Monthly Archives: May 2009
Since I haven’t written in a while, I was surprised to find that Rey had posted an entry in his blog, since his posts generally respond to my own. This time, it looks as if things will be the other way around.
Normally, I ignore Rey but this time he has posted something that is such an obvious error that I can’t pass it up. He says that Hebrews 11:6 is proof that Calvinists cannot be saved as long as they are Calvinists. That simply isn’t true, and if Rey did his homework on the Reformed position, he’d know that. Far from disproving Calvinism, this verse actually solidifies the Reformed position!
First of all, faith is a gift from God. Don’t believe me? Check Galatians 5:22-23, which lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit produce the listed fruits, which are gifts from God. Notice that faith is on that list! Unless God grants you faith, you can’t have it in the first place.
The Reformed position grants that people can seek God, but not apart from his drawing us (Jn 6:44). Those that are seeking God apart from that drawing (the non-elect, in other words) are seeking God for selfish motives. They don’t want to know God, they want the benefits of knowing God. This is not really diligently seeking God.
Regeneration, which precedes salvation and always produces a saving faith, is monergistic (i.e. it is God’s work only, with no human involvement). However, once regenerated, the sanctification process is synergistic (i.e. requires human involvement). This means that the person has a saving faith, and now will diligently seek God (having his heart inclined to God).
So far from disproving the Reformed position, this verse is actually perfectly consistent with it.
It only took the jury four hours of deliberation to convict Leilani Neumann, mother of Madeline “Kara” Neumann, of second degree reckless homicide in the death of her daughter from untreated diabetes.
I believe in the power of prayer, but I believe that it is supplemental to competent health care. God works with and through our efforts, not in spite of us.
I’m issuing a challenge to Rey. I want to know what he does with the following Scripture:
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (Jn 17:1-26, emphasis added)
As much as I love Jesus Christ and Christianity, we live in a secular world with secular values. I have to begrudgingly admit that VJack from Atheist Revolution is right.
Apparently, the U.S. Army is promoting Christianity as the solution to soldiers who threaten suicide.
Before I say why I think VJack is right, I should remind my readers that studies have been conducted that show a causal connection between suicide and atheism. Further, suicide rates among the religious are lower, as are stress levels. Time Magazine recently published an article that links regular prayer with the ability to heal faster and better. No matter what the atheists say, religion is a good thing.
Unfortunately, living in the society that we do, it is illegal to promote one religion over another. Therefore, VJack is right in the sense that we shouldn’t promote Christianity alone to soldiers. What about the rights of the non-Christian chaplains who will be forced to present that material?
Here’s the giant “but.” BUT, what about promoting religion in general as an answer to suicide? That is not illegal, and it even has benefits (outlined above). It should satisfy everyone concerned–except the atheist, of course.
There is another reason why I would be against promoting only Christianity as the alternative for suicide. Christianity is not a coerced religion; it is a religion which one must freely choose to follow. If the military is forcing its soldiers to follow Christianity, then a major point of the Christian faith is lost. Suddenly someone is a Christian not by choice or by preference, but because the military says they are.
This problem is the same facing the Roman Empire under Constantine. Constantine forced people to adopt Christianity as the state religion, and all discipleship was lost. Discipleship is one of the keys to Christianity; a person must learn what it means to be a Christian as a disciple to someone who already knows. The link to the left on Discipleship 101 should help any readers with that point.
Bottom line: Christianity is a journey and it requires the Christian to be willing to undertake the journey. If Christianity is coerced by the Army, it isn’t Christianity anymore.
This is one of the ten most viewed posts of all time. To read all ten, download this free e-book.
Imagine my surprise when I found this post in my list of the most popular posts of the moment. A skeptic who goes by the moniker “The Beattitude” posts a few verses that seem to indicate that the Bible commands us to kill unbelievers. I suppose that commands like that make him nervous, being an unbeliever himself he doesn’t want to end up a bloody smear under a pile of rocks.
I can confidently say that that is not going to happen, because the commands given were directed at the ancient Israelites under the Mosaic Law, which is not in force anymore.
But moreover, I’ve refuted this crap already. Don’t atheists pay attention to what Christians say? That would be a lot of effort, and of course the fact that reasonable replies exist to their charges would shatter their comfortable God-less worldview.
Last February, I did two podcasts that generated no interest whatsoever. I thought I’d take the time to repost them, now that they are downloadable from the Web, to see if they generate any interest this time.
Show #1 was on the Tom Cruise Scientology speech that scared a lot of people. I gave a Christian reaction and contrasted Scientology with Christianity. Download here. Download here.
Show #2 was on women in the Bible, and how the Bible uplifts rather than denigrates women. I thought this one would generate much interest, but so far nothing. Download here. Download here.
If you like the shows, let me know either in a comment below or fire off an e-mail to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. If I get enough interest generated, I might start podcasting again. I had fun with it, but there was no sense in doing it for an audience of none.
Many Christians deny the doctrine of original sin on the basis of Ezekiel 18:19-20:
Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
The question before us is this: are we held responsible for Adam’s sin? If so, why? Does it not clearly say in Ezekiel 18 that the soul that sins shall die, and that the wickedness of the wicked will be on himself?
I stumbled onto a little-known YouTube video (it only had 95 views at the time of writing) and thought I would share it, as it demonstrates a point I’ve been trying to make to Rey about compatibilism: the truth is that God’s eternal decree and man’s free will interact in such a complex way that we may never understand the mind-bogling truth! What a mystery it is. And if God can create all of the complex cycles that we observe in science (like the Krebs cycle), then surely he can create a universe in which he has the final word, but man is still responsible for his free will decisions.
It is difficult for me to fathom the blatant hypocrisy that Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean has engaged in recently.
As a sister in Christ, she has no business being in a beauty pageant to begin with, since the goal of these is to decide which of the oogle-able women is the most oogle-able (to borrow a phrase from Craig French). As I posted previously, beauty contests are nothing more than excuses for guys to stare at beautiful women, and that is specifically condemned by Jesus in Matthew 5:28. Carrie is creating a stumbling block for her brothers in Christ (condemned by Paul in Rom 14:13-23) by entering into such a beauty pageant in the first place.
But now we have another problem:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Pet 3:3-6)
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. (1 Tim 2:8-9)
This call to modesty forbids what Carrie did just recently: she posed nude! I can’t believe that any self-professing Christian would think that it is okay to pose nude. Yet here we are.
The level of hypocrisy that this move demonstrates is unreal. These types of things just add more ammunition to the gun that atheists fire at us all the time: “Christians are nothing but hypocrites.” Moves like this that ignore God strengthen the atheist resolve that there is no God. “For if there was, Christians would obey him without question.” And here is a self-professed sister in Christ disobeying God openly.
Carrie, as a brother in Christ I call you to repent of your sins and to return to a more biblical lifestyle. As Paul pointed out in Romans 8:38-39, no sin is too big that it will separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Repent and God will forgive you.
I’ve generally found that anyone arguing against the doctrines of grace is forced to be very inconsistent. This would be because they are arguing against biblical truth, so if they remain consistent they would be forced to accept Calvinism.
Rey, an anti-Calvinist commenter on this blog, has just demonstrated inconsistency in his latest post. Rey says that God will read Psalm 119:108 to each Calvinist before casting them into the lake of fire.
That would mean that Rey accepts Psalm 119:108 as inerrant biblical truth. But, elsewhere, Rey has said this about the Psalms:
David’s prayers are his personal opinion except when they are Messianic prophecies. They are only inspired in the sense of being accurate historical accounts of what he prayed. (source, emphasis added)
Guess what, Rey? Psalm 119:108 is not a messianic prophecy, so it cannot be used (according to you) in that way. It is just David’s personal opinion, only an accurate rendering of what he prayed at the time.
Bottom line: You can’t have it both ways. Either the psalms are inspired Scripture, or they are not. Which is it?