Sunday, April 30, 2017

Biblical Standards To Use In Testing Ministers

  • Examining Ourselves To See Whether We Are In The Realm Of Faith (2 Corinthians 13:5):
          -If we who desire to preach and defend Christianity somehow stand in the wrong on any issues pertinent to salvation, then we are really in no place to speak because we are only deceiving ourselves. That would make us hypocrites. We must know where we ourselves stand with God, whether we are saved or condemned. In order to be deeply rooted in the mysteries of the Christian religion, we must know what we believe in, and how to defend the contents of our faith. The repercussions of blind preaching can only be negative. Our preaching will only drag those who listen in the same spiritual direction that we are going. The conversion of souls is indeed a serious matter. Hence, there is a dire need to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the correct realm of faith. A right standing with God will lead to correct spiritual insight, which also forms the basis of correct spiritual discernment.
  • A Different Source Of Revelation/Appeal:
          -False teachers generally rely on different sources of revelation than the Bible. They base their doctrines off their own puffed up fleshy minds. Deceivers formulate their own inspired revelation and act as though it originated from God. Do professing Christian preachers appeal to passages of Scripture, or to a different source of revelation (or misinterpret Scripture) to spread their message of what they call "the gospel" (Galatians 1:8-9)?
          -Why should we bother to listen to any random message regarding religion or spirituality? What is the emphasis of or the reason behind any preached message? False teachers are focused on what people want to hear, rather than teach what God wants us to know. The message of a false teacher is entirely carnal. They are focused on serving their own gods, rather than pure, authentic gospel holiness.
  • Examining The Substance Of The Message:
          -Almost every person who claims to be a Christian insists that the central message of his or her teaching is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is rare to find groups who openly deny that Christ is the Savior of mankind from the ways of sin. Hence, this is the reason that the Scriptures tell us that apostates will introduce their heretical ideas in a "secret" or deceptive manner (2 Peter 2:1). We must listen carefully to how each preacher phrases and articulates his or her teachings. For example, people could preach for the sake of earning money. They could only be concentrated on exalting themselves. False teachers usually do occupy Christian theological terminology to describe completely different concepts that blaspheme God. We must examine the central message of each professing Christian teacher. If Jesus Christ is not quint-essential to the message of a preacher, then he is to automatically be deemed false and untrustworthy a minister of God's Word.
  • The Influence That The Message Has:
          -While false teachers promise true spiritual freedom, they are in reality slaves to sin (2 Peter 2:19). They have been enslaved to any form of sin that they have chosen to continually partake of (i.e. greed). A true Christian is able to escape the selfish lusts of this world because he or she stands in the truth and has the Spirit, which sets them free from spiritual bondage (2 Peter 1:3-4). Christ is the truth (John 14:6).
  • The Message's Impact On People's Lives:
          -Another way to evaluate the truthfulness of spiritual preaching is to see how it alters people's lives. The true, biblical gospel, which consists of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), will always influence converts to serve the Lord faithfully. In other words, people who hear and choose to act in accordance to the principles of the gospel will also seek the characteristics of holiness. They will pursue knowledge, wisdom, kindness, love, hope, meekness, obedience (to legitimate, rightful authorities), patience, perseverance, self-control, and the other aspects of Christian character. On the contrary, any false message will lead people in the opposite direction of godliness. Those who are influenced by a false gospel will also be inclined to participate in sin. They will become grandiloquent, disrespectful toward other people, greedy, lustful, and rebellious in nature (2 Peter 2:10-20). They will be legalistic. They will be ensnared in deception. These are the general characteristics of counterfeit Christians, who experienced false conversion as a result of hearing a false gospel preached by a false teacher. We will know people by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

    Saturday, April 29, 2017

    Brief Study On Homosexuality

    • Introduction:
             -It is an undeniable fact that sexual promiscuity has become a major issue in today's society. In fact, one could reasonably liken the content from the released videos in theaters to pornography. All that one has to do is browse the internet, turn on the television set, or pick up any random magazine to see this example of declining moral values. This paper is focusing on one aspect of sexual perversion which has been infecting mankind for centuries: homosexuality.
    • There Is No Such Thing As "Gay Christianity":
              -The Levitical Law, which functioned as the governing law code for the Jewish nation, in the Old Testament expressly forbade homosexual acts, and prescribed the sentence of death to those who dared to indulge themselves in same-sex actions (Leviticus 18:22-25; 20:13). In fact, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of sexual immorality, which was homosexuality (Genesis 19:4-13). Interestingly, the New Testament writer Jude describes this destructive situation happening as a result of being rebellious against God's divine authority through the partaking of "strange flesh" (Jude 5-8)! The Apostle Peter described the men as "lawless" (2 Peter 2:7-10). The New Testament warns that any person who engages in homosexuality is under the wrath of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-11). God allows the hearts of those who exchange natural relations for unnatural to become darkened against the truth of the gospel (Romans 1:25-27). The pattern of marriage found in Scripture is always described as a permanent physical union between man and woman (i.e. Genesis 1:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6). Never do we even see God permitting homosexual marriages in the Bible. If the Holy Bible is indeed inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), and is therefore infallible, then homosexuality should be opposed by all members of Christianity. Any detailed presentation on the biblical teachings regarding homosexuality such as this one should make any liberal attempt to defend homosexuality from the Bible appear to be nothing more than what it really is: a pile unscholary rubbish. As the saying goes, "God created Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve!"
    • Our Bodily Design Refutes Homosexuality:
              -Homosexuality is contrary to human nature. In other words, all people are born heterosexual by design. Our genitals exist for the purpose of procreation. Homosexuality is contrary to human nature. It does not produce life. Contrary to what liberals would have us believe, this life style is not even good for our physiological health and puts people at higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
    • What About Equal Rights?:
              -If the legalization of same-sex marriage means equal rights for members of the LGBT community, then why can't there be equal rights for the people who want more than one partner in marriage? If we have to redefine the concept of marriage to include two homosexual people, then why would it be wrong for us to also redefine marriage to include more than one person, or even children? How does this decline in morality stop?
    • Refuting The "Born Gay" Argument:
             -The testimonials presented by the increasing number of former homosexuals, who now happily have marital partners of the opposite sex, are solid evidence that homosexuality is a choice. In fact, a small, but recognizable, percentage of homosexuals openly admit that they chose to adopt the homosexual lifestyle. 
             -Homosexuality is a behavior, or an action, in the same sense that heterosexual intercourse is. Actions are things that we choose to do. Homosexuality is not in any way analogous to our skin color, height, or gender, which are genetic conditions. Science has confirmed that the primary causes of homosexuality are environment, culture, and freewill (i.e. genetic identity disorder, women getting abused by men, children getting abused by homosexuals, etc.).    
             -Twins are proof against the "born gay" argument because they always have identical genes or DNA. If genetics can cause homosexuality, then both babies must have the same condition. But this is hardly ever the case with twins. Only one in the pair of children tends to have a same-sex attraction. There is no such thing as a "gay gene". "Gay babies" are simply a preposterous and fictitious idea.
            -Even granting the born gay argument as being valid, being born with the potential to act in a certain manner in no way provides justification for behavioral patterns. There is no genetic excuse for homosexuality, anymore than there is a genetic excuse for theft or lying. These tendencies, whether they are genetic or not, cannot be justified on the grounds of "being born that way". We can overcome all of these moral difficulties through the Holy Spirit. Behaviors are learned and chosen. And why is it that the LGBT community has worked overtime to silence medical research which could help homosexual individuals transition to the heterosexual lifestyle?
    • Addressing The Claim That Homosexuality Occurs In Nature:
              -Just because animals do irrational things to each other does not mean that humans should be engaging in the same activities. Animals behaving in seemingly homosexual ways is relatively scare. The following behaviors can also be found among animal species:
                    +Raping other animals
                    +Eating their young when threatened
                    +Eating their sex partner
                    +Injuring sexual partners
                    +Have intercourse with their own children 
                  ^If the fact that animals may appear to participate in acts that are similar to those of homosexuals means anything at all, then that would also lead to the conclusion that we can justly accept the above described actions of animals occurring in the human race, as well. If this is not true, then on what grounds can this counter-argument be refuted?
    • Addressing Claims Of "Hate Speech":
              -Merely disagreeing with differing points of view does not simply translate into evidence of "hate speech". Neither is it morally impermissible to tell somebody that he or she is wrong. Is telling children 2+2=4 "HATE"? No, it is telling them the truth. The same is the case when dealing with homosexuality. There are many rational arguments against the incorporation of the homosexual lifestyle into our daily lives, as provided in the article above. We need not set aside our differences for the sake of mere emotional comfort, but rather listen to our reason, as guided by scriptural revelation. The one who tells you the truth is the one who cares. So advocates of these abhorrent customs and practices need to terminate their loud and illogical protests.

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    Enriching His Love For Us

    Christ died on the cross because of His love,
    He ascended into heaven above.
    We spread His love by the words we teach,
    So others know it is not out of reach.
    We demonstrate God’s love through our good action,
    So more join Love’s magnetic attraction.
    We show love though generous deed,
    So that putrid sin will therefore impede.    

    Is Faith Irrational? (Refutation Of Scientism)

    • Introduction:
             -Atheists commonly portray Christians as establishing their beliefs on an empty shell of faith. In other words, opponents of Christianity argue that the entire religion is based on belief without any substantiated evidence. It is claimed that Christians uphold their beliefs on completely biased and irrational grounds, which means that they are allegedly based on personal feelings and so-called revelations. Many atheists maintain that we must possess "factual evidence" in order to believe in something with any degree of certainty. In summary, they reject the validity of anything that cannot be proven or tested in a laboratory. The people who subscribe to this view, known as scientism, automatically deem things that are beyond the scope of a laboratory to be false. A great deal of atheists and naturalists are quick to rule out the possibility of truth in anything that does not appeal to their five senses. 
    • Inconsistent Thinking:
            -On the contrary, it is quite unreasonable to dismiss any given idea (the concept of religion) as being false when there is no "scientific evidence" for establishing such a denial. The people who subscribe to scientism (including famous proponents such as Richard Dawkins) are being utterly inconsistent with their own ideological framework (that everything must be proven or disproved in a laboratory) because they are not making a verdict in accordance to the known facts. What atheists term as "no evidence" (for the existence of God) cannot simply be regarded as "evidence against" the existence of God. Silence is not a substitute for evidence or reason. It is not reasonable to suggest that faith is inherently superstitious, since there are many things that we know to be real but cannot offer tangible evidence for (consider, for example, our own existence).
    • Misrepresenting Biblical Faith:
             -Faith in itself is not merely a mental conviction that is founded without evidence. It is not equivalent to blind submission. It is not simply an irrational whim or a form of wishful thinking. There is a relationship between the notions of faith and certainty. We must have certainty beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to truly believe in anything. Our faith must be tested or proven. It must be based on reason, which operates on the basis of our free will. Our faith is based on reason. It is based on what we know to be true. This is what constitutes true, biblical faith in the fundamental tenants of the Christian religion. Faith and reason do not contradict, but rather compliment and supplement each other.
    • Boundaries Of Scientific Investigation:
             -Additionally, it is impossible to examine the truth of everything that we have seen or heard each day. Our lives are simply too short to test the validity of everything that we may have learned, whether we obtained knowledge from experience, education, or from some other source. Neither are we able to possess infallible certainty because our minds are limited by design. We are all liable to error. To doubt the truth behind everything would inevitably result in infinite regression. This would undermine the concept of certainty, as well as it would trust. It would corrode the objectivity of education and court rulings. Humans inevitably have faith, which includes atheists because they claim to have reasons for rejecting the God of the Bible. Faith is necessary for relationships. We can know things beyond a shadow of a doubt. Hence, it is wrong for atheists to charge that any degree of faith is irrational. They inevitably have a degree of faith because the existence of God cannot be disproven. Do atheists have faith in their own existence? The real problem is that skeptics are refusing to accept the evidence that Christians present in favor of the biblical worldview, as well as arguments in favor of God's existence.
    • Understanding That Scientific Inquiry Has Limitations (And Thereby Refutes Scientism):
             -Let us consider for a moment some of the essential features of human life. We have free will. We have conscience. We have rationality. We have intellect. We acknowledge the existence of moral truths. We know that human life has intrinsic value. We yearn for an ultimate purpose in life. Mathematics consists of several infallible formulas, proofs, and theorems. Universals, propositions, and possible worlds are examples of abstract realities. There are principles of beauty and artistic innovation, which are known as aesthetics. The universe came into being for a reason. Physical constants have a fine-tuning. Scientific laws themselves are based on major (empirically unverifiable) assumptions. If scientism is true, then all of the aforementioned ideas must be rejected as false because they cannot be verified by the scientific method. In fact, science would be self-refuting. From this perspective, none of the previously mentioned notions would be true, let alone applicable to our lives. Truths do exist beyond the scope of the scientific laboratory. It does not contain all the answers to the questions of life. What we are arguing against is a "science only" worldview, not science itself.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    The Wisdom of The Words of God

         The Word of God is the key and foundation for all wisdom in life. Without it, we would not have any structure of organization to our daily lifestyles. The Bible is the infallible compass to all divine truths pertaining to salvation. It feeds the minds of those who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. The words of the Creator impart wisdom to the simple. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" [Psalm 19:7-8]. If the precepts of the Lord are perfect, then continually studying His words will enrich the mind with valuable lessons about life and morality. Why would any reasonable person refuse an opportunity to gain an understanding of what life is truly about? Life is like a book; for God is the author and we are all the main characters. The Scriptures cover several vital aspects of life such as gratitude, fear of the Lord, honesty, self-control, generosity, and how to speak wisely. 

         People learn many great lessons about wisdom when the Scriptures are closely examined. One of the most important teachings of the Bible is to have gratitude for everything we receive on a daily basis. People should be grateful and remember the magnificent works of the Lord such as the creation of life, the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, and the materials that we occupy each day. "Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His loving kindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever" [Psalm 136:26]. We should reveal much gratitude because of what He has done for us. "You are the God who does wonders; among the peoples you have revealed your might" [Psalm 77:15]. We have emphatically been taught to view the glass of life as being at least half full, rather than as being half empty. Otherwise, human life will become unable to function properly because of a lack of compromise and the world would become an absolutely joyless place. We must give the Lord praise for everything that He has provided us.  

         The Lord has instructed us to always be cautious of what we say to others. We must always remain truthful. We must always choose to act respectfully. In other words, we must choose to watch our tongues because our words may be false, disrespectful, or irrelevant to a given situation. “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” [Proverbs 16:28]. How would a person feel if his or her reputation was ruined simply because of another individual's gossip or misinformation? Can this standard not be applied to everybody? Those who never think before they speak are the ones who lack understanding. Conversely, a person who has genuine wisdom has control over their words. Unwise speech is like a virus, pass it around and the minds of other people will be infected with the stain of meaningless thoughts. Those who wish to be wise with their mouths will also heed to the words of the Lord.

         Another moral lesson that we can learn by studying the inspired words of God is the necessity of remaining honest. We could never trust a person who constantly spreads falsehood. Furthermore, lying can severely damage a person's reputation for a very lengthy period of time, if not permanently. "An honest witness does not deceive; but a false witness pours out lies" [Proverbs 14:5]. The only reason that a person spreads lies about others is for selfish motives. People talk behind other's backs because they want to inflict physical or mental harm. They want to harm an individual's sense of dignity. Gossip is like a double-edge sword; when it cuts, it harms the confidence of others and slashes the armor of the perpetrator's conscience. A lie leaves an everlasting slash on the person who tells it. Dishonesty is only the springboard for more dishonesty, whether it is about oneself or other people. Hence, we see the dire need for honesty in the lives of everybody. 

         The Scriptures teach the necessity for the spiritual virtue known as fear of the Lord. A wise person would have fear of the Lord our God because He is infinitely smarter and stronger than we are. We are all His creations. Having fear of the Lord keeps our hearts humble. It keeps our moral thinking on the right track, for it helps us recognize the limits of our abilities. God will cast all of the unfaithful and unbelieving into the everlasting fires of hell. He is the One who set all forms of life and non-life into motion. "In the beginning, God created heaven and earth" [Genesis 1:1]. "God created mankind in His image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them"[Genesis 1:27]. If we fear the Lord, then we will also learn to obey His commandments. This is the perfect message for us blind sinners to heed to.

          The Holy Bible repeatedly reinforces our obligation to love and respect others. "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one above yourselves" [Romans 12:10]. Care is what keeps the world turning. It is the underlying basis for all relationships. It is necessary for human communication. It is the foundational virtue for the development of all other virtues. We must choose to help those who are less fortunate than we are. We must feed the homeless. We must care for the sick. We must offer education to the illiterate. We must shelter the homeless. We absolutely need to be holy. "Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor" [1 Peter 2:17]. "Love your neighbor as yourself..." [Leviticus 9:18]. We have been called by God to love our neighbors as ourselves [Matthew 5:43-48]. This is true wisdom. The Bible instructs us to be gentle to everybody else, regardless of how they treat us. Hatred is like a raging fire; let it burn and the house of companionship will collapse entirely.

          People can learn the virtue of self-control by observing the words of God. We need an infallible guide in our lives because our minds are finite and are thus liable to error. Our conscience alone is not an infallible guide, which means that we need to appeal to an infinite, outside entity who can give us the necessary knowledge pertaining to life and godliness. All learning must originate from an outside source, which eventually points to an ultimate standard that governs every aspect of our lives. That final court of authority is God. We must learn how to resist the evil temptations of this world. The wise person would do well to follow the teachings of God. The path of destruction exists for those who do not obey His words of heavenly wisdom. We must place our trust in God, rather than the vain desires of the mind. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" [Jeremiah 17:9]. Only through Him can we find complete satisfaction in life. The way of sin is finite and will thus never satisfy the longing human heart. We must reject our foolish lusts. We learn self-control by learning the ways of God.
           The Holy Scriptures are the cornerstone to all wisdom because they record the direct words of God. In fact, they themselves are the inspired words of God which were recorded on to scrolls by the faithful prophets and apostles. Those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness will immediately find satisfaction when they place themselves into His presence. They gain wisdom when they meditate on His statutes. Without an ultimate standard of wisdom, human life would be in a constant state of anarchy. The words of the Lord are pure. They are flawless. They impart understanding to the simple. There is therefore no valid reason to object to imitating His ways. The Scripture leads the faithful on the path to all righteousness. God is our Rock and Salvation. 

    Sunday, April 23, 2017

    A Refutation Of Moral Relativism

    • Introduction:
              -Moral Relativism is the philosophical stance that no existing moral standard or belief system is better than ones found in different societies. In other words, relativism is the belief that all points of view are equally correct or valid. According to this philosophical perspective, the acceptance of all aspects pertinent to knowledge, truth, and morality are governed by individual, separate societies, civilizations, and different periods of time. Moral relativism teaches that truth is changeable and is determined by each person. This viewpoint denies the existence of a universal standard of morality that dictates all of our moral thoughts and behaviors. It teaches that truth is relative to the individual.
    • Moral Relativism Is Self-Refuting:
              -If all moral perspectives are of equal validity, then that means that the rejection of moral relativism is also valid. Moral relativists must accept the belief that moral relativism is false.
              -To say that all truths are relative is to either make a relative or absolute proposition. If relative, then one cannot simply deny the existence of absolutes. If the statement is meant to be an absolute, then absolute statements must exist. This would testify to the existence of objective truths! In this case, not all truths would be relative to the individual.
              -Those who claim that no absolute truths exist have subscribed to a completely untenable position, for it is self-contradictory. While denying the existence of absolute truths, moral relativists make an absolute statement: "There are no absolute truths." Can moral relativists be absolutely sure that no absolute standards exist? How do they know that they are not simply deceiving themselves?
              -If two (or more) perceptions of truth contradict each other, then how can we know which view is correct? Which perception of truth is more trustworthy? Can truth be self-contradictory? No, such a proposition would be self-refuting. This would mean that either one or both perceptions of reality are in error.
              -If moral relativists want to claim that moral relativism cannot be critiqued by any form of logic to search for fallacies within the boundaries of such a mindset, then by what standard or final court of authority can they exclude moral relativism from being critiqued by logic? What criteria was used to exclude moral relativism from being evaluated by logic?
              -If moral relativism is true, then how can we judge the actions of people living in different societies? How could we condemn murder, theft, or rape? Is there anything that is morally wrong? If so, then why? How can we know? Should we silence math instructors who could possibly offend students when they teach that 1+1=2 in an objective manner?

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    How Was John 3:5 Interpreted Prior To The Reformation?

                                                     By Jason Engwer

    - Appealing to later sources you agree with doesn’t explain earlier sources for whom evidence has been offered of their disagreement with you. You can't justify your view of a passage like John 3:5, Acts 2:38, or Galatians 3:27 solely by appealing to what people like Irenaeus, Cyprian, and Augustine believed.

    - The Bible covers a far larger period of time than the patristic era does, and baptismal justification is highly inconsistent with the Biblical view. If I think I’ve misunderstood what a Biblical author says about justification, I can look for clarification elsewhere in his writings. If I think I’ve misunderstood that author, I can look to another Biblical author. Etc. Before we even get to the church fathers, we have multiple documents from multiple Biblical authors giving us information and clarification. For example, Galatians is widely thought to be the earliest New Testament document or one of the earliest. And Paul’s letters circulated widely early on and were highly regarded even before the apostolic generation came to a close (Colossians 4:16, 2 Peter 3:15-16, etc.). If somebody like Luke or John wrote fifteen, thirty, or more years after Galatians was written, then we can take what he wrote as an indication of how he interpreted Galatians or would have interpreted it if he’d read it (assuming apostolic unity, which conservative Catholics and Evangelicals do). It’s not as though we have to wait until the patristic era to get some idea of how a book like Galatians was being interpreted early on. A portion of the New Testament can be a line of evidence as to how another portion of the New Testament was being interpreted. What does Acts or the gospel of John, for example, suggest about how Galatians was interpreted early on? Or how do Paul's later letters suggest that an earlier letter, like Galatians, should be read?

    - Advocates of baptismal justification often try to focus the discussion on post-apostolic sources by making the Biblical sources seem less relevant than they actually are. It's often asserted, for example, that justification apart from baptism in the Old Testament era is irrelevant, since baptism didn't become a requirement until later and, thus, there's some discontinuity between the Old and New Testament eras accordingly. But that conclusion needs to be argued, not just asserted. The New Testament authors suggest a high degree of continuity between the means of justification in the Old and New Testament eras. They cite Abraham and other Old Testament figures to illustrate how people are justified today. Bringing in baptism as a new means of receiving justification diminishes that continuity. Such a diminishing of continuity needs to be argued, not just asserted, since Biblical authors like Paul and James don't suggest such a qualified continuity when they discuss the subject.

    - Similarly, John’s gospel emphasizes Jesus’ statements about salvation during His earthly ministry (John 3:16, 5:24, 11:25-26, etc.), and John tells us that he wrote his gospel to lead people to salvation (John 20:31), using language similar to Jesus’ language earlier in the gospel. Yet, advocates of baptismal justification often argue that baptism wasn’t added as a means of justification until after Jesus’ earthly ministry. Again, adding baptism diminishes the continuity suggested by the Biblical authors. A reason why many advocates of baptismal justification want to place the adding of baptism after Jesus’ earthly ministry is because that ministry was characterized by Jesus’ forgiving, pronouncing peace, and healing people upon their coming to faith, without baptism....The discontinuity that advocates of baptismal justification want us to accept needs to be argued, not just asserted.

    - Josephus tells us that John the Baptist’s baptism wasn't justificatory (Antiquities Of The Jews, 18:5:2). Given the close relationship between John's baptism and Christian baptism, the non-justificatory nature of John's baptism is a significant line of evidence for the non-justificatory nature of Christian baptism. And here we also see an example of the relevance of extra-Biblical sources other than the church fathers (Josephus in this case).

    - Even if we limited ourselves to data postdating Jesus' earthly ministry and limited ourselves to Christian baptism, we're still told that justification occurs through believing response to the gospel, prior to baptism (Acts 10:44-46, 19:2, Galatians 3:2, etc.). And there's no reason to conclude that such passages represent exceptions to a rule.

    - If the advocate of baptismal justification has to exempt the entire Old Testament era, exempt Jesus' earthly ministry, distance the non-justificatory nature of John's baptism from Christian baptism, and dismiss passages like Acts 10:44-46 as some sort of exception to the rule, then we're not in a situation in which we're looking to the church fathers and other later sources to clarify something that's unclear. Rather, the Biblical evidence heavily favors justification through faith alone. The reason why the advocate of baptismal justification wants to make a series of dubious exemptions (exempting the Old Testament era, etc.) and shift the focus to post-apostolic sources is because the earlier sources are so unfavorable to his position.

    - We find a few views of baptism and justification, not just one view, in the patristic sources. The view that justification is normatively attained at the time of baptism was popular, and I consider that popularity the best argument for the doctrine. But we also find the view that justification occurs prior to baptism and views involving at least a beginning of justification prior to baptism.

    - When a source like Clement of Rome or Polycarp discusses justification without even mentioning baptism, any assumption that baptism was meant to be included must be argued, not merely asserted. Including baptism in such passages isn't the most natural way of reading the text. And it can't be assumed that such men must have agreed with other sources who advocated baptismal justification. Why not assume, instead, that they must have agreed with the rejection of baptismal justification that we see in other sources, including earlier ones? Clement of Rome could be read in light of Justin Martyr or Irenaeus, but he also could be read in light of Paul or Luke.

    - We can know what people believed about baptismal justification by a variety of means, not just how they interpreted a passage like John 3:5 or Galatians 3:27. For example, if a Jehovah’s Witness were to interpret a passage in Isaiah in a manner that contradicts the deity of Christ, we wouldn’t need to have an extant document in which Athanasius comments on that passage in order to conclude that Athanasius probably didn’t view the passage as the Jehovah’s Witness does. Since Athanasius affirmed the deity of Christ, we would assume that he didn’t interpret the passage in Isaiah as the Jehovah’s Witness interprets it. Similarly, we wouldn’t judge whether a patristic source saw baptismal justification in Galatians 3:27 solely on the basis of what he said when commenting on that passage in particular. Since some Christian sources of the patristic era did reject baptismal justification, we can conclude that they probably didn’t see baptismal justification in Galatians 3 without having any documents from them in which they comment on that passage in particular.

    Have Tolerance!

    • Defining The Issues:
            -When people are confronted about their erroneous ways, their usual stock rejoinder against Christians is to lay the charge of being "intolerant". These groups of people include, but are not limited to, liberals, atheists, feminists, and the LGBT community. In short, critics of Christianity constantly accuse us of being "bigots". They falsely claim that Christians are insensitive to different points of view. Our opponents have even gone as far as to depict us as being "judgmental" or "hateful" homophobes or Islamophobes. These responses have been generated to shut down opponents. In truth, these empty responses are simply a psychological barrier that has caused the uninformed to stumble into grievous error by the blind relinquishment of morally correct views, in exchange for views that are politically correct. In our modern-day society, people are too afraid to speak out against immoral customs because they are too afraid of "getting singled out". In other words, many Christians are copping out when they attempt to correct the perverted norms of society because they are in reality focused on "fitting in". Generally speaking, people are only focused on emotional comfort, rather than being intellectually grounded by the use of our reason.  
    • Not Only Are We All Intolerant To Different Perspectives Of Life, But Intolerance In Some Cases Is Absolutely Necessary:
              -First of all, the definition of a bigot is a person who forms an opinion that is utterly biased, irrational, unjust, hateful, and hypocritical. This sort of mentality has no moral or logical grounds for substantiation. Therefore, it is incorrect to characterize faithful Christians in such a manner because they have been commanded by their Lord to pragmatically present their views in love and kindness (Matthew 5:43-48; 22:39). Furthermore, the burden of proof lies on the person who makes an accusation. In other words, those who affiliate themselves with anti-Christian movements must demonstrate how we are being intolerant bigots. Simply disagreeing with other people is not tantamount to bigotry. It is not morally impermissible to tell somebody that his or her views are wrong. It is not hate to tell somebody the truth. One must also examine the context and manner in which the correction is done. 
              -Christians do have rational grounds to reject the claims of their liberal and atheistic critics, which directly refutes the charges of various pseudo-scientific "phobias" (such as homophobia). While it is definitely true that some professing Christians are guilty of bigotry, it is fallacious to dismiss every claim of the entire group as being cruel or hateful.  
           -We must all be intolerant to something. For instance, secular governments agree with Christians that murder is wrong. They would agree that theft is morally wrong, as well. Notice that in both examples, there is intolerance to certain actions. Hence, not only is intolerance to something morally acceptable (depending on the various moral criterion), but it is sometimes even necessary for the peace and safety of mankind.
    • A Hypocritical Double Standard:
             -Why is it that we are forbidden from expressing our views, while critics such as liberals and leftists get to express their views? Why are we forbidden from defending ourselves from attacks on our own religion, when they get to attack us AND defend their views, which stand in direct opposition to ours? Why do opponents of Christianity get to shove their disguising beliefs down our throats? Why do we Christians have to be tolerant of opposing views, while everybody else gets to be intolerant? How is such a standard just?
    • The Truth Of The Matter:
              -Of course, the source of contention among Christians and differing groups in this world is not really a matter of permanently settling issues of hatred, prejudice, or insensitivity, as critics may very well claim to be the problem. Inquisitive folks can only develop this conclusion, if they only decide to examine the surface of the debate. The real problem that the world has with the Christian Church is the usage of the Bible. Most people have a problem with this sacred religious text because it outwardly condemns their views. It diametrically opposes the beliefs of the world. It provides absolutely no room for groups such as the LGBT community. People immediately claim that the Bible is nothing more than an antique, outdated, musty book. Consequently, the folks of our modern world automatically mock and ridicule those who turn to it as the ultimate spiritual standard to determine truth or reprove error. Christian claims are usually dismissed without consideration. 
    • Why Do We Turn To The Pages Of The Bible?:
               -Everybody has an internal sense of right and wrong. In other words, everybody appeals to an ultimate moral standard that governs all moral codes of each different civilization. Good morals do not randomly appear out of thin air or fall from the sky. Societies, which are comprised of human individuals, cannot be the source of good moral values, for they are fallible and are thus liable to contradict each other and themselves. Any given proposition cannot be spontaneously true and false. This must mean that our sense of good and evil must be derived from an infallible, transcendent source. They originated from God. We therefore use the Bible as our ultimate spiritual standard because the contents therein are the very words of God, which were carefully inscribed with ink on to scrolls for the sake of posterity. For additional evidence of the reliability of the biblical manuscripts available to us today, just look at the positive impact that the Bible has had on the world. The Bible has provided mankind with a sound life pattern for centuries. Justice, equality, and human rights are indeed fundamental biblical principles. It is from that same religious text that we derive the correct nature of truth and logic. The Bible is supernatural revelation from a loving God who has redeemed mankind from the snares of sin and spiritual death. What will we do in response to what God has done for us? 
    • A Note Of Encouragement To Christian Brethren:
               -We must continue to be the salt of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). If we cease to shine our light of faith before others who are lost in this dark world of perdition, then nobody will be able to discover the truth of the gospel. The propitiatory work of the Lord Jesus Christ would be all forgotten about. If that happens, then how can anybody hear the message of the gospel, believe on it, and thus be saved (Romans 10:17)? Although critics of Christianity will always be working diligently to deride the Bible, there will always be thorough refutations available to their objections. We must continually fight the good fight of faith because there will continually be hope for the salvation of lost souls. Anybody who disagrees with the moral teachings of Scripture is also saying that his or her moral standards are superior to that of God's. We must be prepared to give sound, accurate defenses of our faith. First, we must examine our consciences to see whether we are solidly established in the apostolic doctrines of Christianity (2 Corinthians 13:5). Then, we must take action by contending for the faith which was once delivers to the saints (Jude 3). We must preserve the rights of humanity. We must never allow our rights to be polluted or substituted by the counterfeit rights that the liberal agenda is continually striving to promote. Hearts need to be transformed and unshackled by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel.

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Roman Catholic Confessions To Purgatory Being Unbiblical

    • "In the final analysis, the Catholic doctrine on purgatory is based on tradition, not Sacred Scripture." (Vol. XI, pg. 1034, Copyright 1967, Catholic University of America)
    • “There is, for all practical purposes, no biblical basis for the doctrine of purgatory.” (Richard McBrien, Catholicism: New Edition, p. 1166)
    • “The text of v. 15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of purgatory, though it does not envisage this.” (New American Bible, footnote on 1 Corinthians 3:15)

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    A Refutation Of Antinomianism

    • Defining The Issues:
              -Antinomianism is the belief that Christians are not obligated to obey any moral laws that were established by God. In other words, this theology teaches that God has no moral standards for His followers to heed to. It teaches that our faith "frees" us from the obligation of choosing to act in accordance to the moral principles of God. The word "antinomianism" is derived from two Greek words, which are "anti" (against) and "nomos" (law). Antinomianism argues that since Christians are not saved by the keeping of the Law (which is true), God has no moral laws that He expects us to obey (which is not true). In summary, this doctrine distorts a biblically grounded teaching by formulating an unbiblical conclusion.
    • Antinomianism Refuted:
              -We know that God has moral commandments for us to obey because He inspired the Apostle Paul to write that the unrighteous will not inherit His kingdom which is in heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-7). We must get our sins forgiven and removed by God. True Christians will choose to glorify God for the free gift of salvation that He has given through good works. The New Testament operates on the Law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2), which is a law of unmerited grace. This "Law" instructs us to love God above everything else and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
              -The "Law of Christ" is not a comprehensive list of legal codes, as was the case with the Levitical Law. The Law of the New Covenant stands on love of God and love of neighbor, just as did the Mosaic Law. True Christians desire to keep their thoughts and actions in harmony with His principles of morality. True Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit. True Christians will obey God (John 14:15-24; 1 Corinthians 7:19; 1 John 2:3-4). We do not obey the "Law of Christ" to earn eternal salvation in heaven (nor was that the purpose of the Mosaic Law). Rather, we obey out of gratitude for the sacrificial work of His Son. We obey because our hearts have been changed by His grace. The Apostle Paul describes the direction of sanctification: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).
              -We shall know people by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-23). We will be judged according to our conduct in this life (Romans 2:6-13; 2 Corinthians 5:10). We demonstrate the reality of our faith by our deeds (James 2:14-26). We shall reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-9). God is the Author of Eternal Salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Grace and faith do not nullify the Law (Romans 3:31). The two are not to be treated as a smokescreen against holiness in the Christian life. Believers are called to set good moral examples. Every nation needs to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through conversion of heart (Romans 1:5). Also, Scripture repeatedly attributes both titles to Him. His commandments are a reflection of His character. Salvation is a transformation.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    The Intercession Of The Holy Spirit

    • What The Bible Says About The Intercession Of The Holy Spirit:
               -"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:26-28)
    • The Purpose Of The Holy Spirit:
              -The Lord Jesus Christ told the twelve apostles that He needed to depart from the world so that the Advocate could come, who is the Holy Spirit (John 16:6-8). If Jesus never left physically, then the Spirit could not come to fulfill His designated purposes on earth. What did the Holy Spirit do for the apostles? He guided the twelve disciples to all Truth (John 16:13). Not only did the Spirit of God give the first century Christians all of the necessary revelation for learning about God's divine character, but He also was a source spiritual strength during the vicissitudes of life (John 14:16; 26). Today, He continues to fulfill the same tasks that He was originally appointed for. The Holy Spirit works by helping true members of the church persevere daily through all sorts of sinful temptations. He leads searching people to the Truth. The Spirit combats evil through the spread of the Gospel Message, which is His fighting gear (Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 4:12). The Lord Jesus Christ is eternally present though the power of the Holy Spirit. Both members of the Holy Trinity intercede on our behalf in prayer, for they know what we really need. They are there for us when we are in need. The Godhead is constantly there to assist us in our daily lives. When we humbly submit to the infinite grace of God, our minds can overcome the troubling moments presented to us. Only through God can we learn to obtain a mental state of tranquility that endures through our moments of grief and sorrow. Hence, this is the reason that "all things work together for the good of those who love God" (Romans 8:28). Our purpose in this life is to know, love, and serve God in this world so that we may be eternally present with Him for eternity in heaven. Fulfilling these spiritual stipulations leads our hearts to a peace that is beyond understanding.        

    Monday, April 17, 2017

    The Intercession Of Jesus Christ

    • What The Bible Says About The Intercession Of The Lord Jesus Christ:
               -"But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever." (Hebrews 7:24-28)
    • The Overall Perfection of Jesus Christ:
               -Appointed members of the Old Testament Levitical priesthood were finite, fallible creations of God who continually needed to be replaced because of physical death. The High Priests of the Jewish community needed to repeatedly offer the blood from sacrificed animals to temporarily satisfy the wrath of God. However, the customs of the Law were only a shadow of the greater things to come. They prefigured the coming of the newer and better Covenant, which is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. In other words, the entire Old Testament sacrificial system pointed directly to the perfect, single atonement sacrifice performed by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. While the Old Testament priests were sinners who were in need of a Savior, Jesus is the pure, unblemished High Priest who has made the once-for-all perfect sacrifice on the cross. He is the Source of everlasting life (Hebrews 5:9). Because of what He has done for us, we are therefore able to approach God with confidence in His promises (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus Christ will always be there for us. We will always have access to Him. He is our direct channel to God.    

    Tree-rings prove climate was WARMER in Roman and Medieval times than it is now - and world has been cooling for 2,000 years

    • Study of semi-fossilised trees gives accurate climate reading back to 138BC
    • World was warmer in Roman and Medieval times than it is now

    Sunday, April 16, 2017

    Roman Catholics In The Philippines Re-Enact The Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ Annually

    "Cultures and peoples around the world are celebrating festivals of rebirth and renewal on Easter weekend. In the Philippines, men are whipped with metal chains and nailed to crosses to remember Christ's suffering. In Jerusalem, people also carry wooden crosses through the streets to remember the miracle resurrection."


    Friday, April 14, 2017

    The Biblical Basis For The Trinity

    • The Trinity:
             1.) God is three persons (The Father, The Son, And the Holy Spirit).
             2.) Each person is divine.
             3.) There is only one God (Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6-8).
    • Further Explanation Of The Trinity:
              -Each of these Persons are completely divine in nature, but one figure does not equal the entire Godhead.
              -Each person is distinct at the same time.
              -The three persons are related to each other but are distinct at the same time.
              -The Doctrine of the Trinity is known as one of the "mysteries" of the Christian religion.
    • Biblical Texts Demonstrate The Unity Among The Three Divine Persons Of The Trinity (John 10:30; Matthew 28:18-21; 1 Corinthians 8:6-8; 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 48:16; Ephesians 4:4-6; Jude 20-21).
    • Jesus Christ Is Eternal; Co-Eternal With The Father (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6; John 8:56-59; 17:5; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 1:1-3; 7:3; Revelation 1:17; 2:8; 22:13).
               -The "word" mentioned in John 1:1-3 can only be a reference to Jesus Christ because the pronoun "He" is describing the noun "Word". Another verse in the same context states, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14).
    • Jesus Is God In The Flesh (Colossians 2:9; Romans 9:5).
    • Jesus Is Called Emmanuel, Which Is Translated To Mean "God Is With Us" (Matthew 1:23).
    • Jesus Christ Has Two Wills---Human And Divine; He Is Both Fully God And Fully Human (Philippians 2:5-7).
    • "Let Us Make Man In Our Image, After Our Likeness..." (Genesis 1:26):
                -The plural pronoun "us" can only be a reference to the Trinity because we are made only in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27); not angels or anything else.
    • Jesus Is Divine Because He Is The Son Of God (John 5:18; 19:7).
    • Jesus Was Called The Lord Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
    • Only God Can Forgive Sins, But Jesus Christ Also Has The Power To Forgive Our Sins (Mark 2:5-7). So He must also be God. 
    • The Only Way That You Can Honor The Father Is If You Honor The Son (John 5:23).
    • Thomas Called Jesus Christ "God" (John 20:28):
                -The original Greek translation of John 20:28 literally reads, "The Lord of me and the God of me."
                -If Thomas was speaking blasphemy, then why did Jesus Christ never rebuke him for making such a statement? Instead, Thomas' profession of Jesus' identity as God was accepted (John 20:29). 
    • To The Father And The Son Every Knee Shall Bow And Tongue Confess (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:9-11).
    • The Holy Spirit Is A Person/ Is God (Acts 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 3:17).
    • Jesus Christ And The Holy Spirit Pray For Us/ Can Answer Our Prayers (Romans 8:26-28; Hebrews 7:25).
    • Titles Shared By The Father And The Son Jesus Christ:
                -King of Kings (Deuteronomy 10:17; Daniel 2:47; Revelation 17:14), Lord of Lords (Deuteronomy 10:17; Revelation 19:16), the only Savior (Isaiah 43:10-11; Acts 4:12; Titus 2:13; 3:4-7), The First and The Last (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 22:13), I Am (Exodus 3:13-14; John 8:58), The Alpha and The Omega (Revelation 1:8; 22:13-16), Rock (Isaiah 8:14; 1 Peter 2:7-8), Shepherd (Psalm 23; Hebrews 13:20-21), and Lord (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 4). 
    • Identical Functions Of The Father And The Son:
                -Both are worshiped by angels (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:6); both are unchanging (Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8); both created everything (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:10); both can answer prayers (Matthew 6:6-14; John 14:13-14; Acts 7:59); both give eternal life (John 10:28; 1 John 5:11); both judge the world (Psalm 96:13; John 5:22). The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit sanctify Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

    Why Do We Hope?

    The purpose of this reflection paper is to provide a concrete answer to the question of why human beings possess hope. In other words, this article is being written to demonstrate how hope is a quint-essential facet to our daily lives. Without it, we would have no inner source of strength to persevere through every dark corner of our physical, psychological, and spiritual struggles. We would have no ultimate sense of fulfillment. So it is vital to raise and ponder the following questions. Why does society need hope in order to continue functioning? What would life be like, if the concept of hope did not exist? Is such a longing of the human heart of major significance? What is hope, anyway?  How can we obtain an ultimate sense of fulfillment in our lives?

    In short, to hope means to have a strong desire for a specific cause, effect, or condition in life. This emotion is the yearning or aspiration for the best results or an ultimate purpose in life. It is not simply a form of wishful thinking, but rather, a component of our faith. Hope is a part of faith. Both realities are interrelated, which means that hope is faith that looks beyond the view of the present. Hope looks into the future. In Christian theology, to hope means to have trust in God because of His divine promises. For example, we trust in God for salvation because that is what He has promised to those who have believed from the heart that His Son Jesus Christ is the risen Messiah.But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:25).

    Without hope, all things, whether they are perceptible or imperceptible, would appear remarkably meaningless, pointless, and dull. In other words, our portrait of life would have no color without hope. Everything would appear as either black or white to our minds. If the idea of hope was only a practical illusion created by the mentally deranged, then there would be no sense in accepting cultural diversity or striving to accomplish goals because we would have no internal sense of ongoing inspiration. Neither would we be able to describe any degrees of perfection. It would be impossible to formulate distinctions among the categories of good, better, or best. It would be highly illogical to make comparisons or even create analogies to simplify sophisticated concepts because the explicit boundaries of concrete and abstract would be blurred. 

    If no standard of perfection exists to govern every lifetime aspect, which can range from the recognition of objective truth to the formation of fallible, subjective opinions of the human mind, then how could we possibly describe things as being imperfect or incomplete? How would spiritual discernment even be possible? If the concept of hope is not an independent reality of our lives, then life itself would not make any sense. In fact, everything would be self-defeating. In order for rational creatures to continue thriving in a peaceful order, they need an ultimate source of fulfillment, which can only be found in the gospel.

    Our purpose in this life is to know, love, and serve God in this world so that we may be with Him eternally in the afterlife. Because of our longing to be in complete unity with God the Father in the heavenly sanctuary, we are able to strive through every sort of dilemma that the world throws at us. By the power of God's sufficient grace, we are able to overthrow the sinful distractions prompted by the devil. We may even defeat the snares of spiritual desolation by learning how to identify its causes, reflecting on past experiences for the sake of learning, and by steadily acting contrary to sources of struggle. 

    But hope is the spiritual soil in which the fruits of Christian self-sacrificing love grow. If we trust in God to care for us daily, then we will not be focused so much on ourselves. Instead of us focusing on our own needs daily, we need to give all of our troubles to God. In that case, we will be enabled to act selflessly because we know that God is ultimately in control of things. Only through our hope in God can we discover our ultimate purpose in life. Only then can we begin to possess hope, and make any sense out of life.

    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    The Nature Of Biblical Atonement

    • Introduction:
              -The focus of this study is to examine the bronze serpent, which is found in the Book of Numbers. This article is being written to demonstrate how it relates to the biblical teaching of justification by faith alone. First, the Old Testament passage describing the creation and purpose of the bronze serpent serpent will be cited. Secondly, the New Testament parallel passage will be cited to construct this argument for salvation apart from all meritorious works. Then, comments on these passages will be provided to formulate the argument based on the creation of the bronze serpent.
    • The Purpose And Creation Of The Bronze Serpent:
              -"And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21:6-9)
    • New Testament Parallel--The Begotten Son Jesus Christ:
              -"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:14-18)
    • Explanatory Notes: 
             -According to Numbers 21:6-9, the people of the disobedient nation Israel were dying from getting bitten by poisonous snakes. Hence, the Jewish people needed a remedy to ensure their survival after envenomation from the serpents. They were God's curse to punish His chosen people for sin and rebellion. In response to their plea of clemency, God instructed the Israelites to simply look at the bronze serpent, which was created by Moses. Those who placed their trust in the Lord by looking at it miraculously got rescued from death. We can certainly infer from this historical event the spiritually bankrupt nature of man. Everybody has been spiritually poisoned by sin. This Old Testament opportunity to get healed from death is a typological example of Jesus Christ's power to save mankind from spiritual death. Those who choose to look at Jesus Christ on the cross by trusting in the absolute sufficiency of His redemptive work are saved from eternal condemnation. In other words, we must trust and believe on the Lord for salvation. Sinners recover from their spiritual illnesses by getting cured by the Doctor of Salvation, Jesus Christ. God's chosen people, the Jews, were not saved by any good deeds, but by simple faith in the salvific declarations of the Lord. Neither are Christians justified by human efforts, but by simple faith in the Lord's salvation plan. The atonement is for all people who come to Christ by faith through the gospel.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    The Deception Of Universalism

    • Defining The Issues:
              -Universalism is an apostate doctrinal philosophy which teaches that all people will ultimately be saved. It therefore denies the existence of an eternal hellfire.
              -Other deceiving titles used to make reference to this doctrine of demons would include "ultimate reconciliation", "universal salvation", "universal restitution", "universal restoration", and "the doctrine of inclusion".
    • Biblical Refutation Of Universalism:
             1.) Scripture passages discussing the concepts of free will, the nature of hell, and fear of final judgment deliver a sound refutation to this heresy. Consider the example of the parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Consider also the example of the dividing the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:36-43).
             2.) The theme throughout the Bible is that sin will ultimately lead up to spiritual death, if not repented of and forgiven by God (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:1-5; 9; 20-24; Matthew 10:28; 13:49-50; 25:31-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 8:10-18; John 3:15-21; 36; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:5-7; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; James 4:4; Revelation 20:4-21:5; 22:14-15).
              3.) Few people are doing God's will, and those who are not remain unsaved (Matthew 7:15-23). The wages of sin is death; eternal life is a gift from God (Romans 6:23).
              4.) We are saved trough the transforming power of the gospel, if we hold fast to its teachings by faith and trust in the work of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:2). Any different "gospel message", which includes that of universalism, is to automatically be condemned (Galatians 1:8-9).
              5.) While it is true that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind, the Kingdom of God was only prepared for the people who love and serve Him (1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 20:12-15).
    • The Application Of Common Sense: 
               -Universalists literally teach that everybody will eventually be saved, regardless of religious profession or lifestyle. But why would God, who has clearly given us moral standards to abide by and measure against error, accept the souls of the people who intentionally acted contrary to His will during their stay here on earth? How is it possible for contradictory religions to all be acceptable to a holy and perfect God at the same time? If universalism is true, then what would be the purpose of the Final Judgement? How could the Lord Jesus Christ be the only way to salvation, as the New Testament Scriptures abundantly affirm (John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 1 Timothy 2:4-6)? What about finding the "narrow gate" (Matthew 7:13-14)?

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    Why Did The Lord Jesus Christ Perform Miracles?

            -The Lord Jesus Christ performed miracles to fulfill prophecies (Matthew 12:40).
            -He performed miracles to convert open-minded unbelievers (John 20:30-31).
            -Christ performed miracles because people placed their trust in Him (Luke 7; Matthew 15:21-28).
            -Christ performed miracles to prove to others that He was indeed the coming Messiah (John 10:36-39).
            -He loved the people around Him; move with compassion for suffering people (Matthew 14:14).

    Jesus' Disciples Did Not Hallucinate

    • Introduction:
              -Opponents of the Christian religion oftentimes attempt to dismiss the biblical resurrection narratives of Jesus Christ by laying the charge that the apostles merely had visions of Him rising from the grave. In other words, atheists and members of different religions object to Jesus' resurrection by stating that the apostles simply had seen hallucinations, rather than actually seeing the body of the risen Christ.
    • Refuting The "Hallucination Theory":
              -If "hallucinations" could provide a plausible argument for denying the biblical resurrection accounts, then they could only provide a possible justification for rejecting post-resurrection appearances. If one decides to go with this theory, then how does he or she offer an explanation for the empty tomb, the removal of the huge bolder, and the mysterious disappearance of the dead body?
              -It would be extremely improbable for several hundred people to experience the same hallucination for a period of forty days, especially at the same time and location (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Acts 1:3). In fact, most hallucinations are not repetitive in nature or able to converse with people. Neither can one simply accuse the disciples of Jesus Christ of experiencing illusions because these resurrection appearances originated from outside sources, not from within.
              -How can hallucinations eat or be physically touched (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:42-43; John 20:27-28)?

    Refuting The Swoon Theory

    • Defining The Issues:
              -The "Swoon Theory" was originally proposed by opponents of the resurrection during the nineteenth century. It is built off the unproven assumption that the Lord Jesus Christ never really died on a cross, but rather, came near to facing death due to being crucified. This theory is further elaborated on by the postulate that Jesus was simply removed from the cross and that He reappeared after three days to His disciples by escaping from His tomb. The Swoon Theory claims that such an occurrence was made possible as a result of alleged recuperation in the coolness of a tomb for a period of three days. In summary, this theory states that Jesus Christ only appeared to have died on a cross and thus deceived His disciples into believing in His resurrection.
    • The Swoon Theory Has Many Fatal Dilemmas:
              -Jesus Christ was beaten on the face and mocked during six trials among Jewish and Roman authorities (Matthew 26-27; Luke 23; John 18). He even suffered from thirty-mine lashes on His back.
              -His scalp was severely torn by the crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29).
              -Jesus' heart stopped pumping due to nails being driven through His wrists onto a wooden crossbeam, which was raised directly into the air. Not only did Jesus asphyxiate from His chest cavity being filled with liquid, but He also became extremely dehydrated while He was suffering on the cross for our sins. Jesus' side was pierced with a spear (John 19:34-35).
              -The body of Jesus Christ was tightly encased in linen (John  19:38-42).
              -Jesus' body would have gone without any sort of medical attention or be given a source of bodily nourishment during the three days of being buried in the tomb.
                *If He was alive during that period of three days, then He would have had insufficient strength to remove the bulky stone from the cave, to put up a fight with the Roman soldiers, or to even have accomplished both tasks (if any of the two at all).
              -The Roman guards who were appointed to surround the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ were very meticulous in their work because if He had successfully escaped the secured tomb, then the Roman government would have executed them for their failure to keep the tomb sealed tightly.