Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, April 28, 2006

Eddie Experts and the Folly of Atheistic Philosophy

Fellow Arkansan, Frank Turk, has written a smashing post which reveals the inability of an atheistic philosophy to interact with the real world. The ensuing comments are also worth the read, because they are so telling of how atheists appeal to clever arguments in order to continue to suppress the truth in knowledge.

What I find amusing about many of the atheistic commenters is how they become Eddie experts in practically every field of scientific discipline when they are challenged to justify their beliefs. Tell an atheist his worldview cannot rationally account for the presence of morals absolutes in the world, and he instantly becomes an expert in Medieval era politics, totalitarian regimes, pre-Columbian anthropology, zoology, and theology. It truly is amazing.

My all time favorite arguments come from those proposing the noble savage view of history. You know, all the Indian cultures in the pre-Columbian U.S. were peace loving, agrarian societies who worshipped spirit earth, nature, and never knew any wickedness or vice UNTIL the Christians came and mucked it all up with their monotheistic religion.

One non-Christian commenter notes,

And if you dont think that people are good by nature alone you need to research the studies on endigenous people who havent been tainted by the so called "civalized" world. They do not worship gods or a book they worship nature and its natural functions and celibrated that all living life relies on each other making them one with the natural world. These people do not have war, have no clue what rape is and even the males rarely hurt each other during rough housing.

Just out of curiosity, what exactly constitutes a civilized world? What exactly constitutes an indigenous culture? Are civilized worlds only defined by having a monotheistic value system? Does the Eskimo man who sits his aged mother on an ice flow to die from exposure and be eaten by polar bears count as an indigenous person freed from the suppressive lies of the civilized world?

moving along ...

Those who take time to read Frank's post and the comments will see my posted comments. I was taken aback by Frank's friendly rebuke to what I wrote at first, but later in the day gained an appreciation for what he wrote in response to me. I had argued that atheism is a practice in intellectual theft, because atheist pass moral judgments all the time, particularly against Christian theism. In order to pass judgment, one has to assume a set of agreed upon values. Such values must be objective. Only a divine sovereign being can establish the terms of such values. Atheists objecting to my Christianity unwittingly, as well as inconsistently, employ those values all the time, while at the same time arguing for relativism.

Frank pointed out that my charge was a tad harsh to call an atheist an intellectual thief, because the atheist, as much as he wishes to explain away God and live his life apart from God, still operates as an image bearer of God. Image bearers have a built in understanding of the moral law of God, so in essence, they are not thieving when they employ the use of moral absolutes to express outrage against Christians, they are truly suppressing what they know to be true.

This was solidified in my mind later in the afternoon yesterday after engaging some of these atheist commenters. My wife and I took our boys out for a walk on the paseo (an intricate network of sidewalks here in Santa Clarita. It truly is quite marvelous). Upon our return to our home, we hear a ruckus coming from the apartments next to the paseo. There in the parking lot were two gang looking guys squaring off to fight, and each guy had his homeys edging him on. They start pounding each other and the other guys start yelling and cursing, while my wife and I are looking at each other as to where we should go in case some one starts to pop off some caps, if you know what I mean. The last thing I wanted to have happen is my day ending like a John Steinbeck short story.

Well, as these two guys are tussling in the parking lot, one of the other bangers pulls out a sawed off baseball bat and looked like he was going to attempt to go Robert DeNiro on someone's head. A homeless guy standing by watching this starts yelling, "Watch your back! Watch your back!" and his fellow bangers wave him back to put down his instrument. Eventually, the entire gang collides with each other in a big brawl (We had two brick embankments and a massive ditch dividing us from any harm). Then as quick as it started, all the bangers go running off. I think the sheriff was pulling in.

So, as we continued our journey home, my wife and I reflected upon what we just witnessed, and then I recalled how the one guy with the bat, who was going to blind side this other guy, was stopped by his buddies. It was as if there was an unspoken rule about being fair. Now why would a violent, shaved headed youth care about being fair in a fight? Because even though he is filled with hate and lawlessness, he is still created in the image of God. As Romans 2 says, he does what is written in the law, even though he has no knowledge, or in this case, a superficial knowledge of the law. And to think, he didn't have to be an Eddie expert to suppress what he knew to be true.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Rodney King Philosophy and Gay Revisionist Apologetics

I regularly perform link searches for my blog. It is one of those narcissistic things I like to do, because I want to know if anyone is talking about me and what it is they are saying. With one search I recently did, I discovered a blog entry by a fellow named Terry who has a blog entitled Children of Faith. Terry was particularly annoyed with an article I wrote way back in August of last year in which I interacted with the alleged Bible studies of Justin Cannon who is an apologist for a Christian gay lifestyle.

You can read my original article here, as well as a follow up article responding to the comments left by an anonymous commenter. But to provide a little background for my purposes now, Justin Cannon wrote out an article that is suppose to represent his extensive study into the subject of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. What exactly would you think a gay apologist for a homosexual lifestyle would conclude after an extensive study of the scripture on the subject of homosexuality? You guessed it: the Bible says little or nothing about loving, monogamous same sex relationships and God looks favorably, if not neutrally, upon them.

I wrote my blog article as a response for the purpose of demonstrating the serious flaws in Justin's study. First, he begins with the presupposition that homosexuality is normal and God does not judge same sex relationships, so he starts with an agenda to make the Bible support homosexual lifestyles. Then he re-defines and re-writes the biblical terminology to support those presuppositions. His exegesis, if we even can call it that, is contorted and never does he interact with solid critics of his argumentation like James White, Jeff Niell and Greg Bahnsen for example. In short, Justin's arguments were really nothing new and he rehashed the same arguments from previous homosexual apologists who had come before him.

That leads us to Terry's comments. To say that Terry was annoyed with me is a bit of an understatement. Rather than interacting with the biblical texts I specifically raised, however, his comments are a visceral reaction to my overall worldview that says emphatically the Bible teaches that homosexuality, in whatever form it takes, is a perversion before the True God of Heaven and is a sin from which people needed to be saved. I gather from reading his comments that Terry is of the opinion we need to have a "live and let live" policy when it comes to biblical truth; a Rodney King philosophy which says, "Hey, we may disagree sharply about what the Bible teaches regarding homosexual behavior, but can't we all get along?" This is a typical response in our postmodern world today that believes truth is relatively defined by individual experience. Even though Terry's comments are purely emotional, and do not reflect upon what I actually wrote, I still wanted to address some of his comments to me:

I came across your Blog quite by accident and read with rapt interest. Since I am an evangelical, gay and Justin Cannon happens to also be a friend of mine, my attention was gained immediately.

(Fred) I appreciate the fact my blog stirred an intense reaction in your mind, Terry. Writers live for those reactions from their readers. Anyhow, I believe it is important to establish here at the beginning that the word evangelical is a completely worthless term in our modern day. It has been stripped of its original definition years ago and has been made to fit every spiritually deviant, pseudo-Christian group which dares to assert itself as a legitimate representation of New Testament Christianity. So, to label one's self as being evangelical does not lend credibility to what you argue as being genuinely Christian.

I begin saying I know Justin and I am evangelical because I don'’t think this debate is ever going to be won either by the so called liberal or conservative side with academic rigor or debating skill. It will never be won by logic alone, and it certainly won'’t be because the church suddenly awakens and says.. GEEZ we were wrong and homosexuals were right or vice versa.

(Fred) I would agree with you. The debate ends when God's spirit regenerates the hearts of sinful men and they are brought into submission to what God's Word really teaches. It is won when those who distort the text with agendas and re-interpret the Bible to make it teach something utterly foreign to what the biblical writers meant to write and what God certainly meant to reveal, turn from their editing sins and submit to the authority of the Bible as it is written.

Certainly there is room for debate and certainly everyone I know on both sides wants to understand truth. However when I see someone in the spirit of debate use words like "Justin Cannon is merely standing at the end of a long, twisting line running through Church History filled with a vast assortment of goofballs, kooks, and weirdoes who conveniently "revised" the Bible to fit their personal beliefs" I get angry, VERY ANGRY. Not because Justin is my friend, but because Justin is indeed a brother in Christ who, from all I can tell, is seeking God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Next, because Justin is the kind of man, from all I can tell, that genuinely looks to the word for answers to his life and the dilemmas of this age. And so do all the other gay Christians I know. We are not trying to JUSTIFY our lives any more than any evangelical is trying to justify theirs. We are simply on a journey like everyone else.. with many a fear and many a doubt. To take the opportunity to name call and to belittle is disgusting and is not Christian behavior.

(Fred) I am sorry that makes you angry, but frank language does that at times. I am sure Justin is a nice guy, probably sweet tempered and fun loving. However, just as much as he is a nice guy, he cannot be seeking God with all his heart, soul, mind or strength, because if he were, he would not seek to change the definitions of biblical terms to make the Bible teach strange doctrines, i.e., God looks favorably upon same sex relationships. I am sure we could say similar things about other men in Church History past. Joseph Smith, for example, was probably a nice guy who could be said to be seeking God. I am sure we could say the same about Marcion, Pelagius, Peter Abelard, Michel Servetus, Charles Russel, Ellen White, and David Koresh. Certainly, perhaps, some were more kooky, goofy and weirder than others, but the one thing all of them have in common, from the most noxious to the most lovable, is that all of these people revised the Bible to fit their personal beliefs. I am sorry you are angry of me saying so, Terry, but this is exactly what your friend Justin is doing. You think he is not trying to justify himself, but I can prove he has. In fact, I believe I have shown this very thing in my previous articles. Justin, like yourself, has a set of presupposed beliefs and he wants desperately for the Bible to support him. How does he accomplish this support? By making the Bible teach things contrary to what is true.

I'’m reminded of the command to be filled with the spirit. And then I'm reminded of the fruit of the spirit lest we forget they are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Mr. Butler, may I suggest that you add to your bio cold and bitter towards those who disagree with you, because that is the way you have treated your brother in Christ.

(Fred) Cold and bitter are your terms. Jesus stated clearly to the woman at the well in John 4 that those who worship me will do so in spirit and truth. Those who are filled with the spirit submit to the truth, they don't alter it to fit their preconceived beliefs. I do not consider Justin a brother in Christ, because I haven't seen anything he has written to show me he is submitted to the truth.

The problem for me is I use to be on your side Mr. Butler. I use to believe that homosexuality and genuine Christian faith were incompatible. But then I began to meet committed, faithful gay Christians. Simultaneously I began to meet many committed faithful orthodox Jewish folk. Strangely, I could identify with both! But after months of watching their lives something significant began to emerge, an undeniable similarity between orthodox Jewish folk and evangelical Christians.. it was their righteousness. let me make sure I say this clearly.. IT WAS THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS.. How can that be? Both Jews and Christian were depending upon their behaviors to gain them approval/acceptance to God.


Mr. Butler, even the bi-line of this Blog sets one up for the type of argument you wish to engage in "smiting the theological philistines" I think you would be better off to leave the smiting to God.. one can certainly debate, discuss and disagree, but last time I checked, the scriptures did not include your name alongside the Holy Spirit.

(Fred) Just a few questions for you Terry:

1) Do you believe there is a standard of orthodox truth?

2) Is orthodox truth fully knowable or is it merely left up to individual experience to interpret? Or debate, discuss and disagree?

3) Do you believe in the authority, infallibility and inerrancy of the Holy Bible?

4) Are you of the opinion those orthodox Jews will obtain eternal life with their good works?

So, how do we tell who is right? That very problem was presented in Acts 15. Unless you are circumcised, some men said, you can'’t enter the kingdom of heaven. Sounds familiar doesn't it? I hear it all the time.. you can'’t be a "practicing gay"” and enter the kingdom of heaven. Let'’s face it.. that'’s what evangelicals think. And here it is in Acts - we have a similar thing.. the law clearly says to be circumcised just as clearly as you think it forbids committed, monogamous gay sex. Paul and Barnabas engaged in a sharp dispute and a huge community debate began.. must the gentiles be circumcised? I think it's equivalent to the debate today.. must gay people be celibate? I love the answer in scripture.. God who knows the heart showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit JUST AS HE DID TO US. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their heart by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? NO! We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus we are saved, just as they are. The whole assembly became silent.

(Fred) I find it utterly amazing, Terry, that you totally misrepresent what happened in Acts 15 and apply it to the so-called current struggle for a gay lifestyle. I would hope you will return to my two posts I re-linked above and read my comments about why God forbids homosexual relationships. You need to deal directly with my argumentation in from Genesis, from Matthew 19 and Ephesians 5. Justin's scant comments on the creative narrative of Genesis 1 and 2 is lame. Not only does he address the actual text and what it is meant to convey specifically, but he never once addresses how the Genesis narrative is used by Jesus and other NT writers.

I am not OK if we disagree on this matter. I am commanded to contend for the faith, which you and Justin have warped with your apologetic revisionism. But moreover, I am fearful for your soul, as well as Justin's. You have been deceived that you can live in this sin and you will be fine before God in judgment. I will pray for you that you would turn from this lifestyle and embrace the true gospel of the God who able to redeem and deliver you.


Monday, April 24, 2006

A Reminder to be "Always Ready."

On Saturday, I took my two oldest boys with me to do some shopping for my wife at our new Wal-Mart Supercenter. By the way, this is the same Wal-Mart I wrote about on a previous occasion.

Recently, the Supercenter has become the staging area for a hodge-podge of solicitors hassling customers coming in and out of the store. They range from the typical Girl Scouts selling cookies, to fitness clubs signing up memberships, and volunteers from an assortment of political activist groups gathering signatures for their particular pet issue. The solicitors plant themselves at every entrance so that no matter where you enter or exit, you are required to run a gauntlet of clip board wielding people demanding that you stop to buy their product, give to their cause, or sign some petition. I am slowly learning to utilize the pretending the solicitors don't exist stare ahead maneuver.

My boys and I managed to get into the store with out being stopped. Upon existing, however, I was approached by a nicely dressed woman who says to me, "Would you like some literature that can tell you how to have a joyous life?" or something along those lines as she thrust a comic book looking booklet in my hands. The booklet had no title on it and pictured some grassy lakeside park similar to the illustration I posted above. I immediately recognized it to be something from the Jehovah's Witnesses, and as I looked at it, a second lady who had the classic "looking into the eye of a chicken brain slugs are controlling my mind" appearance to her, came in from behind and began to hand me an Awake! magazine, another Watchtower publication.

[Now, if you will excuse my brief aside, let me digress just a moment. I have always wondered why cult groups like JWs and 7th Day Adventists picture eternal life as a grassy park filled with well dressed picnickers. Who gets dressed up to go on a picnic? Yet here we have little girls in dresses feeding ducks. Why is that? All the fathers are wearing dress pants, maybe sometimes even a suit, and the moms fancy sundresses. Personally, I was hoping for the eternal paradise with the big, loose fitting robes so my tummy can move around.]

At any rate...

Now as soon as the lady handed me the comic book and I realized who it was talking with me, I drew a blank. Perhaps it was my reviewing the shopping list to make sure I had bought everything I needed, or maybe it was me telling my two year old to sit down in the shopping cart, but what ever it was, I was totally taken off guard and stood there stammering to this lady.
You see, I think all Christians should be prepared to at least provide something of a nominal response in encounters like that. Even if it is a simple, "you are wrong about the person of Christ," or what ever. I have made it my practice to think through what I could say in 30 seconds or less when faced with potential encounters with religious solicitors. What could I say to Mormon missionaries who may stop me on the street, or perhaps Muslims manning a booth at the county fair, or atheists from the secular club at the local community club.

In the case with JWs, I have always thought that if I was approached by them in public, I can quickly say, "You know, I am a Bible believing Christian and Jehovah's Witnesses depart drastically from orthodox biblical Christianity when it comes to the person of Christ." If the JW is interested in pursuing a conversation with me, then we could talk specifics, but generally, they don't want to argue or talk, so at least I have given them something to think about if God is doing a spiritual work in the heart.

Here was my encounter and I stood speechless. I was trying to run a search in my mind as to the main theological talking points of JWs and was coming up with nothing. After what seemed to be an eternity, I sort of blurted out, "Are you JWs?" to which the first lady (who did all the talking) responded they were. Then I slurred something like, "I'm a Bible believing Christian, so I am not interested." To which the lady says, "So are we. I believe the Bible just like you." Thankfully, the Spirit of God must have empowered me at that point, because I became a tad more confident and responded, "No, Jehovah's Witnesses believe many unorthodox things about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit." Before she could get her next words out, I continued by asking, "Don't you believe Michael the Archangel is Jesus?" They both acknowledged that is what they did believe. I then finished up my thought by saying, "Well, if you truly believed the Bible, you would know that it does not teach Jesus was Michael the Archangel. That is a false teaching from Charles Russell." When I said that, she excused herself and her friend from our conversation and told me to have a wonderful day. I prayed for them both when I got into the car to go home.

Reviewing the encounter in my mind, I just exhort all you readers out there to be prepared for situations like that. Yeah, perhaps you may be thrown off guard because you have something else on your mind at the time, but those are providentially divine opportunities. Don't just throw them away with a dismissive wave of the hand and a blunt "not interested." Even if you stammer and stumble through out the conversation, God can use it. May we take Peter's words to heart from 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready to give reason for the hope.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Quiz for the Christian

I have been receiving an increase of emails from KJV onlyists attempting to set me straight about my non-KJV only views. Some of the emailers do not seem to realize I was once a KJV onlyists. It is as if they completely ignore my testimony articles I have written.

At any rate, I recently received an email from a fellow with the subject Quiz for the Christian. The question was asked, What are They?, and then the emailer proceeds to compile a long grocery list of descriptions for the Word of God as found in Psalm 119. Such things as "I keep them," "I respect them," "I hide them in my heart," etc.

After the list the emailer writes this:

For the Christian, the quiz should be easy. If you haven'’t figured it out, THEY are the words of God. After being accused of being an Idolater and having a cultish mentality regarding the words of God, I thought I would remind myself what the Bible says of itself. Please note what'’s not there,

I correct them
I find fault with them
They are subject to me
They are subject to scholars
They endure in museums
They are only reliable and preserved in Hebrew and Greek
I will choose the version that suits my taste

The Christian should always remember that God will not share his glory with another. Do I think too highly of the book, the King James Bible? No, I don't think nearly enough of it according to this. The reader should know that all these testimonies concerning the Word of God came from ONE CHAPTER, That'’s right, One chapter, Psalm 119!

I mention this email simply as an illustration of how KJV onlyist rationalize their beliefs. Note how the writer begins with the presupposition that the KJV alone IS the Word of God alone. Thus, if a person does attempt to clarify a difficult reading in the KJV by correcting it, or finds another version which does benefit his spiritual growth over the KJV, that person is said to be denying the Word of God. See how that works? Altering the KJV is equal to altering the very Word of God. In essence, to change the KJV in any way is changing the Bible. Of course, I am curious if this charge applies to those KJV pastors who during the course of their sermons, have to paraphrase or clarify or say "in other words," to some difficult old English reading in the KJV. And what about those self-defining KJV editions with the definitions of out of use English words conveniently printed in the side margins?

Some may be interested in the back and forth happening between myself and a pastor named Kent Brandenburg in the comment section of my post examining the promise argument. He is attempting to show that I am representative of an historical revisionist approach to understanding biblical preservation that was not developed until the time of B.B. Warfield. I am not convinced by the arguments he has provided, but none the less, our interchange may be helpful to some readers.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Scientology Messiah is Born

The long awaited messiah of all Scientologists, prophesied by L. Ron Hubbard in his science fiction classic, Battlefield Earth, was born yesterday evening in Los Angeles. Joyful parents, Thomas and Katie, were excited that they were the chosen guardians of the future galactic liberator of all of humankind. E-meter experts quickly declared the new born infant free of all Thetan activity, thus fulfilling the first of many prophecies concerning the Scientologist messiah. The parents and close family members then ate from the newborn's afterbirth, the properties of which are alleged to impart immortal life.

The new messiah is prophesied to be the leader of the future United World League who will lead a resistance force from planet earth in 2038 to repel the evil overlord Xenu when he attempts to enslave humanity with his star fleet of battle cruisers and anti-depressants.


Monday, April 17, 2006

The Foam Monster that Ate the Airplane Hanger

My friend Gregg of Impacted Wisdom Truth links to a fun set of pictures. Apparently, the engineering guys of Ellsworth Air Force base in South Dakota were testing the foam fire sprinklers when the system would not shut off. Pandemonium ensued, throwing the entire place into a state of complete higgly-piggly. Here are a couple of shots. The rest are worth the look.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Good Ole' Fashion Passion Play

Easter season is upon us once again, and each year it arrives I am reminded of all the various churches putting on passion plays in many little towns across the mid-west.

I have a fondness in my heart for respectfully produced and tastefully performed passion plays. My fondness for them sets me apart from the vast majority of my Reformed minded friends and acquaintances who either see passion plays (and movies, also) as blasphemous displays of idolatry in direct violation of the second commandment, or a cheap theatric stunt disguised as "ministry" which trivialize the redemptive work of Christ and is designed only to bolster denominational attendance records. I am sympathetic with the complaint about how passion plays can be a self-serving stunt, but I am not whole-heartedly convinced they violate the second commandment.

I was once in an email debate with a Presbyterian gentleman insistent that any so-called portrayal of Jesus in any play or movie was a violation of the second commandment forbidding the construction of any image to represent God. But, if you recall, the prohibition is against the making of any carved image (man-made idol) for the purpose of bowing down to or serving in any capacity. In other words, worshipping the idol instead of the true and living God. My argument to my email challenger was that passion plays and any movies depicting the life of Christ is simply the recreation of a real historical event: the final week of Christ's life, His death, burial and Resurrection. In my mind, as long as the production strives for historical and biblical accuracy with the retelling of Jesus, no one is violating the second commandment.

My first experience with a passion play was as a kid at my grandmother's church in Arkansas. Her church would always have what is called a sunrise service. Basically, in keeping with the biblical record of the women arriving before sunrise to the tomb of Jesus, my grandma's church thought it would be extra special to perform their play at 5:00 AM Easter morning. That means we had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4:00 AM. At the time in my life, I had no idea there was a 4 o'clock in the morning.

I don't remember too much about the actual plays, but I do recall how every performance was tape recorded by the actors the previous afternoon. I am not entirely sure why the folks believed they needed to record their performance, but it did provide for an amusing 20 minute audio presentation. Pretty much all the actors read their lines in a monotone with as much emotion as a person reading a telephone directory. Additionally, the recording would be punctuated with the ruffling of script pages, the occasional cough and throat clearing by other performers waiting to read their lines, and the constant drone of the fellowship hall refrigerator.

But that wasn't the best part. Because they recorded the play in the fellowship hall, the linoleum and cinder block walls produced a slight echo with each line read. Coupled with the monotone performance, the final recording made the actors sound as if they were flying saucer people from some Twilight Zone episode.

Behold ... behold ... behold, He ... He ... He ... has ... has ... has ... Risen ... Risen .... Risen.

Thankfully, the fine folks at my grandma's church have greatly improved their passion play performances, even reading their lines live. They have also added the presence of livestock, including a real live donkey for the Jesus character to ride down the center aisle of the sanctuary during the triumphal entrance scene. Of course, that assumes the donkey will co-operate and not relieve itself on stage, or take "Jesus" on a wild ride through the auditorium. Nothing can stir panic in a crowd of people faster than an out of control ass galloping among the pews.

With any passion play, casting Jesus is vitally important. Depending upon the size of the congregation, there is generally a slender built guy with the ability to grow a decent beard who does the Jesus part. If the pickings are slim, then sometimes the Jesus may be slightly husky. A smart thinking actor who is going to play Jesus is wise to go on a diet months before the passion play is going to happen, even starting right after the Christmas season. A slight tummy can detract from the crucifixion scene and it is even worse when the guy playing Jesus is sucking in the whole time like Charleton Heston in Ben Hur.

One thing I have noticed in recent years since Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ was released, is how some passion plays have become increasingly graphic in the portrayal of Christ on the cross. It use to be that the actor would have some fake Halloween vampire blood dribbled on his back, but now the guy will be drenched in fake stage blood as if they are recreating a scene out of Carrie. I believe Christ's crucifixion and death should be a sobering reminder of what our Lord suffered as a penalty for our sin, but some church productions have taken the graphic aspect of Christ's passion up too many notches. I can only hope that trend will reverse in the years to come, because if the production is well done, the story of Christ's passion for His people speaks for itself.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Apologetic Opportunities in the News

Testing Darwin's Teachers

The LA Times ran a report on March 31st about beleaguered high school teacher, Al Frisby, who teaches biology in Liberty, Missouri. Mr. Frisby represents a growing number of concerned high school teachers who are both shocked and dismayed that high schoolers are no longer sitting back and drinking in the philosophical swill of materialistic naturalism without question when they are taught Darwinian evolution.

"The children actually use their minds to think logically," Frisby stated disapprovingly, "Before when I taught evolution, they would all nod with agreement. Sure, there was the occasional Bible thumping Pentecostal who came from one of those "snake handling" Churches that would attempt to quote the Bible, but I would just tell the kid this wasn't Sunday School class and he would shut up. Now the kids are asking thoughtful, intelligent, and even probing questions that I have never even thought about."

In all seriousness, the article is really a fun read, because for the first time in American culture, kids are offering a sophisticated challenge to the philosophical framework used to promote evolution. A lot of this, I believe, is due to the information age of the Internet that allows for quick and easy access to information on such subjects as evolution and creation. This is also the chickens coming home to roost for the 60s hippy liberal activists who insisted on passing laws protecting the free speech of children in public schools. Their objective at the time was to protest the Vietnam War, however, those free expression laws extend to any so-called "free speech" including religious, or in this case, dissenting criticism of Darwinianism. Naturalistic educators are disparate, because they are loosing the battle of the minds, so to speak. People are beginning to recognize the snow job of evolutionary propaganda and how Darwinian proponents are selective in what they teach so as to hide the dirty laundry of Darwinianism that manifests itself in calling the person to believe irrationally absurd notions about reality and the origins of life.

One good example of this was the email exchange between atheistic Darwinian philosopher, Michael Ruse, with barking at the moon crack pot Darwinian apologist, Richard Dawkins:

HIGHLIGHT OF THE EXCHANGE: "I think that you and Richard [Dawkins] are absolute disasters in the fight against intelligent design - we are losing this battle, not the least of which is the two new supreme court justices who are certainly going to vote to let it into classrooms." "what we need is not knee-jerk atheism but serious grappling with the issues"– "neither of you are willing to study Christianity seriously and to engage with the ideas "it is just plain silly and grotesquely immoral to claim that Christianity is simply a force for evil, as Richard claims more than this, we are in a fight, and we need to make allies in the fight, not simply alienate everyone of good will."

The rest can be found at IDer Bill Dembski's Uncommon Descent site.

See Al Mohler's comments, too.

Gospel of Judas found after 1,700 years

The N.Y. Times reports about the publication of an early manuscript claiming to have been written by Judas Iscariot. Yes, the Judas who went out after he betrayed the Lord, hanged himself, and then fell into a field where he died.

The operative words in the article are in the opening paragraph "an early manuscript." Note that there is just one as compared to the 5,000 plus other real NT manuscripts, as well as the thousands of translations, patristic citations, etc., that testify against the authenticity of this "Gospel of Judas" and its ridiculous "new agey" gnosticism. There are also other crack pot gospels like the Gospel of Peter and Jesus Seminary favorite, the Gospel of Thomas, but no honest textual critic is going to claim them as being genuine, let alone even worthy of being part of the NT canon.

No explanations as to when or how Judas wrote it. I figured he must have faked his death or something after Jesus was crucified, and then escaped to the south of France with Mary Magdalene to live out the rest of his life as a goddess worshipper and managing a bar on a local nude beach.

See James White's comments and Steve Hays

Fish Walks Out of Water

I am sure many have seen the screaming headlines in the Thursday morning papers proclaiming how scientists have found an alleged "missing link" between fish and lizard, and by extrapolation, mankind.

Steve Hays has some good remarks as does Dr. David Menton. Both worth the read.

Atheists and Free Will

Then finally, for some enlightening weekend reading, print out Evan May's dissection of how atheists view the philosophy of libertarianism. A good read for the lay person so as to get a better grasp on the deplorable philosophy of free willism.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool [pt. 6]

Does Christianity breed authoritarianism?

Again, we pay a visit to Chaz Bufe, the Christ hating anarchist, and his 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity. With this post, we come to Chaz's 6th complaint against Christians, that Christianity breeds authoritarianism. I won't provide his entire point because it is rather lengthy, but I will hit on some of the more salient thoughts Chaz provides:

6. Christianity breeds authoritarianism. Given that Christians claim to have the one true faith, to have a book that is the Word of God, and (in many cases) to receive guidance directly from God, they feel little or no compunction about using force and coercion to enforce "God’s Will" (which they, of course, interpret and understand). Given that they believe (or pretend) that they’re receiving orders from the Almighty (who would cast them into hell should they disobey), it’s little wonder that they feel no reluctance, and in fact are eager, to intrude into the most personal aspects of the lives of nonbelievers. This is most obvious today in the area of sex, with Christians attempting to deny women the right to abortion and to mandate near-useless abstinence-only sex "education" in the public schools. It’s also obvious in the area of education, with Christians attempting to force biology teachers to teach their creation myth (but not those of Hindus, Native Americans, et al.) in place of (or as being equally valid as) the very well established theory of evolution. But the authoritarian tendencies of Christianity reach much further than this. ...

This Christian hatred of freedom of belief—and of individual freedom in general—extends to this day. Up until the late 19th century in England, atheists who had the temerity to openly advocate their beliefs were jailed. Even today in many parts of the United States laws still exist that forbid atheists from serving on juries or from holding public office. And it’s no mystery what the driving force is behind laws against victimless "crimes" such as nudity, sodomy, fornication, cohabitation, and prostitution. ...

If your nonintrusive beliefs or actions are not in accord with Christian "morality," you can bet that Christians will feel completely justified—not to mention righteous—in poking their noses (often in the form of state police agencies) into your private life.

Just like rank hypocrisy dripped from his points charging Christians with egocentrism and arrogance, so to with this post. Here we have a Communistic sympathizing anarchist whining about Christians being authoritarian and poking their noses (and guns) into areas where it doesn't belong, when Communists wrote the book on authoritarianism and nose (and gun) poking. Even more amusing is Chaz's employment of the term "police state" to describe alleged Christian authorities forcing their laws onto everyone else. Chaz's list becomes more laughable with each of his reasons we examine.

I won't bore you with how Chaz's arguments for anarchism can be stripped naked and shown to be utterly ridiculous in the bright lights of historical fact. I have already done that enough in some of my previous posts. I do wish to address a couple of Chaz's charges, however.

First, I stated way at the beginning when I took up critiquing Chaz's 20 Reasons that his venom is spewed more toward Roman Catholicism than biblical Christianity. I am not sure of Chaz's motivations, but I would venture a guess that much of his anti-Catholicism is due to personal experience. Perhaps he grew up in a rigid Catholic home. Maybe he attended parochial schools and suffered harshly under the dictatorial enforcement of brutish, man-like nuns who slapped his palms with a ruler if he stepped out of line. What ever the case, the typical anti-Christian bigot like Chaz wrongly equates his negative personal experience with a religiously authoritarian group who pay lip service to a warped understanding of Christian faith with true, biblical Christianity.

This again shows how Chaz is genuinely ignorant of what he criticizes. The Christian faith presented in the NT does not promote this horrible authoritarianism Chaz so disdains. As a matter of fact, I would probably stand beside Chaz and offer my criticisms of all the Catholic evils perpetrated over the centuries as well. However, the heretical deviations of the Roman Catholic Church from true biblical Christianity does not equate true Christianity, as does any religious group who claims allegiance to Jesus Christ and the Bible, yet advocates some perverted abstraction of Christianity. Fred Phelps and his "God Hates Fags" group in Kansas is a Baptist variety of what I mean. If you are going to be critical of Christianity, you must deal with the founding documents and what they teach, not the twisted interpretations of those documents by individuals who merely wish to abuse them for their own purposes.

This is why it is vital for Christians to have 1) a high view of scripture as a revelation from God, 2) a working knowledge of scripture and what it actually teaches, and 3) engage in the proper handling of God's Word when interpreting it as Paul explained to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:15).

Also, Chaz reveals a little bit of his agenda with his comments. Notice that the key example he provides supposedly demonstrating the authoritarianism of Christianity has to do with sex. I won't go into a lot of detail here, because we will address Chaz's sexual hang-ups in a future critique, but suffice it to say he desires a life that allows him to engage in any guilt free sexual vice he so chooses without impunity and severe consequence, especially for himself. That is why he adds on the little comments about abortion and abstinence, and then adds on a little bit later about the "victimless" crimes of nudity, sodomy and fornication.

If you are an anarchist who wants to be able to copulate with any person (or animal if we want to be purely consistent with our beliefs) of your choice, and a divine authority reveals that such reckless behavior is not only an act of disobedience against His sovereign law, but also destructive to your personal life and the life of the persons involved with you in this behavior, as well as the potential offspring, I can understand why Chaz doesn't care for Christianity. In reality, it reveals utter selfishness on the part of Chaz. In a manner of speaking, he is sexist pig; a misogynist. In his worldview, he should have easy access to women made available for the feeding of his sexual appetite.

But refusing to submit to God's authority on this matter won't change the fact that a cascade of problems begin rolling down when a person pursues sexual perversion with foolish abandon. In spite of all the complaints, those problems make a person responsible and beholden to all sorts of authorities (child support laws and medical bills for sexually transmitted diseases for example). Like all sinners in rebellion against the true knowledge of their creator, Chaz views God's authority on the matters of sex as binding and preventing him from being fulfilled. But in reality, God's authority concerning sexual relationships is a matter of love, because God wants the best for men and women. God's law not only confirms His holiness and the behavior He expects from mankind, but it also protects men from the disastrous harm that could befall them.

Next Up: Is Christianity Cruel?


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oh, So that is how He did it?

Jesus Could Have Walked On Ice, Scientists Say.

In another desperate yet lame attempt to strip the biblical record of any supernatural acts by God, scientists now think rare conditions on the Sea of Galilee could have allowed Jesus to walk on hard to see ice. So, rather than being a display of Christ's divine sovereignty over His creation, He played like some second rate cable channel Tele-evangelist and tricked His disciples into believing he walked on water, when in fact it was a near invisible ice flows. I am sure that Lazarus fellow, if that is his "real" name, probably was in on Jesus's gig and faked being dead, too.

This is the second most goof explanation I have ever heard created to dismiss this particular miracle of Christ. The first was that the disciples saw a mirage that "merely" gave the appearance of Jesus walking on water, but the miracle happened in the middle of the night when no sun light was available to produce such an illusion. Now the scientists promoting this one only have to explain how any ice flow can stay intact during a windstorm producing heavy waves as Matthew's Gospel records (Mt. 14:22-33).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Run For Your Life! KJV Onlyists Will Eat You Alive!

King James Only apologist of the Ruckmanite variety, Jeffrey D. Nachimson, was an occasional blog subject when I began my blog last Summer. I came to know about Jeffrey through some self appointed KJVO apologists I encountered on a couple of discussion forums. If they became too challenged and were unable to answer my charges, they would run to Jeffrey as a "final authority" on the matter under discussion. I guess they perceived him as being some sort of expert. As a result, Jeffrey's responses would be posted on the discussion group or emailed to me with an "Oh yah, answer this you lying apostate" attitude attached.

Jeffrey's flamboyant rhetoric displayed in his articles, his WWF smackdown style pontification against his dissenters, his superfluous use of large vocabulary words to provide a false, intellectual appearance, and the listing of my website, Fred's Bible Talk, under his Alexandrian Apostate category made his articles easy pickins' for my posts. I mean, it was like the proverbial shooting of the fish in the barrel.

Toward the end of last year, an entirely non-KJV only related issue served as a catalyst for a 30 minute phone call I had with Jeffrey. Unlike his cruel Internet personality, I found him to be an amiable and courteous fellow, even somewhat likeable. I came away from our conversation with such a different perspective of Jeffrey, that I began to back off my criticisms of him, because there was more of a genuine person behind all of the senseless bombast. Besides, his article writing stalled and virtually came to a stand still. Regardless, I believe he is totally misguided as to his defense of the King James Version as being the only translation accurately conveying God's Word.

This past Friday around noonish I received this letter from the AV1611 Answers "ministry:"

Dear Reader,

Daily we become more and more perplexed by the increasing hostile attitude toward our *hoary English Bible, and the feeble attempts of anti-intellectual *dillettantes [sic] to desecrate its *melifluous [sic] words. These men (which number into the thousands, but for sake of brevity, we shall name Douglas Kutilek, Fred Butler, James May, Harold Holmyard, Bob Ross, Robert Joyner, Rick Norris, Daniel Wallace to serve as palpable illustrations) have dedicated their lives to destroy the authority of the Authorized Version in order for you to place your faith in their self-contrived *opulence of scholastic aptitude. By so doing, every so often, these Greek and text-critical *adulators infect Christendom with contentious little, supposed *apropos "errors" in the King's English. However, on occasion after occasion we have personally witnessed their subjective attempts falter under the weight of sequestered facts brought to light. For example, we succeeded in getting James May (the school-boy Greek grammarian from Indiana) to concede that his accusations against the A.V. 1611 in Matthew 14:9/Mark 6:26 (translating the Greek plural accusative horkous as an English singular possessive- "oath's) by effectively demonstrating that such an idiom constituted a categorical plural of which he was obviously ignorant. May then proceeded to answer my material in his "Matthew 14:9 Revisited," to which we rejoined with the monstrous article, "May In Fiction."...

...For as long as the Lord tarries his coming, and with our continued health, we will use our wit, our intelligence, our writing abilities, our finances, our education, our resources, and every fiber of our being to fight and deprecate the inaccuracies, subjectivism, and the conniving antics of Biblical scholarship to defend the one English Bible that basically stands alone in its translation and textual tradition: the A.V. 1611. Here is our latest: a defense of the reading, "strain at a gnat" in the Authorized Version of the Holy Bible.

Sincerely in Jesus Christ,
Jeffrey D. Nachimson

First in response, I must express a humble gratitude of being named among such a fine list of men. I personally do not believe I can stand in league with such guys as Doug Kutilek and Daniel Wallace, but apparently I have made so much of an impression on Jeffrey with my articles critiquing the bankrupt beliefs of KJV onlyism, that I have earned a spot.

Second, just so the readers are clear, KJV onlyists begin with the false presupposition that the KJV alone equals the Word of God alone. I guess in the case of Jeffrey it would be the AV 1611 alone equals the Word of God alone. So in other words, if a person questions the translation found in the English of the KJV Bible and even offers a clearer, more concise rendering into English of the original language under scrutiny, that person is said to be changing the Word of God. See how that works? The KJV onlyists begin with appointing their favored translation as being the final authority. It is not the Word of God as God originally revealed it to mankind i.e., the original biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek. Hence, any deviation from that final authority of the KJV 1611 is taking away from, or altering God's Word.

As I have already pointed out on other occasions in the past (read my articles on my journey through KJV onlyism listed on the sidebar), making one 17th century translation of the Bible the final authority does not actually help with defending God's Word, but serves only to cause problems if it can be shown without doubt there is an error in the English text. Jeffrey, along with pretty much every other KJV only apologist, genuinely believes there are no translational errors of any sort in the pages of the KJV Bible. I believe this is a woefully foolish claim. It puts the entire trustworthiness of God's Word in jeopardy, because once anyone with just a simple working knowledge of the original languages points out any one of the numerous translational errors, the Word of God so to speak, has been demonstrated to be corrupt. The word "Easter" at Acts 12:4 in the KJV is a translational error. This is just a matter of fact, and no spinning on the part of the many KJV only apologists to make Easter some divinely preserved translation will not change this most obvious error.

Additionally, Jeffrey is utterly dishonest by calling his "ministry" the AV 1611 Answers Association, because Jeffrey does not use an AV 1611. In fact, no AV 1611 exist today or is in use by any Christian, because the first edition released in 1611 was updated and amended with in the year after its initial publication. So a much more accurate name for his ministry would be the 1612 or 1613 Answers Association. However, even that is not totally accurate, because the KJV went through dozens of revisions up until the end of the 19th century. Rick Norris, another one of my comrades named in Jeffrey's list, has done an outstanding job doing comparisons between the various published editions of the KJV which show the KJV onlyist's claim for having a "final authority" in their hands as they define "final authority" is utterly false.

In truth, what I have dedicated a good portion of my time doing (I wouldn't go so far as to say I have dedicated my life), is to expose the fraudulent apologetics utilized by KJV onlyists in defense of their beliefs concerning preservation and the transmission of the Bible. I want to destroy the phony, self righteous authority of KJV only blowhards, so a person can place his or her faith in the facts of what God has really done to preserve His Word. The historical revisionism and multi-faceted conspiracy theories of KJV onlyists is a dangerous place for any Christian to place his or her faith.

*A Glossary for Jeffrey Nachimson's Big Superfluous Vocabulary Words:

hoary - adj., 1. Gray or white with or as if with age. 2. Very old; ancient.

dilettante - n., One with an amateurish or superficial interest in the arts or a branch of knowledge.

mellifluous - adj., flowing in a smooth or sweet manner.

opulence - n. 1. Having great wealth. 2. Abundant; lavish

adulators - n. To praise excessively or fawningly.

apropos - adj., Appropriate; pertinent.