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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Seven Years of Blogging.

Today Marks my 7th year of blogging. I am pressed for time to write up an entirely new post commemorating the occasion, so I fell back on a post I wrote up marking my 5th year of blogging. I pretty much said then all I need to say now, so I thought I would repost it. I've only updated some stats and other data.

geek As of Thursday, May 31st, 2012, I will have been blogging consistently now for 7 years.

I know. It amazes me, too…

My first post was made on Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 and it was a crude introduction to who I am and what I wanted my blog to be all about. You can read it here: Introductions.

According to my blogger dashboard, I currently have 1,517 post entries including this post. A good deal of them are fluffy things like links to videos or news items.

According to my Sitemeter account, I have at this writing, 381,344 hits averaging around 205 hits a day. Of course, because I initiated my Sitemeter account in August of 2006, that reading doesn’t take in the first year. My current visits are up from about six months ago when I was maybe averaging 150 visits a day. More importantly, the average visit is around three and half minutes, which means a lot of folks hang around to read some of the stuff I wrote.

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I began blogging for two specific reasons: I loved to write on theological subjects and I wanted the ability to control my web content and publish it immediately.

But of those two, writing on theology was what really drove me.

Good writing is slowly becoming a fading discipline. It is regrettable, especially among God’s people. The one thing I can recall my professors in seminary drumming into my head is to pursue excellence with theological writing. A pastor, they often argued, must be able to articulate difficult theological concepts in writing so simple lay men can understand them.

Such an effort is certainly a challenge. Not everyone does it well with consistency over a long period of time. There is a bit of work involved, but I do my best to excel with my writing, and I have repeated the challenge to others. A person truly owns a doctrine when he is capable of expressing it in writing.

But blogging is much more than “just writing.”

A blog is supposed to be a reflection of an individual’s personality. That is seen in the web design, illustrations, subject matter covered, sidebar links, etc.

A few months or so after had started blogging, I received an email with a link taking me to some fancy-pants website where writers pontificate on how a person or business can improve on-line etiquette. The article in question was exploring the then “blogger” phenomena and spelled out the rules on how to be a successful blogger by generating traffic to your site. The writer exhorted bloggers to do such things as write short posts, link to as many other websites as you can, keep your blog articles organized around just one or two themes, don’t plagiarize, etc.

I read those suggestions and realized my blog pretty much did the opposite of everything mentioned in the article. On my blog, I jumped from topic to topic, sometimes talked a lot about myself, and some of my articles were like 2,000 words or more. According to the logic of this article, my blog should have failed six and half years ago. But here I am seven years later and I have no thought of losing interest or slowing down in any fashion.

I once noted in a blog article how I had been reading of more Christians quitting the blog-o-sphere because blogging allegedly brought out the bad in people. They argued with each other, cut one another down, there were no restraints on anything a commenter could say, except maybe turning off comments, and blogging could be spiritually detrimental to a Christian’s sanctification. What spiritual good could possibly come from blogging? – plus, it wastes your time anyways when you could be spending it with your family. I have encountered bad folks commenting at both my blog and others I frequent. I can also say that when I began blogging, for a while I was probably a bit more snarky in my writing and I could dish out the sass mouth in the comments. I hope I have matured some since then.

Rather than being a detriment to my spiritual health, however, my overall experience blogging has been extremely satisfying and helpful to me as a Christian. It certainly has helped me think through subjects, especially when I get the push back from critics. Blogging has definitely improved my ability to communicate clearly and concisely with my writing.

Probably the one thing I do struggle with is blogger envy.

There is always someone out there who writes better than I do; whose articulation of an issue is more witty and to the point. Their blog is also much more fun to visit because their photoshop skills are off the charts compared to mine.

However, the ones who truly get to me are those bloggers who are well known and have big followings who really don’t offer much substantively (I’ll refrain from naming names). Oh, of course people cite them and link to them incessantly, but I sit back and marvel at how these folks can gather such a following. Meanwhile, other bloggers I read, who craft some of the best material a person can read both with pithiness and entertainment, will labor in virtual obscurity. I would much rather hear that little guy interviewed at some blogger conference than the ones who usually get the spot light.

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Over all, I believe I have stuck with my stated purpose of being a theological and apologetic oriented blog. During the last 7 years I have covered a myriad of topics. Early on I started to respond to a now defunct liberal Christian organization called The Christian Alliance for Progress. They once had a website hosting their “seven values” available on line here. I began responding to each point with an individual post starting with this one, but I only made four entries on the subject before I abandoned it. I got distracted by other items I found on the internet, but I also had to deal with finding cancer in my neck near the end of 2005 and a surgery in January of 2006.

After my failure to follow through with finishing up my critique of the CAP, I did begin to focus more on completing any of my series I would begin. The first long series I did was a study on the subject of KJV-onlyism. I remember when Frank Turk was a nobody before he became a big shot blogger at TeamPyro, he would stop by here and leave comments. After one post I did interacting with gay Christian arguments, he told me that I should buckle down the hatches because the flood of angry comments were about to fall upon me. I responded by saying, “wait until I start blogging about KJV onlyism".”

My series of articles examining KJV-onlyism began with my testimony of leaving KJV onlyism, which was posted in September, 2005 and continued a full year ending on September, 2006. Keep in mind I didn’t blog on KJV-onlyism every week for a year, just that I posted regularly on the subject for a year.

Other series I wrote: 20 ways to answer a fool (an interaction with atheist arguments), apologetic methodology, answering gay Christian argumentation, occasional readings from British historian, Paul Johnson, studies in the subject of eschatology, a response to Sam Waldron’s lame book against my pastor, a defense of premillennialism which is in progress, and three studies on biblical books, Job, Daniel and 1 Samuel, which is also in progress.

Out of all my posts, there are two that are the most searched and read.

First is my treatment of fake Bigfoot pictures, and then second is my evaluation of youth evangelist Louie Giglio’s laminin molecule evidence. The Bigfoot article was written in the fall of 2006 and to this day some six years later, there is at least one visit to it on a daily basis. As of 2007, when I activated Google analytics, I have had 2,300 page views of that article. My article critiquing Louie Giglio’s evangelistic methodology was posted on May 22, 2008 and has had roughly 11,800 making it the number one most read article I have written.

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I will confess my blog is not all that pretty to look at. It's very plain and simple, and I guess one can say boring looking. I have attempted to learn some basic photo editing skills over the years. I did down load GIMP, and I have the how-to GIMP videos bookmarked, and one of these days I intend to watch how I can learn the basics.

However, I like simplicity, but more to the point, I hate change. I guess I can understand the need to upgrade the appearance of a blog for necessity sake. Say for instance, to organize your online content in a more concise fashion for the newcomer. But I know of some bloggers who think they need to change the appearance of their blog every year and that just annoys me. I mean, I get use to where stuff is, how it looks, what to expect every visit, and then BAM I come the next day and a whole new template exists. There was one blogger I remember from a couple of years ago who changed the appearance so much I stopped visiting.

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But my main goal is to have good content for readers. Though I occasionally blog on current evangelical trends, other bloggers do much better at critiquing them than I do. I focus my writing more on subjects I figure every Christian will encounter at least once in their Church going experience. Some time, every Christian is going to come across some person arguing that God doesn't condemn homosexuality. Or that modern Christians are bigoted for denying gay "Christians" the right to marry each other. The flummoxed Christian will want to know what he or she should say in response and in God's providence, come across some things I have written. The same could be said about the KJV-only issue or eschatology.

I realize I address mundane, out of the ordinary topics, but I have received many, many emails over the last 5 years thanking me for tackling them. I may not have a massive review of the Shack available, or the latest commentary on something Rick Warren said on CNN, but if some confused soul wants to know what his response should be to a bizarre conspiracy theory advocated by a fellow church member, I hope I can help the guy out.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TMS Apologetic Lectures

I was alerted to these set of video lectures by an apologetic review site on which the author was grousing how the teachers in this series aren't "presuppositional" enough. That means that he likes what he sees but he has been thrown into complete mental state of higgedly-piggedly because these lectures are coming from Dispensational oriented Baptist guys, not Covenant Reformed baby dippers. Thus his conclusion of them not being "presuppositional" enough.

Whatever.

I haven't had the chance to see them at all, but if you want a full blown seminary class on the subject of apologetics and evangelism, you've got the summer.

TH 701 Apologetics and Evangelism

By the way, Josh, who is the video guy at Grace Church, also has uploaded a number of other seminary classes, including stuff on biblical counseling, which I am sure is probably not NANC enough for some people's taste.

TMS Lectures

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Chainsaws and Indians

I'm impressed.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Biblical Apologetics and Traditional Classic Apologetics Contrasted

I noted in a recent post about a fabulous book I’ve been reading on apologetics called, Biblical Apologetics: Advancing and Defending the Gospel of Christ, by Clifford McManis. The deeper I get into his work, the more I am impressed with it and I believe this book will be a necessary read for those who seriously wish to shape their apologetic theology, if we can call it that.

I appreciated his appendix that lays out 41 contrasts between biblical apologetics and traditional classic apologetics. Traditional apologetics is what most Christians are familiar with because it is advocated on radio and in popular level books on the subject.

The list is in a brief, bullet-style format. I thought I would reproduce it with some minor changes for readability. Biblical Apologetics (BA) is listed first, then Traditional Classic Apologetics (TCA) is listed next. Each one of these following contrasts is fleshed out more fully in the main book.

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1) BA assumes God exists
TCA tries to prove God probably exists.

2) BA uses the Bible as the ultimate authority for truth.
With TCA human reason and laws of logic are ultimate authority for truth.

3) BA, human reason is subject to biblical scrutiny.
TCA, the Bible is subject to scrutiny of human reason and laws of logic.

4) BA apologetics is a mandate for every Christian.
TCA apologetics is primarily reserved for philosophers (and certified trained apologists).

5) BA, apologetics is in the domain of biblical theology.
TCA apologetics is in the domain of philosophy and metaphysics.

6) BA assumes Christianity is certain/true and other religions are false/evil
TCA assumes Christianity is the most plausible of all the alternatives.

7) BA defends the whole Christian faith and the Gospel.
TCA defends theism and the possibility of miracles.

8) BA believes Scripture is autopistic (self-authenticating)/self-validating.
TCA believes Scripture has to be proven to be true and is not self-validating.

9) BA believes that for today, only Scripture is the Word of God.
TCA believe the Word of God includes more than the Bible.

10) BA sees apologetics beginning with religionists inside the Church.
TCA sees apologetics as being primarily for those outside the Church.

11) BA understands that apologetics is directed equally toward all unbelievers.
TCA sees apologetics as being primarily geared toward atheists and agnostics.

12) BA believes faith results only from hearing God's Word in Scripture/divine revelation.
TCA belives faith can also result from natural theology and general revelation.

13) BA believes the greatest impediment to belief is personal sin and satanic blindness.
TCA believes the greats impediment to belief is ignorance and intellectual speculations (intellectual roadblocks).

14) BA takes natural revelation as intuitive (immediately known and easily understood by all men everywhere).
TCA understands that natural revelation is learned.

15) BA believes natural revelation is only sufficient to condemn
TCA believes natural revelation can produce faith.

16) BA believes natural revelation is always rejected by unbelievers.
TCA thinks natural revelation is welcomed by unbelievers.

17) BA believes special revelation is essential for true faith.
TCA believes special revelation is not the only source for saving faith.

18) BA says there is no natural theology.
TCA on the other hand thinks natural theology is foundational.

19) BA teaches there is metaphysical common ground.
TCA says common ground is more than metaphysical.

20) BA says no epistemological common ground.
TCA there is epistemological common ground.

21) BA says there is no neutrality with the unbeliever.
TCA says there is neutral ground.

22) BA teaches that all people are innately religious.
TCA says some people are not religious.

23) BA teaches that total depravity has skewed the mind.
TCA understands the fallen mind is neutral.

24) BA says there is common ground in the imago Dei, conscience, and sensus divinitatis.
TCA says there is no sensus divinitatis (for some proponents); the imago Dei is not the basis for common ground.

25) BA says apologetics, preaching, evangelism and theology are all organically interrelated.
TCA separates apologetics from theology, preaching and evangelism.

26) BA understand that Plato and Aristotle were lost pagans.
TCA teach that Plato and Aristotle are models.

27) BA is Calvinistic in anthropology.
TCA is generally Arminian and Rominist in their anthropology.

28) BA believes in the total sufficiency, inspiration and perspicuity of Scripture.
TCA undermines bibiology; usually sufficiency and perspicuity.

29) BA teaches that apologetics is holistic/a lifestyle.
TCA sees apologetics primarily as an intellectual exercise.

30) BA teaches that 1 Peters 3:15 needs to be understood in the biblical context.
TCA does not exegete 1 Peter 3:15 in a biblical context.

31) BA consistently uses grammatical-historical hermeneutics.
TCA utilizes allegorical hermeneutics and the analogy of Scripture.

32) BA says apologia is broad, informal and in reference to the Gospel.
TCA sees apologia is formal, forensic, secular and isolated from the Gospel.

33) BA gives priority to Hebrew/Greek.
TCA has a preference for Latin.

34) BA believes the Testimonium includes the Holy Spirit working with Scripture.
TCA believes the Holy Spirit works apart from Scripture.

35) BA Hamartiology (doctrine of sin) is determinative.
TCA hamartiology is not developed.

36) BA efficacious evidences derive from special revelation.
TCA efficacious evidences derived from natural theology.

37) BA takes theistic arguments as being edifying for the believer and help establish unaffirmability with unbelievers.
TCA see theistic arguments as being positively helpful, establishing undeniability with unbelievers.

38) BA has no prerequisites for evangelism.
TCA requires prerequisites for evangelism.

39) BA sees pre-evangelism including general revelation and the work of the Holy Spirit.
TCA pre-evangelism includes natural theology.

40) BA truth is certain.
TCA truth is probable.

41) BA the hope we defend is the gospel.
TCA the hope we defend is theism.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sheep Attacks

A Rant Against Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs

sheepbitesLast week I read with head-wagging sigh-inducing astonishment about a pastor leading his congregation to sue an ex-member for defamation and slander against him and the church. Allegedly, the slander was in the form of a negative review the ex-member left on a website.

The ex-member in question, a homeschool mother by the name of Julie Anne, complained of being "spiritually abused" by a legalistic, over-bearing pastor who would threaten church discipline against those who disagreed with him and asked pointed questions. He is also said to have led the other members to publicly shun this gal and her family, and his constant pastoral abuse supposedly drove one of Julie Anne's daughters away from attending any church at all.

Those are troubling allegations against this pastor and his church. The fact that he has unwisely leveled a half million dollar lawsuit against this woman only serves to exacerbates her charges.

However, I am even more troubled by the way this pastor has been pilloried in the press accounts as being practically a borderline, baby-eating Satanist. Throngs of grievance mongering antinomians have rallied around this woman as if she's been the victim of a serial rapist who was released on a minor technicality.

Now, I'll probably agree that the pastor is acting foolishly with this lawsuit, and perhaps he displays an overall bad attitude that negatively impacts his ministry, but is he really deserving of the name calling and accusations of deviancy made by faceless, anonymous blog commenters? And the rest of us are to let such comments slip by unnoticed?

Surveying the host of news articles, so-called "spiritual abuse" blogs, and even this gal's own "survivor" blog, my "Hmmmm..." alarm began beeping.

I'm sure Julie is as sweet as a plate of cookies, but she comes across, at least to me, as petty and vindictive. The accounts I read is that she and her family exited this church a few years ago, and then at some point after, she was inclined to leave a negative Google review complaining how this church is legalistic and doesn't live up to the name "Grace" that is in their official title.

Her comment wasn’t particularly slanderous. It's the kind of whiny comments that are typically found on any Google review page. You have to take them with a grain of salt. I read similar stuff about every hotel I researched when the family made a cross country trip to Arkansas.

But there certainly has to be more going on than just a weepy lady crying about her feelings getting hurt at this church. American evangelicalism is dotted with disgruntled ex-members of such-and-such a church/denomination who would also complain about similar problems that drove them to leave their churches. I could probably be numbered among that group.

The difference is they don't run to the internet and write hostile reviews or start a "survivor" blog aimed at the church in question. Nor does the church feel the need to take those disgruntled ex-members to court to make them cease their slander. There’s more going on than we probably are aware.

I've circled around the ministry block enough times to learn that the folks who start an active "survivor" blog outlining in scrutinizing detail their alleged spiritual abuse at the hands of a pastor or church are generally coming from the fever swamps of tin-foil hat theology. Not saying this is Julie; I’m just saying its been my experience – and I have a lot of it.

Just notice the people who were stirred up to respond positively to the news report of this lady's pending lawsuit.

First are the atheists and agnostics. Obviously they will chime in because they hate God and Jesus, and I imagine some of them have genuinely been excommunicated from churches.

But the biggest supporters are coming from these hives of spiritual malcontents (nearly all of them women, btw) who maintain various spiritual abuse survivor blogs.

Do any of them attend a Bible teaching church? If so, where? Again, speaking from generalities I’ll admit, the folks who I have encountered who run an active “survivor” blog either don’t attend church anywhere, or the church they do attend is one of these fruiffy emerging style churches with the water-downed doctrine. They’re the ones who are “open” to other points of view on key doctrines like Christ’s divinity and the authority of Scripture. But I digress.

In fact, I am curious as to where Julie and her family attend church. If she does, what does her pastor think of the tactics she has taken starting a “survivor” blog? From what I gather on her blog, she doesn’t attend any church, and in point of fact just recently started “trying” church again. Okay, that’s great; but after a three year’s absence?

Moreover, with all the various “survivor” blogs I surveyed, pretty much everyone of them are overran by anonymous commenters who have a streak of anti-authoritarianism running through everything they write. In my opinion, these are some rather problematic allies. A person doesn’t want spiritually unhealthy individuals informing his or her decisions in matters like what Julie is dealing with.

Now, are there mean, bullying pastors out there? Sure. Do those bullying pastors foster an atmosphere of hostility by encouraging gangs of finger-wagging Delores Umbridge types to stick their legalistic nose in everyone's business and then rat out any non-conformists? Certainly.

However, is taking to the internet with a blog called "shepherd watch" or "battered lambs" or "such-and-such survivors" the best course of action? No. Honestly, those blogs make a person appear loopy, demanding a double-portion of his pound of flesh at all costs. Their white whale must be destroyed or there will be no rest.

Let me add a closing word on 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 because I am sure someone will ask about it in the combox.

I don’t believe Paul’s words here are intended as an absolute prohibition against Christians involving themselves in lawsuits against other Christians. The primary point is to rebuke litigious oriented Christians whose first reaction is to take a person to court over personal offenses. Just as it is today in our society, Roman society encouraged people to sue one another to protect one’s rights. Matter’s were made worse because the courts favored the wealthy and judicial decisions tended toward injustice against the one who could not defend himself in court.

Additionally, Paul is reminding the church as a whole that Christ’s people should not involve the world in the matters of the church. God’s people have the spirit of discernment operating among them. The world does not. Hence, in severe disagreements between two Christian brothers, the Christian church has the true resources to judge rightly.

At the same time, however, Paul is clear in Romans 13 that the civil authorities exist to maintain the order of society and protect its citizens. Law courts are a big part of that category of “civil authorities,” and depending on circumstances, there may be a need for law courts to intervene in serious matters in order to protect one group of citizens from another. In rare occasions, such situations may involve Christians.

But, coming back to 1 Corinthians 6:7, 8, Paul exhorts all offended parties to take such offenses and lay them aside. As he says, “Why not let yourselves be cheated?” In other words, it is better to let the bad situation go rather than making a mockery of Christ in the eyes of the world and damaging the overall Christian testimony.

That last point applies just as equally with Julie Anne as it does with her ex-church, and to all the sob-sisters “survivor” blogs.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Criminal Vs. Baby

If you ever need proof of depravity by birth, check out this comparison chart:

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Gleanings in 1 Samuel [9]

ebenezerRevival at Mizpah (1 Samuel 7)

The last three chapters we have studied from 1 Samuel (4-6) have been disastrous for Israel.  God has wrought His judgment upon the nation by military defeat from the hands of the Philistines.  The Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the enemy, though God wrought judgment upon the Philistines as a result of their transgression.

In chapter 6, the Philistines return the Ark to Israel.  Chapter 7:1 sets the picture for the following events.  The Ark rested in the house of Abinadad in Kirjath-jarim. 

Between verses 1 and 2, twenty years take place. It is during that 20 years that Samuel's official public ministry begins.  Since the end of chapter 3 He has been absent.  Now as he begins his public ministry he comes back to the forefront of the story as he calls the nations back to repentance and covenant faithfulness. 

The people, during this twenty years, begin to lament after the LORD.  As they did, God softened their hearts.  Samuel rose up to confront the people and call them back to their God. 

We have here in chapter 7 a recipe for true revival among God's people.

I) Samuel's Preaching (3-4)

True revival begins with biblical preaching.  That was exactly what Samuel did.

He preached a three-fold message to them:
- Turn to God
- Put away strange gods
- live lives of faithful obedience.

True salvation begins with our submission to God and obedience to His Word. We set Him up as the sole object of our devotion. That is the idea of putting away "foreign gods."  It is those gods which replace God as the object of our servitude, something that we are devoted to in spite of God's faithfulness.

Yet merely "returning to the Lord" and removing foreign gods is not enough.  The people were exhorted to live lives of holy obedience to the YHWH alone (4).

II) Public Commitment (5-6)

Samuel calls Israel to Mizpah, a centrally located town about 5-7 miles north of Jerusalem.  In a fashion, this was a big tent revival meeting.  A convocation of worship, confession, and renewal among all the people of Israel. 

They began by pouring out water before the Lord, a demonstration of repentance.  They fasted, showing solidarity to God, and then confessed their sin.  They recognized their sin was specifically against the Lord. 

Samuel "judged" the people, which implies he took the role as national leader and stood before God on their behalf. 

III) God's Salvation (7-11)

The Philistines hear of Israel's public gathering at Mizpah (which suggests this gathering was for a number of days, not just one afternoon).  More than likely, the Philistines are stirred to action against Israel due in part of Samson's exploits in destroying one of their main temples and killing thousands of people as recorded in Judges 16.  Seeing what they considered Israel's vulnerability, they gather against them to do battle.

The people become terrified, gripped with fear for their lives.  But in reality, this is God testing their commitment to Him.  If they are going to trust him, they need to prove it to themselves.  Thus, rather than taking matters into their own hands, they cried out for Samuel to pray for them. 

Samuel responded by making a whole burnt offering to God.  All the while the Philistines were gathering themselves - in full view of Israel - to cut them all down. The Lord in turn heard Samuel's prayer.  As the Philistines charged and Samuel was in the process of making his offering, God answered audibly, thundering against them.

One has to wonder if this was the voice of God Himself (John 12:29).  Whatever the case, the Philistines knew this was a "real" deity at work, and the panic that ensued so confused the Philistines that Israel overcame them. 

IV) God's Blessing (12-17)

After God drove away the Philistines, Samuel commissioned a monument to be built.  A stone is set up and named Ebenezer, which means "Thus far the LORD has helped us."  It is the LORD who has brought Israel to this place and it is the LORD who once again demonstrates His power to save by extraordinary means. 

As a result,

- The 40 year Philistine tyranny is broken.  Though they will be a menace at times, they did not maintain the control over Israel they had previously.
- The hand of God was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
- The cities the Philistines had taken from Israel were returned.
- The Word of God was proclaimed.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

FBT Updates

I had opportunity to update my devotional series on Judges. I've added 3 messages on Judges 13, 14, and 15. They can be found here: Studies in Judges

And one message on Suicide and the Bible

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Apologetics and the Atheist's "Unbelief"

I am currently reading Clifford McManis's book, Biblical Apologetics: Advancing and Defending the Gospel of Christ. I find it to be breath of fresh air as one of the best books on Christian apologetics I have read in years.

I am just a quarter way through its 600 plus pages and already I have had my thinking about Christian apologetics fine-tuned. I hope to have a review up sometimes in the future, but I can tell you now: if you're a person who wants to think soundly about biblically based apologetics rather than the mushy popular stuff heard on radio and found in Christian bookstores, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The Ratio Christi crowd would do well to avail themselves of it.

The opening chapter of the book contrasts biblical apologetics with the traditional classic apologetics. I appreciate this one section that speaks to our apologetics in defense of God's existence.

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One of the greatest Christian apologists of our generation, Norman Geisler, says that the first goal of apologetics is "reasoning for the existence of God." He also asserts that "God is what is to be proven and we cannot begin by assuming his existence as a fact." Similarly, Moreland conjectures, "Genesis 1 does not merely assume the existence of the God of the Bible."

Biblical apologetics says the exact opposite: Genesis presupposes, or assumes, the existence of God. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Bible never tries to explain, justify or rationally prove to the unbeliever that God might exist. It is declared ipso facto as a given. The only thing the Bible has to say about atheists is the following: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Ps. 14:1). In other words, atheists are fools.

Just about every apologetics book written since the time of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) majors on long-winded, complex, philosophical delineations of the theistic arguments trying to prove or vindicate the possibility or undeniability of God's existence. Reading modern day evangelical apologists one would think that the super-majority of people in the world is atheistic. Just the opposite is true: the super-majority of the people in the world is theistic. With over one billion Muslims, one billion Hindus, nearly one billion people calling themselves Christians and another billion identifying with some kind of theistic religion, there is no shortage of theists in the world. Over ninety percent of Americans say they believe in God.

The atheists are the super-minority in the world. As such, biblical apologetics does not assume everyone is atheist. Just as Scripture makes plain, unbelievers in general believe in God, "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). And similarly Paul says that although unbelievers "knew God, they did not honor Him as God" (Romans 1:21).

The biggest critics of Jesus were religionists - the Pharisees - not atheists. Those who opposed Paul at Areopagus were not atheists, for they worshiped an "unknown god." The great OT apologist, the prophet Elijah, opposed religionists at Mount Carmel, not atheists (1 Kings 18). When Moses the apologist confronted Pharaoh's priests in 1,400 BC, he was dealing with religionists of the first order, not atheists (Exodus 7). As such, biblical apologetics distinguishes itself by addressing people first and foremost, a priori, as religious beings, not as those with a religious tabula rasa, sterile of any religious belief. [McManis, 53-55]

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Fun Time with Lasers

If attacking aliens have a latex based biology, we're good.

Don't point that at your eye.



As seen on Glenn Beck

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Defining Deviancy

By way of introduction, I wrote this post a couple of years ago during the Prop. 8 debate here in California. I got into a bit of a back-and-forth with some crabby young progressives on the subject of gay marriage. That led to a number of commenters challenging my views of homosexuality and how I argued against it. I took a number of their key responses and wrote up the following post.

In light of the events this week in NC and with the POTUS coming out in support of gay marriage, I thought I would repost it for a new readership. I left the original comments intact as well, and their worth reading.


I have been receiving a bit of push back from the young progressive bloggers in my town. They have taken great umbrage with my perspective on homosexuals and homosexual behavior. All of my views are walking contradictions of inconsistent strawman argumentation, or so they say.

In other words, I've been receiving lots of that famous progressive openness, tolerance, and hugs.

Allow me to respond to some of the love.

It’s a great big universe out there, and I can’t believe that any higher power wouldn’t want his/her/it’s children to be completely open and accepting of each other without judgment.

I am always surprised how those who are non-practicing Christians (or any religion for that matter) have a more robust knowledge of theology than the actual Christian being criticized. Yet such is a typical response from our general secular society who think matters of religion and faith are to be simply equated to having a favorite ice cream.

"I can't believe it! You rocky-road people are so narrow-minded and bigoted. You know there are other people who don't like rocky-road - and what about those people allergic to nuts? You bigot."

When they speak of judgment, they often resort to the one text they are for sure to have memorized: Judge not lest you be judged. As if citing that verse trumps all arguments.

Yeah. God doesn't want us to offer any value judgment or exercise any sort of moral discernment when it comes to matters He has actually addressed in the Bible. The expression of human sexuality and the sin of homosexual sex being one of those major issues He has addressed.

To assume that homosexuality is a choice of deviants and sinners is absolutely preposterous and tells me that those who do adhere to that ideal obviously haven’t really taken the time to know homosexuals enough to understand that it’s not a choice.

Here we get to the heart of debate: what defines deviant behavior.

It's believed homosexual behavior should never be criticized as deviant behavior because homosexuals are oriented naturally to have a same-sex attraction. It's their personal, internal appetite to have a same-sex attraction. They can't help the way they are born.

In the mind of the homosexual activist, telling homosexuals they need to change their desires would be like telling a black person he needs to become a Chinese guy. Or in this case, telling a heterosexual man to stop being attracted to women and start being attracted to men. It's not an issue in which a person can merely cut his hair and put on a suit and tie. We're dealing with a person's genetic, mental make-up.

But this is where the defense of homosexual orientation runs up against serious problems, because this argument is utterly subjective.

Allow me to raise the specter of pedophilia. As soon as I did, my detractors angrily renounced my comparison. But I am not comparing all homosexuals to pedophiles. I'm addressing orientation; and there's a difference. Why is the pedophile's orientation any less of a legitimate, internal sexual attraction as the same-sex orientation?

Honestly?

The pedophile's orientation is labeled deviant even by homosexual activists. But why? Just because they are sexually oriented toward teens and pubescent children? I am in no way advocating for NAMBLA, and again, I am not saying all gays are pedophiles, but why do we condemn their "orientation" just because it is directed toward children, and not the orientation of adult men directed toward other men?

One is considered a deviant disorder, the other is not. The pedophile's "orientation" is a "disorder," but a man who seeks to surgically alter his body to be a woman is not a "disorder" but a minority in need of equal rights protection? Really? A person may retort, "But it's his choice to have a sex change, the child doesn't have a choice!" But is it a good thing for our society to allow a person to physically harm him or herself in such a way because it's his or her choice?

They most certainly are unrelated. You simplify your theological philosophy by lumping those who are not heterosexual in with wonton [sic] hedonists, sexual deviants, those with sexual obsession and other disorders that may manifest themselves in obsessive sexual behavior.

I am curious how one distinguishes the concept of "obsessive" from the idea of "orientation." As a red-blooded, all-American teenager, I was sexually obsessed with girls, yet I didn't consider such an obsession a "disorder" requiring psycho-therapy. Of course, this obsession never "manifested" itself in any illicit behavior. Believe me, I really, really wished for it to have manifested, but usually other factors prevented it from taking effect, particularly my absence from the heavy drinking parties put on by my peers. But my obsession was still there, and was still extremely real.

Point of order – pedophilia involves forcing sexual acts on individuals who are not old enough to consent.

Well, to be more precise, pederasty involves a sexual relationship between an adult individual and a younger individual, usually a teenager. It is often falsely assumed that sexually active children are not old enough to consent. But what does age have to do with consent? Teens consent to lots of different sexual activities in our modern society. In fact our glandolatrous [thanks Dan!] popular culture encourages such consensual activity. The lack of cultural awareness on the part of my accusers is amazing to behold.

Do you consider a 14 year old sophisticated? I certainly don’t. I know quite a few 14 year olds who think they are, but it’s certainly not the case. You’re attempting to equate the definition of marriage with the definition of personhood, which deals with the ability to reason and process as a mature adult.

I had suggested that if what constitutes the act of pedophilia is the legality of the "child's" age, then does lowering the age of consent now take away the stigma of pedophilia?

Contrary to what my detractor states here, there certainly are sophisticated 14 year-olds out in the world who would willing (and do) have sexual relationships with older adults, and to deny this fact again reveals a woeful lack of awareness of our youth culture. Spain has their legal age of consent set at 13 where as Austria at the age of 14. These two countries certainly believe 13 and 14 year-olds are mature enough to reason and process as a mature adult so as to have a sexual relationship with a person twice their age.

But then the objector shifts the goal posts from being about age to being about the ability to reason and process as a mature adult. This is another subjective objection. I believe I can make a rather compelling case that Lindsay Lohan lacks the ability to reason and process like an adult. In fact, the entire celebrity culture whose disastrous personal lives are played out before the public in the magazines at the check-out lines at Wal-Mart lack the ability to reason and process like adults. But they certainly can consent to sexual relationships, which are often the focus of their disastrous personal lives.

Nothing like making the issue of people who are of the same gender about nothing more than the act of sex. I would ask Mr. Butler based on these assertions are you only married for the purpose of sexual intercourse? It is certainly what you are boiling down those who are of the same gender and wanting to be married to be all about. Keeping them from marrying does not somehow eliminate the sexual acts of homosexuality which is really what you are railing about.

Honestly? Yes, I did get married for the purpose of have sexual intercourse. Why is that a bad thing? I fear God and He has specifically told us how and when we as His creatures are to engage in lawful and healthy intercourse: Within the bonds of marriage as He has defined it between only one man and one woman.

The comment implies people "marry" one another for more than just sex. Such things as companionship and love. Certainly that is true. I love the companionship I have with my wife. But let's be frank: companionship and love can be experienced without the need for a sexual relationship. Is the relationship of a married couple unable to experience sexual intercourse due to physical limitations make their companionship and love for one another any less meaningful without the sex?

So yes, it is the homosexual sex I am railing about, because let's face it, it is the same-sex sexual attraction and activity that defines what homosexuality is, and it is what God has specifically marked down as sinful as I have argued in more detail with this post.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Confronting the Navel Gazing Churches

navelgazingAt least once a week, a "big-time" Christian blogger links to a compilation of analytical bullet points addressing some issue deemed important within the Christian church.  The list will be titled such things as, "8 Reasons Pastors Burn-out," "12 Ways to Make Your Church Sign Catchy," "11 Signs Your Deacons are Plotting a Mutiny," etc.

The internet rabbit trail led me to this recent list compiled by Thom Rainer, who is the CEO of Lifeway, and appears to like these kind of lists.

The 10 Warning Signs of an Inwardly Obsessed Church

I come from out amongst the SBC fold in the buckle of the Bible-belt, so I thought I would offer up my personal commentary, drawn from my anecdotal experience, as a response.

I'll say at the outset that I believe the reason for these "warning signs" has to do with a failure of leadership in shepherding the people toward a high view of God and Scripture.  It's really that simple.  That doesn't mean these "warning" signs will just evaporate overnight for a pastor(s) who change the way he shepherds.  But it does show where there is a significant need for correction.

1. Worship wars. One or more factions in the church want the music just the way they like it. Any deviation is met with anger and demands for change. The order of service must remain constant. Certain instrumentation is required while others are prohibited.

The last couple of decades has seen a rise with churches using CCM in worship.  Contrary to the hysteria generated by fundamentalist alarmist like David Cloud, there is nothing particularly sinful or compromising or worldly with the use of CCM in worship. 

Why there is a "war" over worship music is that many church goers, particularly the older generation, have a problem with the trend to completely abandon traditional worship music for CCM that totally alters the church service.  The individuals pushing this trend are under the erroneous belief that traditional hymn music is boring and the lyrics old-fashioned and a church can't draw the younger family demographic for long term commitment.  In response, the older generation react negatively to what they perceive as worldliness taking over the church. 

So, instead of shepherding the older people to appreciate CCM and instill in the younger families a love and deep appreciation for classic hymns of our faith, they solve the problem by creating multiple worship services. "Traditional" services are held at 8 am, where as the CCM worship service is at 9:30.  All this does is to divide the body of Christ. 

2. Prolonged minutia meetings. The church spends an inordinate amount of time in different meetings. Most of the meetings deal with the most inconsequential items, while the Great Commission and Great Commandment are rarely the topics of discussion.

This is nothing less than a failure of leadership.  If a pastor(s) can't keep a meeting focused upon important matters, he (or they) need to retool how to lead people.  He also needs to muster the intestinal fortitude that gives him the ability to shut down members who keep pulling the meeting toward the issues of minutia. 

Of course, this problem would be greatly diminished if a church was biblical and practiced elder rule.   Rather, most SBC churches are congregational ruled in which every spiritually immature narcissist, who isn't even qualified to teach a Sunday school class, is allowed an equally controlling decision in the matters of the church.

3. Facility focus. The church facilities develop iconic status. One of the highest priorities in the church is the protection and preservation of rooms, furniture, and other visible parts of the church’s buildings and grounds.

It depends upon what the facilities are and who assigns the iconic status.  A Sunday School room that has been successfully used by the women's weekly Titus 2 meeting for the last 40 years now slated to be assimilated with the music room expansion is certainly "iconic" to Myrtle Haynes and her ladies group.

This is where a wise pastor will step in with gentle reverence and shepherd the ladies as to why there needs to be a change and walk them to the new area where they will be meeting.

Unwise leadership, on the other hand, who brag of not being beholden to a mindset that places iconic value on church facilities, announce to Myrtle and her group that they will be losing their room and they'll try to find some other place for them to meet.   

4. Program driven. Every church has programs even if they don’t admit it. When we start doing a ministry a certain way, it takes on programmatic status. The problem is not with programs. The problem develops when the program becomes an end instead of a means to greater ministry.

Such can be true.  I just note a bit of irony with this warning sign because Mr. Rainer is the CEO of Lifeway, the Christian bookstore company that heavily marketed Rick Warren's PDL materials.  Warren's 40 Days of Purpose stuff was adopted ("forced upon" in some cases) by many, many churches across the land and those churches started doing ministry a certain way because they were told by the marketing that it was the only way for a church to do greater ministry. 

5. Inwardly focused budget. A disproportionate share of the budget is used to meet the needs and comforts of the members instead of reaching beyond the walls of the church.

I would be curious as to what is considered "needs" and "comforts?"  Does that mean taking care of the church facilities? I don't see a problem with a church directing their budget to maintaining a nice place for people to meet.  It would also be helpful to define what is meant by "reaching beyond the walls of the church."  Is that local outreach? Short-term missions?  With the SBC model, as with other denominations, there is a bureaucratic office that raises money from the churches for international missions through their Lottie Moon Christmas offering. This model sets in place the idea that if I give 500 bucks at Christmas to the denominational office, I'm involved with missions. and I didn't even have to leave my pew.   

6. Inordinate demands for pastoral care. All church members deserve care and concern, especially in times of need and crisis. Problems develop, however, when church members have unreasonable expectations for even minor matters. Some members expect the pastoral staff to visit them regularly merely because they have membership status.
7. Attitudes of entitlement. This issue could be a catch-all for many of the points named here. The overarching attitude is one of demanding and having a sense of deserving special treatment.

I thought these two "signs" went together.  I figured if members demanded a pastor’s unflinching attention to minor matters, the reason they would is because they believed they were entitled to it.

I have mixed feelings about these “signs.”  Pastoral visitation is just part of the territory.  I’d think a pastor would want to mingle regularly with his people.  If not, then there is a problem with the pastor. 

Still, I can understand how a pastor can get “busy,” and unreasonable expectations on his time is inappropriate.  Depending of course on what is defined as “unreasonable expectations.”  But how much of this entitlement attitude is fostered by the pastor himself because he doesn’t guard his time by properly prioritizing his responsibilities, especially with sermon prep. When minor matters pop up, he welcomes such unexpected interruptions as a way to get out of the office and away from the greater task at hand.

8. Greater concern about change than the gospel. Almost any noticeable changes in the church evoke the ire of many; but those same passions are not evident about participating in the work of the gospel to change lives.

I can understand the "concern" for change when the change is a cockamamie plan to contract a high-end architect to redesign the worship center in such a way that a new "stage set" can be erected every Sunday to provide a living illustration for that week's message. Or a massive loan is taken out just so the church can build an unnecessary, yet gianormous sanctuary complete with cyclopean pillars just to have curb appeal.   (And I am not making either of these up).

9. Anger and hostility. Members are consistently angry. They regularly express hostility toward the church staff and other members.

I have to ask: Why aren't these people confronted with their sin? These are church members doing nothing but causing division and stirring up strife among the body.  I would hope strong leadership, after hearing of the angry and hostile members, would seek them out to meet with them about their sin issues.  If they are teachable, disciple them to repent of their bitterness and seek reconciliation with those whom they are angry.  If they are unteachable, get other leaders involved and explain to them that in no uncertain terms are they to continue with this behavior or they will be kicked out of the fellowship.  

10. Evangelistic apathy. Very few members share their faith on a regular basis. More are concerned about their own needs rather than the greatest eternal needs of the world and community in which they live.

A lot of this can easily go back to what I noted under #5.  If the denomination maintains a "missions" office where all the affiliated churches are expected to pay into a general fund to support the endeavors of professional missionaries, then I can understand why few members regularly share their faith.  In their minds, they are paying someone to do this. 

But a denominational missions office is not necessarily a bad thing, so obviously there is more.

I would also add there is a problem with the evangelistic model a lot of churches promote.  That being, a weekly "evangelism" time where teams from the church aimlessly drive around for two hours knocking on doors and visiting church going families that filled out a "visitor's card." If they get really desperate to meet their soul-winning quota after several failed door knocking attempts, they slum around at the laundry mat. 

However, if evangelism is reduced to a manufactured two hour block of time every week, I can understand why evangelism is devalued.

Now I will not pretend I have it all figured out.  Certainly there are individuals who can offer up counter examples to my “opinions.” Yet in each of these examples Mr. Rainer outlines, from my perspective as a member, deacon, and lay leader in my Church, pretty much everyone of these “inward obsessions” would be eliminated if the pastor commits himself to solid, doctrinal teaching and challenges his people to have a high-view of God and a low-view of one’s self.  It takes long, patient work, I know; but it can be done by the grace of God.  

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Monday, May 07, 2012

Gym Guys

Thankfully, I never have to worry about being one of these guys, because, well... I don't go to "a gym."

I can say I have encountered at least one of these "guys" sometime during the course of my life.

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Friday, May 04, 2012

Thoughts on the use of Exegesis in Apologetics

bibleParticularly how exegesis should shape our methodology when engaging the lost.

I want to highlight a comment left by a classic Thomist apologist under this POST

Earlier in February and March, during a brief series outlining apologetic methodology, this particular commenter made a number of excellent challenges.  His challenges were a great learning experience, because he primarily helped to distinguish between what I believe is a textually oriented apologetic methodology from the classic apologetics presented in the majority of popular books, at apologetic conferences, and on daily Christian radio programs. 

He wrote,

I realize you'll probably simply say that I'm not a TULIP believing Calvinist and so my soteriology is all wrong, etc., etc. My reply would simply be, if man is so dead that God must give each man what amounts to personal revelation in some mystical sense (since it can't be via human reason at all) before he can understand anything about the Gospel or make any decisions about it, then what is the point of the Bible in the first place, or prophets, or Apostles, etc.? If each believer receives his own regeneration, and thus understanding of "spiritual things," prior to being able to understand the Bible, or reason about God, or intelligently discuss the truth claims of Christianity, why would God reveal anything to any prophets or Apostles? Why would He give miracles as signs confirming His message and messengers?

The comment illustrates a couple of fundamental differences between presuppositional methodology and the classic, Thomist methodology.  First is the apologist's understanding of fallen man's spiritual nature and then second, the importance of building methodology upon the exegesis of Scripture.

Beginning with the nature of man:

The dividing line in the doctrine of salvation cuts between monergism, the idea that God alone is the author and finisher of a person's salvation; and synergism, meaning God has designed salvation in such a way that a person can freely work with God to be saved.  The majority of classic apologists, like my commenter, adhere to varieties of the second division in one degree or another.   Thus, the issue at hand pertains to what sort of ability do fallen sinners have to savingly appropriate spiritual truth.

Classic apologists tend to believe fallen men retain some level of ability to evaluate and respond positively to the truth claims of Christianity.  As I noted with the Ratio Christi purpose statement that reads,

It is our belief, however, that the Scriptures testify to the fact that man, though corrupted by sin, is still made in the image of God and has been given reasoning faculties that can be used to gain important, though limited, data from nature about reality and theology.

Because they believe fallen men still retain his reasoning facilities, the classic apologists place a heavy emphasis upon the presentation of key lines of  evidence.  So their lectures, for example, will be loaded with what they consider are persuasive arguments designed to convince unbelievers of the rationality of the Christian faith.

Now to be fair, the classic apologist would never say the sinner can be reasoned to Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.  My commenter has firmly stated elsewhere that the presentation of evidence is used by the Holy Spirit to clear away intellectual obstacles in the mind of the unbeliever. The evidence is a tool of sorts. The unbeliever doesn't take the evidence and rationalize himself to salvation.

Yet, in spite of his insistence with that point, a person is left unsure exactly how it is the Holy Spirit "uses" evidence with an unbeliever without there being a supernatural work taking place in the heart of the sinner first.  In fact, with the presentation of classic apologetics I have encountered, one is left unsure what it is exactly the apologist believes about the influence of sin, the sinfulness of the sinner, and how sin impacts the mind and volition of the sinner.  Is there any noetic effects of sin upon the sinner's reasoning abilities?  Or is it mildly touched? Or left untouched altogether?

I can only conclude by the comment above that my challenger apparently thinks sin's impact is negligible in the hearts of sinners.  At least from what I gather, it is believed that sin hasn't had any significant influence on the sinners reasoning abilities. He could see, for example, the "reasonableness" of the evidence presented for Christ's Resurrection which would in turn lead him to becoming a Christian. 

That brings me to our second difference: the importance of building our apologetics on the exegesis of the text.

What we do know about the impact of sin upon fallen men comes to us from Scripture.  The Bible reveals to us specific insights into the heart of mankind.  The apologist is only served well when he rightly considers those insights and integrates them with his evangelistic endeavors with the unbeliever.

It is at this point, however, where I see a critical deficiency on the part of many classic apologists.  My commenter is a tremendous example of what I mean.

He is adamant that I will say he is not a "TULIP believing Calvinist" and hence "his soteriology is all wrong."  Well, he would be right; I would say that.  But I don't draw that conclusion because Calvinism is like my favorite flavor of ice cream and I insist everyone else must have the same love for it as I do.  Rather, I derive my Calvinism from the exegesis of Scripture, and I utilize that doctrine when I engage unbelief.

The point of doctrine under consideration is the "T", or "total depravity."  Put simply, total depravity means that the nature of all men and women is corrupted, perverse, and sinful throughout. In other words, the whole of man's being has been corrupted by sin, or is "depraved," hence the term, "total depravity."

If we understand man's nature is wholly and entirely impacted by sin, I would take it to mean sin influences his reasoning facilities, also.  That doesn't mean he is going to say 2+2 = 5 or H3O is water, but when it comes to spiritual things, if sin separates the sinner from God, then he is going to evaluate spiritual truth in an alternate fashion that leads him away from God. 

Thus, as an apologist, I am safe to believe a sinner will "reason" differently when presented "proofs" for the Christian faith and he will draw seriously errant conclusions about those "proofs" other than God exists and Jesus is who He claims to be. 

Now, how am I coming to this understanding of man, his fallen reason, and how he will evaluate evidence for the Christian faith? When I consider the relevant passages of Scripture, it tells me this is how men are. 

possumTake for example what my commenter states above, "if man is so dead, etc..." Consider the word “dead.”

What does the Bible tell us about man being dead? Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us that men are "dead through trespasses and sins" and Colossians 2:13 affirms the same thing where it says, "who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh." That "deadness" describes a state of being.  It is what characterized the unbelievers. 

The "deadness" is further described as directing the sinner to walk in the course of the world, living a life of disobedience, pursuing the passions of the flesh, and following the desires of the body and mind. 

Now zero in on the word "mind."  I understand the mind as being the source of man's volition and reasoning.  However, it is described as "dead."  Turning to Ephesians 4:17-19 we further learn that a sinner's mind is darkened in understanding and that dark understanding leads to a life of futility, alienation from God, and uncleanness.  Titus 1:15 further says that the sinner's mind and conscience is corrupted, and Romans 8:7, 8 says "the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot..."  The word "cannot" is translated from dunamis, which has the idea of "no ability" or "unable."

So far I see the "T" in TULIP being confirmed from just a cursory look at a few relevant texts on the nature of man.  Thus, I believe I can confidently conclude man is so "dead" in his sins that he is unable, on his own, to respond positively to any presentation for the Christian faith and believe savingly upon the Gospel. 

However, God has not left fallen men on their own.  Contrasted with "deadness" in Ephesians 2 is the idea of being "made alive."  The contrast is also seen in Colossians 2:13.  That in order to overcome man's deadness, God almighty makes spiritually alive the sinner so he can savingly believe on the Gospel.  It’s the same concept as “being born-again,” “quickened by the Spirt,” and “regenerated.”

Left to himself, a sinner would never consider the evidence for the Christian faith in any meaningful fashion that would lead him or her to salvation.  It is only by the intervention of God that any person is brought to Christ.

Does my classic apologist commenter believe these texts? How else am I to understand them? 

When formulating my apologetic-evangelistic strategy, it seems as though it would behoove me as the evangelizing Christian to know what God says about the unbeliever I will be engaging.  That when I confront a sinner with the truth claims of Christianity, I am confronting a person whose mind is ensnared by sin and who will be hostile to any spiritual thing. 

That’s not to say I would never give evidence to an unbeliever, but a lack of “evidence” isn’t his ultimate problem.  He exists in a spiritual condition that not only prevents him from seeing the truth, but makes him an enemy combatant against the truth. 

The only remedy for his condition, according to Scripture, is the power of God’s regenerating Spirit coming to him through the preaching of the Gospel. 

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Fundamentals and the Bible

From Doug Kutilek's As I See It, April, 2012

(Doug's little email news letter is worth your time)

“It is a mistake often made by educated persons who happen to have but little knowledge of historical theology, to suppose that [Christian] Fundamentalism is a new and strange form of thought. It is nothing of the kind; it is the partial and uneducated [sic] survival of a theology which was once universally held by all Christians. . . . No, the Fundamentalist may be wrong; I think that he is. But it is we who have departed from the tradition, not he, and I am sorry for the fate of anyone who tries to argue with a fundamentalist on the basis of authority. The Bible and the corpus theologicum of the Church is on the Fundamentalist side.”

Kirsopp Lake (1872-1946)

The Religion of Yesterday and Tomorrow, p. 62

(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925)

[Note: Kirsopp Lake was a prominent liberal Anglican scholar who specialized in N.T. textual criticism, church history and archaeology. It is with a full knowledge of the issues that he made this candid admission that doctrinally Fundamentalism is true to Scripture.--Editor]

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