Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
What God Is to Families
Thomas Doolittle (1630-1707)
PROPOSITION 1: God is the Founder of all families: therefore families should pray unto Him—The household society usually is of these three combinations: husband and wife, parents and children, masters or servants: though there may be a family where all these are not, yet take it in its latitude1, and all these combinations are from God. The institution of husband and wife is from God (Gen 2:21-24), and of parents and children, and masters and servants. And the authority of one over the other and the subjection of the one to the other is instituted by God and founded in the law of nature, which is God's law. The persons, singly considered, have not their beings only from God, but the very being of this society is also from Him. And as a single person is therefore bound to devote himself to the service of God and pray unto Him, so a household society is therefore bound jointly to do the same because a society it is from God. And hath God appointed this society only for the mutual comfort of the members thereof or of the whole, and not also for His own glory, even from the whole? And doth that household society live to God's glory that do not serve Him and pray unto Him? Hath God given authority to the one to command and rule and the other a charge to obey only in reference to worldly things and not at all to spiritual? Only in things pertaining to the world and in nothing to things pertaining to God? Can the comfort of the creature be God's ultimate end? No: it is His own glory. Is one, by authority from God and order of nature, paterfamilias,2 “the master of the family,” so called in reference to his servants, as well as to his children, because of the care he should take of the souls of servants and of their worshipping God with him as well as of his children? And should he not improve this power that God hath given him over them all, for God and the welfare of all their souls in calling them jointly to worship God and pray unto Him? Let reason and religion judge.
PROPOSITION 2: God is the Owner of our families; therefore they should pray unto Him—God being our absolute Owner and Proprietor, not only by reason of the supereminency3 of His nature, but also through the right of creation giving us our being and all we have, we ourselves and all that is ours (we and ours being more His than our own) are unquestionably bound to lay out ourselves for God, wherein we might be most useful for our Owner's interest and glory. Whose are your families, if not God's then? Will you disclaim God as your Owner? If you should, yet in some sense, you are His still, though not by resignation and wholly devoting of yourselves to Him. Whose would you have your families to be—God's own or the devil's own? Hath the devil any title to your families? And shall your families serve the devil, that hath no title to you either of creation, preservation, or redemption? And will you not serve God, that by all this hath a title to you and an absolute, full propriety in you? If you will say your families are the devil's, then serve him. But if you say they are God's, then serve Him. Or will you say, “We are God's, but we will serve the devil?” If you do not say so, yet if you do so, is it not as bad? Why are you not ashamed to do that, which you are ashamed to speak out and tell the world what you do? Speak, then, in the fear of God. If your families, as such, be God's own, is it not reasonable that you should serve Him and pray unto Him?
Proposition 3: God is the Master and Governor of your families—therfore, as such, they should serve Him in praying to Him. If He be your Owner, He is your Ruler too: and doth He not give you laws to walk by and obey, not only as you are particular persons, but as you are a combined society? (Eph 5:25-33; 6:1-10; Col 3:19-25; 4:1) Is God, then, the Master of your family, and should not then your family serve Him? Do not subjects owe obedience to their governors? “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is my fear?” (Mal 1:6) Where, indeed? Not in prayerless, ungodly families.
Proposition 4: God is the Benefactor of your families—therefore, they should serve God in praying to Him and praising of Him. God doth not do you good and give you mercies only as individual persons, but also as a conjunct4 society. Is not the continuance of the master of the family, not only a mercy to himself, but to the whole family also? Is not the continuance of the mother, children, and servants in life, health, and being, a mercy to the family? That you have an house to dwell together and food to eat together—do not you call these family-mercies? And do not these call aloud in your ears and to your consciences to give praises to your bountiful Benefactor together and to pray together for the continuance of these and the grant of more as you shall need them? It would be endless to declare how many ways God is a Benefactor to your families conjunctly; and you are shameless, if you do not conjunctly praise Him for His bounty. Such an house is rather a sty for swine than a dwelling-house for rational creatures.
May not God call out to such prayerless families, as to them in Jeremiah 2:31? “O generation, see ye the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?” Hath God been forgetful of you? Speak, ye ungodly, prayerless families. Hath God been forgetful of you? No! Every morsel of bread [which] you eat tells you, God doth not forget you. Every time [that] you see your table spread and food set on, you see God doth not forget you. “Why, then,” saith God, “will not this family come at me? When you have food to put into your children's mouths—when they do not cry for bread, [so that] you are constrained to say, 'I would, my poor hungry child! I would, but I have it not!'—Why then will you not come at me? Live together and eat together at my cost and care and charge, and yet be whole months and never come at me? And that your children have reason, raiment, limbs, not born blind, nor of a monstrous birth, and a thousand ways besides have I done you good,” may God say, “Why then will you live whole years together and never together come at me? Have you found one more able or more willing to do you good? That you never can. Why then are you so unthankful as not to come at me?”
You see, when God is a Benefactor to a people (and there is the same reason for families) and they do not serve Him, what monstrous wickedness it is! God hath kept you all safe in the night, and yet in the morning you do not say, “Where is the Lord that did preserve us? Come, come, let us give joint praises to Him!” God hath done you and your families good so many years; and yet you do not say, “Where is the Lord that hath done such great things for us? Come! Let us acknowledge His mercy together.” God hath carried you through affliction and sickness in the family: the plague hath been in the house, and yet you live—the smallpox and burning fevers have been in your houses, and yet you are alive—your conjugal companion5 hath been sick and recovered, children nigh to death, and yet restored—and for all this you do not say, “Where is the Lord that kept us from the grave and saved us from the pit? That we are not rotten among the dead!” And yet you do not pray to nor praise this your wonderful Benefactor together. Let the very walls within which these ungrateful wretches live be astonished at this! Let the very beams and pillars of their houses tremble! And let the very girders of the floors on which they tread and walk be horribly afraid! That such as dwell in such an house together go to bed before they go to prayer together! Let the earth be amazed, that the families which the Lord doth nourish and maintain are rebellious and unthankful! Being worse than the very ox that knoweth his owner and of less understanding than the very ass (Isa 1:2, 3).
From what hath been said, I reason in this manner: if God be the Founder, Owner, Governor, and Benefactor of families, then families are jointly to worship God and pray unto Him.
From “How May the Duty of Family Prayer Be Best Managed for the Spiritual Benefit of Every One in the Family?” Puritan Sermons 1659-1689, Being the Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, Vol 2, Richard Owen Roberts, Publisher.
1 latitude – extent; full range.
2 paterfamilias – a man who is the head of a household or the father of a family.
3 supereminency – superiority above all others.
4 conjunct – joined together; united.
5 conjugal companion – spouse; husband or wife.
Thomas Doolittle (1630-1707): converted as a young man after reading Richard Baxter's The Saints' Rest; a gifted writer and preacher and one of the best-known Puritans of his day. Born at Kidderminster.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Christian Conspiracy Theorists
Christians it seems need to beware of a lot of government conspiracies! If you look at his sermon topics on sermonaudio here is what you'll find:
- Child Porn/Pedophile Pandemic
- Disturbing 501c3 Corporate Church Report
- Gays, Transgendered and Genetic Manipulation Exposed
- Inauguration Abomination
- Jerusalem, Gaza, WWII & the New World Order
- Digital TV, HAARP, GWEN, Silen Sound & Mind Control Technologies
- Is Obama the Antichrist?
- Obama's Citizenship, Lies & Morality Exposed
- Pharmakeia: The Shocking Truth About Vaccinations/Inoculations
I could go on and on. I see a trend here...and it's all about end times prophecies, government conspiracies and other sensational topics. OK...do I believe our Government is alway pure and has the Christians' best interests in mind? Absolutely not! Do I believe the Gvt is conspiring behind every tree to put me in a prison camp? NO!
In one of his sermons on "Disturbing 501c3 Corporate Church Report" he indicates that the Gvt push for Digital TV is there to manipulate images we see...and that "The Sound of Silence" technologies are a gvt push to perform direct mind control on us. FEMA seems to own pastors who allow their churches to be 501c3 and these churches will be used to take the rest of us to death camps! These pastors are also being trained to be the secret police informers on us. He also indicated that the Gvt's plan is to seize our property and our firearms.
Oh my goodness folks...I'm not going to waste my time trying to debunk these items to decipher if they have any validity or not. I know this...even if everything he says is true...what does he suggest we do? Are we to take up arms as believers and fight against the gvt? If this is what he says we should do, where is that in Scripture?
He rightly says that we need to train our children and our churches so they won't be deceived...Amen, I totally agree. His whole ministry is to be a watchman and to warn everyone about these plots against us...he even quotes many verses in his "sermon"...but he never preaches them with any context- it's like the typical Independent Baptist sermon I was used to...quote a verse and don't worry about the context- it might fit...and then again it might not. Who knows since nobody looked at anything but that one verse!
Here is one verse he quoted that I hope he pays more attention to:
- 2 Timothy 2:15- "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
He quoted it but he doesn't really seem to follow it. Should we stockpile food, learn to become expert marksman and join the militia so that we can throw off the Gvt that is plotting against our lives? Or should we simply become immersed in Scripture that we know the truth...and can spread the truth. I'm not talking about the truth of gvt conspiracies...I'm talking about the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and should act as such! We should NOT go crazy over what we believe the Gvt is going to do to destroy us. They can't! They can persecute us, they can take everything away from us and even put us to death...but the sovereign Lord is prepared and He will use us in the face of great adversity. Our job is the "study to shew" ourselves approved (not to make ourselves approved of course!)...
How is this gentleman's ministry really making people able to rightly divide the word of truth? Not much I can see so far. One thing that's disturbing is that when I searched the internet I found this blog that speaks highly of him;
On their blog they have an announcement for a Mossberg 500 shotgun (tactical shotgun with pistol grip) with the following note "A brother brought this to me it will be availible at the meeting." Great...so guns may be a part of this new "Christian conspiracy craze." Are we going to see a lot of folks smear the name of Christ by forming "Christian" militias? Find that in Scripture...good luck!
Here is a suggestion...read your bible...study it...learn church history and be aware of what's going on around you...but don't fret and don't plan for physical resistance. He quoted Ephesians 6:12 but again, I wish he'd really listen to it!
- Ephesians 6:12- "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
How should the believer stand? With spiritual armour...not real, with a spritual sword of the Word of God, not a metal one (i.e. remember Peter at the Lord's arrest...didn't he get severely rebuked?). We don't wrestle with the gvt or with anyone else...our warfare is spiritual. Take heed...Satan indeed does have a conspiracy against us...but he is doomed and his head will be crushed by the Word of God and those who are intimately familiar with it...not by those who know which tree every gvt agent is hiding behind.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
God of Mercy
Check it out:
Genre: Sacred - Vocal
Year of release: 2009
Performers: BJU Singers and Orchestra
You can buy the album and download it online at this link: MP3
Defending The Faith In A Bikini?
She is now a hero to many Christians, consider this recent news story:
The Gospel Music Channel announced that Miss California Carrie Prejean has agreed to appear at the 40th Dove Awards in Nashville.
The prize presentation at the Grand Ole Opry is billed as Christian and gospel music's biggest night.
It was to air live on the Gospel Music Channel Thursday.
Prejean, a devout Christian and the runner-up in the 2009 Miss USA pageant, made headlines this week when she was asked during the pageant how she felt about the legalization of same-sex marriage. Prejean said she thought marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. While some critics have speculated that her answer may have cost her the Miss USA crown, supporters have praised Prejean for speaking her mind.
Should she be seen as a Hero of The faith?
Listen to me discuss this issue here:
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Dan Barker on John Calvin and Michael Servetus
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The Book of Jasher?
Our church has been reading through the Bible chronologically…and at this point we’re in 2 Samuel and Psalms mainly. We’ve also been studying the canon of the Bible…how we know what is in Scripture and what is not? For those of you at Victory Baptist…have you noticed the interesting phrase found in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18? I’m actually surprised only one person has asked me about it!
Here is what 2 Samuel 1:18 says:
“(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)”
So here’s the first question:
#1- Did you wonder what the book was enough to do some research & homework?
#2- Are we missing a book of the Bible?
Here is what I found. First, what does the word “Jasher” mean in the original Hebrew?
yashar = 1) straight, upright, correct, right 1a) straight, level 1b) right, pleasing, correct 1c) straightforward, just, upright, fitting, proper 1d) uprightness, righteous, upright 1e) that which is upright (subst)
The Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) uses a Greek word that is also translated as “upright.” It could be translated the “book of the upright/just.” So here’s the real question…what book does it refer to? Here is what Matthew Henry commented:
“That book was probably a collection of state-poems; what is said to be written in that book is also poetical, a fragment of an historical poem. Even songs would be forgotten and lost if they were not committed to writing, that best conservatory of knowledge…It is not a divine hymn, nor given by inspiration of God to be used in divine service, nor is there any mention of God in it; but it is a human composition, and therefore was inserted, not in the book of Psalms (which, being of divine original, is preserved), but in the book of Jasher, which, being only a collection of common poems, is long since lost.”
According to some sources there appears to be at least three separate medieval “book of Jashers.” The bottom line is that we have no manuscript evidence for a trustworthy “book of Jasher” that dates back to biblical times.
Should this bother you? Not at all! Just because a book is mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean it was inspired and then lost. Want an example? OK…twist my arm! How about this verse:
“And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?” (Est 10:2 KJV)
If we follow that reasoning we’d have to say that the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia should be in the Old Testament…I think you can see that’s clearly not the case. So…trust the Word of God as it’s been given to us and don’t fret. Just because something is mentioned doesn’t mean it’s inspired.
Monday, April 20, 2009
'Hate crimes' bill - bad news for believers
A vote is looming this week in Congress on a bill that one conservative activist warns would not only silence Christian opposition to homosexuality, but also would legitimize deviant forms of "sexual orientation."
A markup vote is expected Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee on the Local Law Enforcement and Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. House Democrats only have to give 24 hours' notice before the vote. The measure (H.R. 1913) sponsored by Representatives John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) would add homosexuals and transgender people to the list of classes federally protected from so-called "hate crimes."
Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, says the bill is a serious threat to religious freedom.
"Your pastor could be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit a hate crime if it passes and become law," she warns. "This so-called 'hate crimes' bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute, and persecute pastors, business owners, Bible teachers, Sunday School teachers, youth pastors -- you name it -- or anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truth found in the Bible."
TVC says H.R. 1913 broadly defines "intimidation" -- and offers up this example: "A pastor's sermon could be considered 'hate speech' under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on 'sexual orientation.'" Under those circumstances, says the group, the pastor could be prosecuted for "conspiracy to commit a hate crime."
The legislation has another "serious problem," the pro-family group says, because Congress has failed to define the term "sexual orientation." Consequently, says TVC, 30 sexual orientations (as defined by the American Psychiatric Association) will "arguably be protected" under the legislation. "Those 30 sexual orientations include behaviors that are felonies or misdemeanors in most states or can result in death," notes the group's website.
In addition, TVC argues the bill is based on a fraudulent premise: that there is an epidemic of so-called "hate crimes" against "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" persons that needs federal involvement for local law enforcement officials.
Lafferty says unless Christians in America act, the hate crimes bill could be on President Obama's desk in three to four weeks at the most.
The original report can be found here: Hate
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The Bookends of the Christian Life
The authors use an extended metaphor to serve up a little book with a big message about two essentials of the Christian life.
What do bookends have to do with the Christian life? They are a metaphor that Jerry Bridges has developed over the years, and which he and coauthor Bob Bevington flesh out in this small volume. The two “bookends” explain not only how we as sinners can be made acceptable to a holy God but also we can find the power to change. They are thus essential for the Christian life.
In a unique book that should garner the attention of a wide range of readers, the authors use their extended metaphor to help readers answer questions like:
How can I overcome persistent guilt?
How can I deal with the pressure to measure up?
Where can I find the motivation it takes to grow?
How can I live the Christian life with both my head and my heart?
How can I be sure God loves me?
How can I change in an authentic and lasting way?
So what are the bookends of the Christian life? Christ’s righteousness as it is transferred to dependent believers, and the Holy Spirit’s power as it enables their transformation. In continuing their goal to re-center the church at large onto the historic gospel of Jesus Christ, Bridges and Bevington have served up this little book with a big message so that believers and seekers alike can understand these two keys to a genuine Christian life.
To get more information or to buy the book follow this link: Read
Lecrae - Don't Waste Your Life
Don't wanna waste my life
[Verse 1: LeCrae]
I know a lot of people out there scared they gone die
Couple of em thinking they'll be livin in the sky
But while I'm here livin man I gotta ask why, what am here fo I gotta figure out
Waste my life
No I gotta make it count
If Christ is real then what am I gone do about
All of the things in Luke 12:15 down to 21
You really oughta go and check it out
Paul said if Christ ain't resurrect then we wasted our lives
Well that implies that our life's built around Jesus being alive
Everyday I'm living tryin show the world why
Christ is more than everything you'll ever try
Better than pretty women and sinning and living to get a minute of any women and men that you admire
Ain't no lie
We created for Him
Outta the dust he made us for Him
Elects us and he saves us for Him
Jesus comes and raises for Him
Magnify the Father why bother with something lesser
He made us so we could bless Him and to the world we confess him
So I know I got life
Matter fact better man I know I got Christ
If you don't' see His ways in my days and nights
You can hit my brakes you can stop my lights
Man I lost my rights
I lost my life
Forget the money cars and toss that ice
The cost is Christ
And they could never offer me anything on the planet that'll cost that price.
[Verse 2: LeCrae]
Yeah do it for Christ if you trying to figure what to do with your life
If you making money hope you doing it right because the money is Gods you better steward it right
Stay focused if you ain't got no ride
Your life ain't wrapped up in what you drive
The clothes you wear the job you work
The color your skin naw we Christian first
People living life for a job
Make a lil money start living for a car
Get em a house a wife kids and a dog
When they retire they living high on the hog
But guess what they didn't ever really live at all
To live is Christ yeah that's Paul I recall
To die is gain so for Christ we give it all
He's the treasure you'll find in the mall
Your money your singleness marriage talent and time
They were loaned to you to show the world that Christ is Divine
That's why it's Christ in my rhymes
That's why it's Christ all the time
My whole world is built around him He's the life in my lines
I refused to waste my life
He's too true ta chase
Heres my gifts and time cause I'm constantly trying to be used to praise the Christ
If he's truly raised to life
Then this news should change your life
And by his grace you can put your faith in place that rules your days and nights.
[Verse 3: Dwayne Tryumph]
Armed and dangerous
So the devil jus can't handle us
Christian youth them a stand wid us
Livin' n driven
Given a vision
Fullfillin the commission he handed us
London to Los Angeles
Da rap evangelist
Ma daddy wouldn't abandon us
"I gotta back pack fulla tracts plus I keep a Johnny Mac"
So are you ready to jam with us
So let's go, gimme the word an let's go
Persecution let's go
Tribulation let's go
Across the nation let's go
Procrastination bes go
Hung on the cross in the cold
Died for da young and the old
Can't say you never know
How many souls are going to hell or to heaven so we gotta go in and get em
Reformed Baptist Church In Coleman, Texas
Grace Baptist Church, located in central Texas, is a Baptist church which proudly and unashamedly proclaims the Sovereign grace of God, in the tradition of historic Christianity: where Scripture remains the sole authority for all faith and practice; where endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace is our utmost desire; where earnest contending for the faith is exercised without being contentious; and where Christ's glory is sought in all we say and do! We warmly invite you to come and worship with us.
Here is some of their sermons:
Here are links to their websites:
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Evolution Can't Explain Morality
If you argue that morality evolved, you may end up saying that one "ought" to be selfish.
Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation about morality and whether evolution is an adequate explanation for morality. Many of you know that I have argued for a long time that morality -- the existence of moral things, "oughts", the notion of moral actions and moral motives, the reality of morality -- is a very powerful evidence for the existence of a moral God, whose character is the moral standard of the universe. I won't suggest that this is without problems, but I think it best answers the existence of morality. Those who are physicalistic, naturalistic, or empiricistic in nature -- physicalistic are those people who want to define everything in purely physicalistic terms that can be understood by chemistry and physics; those who are naturalistic want to explain everything solely in terms of natural law without any appeal to transcendent law or supernatural things or beings; those who are empiricistic want to explain everything in terms of that which you can access by the five senses -- are going to try to find ways of understanding morality that falls within the purview of their belief system without having to make an appeal to a divine being. But I don't think that works.
One way to go about this is to argue from effect back to cause, looking at effects and asking ourselves what is the simplest, most elegant solution that is an adequate explanation for the effects that we see. Not the simplest solution, but the simplest which is also adequate. This is also known as Ockam's Razor. I don't think the evolutionary explanation is adequate. That goes something like this: In order to survive, animals develop. Through the process of natural selection, naturalistic forces mold certain behavior that we call moral behavior which simply functions to allow the organism to exist and continue to survive. Actually, not the organism, but the species, because in some cases it requires sacrificing individual organisms so that the larger species can survive. This is all that morality ends up being.
That which we think is morality, or that which we call morality, turns out to be a description of animals conditioned by their environment to act in certain ways that benefit the survival of the species. We have just given that conduct a label. We call it morality. That is offered as a sufficient, adequate and complete description of how the behavior that we call moral behavior actually came about.
My response to that is it isn't an adequate explanation at all, because the category of things that we call moral is not adequately engaged by mere descriptions of past behavior. That morality entails a look forward to the future, not just to the past, not just looking backwards to what we have done, or what was done by certain individuals, which they happen to call moral. But it is a look forward into the future about how we ought to behave. Since morality is prescriptive, not descriptive, and if it is normative -- if it talks about how we ought to behave -- and the evolutionary description of moral behavior doesn't engage that very fundamental, core element of morality, then it hasn't explained it and morality still needs to be explained.
So all of this so-called description of where morality comes from, gets reduced to this ludicrous statement: I morally ought to be unselfish so that I can be more thoroughly selfish. That is silly.
There was another bit of step by step reasoning that I used to show, I think, very clearly that what evolution might describe couldn't possibly be what we understand morality to be. My basic point is this: what naturalists explain when they seek to explain morality in naturalistic, evolutionary terms is not morality at all. They are explaining something different. I get to that by asking a series of questions. Instead of looking backward, I look forward, and I ask a question of moral behavior like "Why ought anyone be unselfish in the future?" for example. The question came up yesterday regarding an observation that was done with chimpanzees. There was a group of chimpanzees which had, in a sense, punished one member for being selfish by withholding food from that member and therefore teaching that member moral behavior. Apparently, the moral rule that undergirded the lesson was that the other chimpanzee ought not be selfish. That's a moral statement and the question I'm going to ask is "Why ought the chimp (or human) not be selfish?" I'm looking for a justification there.
The answer is going to be that when we're selfish, it hurts the group. But you see, that answer isn't enough of an answer because that answer itself presumes another moral value that we ought to be concerned about the health of the group. So, I'm going to ask the question, "Why ought we be concerned about the health of the group?" The answer is going to be because if the groups don't survive, then the species doesn't survive. Then you can imagine the next question. "Why ought I care about the health of the species and whether the species survives or not?" You see, the problem with all of these responses that purport to be justifications or explanations for the moral rule, is that all of these things that are meant to explain the moral rule really depend themselves upon a moral rule before they can even be uttered. Therefore, it can't be the explanation of morality. When I ask the question "Why ought I be concerned with the species?", the next answer ends the series. The answer is, "I ought to be concerned with the species because if the species dies out, then I will not survive. If the species is in jeopardy, then my own personal self interests would be in jeopardy."
So, in abbreviated form, the reasoning goes like this: I ought to be unselfish because it is better for the group, which is better for the species, which is better for me. So why ought I be unselfish? Because it is better for me. But looking at what is better for me, is selfishness. So all of this so-called description of where morality comes from, gets reduced to this ludicrous statement: I morally ought to be unselfish so that I can be more thoroughly selfish. That is silly. Because we know that morality can't be reduced to selfishness. Why do we know that? Because our moral rules are against selfishness and for altruism. They are against selfishness and for the opposite. When you think about what it is that morality entails, you don't believe that morality is really about being selfish. Morality is about being unselfish, or at least it entails that. Which makes my point that this description, based on evolution, does not do the job. It doesn't explain what it is supposedly meant to explain. It doesn't explain morality. It is simply reduced to a promotion of selfishness which isn't morality at all.
Morality is something altogether different. We may debate about all that moral views and understandings entail, but one thing we can all agree on, I think, is that when we are looking for a definition of morality, we know it isn't about selfishness. It is about not being selfish, just the opposite. That's why these explanations don't work. They either smuggle morality into the equation by describing the behavior that is meant to be explained by evolution so they depend upon morality to do the job, or else the descriptions and explanations end up being reduced to selfishness, which isn't what we're trying to explain. We're trying to explain why one ought not be selfish, not why one ought to be selfish.
Link to the original article: Evolution
Is That Really Your Life Verse?
I am always amazed in how people read the bible! They seem to ignore the fact that words have meaning and words are found in a context! I read an article where a person claimed God pointed her to Jeremiah 30:21 as her life verse! Are you serious? Do you even know what the verse is about?
I recorded a response to the claim that Jeremiah 30:21 is a life verse. You can listen here:
Here is Matthew Henry's commentary on this verse and the section in which it is found:
18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. 19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. 20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. 21 And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD. 22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. 24 The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.
We have here further intimations of the favour God had in reserve for them after the days of their calamity were over. It is promised,
I. That the city and temple should be rebuilt, Jeremiah 30:18. Jacob's tents, and his dwelling places, felt the effects of the captivity, for they lay in ruins when the inhabitants were carried away captives; but, when they have returned, the habitations shall be repaired, and raised up out of their ruins, and therein God will have mercy upon their dwelling places, that had been monuments of his justice. Then the city of Jerusalem shall be built upon her own heap, her own hill, though now it be no better than a ruinous heap. The situation was unexceptionable, and therefore it shall be rebuilt upon the same spot of ground. He that can make of a city a heap (Isaiah 25:2) can when he pleases make of a heap a city again. The palace (the temple, God's palace) shall remain after the manner thereof; it shall be built after the old model; and the service of God shall be constantly kept up there and attended as formerly.
II. That the sacred feasts should again be solemnized (Jeremiah 30:19): Out of the city, and the temple, and all the dwelling-places of Jacob, shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those that make merry. They shall go with expressions of joy to the temple service, and with the like shall return from it. Observe, The voice of thanksgiving is the same with the voice of those that make merry; for whatever is the matter of our joy should be the matter of our praise. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. What makes us cheerful should make us thankful. Serve the Lord with gladness.
III. That the people should be multiplied, and increased, and made considerable: They shall not be few, they shall not be small, but shall become numerous and illustrious, and make a figure among the nations; for I will multiply them and I will glorify them. It is for the honour of the church to have many added to it that shall be saved. This would make them be of some weight among their neighbours. Let a people be ever so much diminished and despised, God can multiply and glorify them. They shall be restored to their former honour: Their children shall be as aforetime, playing in the streets (Zechariah 8:5); they shall inherit their parents' estates and honours as formerly; and their congregation shall, both in civil and sacred things, be established before me. There shall be a constant succession of faithful magistrates in the congregation of the elders, to establish that, and of faithful worshippers in the congregation of the saints. As one generation passes away another shall be raised up, and so the congregation shall be established before God.
IV. That they shall be blessed with a good government (Jeremiah 30:21): Their nobles and judges shall be of themselves, of their own nation, and they shall no longer be ruled by strangers and enemies; their governor shall proceed from the midst of them, shall be one that has been a sharer with them in the afflictions of their captive state; and this has reference to Christ our governor, David our King (Jeremiah 30:9); he is of ourselves, in all things made like unto his brethren. And I will cause him to draw near; this may be understood either, 1. Of the people, Jacob and Israel: "I will cause them to draw near to me in the temple service, as formerly, to come in to covenant with me, as my people (Jeremiah 30:22), to approach to me in communion; for who hath engaged his heart, made a covenant with it, and brought it into bonds, to approach unto me?" How few are there that do so! None can do it but by the special grace of God causing them to draw near. Note, Whenever we approach to God in any holy ordinance we must engage our hearts to do it; the heart must be prepared for the duty, employed in it, and kept closely to it. The heart is the main thing that God looks at and requires; but it is deceitful, and will start aside of a great deal of care and pains be not taken to engage it, to bind this sacrifice with cords. Or, 2. It may be understood of the governor; for it is a single person that is spoken of: Their governor shall be duly called to his office, shall draw near to God to consult him upon all occasions. God will cause him to approach to him, for, otherwise, who would engage to take care of so weak a people, and let this ruin come under their hand? But when God has work to do, though attended with many discouragements, he will raise up instruments to do it. But it looks further, to Christ, to him as Mediator. Note, (1.) The proper work and office of Christ, as Mediator, is to draw near and approach unto God, not for himself only, but for us, and in our name and stead, as the high priest of our profession. The priests are said to draw nigh to God, Leviticus 10:3,21:17. Moses drew near, Exodus 20:21. (2.) God the Father did cause Jesus Christ thus to draw near and approach to him as Mediator. He commanded and appointed him to do it; he sanctified and sealed him, anointed him for this purpose, accepted him, and declared himself well pleased in him. (3.) Jesus Christ, being caused by the Father to approach unto him as Mediator, did engage his heart to do it, that is, he bound and obliged himself to it, undertook for his heart (so some read it), for his soul, that, in the fullness of time, it should be made an offering for sin. His own voluntary undertaking, in compliance with his Father's will and in compassion to fallen man, engaged him, and then his own honour kept him to it. It also intimates that he was hearty and resolute, free and cheerful, in it, and made nothing of the difficulties that lay in his way, Isaiah 63:3-5. (4.) Jesus Christ was, in all this, truly wonderful. We may well ask, with admiration, Who is this that thus engages his heart to such an undertaking?
V. That they shall be taken again into covenant with God, according to the covenant made with their fathers (Jeremiah 30:22): You shall be my people; and it is God's good work in us that makes us to him a people, a people for his name, Acts 15:14. I will be your God. It is his good-will to us that is the summary of that part of the covenant.
VI. That their enemies shall be reckoned with and brought down (Jeremiah 30:20): I will punish all those that oppress them, so that it shall appear to all a dangerous thing to touch God's anointed, Psalms 105:15. The Jeremiah 30:23,24 come under this head: The whirlwind of the Lord shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. These two verses we had before (Jeremiah 23:19,20); there they were a denunciation of God's wrath against the wicked hypocrites in Israel; here against the wicked oppressors of Israel. The expressions, exactly agreeing, speak the same with that (Isaiah 51:22,23), I will take the cup of trembling out of thy hand and put it into the hand of those that afflict thee. The wrath of God against the wicked is here represented to be. 1. Very terrible, like a whirlwind, surprising and irresistible. 2. Very grievous. It shall fall with pain upon their heads; they shall be as much hurt as frightened. 3. It shall pursue them. Whirlwinds are usually short, but this shall be a continuing whirlwind. 4. It shall accomplish that for which it is sent: The anger of the Lord shall not return till he have done it. The purposes of his wrath, as well as the purposes of his love, will all be fulfilled; he will perform the intents of his heart. 5. Those that will not lay this to heart now will then be unable to put off the thoughts of it: In the latter days you shall consider it, when it will be too late to prevent it.
Morality and Meaning Without God: Another Failed Attempt
Also consider this:
French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain helped draft the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which recognizes “the inherent dignity” and “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” Further, it affirms: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” What is missing, though, is any foundation or basis for human dignity and rights. In light of the philosophical discussion behind the drafting of the Declaration,
Maritain wrote: “We agree on these rights, providing we are not asked why. With the ‘why,’ the dispute begins.”
The dispute about morality involves a host of questions about whether objective/universal moral values exist and whether humans have dignity and rights—and if so, what their source is. Are moral values emergent properties, supervening upon natural processes and social configurations, or are beliefs about moral values an adaptation hard-wired into human beings who, like other organisms, fight, feed, flee, and reproduce? Does God offer any metaphysical foundation for moral values and human dignity,or can a Platonic, Aristotelian, categorical imperative (Kantian), or Ideal Observer ethic adequately account for them?
Here is a link to the rest of this article: PDF
Why Morality Came Before Religion
Tonight I came across the following article:
why morality came before religion
Virtually every debate between an atheist and a theist features the question of where humans got their morality; their ideas of right and wrong. Theists say that without a religion to enforce a moral code, we’d all be amoral hedonists. Atheists point out the fact that there are still laws and societal discipline keeps our behaviors in check even if we choose to opt out of having a religion. Could morality exist without a religion and is there something that could point us to an answer? Like tracing our evolutionary lineage perhaps?
When it comes to matters of how we perceive something as right or wrong, we usually turn to a basic concept we call fairness. The idea that things can be fair or unfair and that unfairness is a punishable offense isn’t uniquely human. In fact, it’s something social mammals like primates understand very well and deal with on a daily basis. Theft is unfair. Lying is unfair. Favoritism is unfair. Murder? Probably the most unfair thing to do to someone who’s innocent but justifiable in some cases. We’ll say that murder is wrong but leave ourselves legal and ethical room to kill enemy soldiers in a war or execute criminals who did very unfair and heinous things. The very same ideas can be found in groups of primates who make business deals of sorts, build social hierarchies, have a sense of what’s fair and what’s unfair, refusing to cooperate when they feel mistreated or slighted, wage territorial wars, and seek revenge on those who anger them.
You can read the rest of the article at this link: Morality
After reading the article I immediately turned on my microphone and offered a response. The recording captures my initial thoughts not a detailed studied response.
Here is the audio:
Here is a message about the Law
More to come on this topic in the next 24 hours.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
A Brand New Microphone
Audio Technica AT2020USB Condenser USB Microphone
The AT2020 USB offers studio-quality articulation and intelligibility. It plugs right into your computer's USB port, and functions seamlessly with your favorite recording software. Equipped with a USB digital output, the AT2020USB is perfect for home studio recording, field recording, podcasting, and voiceover use. The AT2020 USB is based on the design of Audio-Technica's critically acclaimed AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone. Like the AT2020, it features a low-mass diaphragm, custom-engineered for extended frequency response and superior transient response. With low self-noise, the AT2020USB is perfectly suited for sophisticated digital recording equipment. Audio-Technica's state-of-the-art design and manufacturing techniques ensure that the microphone complies with the company's renowned consistency and reliability standards. Low self-noise - perfectly suited for sophisticated digital recording equipment
Here is the link to the Microphone: Info
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Nomina Sacra- The Sacred Names
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
Friday, April 10, 2009
Why Are So Many Kids Stealing and Cheating?
Michael Josephson is the institute’s founder and president. He says that these days cheating appears to be rampant, from athletes on steroids to money managers stealing from their clients. So, young people may look around and say, “Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t we?” Also, some educators say there’s more intense pressure today to get good grades and the competition to get into college is greater. So, if students have the opportunity to cheat, the temptation can be too hard to resist. In fact, the survey found that cheating is even more common than stealing. More than 65% of students admitted to cheating on at least one test in the past year, and 36% used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment. Even thought so many students admit to lying, cheating, and stealing, they still think they’re honorable people. In fact, 93% of students say they’re happy with their own personal ethics and character and 77% agreed with the statement, “When it comes to doing what is right, I’m better than most people I know.”
Was Anyone Saved at the Cross?
We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon
There was a time when I called myself a “four-point Calvinist.” There are a lot of people who use that term, and, almost all the time, the one point of the five that they reject is the terrible, horrible, “L”. Limited atonement. There is just something about the term that doesn’t sound right. How can Christ’s atonement be limited? And that is exactly what I said until I began to seriously think about the whole issue. It is my experience that most of those who reject the specific, or limited atonement of Christ, do not *really* believe in the complete sovereignty of God, or the total depravity of man, or the unconditional election of God. Most objections that are lodged against the doctrine are actually objections to one of the preceding points, not against limited atonement itself. The “break” in my thinking came from reading Edwin Palmer’s book, The Five Points of Calvinism. [Edwin H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980) pp. 41-55.] In doing a radio program on the truth of God’s electing grace, I was challenged by a caller in regards to the death of Christ. “Why would Christ die for the whole world if God did not intend to save everyone?” I looked at my co-host, and he looked at me, and I made a mental note to do more study into that particular question. I grabbed Palmer’s book as soon as I returned home, and began to read the chapter on the atoning work of Christ.
I became a full “five-pointer” upon reading the following section:
The question that needs a precise answer is this: Did He or didn’t He? Did Christ actually make a substitutionary sacrifice for sins or didn’t He? If He did, then it was not for all the world, for then all the world would be saved. (Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, p. 47.)
I was faced with a decision. If I maintained a “universal” atonement, that is, if I said that Christ died substitutionarily in the place of every single man and woman in all the world, then I was forced to either say that 1) everyone will be saved, or 2) the death of Christ is insufficient to save without additional works. I knew that I was not willing to believe that Christ’s death could not save outside of human actions. So I had to understand that Christ’s death was made in behalf of God’s elect, and that it does accomplish its intention, it does save those for whom it is made. At this point I realized that I had “limited” the atonement all along. In fact, if you do not believe in the Reformed doctrine of “limited atonement,” you believe in a limited atonement anyway! How so? Unless you are a universalist (that is, unless you believe that everyone will be saved), then you believe that the atonement of Christ, if it is made for all men, is limited in its effect. You believe that Christ can die in someone’s place and yet that person may still be lost for eternity. You limit the power and effect of the atonement. I limit the scope of the atonement, while saying that its power and effect is unlimited! One writer expressed it well when he said,
Let there be no misunderstanding at this point. The Arminian limits the atonement as certainly as does the Calvinist. The Calvinist limits the extent of it in that he says it does not apply to all persons…while the Arminian limits the power of it, for he says that in itself it does not actually save anybody. The Calvinist limits it quantitatively, but not qualitatively; the Arminian limits it qualitatively, but not quantitatively. For the Calvinist it is like a narrow bridge that goes all the way across the stream; for the Arminian it is like a great wide bridge that goes only half-way across. As a matter of fact, the Arminian places more severe limitations on the work of Christ than does the Calvinist. (Lorraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1932) p. 153.)
Therefore, we are not talking about presenting some terrible limitation on the work of Christ when we speak of “limited atonement.” In fact, we are actually presenting a far greater view of the work of Christ on Calvary when we say that Christ’s death actually accomplishes something in reality rather than only in theory. The atonement, we believe, was a real, actual, substitutionary one, not a possible, theoretical one that is dependent for its efficacy upon the actions of man. And, as one who often shares the gospel with people involved in false religious systems, I will say that the biblical doctrine of the atonement of Christ is a powerful truth that is the only message that has real impact in dealing with the many heretical teachings about Christ that are present in our world today. Jesus Christ died in behalf of those that the Father had, from eternity, decreed to save. There is absolute unity between the Father and the Son in saving God’s people. The Father decrees their salvation, the Son dies in their place, and the Spirit sanctifies them and conforms them to the image of Christ. This is the consistent testimony of Scripture.
The Intention of the Atonement
Why did Christ come to die? Did He come simply to make salvation possible, or did He come to actually obtain eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)? Let’s consider some passages from Scripture in answer to this question.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10).
Here the Lord Jesus Himself speaks of the reason for His coming. He came to seek and to save the lost. Few have a problem with His seeking; many have a problem with the idea that He actually accomplished all of His mission. Jesus, however, made it clear that He came to actually save the lost. He did this by His death.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15).
Paul asserts that the purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was to actually save sinners. Nothing in Paul’s words leads us to the conclusion that is so popular today—that Christ’s death simply makes salvation a possibility rather than a reality. Christ came to save. So, did He? And how did He? Was it not by His death? Most certainly. The atoning death of Christ provides forgiveness of sins for all those for whom it is made. That is why Christ came.
Christ’s Intercessory Work
But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7:24-26).
The New Testament closely connects the work of Christ as our High Priest and intercessor with His death upon the cross. In this passage from Hebrews, we are told that the Lord Jesus, since He lives forever, has an unchangeable or permanent priesthood. He is not like the old priests who passed away, but is a perfect priest, because He remains forever. Because of this He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him. Why? Because He always lives to make intercession for them.
Now, before considering the relationship of the death of Christ to His intercession, I wish to emphasize the fact that the Bible says that Christ is able to save men completely. He is not limited simply to a secondary role as the great Assistor who makes it possible for man to save himself. Those who draw near to God through Christ will find full and complete salvation in Him. Furthermore, we must remember that Christ intercedes for those who draw near to God. I feel that it is obvious that Christ is not interceding for those who are not approaching God through Him. Christ’s intercession is in behalf of the people of God. We shall see how important this is in a moment.
Upon what ground does Christ intercede before the Father? Does He stand before the Father and ask Him to forget His holiness, forget His justice, and simply pass over the sins of men? Of course not. The Son intercedes before the Father on the basis of His death. Christ’s intercession is based upon the fact that He has died as the substitute for God’s people, and, since He has borne their sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24), He can present His offering before the Father in their place, and intercede for them on this basis. The Son does not ask the Father to compromise His holiness, or to simply pass over sin. Christ took care of sin at Calvary. As we read in Hebrews 9:11-12:
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
When Christ entered into the Holy of Holies, He did so “by his own blood.” When He did this, we are told that He had “obtained eternal redemption.” This again is not a theoretical statement, but a statement of fact. Christ did not enter into the Holy of Holies to attempt to gain redemption for His people! He entered in having already accomplished that. So what is He doing? Is His work of intercession another work alongside His sacrificial death? Is His death ineffective without this “other” work? Christ’s intercession is not a second work outside of His death. Rather, Christ is presenting before the Father His perfect and complete sacrifice. He is our High Priest, and the sacrifice He offers in our place is the sacrifice of Himself. He is our Advocate, as John said:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2. [This passage is often used to deny the specific atonement of Christ; yet, when the parallel passage in John 11:51-52 is consulted, it is clear that John means the "world" to be taken in the same sense that is explained for us in Revelation 5:9-11, where Christ's death purchases for God men "from every tribe and language and people and nation," that is, from all the world.]
Christ’s atoning death is clearly connected with His advocacy before the Father. Therefore, we can see the following truths:
1) It is impossible that the Son would not intercede for everyone for whom He died. If Christ dies as their Substitute, how could He not present His sacrifice in their stead before the Father? Can we really believe that Christ would die for someone that He did not intend to save?
2) It is impossible that anyone for whom the Son did not die could receive Christ’s intercession. If Christ did not die in behalf of a certain individual, how could Christ intercede for that individual, since He would have no grounds upon which to seek the Father’s mercy?
3) It is impossible that anyone for whom the Son intercedes could be lost. Can we imagine the Son pleading before the Father, presenting His perfect atonement in behalf of an individual that He wishes to save, and the Father rejecting the Son’s intercession? The Father always hears the Son (John 11:42). Would He not hear the Son’s pleas in behalf of all that the Son desires to save? Furthermore, if we believe that Christ can intercede for someone that the Father will not save, then we must believe either 1) that there is dissension in the Godhead, the Father desiring one thing, the Son another, or 2) that the Father is incapable of doing what the Son desires Him to do. Both positions are utterly impossible.
That Christ does not act as High Priest for all men is clearly seen in His “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. The Lord clearly distinguishes between the “world” and those who are His throughout the prayer, and verse 9 makes our point very strongly:
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
When Christ prays to the Father, He does not pray for the “world” but for those that have been given to Him by the Father (John 6:37).
For Whom Did Christ Die?
There are a number of Scriptures that teach us that the scope of Christ’s death was limited to the elect. Here are a few of them:
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
The “many” for whom Christ died are the elect of God, just as Isaiah had said long before,
By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)
The Lord Jesus made it clear that His death was for His people when He spoke of the Shepherd and the sheep:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15).
The good Shepherd lays down His life in behalf of the sheep. Are all men the sheep of Christ? Certainly not, for most men do not know Christ, and Christ says that His sheep know Him (John 10:14). Further, Jesus specifically told the Jews who did not believe in Him, “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep” (John 10:26). Note that in contrast with the idea that we believe and therefore make ourselves Christ’s sheep, Jesus says that they do not believe because they are not His sheep! Whether one is of Christ’s sheep is the Father’s decision (John 6:37, 8:47), not the sheep’s!
…just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God….husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:2, 25-27).
Christ gave Himself in behalf of His Church, His Body, and that for the purpose of cleansing her and making her holy. If this was His intention for the Church, why would He give Himself for those who are not of the Church? Would He not wish to make these “others” holy as well? Yet, if Christ died for all men, there are many, many who will remain impure for all eternity. Was Christ’s death insufficient to cleanse them? Certainly not. Did He have a different goal in mind in dying for them? [I am not here denying that the death of Christ had effects for all men, indeed, for all of creation. I believe that His death is indeed part of the "summing up of all things" in Christ. But, we are speaking here solely with the salvific effect of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. One might say that Christ's death has an effect upon those for whom it was not intended as an atoning sacrifice.] No, His sacrificial death in behalf of His Church results in her purification, and this is what He intended for all for whom He died.
He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring a charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Romans 8:32-34).
The Father gave the Son in our place. Who is the “our” of this passage? The text says that it is “those whom God has chosen,” that is, the elect of God. Again, the intercessory work of Christ at the right hand of the Father is presented in perfect harmony with the death of Christ—those for whom Christ died are those for whom He intercedes. And, as this passage shows, if Christ intercedes for someone, who can possibly bring a charge against that person and hope to see them condemned? So we see what we have seen before: Christ dies in someone’s place, He intercedes for them, and they are infallibly saved. Christ’s work is complete and perfect. He is the powerful Savior, and He never fails to accomplish His purpose.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Are all the friends of Christ? Do all own His name? Do all bow before Him and accept Him as Lord? Do all do His commandments (John 15:14)? Then not all are His friends.
While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:13-14).
Both the substitutionary element of the cross (gave himself for us) and the purpose thereof (to redeem us…to purify) are forcefully presented to Titus. If it was the purpose of Christ to redeem and purify those for whom He died, can this possibly not take place?
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Christ will save His people from their sins. I ask what Edwin Palmer asked me before: Well, did He? Did He save His people, or did He not?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
This is the common confession of every true believer in Christ. We died with Him, our Substitute, the one who loved us and gave Himself in our behalf.
We have seen, then, that the Word teaches that Christ died for many, for His sheep, for the Church, for the elect of God, for His friends, for a people zealous for good works, for His people, for each and every Christian.
Perfected and Sanctified
One could quite obviously fill entire volumes with a study of the atonement of Christ. [The reader is strongly encouraged to make the effort to read completely a work that stands as a classic in the field: John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ from Banner of Truth, for a full discussion of the issues surrounding the atonement of Christ.] It is not our purpose to do so here. Instead, we shall close our brief survey of Scripture with these words from Hebrews 10:10-14:
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifice, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
While we have seen many logical reasons for believing in limited atonement, and we have seen many references to Christ’s death in behalf of His people, this one passage, above all others, to me, makes the doctrine a must. Listen closely to what we are told. First, what is the effect of the one time sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ? What does verse 10 tell us? “We have been made holy,” or, another translation would be, “We have been sanctified.” The Greek language uses the perfect tense here, indicating a past, and completed, action. The death of Christ actually makes us holy. Do we believe this? Did the death of Christ actually sanctify those for whom it was made? Or did it simply make it possible for them to become holy? Again, these are questions that cannot be easily dismissed. The writer goes on to describe how this priest, Jesus, sat down at the right hand of God, unlike the old priests who had to keep performing sacrifices over and over and over again. His work, on the contrary, is perfect and complete. He can rest, for by His one sacrifice He has made perfect those who are experiencing the sanctifying work of the Spirit in their lives. He made them perfect, complete. The term refers to a completion, a finishing. Again, do we believe that Christ’s death does this? And, if we see the plain teaching of Scripture, are we willing to alter our beliefs, and our methods of proclaiming the gospel, to fit the truth?
What of Faith?
One common belief needs to be addressed in passing. Many who believe in a “universal” or non-specific atonement, assert that while Christ died for all, His atonement is only effective for those who believe. We shall discuss the fact that faith itself is the gift of God, given only to the elect of God, in the next chapter. But for now, we defer to the great Puritan writer, John Owen, in answering this question:
To which I may add this dilemma to our Universalists:—God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God enter into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in his sight: “If the LORD should mark iniquities, who should stand?” Ps. cxxx. 3….If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world. If the first, why, then are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, “Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.” But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then he did not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will. (John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985) pp. 61-62.)
Some object to the doctrine of limited atonement on very pragmatic grounds. “The doctrine destroys evangelism, because you cannot tell people that Christ died for them, because you don’t know!” Yet, we ask, is there an advantage in presenting to men an atonement that is theoretical, a Savior whose work is incomplete, and a gospel that is but a possibility? What kind of proclamation will God honor with His Spirit: one that is tailored to seek “success,” or one that is bound to the truth of the Word of God? When the Apostles preached the Gospel, they did not say, “Christ died for all men everywhere, and it is up to you to make His work effective.” They taught that Christ died for sinners, and that it was the duty of every man to repent and believe. They knew that only God’s grace could bring about repentance and faith in the human heart. And far from that being a *hindrance* to their evangelistic work, it was the power behind it! They proclaimed a *powerful* Savior, whose work is all sufficient, and who saves men totally and completely! They knew that God was about bringing men to Himself, and, since He is the sovereign of the universe, there is no power on earth that will stay His hand! Now there is a solid basis for evangelism! And what could be more of a comfort to the heart that is racked with guilt than to know that Christ has died for sinners, and that His work is not just theoretical, but is real?
The Church needs to challenge the world again with the daring proclamation of a gospel that is offensive—offensive because it speaks of God saving those whom He will, offensive because it proclaims a sovereign Savior who redeems His people.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Islam Is a Religion of Peace? Fine, but Let's See Some Proof
This week, President Obama is reaching out to the Muslim world. He's trying to change Muslims' perceptions of the United States, but it's just as important for Muslims to change Americans' perceptions of them. Mainstream Muslims who seek peace were drowned out a long time ago by radical clerics who support jihad. The time has come for reasonable, peace-loving Muslims to step forward. And it's time for the rest of us to listen to them.
President Obama spoke to the Turkish National Assembly this morning, and said this about the Muslim faith:
I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds us has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.
That's the problem: Many Americans, rightly or wrongly, believe that when you're talking about the "people of all faiths" who reject violence and terrorism, you're not including the vast majority of Muslims. President Bush #43 was quoted many times saying that Islam is a religion of peace, but I can't think of any major Muslim leaders who were quoted saying that about their own religion. In fact, I don't think most Americans can name a mainstream Muslim leader, certainly not one calling for an end to violence—thanks to years of radical clerics on the nightly news, screaming into bullhorns about the Great Satan and whipping crowds into a frenzy.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released today reflects this. According to the data, most Americans think President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world is an important goal, but nearly half hold negative views about Islam and a "sizable" number believe that even "mainstream" members of Islam encourage violence against people of other religions.
And while a majority of those polled think that Islam is a peaceful religion, a substantial minority—nearly 3 in 10—said they see mainstream Islam as advocating violence against non-Muslims. About half, 48 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of Islam—the highest in polls since late 2001, in the weeks following the September 11 attacks.
The data also show that a majority of those polled said they do not have a basic understanding of the Muslim faith, nor do they know anyone who is Muslim.
So while part of the problem is lack of understanding on one side, part of the problem is lack of explanation on the other. So it's time for Americans to listen. And it's time for mainstream, peace-loving Muslims to come forward and speak out about their faith, explain their basic teachings and philosophy, and condemn violence against other religions.
Many Christians today are very ignorant about Islam. To help inform people, I have added a new section to our bookstore dedicated to the subject of Islam. Here is the link: Books
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
I have added an entire section to our bookstore dedicated to Scripture Memory. You can see all the different materials at this link: Memory
Have a great day.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
ANGELS & DEMONS - In Theaters 5/15/09
Here is the trailer:
I challenge everyone to read the novel before the movie opens and begin preparing yourself.
You can find the book a this link: Book
Many readers recommend people buy the Illustrated Edition.
Let's be prepared to give an answer. I will see the movie open night and will post a review here at the Preaching Today blog.
Have a great week
Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy
During Sunday school today, the book, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy was mentioned.
For those interested, you can buy the book from the Preaching Today bookstore. Here is the link: Book
After church someone asked me what books do I use for preparing people for marriage?
Here they are:
The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective by Stuart Scott
The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective
by Martha Peace
Both books and study guides can be purchased in our store as well. Here is the link:
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Visit The Preaching Today Book Store!
You will also see a banner for the store below the picture of the thunderstorm at the top of the blog.
We will add books and other products to the store frequently.
Apr 04, Morning Prayer for Saturday of the 5th week of Lent11:45 AM 0 Comments Links to this post
Friday, April 3, 2009
Where In The World Is Trevor?
Hello everyone, I know it has been a while since I have posted articles on regular basis. I have been very busy with the following things:
1. Thomas Aquinas. I have been working on a paper that deals with the theology of Aquinas. If you have ever read Aquinas then you know how difficult this is! If you have not tried to read and understand Aquinas then go read and then you will have some sympathy for me :) I am working on another Theology degree, but this time from a Catholic University. I want to grow in my understanding of Catholicism so when I speak against it, no one can claim that I don't know what I am taking about!
2. Worldview blog. I have a disease and I don't think there is a cure! I have way to many interest and not enough time! I wish I did not have a job so I could dedicate more time to the things I love! I have been busy working on the Worldview blog and I have been successful! Consider some numbers:
The blog has now seen over 30,000 visits!
Last month: 3774 Visits!
22 March, 2009 the Worldview blog had 448 visits!
I work on the Worldview blog alone, I have no help. This can take some serious time!
You can visit the blog at this link to see what I have been doing: blog
Here is what you can look forward to here at the Preaching Today blog:
I hope to begin recording more podcast for the sermonaudio site and for the Preaching Today blog. If possible I will try to do that tonight!
More regular post. I hope I can ensure a new post every single day. I ask all the team members of the blog to help me out. Let's work to make the Preaching Today blog much better.
Better Sermon Updates: I am way behind in posting new sermons on the sermonaudio site. Here is the link: vbc.sermonaudio.com
I hope I can post a number of sermons this weekend.
Monday my paper on Aquinas is due so please pray that I pass the class!
I should have more time now that the class is over.
Thanks for reading the Preaching Today blog and for being patient.
Have A great night