Saturday, September 30, 2017

Thought-Provoking Quote From Sherlock Holmes

  • This saying about remaining unbiased when searching for truth is extremely valuable, especially when applied to situational contexts where atheists preposterously try to deny the validity of miracles or explain away any miraculous occurrences:
          -“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, British Author (1859-1930)

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Theological Discussion On Eternal Security

  • Introduction:
          -The well-known doctrine of eternal security, which is also known as once saved always saved, is a hotly debated topic among professing Christians. While many Protestants adhere to the theological position that a Christian can never lose his or her salvation after conversion, others maintain that a believer can undeniably cease to be a child of God due to practicing sin or apostasy. Thus, members from both sides of this doctrinal controversy have set forth various arguments from a number of different biblical passages which seemingly offer support for their respective positions. There are godly Christians on both sides of this debate, and we all agree that justification is by faith alone. Nonetheless, this article aims to give some commentary on various arguments used in defending the doctrine of eternal security.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:15 Does Not Prove The Doctrine Of Once Saved Always Saved:
          -Although this text is not the most frequently cited in defense of eternal security, some have used it as a proof-text for their position. 1 Corinthians 3:15 can be a somewhat difficult passage to address because of its complex allegorical nature. Opponents of conditional security argue that since God "burns" all the poor quality works that do not stand up to His judgment, salvation must be unconditional because the people involved remain saved.
            +While this Scripture passage describes in detail what takes place at the judgment seat of Christ, and even provides us with great assurance of salvation, this text still does not grant validity to this teaching. 1 Corinthians 3:15 places the condition of remaining on Christ as the sole foundation of our overall association with the gospel (v. 10-11). If people do not abide in the Lord Jesus Christ, then how could they still have Him? How could they rightly claim to be saved? This Bible verse offers no justification for the doctrine of eternal security, any more than it serves as biblical evidence for the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:5 Offers No Scriptural Support For The Doctrine Of Eternal Security:
          -Proponents of once saved always saved have interpreted the text of 1 Corinthians 5:5 to mean that God may destroy a person's mortal flesh in order to prevent his or her spirit from departing from His divine grace.
             +If it is impossible for a Christian to lose his or her salvation, then why would God need to destroy the physical body of the sinner? And why is it that God will erase the names of people from His Book of Life (Exodus 32:33; Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 69:28;  Revelation 22:19)? Can a genuinely saved Christian willfully take the mark of the Beast, and still remain justified in God's sight (Revelation 13:12-19; 14:9-12; 19:20)? None of this makes any sense. The New American Bible Revised Edition has this insightful footnote:

             "[5:5] Deliver this man to Satan: once the sinner is expelled from the church, the sphere of Jesus’ lordship and victory over sin, he will be in the region outside over which Satan is still master. For the destruction of his flesh: the purpose of the penalty is medicinal: through affliction, sin’s grip over him may be destroyed and the path to repentance and reunion laid open. With Paul’s instructions for an excommunication ceremony here, contrast his recommendations for the reconciliation of a sinner in 2 Cor 2:5–11."
  • 1 John 2:19 And The Doctrine Of Eternal Security:
          -Proponents of the belief that authentic Christians cannot fall away from God’s grace after spiritual conversion oftentimes rely on this text to substantiate their claim that backsliders were “never really saved to begin with”. These people interpret the “they” mentioned in 1 John 2:19 as being a reference to people who have never committed their lives to Jesus Christ or fully accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Though this argument sounds absolutely brilliant from a superficial standpoint, it has many logical flaws:
             +This argument derived from the text of 1 John 2:19 is problematic because the word “they” has been misapplied by defenders of eternal security. In truth, this text is speaking of people who are identified in context as “Antichrists” (v. 18), not so-called Christians who fell away from the faith. These people were not “of us” because they were “Antichrists”—people who outrightly teach contrary to the gospel. Consider these words, "Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions." (Acts 15:24) "Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son." (1 John 2:22)
             +This claim flies right in the face of many Scriptures that clearly state that a person can lose his or her salvation. In other words, professing Christians who subscribe to the doctrine of eternal security have the burden of interpreting passages such as Galatians 5:4 and Colossians 1:23 to mean the exact opposite of how they naturally read. If it is true that those who appear to have “lost their salvation” were “never really saved to begin with”, then it follows that the verses should say “never attached because of a lack of belief”, “never had grace in the first place”, and “never had the hope held out in the gospel”. But the logical conclusion of this defense used by eternal security proponents is flatly contradicted by Bible verses such as the ones previously listed, for they clearly denote a loss of salvation. In simplest terms, the underlying reasoning of this once saved always saved apologetic is: “If you can obtain X, then you cannot lose X; and if you lose X you never really possessed X.” Does that even make any sense? And how can anybody stake conclusive declarations about another person's state of heart (as is done by proponents of eternal security who resort to this argument), when Scripture states that only God knows the hearts of man (1 Kings 8:37-39)? This defense of eternal security is not even consistent with itself, considering that it undermines us even having assurance of salvation in the first place.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Why Discernment Matters

        In today's world, Christians can easily find themselves overwhelmed by a forest of different ideological mindsets that condemn biblical morals, values, and principles. As a matter of fact, we can readily see the uprising of perverse concepts through the television programs propagated by the media, the development of new world religions, and the moral relativism that has been introduced into our educational system. These things can all prove to be detrimental to the growth of Christianity, if nobody is willing or able to take a stand for the Cause of Christ. It is therefore vital for us to establish for ourselves a solidly biblical worldview so that we can correctly understand what is taking place around us. We need to learn discernment because this process is the foundation for all morality, and doing what is most pleasing to God. For the Scriptures declare, "let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance" (Proverbs 1:5).

        What is discernment, and how can implementing this procedure affect our daily lives? Firstly, it should be noted that discernment is not merely differentiating between the boundaries of right and wrong. It does not only involve contrasting between righteousness and unrighteousness. Though discernment involves reproving error, this process also formulates distinctions between right and almost right. Correct discernment helps us to recognize the distinctions among good, better, and best. These categories are clearly not the same, and we should thereby not be allowing ourselves to perceive them as being synonymous. The point is, being almost right is not good enough, for that still allows room for making improvements in our daily decisions. We should always strive to act in the godliest manner as possible in all situations. Ultimately, the scope of discernment is to glorify God through speaking, acting, and thinking in accordance to His will. It is about seeking God, rather than comparing ourselves to other fallible men who bear little or no resemblance of His character.

         Not only does discernment point us in the right direction in the maze of life, but the process also makes us view things for the way that they really are. Reality is not shaped in accordance to how we want it to be. Neither does discernment operate on blind trust, since it works to obtain certainty. And we need to doubt in order to obtain certainty. The process of discernment investigates all the presented options in any given scenario by eliminating all other possible choices to reach a final verdict on which choice is morally best for us to make. It points to what God wants for us. He is a God of love, hope, peace, mercy, truth, and righteousness. He works in our best interests. Therefore, He gave us the gift of reason so that we could properly exercise discernment and recognize what paths we should choose to take in life. At this point, it needs to be said that the ability to discern increases as the Christian matures spiritually (Hebrews 5:13-14). Furthermore, we learn to discern God's will for us through continual biblical study and prayer. From the aforementioned statements, it follows that we should be using our available powers of discernment to assist those who are vulnerable, naive, or gullible. The process of discernment should be used to enrich the seeds of faith in the psychological soils of other people. It should be used to fulfill our obligation of knowing, loving, and serving God.

         Now that the concept of making the most ethical judgments possible has been expounded in depth, it is appropriate to discuss how utilizing principles of discernment can positively impact our lives. In order to discern what God wills for us, we need to fully examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). We also need to reject all spirits that come to us that do not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:1-4). If we keep God's commandments through holding fast by faith in what He has accomplished for us, then we can rest assured that He will stand with us through our quandaries. He will build us up by indwelling in us the presence of the Holy Spirit. He will even use us as instruments to fulfill His goals here on earth. If we learn to discern correctly, then everything else in life will fall into place. Everything will have a purpose. Everything will have light. Everything will have intrinsic value. But we need to turn from our earthly ways before we can even think of learning how to correctly discern, for discernment is a gift from God. Trusting in God is the key to unlocking the door of peace "that transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Discernment is a gift from God to aid us in sanctification, that is, in the lifelong process of us becoming more like our Lord Jesus Christ.

         This essay has described in depth the importance of discernment, and the effects of adhering to a strictly biblical worldview. The ultimate aim of discernment is to glorify God through the transformation of our character to be holy as He is holy. Truth is like a ring; once we wield it, our paths will become illuminated by the Holy Spirit. We must learn to make the best moral choices as possible by weighing the holiness of our decisions to the clear and pure fountain of the Word which springs forth from the Holy Spirit of God. If there was no such thing as the application of ethical judgement of what takes place within our minds or anything externally, then the notion of a peaceful world would also be nonexistent. Discernment is the foundation for all virtue. Without it, everything would be in an incessant state of hopeless anarchy. Our purpose in this life is to know, love, and serve God with the intention of spending eternity with Him in the afterlife. We should be pleasing to Him. So Christians actually do need to make learning discernment a top priority in their lives.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Immanuel Kant On The Immortality Of The Soul

Pure practical reason postulates the immortality of the soul, for reason in the pure and practical sense aims at the perfect good (summum bonum), and this perfect good is only possible on the supposition of the soul's immortality. It is the moral law which determines the will, and in his will the perfect harmony of the mind with the moral law is the supreme condition of the summum bonum.

The principle of the moral destination of our nature--that only by endless progress can we come into full harmony with the moral law--is of the greatest use, not only for fortifying the speculative reason, but also with respect to religion. In default of this, either the moral law is degraded from its holiness, being represented as indulging our convenience, or else men strain after an unattainable aim, hoping to gain absolute holiness of will, thus losing themselves in fanatical theosophic dreams utterly contradicting self-knowledge.

For a rational, but finite, being the only possibility is an endless progression from the lower to the higher degrees of perfection. The Infinite Being, to whom the time condition is nothing, sees in this endless succession the perfect harmony with the moral law.

The Existence of God

The pure practical reason must also postulate the existence of God as the necessary condition of the attainment of the summum bonum. As the perfect good can only be promoted by accordance of the will with the moral law, so also this summum bonum is possible only through the supremacy of an Infinite Being possessed of causality harmonising with morality. But the postulate of the highest derived good (sometimes denominated the best world) coincides with the postulate of a highest original good, or of the existence of God.

We now perceive why the Greeks could never solve their problem of the possibility of the summum bonum, because they made the freedom of the human will the only and all-sufficient ground of happiness, imagining there was no need for the existence of God for that end. Christianity alone affords an idea of the summum bonum which answers fully to the requirement of practical reason. That idea is the Kingdom of God.

The holiness which the Christian law requires makes essential an infinite progress. But just for that very reason it justifies in man the hope of endless existence. And it is only from an Infinite Supreme Being, morally perfect, holy, good and with an omnipotent will, that we can hope, by accord with His will, to attain the summum bonum, which the moral law enjoins on us as our duty to seek ever to attain.

The moral law does not enjoin on us to render ourselves happy, but instructs us how to become worthy of happiness. Morality must never be regarded as a doctrine of happiness, or direction how to become happy, its province being to inculcate the rational condition of happiness, not the means of attaining it. God's design in creating the world is not primarily the happiness of the rational beings in it, but the summum bonum, which super-adds another condition to that desire of human beings, namely, the condition of deserving such happiness. That is to say, the morality of rational beings is a condition which alone includes the rule by observing which they can hope to participate in happiness at the hand of an all-wise Creator.

The highest happiness can only be conceived as possible under conditions harmonising with the divine holiness. Thus they are right who make the glory of God the chief end of creation. For beyond all else that can be conceived, that glorifies God which is the most estimable thing in the whole world, honour for His command and obedience to His law, when to this is added His glorious design to crown so beauteous an order of things with happiness corresponding.


Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder--the starry heavens above me, and the moral law within me. I need not search for them, and vaguely guess concerning them, as if they were veiled in darkness or hidden in the infinite altitude. I see them before me, and link them immediately with the consciousness of my existence. The former begins from the spot I occupy in the outer world of sense, and enlarges my connexion with it to a boundless extent with worlds upon worlds and systems of systems.

The second begins with my invisible self, my personality, and places me in a truly infinite world traceable only by the understanding, with which I perceive I am in an universal and necessary connexion, as I am also thereby with all those visible worlds.

This view infinitely elevates my value as an intelligence by my personality, in which the moral law reveals to me a life independent of the animal and even the whole material world, and reaching by destiny into the infinite.

But though admiration may stimulate inquiry, it cannot compensate for the want of it. The contemplation of the world, beginning with the most magnificent spectacle possible, ended in astrology; and morality, beginning with the noblest attribute of human nature, ended in superstition. But after reason was applied to careful examination of the phenomena of nature a clear and unchangeable insight was secured into the system of the world. We may entertain the hope of a like good result in treating of the moral capacities of our nature by the help of the moral judgement of reason.

The World's Greatest Books (Philosophy and Economics), p.41-44

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Review Of Candida Moss' Myth Of Persecution

"Despite the author’s considerable erudition, this is a deeply flawed book, a work of revisionist history. One might judge that conservative Christians in the West have sometimes overplayed the persecution card, but they have not created instances of cultural hostility out of whole cloth, and they certainly did not create the “Age of the Martyrs” out of thin air. More important, Moss largely overlooks modern Christianity in the two-thirds world, especially in the Middle East and in Communist states. Here we find not just cultural insensitivity but old-fashioned persecution: arrests, beatings, and decapitations. Exactly one week after the publication of Moss’s book, another book came out: Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians , authored by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea. They document persecution in about forty different countries. Moss’s opening story about the bombing of the Coptic Church in Alexandria is part of that reality, but the fact that Moss uses this story to launch a criticism, in effect, of the rhetoric of the Coptic victims rather than the actions of the jihadist perpetrators is grotesque."

Various Ways People Interpret The Bible

Monday, September 18, 2017

Liberal Democracy Is Like Communism

"[H]e is able to demonstrate that liberal democracy, as it has developed in recent decades, shares a number of alarming features with communism. Both are utopian and look forward to “an end of history” where their systems will prevail as a permanent status quo. Both are historicist and insist that history is inevitably moving in their directions. Both therefore require that all social institutions—family, churches, private associations—must conform to liberal-democratic rules in their internal functioning. Because that is not so at present, both are devoted to social engineering to bring about this transformation. And because such engineering is naturally resisted, albeit slowly and in a confused way, both are engaged in a never-ending struggle against enemies of society (superstition, tradition, the past, intolerance, racism, xenophobia, bigotry, etc., etc). In short, like Marxism before it, liberal democracy is becoming an all-encompassing ideology that, behind a veil of tolerance, brooks little or no disagreement."

John O’Sullivan, Forward to Ryszard Legutko’s book, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Praying To Departed Saints Is Unbiblical

  • Introduction: 
          -The Roman Catholic Church (and a few others) teach that we can pray to and receive help from certain saints (and even angels) in heaven. In other words, many professing Christians maintain that God has appointed a heavenly figure to offer assistance for pretty much every aspect of human life (one figure for each minuscule category).
  • The Bible Teaches That All Christians Are Saints: 
          -The Church of Rome maintains that "saints" are a select group of deceased faithful Catholics whom it recognizes as worthy of "saintly veneration" through the processes of beatification and canonization. In other words, only a very small group of special, faithful, dead Roman Catholics qualify to be considered as "saints" (with a capital s) by the approval of the pope.
          -On the contrary, the Bible clearly teaches that all Christians are saints. This includes every follower of God; the living and the dead. The New Testament occupies the term "saint" or "saints" over sixty-seven times in reference to all believers, without any kind of distinction. Consider, for instance, that every living Christian at the Church of Corinth was called a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2). Every living Christian in Rome was called to be a saint (Romans 1:7). The average Christian in the Church of Philippi was called a saint, along with all of the bishops and deacons (Philippians 1:1). The Apostle Paul did not write an epistle to dead saints at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1). The same is equally true with the epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 1:1-2).
  • A Practice That Is Not Consistent With The Biblical Pattern Of Prayer:
          -Throughout Scripture, there are literally dozens of references to prayer (Matthew 6:6-14; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 11:1-4; John 14:14; John 17; Psalm 25; 2 Samuel 7:18-29; 1 Kings 8; Colossians 3:16-17; Acts 7:51-58; James 1:5-6; Romans 10:1; 15:30; etc.), and all were directed to Him alone. Furthermore, the theme of the Bible is trusting in God alone (Matthew 6:25-34; Jeremiah 33:3; Isaiah 48:17-18; Psalm 23; 50:15; 71:1; 91:15; Joshua 1:1-6; Ephesians 5:19-20; John 16:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31; etc.). We have no examples in the Bible of calling on entities other than God, with the exception being pagans. We never see God approving of the practice of praying to departed saints. Instead, we are told that God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 24:4; Nahum 1:2). He will therefore tolerate no idolatry. If we are going to be consistent with the principles of Scripture (which we need to be), then we are forced to conclude that all prayer and devotion belongs to God alone. The Scriptures declare, "Whom have I in heaven but You. And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:25-26).
  • Can Believers In Heaven Really Hear Us?:
          -It is impossible for finite beings with inherently limited abilities to simultaneously hear the requests of every person around the world in different languages. Only deity can perform such tasks.
          -Notice that in Scripture, all occasions involving two-way communication between/among beings from heaven (with the exception, or course, being God our Creator) and earth required the creations to be in the same realm (earth on earth communication), rather than being in two separate realms (heaven to earth contact is never found in Scripture for mere finite beings). Consider the examples of the Announcement of the Birth of Jesus Christ and the Transfiguration. This is perhaps the clearest implication that saints who are in heaven are incapable of hearing prayer requests, let alone intercede on our behalf.
  • Unnecessary Assistance:
          -We do not need any support from Mary and the saints in heaven because Jesus Christ always intercedes for our prayer requests and is therefore capable of rescuing sinners from eternal condemnation in hell (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength that we need during our times of spiritual weakness and also prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26). We can approach God with "boldness" and "confidence" as a result of our trust in the Person and work of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:14-16).
          -Only God is omnipotent and omnipresent. Only He knows all of the thoughts and intentions of the human heart (1 Kings 8:37-39; 2 Chronicles 6:30). Only the Lord has unlimited powers. Therefore, praying to the saints in heaven to grant our prayer requests is pointless because they do not have the same attributes that God has. They are finite, whereas God is eternal.
  • Why The Charge That Roman Catholics Are Guilty Of Necromancy Is Correct:
          -The Church of Rome is notorious for its continuous engagement with the souls of people who died in centuries past. Roman Catholic Churches across the globe boldly display dressed up corpses in clear glass or plastic cases. In fact, they even go as far as to publicly display individual organs and bones in the same manner. This has been done with pride by the leaders of Roman Catholicism. Annually, millions of Catholics go to behold various corpses, some of which have been called "incorruptible saints". In other words, the followers of the pope bow down before these cadavers, kiss on them, pray to them, and give them many other forms of adoration. There are Catholic churches that display thousands of human remains, and a handful of so-called sanctuaries are seemingly made out of bones! Such activity clearly resembles worship and is often found in the occult. However, God expressly commanded the Jewish culture to not have any sort of contact with the spirits who have departed into the supernatural realm (Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 26:13-14 Leviticus 19:31; 1 Samuel 28:6-11; 1 Chronicles 10:9-14; Isaiah 19:1-4). Furthermore, the Levitical Law expressly disapproved of tampering with dead carcasses (Numbers 19:16). As a matter of fact, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself likened the Scribes and Pharisees unto "whitewashed tombs" (Matthew 23:27), which was no small offense in Jewish culture. All of this clearly shows us that God views the notion of tampering with the deceased in any way as being abominable, but Roman Catholicism continues to actively engage and promote meddling with the souls of the deceased. This is the underlying reason that we correctly lay the charge that Roman Catholics are guilty of partaking in necromancy. There are no prayers for, to, or through the dead.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Biblical Evidence For Penal Substitutionary Atonement

  • Defining Vicarious Atonement:
          -Vicarious Atonement, which is also known as substitutionary atonement, means that Jesus Christ died in our place for sin. He bore the punishment of God's wrath that we deserve. He suffered in our place. He paid an infinite debt that we could never pay. The one sacrifice of Christ was a perfect, eternal sacrifice which satisfied God's wrath and righteousness. Justification is not by works of righteousness, but by faith (Romans 3:27-28).
  • We Are Declared Righteous Through The Righteousness Of Jesus Christ:
          -"The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification." (Romans 5:16)
          -"For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)
  • We Are Justified By An Alien Righteousness, That Is, The Righteousness Of God:
          -"But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile." (Romans 3:21-22)
          -"Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness." (Romans 10:3)
  • Jesus Christ Became Righteousness, Holiness, And Redemption On Our Behalf Through His Atonement Sacrifice:
          -"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ Took The Curse Of Sin On Our Behalf:
          -"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (Galatians 3:13)
  • Our Righteousness Is Based On The Righteousness Of Christ:
          -"Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness." (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
          -"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." (Philippians 3:8-9)
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ Took Our Punishment On Our Behalf:
          -But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:9)
          -"And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." (Hebrews 10:10-14)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Presentation Of C.S. Lewis' Trilemma

  • Introduction:
          -This traditional argument which was originally developed and popularized by University of Oxford literary scholar C.S. Lewis has been used by apologists to demonstrate that the Lord Jesus Christ is in actuality the Son of God. In short, this logical proof aims to expose the absurdity of simultaneously upholding the position that Christ was a good moral teacher, yet not divine. It presents the man Jesus Christ as being one of three possible alternatives: 1.) liar, 2.) lunatic, or 3.) Lord. This argument developed by C.S. Lewis eliminates two of the possible character descriptions of Christ in order to obtain the conclusion that He is Lord. It has been labeled a "trilemma" because it presents us with three options, with one we must accept.
  • Formation Of C.S. Lewis' Trilemma:
          -"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. . . . Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God." (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 55-56)
  • For Those Who Claim That The Gospel Accounts Were Legends, Consider The Following Excerpt From C.S. Lewis' Essay written in 1950 Titled "What Are We to Make of Jesus?":
          -"Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend and I am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing. They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view they are clumsy, they don’t work up to things properly. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us, as is the life of anyone else who lived at that time, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so. Apart from bits of the Platonic dialogues, there is no conversation that I know of in ancient literature like the Fourth Gospel. There is nothing, even in modern literature, until about a hundred years ago when the realistic novel came into existence."

The Principle Reason We Cannot Accept Roman Catholic Mariology

"...the Roman Catholic doctrine on Mary has gone well beyond Scripture. But even the great Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas affirmed that "only the canonical Scriptures are normative for faith" (Commentary on John 21, lect. 6). In going beyond Scripture in their teachings about Mary, Roman Catholics have threatened Scripture as the sole authority for the faith. This is one reason why those dedicated to the principle of Sola Scriptura cannot avoid addressing the issue."

Dr. Norman Geisler's forward to the book titled The Cult of the Virgin: Catholic Mariology and the Apparitions of Mary by Elliot Miller and Kenneth R. Samples

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Translator Notes Of The Original King James Version Refute King James Onlyism

  • Introduction:
          -Quite simply, the purpose of this article is to reveal that the original translators of the King James Bible in 1611 did not have the same mindset as do the modern King James only advocates. Consider the following excerpts from the Translator to the Reader or preface of this translation.
  • The Original King James Bible Translators Believed That It Was Wise To Occupy A Variety Of Different Translations:
              -“For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption. Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: [S. Aug. 2. de doctr. Christian. cap. 14.] so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is no so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.”
    • The Translators Of The King James Version Believed That Even The Poorest Translation Was The Word Of God:
              -“we do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession...containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the King's speech, which he uttereth in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King's speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere."
    • The King James Version Translators Only Believed In The Divine Inspiration Of The Original Biblical Manuscripts, Not In Their Own Work:
              -"The original there being from heaven, not from the earth, the author’s being God, not man, the editor, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the apostles."
    • The King James Version Translators Did Not Condemn Having Other Bible Translations:
               -"Do we condemn the ancient?… We are so far from condemning any of their labors, that translated before us, either in this land or beyond the sea. We acknowledge them to have been raised up of God for the building and furnishing of His church."
    • The Original King James Version Translators Did Not Believe That Having Different Translations Of The Bible Negatively Impacted Doctrine:
               -"It hath pleased God in his divine providence, here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern salvation, (for in such it hath been vouched that the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less moment."

    Papal Infallibility Refuted

    • Defining Papal Infallibility:
              -The Church of Rome teaches that the Pope cannot pronounce doctrinal error when making official declarations from his chair in matters pertinent to faith and morals ("ex-cathedra"). In other words, Roman Catholicism maintains that the head Roman bishop cannot error when speaking in his fullest capacity, and not as a mere private theologian. Also, it is believed that the entire body of legitimate Roman Catholic bishops, who constitute the teaching office commonly known as the "Magisterium," cannot error when they unanimously agree on a doctrine formally defined by the their leader. In short, this is what knowledgeable Roman Catholics mean when they speak of their church hierarchy as being infallible.
    • The Words Of Martin Luther At The Diet Of Worms, While Still A Roman Catholic Priest:
              -"Unless I am convinced by the testimonies of Scripture or evident reason for I do not believe either Pope or councils alone, since it is certain that they have both erred frequently and contradicted themselves...I neither can nor wish to revoke anything."
    • A Quotation From A Speech Written By Roman Catholic Bishop Strossmayer From Croatia In Opposition To The Official Proclamation Of Papal Infallibility As Dogma In 1870 A.D. At The First Vatican Council:
              -“I conclude victoriously, with history, with reason, with logic, with good sense, and with Christian conscience, that Jesus Christ did not confer any supremacy on Peter, and that the bishops of Rome did not become sovereigns of the church, but only by confiscating one by one all the rights of the episcopate.” ("Against Papal Infallibility”, Wittenberg Publications, 136 Main Street, Toronto Canada M4E 2V8. ISBN 0-921716-12-5)
    • Roman Catholic Scholars Frank K. Flinn And J. Gordon Melton Say That Many In The Church Of Rome Stood In Opposition To The Notion Of Papal Infallibility In 1870:
              -"In protest, 55 council members left Rome the day before the final vote. Amid widespread disagreement and protest over the council, those now known as OLD CATHOLICS separated from communion with Rome." (Frank K. Flinn, J. Gordon Melton, Encyclopedia of Catholicism, p. 621)
    • Papal Infallibility Is A False Doctrine Of Roman Catholicism Because History Has Shown Us That Popes Can Officially Teach Heresy:
              -If the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility is historical, then how could the Sixth Ecumenical Council officially anathematize Pope Honorius I (A.D. 625-638) for enforcing the heresy of Monotheletism (Christ had no human will) on the entire Christian church (his heretical proclamation began with, "We confess one will of our Lord Jesus Christ...”)?
    • Roman Catholic Tradition Cannot Simply Be Deemed Infallible Because It Continually Evolves:
              -Though Catholics do not want to hear this, it is a proven fact of history that the Church of Rome has placed into effect changeable, and even contradictory, church traditions. Examples would include, but are not limited to, Pope Gelasius denying the validity of the Mary's bodily assumption, upholding the notion that no one can be saved outside the Roman Catholic Church, and the denial of valid marriages to non-Catholics. In modern times, however, Rome has affirmed the exact opposite of the previously listed church traditions. In fact, Rome has referred to Protestants as "Separated Brethren." Recently decreed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church would include the immaculate conception of Mary (1854) and the assumption of Mary (1950).
    • There Inevitably Exists Circular Reasoning In The Operational Processes Of The Roman Catholic Hierarchy:
              -How can a Roman Catholic know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Church of Rome is infallible, and that it is the only true church which was originally established by our Lord Jesus Christ? How can one come to the conclusion that Rome's interpretation of Scripture is always correct? From the Catholic perspective, people must submit themselves to the authority claims of their church by resorting to the Catholic hierarchy's interpretations of Scripture and seeking its approval. In other words, the Church of Rome argues its validity by appealing to its own claims to having been sanctioned by God to govern Christianity. Thus, the pope wields the gift of infallibility through the power of the Holy Spirit "because he said so." Church historian Bruce Shelley once noted, "Up to the time of Constantine history offers no conclusive evidence that the bishop of Rome exercised jurisdiction outside of Rome. Honor, yes; jurisdiction, no." (Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, p. 151)

    Abominations In Roman Catholic History

    • Introduction:
              -Indeed, volumes could be written concerning the historical atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic Church. In other words, historians have confirmed the myriad of pernicious actions perpetrated by the Church of Rome such as crusades, inquisitions, schisms, the burning of Bibles, and even occurrences of religious persecution. All these things were done in contradiction to the commandments of love which were authored by our Lord Jesus Christ. However, this article will strictly be exposing the moral and political corruption that took place within the Catholic hierarchy during the Middle Ages. History reveals to us that the office of Pope was purchased, was forcefully revoked from predecessors by heathen kings, and even filled with prostitution.
    • Admissions From Roman Catholic Scholarship (quotes taken from this source):
              -“The worst period was from the ninth to the eleventh century when simony pervaded the monasteries, the lower clergy, the episcopacy, and even the papacy.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. XIII, page 228)
              -"To uproot the evil of simony so prevalent during the Middle Ages, the Church decreed the severest penalties against its perpetrators. Pope Julius II declared simoniacal papal elections invalid, an enactment which has since been rescinded, however, by Pope Pius X." (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, online, under “Simony.”)
              -"In the beginning, the Bishop of Rome was elected by the local clergy and laity along with neighboring bishops. In time, this process came under the influence of secular leaders with negative results. Influencing papal elections, powerful lords and kings hoped to manipulate the office of the papacy in order to advance their temporal ambitions." (The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, Liturgical Press, page 653)
              -“From the fourth to the eleventh century the influence of temporal rulers in papal elections reached its zenith… This civil intervention ranged from the approval of elected candidates to the actual nomination of candidates (with tremendous pressure exerted on the electors to secure their acceptance), and even to the extreme of forcible deposition and imposition.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. XI, page 572)
    • Ungodly Character Of Previous Popes In The Roman Catholic Church (quotes from here and onward have been used by permission from here):
              -“Sergius III (A.D. 904-911). Said to have had a mistress, Marozia. She, her mother Theodora, and her sister, ‘filled the Papal chair with their paramours and bastard sons, and turned the Papal Palace into a den of robbers.’ Called in history The Rule of the Harlots (904-963).
              -“…John X (914-928) ‘was brought from Ravenna to Rome and made Pope by Theodora for the more convenient gratification of her passion.’ He was smothered to death by Marozia, who, then, in succession, raised to the Papacy Leo VI (928-929), and Stephen VII (929-931), and John XI (931-936), her own illegitimate son. Another of her sons appointed the four following Popes, Leo VII (936-939), Stephen VIII (939-942), Martin III (942-946), and Agapetus II (946-955). John XII (955-963), a grandson of Marozia, was ‘guilty of almost every crime; violated virgins and widows, high and low; lived with his father’s mistress; made the Papal Palace a brothel; was killed while in the act of adultery by the woman’s enraged husband.’
              -“...Boniface VII (984-985), murdered Pope John XIV, and ‘maintained himself on the throne…by a lavish distribution of stolen money.’…
              -“Benedict VIII (1012-1024), bought the Office of Pope with open bribery. …
              -“John XIX (1024-1033), Bought the Papacy. He passed through all the necessary clerical degrees in one day.
              -“Benedict IX (1033-1045), was made Pope as a boy 12 years old, through a money bargain with the powerful families that ruled Rome. ‘Surpassed John XII in wickedness; committed murders and adulteries in broad daylight; robbed pilgrims on the graves of martyrs; a hideous criminal, the people drove him out of Rome.’ …
              -“Gregory VI (1045-1046), Bought the Papacy. …
              -“The Inquisition, called the ‘Holy Office,’ was instituted by Innocent III [1198-1216]….
              -“John XXIII (1410-1415), called by some the most depraved criminal who ever sat on the Papal Throne; guilty of almost every crime; as cardinal in Bologna, 200 maidens, nuns and married women fell victims to his amours; as Pope he violated virgins and nuns; lived in adultery with his brother’s wife, was guilty of sodomy and other nameless vices; bought the Papal Office; sold Cardinalates to children of wealthy families; and openly denied the future life….
              -“Pius II (1458-1464), was said to have been the father of many illegitimate children, spoke openly of the methods he used to seduce women….
              -“Sixtus IV (1471-1484). Sanctioned the Spanish Inquisition…. Was implicated in a plot to murder Lorenzo de Medici, and others opposed to his policies. Used the Papacy to enrich himself and his relatives. Made eight of his nephews Cardinals, while as yet some of them were mere boys….
              -"Innocent VIII (1484-1492). Had 16 children by various married women. Multiplied Church Offices and sold them for vast sums of money. Decreed the extermination of the Waldenses….
              -“Alexander VI (1492-1503), called the most corrupt of the Renaissance Popes, licentious, avaricious, depraved; bought the Papacy; made many new cardinals for money; had a number of illegitimate children, whom he openly acknowledged and appointed to high church office while they were yet children, who, with their father, murdered cardinals and others who stood in their way. Had for a mistress a sister of a Cardinal, who became next Pope, Pius III (1503)….
              -“Julius II (1503-1513)…with vast income from numerous bishoprics and church estates, bought the Papacy…."
              -“Paul III (1534-1549). Had many illegitimate children… (Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 24th Edition, pp.774-780)
    • Perverse Decrees Enforced By Papal Predecessors:
              -Liberius (352-366) said Jesus was less than God - the Son was less than the Father.
              -Innocent I (401-417) taught that un-baptized babies went directly to Hell.
              -Gelasius (492 -496) taught that baptized babies went to Hell if they never had communion.
              -Urban II (1088-1099) decreed that heretics were to be tortured and killed. This became a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.
              -Innocent III (1198-1216) stated that “Every cleric must obey the Pope, even if he commands what is evil; for no one may judge the Pope.” (Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides The Beast, p.86)
              -Boniface VIII (1294-1303) in his Bull Unam Sanctam in 1302,“claimed authority over all temporal powers, made absolute obedience to the pope a condition of salvation.” (Hunt, p.235)
              -Gregory XI (1370-1378) issued a decree in 1372 claiming “papal dominion over the entire Christian world, secular and religious, and excommunicated all who failed to obey the popes and to pay them taxes. [It] was confirmed by subsequent popes and in 1568 Pope Pius V swore that it was to remain an eternal law.” (Hunt, p.70)
              -Martin V (1417-1431) “commanded the King of Poland in 1429 to exterminate the Hussites” (Hunt, p.247)
              -Innocent VIII (1484-1492) granted a 20-year indulgence for “purchasing the privilege of eating favorite dishes during Lent and at other times of fasting. It was a way to be credited with fasting while indulging oneself in the richest of foods.” (Hunt, p.185)
              -“Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) claimed that all undiscovered lands belonged to the Roman Pontiff, for him to dispose of as he pleased in the name of Christ as His vicar.” (Hunt, p.70) This pope divided up most of the world between Spain and Portugal, except for North America, which was settled mostly by Protestants.
              -Clement XII (1730-1740) prescribed the death penalty for members of Freemasonry, as well as to those giving any sort of aid to them.
              -Pius IX (1846 -1878) in his 1864 Syllabus of Errors, decreed the union of Church and state, that Roman Catholicism must be the state religion everywhere, and that the Church may use force to compel obedience. He also reiterated that there was no salvation outside the Catholic church. It was he who declared the dogma of Papal Infallibility.
              -Pius X (1903-1914) said he could not sanction Jews going to Jerusalem because, “The Jews have not recognized our Lord; we cannot recognize the Jews.” (cited in Hunt, p.292)
              -Paul VI (1963-1978) told influential Hindu leader Sri Chinmoy, “The Hindu life and the Christian life shall go together. Your message and my message are the same.” (Hunt, p.417)
              -John Paul II (1978-2005) declared that images of saints have power: “A mysterious ‘presence’ of the transcendent Prototype seems as it were to be transferred to the sacred image…. The devout contemplation of such an image thus appears as a real and concrete path of purification of the soul of the believer…because the image itself, blessed by the priest…can in a certain sense, by analogy with the sacraments, actually be considered a channel of divine grace.”(Hunt, p.184)

    Friday, September 8, 2017

    Words Have Objective Meanings

    "If words have no objective meaning; and all interpretation lies in the mind of the reader (hearer), then the logical deduction is that communication is impossible. Additionally, the reasoning, logic, and pronouncements of the post-modernist proponents are just as preposterous as anyone else’s. If the content of their words have no meaning, apart from the meaning you or I choose to give them, then they have nothing meaningful to say."

    Gary E. Gilley, This Little Church Stayed Home: A Faithful Church in Deceptive Times, pg. 32

    Wednesday, September 6, 2017

    The True Meaning Of Being A Disciple Of Christ

              What does it mean to be a Christian, and how can we have assurance that our current state of heart qualifies as fulfilling the appropriate criterion of being one? Now, this question is not an application of some random faith plus works formula, but rather is an honest inquiry into what it takes to be an authentic disciple of Christ. This question of discernment can aid us in the process of distinguishing ourselves righteously from the common characteristics of the people who are not of God, especially when there are many who profess Christ but in reality are false prophets (Matthew 7:21-23). We know that there exists a great, constant spiritual battle that is taking place in this world between the forces of good and evil. To be precise, enmity exists between God and the devil. Though this intense opposition may not always be readily apparent to our fleshly eyes, we do know through divine revelation that we who are Christian need to spiritually equip ourselves. We need to build each other up in the faith. The Household of God needs to competently fight the good fight of faith through preaching and living out the gospel.

    To be a Christian means to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior from eternal condemnation in the literal flames of hell and to make Him Lord over every aspect of our lives. It means confessing the name of our Lord Jesus Christ publicly, and believing from the heart that He resurrected from the dead bodily (Romans 10:9-13). It is a call to faithfulness, rather than rebellion. It is call to holiness. It means serving God according to His will (John 14:15; 21). It involves placing Him above all kings and lords. To be a Christian means to stand up for what is right, regardless of what other people say or do. True Christians place their burdens on Him, instead of relying on their own futile efforts (Matthew 11:28-30). It means turning to Him for answers to all of the difficult questions in life. We need to emulate His constant example of wisdom. Christians depend on His strength, and turn to Him as their guide. Being a disciple of Christ requires that we act holy, as God is holy (Matthew 5:48). It involves us scrutinizing our thoughts (Matthew 5:28-30), words (Proverbs 13:3), and deeds (James 1:14-16). Being a Christian means departing from the ways of iniquity so as to serve God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). It involves denying oneself. Biblically defined Christians are people who have chosen to pick up their crosses and follow Christ through faith.

              True Christians make God the top priority of their lives. True Christians love God. True Christians know Him. True Christians serve Him. Only through His name are we able to get saved. We should be continually praising His name. According to Scripture, following Jesus Christ is of greater importance than burying the deceased (Luke 9:59-60). In other words, obedience to Him is more important than anything in this world. No sin is worth going to hell over. Being a disciple of Christ means boldly preaching His name, even in the midst of persecution. Thus, our spiritual state should be righteously different than the unbelievers that we encounter daily. Our candle of faith should be shining before all men. Our good works are the product of a changed heart. Our good works demonstrate the reality of our faith. Our works serve as convictable evidence of our Christian testimony. If we are not spiritually distinct from the people of this world, then how could we rightly profess the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who stands in contradiction to their beliefs, customs, and practices (James 4:4)? 

              If a person wishes to become a Christian, then he or she needs to trust in the sacrificial work of God. That is how we are adopted as His children. That is how we begin our relationship with God. That is how we begin our spiritual walk with the Lord. We faithfully keep God's commandments through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. If, however, we find ourselves acting uncharitably toward other people, ensnared in sin addictions, not studying the Word of God, or not somehow witnessing to unconverted souls, then something has become deficient in our spiritual walk. External behaviors are the thermostat of the human heart, which can mean that we are either becoming warmer (growing closer to Christ) or colder (drifting away from Christ). This is the underlying reason that we need to periodically examine ourselves in light of Scripture (2 Corinthians 13:5). Having a morally sound conscience that is well grounded in the Faith of Jesus Christ forms the basis of being one of His true disciples. Having a doctrinally sound worldview that is well grounded in the Faith of Jesus Christ forms the basis of being one of His true disciples. 

    Monday, September 4, 2017

    Debunking De Maria On Sola Scriptura

    • Introduction: 
              -Recently, I had posted a comment on a Roman Catholic blog, which is administered by a lay apologist who goes by the name of "De Maria", providing a myriad of biblical evidences for the doctrine of the Trinity. Well, his article was about defending the same doctrine, but strictly from a Catholic standpoint. And De Maria's response to my first post was a direct attack on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which is going to be dealt with in this article. This critique of De Maria's arguments is starting at my third comment (not the very beginning) on his blog, which is as follows:

              "Hi De Maria,

              Although I do not at this moment want to go off on a tangent regarding whether the Roman Papacy is of divine institution, I should still mention that none of the scriptural texts that you have cited above support your attempts to appendage extra-biblical oral tradition to the Bible. In other words, you have been constructing a case for the infallible authority of the Roman Catholic Church by practicing mere eisegesis. Neither can we submit to a "three-legged stool" that is full of internal contradictions.

               The teachings of Scripture and apostolic tradition are in reality mirror reflections of each other. Thus, the two are meant to be complimentary in nature, not supplementary. It is from the pages of Divine Scripture that we develop church customs, traditions, and doctrine (i.e. Trinity). It is from the pages of Scripture that the teachers of the church define doctrine and are tested, not from the consensus of other uninspired men who have fleshly, puffed-up minds. It is Scripture that is meant to serve as the infallible spiritual standard of authority for God's church, not man-made traditions.

                Now, it is impossible for you to come up with a process by which you can prove the validity of your inflated claims about Catholic tradition, apart from the fallacious circular reasoning committed by the leaders of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. In other words, all arguments that you use from interpreting Scripture or appealing to tradition are done on the basis that "your Church has declared them to be valid", and your church is "infallible" because she has interpreted Scripture and appealed to the same tradition as a means of self-support. In short, your entire argument for the authority claims of the Roman Catholic Church is that it is true "because it said so".

                In conclusion, you have not at all interacted with any of my claims, but have only repeatedly restated what you believe to be true about your own church (as though that is really evidence). You most certainly are entitled to hold your own opinions."

    • My Responses (Pink) To The Counterarguments of De Maria (Blue):
             "...that Sacred Tradition came before the New Testament. And this Sacred Tradition was passed down by Christ, through His Church. All you have for your side is denial of the truth (Matthew 28:16-20)."

              Okay, nobody denies that the New Testament Scriptures were originally taught orally. That is not problematic for the folks who believe in the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which states that Scripture alone is the only infallible spiritual standard for the Christian church to use. The problem here is that you are unable to come up with a spiritual standard that judges the validity of "Sacred Tradition", apart from the say-so of the Bishop of Rome (i.e. circular reasoning). How does De Maria even know that the Pope possesses the gift of infallibility? And his citation of the Great Comission passage from the Gospel of Matthew does not support his case, since all gospel tradition was incorporated into the pages of what we now call the New Testament. It is De Maria's side that is in denial of God's Truth.

              "On the contrary, the infallible authority of the Catholic Church is proven by Scripture. You can object all that you want, but Scripture doesn't advise us to go to Scripture alone to learn the Faith of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:7)..."

              In what manner does Scripture support the alleged infallible authority of the Catholic Church, apart from the interpretations of Scripture which Rome commands its members to use when questioned about their faith (i.e. circular reasoning)? And how can we submit to leaders in God's church, if we do not have an established standard to judge the validity of their claims? Even granting the premise that the Bible does not tell us to adhere to the Scriptures alone to learn the Faith of Jesus Christ, the principle of Sola Scriptura would still kick in by default because Scripture does not tell us to adhere to any other rule of faith as a means of testing doctrine. The only thing that the Bible calls "God-breathed" is itself (2 Timothy 3:16). Furthermore, Scripture contains the instructions that we need to follow in order to inherit eternal salvation with God in heaven, and states that it can equip the man of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Now, that sounds like "Scripture alone" to me!

              "No, Jesse. The Teachings of Scripture reflect Apostolic Tradition. Apostolic Tradition came first. The New Testament was written based upon the Teachings of Jesus Christ. Not the other way around."

              No, De Maria, you have utterly misunderstood what I have said here. The Bible has rightly been called the "Mother of Oral Tradition" because it is the standard by which we affirm God's truth and rebuke error. This argumentation of yours has been addressed already, and is in fact nonsensical. How can we know with any degree of certainty which oral traditions are inspired (not because the "Pope said so")? The constant example we see throughout Scripture is that people appealed to the Scriptures themselves as the final court of authority. What is even more powerful is that even though the apostles were inspired by genuine oral revelation from God, they still directed people to the Scriptures for the final determination of truth.

               "No one said the relationship was supplementary. That is your straw man argument."

               Um, excuse me? But who are you to affirm that material sufficiency is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church? Many other sources which are more reputable than you would seem to disagree:

               “. . . the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (CCC # 82)

               "Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 72)

               "...oral revelation serves as an additional source of revelation alongside the written word” (Robert Sungenis, Not By Scripture Alone, p. 126)

               Are you the pope of the Roman Catholic Church? Since you're not, it follows that your charge of me misrepresenting official Catholic dogma has been refuted.

               "On the contrary, the New Testament records the customs, Traditions and Doctrines that were already in place. Here's a very simple proof. Answer this question and don't ignore it. Was the Doctrine of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ written before or after Christ was resurrected? Answer it, Jesse. Don't ignore it. Because it is obvious from the Gospels, that Jesus Christ taught His Resurrection long before it was ever written down."

                Alright, nobody denies that the New Testament teachings (i.e. the Resurrection of Jesus Christ) were originally taught orally, but much of the redemptive work of Christ was already prefigured in the Old Testament (i.e. Isaiah 53). None of what De Maria has been saying is problematic for the folks who believe in the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which states that Scripture alone is the only infallible spiritual standard for the Christian church to use. The Gospel in its entirety has been accurately preserved and recorded into the New Testament documents (i.e. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). The problem here is that Roman Catholics are unable to come up with a spiritual standard that judges the validity of "Sacred Tradition", apart from the say-so of the Bishop of Rome (i.e. circular reasoning). How can we even know for sure that the Roman Catholic Church is the one, true church which was established by our Lord Jesus Christ?

                 Roman Catholics cannot even come up with one inspired phrase of what the Lord Jesus Christ or His apostles said, that is not recorded in Scripture.

                 The Old Testament Scriptures were sufficient for God's people, not in the sense that any additional revelation or elaboration on already given revelation at the time was supererogatory, but that He provided them with all the things that they needed to know concerning His plan of redemption. What has changed throughout history is the content of a believer's faith, as His divine revelation was further unpacked and more prophecies were fulfilled. This is known as "progressive revelation", which is not at all problematic for the Sola Scriptura position. De Maria needs to quit esteeming the opinions of men above what is written in Scripture (1 Corinthians 4:6).

                 "That's not what Scripture says (Matthew 18:17)...."

                  This Scripture passage only provides us with a general model of conflict resolution. Nothing within the context of Matthew 18:15-17 indicates that an infallible "church hierarchy" is supposed to preside over all matters in the church. De Maria, please stop committing eisegesis.

                  "ON the contrary, it is you who is guilty of circular thinking. Your entire process is, "because the bible tells me so." But the Catholic Church goes by the true Bible Teaching. Which is, because we know from Tradition and Scripture (1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6)."

                  Your charge of circular reasoning against me is false. Sola Scriptura is not circular reasoning because outside sources attest to the inspiration of Scripture. The Bible has also "proven itself" to be true. Consider, for example, 1.) Historical or archaeological evidence backing up the existence of various cities, countries, prominent individuals, customs or traditions, and even major events mentioned in the Bible, 2.) Geological accuracy, 3.) Agreement with scientific principles, 4.)Excellent moral teaching, 5.) Great internal consistency in the biblical texts, 6.) Incredible manuscript evidence for the authenticity of New Testament Scriptures, 7.) Scripture's fulfillment of prophecy points to its supernatural origin, and 8.)The life transforming power of Scripture. Therefore, we do not need any sort of approval from the Church of Rome in order to know which books of the Bible are inspired. The ultimate argument offered by Rome is that we must accept the canon of Scripture because "she said so". But how can we even know that the Roman Catholic Church (or its interpretations of Scripture) is infallible (apart from the occupation of circular reasoning)?

                  For De Maria to advance any further with his proof-texts for his position on "Apostolic Tradition", then at least three conditions need to be met, which are 1.) The exact traditions need to be identified, 2.) It needs to be proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that the word "tradition" mentioned within the specific texts of Scripture are different in substance from what is contained in the Bible, and 3.) Conclusive evidence needs to be provided in order for any random tradition to be considered apostolic and infallible. Can any of this be accomplished by Roman Catholics without resorting to circular reasoning? And if the alleged infallible authority of the church is "self-authenticating," then why can't the same be said of the Bible?

                  "Because Christ appointed the Catholic Church as the Teacher of His Doctrines...Our Church is infallible because Jesus Christ said so (Matthew 16:18)...."

    Image result for infallible interpretation infallible authority              In reality, De Maria is simply making a circular argument off the text of Matthew 16:18 by resorting to the Roman Catholic Church's interpretation of the scriptural text. As usual, these assertions are not founded upon any biblical or logical basis. In fact, the entire logical foundation for De Maria's arguments against me is: "The Bible and Tradition are true because the infallible Church defined them as such, and the Roman Catholic Church is infallible because the Bible and Tradition has told us so." Can we even be given a meaningful definition of what constitutes "Sacred Tradition"? How can we know which oral traditions are of divine inspiration? Why do we even have a Bible in the first place? Though I would wholeheartedly disagree with the Roman Catholic interpretation of the text of Matthew 16:18-19, there is no need to continue with this discussion for the reason that much has already been said. The office of Pope is not even biblical for starters.

                  "You are simply ungrateful about the fact that it is from the Catholic Church that you learned all that you know about the Holy Trinity."

                  No, rather, I just want to know when you will stop filling your asinine head full of Roman Catholic apologetic sophistry. The Council of Nicaea simply followed the clear teaching of Scripture.

                  Why should I even bother with submitting to the "Holy See" when there are so many folks like you in this world who oftentimes invest time into didactically lecturing us on the official Church doctrine?

                  "And of course, your entitled to your opinion. But I have proven that your opinion, is false."

                  Oh, trust me, your arguments fall short of anything but proof. I'm sure that we could go on and on with this discussion, and something tells me that you would! But there is no way for the Papacy to circumvent the charge of circularity in its reasoning processes. Furthermore, the facts of Scripture, logic, and history are on my side of this debate.

    Sunday, September 3, 2017

    Why Do We Need The Four Gospel Accounts?

    • Why Do The Four Gospels Contain Differences?:
              -The reasons for the differences between the gospel accounts is not that they disapproved of each other's content. Rather, they were writing with a slightly different theological emphasis or intended audience. Matthew, for example, wrote mostly to Jews. Luke is more accessible to Gentiles. There were differences in reporting. There is nothing wrong with choosing not to include certain content. John himself wrote, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). The point is that Jesus Christ did many things and all the gospel writers chose to include certain things and not others. That point in no way contradicts inerrancy.
    • The Gospel According To Matthew:
              -The Gospel of Matthew was written for the purpose of converting the unbelieving Jews over to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It strives to prove that Christ is the legitimate King and promised Jewish Messiah. Matthew's narrative contains more quotations from the Old Testament demonstrating how Jesus fulfilled Old Covenant prophecies than any of the other three gospel accounts. It also traces His ancestral lineage from King David. In addition, Matthew utilizes language from the Old Testament that the Jewish people would have been more comfortable with hearing. For example, he describes God as the "living God" in Matthew 16:18.
    • The Gospel According To Mark:
              -The Gospel of Mark was originally directed to Gentile Christians, most particularly those who were thriving in the midst of persecution by the Roman Empire. This short biographical narrative of our Lord Jesus Christ was written for the purposes of building up the faith of fellow brethren and teaching what it really means to be a a disciple. In this narrative, Christ seemingly keeps His true identity hidden and reveals Himself as the Son of Man. Tradition has it that Mark was a companion of the Apostle Peter and wrote a narrative based on his eyewitness testimony.
    • The Gospel According To Luke:
              -The Gospel of Luke strives to bring into light "all that Jesus began to do and teach" (Acts 1:1-2). It was intended to be an accurate, organized narrative that gives readers certainty regarding the teachings of and events concerning our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 1:1-4). In fact, this book oftentimes records details that were omitted in the other gospel narratives. This chronicle which was authored by a Gentile physician and historian named Luke presents Christ as showing compassion to all people of different societal classes. This work has been reputed by some to be the most beautiful narrative ever written.
    • The Gospel According To John:
              -Rather than providing us with a chronological listing of the major events that took place during the earthly life of Jesus Christ, the purpose of the Gospel of John is to reinforce His divinity. Moreover, this particular narrative was written to strengthen the faithfulness of Christians and to make converts through the recording of His miracles (John 20:30-31). The Gospel according to John occupies metaphors such as "bread of life", "born again", and "living water". In summary, this book has been reputed by many to be the "evangelistic gospel".

    Friday, September 1, 2017

    A Critical Analysis Of George Orwell's Book "1984"

               In the fictional novel titled 1984 by George Orwell, who himself was avowedly a socialist, describes a human civilization across the globe that was utterly suppressed by totalitarian dictatorships. The setting of this book is reputed to have taken place during the early to mid-nineteen eighties, with the main character being named Winston Smith. According to this story, all countries were amalgamated into three separate super states which are known to the readers as Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia through a global revolution against capitalism. In other words, all citizens dwelling in the three large provinces mentioned in 1984 were subjugated to the authority of communist tyrants who controlled every aspect of life within their own territorial jurisdictions. In the novel, innocent people were executed for practically any facial expression, thought, word, or deed that implied any sense of contrariety to the ideological views of the government. Retaliation was not in any way tolerated. The underlying message of George Orwell’s book 1984 concerns the dangers of totalitarianism, propaganda, historical revisionism, and undermining the traditional meaning of  words and central aspects of reality.

              What the author of the novel endeavored to accomplish was to proliferate warnings concerning the establishment of communist governments, and the inevitable consequences that we must endure if we fail to defend our morals and values. In the book, a hierarchical brotherhood controls all facets of human life, including what the average citizen can own and even food consumption. The average person in the book is described as being absolutely careless, dull, ignorant, and mentally conditioned. We even see the installation of modern technology into homes so that people can be monitored constantly. The government in the negative utopia called 1984 has arrogated itself to being in a position of an infallible arbitrator of truth. As a matter of fact, the “Big Brother” ordered the revision of history so that he could be presented as not being liable to error. Any photo, textbook, or other forms of documentary evidence that could prove fatal to the falsehoods taught by the governmental cult described in this novel were incinerated by the external members of the party, for history was perceived as being an amorphous, malleable means for spreading communist indoctrination. In the novel 1984, the government was pushing for the abandonment of fundamental scientific laws, a largely reduced selection of vocabulary words in dictionaries (transition from the languages of “Oldspeak” to “Newspeak”), and for the termination of human consciousness. Natural pleasures, desires, emotions, affirming the existence of objective, external truths, and all forms of independent thinking were strictly forbidden by the government. In the novel, we see the regulation of personal property and using fear to ensure the obedience of citizens.  The concept of “double-thinking” was also practiced by the government and was forced upon all the citizens. In short, George Orwell has done an excellent job in revealing how the structure of humanity can be manipulated in through coercion by corrupt authority figures.

               Although George Orwell wrote his book 1984 back in the year 1949, the nightmarish vision of our future forewarned by the novel has become more realistic and probable throughout the centuries. Today, any honest observer can readily see that most people in America have been brainwashed by the falsified news stories that the press allows to circulate in our media. Consequently, many people have a terribly misguided understanding of what is really taking place in our world. The issues that people really need to be dealing with are the inconceivably high death tolls from religious persecution, wars, malnutrition because of inadequate food supply, and the global pollution from heartless industries, not celebrities who are in reality just ordinary people who want to make us financially and intellectually bankrupt. Additionally, technology has enabled our governments to disenfranchise our right to privacy though our computers, television sets, and our cell phones. The development of moral relativism in the secular world is another sure sign of the depravity of the human heart. We now live in a society that denies the existence of absolute truths. Indeed, many have chosen to make decisions on the basis of feelings, not in accordance to facts and reason. The spread of ideologies has led up to the redefining of concepts such as gender, marriage, life, rights, tolerance, happiness, and what constitutes freedom. There are even people who are foolish enough to deny well documented facts of history such as the Holocaust. Many people do not even have solid moral worldviews for the simple reason that they have knowingly excluded the Bible from their lives. Our elementary schools, colleges, and universities teach our students how to think, rather than encourage people to develop critical thinking skills. Thus, the notion of independent thinking has already become unpopular and scare. The technological development of thermonuclear warfare during the time period of World War Two and the advanced nuclear warfare that is now available to our militaries is so powerful that mankind could end up being exterminated in short periods of time.

               We need to realize that the notion of a totalitarian government is unworkable. In the novel, we see that an authoritarian hierarchy was only dedicated to advancing its own personal agendas and to inflicting pain on the common people. Unlike previous dictatorships, this one did not even try to claim being a caretaker of its citizens. On the contrary, implementing this mindset of abuse would never be workable for the simple reason that it would place people into a relentless state of fear, anxiety, and anguish. It would only enhance rebellion against already established authoritative standards (the romance affair between the main character Winston and an inner party member named Julia). The natural psychological pattern of the human mind operates on principles of freedom, dignity, love, and integrity. Our free will, emotions, intellect, reason, and consciousness are fundamental components of our makeup. It is not as though we are able to instinctively bear the extinction of these basic human necessities, for a human life cannot cease to be human. Furthermore, to alter the original content and meaning of things makes possessing certainty and our ability to make judgments impossible. It utterly destroys the concept of knowledge. We should not be making political orthodoxy a priority over principles. We would do best to adhere to George Orwell’s warning concerning the formation of global authoritarian governments, lest we find ourselves suffering in the same manner as did the hypothetical civilization in the book 1984.

               We learn from George Orwell’s book titled 1984 that we must persevere in defending our rights, liberties, and freedoms against corrupt powers that wish to abolish them. It serves as a warning against corrupt individuals who desire to control every facet of our lives. In fact, the prophetic nature of this fictional work has become more of a reality as time progresses. Ideologies that infringe on the rights and dignity of other people simply cannot be tolerated. It would be wise to call into remembrance this famous passage from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government…”