Sunday, September 29, 2013

Interesting Post Concerning JP Holding - The Most Rude Internet Apologist Professing Christ

JP Holding

Holding is responsible for several derogatory web pages devoted to yours truly because I exposed his tactics to some well-known ministries that had linked to his site without knowing much about him. All I had to do was share some of his comments and an email exchange and they severed ties with him. He responded by posting some extremely slanderous lies about me on web pages devoted entirely to me. He has all but destroyed his credibility among reputable Christian ministries and even most atheist websites. Apparently, according to this article, he hasn't changed a bit.

This is precisely how we are NOT to disagree with one another. It is an embarrassment to the Christian community to see this kind of behavior anywhere, to include the internet.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Mind of the Christian

Διὸ ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν νήφοντες τελείως ἐλπίσατε ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. (1 Peter 1:13)

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, be self-controlled, fix your hope on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (My translation)

The letter of the Apostle Peter is one of the most fascinating works among the NT documents. IT garnered serious attention among early church fathers but did not quite receive the same attention as the Pauline corpus. “In the sixteenth century, however, the letter of 1 Peter as a whole suddenly rose to special prominence among the NT writings under the power influence of Martin Luther. In his “Preface to the New Testament” 1522, Luther ranked 1 Peter among “the true and noblest books of the New Testament” containing “the true kernel and marrow of all the books.” [Elliot, 1 Peter]

The letter, which contains more OT relative to its size than any other NT document, except perhaps Revelation, may have much to contribute at a time of renewed interest in the theological interpretation of Scripture. [Peter R. Rogers, Theological Interpretation of the New Testament, Vanhoozer] Indeed, Peter’s prolific use of the OT should, at a minimum cause one to pause and contemplate how and why he uses it as often as he does. Clearly he is employing a pinpointed and strategic approach in his project of edification and encouragement to the Asian Christians.

Persecution was not an abstract notion for believers in Asia Minor; they were undergoing fierce repercussions for their faith. Peter encouraged believers to endure in the face of difficult times. He did this by promoting a biblical worldview among the believers. [Kostenberger, Kellum, Quarles: The Cradle, The Cross, And The Crown] Foreign, but becoming more a little familiar to those of us in the West and especially in the Americas, is the concept of being persecuted for Christian beliefs. Peter’s audience was all too familiar with a culture that was clearly hostile to the gospel and to the Christian community specifically. The worldly group among which the Christians lived was constantly pressing the believers to abandon their faith, their newfound value system, their new group of Christian brothers and sisters, and return to the group of their tradition, of their childhood, of their culture. This pressure was constant and it was evidently in the process of increasing. It was to Christians living in this environment that Peter addresses in his letter.

Peter addresses his audience as aliens, scatter about, who are chosen by God. He gives God glory that He has caused both himself and these Christians to be born again to a living hope, to an inheritance which is imperishable. He reassures them that they are being kept, not by their own power or their own will, but by the power of God. He points out that their various trials are nothing more than God working in them to strengthen and further purify their faith. He rejoices that God sent the Holy Spirit into those by whom the gospel has reached these Asian Christians. It is because of everything I just mentioned that Peter makes the statement I quoted at the top of this post.

Therefore, or for this reason, gird up the loins of your mind, says Peter. The NAS translates this phrase as the common Greek idiom that it is: prepare your minds for action. The undefined aspect of the participle with the present tense of the controlling verb is why I translate the participle as preparing rather than having prepared. The idea is that since your mind has now entered a state or preparation for action, you must be self-controlled. That is, not controlled by contrary forces or competitors. These forces come from within and without. The internal sins of lust and anger are examples. The external force of persecution and pressure are also good examples. These two are not neatly disconnected in this letter however. After all, it is the external pressure to pursue the internal lusts that is creating the hostile environment for the Christians to begin with.

The phrase ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας, according to Lowe-Nida means, (an idiom, literally ‘to bind up the loins of the mind’) to prepare oneself for learning and thinking—‘to get one’s mind ready for action, to be ready to learn and to think, to be alert.’ The word was used to facilitate the lifting of long garments and binding their tails so that one could walk. The girding up of the robe is a sign that one is ready for departure. It is interesting that Peter uses it so close to the coming of Christ and in the context of referring to these Christians as aliens scattered about. A coming departure from the way things are certainly seems to be in the air.

Sociologist Richard Arum released a study a couple of years ago that found that large numbers (of college students) didn’t learn the critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication skills that are widely assumed to be at the core of a college education. In fact, Forty-five percent of students made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college, according to the study. After four years, 36 percent showed no significant gains in these so-called “higher order” thinking skills. Link here: Critical Thinking Study

The practice of exercising one’s critical thinking skills is no less problematic among Christians than it is among secular society. However, the problem for Christians is that it is an egregious sin for us to engage in the cultural behavior of intellectual slothfulness. The proclivity to avoid deep, serious, thought-provoking ideas and discussion is foreign to Christian praxis and detrimental to Christian discipleship. It violates God’s design for Christian behavior.

Peter tells us to prepare our minds for action. But to what kind of action does Peter allude? He tells the Asian believers that they are to not be conformed to the former lusts, which were in ignorance. The human mind is an interesting thing. Jonathan Edwards believed “That the Will is always determined by the strongest motive,” or by that view of the mind which has the greatest degree of previous tendency to excite volition.” [Edwards, On Freedom of The Will] Our minds determine our behavior. Whatever controls the human mind controls human behavior. Is it any wonder that Peter told the Asian Christians to prepare their minds for action? The Christian husband that sees a beautiful young woman taking an interest in him first runs the scenario through his mind. Is his mind prepared for the battle that is about to be thrust upon it? Paul told the Romans they were to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. He told the Corinthians that Christians are continuously engaged in destroying speculations. These weapons of our warfare are evidently intellectual as well as spiritual in nature. The battle seems to be, to a large degree, a battle of the mind. A sanctified and holy mind produces a sanctified and holy will. Observe the acts of sin in our own lives and we are sure to see the connection those acts have with how we think about such behavior. The mind is indeed an extremely significant part of the human being.

Later in his letter, Peter points another area where the mind plays a significant role. Specifically, he informs us that we are to set Christ apart as Lord in our hearts and prepare to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is in us. While modern westerners make a sharp distinction between the heart and the mind, this is not the case in Scripture. The two can be and often are interchanged and serve as a reference to the whole person as opposed to distinct parts. To set Christ apart as Lord in one’s heart is to set Christ apart as Lord in one’s mind. To say that Christ is Lord of my mind is to say that you have fully surrendered your entire intellect to think the thoughts of God after Him. That is to say, your pattern of thinking is modelled after God’s pattern of thinking. Paul said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We are to be of the same mind that Christ was. That is an astounding truth: one that is not easy to get grasp.

This has significant implications on the enterprise of Christian apologetics. There are a number of web sites claiming to be Christian apologetic sites. There are more books than one could possibly imagine talking about the subject. Some of these books are well written, and serve the body of Christ very well. Unfortunately, most apologetic ministries focus on Peter’s command in 1 Peter 3:15 and twist that text to say that Christians are commanded to provide a reasoned or rational defense of theism. This is not at all what Peter commanded the Asian believers to do. Peter’s language specifically tells us to be prepared to give an answer for the reason that we have hope. What is the reason for our hope, or the cause for our hope? It is exegetical folly to contend that ‘reason’ in this text means human logic, or rational thought, or formal argumentation. We could just as well exchange the word ‘reason’ with ‘cause’ in this text. That is the simple meaning of what Peter commands.

In addition, Peter nowhere commands the Asian Christians to defend a ‘general theism.’ His order is really quite specific. In commanding us to give an answer for the reason of cause of our hope, he is commanding us to share the gospel. Moreover, the gospel is not the gospel unless the triune God, as described in Scripture, is the God that Christians set out specifically to proclaim. If we are to defend the hope that is in us, we must defend Christian theism. We must defend that God revealed in Scripture. In addition, we must defend Scripture and all that it reveals about the person and work of Jesus Christ who is Himself the very center of God’s plan of redemption. It is through Christ that we catch our clearest glimpse of the glory of God revealed to us in all of God’s revelation.

The life of the believer is a life that seeks humble obedience before the God who created us. If we accomplish the intellectual ability to construct the most sound, forceful arguments the world over and fail to show love and respect to the outsiders, we have accomplished nothing. Without love, the best apologetic in the world is nothing more than an impotent argument produced by a godless and empty shell of a false Christian. On the other hand, love dictates that we bring our intellect and other skills to bear in service of our great King. Jesus said we are to love the Lord our God with all our minds. That means we purify our thought process, purging worldly lusts and shallow, vain pursuits. It also means that we exercise our ability to discern and make judgments about claims that refute or serve to contradict Christian truth. This requires serious effort. We are commanded to refute those who contradict. The Christian apologist is one who balances his rebuke and correction of the godless with a sincere and humble heart that is apparent in the words he uses and the way in which he treats his opponents. To ask which one is most important is a false disjunctive. It’s like asking if oxygen to the brain is more important than blood to the brain. The answer is both!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Philosophy of Christianity

According to Christianity, the state of affairs that has obtained is what the Bible declares it to be. And what is that, exactly? God created the heaven and the earth from nothing over the course of six days in history past, approximately 6,000 years or go, give or take a few years. All things that have come to be owe their existence to creative act of God who is Himself sovereign Lord and ruler of all things.

According to Christianity, all human knowledge is the product of divine revelation. Human beings know things only because God chose to reveal them to us. God accomplished this through natural and special revelation. The fear of the Lord is the beginning, not the end point of all human knowledge. According to Scripture, all the treasures of knowledge are deposited in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is Himself the second person of the Triune God.

According to Christianity, human morality is derivative of the divine law, which is itself derived from the divine lawgiver. What God deems holy and righteous is holy and righteous because it is a reflection of His perfect moral character. The divine law, which is the basis of all human morality, is the reflection of God’s divine character.

According to Christianity, the ultimate authority for human knowledge is the Bible. The Bible is the self-attesting divine standard by which we know anything at all and by which we ought to order our lives. The Word of God, as it is called in Christianity, needs nothing to justify belief in it. It is, by nature, self-justifying. Should Scripture require justification for belief that rests outside of itself, this would nullify its self-attesting and authoritative nature. Christianity boldly, radically, and without apology teaches that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word from God in written form as it came to us in the original autographs and that the copy we have today is an accurate copy of that Word given to us from God.

According to Christianity, human beings were created by God for a purpose. Hence, the inevitable and relentless search for meaning and significance in life is the fruitless endeavor of a creature determined to find that meaning apart from its purpose. Without God as His creator, man is a meaningless, purposeless accident produced by random chance without significance or value.

According to Christianity, humanity turned its back on its Creator not long after creation. Ever since that time, man has rebelled against God, choosing rather to walk in autonomous rebellion at various levels. Man continually breaks every one of God’s commands repeatedly, continuously disregarding his Creator.

Christianity teaches that humanity is in desperate need of radical and miraculous redemption. Without this redemption, humanity is doomed to self-destruction. Humanity is without the necessary tools to redeem and rescue itself. This is the teaching of Christianity.

Christianity unflinchingly asserts that Jesus Christ is the only hope for humanity. Redemption can be found only in the blood sacrifice that Jesus Christ made at Calvary. Christianity contends that faith in Christ alone and only faith in Christ alone can save humanity from eternal wrath. Only those who have trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior will avoid eternal judgment and experience the loving embrace of God as their Father.

Christian teaches that only the hearing of the gospel of Jesus Christ can generate faith in the human heart. Without this gospel, faith in Christ is impossible. Without faith, salvation is impossible. Without a preacher, hearing the gospel is impossible. Hence, all those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, along with those who have heard and have not repented, are doomed to eternal damnation.

The hope of all humanity is found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Only in Christ do we experience the redemption of our souls. Without revelation of God in nature and in Scripture, humanity is doomed to an existence of ignorance and irrationalism. This explains why intelligent people can justify the murder of unborn babies and call it a woman’s health issue or a woman’s rights issue. This explains why two men can kiss one another, have sex with one another, and do who knows whatever else to one another and intelligent people can call it love. This explains why public school systems have lost all their abilities to exercise common sense and basic decent judgment. This explains why we can no longer distinguish between art and the ridiculous nude events week at Brown, an Ivy League school no less. Redemption is to be found only in Christ. Humanity continues its downward spiral into immorality, ignorance, and irrationalism and no one in the world seems to notice. As for the Church, let’s make sure we keep the light on for them.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Intellectuals Are Less Likely To Embrace Christianity

The University of Rochester recently published a review of decades of research demonstrating that “religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.” A summation of 63 studies on the subject, the Rochester report cannot be dismissed by the religious community. We must recognize as an objective fact that people with higher IQs are turning to atheism.

“First, there is an incredible bias against theism within higher education.”

It seems to me that the author of the article, David Denison, locates his first cause for this problem in precisely the wrong place. We are not talking about theism in the general sense. Mr. Denison has tackled the subject of intellectual believers, or the lack thereof. Why does this question matter? Unbelievers are more intelligent, as humans measure intelligence, than believers. So why does this matter? Do we find it embarrassing? Does it bother you that intellectuals view Christian theism with intellectual contempt? Based on the study, it seems to bother some people.

Mr. Denison attempts to explain to us why intellectuals are turned off by Christian theism. He tells us that the first reason for intellectual repulsion is that the university has a built-in bias against Christianity. Since the university turns out the intellectual, then it follows that the intellectual embraces what the university has taught him. Well, he is right and wrong about this. He is correct insofar as the university’s disposition toward Christian theism is concerned. There can be little doubt that secular university is intellectually hostile to Christian theism. However, being a believer has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s intelligence quotient or level of education. In fact, I believe the reason that intellectuals and the highly educated are, for the most part, not believers, is located someplace else. The difference between being a Christian and not being a Christian is not located in the individual. That reason is located in God Himself. It seems that Mr. Denison’s analysis is affected more by a distorted theology than it is by psychological research.

Mr. Denison seems to have constructed a sort of humanistic Christian theism. But this is precisely the problem with much of modern American/Western Christianity. There is an amalgamation of humanism with Christian theism that has come to be identified as Christianity in modern culture. In this version of Christianity, men are the masters of their own fate, the captain of their own soul even while God is merely their co-pilot. In this version of Christianity, men decide that Jesus is the best option, He was a good teacher, He has good values, a nice social framework, and He is loving and flexible. Why wouldn't I accept Him? It is this version of Christianity that many intellectuals are rejecting. Mr. Denison is attempting to explain to us why that is and how we can fix it. But as anyone knows, misdiagnosis leads to a false prescription.

In 1 Cor. 1: 17-18, the apostle Paul wrote these sober words: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Apparently Paul thought that emphasizing strategy or technique when delivering the message of the cross ran the risk of nullifying the message. Paul said that he did not preach with σοφί λόγου, clever or wise words, like a philosopher, because that sort of approach would κενωθῇ, nullify the cross. These are not words we should gloss over as we read them. This word means, “to take away the power or significance of something—‘to cause to lose power, to cause to be emptied of power, to make powerless.”

Any attempt not to offend the intellect of the unbelieving community risks nullifying the power of cross. If we nullify the power of the cross, we have destroyed the power of the Christian message. If we destroy the power of the Christian message, we have effectively destroyed Christian theism. It is ironic that in his attempt to fix this problem of ‘intellectual rejection’ of the Christian message so that Christianity might attract more intellectuals, Mr. Denison seems to unwittingly take us to the brink of destroying Christian theism itself. The unintended consequences of this psychological approach ends up banishing biblical Christianity to the ash heap of unwarranted, pre-critical Greek mythology and ancient Jewish fables. It seems to me that our answer is best derived from Scripture. Why do intellectuals reject Christian theism?

Paul informs us in 1 Cor. 2:14, “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.” The Greek word appraised here means, “to make a judgment on the basis of careful and detailed information.” But this appraisal is a spiritual one. It is the exercise of a spiritually minded man, one who has been born again by the power of the very message being appraised. The intellect of the unbeliever is spiritually dead. 2 Cor. 4:4 says that the god of this world has blinded the mind of the unbeliever. The unbelieving intellect is in no condition to evaluate Christian theism intellectually or otherwise.

“Secondly, I believe the present Church culture in America is unfriendly to intellectual scrutiny.”

At face value, I cannot disagree with this statement. The problem lies in its interpretation. I cannot say what Mr. Denison is getting at. If he is referring to the miserable plight of the modern aversion to all things intellectual in the Christian community, the hard work of honest critical thinking about understanding the Christian system of truth, I am onboard. Thinking is hard work. Thinking about the content of Scripture, interpreting God’s message requires time, dedication, and high degree of energy. The sad truth is that most Christians would rather be watching some pathetic American reality show, having a picnic, a shallow conversation over lunch, playing games and various other means of entertainment than working hard to understand the philosophical, skeptical, cynical, and unbelieving challenges that confront us in our culture every day.

The problem is that I cannot say what Mr. Denison is driving at. If he means that we have to be open to challenges about our deeply held theological commitments handed down to us by the long orthodox tradition in the Church, then he is little more than one more emergent guy seeking to reinvent the wheel and escape from the authority of the believing community for the sake of autonomy. Should we examine and reaffirm ancient Christian teachings? Absolutely. But can we be open to modern liberal ideas that Scripture should be judged by autonomous human reason whether or not it is inspired by God Himself? We simply cannot be open to such nonsense because the very starting point for such a practice is by definition non-Christian and open rebellion. Can we be open to the possibility that Jesus was not divine? We cannot. Can we consider it a possibility that Christ did not raise from the dead? Under no circumstances whatever!

In summary then, Christians do not become Christians because they are smart, and because they figured out that Christian theism is the most cogent philosophy of life available to humanity. Scripture tells us that God intentionally did not choose the intellectually elite for salvation. (1 Cor. 1:20) The world has not come to know God by its own wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:21) God has destroyed the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever. (1 Cor. 1:19) If Mr. Denison wanted to know why unbelievers score higher on the IQ test or might have a higher level of education than believers perhaps he should have consulted God for that answer. God has given us a clear answer to this inquiry. Imagine the boasting Christians could do if we were able to point to a study that demonstrates that Christians are smarter than the rest! But so that no man could boast, God did it His way!

Am I sometimes embarrassed by intellectually lazy Christians who seem to think there is no hard work involved in being a Christian, intellectually or otherwise? Indeed I am. The truth is that Christians, even if we are not the intellectually brightest from among humanity, should still be the best thinkers. The reason for this is that our intellects have been born again, being renewed by Scripture. Our intellects have been awakened to the true beauty of God’s creation. We are, as Christians, thinking God’s thoughts after Him. We are supposed to think just as God thinks. We are to think in His pattern of thinking. We should cultivate a real fascination with what is excellent in terms of life, meaning, purpose, reality, art, science, and the amazing wonder of it all. Our sense of appreciation for the finer things should be being refined daily. Only the Christian can see the real beauty in Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Only the Christian can hear with wonder and with fascination the true genius, and the real magic and the incredible power in the music of men like Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Bach.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Pope, The Homosexual, The Church, and The Gospel

I want to take a few words to interact with Pope Francis’ recent comments about his apparent vision of what the Catholic Church should be. While the pope’s comments seem to deviate from the Christian teaching about homosexual behavior, they stop short of overtly encouraging the Church to adopt an entirely different position even though there is a veiled hint that that is where he wants to go. I will place my reactions to the pope’s comments immediately after his remarks.

"The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently," Francis said. "We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the perspective that “disjointed doctrines” are unhelpful, confusing, and should be avoided by the church. The problem with this sentence is that there is no way to tell what it is the pope is getting at. Is this an attempt to belittle dogma? The Christian teaching on doctrine is that Scripture is a unified word from God that logically leads to a unified system of doctrines working together to reveal to us the God who created us. The pope’s comments are simply too obscure to understand. Secondly, we are also at a lost to understand what the pontiff means when he says, “We have to find a new balance.” What kind of balance is he talking about? Is this a balance between theology and social good? We simply can’t be sure. As far as the moral edifice of the church is concerned, no such thing exists, not really. Where the Roman Catholic Church is concerned, she lost her moral edifice when she started killing people for the gospel and never recovered it. Her continued protection of pedophile priests has destroyed any moral authority she may have had left after centuries of corruption. As for the protestant churches, her tolerance of wicked members and her refusal to stand for truth in teaching and in living has left her morally impotent. True morality flows from the moral nature of the God of the gospel, which is proclaimed by the true Church week in and week out.

There is no need to compromise the old ways of holiness and sanctification. The Church does not need to soften her teachings on homosexuality, abortion, and the exclusive truths of Scripture in order to remain morally influential in the culture. Her duty is to shine her light by proclaiming precisely these truths and living holy lives in front of a generation of human beings who hate God more than ever, if such a thing is possible.

"It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars!" Francis said. "You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else."

First of all, unbelievers are not seriously injured persons. Eph. 2 tells us that unbelievers are dead. They are blind, not able to see the light of the gospel. They are deaf, not able to hear the truth of the gospel. They are not able because they are not willing. They love their sin. They do not want to give it up. Sure, they will take God, but only if they can keep their sin. It’s like a woman who tells her husband she loves God but proceeds to divorce him contrary to God’s command. The homosexual says they love God, even though they commit acts that God abhors. The pope is wrong. These are not wounds and they are not described as wounds in Scripture. Unregenerate men are described as dead. They hate God. They do not seek God. They are all unrighteous and living in depravity.

"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," he lamented. "The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."

The pope sounds much like a universalist here. Has Christ saved you? Whom has Christ saved? Is the pope implying that biblical mandates prohibiting homosexual behavior or other sinful behaviors are meaningless? Again, it is hard to say. It seems that he desperately wants to go there.

"This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity," he said.

Is the Church the home of all? Jesus said that those who find their way into the Church, which is God’s called out ones, are few in number. He said that the number of those who find destruction will be high. Again, the pope seems to be expressing a lot of worldly philosophy and no biblical theology in his comments. In addition, he seems intentionally vague.

But he continued: "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: 'Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?'

Here we see a false disjunctive employed by the pope. He should know better. God looks at every unbeliever’s sin with wrath and indignation even if he looks at the person with mercy. But God does not extend mercy to all, at least not to the same degree. Romans 9 is clear that God extends mercy to whom He desires to extend mercy. If we follow the pope’s reasoning, we are left wondering if God judges anyone’s sin at all. If the gay person is endorsed by God, does this mean that God endorses the adulterer, the fornicator, the rapist, the murderer or perhaps Hitler?

The modern age seems to have fallen headlong into an irrational abyss where modern men can no longer collect their intellectual wits about them. Fools we have become because we have forsaken the law of God, which separates us from the beasts of the field. Recently a young man accidentally carried his hunting knife into a High School football game. When he realized he had it, he went to security to turn it in because he knew he had violated a rule. How did the school administrators reward him? They suspended him for ten days. Older generations would be more than a little shocked by the utter lack of decency and common sense that has come to dominant our society.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Testimony of More Homosexual Intolerance in Public Schools

Click here for video: Homosexual Intolerance

A recent friend posted a picture of a man wearing a shirt with the caption: "I met my boyfriend on Christian Mingle." She inserted the words, "Open minds, open hearts."

In other words, people who reject homosexuality are closed minded. And closed minded people are unloving. In an unrelated subject on the matter of sports, I posted a criticism of West Virginia's performance against William & Mary. Someone called me a hater because I dared to criticize the team's dismal performance. 

Modern Americans no longer give a subject over to careful consideration. They want the truth to be what they demand it to be. If you are daring enough to let the facts get in the way, well then, the retort is that you must be a hater, or a bigot or a slanderer. My friend on FB said she supports freedom of religion as long as it does not condone bigotry and slander. In other words, Christians should NOT be free to reject the homosexual lifestyle because doing so is bigoted and slanderous. I asked her how it is bigoted for me to reject the idea that two men engaged in sex were doing something that nature itself shows to be contrary to the very design of male anatomy. I pointed out that homosexual behavior is violently incongruent with evolutionary theory. There is no science supporting the view that homosexual sex is natural. There is a mountain of medical evidence showing it to be quite harmful in a plethora of ways. Finally, no Christian can condone homosexual behavior because the Christian's book, which defines Christianity, at the same time condemns homosexual sex. This means that the Christian has a choice: be a Christian or be pro-homosexual. One cannot be both. Support for homosexual sex is an open rejection of the Bible. Support for the Bible is an open rejection of homosexual sex.

Can you love homosexuals and respect them as individuals without approving or endorsing their lifestyle. There is no logical reason why you cannot. Can you love you child without approving of every behavior they engage in? Yes we can and yes we do. I have children who have engaged in behavior I do not approve of. Does that mean I hate them? Absolutely not! The argument that you must approve of homosexual sex or you are a bigot is an absurd, irrational, and stupid argument made by people who are uncritical in their thinking and limited in their ability to navigate this issue intellectually. Christians must become better critical thinkers and emboldened in their faith if they are to prove the worth of their Christian confession. 

Here is the bottom line for the homosexual argument. American society wants homomsexual sex to be normal, healthy, and natural and accepted by all contrary to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There is no scientific or medical proof demonstrating that homosexual sex is unavoidable. The argument that it is love is foolish and based on the most shallow components of love, emotion and raw animalistic lust. The summary is that homosexual sex is okay because they want it to be okay and they feel no need to provide any more argumentation than that. Look at the number of arguments they have made that have proven to be false over the decades now. One by one, the arguments have collapsed. But for some strange reason, this has not slowed down the steam rolling machine that demands we accept the lifestyle as natural. The sin-loving, God-hating culture of America says homosexual sex is natural because we want it to be natural and you will go along with us or else. And then this country has the nerve to put "In God We Trust" on its money. It is a nation of Godless hypocrites whose end is destruction, whose god is their vile lust, whose intellectual behavior has been reduced to irrationalism at every corner.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jonathan Safarti Reacts to the Dangerous Views of William Lane Craig

See Article Here.

William Lane Craig is touted as the ace defender of the Christian worldview. He is touted as being the philosopher and apologist, par excellence. To my knowledge, he has never lost a debate with an atheist on the question of the existence of God. He is a remarkably intelligent and accomplished man.

On the question of Genesis and the view that the earth is relatively young, around 6,000 years old, Craig says this about those pastors and Christians who subscribe to such a view:

Yes, I’ve seen a comparable statistic that says that over 50% of evangelical pastors think that the world is less than 10,000 years old. Now when you think about that, Kevin, that is just hugely embarrassing. That over half of our ministers really believe that the universe is only around 10,000 years old. This is just scientifically, it’s nonsense, and yet this is the view that the majority of our pastors hold. It’s really quite shocking when you think about it.
Craig thinks that anyone who adopts a view of Genesis based on a simple grammatico-historical interpretation of that text is an embarrassment to Christianity. Why? Because scientifically, such a view is absolute nonsense apparently. Why is it scientifically nonsense to accept the account of Genesis as six literal days, but not scientifically nonsense to acknowledge that the universe was created by God ex nihilo? It is because Craig wants to employ science is a most subjective manner. He wants to apply the laws of science to Genesis 1-11 but not to the fundamental view of Christianity, that God created from nothing. But Craig cannot have it both ways. The same scientific principles that assert that a young earth view is nonsense also assert that the idea of God creating the universe from nothing is also nonsense.

To leave off Safarti's reaction to Craig on Genesis, I want to point out a couple of other views I find even more disturbing. The first one is Craig's belief that people can be redeemed outside of the gospel. Craig has declared that men who recognize that there is some power, some divine being behind creation and who also live according to the moral law within can be saved apart from the gospel. If they do those two things, God will not send them to hell. Doing so would make God a monster. Now, to be fair, Craig says he doesn't think this really happens, but it could happen and it may have happened. This position denies that exclusive claims of Christian theism that one must call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.

Finally, Craig's philosophy leads him to a view of God that is even more problematic and that is the view that God has middle knowledge. Craig defaults to this view as a way of explaining how presence of evil in the world can be congruent with the existence of the God described in Scripture. The whole idea is that God has created the best of all possible worlds. This world represents the best God could do. What makes it the best world? Apparently it is the best world because it is the world in which the highest number of people would believe in God. The argument is not a theological argument. It is purely one borne out of philosophy. In fact, there is nothing theological about it. It rests upon the presupposition that the highest good in human creation is the freedom of the will. Above all else, God was seeking to preserve that aspect of humanity. This is really the best He could do.

William Lane Craig is first and foremost a philosopher. His views continue to evolve into views that are more and more disturbing and less and less biblical. If you are interested in defending the faith, I would recommend Answers in Genesis, Cliff McManis' new book on Christian Apologetics, Greg Bahnsen, Cornelius Van Til, and Scott Oliphint. I would steer clear of philosophers like William Lane Craig. They do more harm and cause more confusion than the good they contribute. That is my humble opinion.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Christian Preacher Jailed Because of Homosexual Intolerance

BASILDON, England – A Christian street preacher was arrested and jailed last week in England after he was accused by a lesbian bystander of engaging in hate speech against homosexuals. The incident occurred on Thursday while evangelist Rob Hughes was preaching on the streets of Basildon, Essex.

So it seems the persecution against the Christian faith, at least in England, continues. The homosexual versus Christianity issue continues to be an object of fascination for me. What I find to be even more fascinating is the radical subjectivity with which non-Christians view the morality of the homosexual lifestyle. For example, the same people that defend the homosexual lifestyle condemn other forms of sexual behavior as morally repugnant and in some cases unnatural. If it is natural and morally acceptable for homosexuals to “hook-up,” and engage in their orgies and promiscuity as we all know is a way of life in that community, why do some of these same proponents of that community condemn or judge a husband for cheating on his wife, or a man for cheating on his girlfriend, or a player whose only goal is sex with as many men or women as he or she can convince to have sex with them? Why do homosexual proponents find bestiality unnatural and morally repugnant? If homosexuals are genetically engineered to be what they are, why aren’t pedophiles? Why aren’t cheaters simply viewed as genetically engineered that way? Why do the same people that defend homosexuality turn their noses up at swingers clubs, or at husbands who like to watch their wives with other men? Why is it so repulsive for the one and not the other? The only answer I have been able to find is that the non-Christian worldview reduces to irrational nonsense in every form, sooner or later.

How do non-Christians judge whether or not something is right or wrong? The answer to this question, when traced to its basic presuppositions is a little more than embarrassing. For starters, some argue for what is known as Natural-Law Theory as a way to explain morality. NLT claims that there are some basic and unchanging principles that ought to serve as our ethical guide if you will. These principles can be known by all, it is argued. Somehow, these principles have the force of law so the argument goes. Proponents of NLT argue that these principles are supposedly self-evident. The justification for human authority then is located in those moral laws that are themselves derived from natural law. In other words, governments or societies can justify imposing authority on communities because that authority is ultimately derived from the natural order of things. As one will see, this does little to help one understand, exactly, the natural order of things.

Natural-Law Theory fails on several points to serve as justification for human morality. One does not have to probe very many moral issues in order to find serious differences among human opinions. Homosexuality is a perfect example. In addition, what law is it that justifies the concept of authority to start with? What is the rational justification for inferring human morality from natural law? NLT admits that no proof is forthcoming. Furthermore, NLT contends that no such justification is necessary since such truths are self-evident. But this retort is simply an amazing and embarrassing begging of the question.

Another view is that social contract theory is our best hope for providing rational justification for human morality. This theory contends that we all enter a contract individually that places the interest of the group above that of the individual. But what about those who do not wish to go along with SCT? At one time, society rejected homosexual behavior as abnormal. This did not stop homosexuals from engaging in their perversions of human sexuality. In other words, homosexuals rejected the contract. As we look around in our prisons we see millions who have rejected the contract. Hence, social contract theory fails to provide the necessary foundation for human morality and the authority to enforce it.

Whether it is Natural Law Theory, Social Contract Theory, or perhaps Social Utilitarianism, that serves as the basis for human morality one thing is clear: non-Christian theories of human morality all reduce to private subjectivism or cultural relativism sooner or later. The justification for ethics, like justification for theories about metaphysics and epistemology must eventually find its anchor in something that requires no justification, that is, something that is in fact self-justifying, something philosophically intuitive, something that transcends every human and all cultures.

The argument for homosexual behavior is a western argument that has nothing to commend it except for the fact that it is the way people want it to be. And that is not an intellectually sound or logically cogent argument. But it isn’t the problem of homosexuality that mostly concerns Christians in the west these days. It is the fact that homosexuals are demanding an end to Christianity as Scripture defines it, as we know it that is the problem. Homosexuals, more than anyone else, apparently cannot abide being informed that God is opposed to their lifestyle. That He will judge them unless they repent. Why is this group of sinners, apparently different from other groups of sinners, say adulterers or murderers for example? When was the last time an adulterer insisted that Christians shut up about adultery because such language is bigoted and hate speech? So why does the homosexual behave this way toward the Christian gospel?

Christians must keep in mind that some people in this group have purposely been given over to a depraved mind and degrading passions by God Himself. Homosexual behavior is the consequent of divine wrath. Romans 1:18, 24, 26, 28 could not be clearer about this fact. Christians should view this vile behavior as the direct result of a holy God pouring out his wrath on men who despise Him. What else could explain the irrational and nonsensical view that it is perfectly normal for two men or two women to engage in sexual intercourse with each other. When someone attempts to defend the homosexual lifestyle to me, all I actually hear is the wrath of God being poured out on a person that has come to love their sin so much that they have lost their ability to think sanely in any sense of the word sane. This is the inevitable consequence of rejecting our Creator.

How do we respond to these attacks and arguments and the ensuing persecution? Peter commands us to be ready to given an answer for the reason of the hope that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15) With respect and gentleness we give the homosexual community the gospel of repentance. We move not one fraction of one inch from that gospel for any reason whatever. We stop the mouths of those who would argue that homosexuals are Christians the same as heterosexuals by bringing in sound Christian argumentation based in Scripture. In other words, we refute those who contradict the truth of Scripture, the Christian message. (Titus 1:9) We rejoice when homosexuals use their homosexuality to persecute Christians by calling us bigots, making up lies about how we hate them, and by having us arrested for preaching the truth of the Christian message. We consider it an honor and a privilege to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ and for standing firm on His message. Jesus told us that men would persecute us, insult us, and falsely say all kinds of evil against us. (Matt. 5:11-12) Jesus told us to rejoice when this happens, not to respond by seeking privilege in the American constitution. This is not to imply that we should not do what we can to remain free from being imprisoned. It is to say that our attitude and temptation to hate those who want to take away our religious liberty must be resisted above all else. The real temptation for you and for me, especially in America is to develop a certain mindset toward those who are attacking religious freedom. If Satan can get us to adopt a hateful attitude toward them, he has effectively contaminated our religion already. Religious freedom now becomes a moot point.

The only worldview that does not reduce to absurdity is Christian theism. There are really only two worldviews to begin with, when you look at the reality of things. There is the Christian worldview and the non-Christian worldview with all its obscene attempts to make sense out of reality, human knowledge, and human morality apart from, and independent of God. The deluding influence of God’s wrath upon modern man’s sinful hatred of God will only continue to reveal itself in humanity’s intellectual folly as each culture and society seeks to make sense of their world apart from God. They refuse to bow the knee to the Creator, to Whom they owe their very existence. It seems to me that, at the end of the day, homosexuals and their supporters need to address their Christian phobia, their narrow mindedness, and their hateful intolerance of the Christian worldview. They do not seem content to simply leave the issue at the level of verbal disagreement. They want their detractors arrested and silenced. That is a much different position than that held by Christian theism.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The FALSE Gospel of the Prosperity Movement - An Amazing Display of Lust, Ego, and Ungodliness

I think this video is actually somewhat encouraging because it helps any level-headed Christian realize that Jesus is not anywhere near this kind of sheer foolishness. On this note, read what early Christians thought about teachers, prophets, and apostles below from a section in the Didache. It will surely give you some added perspective about these charlatans who parade around as teachers of the gospel when what they actually are, is Satan's minions, beckoned by him to do his bidding. The good news is that only those wicked people who are enslaved to filthy lucre are attracted to this gospel. The bad news is that the world sees these mindless, immoral, godless skunks and thinks they represent genuine Christianity, at least on some level. There is no room for such peculators in Christian ministry, or any leadership position as far as that goes. What is sad is that many Christians, so-called, will be more disturbed by my accurate description of these buffoons than are by what these men are doing to Christ in front of the whole world. 

The Didache on teachers, prophets, and apostles

1 Whosoever, therefore, cometh and teacheth you all these things that have been said before, receive him.
2 But if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not; but if he teach so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
3. But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do.
4. Let every apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord. 
5 But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. 
6 And when the apostle goeth away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodgeth; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. 
7 And every prophet that speaketh in the Spirit ye shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. 
8 But not every one that speaketh in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. 
9 And every prophet who ordereth a meal in the Spirit eateth not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; 
10 and every prophet who teacheth the truth, if he do not what he teacheth, is a false prophet. 
11 And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself doeth, shall not be judged among you, for with God he hath his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever saith in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, ye shall not listen to him; but if he saith to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume VII: Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 380–381.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Way of Death - The Didache

The Didache, or The Teaching of the Twelve is a very old document dated by most to the early part of the second century, likely not later than 120. The value you it adds to NT studies is beyond dispute. While the document itself is not to be taken as authoritative, it nevertheless, provides a wonderful window through which we may view some of the attitudes of the ancient Church toward matters of Christian living, Christian worship, and the offices of the Church. The section I have enclosed below gives us a glimpse into how the early Church, just after the last apostle passed off the scene, viewed the life of the unbeliever. It is accurately described as "The Way of Death." What I find particularly helpful about this section is how my attitude compares with the attitude of the most ancient Christians. Even though the document is not authoritative, it manages to evoke great conviction in my mind because it certainly reflects the NT teachings regarding godly attitudes toward ungodly mindsets.

Many modern thinkers will take this document, and quite literally spend all their time examining it textually, historically, and grammatically. They will try to determine who may have authored it. They will get lost in literary analysis and all the other scholarly interests that may be associated with studying the document. And in so doing, just as they do the holy Scriptures, they will miss the most valuable contribution the document makes to our Christian walk. How can this document contribute to my Christian way of living, thinking, understanding, and so forth? The intellectual lust that drives most scholarship in modern Christian circles, to include evangelicalism, quite frankly contributes very little to the more important issues of the Christian life. I do not say this to demean scholarship, but rather to put it in its place. When scholarship eclipses sanctification, godliness, Christian praxis, it becomes much less valuable as a Christian practice and in some cases, quite harmful and exceedingly fruitless. What I mean is we spend more time trying to figure out the structure and authorship of John for example than we do trying to understand what he wrote and more importantly, working diligently to apply those teachings to our Christian walk.

The Didache - The Way of Death

And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and full of curse: murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rapines, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness;  persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing requital, not pitying a poor man, not labouring for the afflicted, not knowing Him that made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him that is in want afflicting him that is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.

Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume VII: Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 379.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Christians Serving Gay Couples – Is it Biblical?

A Renewed and Candid Reconsideration

Before I get into the meat of this blog I want to make sure you understand what it is I am getting at. First, I am not placing any obligations on Christian business to engage in practices they deem unrighteous. I am not really suggesting that you take any action at all regarding the matter that has recently exploded on the scene in American culture as it relates to the specific issue of how Christian should relate to gay couples. What I am suggesting is that we think through our actions to make sure that our thinking and behavior are in fact clearly supported by Scripture. I have written a lot about the homosexual movement serving as the greatest threat to religious freedom in American culture and I still think that is true. However, I am afraid that I may have contributed to fuzzy thinking on the issue and I want to set the matter straight, at least where I am concerned.
The burning question: Is it unrighteous, ungodly, or unbiblical for a Christian to do business with homosexuals when that activity leads to the ungodly practice of gay marriage? This is a very important question and one that, if answered incorrectly, could lead to unnecessary pain and suffering on the part of Christian business people.

The New Mexico Story

In 2006, Elaine and Jonathon Huguenin refused to take photos of a gay celebration ceremony because it violated their Christian belief. The Huguenins believed that doing business with the gay couple would be participating in the celebration or in some way construed as an endorsement of the lifestyle. This is a slippery slope that we walk so we must use wisdom in how we answer the question. How does taking pictures of a gay celebration endorse the gay lifestyle? I cannot see how taking the photos of the ceremony could be ipso facto viewed as an endorsement. Should the Huguenin’s be allowed to do business with whomever they wish and refuse to do business with whomever they wish? That is a good question. I am not a legal expert and so I cannot say for sure. I can say that permitting businesses to discriminate based on whatever criteria they desire is probably not the best way to maintain fairness and justice in a society.

The Oregon Story

More recently, an Oregon bakery known as Sweet Cakes by Melissa has closed its doors for similar reasons. The bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple and the backlash has been nothing short of ludicrous. The bakery has since been forced to close due to the constant angry protests and threats organized by the homosexual community. The owners even said that some threats were aimed at their children, hoping they would die. Indeed, this is not the America in which I was raised. But was this episode really necessary? Did the Christian owners have to refuse to bake a cake for the lesbian couple in order to remain faithful to biblical Christianity? If the answer to this question is no, then indeed it is a pity that one could lose their business on what could possibly be misplaced convictions. I am not suggest that is the case, but I am saying we have to ask the hard question if it might be the case. What we need in the current environment is sound, godly, healthy leadership with the ability to think through the issues and properly apply biblical principles that Christians are thinking correctly about these issues.

The Wedding at Cana

Enter a wealthy wedding a Cana. I understand the purpose of the sign at the wedding as to point to Christ as Messiah. Nevertheless, Jesus never sinned in performing His miracles and He did not sin here either. We have a wedding celebration full of drunk guests when Jesus gets the request from His mother to provide more wine to people who are already sinfully drunk. Can Jesus honor His mother’s request? Could He be accused of endorsing drunkenness and sin by honoring that request? I think He could. But Jesus honored the request anyways. After all, it is one thing to be accused of endorsing sinful behavior and quite another to be guilty of it. Jesus Himself was accused of being a drunk and a glutton even though He was neither. Jesus was able to provide wine for people at a wedding for people who were clearly engaged in violating His principles of behavior for alcohol consumption. This is an event that we must consider when we work through this gay marriage issue. Are there limitations? Of course there are. A preacher could never unite gay people in marriage without sinning because that is serving as a key figure in bringing together an unholy union. But that is a religious matter, or ritual, not a matter of business.

A Different and Interesting Perspective

If we cannot bake a cake for a gay couple because God does not honor their union, must we also turn away the believer-unbeliever unions? I think we must. In addition, what about the owner of a hotel who rents rooms to people who are going to commit sexual sin? What about the Christian hotel owner who knows a gay couple have leased a room for their honeymoon? What about the tuxedo shop owner? And the Limo service? Where do we draw the line? If we object to the gay couple, can we object to the couple that divorced on unbiblical grounds, and are getting remarried?

What if we took a different position than what we have seen so far. What if there is a better way for us to deal with this gay marriage, Christian business issue? What if the bakery responds to the gay couple by saying, sure, I will bake your cake but, you must understand that I am a Christian, and as such I do not believe that God sanctions your behavior. What if, at that point, while serving them as a business, the Christian takes this opportunity to give them the gospel of Christ and issues the message of repentance? Would the couple still want to use the Christian business? Maybe, but maybe not. The more important thing is that the Christian business is in the wonderful position of giving the gospel.

I am not saying my mind is settled on this issue. What I am saying is that I am having to take a harder look at it because I think I may be guilty of being inconsistent and thinking poorly about it. If we know as Christians that if we make the decision to enter business in American culture, then we must understand that we will be required by law to do certain things. As Christians, we do not have “rights” if you will to change the law to be in our favor. Those days are gone. Does religious liberty require that business law bend to Christian morality? I cannot say. What I can say is there are wiser ways to navigate this issue than the ones I am seeing so far. And it is in our best interest to start thinking differently when it comes to the gay marriage laws and how Christian business is to react to them. I see it as an opportunity to get the gospel out there and let these people know right up front what you position is and why. Give them the truth: the gospel truth. A for the rest of the issue, the best I can say is that I am still thinking about it.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Presuppositional Defense of Scripture - Conclusion

In my last post, I introduced the concept of sovereignty in my argument for a presuppositional defense of the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. This is a critical component in the argument because it is indelibly linked to the nature of the God that is, that God that we have already shown to exist due to the impossibility of the contrary. I have said that only Christian theism provides the preconditions necessary for human predication as well as the intelligibility of human experience.

One by one the efforts of the non-Christian worldview have taken their place in the section of philosophy reserved for irrational beliefs. This will continue to be the case with any view that attempts to contradict the truth claims of Christian theism. The reason is really quite basic: Christian theism is true. The subject of our present series however, is how do we as Christians move from the truth of Christian theism to affirming that the Bible, the book of Christianity, is the Word of God. And how do we do that while remaining faithful to Scripture and consistent with the presuppositional framework I have set forth?

First, we must inquire what Christian theism affirms about the question. If Christian theism is the only true worldview that humanity should embrace, and if this system is the only essential expression of truth and the only way for man to possess genuine knowledge, then it follows that we must look to this system to see if it furnishes some assistance around the question we are tackling.

There is no philosophical argument available that will bring a person to genuine knowledge that the Bible is the Word of God. Recall that we said knowledge, properly defined is 1) It is in fact the case; 2) I believe it is the case; and 3) I have reasonable grounds for believing it is the case. One may wrongly infer that (3) asserts that a person can and should arrive at the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God by rational means. That would be reading more into (3) than is necessary. Second, (3) will turn on how one defines “reasonable grounds.” To defend the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, we have no recourse but to turn to Scripture itself. The reason we must turn to Scripture itself is due to the fact that Christian theism contends that Scripture is self-authenticating, self-vindicating, authoritative, our final source of appeal for what qualifies as true knowledge, that it is in fact the standard and source of how humans know anything at all not only about the world, but how we should go about constructing our very theory of knowledge to begin with. By what standard then do we call into question the precise basis for how we know anything?

To where then do we turn to put forward the case that the Bible is the Word of God? It could rightly be said that we are dealing with a question that maybe does not require an answer. Some theologians believe that those who know the truthfulness of this statement do not need an argument based in logic or human reason to support their belief and that those who do not, cannot possibly be convinced by any argument put forth for the claim regardless of it cogency or rational persuasiveness. This is a fair and perhaps keen observation to which we shall return shortly.

Writing some 500 years ago, John Calvin said, “Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” [Calvin, Institutes, I.i.1] For the reformer, the key to knowledge rests in our knowledge of God and our knowledge of ourselves. This begs the question, how do we possess this knowledge? “There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity. This we take to be beyond controversy. To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty.” [Ibid. I.iii.1] Christian theism asserts that human knowledge comes, not through empiricism nor through a bankrupt system of autonomous human reason, rather, all knowledge comes through divine revelation. God makes Himself known to man and reveals to man, makes available to man everything that man understands about Himself, the created order, and God. While God’s self-disclosure serves as the basis of all knowledge, it is true that not all knowledge is acquired in the same manner. This Christian theism admits. Some things we know by way of induction and inference. We know that the Sun will rise tomorrow. Other things we know by experience. We know that fire is hot, ice is cold, and they each provide a unique experience when encountered in certain ways. Just as we know these things in their own respective way, we also know God according to His own method of self-disclosure. We know Christ in this way. We have not so learned Christ from the philosophers, or, the logicians, or the scientists. Should it come as a surprise that we should learn the Scripture as the Word of God any differently?

What I have been driving at is the fundamental difference between the nature of Scripture as the Word of God and the proposition that Scripture is the Word of God. The former dictates how we should go about finding our answer to the question. One philosopher argues, “…theists are right in affirming the reality of God but wrong in insisting that His reality is capable of proof.” [Halverson, A Concise Introduction to Philosophy, 174] We must stare the traditional response in the face and ask if it is proper for the Christian to attempt to prove that Scripture is the Word of God by means of scientific reason. Is this the way we ought to tackle the question? I do not think it is.

All of reality, to include human reality is a manifestation, a disclosure of sorts. There are categories of disclosure, such as physical reality, and the reality of human minds, and also the reality of moral law. That there are different ways for how these disclosures appear to us is indisputable. For example, the reality of other minds is beyond the ability of scientific reason to verify. But it is nonetheless true.

The traditional approach to the question of Scripture as the Word of God attempts to put this fundamental awareness of the reality of Scripture and its nature into a form of argument that is acceptable to scientific reason and to autonomous human logic. It is because both of these methods are exactly the wrong category, and because both of these methods employ, in the unbeliever’s worldview, presuppositions that are dismissive of the claim prior to even having the discussion, that the effort is doomed before the project can even get going. Just as science and reason have their starting point, the foundation for what qualifies as knowledge, so too we may say the same about Scripture. We do not place the nature of the claim into a class and then subject it to scrutiny. Instead, we acknowledge, just as we acknowledge the tree outside the window, that Scripture is the Word of God. Scripture is not only the product of divine revelation; it is divine revelation. How then do we acquire this knowledge that the Bible is the Word of God?

Jesus Himself addressed this explicitly in John 10:3-5. The sheep hear the voice of God, and they follow Him. The sheep follow Him because they know His voice. The sheep, by nature, will not chase after the voice of a stranger. So then, how do these sheep know God’s voice? The sine qua non of embracing the Bible as the Word of God is simply this: He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47) Only those who have been born again can, and will genuinely affirm the Bible to be the Word of God.

From a presuppositional standpoint, all knowledge comes through divine disclosure. God discloses knowledge about Himself, His creation, and humanity to humanity. This revelation takes two distinct forms: natural and special. The natural revelation of God has been disclosed to all humanity by means of man’s conscience and by means of the creation all about him. Man knows God, himself, science, reason, logic, morality, love, etc. because they are components of natural revelation. Justification for revelation is unnecessary since revelation is the ground to which the chain of justification is anchored. It is on the ground of God’s revelation that justification serves rather than legislates.  

In the same way that the unbeliever knows that God exists, what we call the sensus divinitatis, the believer knows God’s word. He recognizes God’s voice just like a sheep recognizes the voice of His shepherd. He knows it. He knows it not because he has subjected it to empirical, historical, and rational scrutiny and argumentation. He knows it because God has made sure He knows it the same way God makes sure that every human knows He exists.

Paul informs us that the gospel of Christ is one thing to the believer (power of God unto salvation) and quite the opposite to the unbeliever (foolishness and scandalous). (1 Cor. 1:18) Paul also informs us that it will not be through intellectually compelling and persuasive arguments that the world will come to believe this truth about the Bible. (1 Cor. 1:21) You see the linchpin of this question is not science, it is not historical evidence, it is not human reason. Instead, the linchpin is faith. (1 Cor. 2:4-5) 1 Thess. 2:13 tells us that the believers in Thessalonica received the Bible for what it really is, the Word of God.

The demand for justification according to the standards set forth by science, and by autonomous human reason cannot be imposed on the Christian claim with any legitimacy. It is no secret that science and reason serve as their own foundation for human knowledge and they too reach a place where justification is not offered and for that matter, not possible. The Bible is the Word of God and this Christian theism affirms without hesitation. If you want to convince men of this truth, the only way to go about it is to give them the gospel. Only God, through divine intervention can bring one to the place where they are not blind to the tree outside their window. The Bible is not subject human testing and judgment so that we can know that it is the Word of God. If it were, it would not be the Word of God. Quite the contrary, because the Bible is the Word of God, it is the standard by which all other claims to knowledge must be tested.

Christian theism is true because of the impossibility of the contrary. God is the necessary precondition for the intelligibility of human experience. Without God, human predication would be impossible. God has disclosed Himself to us in nature and in Scripture. Without these disclosures, humanity would be hopelessly ignorant of anything and everything around him, including itself. I will defend the nature of Scripture when unbelievers can defend the basis of their attack against it. And this they cannot do. If the history of philosophy has proven anything, it has proven that man simply cannot account for reality and for human knowledge as we experience it apart from God.

Does Ephesians Five Really Tell Wives to Submit to their Husbands? Responding to DTS Professor, Darrell Bock and Sandra Gahn

With all the rage over feminist issues going on as a result of the #MeToo movement, it isn’t shocking that pastors and professors holdi...