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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Good Reasons To Remain A Virgin Until Marriage

"There are many valid reasons that it may be a good thing to remain a virgin until later in life. Forgoing sex proves that one is disciplined enough to delay gratification for the sake of a greater good. It allows one to concentrate one’s efforts on one’s work and perhaps achieve greater professional success than one would if one were constantly scheming about how to bed one’s next partner, and it virtually guarantees that you’ll never catch an STD. If you’re a believing Christian, Jew, or Muslim, it gives you the security of knowing that you’re protected from committing any number of soul-damning sexual sins. If you’re an intellectually oriented atheist or agnostic, it frees you to live a life of the mind without becoming enslaved to the passions of the body. If you’re a human being with a living, beating heart, it saves you from the messiness, tedium, and soul-crushing heartbreak that so often accompanies romantic relationships.

Linking sex to lifelong, committed, married love—the very bond that much of the sexual revolution was intent on severing—can make sex truly wonderful."

Daniel Ross Goodman, “The War Against Abstinence: Blockers, American Pie, and the Last Great Sexual Taboo.

Random Musings On Calvinism

  • Discussion:
          -If God has foreordained since the beginning of time the unbelieving and unrepentant to perish eternally, then why did our Lord Jesus Christ claim that He was sent to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:9-10)?
          -If irresistible grace is a biblical doctrine, then why is it that God would "spread out His hands all day long" to His rebellious nation Israel (Isaiah 65:2)? Why would God put Himself through so much stress when He could have instantaneously resolved the problem?
          -If Jesus Christ was able to save the Apostle Paul who referred to himself as being the chief of sinners for persecuting the church of God in his younger days (1 Timothy 1:15-16), then would that not also imply that salvation is available to all who believe on the gospel (contrary to limited atonement)?
          -Notice how Paul included in his inspired definition of the gospel that Jesus Christ died "for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). This is a personal invitation to salvation. That is literally equivalent to me saying that Christ died for you and me, which refutes limited atonement.
          -If the Calvinist notion of absolute determinism is true, then how do these people explain texts such as Jeremiah 7:31, Jeremiah 19:5, and Zechariah 1:15? Why do Calvinists restrict God to the confines of allegedly predetermined decrees?
          -Why do some Calvinists equate their beloved "doctrines of grace" with the the gospel, when Paul already defined it as having simple faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)? Is not such cultic reasoning arrogant at best?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Answering A Few Proof-Texts For Total Depravity

  • Discussion:
           -There is no denying that Calvinism can be extremely controversial subject matter among professing Christians today. This is true especially of the doctrines of unconditional election and limited atonement. Quite simply, the purpose of this short article is to answer Calvinists who believe that the texts of Romans 3:10-18 and 1 Corinthians 2:14 substantiate their doctrine of total depravity.

           Romans 3 simply tells us that we cannot merit salvation on the basis of good deeds. We are all unrighteous according to God's Law. The passage from Romans says plainly that the lost cannot please God, but it does not affirm the inability of us accepting or rejecting the gospel. We either choose to serve or rebel against God. We obtain righteousness by His grace through our faith (Galatians 3:1-6).

           As for 1 Corinthians 2:14, the distinction should not be viewed as saint verses sinner. Rather, the contrast should be drawn between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man. The "spiritual" person can discern the things of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereas the "natural" man cannot understand the things of God because he tries to do so by means of his mere intellect. This text is speaking of divine inspiration (1 Corinthians 2:13). It is speaking of God revealing the truths of the gospel, which has already been done through the apostles (Ephesians 3:3-5). Divine revelation is powerful enough to convert the lost soul to Christ (John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:15). Carnal people cannot understand the things of God because they simply do not want to. They refuse. The Apostle Paul's point in 1 Corinthians 2:14 is that a person who uses human wisdom to interpret spiritual truths will only come to view the cross as foolish and consequently die spiritually. In short, this text has nothing to do with Calvinism.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Calvinism Is Inherently Irrational

"Why would Jesus preach repentance to the multitudes (Matthew 4:17) if their fate had already been predestined? What was the point of Jesus upbraiding cities where His miracles were done because they did not repent? Did they have a choice? Why would Jesus beckon all who labor and are heavy laden to come unto Him (Matthew 11:28) if those who are not of the elect cannot? Why would Jesus draw a little child to Himself (Matthew 18:1-4) and say, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”? Shouldn’t He have qualified that: “Elect little children”? He said further (Matthew 18:14), “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these [elect?] little ones should perish.” Why would Jesus call “all the people unto Him” (Mark 7:14) and say, “Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand,” if they could not come or understand until they were regenerated? Did the angel who appeared to the shepherds (Luke 2:10) get his message wrong when he said, “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”? If Jesus predestined untold numbers of souls to a horrendous destiny, why would He say, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:56)? Why is there “joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10) if it was coerced by “irresistible grace” and was previously programmed? John writes, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14) and “Many more believed because of [Jesus’] own word; and said unto the woman [at the well], Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:41-42). Were all those Samaritans regenerated before coming to Him?" (The Berean Call, "The Enigma of Calvinism", McMahon, T.A.)

The Calvinist Misuse Of John 6:32-58

  • Calvinists Commonly Cite John 6 As Evidence For Their Doctrines Of Unconditional Election And Irresistible Grace:
          -"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." (John 6:37)
          -"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44)

          This passage of John's gospel narrative is known as the Bread of Life Discourse, where the Lord Jesus Christ had delivered a speech at a Synagogue in Capernaum. In the sermon, He likened bread and wine to His body and blood so as to articulate the point to His unbelieving Jewish audience that He was indeed their promised Messiah, who would offer Himself up as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind. It should be noted that Christ chose not to fully reveal Himself to all members of society during much of His earthly ministry so that He could complete His mission of atoning for the sins of the world. 

          Additionally, these Jews were not born with a seared conscience against God. This is not a matter of people being born hated by God and predestined to eternal condemnation since the timing of creation. The context of John 6:32-58 nowhere indicates an irredeemable situation. It says nothing concerning regeneration leading to faith which is require for salvation. It says nothing concerning an irresistible calling of the human will. Neither is there such thing as an elect pagan or atheist (John 3:18). The Calvinist notion that regeneration precedes faith is erroneous because one cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the mechanism by which the Christian is justified in the sight of God (i.e. John 20:31; Acts 11:18; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:13). In that sense, Calvinists have placed the cart before the horse. Regeneration comes after faith.  

         More precisely, these Jewish people willfully turned their backs against the Lord (i.e. John 5:39-40; Acts 28:27). They wanted to be self-righteous. They wanted to be arrogant. They wanted their own sinful lifestyles. They wanted to rebel against the God who created them. In short, this was a totally voluntary hardening of the human heart by sin, which God allows. The mission of Christ was accomplished through the unbelief of Israel. They were handed over to their vices, which explains why they were rejecting Christ. This willful blinding of the conscience was never meant to be permanent, for God has always wanted to save His chosen nation Israel. The Father draws the sinner who listens and learns (John 6:45). They must accept the truth of the gospel that we preach in order to be saved (Romans 10:14-17). 

         In John 6:32-58, Jesus Christ was simply trying to get the Jews to see their disconnect from God. They did not truly love the Father because they did not love the Son. One cannot come to have a true relationship with Christ without first believing God. Nobody can come to Christ without first hearing and accepting the truth. Hence, the unbelieving Jews were under spiritual condemnation. Their hearts were not right with God. The twelve apostles, however, were drawn by the Father through the miracles and sound teachings of Christ. Their hearts were open to God. He was only drawing the Jews who were faithful to Him during that period of time. As a result, those obedient to the Father also chose to follow the Son.

            Furthermore, even the Bread of Life Discourse tells us that Christ came to die for the sins of mankind. Jesus Himself stated that He descended from heaven to make atonement for the sins of the world (John 6:33). He also said that the will of the Father was that all who come to Him and believe on His name be saved (John 6:40). God wants to draw the whole of mankind to salvation through faith in Him (John 12:32-33; Romans 11:32). Consequently, the gospel needs to be preached to every creature (Matthew 28:18-20). We have the responsibility of hearing, knowing, and understanding the revealed truths of God. We absolutely must make the decision of accepting the forgiveness of God as proclaimed through the gospel. 

            It is important to note that consistent Calvinism does not actually allow adherents to have assurance of salvation, seeing that there is no way for us to know whether we are really a part of God's elect. Also, it would be irrational for Calvinists to teach that God allows the hearts of people to become hardened by sin, since Calvinism teaches that we are already totally depraved. Neither can unconditional election account for how the names of various individuals can be blotted out of the book of life (Exodus 32:32-33; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5; 22:19). And if the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement is true, then why is it that our Lord Jesus Christ wept for all the unbelieving inhabitants of Jerusalem for rejecting Him as their Savior (Luke 19:41-44)? Calvinists are guilty of limiting God when they argue that He cannot foreknow what He did not foreordain. He is sovereign enough to give us the freewill to accept or reject Him. He can do whatever He wants. He is limited by nothing. The debate should not so much be centered on whether or not we are able to make choices, but rather what the object of our faith is. The fact of the matter is that the Calvinists have misconstrued the meaning texts such as John 6:37 and John 6:44 to fit their own preconceived theological conclusions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Calvinist Misuse Of Ephesians 1:1-13

  • Calvinists View The Following Passage Of Scripture As Conclusive Evidence For Their Belief In Unconditional Election:
          -"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will...also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5; 11)

          To preface, it should be noted that the verses in question do not actually say anything about God choosing before the creation of the world which individuals will be saved. In fact, Ephesians 1:1-13 does not even mention anything about the unrepentant and the unbelieving, nor an irresistible calling of the human will. The text says nothing about being predestined to be a Christian, either.

          Quite simply, this passage from Ephesians discusses God predetermining the character, purpose, and plan of those who get saved. It concerns predestination for blessings, not salvation. It concerns what will happen to those who get saved. Those who are faithful to God have been predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to have a relationship with mankind. He wants to redeem us. He wants to make us His children. We are included in Christ the moment we believe from the heart the message of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). We were not predestined to be in Christ. Rather, we are predestined "in Him".

          The truth of the matter is that Calvinists misunderstand Scripture due to having a confirmation bias. These people take out of context words such as elected, predestined, foreknew, and before the foundation of the world to fit their deterministic theological paradigm. Thus, Calvinists altogether miss the point of Ephesians 1:1-13. The same is true of other texts that Calvinists use to substantiate their view on predestination such as 1 Corinthians 2:7 (which discusses God predetermining His plan of salvation). In other words, the contents mentioned within this article apply equally to texts similar to Ephesians 1. Scripture very clearly tells us that salvation is for all who come to God by faith and the gospel. A God of love would obviously not give us something too difficult to accomplish. 

          If our eternal destinies have already been determined by God since the beginning of time, then why would the Apostle Paul exhort people to keep themselves pure (1 Timothy 5:22)? Why would Paul pray for the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? Does God believe and repent on behalf of the sinner? How could God reason with His chosen nation Israel (Isaiah 1:18)? Why would He tell His people to make the choice of either serving Him or idols (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:15-19)? Why would the Lord draw near to those who seek Him (1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Jeremiah 29:13)? How is it possible for people to harden their own hearts against the Lord (Psalm 95:8)? Why should Christians even be concerned about the loss of heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:152 John 8-9)?

          Hence, the Calvinist view of predestination is irrational at best. The Bible presupposes the existence of our free will, and ability to make sound moral decisions. God has no desire in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 33:10-11). God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). The Lord does act in a contingent manner (i.e. Jeremiah 18:1-13). Election is conditional, not unconditional.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Answering A Proof-Text For Total Depravity

  • Following Is A Commonly Cited Proof-Text By Calvinists To Substantiate Their Believe In The Total Inability Of Mankind To Choose And Do Good:
          -"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

         First of all, this passage of Scripture does not tell us how mankind became totally depraved. In fact, this "proof" for total depravity is merely assumed by proponents.
         
          Secondly, the people of Israel were "sick" because they *refused* to obey the Lord's instruction (Jeremiah 17:23). The Scripture repeatedly says that man is unwilling to come to God, not unable to approach Him.

          Thirdly, we need to keep in mind the distinction between feelings and reason. It is not about the inability of the human will. The person who follows after the lusts of his or her own mortal flesh is foolish. That is precisely the message conveyed by texts such as Jeremiah 17:9.

          Fourthly, while it is true that mankind inherited a sin nature as a result of the fall, that in no way suggests that we are incapable of choosing good over evil. God does expect us to accept the gospel on the basis of our freewill (Romans 10:9-13), which would be impossible if we were totally depraved. Our fallen nature has made it impossible for us in our current state to perfectly obey God's Law, which is why He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world as an expiatory sacrifice for sin. He obeyed in our place, and gives to us His righteousness. He saves us completely through our faith in Him.

          If our reasoning faculties are thoroughly corrupt and sinful, then it would follow that the arguments presented by the Calvinists are also inherently evil because they use reason to communicate their ideas and interpretations of Scripture.

Friday, June 8, 2018

No Such Thing As Innate Homosexuality

"In a letter to the editor of the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper, February 26, 1992, Dr. Joseph Berger, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, writes, “in my 20 years of psychiatry I have never come across anyone with innate homosexuality.  That notion has been a long proclaimed gay-activist political position, intended to promote the acceptance of homosexuality as a healthy, fully equal alternative expression of human sexuality.  It has zero scientific foundation, though its promoters  latch on to even the flimsiest shreds of atrocious research in their attempts to justify the notion.”

Scott Lively & Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika, pg.11

New Paper In Evolution Journal: Humans and Animals Are (Mostly) The Same Age?

          -"An exciting new paper in the journal Human Evolution has been published which you can read here. Popular science reports such as this have incautiously claimed, “They found out that 9 out of 10 animal species on the planet came to being at the same time as humans did some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.”

           But to be more precise, what they actually found is that the most recent common ancestor of those species seems to have lived during that time period.

           This could indicate intelligent design, an event where species came into existence for the first time. But it could also indicate something else, such as a population crash (or crashes) that affected almost all life on Earth. Either way, if the paper is right, it would be a shock to established scientific expectations."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Roman Catholic Priesthood Is Unscriptural

"There is no place for a "visible and external priesthood" in the church since Christ, our Priest, offered one perfect sacrifice, and He ever lives to intercede for His own. "He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood" (Hebrew 7:24). The Greek word (aparabatos) translated "unchangeable" means "not passing away, untransferable, perpetual." Unlike the Levitical priests, who had to pass on their ministry from generation to the next because of death, Jesus Christ lives forever and therefore His priesthood is not transferred to anyone." (Dr. Joe Mizzi, "The Catholic Priesthood", justforcatholics.org)