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."