Saturday, July 29, 2017

Commentary On Philippians 4:4-5

"The second thing we talked about, the second principle, if we are to be firm in the Lord, is not only to cultivate peace in the fellowship of love but secondly to maintain a spirit of joy. Verse 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” This, too, is directly related to spiritual stability, cultivating an attitude of joy, maintaining a spirit of joy, incessant joy, independent joy in the sense that it doesn’t depend upon circumstances. Please notice “rejoice in the Lord,” not in your circumstances. You can’t always rejoice in your circumstances, but you can always rejoice in the Lord, in your privileged union with Him, that’s the idea. That’s a joy no circumstance can touch. So to be spiritually stable requires maintaining the habit of constantly expressing joyful wonder when contemplating an eternal, unchanging, enriching relationship with God through the living Lord Jesus Christ. Great truth. As long as I contemplate the Lord and what He’s done for me and is doing for me and has planned to do for me, I find my joy there.

By the way, that is a command. It is no less a sin not to rejoice then not to repent or not to do anything else God commands you to do. We rejoice in the Lord. You remember in Luke 24 the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus met with them, talked with them out of the Scriptures, describing the things about Himself. Finally they came into the house and in the breaking of bread, He revealed Himself to them, and it says their hearts burned within them. What is that? That’s the burning heart that is the result of a relationship with the living Lord. It was in the joy of His presence that they experienced the burning heart. Stable people are people who bring peace to situations, who create in the fellowship of love a unity, who are a stabilizing influence in discord, and the spiritually stable are those who in the ebb and flow and rise and fall of circumstances in life always maintain joy. Joy is at the heart of stability.

Let’s go to the third principle. Spiritual stability also requires learning to accept less than you might think you’re due. Learning to accept less than you might think you are due. Verse 5: “Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men.” Now, that’s a very, very important statement and a very important element in this matter of spiritual stability. It is really speaking about contentment. It could read, “Let your contentment be known to all men.” In fact, I suppose that for every translation of this text, there is probably a different word used here because this is one of those almost untranslatable Greek terms – epieiks. It’s practically untranslatable if you’re talking about translating it one word for one word. It means more than any one English word can capture.

If you’ve studied it long enough, you get the feeling of what this word means. For example, it has the sense of sweet reasonableness, that you are responsive to an appeal, that there’s a gentleness about you when someone asks you something, you’re sweetly reasonable about it. It also could be translated big-heartedness. Not only are you sweetly reasonable but it goes beyond that, you are very generous. It could be translated good will. Since you only wish good or will good on others, you tend to almost bend beyond what would be expected to grant them good.

Some have suggested it could be translated friendliness. That seems a little bit thin when compared to the others. Some have chosen the word “magnanimity,” let your magnanimity be known to all men. In other words, your over-generosity. Some have suggested it means charity toward faults of others. Some have said mercy toward failures of others. Some have said the best word is leniency. Some have said it should be indulgence. Let your indulgence be known to all men, not your personal indulgence in sin but your ability to indulge all of the failures of others and not be personally offended or unkind or bitter, retaliatory, or vengeful. It is a kind of patience which is able to submit to injustice, disgrace, mistreatment without hatred, without malice, without retaliation, without bitterness, without vengeance.

Now, if you add all that up – at the risk of standing against a lot of better Bible scholars than myself in the translation process – I would suggest the best word I can think of is graciousness. Graciousness. Let your graciousness be known to all men. Certainly in sweet reasonableness, there is grace. Certainly in big-heartedness, there is grace. Certainly in good will, there is grace. Certainly in forbearing, there is grace. Certainly in friendliness, magnanimity, charity, mercy, leniency, indulgence, you’re demonstrating graciousness, and that word probably in a Christian sense embodies it.

But there’s another element to it that we have to go into to understand it. It is the graciousness of humility, which basically says you may have offended me, you may have mistreated me, you may have misjudged me, worse than that you may have misrepresented me, you may have maltreated me, you may have not given me what I deserve, you may have given me what I do not deserve, you may have ruined my reputation with some, you may have acted in hostility against me unjustly, I may be the recipient of your inequity, injustice, and mistreatment, but I humbly and graciously accept it. That’s what it means, and again, isn’t that exactly what the grace of God is like? You may have hated Me. You may have been My enemies, God could say. You may have shaken your fist in My face. You may have blasphemed Me. You may have mistreated Me, misjudged Me, you may have done all of that, and I still reach out to you in love. Boy, when you have that kind of an attitude, you’re a stable person. Spiritual stability belongs to the humbly gracious – let’s use that phrase. Let your humble graciousness be known to all men.

You don’t demand your rights. You get into that kind of mentality, and you will become an unstable person. The philosophical mindset of our day behind, say, the contemporary psychology that’s infiltrated not only our country but the church, the philosophical mindset is primarily the mindset of existentialism, and existentialism basically says, bottom line, every man has a right to do whatever feels good. That’s existentialism. By the way, existentialism is a reaction to humanism. Humanism made man a machine. Humanism says we’re nothing but biological machines and we really don’t have choice and we really don’t have solutions to problems, we just function like an animal and really a reaction to the humanistic, that’s a materialistic humanism. Materialism says man is a machine. In reaction to materialistic humanism came existentialism, which says I don’t buy that, man, I’ve got dignity, I’m somebody, and so existentialism says you are somebody and you ought to feel good about who you are and you ought to do whatever feels good.

And so we talk about human dignity as a reaction to materialistic humanism, and we talk about the fact that man ought to be whatever he wants to be and do whatever he wants to do, and whatever feels good, you ought to do it. And therefore, what you get is massive self-centered pride and ego. With everyone wanting to react to materialistic humanism philosophically, even if they don’t see it as that, and be someone and be who they are and that’s who I am and I have a right to what feels good to me, that’s what existentialism says, that’s the only value in existentialism is do what feels good, and the only rule is if what feels good to you hurts me, you can’t do it. But if it doesn’t hurt me, what’s the difference?

That’s why you have homosexuals saying, “Why is homosexuality against the law? It doesn’t hurt anybody.” See, that’s existentialism. That’s philosophical existentialism. If it doesn’t hurt anybody, what’s the difference? If it feels good to me and doesn’t hurt you, then forget it. Well, AIDS has shot that argument down. Could end up destroying a whole generation of people. Sin always eventually hurts somebody else.

But when you have a world of basically pragmatic existentialists like we do, and that’s the kind of world we live in, absolutely the kind of world we live in, what does Burger King say? Have it your way. I’ll tell you what, I’ve been to Burger King a lot of times. I have never yet had it my way. You know what my way is? I get the hamburger, I don’t pay, that’s my way. They’re not giving it to me my way, I pay every time, that’s their way, not my way. The bottom line: existentialism doesn’t work. It doesn’t even work at Burger King, let alone in philosophy. But that’s what’s the mindset of our day. You’ve got to feel good about yourself, elevate yourself, love yourself, develop yourself, and that kind of thinking is in the church to an incredible degree.

I was listening to a tape today of a friend, Dr. Paul Brownback, and in this tape he was saying – I hate to say this, but he said, “I believe this is true, that if you and I went into a Christian bookstore” – Christian bookstore – “and we pulled off the Christian books that are being written today and took highlight pens and I highlighted everything that came out of Carl Rogers’ self-love theory and you highlighted everything in those books that came out of the teaching of Paul, I would run out of highlighters before you would.” That’s how insidious this is and how far into the church it’s come, the cult of self-love, which means whatever feels good to me, whatever satisfies me, whatever builds me up, whatever gets me over my inferiority complex, whatever gives me a better self-image, whatever gives me better self-esteem, that’s what I do. On the other hand, what Paul says is be humble, gracious, don’t demand anything, give charity to those who are committing crimes against you, give mercy toward the failures of others, you’ll be a stable person. You see, you cultivate all that self stuff and you don’t create stability; you give them a never-ending trail to greater and greater instability and unfulfillment. Tragic. We are to be characterized by the right virtues.

Spiritual stability comes when I have no demands for myself. Then if I get something, fine. If I don’t, fine. If I’m treated a certain way, fine. If I’m treated this way, fine. Doesn’t really matter to me – I’m not concerned about me. That’s what makes Paul say – and he’s the living illustration of all of this as we shall see in the next session – “In whatsoever state I am, therewith to be” – what? – “absolutely content.” Why? Because Paul’s not the issue. I’m not an issue so I can have a forbearing spirit. I can have a gracious, big-hearted, magnanimous, humble, charitable spirit. That’s stability. Boy, you can’t get knocked off your pins. Some people live and die in that revolving door of listening to what everybody says about him and taking in personally every single thing that ever happens in their life and filtering it through their little ego process, and if its wounded them in any way, they’re in immediate instability, anxiety.

You can’t be knocked off balance by inequity, injustice, unfair treatment, lies, humiliation if you’re not the issue – if you’re not the issue. That’s humility, humble graciousness. So spiritual stability belongs to those who cultivate peace in the fellowship of love, those who maintain joy, and those who do not demand what they might be due but are graciously humble."

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/50-39/spiritual-stability-part-3-humility-and-faith

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Uncompromisable Nature Of Truth

"We must not so seek peace with others as to wrong truth. Peace must not be bought with the sale of truth. Truth is the ground of faith, and the rule of life. Truth is the most orient gem of the churches’ crown. Truth is a deposit, or charge that God has entrusted with us. We trust God with our souls. He trusts us with His truths. We must not let any of God’s truths to fall to the ground. Luther says, “It is better that the heavens fall—than one crumb of truth perish.” The least filings of this gold are precious. We must not seek the flower of peace as to lose the diamond of truth."

Thomas Watson, Puritan preacher (1620-1686)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luke 22:32 Does Not Support Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church interprets Luke 22:32, where the Lord Jesus Christ prayed that the Apostle Peter's faith failed not and for him to strengthen the faith of the other disciples, to be a promise that Peter would be preserved from error in doctrinal matters. In other words, the Church of Rome uses this Bible verse to support the doctrine of papal infallibility.
  • Refutation Of Papal Argument From Luke 22:32:
          1.) It is true that the devil wishes to destroy the church of God. And yes, our Lord Jesus Christ prayed that the Apostle Peter would not cease to remain faithful and to be a source of strength for the other disciples. But this was only done because Christ knew that Peter was going to deny him three times (v. 33-34). Consequently, the Lord wanted him to be restored and forgiven for his miserable failure to stand up for the truth of the gospel (v. 31-32). Now this, of course, would certainly be a very encouraging message for the other apostles to learn. Luke 22:32 is speaking of the time when the Apostle Peter repents of his errors. Quite simply, this text is about Peter's faults, not about receiving praise, rewards, or being promoted to a position of supremacy. This passage of Scripture is about the unfathomable love, kindness, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Roman Catholic apologists are altogether missing the point of Luke 22:32 when they cite it as a papal proof-text. They totally distort the meaning of this Bible verse by emphasizing a meaning that is contrary to what it is actually saying.
          2.) To make an argument for the authority of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of Luke 22:32 is unwarranted, for the previous context of the passage being addressed contains events that are injurious to modern-day claims of Peter being appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ as the prince of the apostles. Most notably, the disciples had a dispute among themselves as to who would be regarded as the greatest (Luke 22:24-27). In fact, Christ said that all twelve apostles were going to be seated on twelve thrones (Luke 22:29-30). There is nothing in the context of Luke 22 even hinting that the Apostle Peter would be singled out for the reason of being a recipient of special honor. If the fact that Jesus Christ isolated the Apostle Peter for this important exhortation has any logical significance for the establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, then how would it explain the incident where the same apostle was individually rebuked by Christ and called "Satan" (Matthew 16:23)? All church leaders have been called to "strengthen the brethren." One does not need to be bestowed some gift of infallibility in order to fulfill that duty.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John 21:15-17 Does Not Support Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church interprets the words of our Lord Jesus Christ ("feed my sheep") which were directed specifically to the Apostle Peter, as recorded in John 21:15-17, to mean that he was given an exclusive position of primacy to care for the household of God, which is the church. In other words, the Papacy maintains that Christ conferred to Peter a distinctive, greater position of episcopal authority which he allegedly passed on to the Roman bishops of future generations. The text of John 21:15-17 has been used by Roman Catholic apologists to corroborate the notion that the pope has been appointed by Christ to serve in the office of "Chief Shepherd".
  • Refutation Of Papal Argument From John 21:15-17:
          -All leaders of the church have been commissioned by the apostles to care for the church of God (Acts 20:28). The Apostle Peter was not the only one who was obligated to nourish the "flock". Thus, the text of John 21:15-17 does not guarantee a unique position of supremacy to Peter.
          -In addition, the Apostle Peter himself forbade people from becoming lords over God's heritage (1 Peter 5:1-5). In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as being the "Chief Shepherd" (John 10:10-16). The Apostle Peter himself called Christ the "Shepherd and Bishop of our souls" (1 Peter 2:25). According to Hebrews, Jesus is the "Great Shepherd" (Hebrews 13:20), which excludes the Bishop of Rome. There is only one Chief Shepherd over the household of God. Scripture also never records Christ reserving His title for Peter or him being addressed by that title. Thus, this title cannot rightfully be applied to anybody who claims to be a representative of Jesus Christ here on earth or descendant of the Apostle Peter.
          -This passage from the Gospel of John is not about inheriting a position of special primacy. John 21:15-17 was simply a threefold confession of faith articulated by Peter for the three times that he denied knowing our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:33-34). This passage shows us an utter failure on Peter's part. It therefore makes no sense to view this text as one that exalts him in any fashion. Although we know from the pages of the New Testament that the Apostle Peter played a significant role in preaching the gospel, we have no biblical evidence suggesting that he was given a position of supremacy over the church. To call the pope the "Good Shepherd" is outright blasphemy against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the occupation of such a title by a mere man robs Him of the honor that only He deserves.

The Early Church Fathers On "Upon This Rock" (Matthew 16:18)

  • Defining The Issues:
          -The Church of Rome parades Matthew 16:18-19 as a proof text for the validity of its claims to ruling over Christendom. In other words, the Roman Catholic Church maintains that it is built on the Apostle Peter as its foundation and any spiritual gifts that Jesus Christ may have bestowed on him was passed on to succeeding popes of future generations. Thus, we see the reason that Rome's adherents fight so vigorously to protect their understanding of the meaning of the "rock" as recorded in Matthew 16:18-19. However, the church fathers were far from unanimous on accepting the "rock" metaphor found in Matthew 16:18 as being the Apostle Peter himself. The following source explains:

          “It may jolt them to hear that the great Fathers of the church saw no connection between it and the pope. Not one of them applies ‘Thou art Peter’ to anyone but Peter. One after another they analyse it: Cyprian, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine. They are not exactly Protestants. Not one of them calls the Bishop of Rome a Rock or applies to him specifically the promise of the Keys. This is staggering to Catholics...The surprises do not stop there. For the Fathers, it is Peter’s faith — or the Lord in whom Peter has faith —which is called the Rock, not Peter.” (“Vicars of Christ, The Dark Side of the Papacy”, p. 24)

          Following are actual excerpts from various church fathers, which were originally taken from this article.
  • The Roman Catholic Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick Once Stated:
          -“If we are bound to follow the majority of the fathers in this thing, then we are bound to hold for certain that by the rock should be understood the faith professed by Peter, not Peter professing the faith.” (Speech of archbishop Kenkick, p. 109; An inside view of the Vatican council, edited by Leonard Woolsey Bacon)
  • Basil of Seleucia, Oratio 25:
          -"You are Christ, Son of the living God.'...Now Christ called this confession a rock, and he named the one who confessed it 'Peter,' perceiving the appellation which was suitable to the author of this confession. For this is the solemn rock of religion, this the basis of salvation, this the wall of faith and the foundation of truth: 'For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' To whom be glory and power forever." (Oratio XXV.4, M.P.G., Vol. 85, Col. 296-297)
  • Cyril of Alexandria:
          -"When [Peter] wisely and blamelessly confessed his faith to Jesus saying, 'You are Christ, Son of the living God,' Jesus said to divine Peter: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.' Now by the word 'rock', Jesus indicated, I think, the immovable faith of the disciple.” (Cyril Commentary on Isaiah 4.2)
  • Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII):
          -“For all bear the surname ‘rock’ who are the imitators of Christ, that is, of the spiritual rock which followed those who are being saved, that they may drink from it the spiritual draught. But these bear the surname of rock just as Christ does. But also as members of Christ deriving their surname from Him they are called Christians, and from the rock, Peters.” (Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII), sect. 10,11)
  • Augustine, sermon:
          -"Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer." (John Rotelle, O.S.A., Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, © 1993 New City Press, Sermons, Vol III/6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327)
  • Bede:
          -"You are Peter and on this rock from which you have taken your name, that is, on myself, I will build my Church, upon that perfection of faith which you confessed I will build my Church by whose society of confession should anyone deviate although in himself he seems to do great things he does not belong to the building of my Church...Metaphorically it is said to him on this rock, that is, the Saviour which you confessed, the Church is to be built, who granted participation to the faithful confessor of his name." (Homily 23, M.P.L., Vol. 94, Col. 260. Cited by Karlfried Froehlich, Formen, Footnote #204, p. 156.)
  • Cassiodorus:
          -"It will not be moved is said about the Church to which alone that promise has been given: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' For the Church cannot be moved because it is known to have been founded on that most solid rock, namely, Christ the Lord." (Expositions in the Psalms, Psalm 45.5, M.P.L., Vol. 70, Col. 330)
  • Even The Roman Catholic Catechism Leaves Room For The Interpretation Of The Rock Found In Matthew 16 To Be A Reference To The Apostle Peter's Confession Of Faith:
          -"Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God.' On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built His Church (cf. Mt 16:18; St. Leo the Great, Sermons, 4, 3: PL 54, 151; 51, 1: PL 54, 309B; 62 , 2: PL 54, 350C-351A; 83, 3: PL 54, 432A)." (CCC# 424)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What Is The Ultimate Object Of Our Trust?

       Anxiety, which can negatively impact us physically and psychologically, can occur during the times that we feel burdened, pressured, and secluded. In other words, we suffer these troubling, worrisome feelings when we encounter predicaments that develop by reason of mental or external environmental sources. These difficult circumstances commonly happen as a result of poor decision making, materialism, and trauma. Anxiety can have a serious toll on our jobs, education, health, and relationships. Not only can anxiety make the individual involved feel altogether hopeless about life, but it can also impair the ability to think rationally. Though stress is indeed a normal reaction of the human mind, there are different degrees of stress and personal responses may vary. Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to prevent stressors and cope with them as they arise.

       Before discussing how to deal with stress, it is important to note that there exists two different stress reactions. The first type of reaction is called a "processive stressor," which can either trigger our minds to attack or flea from a source of stress. The second type of reaction is called a "systematic stressor," which constitutes the body's genetically programmed responses to stress. However, there are two decisions that we can make when we are confronted by anxiety. We can either allow stress to dominate every facet of our lives or we can choose to deal with the issues prompting that reaction. We should make our top priority seeking after God's kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). A person who places his or her trust in circumstances will never find true and lasting peace because they are always subject to change. God can neither change nor deceive.

       A crucial step to avoiding and dealing with stressors is to become organized, for having everything set into place allows a person to perceive things more clearly. In other words, a person who has all things correctly put in order has better judgment and thus has a better ability to resolve and even circumvent stressors. But how does a person establish a basis for being organized? First of all, the foundational move to all problem solving is to admit the existence of a problem. The next important step would be to learn how or when to emphatically say no. Not only is this resistance vital for developing will power, but it also hinders one from becoming over-committed. Then, it would be highly advisable to make lists, learn how to prioritize, learn how to manage time, and consult people who have the knowledge and resources necessary for dealing with issues that provoke stress. But the ultimate step in dealing with anxiety is to always trust in God.

       Many people in this world end up enduring excessive fretfulness due to not placing their trust in the Lord to give them what they need. People suffer from unnecessary concern simply because they are concerned about fulfilling an endless list of worldly requirements or focused on popularity. We tend to feel over-burdened because we attempt to use our finite abilities and rely on our finite understanding of the world to fulfill duties that require an infinite source of ability and understanding, which can only be found in God. He will give us the strength that we need to make it through the things that trouble us in our daily lives (Psalm 34:4; Matthew 6:25-27; John 14:27). All that we need to do is place our trust in Him. We need to continually seek Him daily through prayer and supplication in gratitude for His great kindness and mercy (Philippians 4:6-7).

       Of course, nothing about submitting to God guarantees a simple or a care-free life. Having faith in God does not preclude moments of suffering. We should find peace and comfort in the fact that we have been reconciled to a holy God through Jesus Christ. That point should permeate every aspect of our lives, knowing that the things of this world are only temporary. Those who have faith will spend eternity with God. He is our strength and all in all. While it is true that we are merely imperfect human beings who can capitulate to the struggles of our earthly lives, God will sustain us by His grace. He can impart to us the strength and wisdom to cope with whatever is facing us.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Answering Common Objections To The Trinity

  • Discussion:
          -A major characteristic of many, if not most, heretical sects is that they tend to oppose the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. He is usually reputed to be a "lesser god" or simply a good moral teacher. But these beliefs terribly distort the true, scriptural version of our Lord Jesus Christ. He shared the same divine nature and essence as God the Father (John 1:1-3; 5:18; 10:30-33; 19:7). Thus, this article strives to briefly examine a few of the basic objections to the historic Christian position regarding the Person of Jesus Christ:
             1.) Many people reject the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ because of His statement regarding His lack of knowledge regarding the day and hour (Mark 13:32). This is used to deny that He is all-knowing. However, this objection does not hold water because He was speaking from the aspect of His human nature. He was thus not speaking concerning His divine nature. Christ in His divine nature knows everything (Luke 5:4-6). He needed to take on human flesh so that He could make atonement for our sin. 
             2.) Others object to the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ on the basis that He prayed to God the Father. But this argument is fallacious because it fails to recognize the two separate natures of Jesus Christ: human and divine (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:17). He prayed to the Creator in the state of His humanity, which is something that we humans should be doing. This action was appropriate and thus does not diminish Christ's intrinsic divinity. Him praying to God the Father on our behalf is a necessary part of His intercession on our behalf (Hebrews 7:24-28).
             3.) Some believe that Jesus Christ is lesser than God the Father in terms of authority because the Scripture calls Him the "Son of God" (John 3:16). However, this title only lends credence to the divinity of Christ, since it means having the same essence as God (John 5:18; 10:35-36; 19:7). In other words, both are equal in the sense that they possess the same divine authority. They are equal in essence. The Lord Jesus Christ became a servant by taking on the form of a man, and is positionally lower than God the Father.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Depths Of Value

"During the Iraq war, a woman soldier lost her hand when it was blown off by an explosive device that landed near her. As she was being rushed to the hospital, she kept crying out, not for the hand she had lost but for the ring that was on that hand—her wedding ring. One of her fighting mates returned to the place, found the hand, and brought back the ring.

What an amazing transposition of values. The ring was the band that symbolized her love and union with her husband. In a dramatic realization of what really mattered, she could live without the hand but wept for the loss of the symbol of the spiritual bond of love.

In some of life’s most defining moments, we find depths of value that shallow moments never reveal. Squandering our existence in the shallow end of life, we miss all that is found in the deep end of discovery and beauty."

Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods, p. 173

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Case For The Deity Of The Holy Spirit

        * He is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7-9)
        * He is all-knowing (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
        * He is all-powerful (Romans 15:19)
        * He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14)
        * The Holy Spirit was involved in the process of creation (Job 33:4).
        * The Holy Spirit is a source of life (John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6)
        * The Holy Spirit inspires revelation (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Commentary From The NET Bible On Romans 9:5

tn Or “the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever,” or “the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever!” or “the Messiah who is over all. God be blessed forever!” The translational difficulty here is not text-critical in nature, but is a problem of punctuation. Since the genre of these opening verses of Romans 9 is a lament, it is probably best to take this as an affirmation of Christ’s deity (as the text renders it). Although the other renderings are possible, to see a note of praise to God at the end of this section seems strangely out of place. But for Paul to bring his lament to a crescendo (that is to say, his kinsmen had rejected Godcome in the flesh), thereby deepening his anguish, is wholly appropriate. This is also supported grammatically and stylistically: The phrase ὁ ὢν (ho ōn, “the one who is”) is most naturally taken as a phrase which modifies something in the preceding context, and Paul’s doxologies are always closely tied to the preceding context. For a detailed examination of this verse, see B. M. Metzger, “The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5,” Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament, 95-112; and M. J. Harris, Jesus as God, 144-72.

https://netbible.org/bible/Romans+9

Commentary On The Genesis Firmament

Genesis 1:7

And God made the firmament. How the present atmosphere was evolved from the chaotic mass of waters the Mosaic narrative does not reveal. The primary intention of that record being not to teach science, but to discover religious truth, the thing of paramount importance to be communicated was that the firmament was of God's construction. This, of course, does not prevent us from believing that the elimination of those gases (twenty-one parts of oxygen and seventy-nine of nitrogen, with a small proportion of carbonic acid gas and aqueous vapor) which compose our atmosphere was not effected by natural means; and how far it may have been assisted by the action of the light upon the condensing mass of the globe is a problem in the solution of which science may legitimately take an interest. And divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. The upper waters are not the material of the stars (Delitzsch, Wordsworth), although Jupiter is of the same density as water, and Saturn only half its density; but the waters floating about in the higher spaces of the air. The under waters are not the lower atmospheric vapors, but the oceanic and terrestrial waters. How the waters are collected in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, Scripture, no less than science, explains to be by means of evaporation (Genesis 2:6; Job 36:27; Job 37:16). These latter passages suggest that the clouds are balanced, suspended, upheld by the buoyancy of the air in exact accordance with scientific principles. And it was so. Six times these words occur in the creation record. Sublimely suggestive of the resistless energy of the Divine word, which speaks, and it is done, commands, and it standeth fast, they likewise remind us of the sweet submissiveness of the creature to the all-wise Creator's will, and, perhaps, are designed as well to intimate the fixed and permanent character of those arrangements to which they are attached.

Genesis 1:8

And God called the firmament heaven. Literally, the heights, shamayim, as in Genesis 1:1. "This," says Principal Dawson, "may be regarded as an intimation that no definite barrier separates our film of atmosphere from the boundless abyss of heaven without;" and how appropriate the designation "heights" is, as applied to the atmosphere, we are reminded by science, which informs us that, after rising to the height of forty-five miles above the earth, it becomes imperceptible, and loses itself in the universal ether with which it is surrounded. And the evening and the morning were the second day. For the literal rendering of this clause see on Genesis 1:5, It is observable that in connection with the second day's work the usual formula, "And God saw that it was good," is omitted. The "και Ì εἰ δεν ὁ θεος ὁ ì τι καλο ì ν" of the Septuagint is unsupported by any ancient version. The conceit of the Rabbis, that an expression of the Divine approbation was omitted because on this day the angels fell, requires no refutation. Aben Ezra accounts for its omission by making the second day's work terminate with verse 10. Lange asks, "Had the prophetic author some anticipation that the blue vault was merely an appearance, whilst the sarans of the Septuagint had no such anticipation, and therefore proceeded to doctor the passage?" The explanation of Calvin, Delitzsch, Macdonald, and Alford, though declared by Kalisch to be of no weight, is probably the correct one, that the work begun on the second day was not properly terminated till the middle of the third, at which place, accordingly, the expression of Divine approbation is introduced (see verse 10).

Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Genesis 1:4". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/genesis-1.html. 1897.
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Monday, July 17, 2017

What To Remember When Confronted By Hardships

  • Scripture Passage Being Examined:
          -"but He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast more gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • Brief Elaboration On 2 Corinthians 12:9:
          -God's Word, the Bible, clearly says that His divine grace manifests itself and covers us more abundantly during our trials. His strength compliments the inherent weakness of mankind. His sufficiency fulfills what is lacking in us. In other words, the Lord will continually provide us with the spiritual strength necessary to endure and overcome any boundaries that may become hindrances to our spiritual growth. In the surrounding context of 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul was telling the Church of Corinth how God did not accept his petition to remove his distress, but rather assisted him when he was grieving about the devil irritating him after he had received personal revelation that he was not allowed to communicate to other men (v. 7). Thus we see that the Lord permits us to undergo temptations for the sake of building us up. We can build up our spiritual strength for times of infirmity through the persistent resistance of temptation and continued obedience to God. The Lord will enable us to succeed in defeating times of spiritual desolation by nourishing us with His sufficient grace. We, in the same manner as the inspired writer Paul, can confidently proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord because He is faithful and trustworthy. He is with us, even during times of hardship (v. 10).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Absolute Uniqueness Of Christian Morality

"In their attempt to argue that effective and binding codes can be developed without a deity, atheists often mistake inferior codes of “common decency” for absolute moral systems. The Golden Rule, or doing as you would be done by , is such a code. But the fact that people can arrive at the Golden Rule without religion does not mean that they can arrive at the Christian moral code without religion. Christianity requires much more and, above all, does not expect to see charity returned. To “love they neighbor as thyself” is a far greater and more complicated obligation, requiring a positive effort to seek the good of others, often in secret, sometimes at great cost, and always without reward."

Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God, p.142-143

Monday, July 10, 2017

Isaiah 22:20-22 And Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -Roman Catholics argue in defense of Papal authority by paralleling Matthew 16:19 with Isaiah 22:20-22. First of all, the foundation to this argument is based on the fact that there is a "key" involved in both these passages. Secondly, Catholics point out that the text of Isaiah has a prime minister figure. And thirdly, it is important to note the similar wording of the actions of "opening and shutting" and "binding and loosing" found in both the paralleled texts. Roman Catholics thus argue that this scenario prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ giving the Apostle Peter supremacy over His entire church. The logic of this Catholic typology is based on a comparison of Peter to Eliakim, who was given the key to the house of David (Isaiah 20:22).
  • Serious Flaws In The Typology For Papal Authority:
          1.) The Bible mentions many different sets of "keys." In fact, there is nothing in the context of Isaiah 22 demanding that it be paralleled with Matthew 16.
          2.) The context of this passage is about a male figure named Shebna (Isaiah 22:15). His position of authority was being revoked from him as a result of his pride. Shebna's position, which was only secondary to King Hezekiah, was being given to another individual named Eliakim. However, the Apostle Peter never replaced anybody.
          3.) If Isaiah 22:20-22 was a prophecy about the Apostle Peter being appointed as the first pope, then how would Roman Catholics explain Isaiah 22:25? The Apostle Peter was never removed or cut down. The interpretation of this prophetic passage from the Book of Isaiah is not applicable to the Roman Catholic Church because it would only prophecy the fall of the Papacy. This is totally inconsistent with the claims of modern-day Roman Catholic dogma, for it teaches the infallible preservation of Roman tradition.
          4.) The name of "Eliakim" literally means "God will raise up." It is a typology of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the Apostle Peter. Jesus is the One who will inherit the glorious, everlasting throne of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 22:23; Isaiah 9:6-7). He possesses the key of David (Revelation 3:7), which pertains to the promises of King David's throne. It is about the establishment and fulfillment of his kingdom. The phrase "house of David" is used within the context of his ancestral lineage. While the singular key of the household of David is pertinent to Israel (Isaiah 22:21-22), the plural keys of the kingdom of heaven are pertinent to the work of the church (Matthew 16:13-20).

Friday, July 7, 2017

Addressing The Roman Catholic Misinterpretation Of Matthew 16:18-19

  • Defining The Issues:
          -The meaning of the "rock" found in Matthew 16:18-19 has been disputed among Roman Catholic and non-Catholic scholars alike. Literally volumes of books have been written to defend various interpretations of this symbol. In fact, the three most prominent views on the identity of the rock are that it is representative of Jesus Christ Himself, the Apostle Peter's bold confession of faith, and Peter himself. However, the Church of Rome has made significant claims regarding the meaning of the rock in Matthew 16:18-19 in relation to its inflated views of its own authority. In short, the purpose of this article is to interact with the Romanist interpretation of the rock found in Matthew 16:18-19. 
  • How The Roman Catholic Church Interprets The Rock Of Matthew 16:18-19:
          -Roman Catholics argue that because the Apostle Peter is allegedly the rock, their church is built on him and is therefore the true, original church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Roman Catholicism maintains that 1.) Christ granted Peter special primacy over His entire church and 2.) that this apostle passed his unique position of spiritual authority to the Roman bishops who would succeed him in later generations (CCC #881-882). Consequently, it is claimed that the doctrines of the Church of Rome have been infallibly preserved throughout the centuries.
  • The Greek "Petros" And "Petra" Distinction:
          -The words "petros" and "petra" are used in the original Greek grammatical construction of Matthew 16:18. In other words, the passage reads, "You are Peter ("petros") and upon this rock ("petra") I will build my church." While "petros" means a piece of rock (masculine), "petra" means a mass of rock (feminine). Thus, there exists a distinction between both words occupied in Matthew 16:18. Peter is not the rock on which the church is built. But if the Apostle Peter was meant to serve as the foundation upon which the Christian church stands, then we should not be seeing two different Greek words with two different meanings in this passage.
  • The Rock Of Matthew 16:18-19 Is Not The Apostle Peter Himself, But Rather Is His Solid Confession Of Faith (Matthew 16:16):
          -The church is built on all of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20-22). In fact, Jesus Christ is the foundation stone upon which the church is built, not Peter (1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:3-4). The "rock" mentioned in Matthew 16:18 is Peter's confession of faith (Matthew 16:16). This interpretation of the passage fits the context, which is about the spread of the gospel and the identity of the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-18). The establishment of some sort of authoritative office with successors is nowhere present. It is upon our confession of faith that the church stands. Thus, every doctrine and practice of the church should be in accordance to the will of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 16:16-18, the words "it" and "this" are referring to the Apostle Peter's statement identifying the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is built on the revelation that Christ is the promised Jewish Messiah.
  • The Meaning Of The Keys, Binding, And Loosing:
          -The "keys" represent the authority to proclaim the salvation of converts and the condemnation of sinners (i.e. Luke 10:16). The keys are knowledge of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 23:13; Luke 11:52). The door of salvation is opened to those who accept the message of the gospel (Acts 14:27; Romans 1:16), whereas the door of eternal condemnation is opened for those who reject the salvific message of the gospel. The mission of the entire church is to preach the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:45-49). In the Book of Acts, converts such as Paul and Cornelius received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They rejoiced as a result of hearing the proclamation of eternal salvation. But notice how the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His original disciples to shake the dust off their feet when they encountered cities who rejected them for preaching the gospel message (Matthew 10:14-15; Mark 6:11; Acts 13:51). This is a perfect way of applying the principle of "loosing," or announcing the condemnation of sinners. Today, we serve as ambassadors for Christ by performing the ministry of reconciliation through the preaching of the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Christians have been authorized to declare the terms of forgiveness as provided by the gospel: holding fast by faith in Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). This power of the keys was not possessed by the Apostle Peter alone, nor does the Scripture passage in question point to that interpretation. Rather, it was given to all the apostles (Matthew 18:18). This citation is also beneficial, "What is the power of binding and loosing? These disciples immediately recognized the background of its meaning. If you were a Jew, living at the time of Christ, and you had done something that you thought could be a violation of the Mosaic Law, you would have to take your problem to the ruling elders. They would have debated your case; then they would have come to one of two conclusions. They would have either bound or loosed you. If they had bound you, this meant that you had violated the Mosaic Law and that you were obligated to pay the penalty-sacrifice and/or restitution. If they had loosed you, this meant that you had not violated the Mosaic Law. No sacrifice was necessary. These ruling elders were simply declaring what had already been legislated by Moses" (Was the Church Established by Peter?, Robert Gromacki, cited by Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, p. 109-110)
  • The Apostle Peter Was Not The First Pope:
          -The structure of the Roman Catholic hierarchy cannot be substantiated at all by the New Testament. In other words, Scripture mentions nothing about the one-head bishop structure that is found in the modern Church of Rome. In fact, the Bible never even records the Apostle Peter as passing on his apostolic authority to a designated successor or a discussion on who would occupy his seat of authority after his departure from the world. In Scripture, it seems as if nobody recognized him as having any primacy over the other apostles. What is even more significant to observe about the pages of the New Testament is that we never see the Apostle Peter acting in the authoritative manner that popes do. Although he can rightly be accredited as playing an important role in preaching the gospel, we never see him acting as the "prince of the apostles."
  • Even If The Apostle Peter Was The Rock Of Matthew 16:18, That Fact Would Still Not Grant The Pope Universal Jurisdiction Over Christendom:
          -The context of Matthew 16 is absolutely silent about the establishment of an extremely wealthy church hierarchy that claims infallibility with a continual chain of leading successors. The Scripture text addressed in this article says nothing about a "Vicar of Christ" or a teaching Magisterium. It says nothing about the unbiblical offices and societies contained in the Church of Rome. Neither does Matthew 16:18 command us to adhere to a mysterious body of extra-biblical revelation, as Roman Catholicism does. In fact, this passage says nothing about submission to an earthly institution that is headquartered in Rome, Italy! So appealing to Matthew 16:18-19 as a biblical proof-text for the Papacy is completely unwarranted. Roman Catholics are placing too much weight on this particular Bible verse. They are merely reading their church hierarchy into a passage where such notions are absent.

The Consequences Of The Homosexual Lifestyle

"Youngsters who are even now prematurely assaulted with sexual references will have this issue thrown in to further damage their psychological health. We should expect a rise in the rate of teenage suicides as youngsters are forced to “decide” early as to their sexual orientation. We should expect a rise in AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as an increase in sexual abuse by men preying on vulnerable youth. We can anticipate that those who speak out against homosexuality will be increasingly reviled and repressed, while gay and lesbian activists will become increasingly vocal and persuasive in pushing their agendas in the media, in courts, in all branches of government. Already today, when science and homosexuality clash, science has been nudged aside. In the political campaign to normalize homosexuality, psychiatrists who claim to be able to help those who voluntarily wish to leave the homosexual lifestyle are ignored and even spat upon. Any facts that counter the dogma that homosexuality is as much a part of a person as skin color are rejected."

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, "America's Real War," p. 205-206 (1999)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Heavenly Union With Jesus Christ

          "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-3)

          In this text, Jesus Christ emphatically tells His audience that there is plenty of room in heaven to fit all people who have trusted in Him for salvation. Thus, there is no such thing as a person with a heart regenerated by the Holy Spirit being excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. The heavenly sanctuary was prepared before time began for all who know, love, and serve God. Jesus Christ clearly assured those of us who trust in Him that we shall indeed be united with Him forever. Christ was also testifying to the fact that nothing is impossible for God. We who believe in the gospel can indeed have assurance of eternal life after physical death.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why Judaism's Oral Torah Is A Myth

First, if the Oral Tradition truly came from Sinai then it would have been completely supernatural that it was passed down for over one thousand years unchanged. If my wife sends me to the store to buy five things, unless I write them down, not only will I forget to buy what she asked me to, but I will return home with things that she didn’t ask me to buy! So if it was supernatural, then there would have been no need to write out the Oral Torah as Rabbi Judah Hanasi did in 200 CE. If God had watched over it since Moses, surely He could continue.

Secondly, there couldn’t have been an Oral Law because in the time of King Josiah, they had lost the Book of the Law and it appears that they didn’t even know what Passover was or certainly how to celebrate it! The Temple was in ruins and the King ordered its restoration. In the midst of this great undertaking the Torah was recovered.

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” (1 Kings 22:8)

The king called all the people together and they read the Book of the Covenant. Together, they renewed the covenant with the Lord. King Josiah ordered that the Passover be celebrated.

The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 22:21-23)

To summarize, the Torah had been lost as the Temple was in ruins. The king of Israel and the priests did not even know what Passover was—or at least, the details of proper Passover observance. Since the Mishna (the Oral Law in writing, as part of the Talmud) speaks of the Passover at length—in fact it has an entire tractate (major section) called Pesachim (Passovers) that teaches in incredible detail how to correctly celebrate Passover—it had to have been created after the time of Josiah.

In addition, had there been an Oral Law passed down from Moses it was certainly forgotten. And unlike like a Written Torah, that could be found in the ruins of the Temple, it would be impossible to recover an Oral Torah.

Third, we find an interesting passage in the Torah that refutes the idea of a non-written Torah.

When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. (Exodus 24:3-4a)

Could it be any clearer? God shared all His laws with Moses and then Moses wrote down everything. In the Hebrew it says Kol Div’re Adonia—all the words of the Lord. There was no secret Oral Tradition; all was written. (Here are a few more passages you can reference: Deuteronomy 30:10, 31:9, 24, 26, and Joshua 1:8).

And fourth, one primary reason the Word of God needed to be put down in words was to protect Israel from deception. An Oral Torah would have led to all kinds of duplicity and many would have changed it for their own purposes. Keep in mind, the Children of Israel, my ancestors, went through many periods where they forsook the Lord. Not only would an Oral Law have been abused by leaders during such a time—it would have been eventually ignored and utterly forgotten.

Ron Cantor, Four Proofs there was no Oral Torah

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Notes On The Peshitta Manuscript

"The Peshitta is a collection of Aramaic manuscripts of the Bible. Aramaic was the most common “shared language” among people of the Near East and Middle East for many centuries. This includes the years immediately before and after the earthly ministry of Jesus. For this reason, the Peshitta was an important early translation of the Bible, widely distributed and widely used. The earliest available manuscripts date to the AD 400s.

The Peshitta is the primary text used in Syriac churches, which use the Aramaic language during religious services. These churches are often accused of holding to Nestorianism, though that description is often disputed.

Based on manuscript and language evidence, scholars are overwhelmingly convinced that the Peshitta dates from well after the time period of Jesus and the apostles. The Peshitta’s language obscures certain types of metaphor or wordplay. This is common in translated texts but is abnormal in an original manuscript. The particular dialect of Aramaic used in the Peshitta is from an era later than that of Jesus. For these reasons among others, it is certain that the New Testament was not originally written in Aramaic, but in Greek."

https://www.gotquestions.org/Peshitta.html

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Glorious Light Of The Gospel

        "Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even though our gospel is veiled, it is veiled for those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2-4)

        The message of the gospel is not unintelligible nonsense, but rather is lucid and powerful. It is a spiritual compass that points the lost in the direction of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. The proclamation of the gospel contains no falsehood or deception. This divine revelation from God is the way of holiness.

        However, there are many people in this world who vehemently resist Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who do not repent will perish. Satan, the god of this world, has blinded the minds of unbelievers. People are lost not because the truth of the gospel is in some way ambiguous or hidden, but that they have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

        In order to inherit the kingdom of God, we must be born again. Our hearts must be transformed through the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We must experience genuine conversion of heart. The gospel of the glory of Christ shines on those who believe.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Roman Catholic Mary Worship

        Following are a few excerpts from a Roman Catholic devotional prayer book titled "Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help" (pages 38-39), which contains extremely idolatrous prayers to Mary from "Saint" Alphonsus Liguori:

        "Come then to my help, dearest Mother, for I recommend myself to thee. In my hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants, take me under thy protection and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing not from my sins because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them nor from the devils because thou art more powerful than all Hell together nor even Jesus my Judge Himself, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased. But one thing I fear that in the hour of temptation I may neglect to call on thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me then the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance and grace always to have recourse to thee O Mother of Perpetual Help."

        "Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin and My Mother Mary, to thee, who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the World, the Advocate, the Hope and the Refuge of Sinners I have recourse today, I who am the most miserable of all. I render thee my most humble homage O Great Queen and I thank thee for the graces thou hast obtained for me until now and in particular for having saved me from Hell which I have so often deserved. I love thee, o most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always and to do all in my power to make others also love thee. I place in thee all my opes and I confide my salvation to thy care."

        "Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin! O my Mother! Thou who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, hope, and refuge of sinners! I, the most wretched among them, now come to thee. I worship thee, great Queen, and give thee thanks for the many favors thou hast bestowed on my in the past; most of all do I thank thee for having saved me from hell, which I had so often deserved. I love thee, Lady most worthy of all love, and, by the love which I bear thee, I promise ever in the future to serve thee, and to do what in me lies to win others to thy love. In thee I put all my trust, all my hope of salvation. Receive me as thy servant, and cover me with the mantle of thy protection, thou who art the Mother of mercy! And since thou hast so much power with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the grace ever to overcome them. From thee I ask a true love of Jesus Christ, and the grace of a happy death. O my Mother! By thy love for God I beseech thee to be at all times my helper, but above all at the last moment of my life. Leave me not until thou seest me safe in heaven, there for endless ages to bless thee and sing thy praises. Such is my hope. Amen."

The Moral Argument Against Evolution

        Modern day atheists are prone to argue that human morality has developed as a result of the process called natural selection. It is claimed that our moral standards are simply genetic chemical compounds that are shaped according to evolutionary needs. In other words, the formation of human morality is supposedly prompted by the conditions of current physical surroundings, in the same sense that the physical components of the body adapt to environmental changes. The naturalistic worldview maintains that our morals have developed by mere chance. In short, evolutionists claim that continually changing behavioral patterns are what morality consists of. Adherents of this so-called new science called evolutionary psychology believe that everything regarding the human personality can be explained adequately by evolutionary forces.

        On the contrary, there is not a particle of reliable experimental evidence suggesting that our moral standards are nothing more than random molecule combinations. In fact, it is illogical to the highest degree to equate moral standards with physical adaptations that can evolve in response to environmental conditions. If our moral codes were determined individually by our chromosomal makeup, then how could we reward or condemn the actions of other people? If no distinction is made between mankind and the animal kingdom, then why should we be disgusted when people engage in acts of bestiality? Why not love our pets rather than friends and relatives? Why not act uncivilized as do wild animals? Why even wear clothing? How does one account for the existence of human reason and free will? Those two truths are regarded as self-evident. These so-called evolutionary explanations are simply imaginary, subjective, hypothetical constructs. It is not coherent philosophy because it is not consonant with the reality of our nature. Evolutionary theory cannot account for how or why we ought to be moral beings.

        Before moving on, we must we must ask ourselves what constitutes the principles of morality? How can we properly describe morality? First of all, we know that moral laws are not concrete objects, but rather are abstract realities that can only be grasped through mental perception. Moral rules are completely invisible, intangible entities. They are not chemical or biological. Moral laws are spiritual and intellectual propositions that are communicated from the mind of one individual to another. Moral laws have been internally inscribed into our hearts by God (whether a person has the mental capacity to understand those moral laws is another question). They make us capable of formulating rational distinctions between good and evil. Not only do human beings naturally feel obligated to obey these moral codes, but we also feel guilty when we choose to violate them. Lastly, it is important to note that exterior conduct in itself does not prescribe us with a pattern of sound morality to follow, but rather offers us a description of various moral patterns. Although external behaviors can reveal interior motives of the human heart, this objective standard of morality governs our behavior because it judges whether it is good or bad.

        The evolutionary worldview, by definition, fails to give account for the existence of transcendent moral laws. We must not adhere to the "survival of the fittest" worldview, for it is utterly selfish. The inherent self-centered design of the Evolutionary Theory opens the door to much persecution and discrimination of the so-called low classed, minority parties of our society. Not only does evolution leave absolutely no room for objective reasons for protecting the vulnerable, but the notion of natural selection is also totally indifferent to the suffering, weak people of this world. This negative mindset flatly collides with how we should be thinking and acting toward other people. This worldview gives no objective reason for us to do good. The fact that we are able to choose acting in a morally sound manner is irrelevant. Society can still adopt the abhorrent lifestyles logically contained within the dark confines of Darwinism. If there is no objective moral standards existing for us to abide by, then why should we not choose to act evil? What is evil? Why should we really care what other people think? If we are going to educate our children into believing that they are animals, then they will also behave in that fashion. And all the evidence of this is found in our modern society.

        If, on the other hand, there exists objective moral laws that are transcendent to the laws of nature, then it logically follows from the premise of the argument that there must also be a supernatural Law Giver. It follows that we can differentiate between the boundaries of good and evil. It follows that we actually have a purpose in life. It follows that life has value and meaning. It follows that we have rationality, intelligence, consciousness, and emotions. These things can only exist, if a supernatural Law Giver placed them into the innermost part of our being, the soul. But none of these significant features of human life can be accounted for, if the evolutionary worldview is correct. Morality is the foundation for all building blocks in life, truth establishes all principles which form the basis of morality, and only through God that we can have such things. If naturalistic evolution is true, then any concept of objective moral laws, meaning, love, and hope are empty illusions. If naturalists continue on chiseling the concept of personhood in accordance with their materialistic philosophy, then they will inevitably be rendering our unique characteristics to mere projections of the human mind. The deconstruction of reality is a dangerous thing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Scientific Evidences For Biblical Inspiration

       Despite the fact that the Bible was never meant to be a scientific textbook, it does furnish mankind in all things pertaining to faith and morals. Moreover, unanimously accepted, fundamental laws of science lend great support to biblical accuracy. In other words, no scientific principle stands in contradiction to the teachings of Scripture. Thus, we have evidence assuring us that the Bible as we possess it today is indeed the written Word of God. Following are a few examples of biblical teaching to demonstrate consistency with the realm of modern science:
            
            1.) The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1)
            2.) The earth is round, not flat (Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22; Amos 9:6)
            3.) The water cycle (Job 26:8; 36:27-28; Ecclesiastes 1:6-7; Isaiah 55:10)
            4.) Ocean currents (Psalm 8:8)
            5.) The earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7)
            6.) The stars are innumerable (Genesis 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22)
            7.) Recognizes the nature of health, illness, and principles of sanitation (Leviticus 12-14)
            8.) Blood circulation (Leviticus 17:11)
            9.) All races have descended from one blood (Acts 17:26)