Monday, February 13, 2017

Biblical Defense of Sola Scriptura

  • Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone is the only infallible rule of faith (or the spiritual standard) for the church. Thus, they function as the ultimate authority in spiritual matters.
  • There are other legitimate (but lesser) "rules of faith" such as the writings of the church fathers, traditions, church councils, catechisms, and godly leaders of the church (but only Scripture is infallible).
  • Perspicuity of Scripture (more on this in future articles):
             -The Bible is clear enough for Christians to learn about the essential doctrines that are necessary for godly living and inheriting the gift of eternal salvation in heaven (i.e. Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 19:7-8; 119:97-105; Luke 10:25-28; 2 Corinthians 1:13; Ephesians 3:3-5).
  • Detailed Biblical Case for the Ultimate Authority and Formal Sufficiency of The Scriptures:
              - All necessary things that Jesus did (Acts 1:1-2)
              -Certainty of the Lord's action and teachings (Luke 1:1-4)
              -Life in the name of Jesus Christ (John 20:30-31)
              -Instructions to salvation (2 Timothy 3:15)
              -Commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37)
              -Standard through which Jesus will judge (John 12:48; James 2:12; Revelation 20:12)
              -Standard to which nothing can be added (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19)
              -Extra-biblical doctrinal development is condemned (Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 2 John 9-11)
              -Proper conduct in the church (1 Timothy 3:14-15)
              -Protection against sin (Matthew 4:1-11; 1 John 2:1)
              -Every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
              -Life (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Peter 1:3-4)
              -Joy that is complete (1 John 1:1-4)
              -Hope and encouragement (Romans 15:4)
              -Standard by which we learn spiritual lessons (1 Corinthians 10:11)
              -Standard by which prophets/ministers are tested (Isaiah 8:16-20; Acts 17:11-12)
                 + Jesus always used the Scriptures as the measuring stick for determining Truth.
                 + Even though the apostles were inspired by genuine oral revelation, they always directed people to the Scriptures for the final determination of truth.
             -Blessings from God (Revelation 1:3)
             -Standard that judges traditions (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13)
             -Standard which we cannot go beyond (1 Corinthians 4:6)
             -Scripture is how we are reminded of apostolic oral traditions, thereby proving that they have been replaced by Scripture (2 Peter 3:1-2)
                 +Although traditionalists claim extra-biblical oral tradition, they cannot come up with even one phrase of what Jesus Christ or the apostles said, that is not recorded in Scripture.

Obedience To The Will of God (Commentary on The Book of Joshua)

The Hidden Revelation of Joshua

The historical text of Joshua, which is found in the Old Testament canon, is indeed one of the most fascinating writings a person could bother to read. Every event revealed throughout the sacred Scriptures presents us with a series of truths that can never be broken. God’s appointed people, King Joshua and the citizens of Israel, overcame all of the challenges that they faced only when they obeyed Him. This involved trusting in the Lord for every aspect of life and obeying His precepts. We must follow the same moral pattern when we endure any difficult tasks. If we violate the commandments of the Lord, then we will certainly be punished. The most significant theme to the book of Joshua is that direct obedience to God will lead us through the challenges of our lives.
Joshua and the Israelites only succeeded at defeating Jericho because they obeyed everything that God commanded them. The people had no choice but to obey what God commanded Joshua to enforce. “Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey all your commands is to be put to death. Only be strong and steadfast.” [Joshua 1:18] We as Christians can infer that we are to be strong and steadfast when teaching His Word to others. We are God’s army which has been commissioned to fight the spiritual battle against the dark forces of evil. In other words, we have been called to instruct the ignorant world about His ways of righteousness and wisdom. “I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.”[Joshua 1:9] When we endure difficult tasks such as preaching the Gospel of Salvation to other people, we must heed to His command of always being strong and steadfast.
Joshua was successful in defeating the enemies of the Lord’s nation because he obeyed His command to not have fear. He was victorious at the battle against Gibeon because he did not fear the enemy, which was in perfect accordance to the divine Creator’s plain instruction. “The LORD said to Joshua: Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your power. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” [Joshua 10:8] All readers of the book of Joshua can deduce that God will continuously be there for them and to not be afraid of the vicissitudes encountered in life. The Lord repeatedly told Joshua to not fear his foes, for he will overcome them. We are not to have fear of any difficulties in life because God has told us that He will always be there for us. Readers of the Book of Joshua can even use the main character as an example of courage. Since we fret and suffer, we must remember that God commanded us to be strong in order to accomplish anything. He is our cave of safety.
The Book of Joshua teaches us that we will not achieve anything in life if we manage to break the Laws of God. Joshua sent a couple thousand men to battle at Ai and they were demolished quickly. The Israelites lost the first battle to Ai because they acted treacherously with the ban God established.  He asked the Lord how such an occasion was possible. The Israelites had violated the Covenant that He made with them. If we follow God’s commandments, then He is with us. If we dare to act contrary to His Will, then He is not with us and we are thus on the precipice of His fiery wrath. “But just as every promise the LORD, your God, made to you has come true for you, so will He bring upon you every threat, even so far as to exterminate you from this good land which the LORD, your God, has given you.” [Joshua 23:15] We must obey God in order to accomplish any challenges or maintain a positive outlook in life. Otherwise, we shall be like a boat sinking into the sea of eternal hell fire!

The Book of Joshua is indeed a powerful guide to life because it reminds us of the One who is infinitely superior to us and that those who do not remain docile to His commandments will suffer many negative consequences. This inspired text keeps our thinking in line. All events that take place within the scriptures are true. If Joshua and the people of Israel had to obey god in order to be successful in life, so do we. The central theme to this book is that obedience to God will help us do well in life. Nobody is to be afraid of any challenges. Christians are called to be sturdy and persistent teachers of His word.  If we follow the Laws of God, then everything will be fine. If we resist, then we shall perish in His anger. The Book of Joshua teaches us how to be strong, tenacious, and courageous when approaching any difficult situation.

God's Math!

Image result for 1 cross + 3 nails = 4given

This picture tells us what God used in the process of redeeming mankind from sin and perpetual damnation in literal flames. His only begotten Son Jesus Christ was sacrificed on a cross with a nail placed through each of His hands and one for His feet. Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected according to the prophecy of the Holy Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). He is our propitiatory sacrifice, who was offered once for eternity (1 John 2:1-2). He is therefore our "Passover Lamb" (1 Corinthians 5:7). The work of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is absolutely sufficient in itself (Hebrews 10:10-18). Isn't a picture worth a thousand words!?                                                      

Beneficial Links to Articles Answering Atheism

Does the Bible Have Internal Contradictions and Historical Inaccuracies?

I am by no means a lettered professional biblical scholar or theologian, but I am learned enough to accurately conduct research and present information for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of this brief article is to offer a few comments on the issue of whether the Bible is a trustworthy document. 

Any alleged biblical "contradictions" mentioned by the skeptics usually form as a result of willful misinterpretation of Scripture and/or intentional omission of outside historical evidence or minor details surrounding any events in question. Furthermore, even possessing a document with internal inconsistencies does not necessarily refute the truth or the existence of paramount individuals, claims made, or events mentioned within the text(s). Writers could also choose not to write a series of events in chronological order or to formulate their ideas from their cultural background, but this does not make that particular narrative erroneous or the contents therein mythological. 

What if the Bible did indeed contain seemingly wrong information (this is not the case, though)? It is possible for any contradictory statements in Scripture to simply be figurative. They could even be minor or major divine mysteries. These happenings could either need further historical research or additional pondering for the sake of clarification and elaboration of any ambiguous text of the Bible or simply be beyond the scope of human comprehension. This is really no different than an atheistic evolutionist admitting to the existence of a mystery in data interpretation because of a difficulty such as an incomplete fossil record or biased data used in order to conduct an experiment. The atheist would not simply give on on his or her intellectually grounded beliefs altogether, just as a Bible-believing Christian should not easily relinquish his or her beliefs. Both sides must thoroughly investigate their positions in order to discover the truth.

The Bible is not merely just the inspired text of the Christian religion. It is not just used for the foundation, construction, and representation of the correct doctrines of Christianity. The Scriptures are also a very accurate historical document and geological road map. So we can certainly view the Bible from the perspective of a reputable historian.    

God's Divine Calling

God’s Divine Calling

We live in a world that is founded on purely selfish agendas. Most people in our society are only focused on the superficial aspects of life, which consists of material possessions, bodily appearance, and various sayings of so-called human wisdom. But if we were placed on this earth only to indulge our own sinful lusts, then we would not be aware of the unfortunate. How can the bridge of human freedom stand over the troubled lake of perdition and iniquity? The Lord Jesus Christ commissioned us to serve others with compassion and humility. We as Christians can be servants of God by setting a good moral example for other people and by contributing to those who are in need.

We can serve other people by being models for the lost. In other words, those who belong to the world can be converted to the King of the supernatural realm by examining the lifestyles of people who are united to Him. The darkness of this world can be lit by the candle of our faith.  If we as Christians can plant the seeds of virtues such as love, meekness, fortitude, and gratitude, then others who lack the characteristics of holiness may become holier. Those who do will come to experience complete spiritual fulfillment, that is, true love, peace, and assurance of eternal salvation. People who are accustomed to the ways of sin will develop an internal desire to act in accordance with the Father’s will. We are simply the mirrors that lead the world to salvation by reflecting the personality of the Savior.

We can be servants by providing for the needy. In other words, we can assist others who are suffering from a lack of necessities by donating unused or unwanted clothing to second hand thrift stores, donating money, and contributing to food drives. Proper clothing can help people thrive in colder climates. Churches can fund the construction of schools, hospitals, and homeless shelters. A sufficient balance of food will prevent people from dying of starvation. Clearing a path for the people who lack food, clothing, and shelter will begin to seal the financial gap for people from differing cultures across the globe. Good deeds provide hope for a brighter future. When we succor others, we are being fellow laborers for the sake of our Master.  We are like compasses which point people to the One who can quench spiritual hunger and thirst.

We live in a world that is contaminated by the continuous serving of one-self. But we have been called to move beyond the microscope of our own worldly desires. In so doing, we obey the edict of Christ; “Whatsoever you do for the least of My Brothers, you do for Me. We do this by setting ourselves up to be models for others to emulate. Since God has quenched our spiritual hunger and thirst, we are able to satisfy the physical needs of others. When we serve others, we are in reality serving the Lord Jesus Christ.