept. 8, 1713, it is stated most clearly that certain beliefs are:
Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.
Now what would be an example of a belief that is evil-sounding? Try one of my favorites.
30. All whom God wishes to save through Christ are infallibly saved.
And this one just floors me.
12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at what ever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God.
Can this really be doubted? Apparently Rome does. And the reading of the Bible?
80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.
Now I have several Roman Catholic friends and aquaintances. For most of them, they would deny that Scripture is not meant to be read for all and by all. Yet this is modern ignorant American RCs pretending that the past didn't happen. Just talk to some of the older guys. The past wasn't so long ago.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dembski Verses Hitchens

Thanks to my pastor for pointing out to me that William Dembski has recently debated the infamous atheist, Christopher Hitchens. Now to be fair, I have not listened to the debate yet, so this is just an initial comment based upon this article from BPNews found here. Yet once again, I think the Christian apologist who attempts to be consistent with atheists in sound argumentation may find this debate frustrating. As the article quotes William Dembski,
While Intelligent Design does not attempt to prove the existence of the Christian God in particular, it is "friendly toward theism" and toward belief in the loving God whom Christians worship.
This approach is doomed to failure. At this point, I will simply point the reader to an excellent series of articles by Jamin Hubner (here and here and here) and a recent debate by James White verses Silverman (here). I think you will find this debate to be the most straightforward debate you have ever heard a Christian do.

Perhaps the book/movie, Collision, between Hitchens and Douglas Wilson may come close.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Islam Violates Free Speech in Kansas

What was happening in Dearborn Michigan is no longer just a unique incident. Now we have a Pastor in Wichita, KS who has been arrested for witnessing to Muslims. So wherever Islam goes in the U.S., you may be certain you will lose your free speech rights. Islam and liberty simply cannot co-exist. Read here for story.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calvinistic Churches Growing?

Baptist Press News has as its Headline article today that the Calvinistic resurgence may not actual be real. It cites from the Barna Study found here.

What is interesting is that the supposed Young, Restless an dReformed may not be quite as young.
The Barna study explored some characteristics of the pastors aligned with the "Calvinist or Reformed" label as compared to the profile of pastors who identified themselves as "Wesleyan or Arminian." In terms of the age of pastors, among the youngest generation of pastors (ages 27 to 45), 29% described themselves as Reformed, while 34% identified as Wesleyan. Pastors associated with the Boomer generation (ages 46 to 64) were evenly split between the two theological camps: 34% Reformed, 33% Arminian. Pastors who were 65 or older were the least likely to use either term: 26% and 27%, respectively.
So if there is not a Calvinistic resurgence, where is all the hype coming from? Perhaps among the Laymen of churches? It would be interesting to see those who consider themselves theologically active in their churches as to what the general direction is.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Handel's Messiah At Macy's

Hidden among us is the Kingdom of Christ. It has invaded this Earth in a form that to the naked eye is completely missed by natural man. Yet, according to the Bible, one day the Sons of Glory shall be revealed. Here is a foretaste of that event.

Now I realize that this kind of thing has been done before apart from anything religious, and the 600 singers performing this may not even be Christian. Yet I think even that is a good Bible illustration. Separating the real thing from illusions. Handel's Messiah is simply a gift among men pointing men to Christ.

What impresses me about this video is how several shoppers just seem to go about their business, ignoring the great even that is beginning among them. However, by the end, no one is able to resist and all succumb to its majesty.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Imputation and Covenant Theology

Just a few moments ago, I read this section of Walter Chantry's booklet, Imputation of Righteouness & Covenant Theology (which may be read in full here). It explains the nature of the covenants and how God works our "collective bargaining". Now to be fair, Roman Catholics do believe in a doctrine called Original Sin. However, I think they miss the depth of the problem that Adam and his posterity have been plunged into, which is why they vehemently deny Sola Fide. Here is the relevant section:
V. The Histories of Adam & Jesus

In God’s world there is representation or collective bargaining. When the Holy One made the human race, He appointed Adam as our head. The Lord assigned Adam a test that was more than personal. It was a test for Adam and for all whom he represented. Adam was in collective bargaining for himself and for all who would be born of him by natural generation. The consequences of that test would have the most wide-ranging effect and profound impact upon everyone of his posterity, everyone who was in Adam, everyone whom he represented. It was God who set up the mechanism of representation and who appointed the representative. Adam took the test for us all.

In Romans 5:12 the Scriptures speak of this governmental arrangement: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned.” This is an astounding statement that one man has brought sin and death upon us all. That is not the common thought people have as to how God is going to deal with us.

When it says in verse 12, “and in this way death came to all men because all sinned,” it is not saying that all sinned because all did the same thing that Adam did. The proof that the verse is not saying that is found in verse 14, where we read, “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam.” Some never sinned personally as Adam did, but they were in him, represented by him. He acted for them and they die as the consequence of Adam’s first foul deed. Because of one man’s one sinful deed, all are sinners. All are constituted sinners, all are condemned and all are destined to die. Verse 18: “the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men.” Verse 19, “through the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners.” The entire passage is repetitious for emphasis that one act of the one man made many sinners and brought to the many condemnation and death.

What the passage is teaching is that the most horrible realities of our human existence are all the consequences of the one act of one man, our representative, Adam. “In sin your mother conceived you,” (Psalm 51:5) and “from the womb you have been wayward speaking lies,” (Psalm 58:3). Your sinful constitution is the direct result of the one act of the one man in his failure of the representative test. From the first instant of your existence, you have been condemned by God because of the one act of the one man. From the time of your conception, death began to stalk you with the assurance that you were his as a consequence of the one act of the one man.

To be very blunt, God holds you responsible for another man’s act. The Lord is not arbitrary about his. It does not mean that, when you stand before God and the books are opened, you will be credited with the sin of some unknown, distant relative. This mechanism of being credited with another man’s act is only employed in the case of divinely appointed representatives. Adam was such a person.

There is only one other individual who has served in a similar capacity as representative for vast numbers of the human race in God’s scheme of government. Only one other was appointed by God for collective bargaining with heaven on behalf of members of the human race. That other person is Jesus Christ. To show that He is the only man beside Adam to serve as a federal representative, Jesus is called the second Adam, (I Corinthians 15:45).

Romans 5:18, 19 clearly draws the parallel function of Christ and Adam. “Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be constituted righteous.” Because of the one righteous act of the one man, Jesus Christ, multitudes will be justified before God (declared to have the righteousness of God).

All who were in Adam were constituted sinners, were condemned, and were sentenced to die. All who were in Christ will be constituted righteous, will be justified, and will have eternal life. How can God credit the account of a sinner, like Abraham or like me, with the righteousness of God (Romans 4)? The answer: on the basis of God’s great representative principle, of His governing the human race in a federal manner, of His administering humanity under a covenantal arrangement (Romans 5).

This is a great fact of our world. God governs the human race on a collective basis, under heads whom He appoints. Actions and decisions of the two federal heads are imputed or credited to those whom they represent. In other words, we bear the responsibility for what these representatives have done. In one case, the act of one man led to condemnation and death for a vast multitude. In the other case, the one act of one man led to justification and life for a vast multitude. Our lives are profoundly determined in time and in eternity by representatives. The histories of Adam and Jesus are not merely interesting curiosities of the past. They determine one’s destiny. These two acted for us as representatives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Despising False Myths about Rome

Tiber Jumper posted on his blog an educational tool for those of us "who despise catholicism". Now I must confess, I don't sit around here and think of how many ways I despise Roman Catholicism. Yet I suppose I do despise it because it has perverted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But just to be clear, I also despise the Mormon Church for its perversion of the Bible's teaching of the One True and Living God. I despise the Watchtower on almost every front. I despise Islam as well. But again, I really don't sit around here and think of how to despise other people's beliefs. So "despising" just seems to be a term that is used because everybody else is against me. Rome verses the world.

Now here is a list of myths that he offers.
Because Catholics reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they think they can work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by works . WRONG
Catholics think the pope does not sin . WRONG
Catholics re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do) WRONG
Catholics think Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped WRONG
Catholics worship statues WRONG (for the 150th time on this blog) WRONG
Catholics think they can't pray to God directly but have to go through saints WRONG
Catholics conjure the dead WRONG
Catholics believe people can be saved after they die WRONG
The Catholic Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell WRONG
The Crusades are an example of Catholic aggression WRONG
The Inquisition(s) killed hundreds of thousands of people and targeted Jews WRONG
Pope Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope" and didn't do a thing to help Jews during WWII WRONG
The Catholic Church wasn't around until the time of Constantine, a pagan who controlled the Church. WRONG
The Catholic Church did more than baptize pagan calendar days for the good of Christ, it is pagan in its very roots. WRONG
So lets deal with a few that I think are relevent by asking Tiber some questions.
Because Catholics reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they think they can work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by works . WRONG
If you are not saved by faith alone, then how can your personal works not be a part of how you are saved (no matter how you nuance them with grace, they would merit the merits of Christ from the Treasuery of merits...correct?)? If not, how may grace be grace if we have to add human merit in any way? to put it another way, if I just have to add one work to my faith, say circucmcision, how is that not being saved by my works, no matter how much they are done in faith?

Do you see Christ as your Covenantal Representative in your place, or do you see his life, death, burial and resurrection as something that makes you savable, but not perfected?
Catholics re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do) WRONG
Perhaps many people misunderstand the nuances offered by Rome, but Rome does teach that Christ's sacrifice is "represented" literally every time the Mass is offered. What is offensive is that the Mass never actually takes away anyone's sin or propitiates sin. A man could take the Mass everyday for his entire life, and yet die apart from Christ upon committing a mortal sin on his last day.

The Mass also denies the doctrine of Original Sin properly defined by the Covenants of the Bible. It also denies Christ's perfect sacrifice to establish a perfect New Covenant in which sinners are perfected forever through faith alone in the Covenant Head/Representative. The Mass is one of the means by which the church controls the grace of God piece-ealing it out till you have achieved final justification. So I would love to ask, Do you have perfect peace with God, with assurance that you possess eternal life now and forever?
Catholics think Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped WRONG
Apart from Muslims, I am not certain if there are any Protestants that think this. The criticism of Reformed Protestants is that with all of the attempts at saying praying to Mary is not worship, by differentiating between veneration and adoration, as being unanswered Biblically. Is this distinction Biblical? If Moses caught you with candles and incense while you were praying to Mary, would he really accept your distinction?
The Catholic Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell WRONG
If you were living during the Council of Florence, would you really believe this, or would you have to wait till the modern church to explain what that council meant when it condemned everyone outside of Rome's church?

So back to Mary, Tiber, do you pray this prayer?
O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the goods which God grants to us miserable sinners, and for this reason, has He made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee; come, then, to my help, dearest Mother, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands, I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me; for, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; not even from Jesus, my Judge Himself, because, by one prayer from thee, He will be appeased. But one thing I fear; that, in the hour of temptation, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me then the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Great God Demands a Great Response

Conferences and Events
•Reformation Weekend - St. Francis, KS
Reformation Weekend

October 29-31, 2010

First Baptist Church
420 S. Scott

St. Francis, KS

A Great God Demands a Great Response

Meeting times:

Friday 7:00 pm (session 1) The Great Confession

Saturday 10:30 am (session 2) The Great Commitment

12:00 pm (dinner is provided)

1:30 pm (session 3) The Great Commandment Part 1

3:00 pm (break)

7:00 pm (session 4) The Great Commandment Part 2

Sunday 10:30 am (session 5) The Great Commission

12:00 pm (dinner is provided)

For more information or lodging recommendations call: 785-332-3921 or 785-332-2959, or email: Our website is: Lodging is available in homes on a first come basis. In St. Francis there is Dusty Farmer Motel 785-332-8924, Cook's Empire Motel 785-332-2231, and Homesteader Motel 785-332-607. In Goodland (35 miles south) there are a number of motels including Comfort Inn 785-899-7181, Days Inn 785-890-3644, Super 8 785-890-7566, Motel 6, 785 890-5672, and Holiday Inn Express 877 863-4780.

Our conference speaker will be Bill Ascol. Bill is Senior Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma. He began his ministry at Bethel in September 2005 after 28 years ministering in Louisiana Baptist churches. He is a former Vice-President of the Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention as well as a former President of the Louisiana Baptist Pastors' Conference. He currently serves in an advisory capacity to Founders Ministries and is the Coordinator of the Saved By Faith Youth Challenge Camps for young people. He received the MDiv degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill and his wife, Karen, have five children and five grandchildren.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stanley Fish On Religious Freedom, Islam and the State

Stanley Fish wrote an editorial yesterday for the NYTimes titled, Serving Two Masters: Sharia Law and the Secular State. Now I have for years said that Liberalism can not resist Islam, I really don't think they know what to do with their political ally.

If one studies the issues, I think it can be seen in general that Christianity, properly understood, is a religion for all peoples. What I mean is that Christianity does not necessarily overthrow a culture but may instead redeem it. Of course there may be some cultures that are so debased that, once a majority becomes converted, an overthrow to the previous way of life may occur. We see this a few times in the book of Acts where certain religious businesses come into conflict with people not purchasing their idolatrous fixes. However, Islam is simply not that way. Islam seeks to overthrow cultures and convert the world to 7th century Islam. That is what Sharia Law is all about.

This paragraph offers the initial question being discussed.

The conflict between religious imperatives and the legal obligations one has as a citizen of a secular state — a state that does not take into account the religious affiliations of its citizens when crafting laws — is an old one (Scalia is quoting Reynolds v. United States, 1878); but in recent years it has been felt with increased force as Muslim immigrants to Western secular states evidence a desire to order their affairs, especially domestic affairs, by Shariah law rather than by the supposedly neutral law of a godless liberalism. I say “supposedly” because of the obvious contradiction: how can a law that refuses, on principle, to recognize religious claims be said to be neutral with respect to those claims? Must a devout Muslim (or orthodox Jew or fundamentalist Christian) choose between his or her faith and the letter of the law of the land?

Now obviously we have seen Baptists stand for Prohibition, and so Christians are often supposedly forced to choose either the State's Law or God's (I guess God is against wine). However, this is a false dichotomy that Christians have disagreed upon. But what about the issue of Abortion or slavery. Although Christians also disagree on these issues, to argue that the State may remain neutral would be absurd on its face. But again, we are talking about fundamental issues and the basis for the rule of law.

So Fish's question is correct, can a law that refuses, on principle, to recognize religious claims be said to be neutral with respect to those claims?

This is a great question and the answer that Christianity has offered since the Reformation has been the solution...for the most part. The answer that Christ and His Apostles give is that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world. Therefore, the two are not the same Kingdom. Therefore, the specific beliefs of Christians that pertain to the church and her ordinances are not to be confused with the State.

This is where the difficulty lies for Christians. The State is not "neutral". If the Christian faith is correct, then we must all acknowledge that God is the one who institutes the State. Now obviously, not everyone is a Christian, so how can this work? Though this seems troubling to many, it is actually the best part of our system of government. We all have a voice in the public sphere. The Christian is free to argue that abortion or slavery (as practiced in the South) is wrong. And he may do so on the basis of religion's revelation. If he is able to persuade his fellow man, then so be it.

Sharia law is simply not the same. In Islam, there is no such thing as a separation of Church and State. By definition, there can not be a separation.

Fish offers an example of Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury's

suggestion others had made before him) that in some areas of the law a “supplementary jurisdiction,” deriving from religious law, be recognized by the liberal state, which, rather than either giving up its sovereignty or invoking it peremptorily to still all other voices, agrees to share it in limited areas where “more latitude [would be] given in law to rights and scruples rooted in religious identities.

The solutions offered by religious scholars seem problematic as Fish notes,

The words to stumble on are “reasonable” and “just,” which at once introduce the requirement and indicate how hard, if not impossible, it will be to meet it: “reasonable” means confirming to rational, not religious, principles; “just” means respecting the equality of all, not just male or faithful, individuals.

How can laws be based upon such an idea if Islam is not able to keep their "reasonable" laws from harming those who would disagree with them? As I said earlier, Christianity has a solution to this dilemma. Islam does not and sees no need for one.

Fish cites Milbank as arguing that Christianity has the ability to show respect for Islam where a secular liberal state can not. In the end, I don't see that Fish really comes to a solution. It seems to me he is on the right path in acknowledging Christianity as a solution, but I am not certain if he sees the "Two-Kingdom" model as a part of his terminology?

My personal opinion is that perhaps the term "secular" needs to be more carefully defined. Whenever I have this conversation with atheists, at first they seem to like the idea of my understanding of Church and State. The problem always arises when the definition of secular, as being applied to the State, comes in to play. I reject that secular has to mean "Godless". At the same time, I don't think Christians need to argue a particularly Christian (ie Baptist, Presbyterian) position to persuade his fellow man of the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God". The problem, however, will become reversed. Instead of the State being hostile to religious claims, it will be seen as hostile to the atheist.

The truth is that this is God's world. He is the Creator of all things as Fish rightly points out that a so-called Christian worldview has a "teleological view of history notably lacking in liberalism". So once again, our nation is going to have to go back and rethink these issues in light of Islam. Do we go back to a definition of secular that the Founders would have embraced? And if so, how can we as a nation embrace an immigrant Islamic people that fundamentally, must overthrow our way of life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

O'Donnell On the First Amendment

Everyone is making a big deal out of Christine O'Donnell's statement about the separation of church and state. YahooNews is reporting/editorializing about her comments.
Keeping government out of religion and religion out of government is a core principle of the First Amendment. The first 16 words say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That means government can't limit our personal faith or favor one religion over others. It also means that creationism cannot be taught in America's public schools.
The fact that they wrote this paragraph shows their ignorance about the point that she made and their willingness to try to help the Democrat running against her and say and do anything to fulfill that agenda.

There is nothing in the Firsts Amendment that says creationism can not be taught in schools. The Left's assumption at this point is that creationism is a religion that would be established if it were permitted to be taught. If that were the case, then the Declaration of Independence could not be taught in our schools either. Wouldn't that be just a little insane?

But notice the clause that is overlooked.
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
What is so difficult about this clause? But again, the political Left gets to define what science is and thereby make creationism a religion. How do they do this. Well, they simply define science from a purely naturalistic perspective. How are they able to do so? They just assert that is the case, and don't you dare question their ultimate authority.

It is true the the Framers wanted to keep the institution of the church separate from the state, but they believed both institutions were ordained by God as, again, can be seen from the Declaration.

So in conclusion, they proceed to lecture us all, not just O'Donnell, about the Constitution in the rest of their editorial. But the fact is, they haven't the slightest idea of what they are saying. For example, they say,
The separation of church and state means that teachers in public schools can't teach their faith to their students.
This is a tactic used by the Left to get religious people to keep God out of the public sphere. It assumes that because someone uses God the Creator as the basis of their arguments for a political policy, say..."thou shalt not murder", then they are forcing their private religious views on the rest of us. But by doing this, they undercut the foundation for any laws. Laws simply become rules to govern society by the elite. The State becomes the ultimate authority and the measly little citizens should just bow down to the Emperor.

Hidden within the article is a passing sentence in which YahooNews defends Coons in passing. Making it no big deal that he was clueless as to the rights of the First Amendment.

Later in the debate, O'Donnell challenged Coons to name the five freedoms of the First Amendment. He came up four freedoms short. It seems to me, if she knew the other 4, then perhaps she understands the first one better than they do? I think so.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One More Comment On Mulch and Abortion

I did need to comment one more thing on this statement by Mulch.
Prior to that decision [Roe v. Wade], many women were having children who were ill-prepared to take care of and raise them with good parental skills. As a result of that, these children grew up to commit violent acts.
This kind of reasoning is basically why the founders of the abortion movement started in the first place. Abortion was designed by radical Leftists to rid the world of the unwanteds, ie: black people, poor people, etc. As writes in this article,

From the beginning, Sanger advocacy of sex education reflected her interest in population control and birth prevention among the "unfit." Her first handbook, published for adolescents in 1915 and entitled, What Every Boy and Girl Should
Know, featured a jarring afterword:

It is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one cure for both, and that is to stoop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them.
Later in the article the author states,

Sanger advocated the mandatory sterilization of the insane and feebleminded." Although this does not diminish her legacy as the key force in the birth control movement, it raises questions much like those now being raised about our nation's slaveholding founders. How do we judge historical figures? How are their contributions placed in context?

It is easy to see why there is some antipathy toward Sanger among people of color, considering that, given our nation's history, we are the people most frequently described as "unfit" and "feebleminded."

Although, I am certain Bob Mulch would find racism applied to abortion abhorrent, I would have to ask why? With the government's destruction of the inner city black family through the welfare system, would they not qualify and fit the definition that he offers in the quote above?

It is simply a dangerous idea to empower any group of people to "decide" who is fit to live and die. Of course, in Bob Mulch's world, to even challenge the assumption that babies in the womb are not people with certain inalienable rights is never even part of the discourse.

In my opinion, it seems Bob is struggling with the problem of evil in the world. He wants to rectify it while ignoring the Creator's right to govern this world. In fact, it is my uderstanding that Bob rejects the Christian God. Yet by doing so, he rejects the very foundation for there being a problem at all. Even more, he rejects the only solution to the problem of sin and death.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bob Mulch On Abortion

I realize I haven't been posting much lately, but when you have a kid in high school, life radically changes for the busier. Hopefully I will be able to get back to interacting with the WT issue, but in this week's local paper, a friend of mine, Bob Mulch, wrote a letter concerning abortion entitled, Conservative Politicians Have No Concern For Welfare, Rights of Women.

Now what is interesting about this article is that much of what has been said has also been discussed on a personal level between us. Being that we have discussed some of these things, I would think that he would have updated his form of argumentation to take into consideration opposing views. Sadly, his letter acts as if the Prolife position is unknown and "conservative" politicians are just doing things to be mean to women. In fact, my prolife friend, Dr. James White, a christian apologist, has been unable to find a prochoice philosopher to debate because they know their position, when publicly debated, loses every time. Yet my friend Bob Mulch seems to be unaware that his position has been fully dealt with by the "other side" or he is simply unable to hear due to what I believe to be his emotional proclivities on such an emotional issue.

For instance, in his article, he wrote,
One night an officer and I were called to meet a person on a street corner. We pulled up to a young woman who was crying. We seated her in the back seat of the patrol car and found out that she was only 13 years of age and that she was only about six blocks from home and had been walking along the street when a man grabbed her and took her into some bushes and raped her.
To which he concludes what most of us would,
This would be an event that I would never forget.

For much of the article, my friend makes great use of the emotional argumentation about back alley abortions and the fact that women get pregnant due to being raped. This form of argumentation and the statistical issues Abortionists have used have been blown out of the water for decades. The entire premise is based upon a lie. But let's grant the false premise of his article for the moment. This is what I find particularly deceiving. He states,

Our conservative legislators who are antiabortion [never prolife of course, perhaps I should start saying he is anti-life?] fail to realize that the crime rate in the United States was going up through the '60s, '70s, and '80s and surprisingly started to go downward during the '90s. Researchers have found that this downward trend was a result of Roe versus Wade.

Now this is a simply amazing conclusion. The fact that researchers have also found violence against children can be linked to abortion is totally overlooked. But what evidence does he offer for this conclusion? Nothing! That's the beauty about statistics. You can force them to say whatever you want. Never mind the fact that a child being murdered and ripped limb from limb within the mother's womb is being ignored in this entire discussion.

But a further conclusion gets even better.
Prior to that decision [Roe v. Wade], many women were having children who were ill-prepared to take care of and raise them with good parental skills. As a result of that, these children grew up to commit violent acts.
Granting this false premise, we should just kill our children in the womb because that would keep bad kids from running around with bad [relatively speaking of course] parents.

But again, what does rape have to do with this conclusion? I haven't the foggiest idea other than Bob Mulch played the emotional rape card in order to get the unwary reader to agree with his illogical conclusion that all women should have this "right" to murder their babies and rip them limb from limb for the good parental reasons of less violence.

Then Mulch concludes to tell us what is in the "best interest" of women legislatively. Isn't that a hoot. A man is now going to tell us what is best for women. If a conservative made this statement, the feminists would be up in arms. Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.

Now for his last line.
They [women] need to actively work at controlling their destiny for
themselves and their daughters.
Following this reasoning could lead to a lot of dark places if we took it to an extreme. It is true that Americans have traditionally stood for the individual to choose for himself what he wishes to be, but this should (as I think liberals would agree to some degree) not deny the created order and the fact that we live in a sinful and fallen world.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Jesus Judged the Israelites in the Wilderness

An aquaintance of mine pointed out to me a textual variant at Jude 1:5. Now it is not so much the variant but what the text is about. He wrote,

There is some variation w/ the greek, some say "κυριος" [Lord] and others say "ιησους" [Joshua], but off the top of my head, I don't think that "κυριος" in the NT ever refers to the Father. (do you know of an example?) Plus, verse 4 calls Jesus both "κυριον"and "δεσποτην"! So, Jesus destroyed those who did not believe in the OT after he had saved them from Egypt. Paints a little different picture than the long hair fairy Jesus!
I decided to get Philip Comfort's, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary, out and see what it had to say about the variant.

Among all the readings cited above, the first and second variants are the most remarkable, for they say that "Jesus delivered his people out of Egypt." This reading is found in A B 33 17 39 [among others] cop Origen Cyril Jerome Bede- an impressive collection of witnesses. P72 may possibly be an indirect witness to the reading with "Jesus," because it shows that the scribe had before him in his exemplar a messianic title--"Christ" (="Messiah"). At any rate, it is easier to argue (from a textual perspective) that the reading with "Jesus" is the one from which all the others deviated than to argue that the reading with "Lord" (or "God") was changed to "Jesus," because scribes were not known for fabricating difficult readings.

Some scholars, such as Wikgren have argued that Jude may have written (Joshua) in Jude 5 intending "Joshua" as in Heb 4:8. But this is very unlikely, because Joshua led the Israelites into the good land of Canaan, but not out of Egypt, and Joshua certainly did not destroy those who did not believe (Jude 5b). This was a divine activity. Thus, it is likely that Jesus, the I Am (see john 8:58), who was present with the Israelites and operative in their deliverance from Egypt. Paul shared a similar view inasmuch as he proclaimed that "Christ" was the one the Israelites constantly "tested" during these times (see 1 Cor 10:4,9). Thus, the reading "Jesus," though difficult, is not impossible. As such, it should be accepted as the original reading (as it was by Nestle and FF Bruce). The first edition of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament contained the reading "Jesus" in the text. But this was changed in the third edition, when a slim majority of the editors voted to put the reading with "Lord" in the text and the one with "Jesus" in the margin. (Metzger and Wikgren voted against this decision).

The first English translation to adopt the wording "Jesus" was NLT. (As the NT coordinator who proposed this reading to the NLT committee, I was glad to see them adopt it.) Two other recent versions have also adopted this reading: TNIV (a change from the NIV) and NET. Otherwise, it has been relegated to the margin of all other versions. NASB notes that "Two early manuscripts read 'Jesus.'" Those manuscripts are A and B.
So whether or not "Jesus" is the original reading, a sound number of scholars believe "Jesus" is the original reading. That is quite compelling in itself. However, even if "Kurios" is the original reading, the overwhelming majority of times Kurios is used, it refers to Christ. Therefore, the NT writers believed that Jesus existed as Yahweh prior to His birth in Bethlehem. There is just no way to get around it.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Is The End Near?

I was just looking at the August issue of the Watchtower, and before I go on to respond to the next article on freewill, I think I need to make a comment Watchtower's answer to the question "What must you do to survive the End?"

The article goes to 2 Peter 3:5-7 and comments:

Live by God's moral standards. Those who wish to survive the end wil perform "holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion," wrote Peter. (2 Peter 3:11) Notice that Peter emphasizes "holy acts of conduct" and "deeds of godly devotion." more is involved, therefore, than a superficial confession of faith or last-minute effort to put things right with God.

Now I must confess it is right and good to understand that last minute
efforts to avoid judgment or superficial confessions are self-deceptive at best.
Yet the article goes on to tell us what acts are
What specific acts and deeds does God find acceptable? Why not
compare what you know with what the Bible teaches on this subject.
Here is the problem. If everyone could just understand the difference between descriptive passages verses imperative passages, we would probably stop talking past each other. Of course a true conversion will bring about good works. Yet the answer given here is no different from Rome's or any other faith that demands personal good works as the basis for salvation.

The Watchtower has no Gospel. It is the same as Rome's treadmill of sacraments without the terms. It does not have a proper view of sin or grace. When talking with my friend Russell, he is never able to respond to my question, "When may a person have assurance of salvation?" In fact, his response has always been in the negative. No one can know if they will be in paradise tomorrow.

I thank God that Christ, His life, His death, His burial, His resurrection and His ascension is the basis for the forgiveness of my sin and all my righteousness. On that basis all of my hope is in the Son of God which can not fail.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rush Comments on Darwinism

Rush made a statement on today's program that many of the ills in this modern world are due to Charles Darwin, Freud and Karl Marx.

Some time back I argued on this blog that the Global Warming hoax is a scientific hoax that can only be outdown by the theory of evolution. Well, today on Rush's show, he actually tackled that. He was going right down the fundamental assumptions that have brought about such poor foundations for government. Of course, an atheist caller had to call in and voice his opinion.

CALLER: Well, I'm not a professional scientist, but I will say this, that just as far as evolution is concerned, if you look at the bone structures of human beings versus the bone structures of apes --

Of course, I have heard this argument in several forms. The caller also mentions DNA similarities among other things. While I was listening all I could think of is my own personal car illustration. Well, Rush was reading my mind, or as he would probably say, I was reading his. He volleyed right back with the fact that all cars have steering wheels among 98% of other things. Does that mean they were evolved or created?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The End of Evil Deeds Is Assured!

The next article in this Watchtower, The End of Evil Deeds Is Assured, must be one of the most Christ-less articles I have ever read by someone that supposedly believes in Jesus as Savior. The article rightly points out five promises found in the Bible that teaches what the end of the Age will entail.
The wicked will be completely removed. Psalm 37

The will be no more oppression. Psalm 72, Romans 8

People's material needs will be satisfied. Isa 65:21-22

Justice will prevail Luke 18:7,8

Selfishness will be replaced by righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13
Having said all of this, the foundation offered for this result of a peaceful age to come has no basis in reality nor Scripture. For instance, the very first paragraph states,
He has also given us free will and the ability to exercise self control, making it possible for us to choose not to do bad things.
And again on page 7,
It is the fact that millions of people worldwide today have already enjoyed success in ridding themselves of selfish, immoral, or violent personality traits and have learned to be honest, peaceable, and kind individuals.
So the obvious question is how does a freewill get a man better? Have we really seen men rid themselves of sin? According to the WT, it is by a knowledge of God that brings about the change in men.

Now here is the language barrier that one must scale with a Jehovah's Witness. It is true that having a proper knowledge of God is why men change, but what is meant by a JW verses one in the Reformed faith is radically different. It is the Reformed/Covenantal view that remains consistent in answering the JW. For the majority of Evangelicals, it is precisely here that their theology fails, for they are at a fundamental point, in agreement with the JW.

Earlier this summer, Russell, my JW friend and I had a long discussion about the Gospel. His definition of the Gospel is that God's Kingdom or rule will come to Earth. By believing in this message, men must choose to become righteous and learn from Jehovah how to live righteously. In doing so, eventually there will be a New Heavens and Earth.

It was here that I asked him a simple question. Based upon his views of the Kingdom, what is the difference between a 5 century BC Jew and his own view? In other words, a Jewish man living under the Mosaic Covenant already believed what he was saying. So why is his view any different? To put it yet another way, why do we need a New Covenant? What did Jesus actually come to do that Moses could not have done?

From a Covenantal viewpoint the answer is quite simple. I took Russell to Hebrews 8 where the writer deals with this exact question.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Heb 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
The problem with the First Covenant was that the people broke it. Why? Because of their union with Adam in his sin and their Original Sin nature. The assumption that man has some kind of freewill is simply not found in the text. Men are not in need of a Good moral teacher or example. Men are not in need of getting over some addiction. Men are not in need of improving their status or marriage. Men are not in need being satisfied with material things. Men are in need of someone fulfilling the Law of God externally to them and taking their sins away permanently.

The New Covenant is not just something written upon the heart because we chose Christ. It is written because God has united us to Christ through faith.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
In this chapter, we see that it is God who writes His laws upon our hearts. It is God who establishes this Covenant and forgives the sins of His people forever. As we may read from the prior chapter, it based upon the finished work of Christ. It is Christ who intercedes on behalf of men as their High Priest. This is not some hypothetical salvation. This is something Christ does in perfect union with the Father.
Heb 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
Heb 7:23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,
Heb 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
Watchtower Theology does not have a perfect Christ that saves perfectly because man is not in need of a perfect Savior. Why? Because man has some kind of freewill. Freewill reigns supreme in WT theology (as in may Evangelical circles).

So I will ask the same rhetorical question of Russell as I ask all of my Dispensational Evangelical friends. Why does man not sin in the new heavens and earth? Is it even possible? If not, why not?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why Do People Do Bad Things?

In the first article, Why Do People Do Bad Things?, five reasons are offered. What is helpful about this article is the teaching that all men sin, including the admission that "shocking deeds are often perpetrated by seemingly ordinary people in the neighborhood". Yet, as we will see, all five reasons that are offered only explain the temptations and the means by which men are brought to the point of committing sin. The article never deals with the real issue of man's heart and union with Adam, nor does it deal with the doctrine of Original Sin and its effects on the human race.

Reason #1: Mere oppression may make a wise one act crazy. - Ecclesiastes 7:7

The first sentence reads,
The Bible acknowledges that at times people feel driven by force of circumstance to do what they otherwise would not do.

Now we have all experienced this in our lives. We have seen this in our neighbor's lives. Biblically, we have seen such examples as Abraham deceiving Pharaoh in order to protect his own hide.

Yet another explanation is much more Biblical for this. It is God who brings about circumstances in His divine Providence in order that the true nature and character of our hearts be displayed. A tree is known by its fruit. It is God who forces the creature to display its fruit for the Day of Judgment.

Another assumption in this thinking by the WT [Watchtower] is that men are able to normally choose good because they aren't really that bad. It is only bad circumstances that makes men bad. However, this denies the Biblical teaching of Total Depravity that we see in the Psalms as cited by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3.

Reason #2: The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. - 1 Timothy 6:10
The old adage, Every man has his price, implies that even good people are willing to violate the rules of decency and morality when enough money is involved.

Now this section seems to admit that at least some men only seem to be good. However, this section does not go into the issues of the heart and that all men are sinful from the heart. That some men have a personality change when tempted is a reflection of the deeper issues. The love for money is not merely external or a surface level sin.

Reason #3: Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad. - Ecclesiastes 8:11
That scripture points out the human tendency to think that one can get away with anything when those in authority are not watching.

This explanation simply explains what happens when the restraint of sin has been removed. It is true that God in His Providence has restrained the evil intentions of our hearts by using government officials or even our parents in the disciplining of our children. But that is just the point! This explanation only tells us why men sin when given the opportunity in certain circumstances. It doesn't really explain the why. Once again, the WT falls short.

Reason #4: Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin. - James 1:14,15
All humans are susceptible to wrong thinking. Everyday, we are bombarded with countless suggestions and temptations to do wrong...Even so, the outcome depends on the choice one makes...

Now this section is technically true. Yet again, the presuppositions that are poured into the words make for a radically different viewpoint. It seems to be simply assumed that mankind is some kind of morally neutral sinner. This assumes freewill. It is precisely because of this viewpoint that Christ is not to be found anywhere in these articles. Freewill leads to the idea that we only need a Savior who helps us, not one that actually comes down from heaven to be our Substitute. It is also why freewill leads inevitably to groups abandoning the Trinity. Who needs a God/Man to be our Savior when we only need divine assistance?

Reason #5: He that is walking with the wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly. - Proverbs 13:20
There is no minimizing the influence-for good or for bad-that our associates can have on us. So often, people do what they have no intention of doing-all because of peer pressure or, as many say, because they fell into bad company, with disastrous results.

Again, this moralism is a truth anyone may recognize. One does not have to be a Jehovah's Witness or attend a Kingdom Hall to know this. Yet an everyday moralistic truth is not our true problem. So once again, this only explains the means by which men choose to do the particular sins they do.

So in conclusion, all of these explanations for why we do the particular sins we do does not answer the deeper question. If none of these things affected a particular person, does this mean that person is not a sinner in desperate need of Christ?

All of this assumes a freewill of man to be able to choose the right path and ignores his evil heart and desperate need for Christ. It ignores the covenantal nature of Adam's relationship in the Garden of Eden. It ignores Adams Federal Headship over all of mankind. It ignores the biblical meaning of Christ's death and resurrection. In sum, it ignores the Gospel.

In the next post, we will see the fundamental problem of freewill pervading the end of evil deeds.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This Week's Watchtower

My friend Russell, the JW, stopped by with his weekly Watchtower tract. In this Sept 1, 2010, issue there are a couple of articles that I will just not be able to let pass by without comment. The first two are tied together, Why Do People Do Bad Things, The End of Evil Deeds Is Assured!, and He Dignifies Us With Free Will. A separate article, 500 Years of Calvinism: What Has It Achieved?, will also need a few comments.

Perhaps later today and tomorrow I will manage to get to them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reformation Weekend

I guess it is now official. This year's Reformation Weekend Conference at FBC St. Francis will have Bill Ascol speaking on, A Great God Demands a Great Response. If you are able to attend, please come!

First Baptist Church
420 S. Scott

St. Francis, KS

A Great God Demands a Great Response

Meeting times:

Friday 7:00 pm (session 1) The Great Confession

Saturday 10:30 am (session 2) The Great Commitment

12:00 pm (dinner is provided)

1:30 pm (session 3) The Great Commandment Part 1

3:00 pm (break)

7:00 pm (session 4) The Great Commandment Part 2

Sunday 10:30 am (session 5) The Great Commission

12:00 pm (dinner is provided)

For more information call: 785-332-3921 or 785-332-2959, or email: Our website is: Lodging is available in homes on a first come basis. In St. Francis there is Dusty Farmer Motel 785-332-8924, Cook's Empire Motel 785-332-2231, and Homesteader Motel 785-332-607. In Goodland (35 miles south) there are a number of motels including Comfort Inn 785-899-7181, Days Inn 785-890-3644, Super 8 785-890-7566, Motel 6, 785 890-5672, and Holiday Inn Express 877 863-4780.

Our conference speaker will be Bill Ascol. Bill is Senior Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma. He began his ministry at Bethel in September 2005 after 28 years ministering in Louisiana Baptist churches. He is a former Vice-President of the Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention as well as a former President of the Louisiana Baptist Pastors' Conference. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Founders Ministries and is the Coordinator of the Saved By Faith Youth Challenge Camps for young people. He received the MDiv degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill and his wife, Karen, have five children and three grandchildren.

St. Francis is located in Cheyenne County, Kansas, in the far reaches of Northwest Kansas. As of the 2000 census the county population is 3,165. The 2006 census estimate is 2,911. Within Cheyenne County are the cities of Bird City and Saint Francis. As of the 2000 census, St Francis had a population of 1,497. The 2006 census estimate is 1360. You can read more about the area at the following web sites.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reconciliation: Theology Matters

Well, the next chapter is called, Important Recall Notice. It is only two pages. Here is one paragraph,
The Manufacturer, who is nether liable nor at fault for this defect [sin: Sub-sequential Internal Non-morality], is providing factory authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect. The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required!
After reading these two pages, I must admit I was not able to read through the last chapter, Consecration. I did take a brief look at it though. On page 47 he defines a consecrated Christian.
A consecrated Christian is a person who has been separated attitudinally from the unregenerate as well as the carnal Christian in that their desire tends towards honoring Christ in their life.
First, I must say that I agree with some of the things I have read about the Christian life. However, this definition is just not a biblically sound premise to view the Christian life. As a Christian, who stands firmly in the Reformed camp, I simply reject the definition offered above. There is no such thing as a "carnal Christian". Now I realize the problems within this kind of discussion that leads to the attempt to make categories such as carnal Christian. Again, these false categories cause more confusion and tend to come out of poor theological systems than they do Scripture.

In conclusion, there is much good to Pastor Ward Clinton's book, Reconciliation. A brand new Christian might even find it helpful. In the end, I take the position that Theology Matters, and this method of teaching and the particular doctrines that Pastor Clinton seems to hold are too inconsistent to make this a book one that I would recommend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quote of the Day


You know what? If the media, three years ago, if the media had spent half the time trying to figure out who Barack Obama is, just half the time as they have spent on who is this pastor in Florida, Terry Jones, if they would have invested half as much time in Obama as they have in this preacher, he might not be president today. Do you realize, a guy with a flock of 50 in the church, who's talking about burning some books, he's getting more media attention than the president of the United States got, in terms who he is, what motivates him, what's inspired him, how did he turn out this way, how did he become such a fringe figure? Which is understandable, because that's who they are -- they're protecting Obama. They're all members of the ruling class; he's one of them.
I couldn't agree more.

Reconciliation part 4, Propitiation

OK, I have finished the third chapter, Propitiation. Now I really am not certain how to interact with this chapter. It has almost nothing on the subject. In fact, most of the chapter restates much of what has already been argued for in the earlier chapters. If I had to recommend to an average layman Clinton's Reconciliation verses a far more difficult book, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris, on the subject of propitiation, I would probably lean to the more technical work by Morris.

One positive aspect is that he has a correct hermeneutic in how one should read the Old Testament. He states on page 36,
By viewing the Old Testament system of sacrifices through New Testament lenses it is fairly easy to realize that that system pointed forward in time to the work that would be accomplished by Christ Jesus.

However, he spends almost no time explaining the Old Testament sacrificial system.

Another positive aspect of this chapter is that Clinton does make clear he rejects Eternal Justification. Page 39 starts with this paragraph,
If persons are justified by faith, then they are not justified from eternity, for we begin to believe at a given point in time, not eternity past else we would never fall into the class of unregenerate.
So now that we sort of have that cleared up, he then seems to muddy the waters. In the next paragraph he states,

In order to be justified by the law one must keep the whole law without failing in even the smallest particular and no man has been able to do that which is why we need that measure of faith which God imparts to each one of us in the necessary quantity.
I have no idea what he means by "imparts to each one of us in the necessary quantity". For he later writes about regeneration in the power of the Holy Spirit,

A great deal of debate still flows as to whether or not the human agent has the ability to resist the overtures of the Holy Spirit...
While he admits on page 32, the previous chapter,

The children of disobedience, also known as unregenerate or pre-converted, are incapable of doing a single thing which is pleasing to God...
It should be obvious as to what power the Holy Spirit has in the raising of a dead sinner, but that is part of the problem when one holds to a Roman view of man and grace. This causes the language barrier in which we end up talking past each other.

For instance, on page 43 he cites Romans 8:32,

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Now I must grant that this book is meant to be brief, therefore my criticism of this may be harsh, but I simply cannot see how this text can be used and not explained. It is his citations of texts like this that cause me to think he must be arguing some kind of reformed/Calvinistic position. Paul is arguing in Romans 8 the perfection of the work of God in Christ, not a mere hypothetical salvation. Paul is arguing that Christ's work of satisfying the wrath of God is a perfect work in behalf of the elect alone. Which is why Paul gives to us the result of this work in what has been called the "Great Chain of Salvation".

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
To which Paul concludes,

Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
In conclusion, the chapter on propitiation has almost nothing on the subject. Even the classic text of 1 John 2:2 is not mentioned until it is quoted as the last paragraph, 1 John 2:1-6. He also continues with the use of cliches, ie: comparing Jesus to a battery, etc..

So although there is much good that is said, it passes by the great opportunities to demonstrate from the text of Scripture what Christ's work has done, especially in the area of propitiation.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Reconciliation part 3, The Language Barrier

1) Now his second chapter, Reconciliation, starts with mentioning conflict resolution in the context of the now defunct system of Apartheid. He discusses the "academic circles attempts" to use reconciliation without the "religious" aspects of forgiveness. He also offers a personal anecdote from his experience "in the Philippines at the end of the Marcos Presidency"

So nearly half of the chapter was a discussion of the political aspects of secular life. Since he chose to start his discussion in this fashion, perhaps showing how America's issues of racism and slavery and native Americans would have been related to apartheid. This would have given his reader, at least this one, a more experiential context to understand his overall point. Overall, if you are familiar with certain political events, this portion may offer some insight into the term reconciliation. If not, then perhaps not.

2) He then rightly points out that man is an enemy of God. That God's justice could easily have "left all mankind to suffer eternal destruction". He then cites Col 1:19-23 and Romans 5:10 to demonstrate that man is the problem. He very clearly takes a strong stand that God does not need reconciliation, only man does. He states on page 30,

This is where some confusion tends to creep in and we need to remember it is not that God is reconciled to man it is that man may be reconciled to God for that is the language of the New Testament...[sic]
This seems one-sided at best. Simply citing verses that man is reconciled to God as if God's wrath left God neutral on the subject or on the sidelines in the war between God and man is to miss God's hostility toward man. God needed to reconcile man to Himself precisely because of the many truths Pastor Clinton already laid down.

The truth of the bible is that not only is man a law-breaker and alienated from God, but that God is offended at man. God's holiness is at enmity and is hostile with man's sin. As a passage cited by Pastor Clinton states,

You are not a God who take pleasures in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. (Psalm 5:4-5)
Some commentators have argued that God is reconciling man to Himself precisely because man doesn't want to be reconciled. It is God that must have His wrath appeased. This topic is dealt with in the next chapter, Propitiation.

3) The last observation I'd like to interact with is difficult. Being that Pastor Clinton is a Nazarene pastor, it is difficult to believe that he would write from a Reformed perspective on soteriology. On the one hand, since he is a Nazarene pastor it would seem Pastor that Clinton would be of the Wesleyan tradition on the will of man. Yet, he makes an argument about the nature of man that almost had me convinced he was taking the Reformed position on soteriology. For instance, on page 31 Clinton states,

Ever since Adam's failure it is an established fact that before conversion every one of us is in a state of alienation from God. Apart from the grace of God, men are sinful: sinful by nature because we have inherited the depravity of Adam's fall; sinful by choice because our willful disobedience to the law of God.
He also states on the next page,

The children of disobedience, also known as unregenerate or preconverted, are incapable of doing a single thing which is pleasing in God's sight...
Yet here is part of the problem. He offers a reason why they are children of disobedience. He states that because of "what they are doing..." is their cause for disobedience, not their nature in Adam. He concludes that since God has offered the means of reconciliation and men reject that reconciliation, "therefore the atonement cannot be affected [sic]".

This seems to make his argument not as precise as it could be. He also offers an analogy on the top of page 33 as to man's response to the free offer of salvation in Christ,

It is not unlike the man who has been convicted of a crime and standing before the judge is offered a pardon yet refuses the pardon; the punishment will take place.
I have heard this illustration a thousand times. I'd like to ask something simple. Where are pardons merely offered? Have you ever heard of a judge merely offereing a pardon freely?Perhaps you have heard of President Jackson' pardon of George Wilson? Wilson was in fact pardoned, yet refused it. Yet this kind of miscarriage of justice seems to be the philosophical basis for human autonomy. the irony in Wilson's pardon is that evil men would have taken it. It was the penitent man that rejected it. So again, such a view is backwards.

He then cites three men from the Reformed tradition in support of his view, T. Manton, Thomas Goodwin and John Owen. I must confess that this caught me off guard. It is true that God's provision in Christ is not effectual in our personal lives until we come to Christ through faith and repentance. If he is suggesting that these authors would have thought that Christ's work of reconciling men to God could only be effectual if men chose from their free-will is to turn their writings upside down.

There is simple method as to why the above men may be quoted in support for Pastor Clinton's position. They are merely describing what salvation looks like. The quote from T. Manton does exactly that.

We are actually justified, pardoned, and reconciled when we repent and believe. Whatever thoughts and purposes of grace God may have towards us from eternity. We are under the fruits of sin till we become penitent believers.
Now don't misunderstand my point. I agree that the Gospel is to be offered to all without exception or distinction. Therefore there are men who will hear and reject the Gospel. But again, there seems to be a language barrier in what exactly is meant by his illustration. Is he arguing that God's grace is ineffectual until the man does something? Or is he simply offering a description by offering the poor "reject the pardon" analogy?

If he is arguing the reformed perspective, perhaps he is arguing for some form of Eternal justification when he wrote on page 33,

Therefore, though we do not believe that the atonement produced a change in the mind of God, so as to turn Him from hatred to love, for He loves His people with an everlasting love, (Jer 31:3), or that it was a price paid to procure His favor, still, there was a sacrifice offered, a propitiation made, whereby sin was pardoned, blotted out, and forever put away.
If he is really suggesting some form of Eternal Justification, then again, he is in error. All of the Reformers down through the centuries have rejected Eternal Justification. Due to the length of such a discussion, I will defer the reader to this article.

In conclusion, there is much to be commended in this chapter despite the political first half of the chapter which I am not certain was all that helpful.

Knowing he is not a Calvinist, I find the language barrier needing to be scaled. We are using the same terminology, but I am not convinced we are meaning the same things.

If one truly holds to the Federal Headship of Adam and the imputation of sin to the sons and daughters by nature, then one must be consistent in seeing that Christ by His mediatorial work has procured all that is needed to redeem His people, including faith and repentance. Thereby all who are in union with the Son of God by faith may never claim the slightest boast for even their own will.

On the other hand, Eternal Justification denies that men ever really needed to be saved in any real sense. Salvation seems to be a mere formality. But even Pastor Clinton recognizes that Ephesians 5 states that we were all children of wrath. Therefore, we all are in need of a true rescue from sin and condemnation.

Reconciliation part 2, sIn

The first chapter entitled Sin, is a chapter that possess much truth and doesn't pull any punches. Pastor Ward Clinton describes sinners in a way that many pastors will not. In fact, Pastor Clinton goes to great lengths to explain the doctrine of "Original Sin" without ever calling it that. For instance, on page 9 he differentiates personal sin from being a sinner.
Actual sin or personal sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person.
On the same page he explains why men sin.
We are legally constituted sinners neither by what we are, genetically, nor by what we are doing, but by the disobedience of our Federal Head, Adam.
I must say this is quite refreshing. How many local pastors explain the doctrine of Original Sin?! He writes on the next page,
The concept of Adam as the head of the human race and that his actions determined the natural direction for all his posterity is clearly taught in the Holy Bible.
By which he then quotes Romans 5:12,18,19 to defend his thesis.

Now for the many good things that he writes, the style of the chapter itself is not exactly one that I would use in a Sunday School class. Perhaps it is just the reader trying to understand the flow of argumentation and missing it, so the problem very well may be me.

However, it is one thing to say that the Bible teaches "Federal Headship", it is another thing to explain it. Pastor Clinton is saying true things without laying down a proper foundation as to "Why" Original sin is the teaching of Scripture. In other words, why does Paul assert in Romans 5 that we are in union with Adam in his sin? This is a glaring problem from one (me) who approaches this from a Covenantal Theological position.

Also, the chapter is so full of cliches, that the thoughts being expressed lose their connection. For instance, the last sentence of the first paragraph on page 13 ends with this statement,
See Matthew 18-23-35 in His guidebook, the Holy Bible, also known as the basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. [a popular song by Burlap to Cashmere?]
The next paragraph starts,
Unfortunately for fallen, unreconciled man, physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, expulsion from the earth, not annihilation.
Although these things are related, the author just seems to jump from one thing to the next. A reader may very well be totally unfamiliar with the doctrine of "annihilation". How this is related to being a sinner is simply not sufficiently laid out.

For another example, the very first page quotes Anon, Thomas Carlyle and Benjamin Franklin as sources for the definition of sin to which he starts,
Sin exists. Sin separates man from God. What is sin anyway? Mr. Franklin's little statement quoted above can take us a long way toward understanding the Ten Commandments: The "Thou Shalt" and "Thou Shalt Nots" thingy, and the purpose behind them; obey them and have a better life ignore them and things won't go as well. Generally speaking, things tend to trend downhill when we ignore God's word.
It is this type of presentation that I think leads to some inconsistent problems that show up in the next chapter.

In conclusion, although much more material could have been used to lay a solid foundation for explaining why man is a sinner, it is obvious he is attempting to be brief in that area while not holding back passages that speak to God's hatred for the wicked and his assured punishment on the "day of wrath".

Perhaps this chapter would have been better if he avoided the use of so many cliches and that the thoughts argued for were consistently presented. But hey, I truly appreciate the fact that a local pastor wrote a book in order to not only encourage his flock in sound doctrine, but even getting his book in a local library.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Reconciliation by Ward Clinton

My wife, the librarian, brought home a book by a local pastor, Ward Clinton. The book has a simple title, Reconciliation. The book is a whopping 61 pages, so on the surface, it is obviously an attempt to be an easy read for some basic Christian doctrine

Over the next few days I'd like to interact with the book. It has five chapters, Sin, Reconciliation, Propitiation, Important Recall Notice, and Consecration.

I have known Pastor Ward Clinton for several years. I have served with him during Color Guard services for Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. It truly has been a pleasure to have him as a friend for these years. So I hope that the thoughts offered in my interaction will be seen as not only coming from a friend, but thoughts that respect this man as a pastor and a lover of truth. It is clear to me in our conversation over the years that Pastor Clinton is a well read and intelligent man. So whatever criticms or points with which we may disagree upon, they will be with a man far more learned than myself. May God's Word continually be the arbiter between all Christians.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Universe Is Not That Remarkable

Stephen Hawking says there is no God did not create the universe in this Yahoo News story. Nothing new here. Previously he had written that reason would eventually triumph.

He wrote in A Brief History ... "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason -- for then we should know the mind of God."
Now he argues even further. According tot he article,

In his latest book, he said the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting another star other than the Sun helped deconstruct the view of the father of physics Isaac Newton that the universe could not have arisen out of chaos but was created by God.

"That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions -- the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass, far less remarkable, and far less compelling evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings," he writes.
I have to wonder. How does he know reason is the ultimate authority simply because he is able to use it? I have to wonder. Did he write/author his book or was that even necessary to produce a book? If I follow his reasoning, shouldn't books just fall out of the sky? I mean come on, they just are not that "remarkable."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

White Verses Silverman

Last night, Dr. White debated atheist David Silverman, and I, like Jamin Hubner, forgot it was on and came across it when I turned on my computer. Hubner has written a brief review with which I could not agree more.

I write this just as the Q & A is beginning, and I truly believe this is one of (if not) the most useful Christian vs. atheist debate ever on record - even amongst presuppositional Christian vs. atheist debates (and I've listened to my share of atheist debates, I assure you). Why so?
To which Jamin Hubner then offer 3 major reasons. I must agree that I have not heard of a "smack down" against an atheist like this since probably the infamous Bahnsen/Stein debate.

In the end, smack down or not, what really impressed me the most was that James White did not shrink back from explaining the necessity and sufficiency of God's sovereign grace in the life of a dead and wicked rebellious sinner.

I just hope the audio gets posted soon. It will certainly be an encouragment to believers and perhaps a tool that thoroughly explains why Christianity is true to a world that desperately needs Christ.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rush Says What Should Be Obvious

I have found it interesting for many years now how Islamic Leaders will side and work with Communist countries (I realize that is not always the case). For instance, Sadam Hussein was a huge fan of Stalin. How a supposed Allah fearing man loves and imitates an atheist of the worst kind is beyond me.

Rush made this great observation on his program today that I wish would be repeated everywhere and to every Leftist in this country.

Put aside the subjective term "moderate Islam." Just put it aside for a moment and let's focus on an uncontested the fact. There is no separation of church and state in Islam. Now, as you know, to the American ruling class and the American left "separation of church and state"is one of the most important things they believe exists in this country. They don't want any religious person having one damn thing to say about anything political in this country.

And all of these people, from Katty Kay on up or down depending on where you want to put her in the scale here, look at religious people with slanted eyes, with distrust. They look at them through grimaces. There's a suspicion of religious people. They don't like them. "Separation of church and state!" They've even defined that in a way it was never meant constitutionally. "Separation of church and state," and yet here they are supporting "moderate Islam." Ms. Kay, do you realize there is no separation of church and state in Islam? It's one and the same. Are you going to demand separation of church and state among Muslims or Islamists in this country or in your own country of the UK? Every religious building in action in Islam is political.

That's how they look at it. It's the core reason there should not be a mosque built at Ground Zero. There's no separation of church and state here with this bunch -- and yet with the ruling class in this country, the American left, "Separation of church and state, why, that's fundamental! We gotta have separation of church and state. We can't have any Pat Robertsons running around. We can't have any Billy Grahams running around impacting policy. We -- we -- we can't have it! We -- we can't elect these rabid, right-wing Christians! We can't have this. They're not allowed." But Islamists are not separated from the church in any way. The defining thing is the religion. Some might say the religion is the government.
Now just in case you may try the "moderate" Muslim argument here, Rush makes another reference to Andy McArthy's article.

RUSH: I just want to clarify something Andy McCarthy said. He did not say that there aren't any moderate Muslims. He says in his piece that there are millions of moderate Muslims. What he says is there's no moderate Islam, that the doctrine is not moderate for all the reasons we've been detailing, i.e., separation church and state. For example, what does the ICLU say about all this, the Islamic Civil Liberties Union? There isn't one. We have an ACLU but there is not an Islamic Civil Liberties Union getting in to help adjudicate disputes within the religion.

So why do Leftists side with Islamic leaders?

In the Hamasque issue, the American left sees conservatives opposed to it, and therefore since they hate us more than they hate anybody else, they have to support the mosque. 'Cause, frankly, I don't think they care. This is the first time I've ever heard the American left be so devoted to defending a religion. I don't remember it. I can't think of a time. Mostly the American left acts scared to death of it. Separation, church and state, I mean what the hell's the purpose of the ACLU? What's the purpose of Barry Lynn? The purpose is to wipe out religion. The Southern Poverty Law Center, all of these groups exist basically attacking right wing religious people. They do it under the guise of racism, bigotry, being opposed to all that. But now all of a sudden out of the blue, the biggest supporters of a mosque and Islam are the American left. Even if you were to tell 'em, "Hey, hey, hey, hey, there's no separation of church and state in Islam," it wouldn't matter. They oppose us. They hate us more than they hate anything else.

We are most certainly living in dangerous times when the President of the united States think Islam is a religion that is seeking to be at peace with the world. We need to get past Anonymous' political correctness and understand the real threat in the world.