Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Hindrance To Justification By Works

  • For Professing Christians Who Try To Refute The Doctrine Of Justification By Faith Apart From The Merit Of Works (Sola Fide), They Should Consider The Text Of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
          -"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
  • Commentary On 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
          -On the Day of Judgment, God will evaluate the quality of every man's work. If the Christian's work ("gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw") withstands the testing of the fire, then he or she will receive rewards (v. 14). But if a person's works fail to pass the testing of fire, then he or she will still be saved. The Christian is saved in both scenarios. In either case (whether works pass the testing of fire or not), he or she will still be saved. Thus, it is clear from the text of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 that justification is not determined on the basis of good works. Works determine the heavenly rewards that we will receive in heaven. Works are the product of a regenerate heart. Justification is strictly a gift from God. His grace is unmerited and undeserved. There is nothing that we can do to earn right standing before God. Parallel this with Romans 4:4-5. Justification is not an earned wage, but a free gift from God. He justifies the ungodly by His grace through our faith. Consider also 1 Corinthians 3:11, which tells us that Christ is the foundation of our salvation. Our good works are built on Him. Our good works are the product of a saving faith.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Evidence Contradicting Evolutionary Theory And Common Descent

  • Following Is A Gem Rarely Published In Darwinian Literature--Overwhelming Complexity Of Embryonic Development (Evidence For Intelligent Design):
          -"One of the main reasons for Duboule’s pessimism about the return of the EvoDevo comet is the staggering complexity and diversity of cellular and developmental regulatory processes. The configuration space for realistic models of such systems is vast, high dimensional, and potentially infinitely complex."
  • "Profound Similarities" Exist That Do Not Prove "Common Ancestry:"
          -"Because of this, similarities in gene expression patterns or morphological structure often do not necessarily imply common ancestry, since they may as well reflect the frequent reuse of the same regulatory or morphogenetic modules."

The Development Of The Old Testament Canon

4QMMT 9:10-11 (c. 250 BC)

"We have written to you so that you might understand what is [written] in the book of Moses and in the words of the Prophets and in David and in the Words of the Days of All the Generations..." 

REMAINDER OF KUMRAN--Commentaries only on biblical books 

BEN SIRA (c. 180 BC) 

Greek Prologue (130 BC): "For what was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language. Not only this work, but even the law itself, the prophecies, and the rest of the books differ not a little as originally expressed." 

Chapters 44-50: “Let us now praise famous men” (Adam-Nehemiah, only non-biblical figure mentioned is the High Priest Simon son of Onias [50:1-21], who is not the subject of any extra-biblical book).

2 MACCABEES 2:13-15 (c. 105 BC)

"Nehemiah [420 BC]... collected the books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David ...in the same way Judas [Maccabeus, died 160 BC] also collected all [these] books...

PHILO, DE VITA CONTEMPLATIVA 25 (vol. IX, pp. 126-7) (AD 20-30)

"Laws, and oracles delivered thru the mouth of the prophets, and psalms and all the others which foster and perfect knowledge and piety."

JOSEPHUS, AGAINST APION 1:39-40 (vol. I, pp. 178-179)

"For we have ... only 22 books ... which are justly believed to be divine, and of them five are the books of Moses... the prophets...wrote down what was done in their times in 13 books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life."

Luke 24:44

"Everything written about me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Matthew 23:35

"...that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar (II Chron. 24:21ff.)."

4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 14:45 (c. AD 70)

"And...the Most High spoke to me saying, 'Make public the 24 books that you wrote first and let the worthy and the unworthy read them.'"

Mishnah Yadaim 3:5

"All the Holy Scriptures [O.T.] render the hands unclean [i.e., are canonical]. The Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes render the hands unclean. Rabbi Judah says: The Song of Songs renders the hands unclean, but about Ecclesiastes there is dissention. Rabbi Yose says: Ecclesiastes does not render the hands unclean, and about the Song of Songs there is dissention. Rabbi Simeon says: Ecclesiastes is one of the things about which the School of Shammai adopted the more lenient ruling, and the School of Hillel the more stringent ruling. Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai said: I have heard a tradition from the seventy-two elders on the day when they made Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah head of the Academy of Sages, that the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes both render the hands unclean. Rabbi Akiva said: God forbid! No man in Israel ever disputed about the Song of Songs that it does not render the hands unclean, for all the ages are not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel. For all the Writings are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. And if anything was in dispute, the dispute was about Ecclesiastes alone. Rabbi Yochanan ben Yehoshua, the son of Rabbi Akiva's father-in-law said: According to the words of ben Azzai so did they dispute and so did they decide.

Tosefta Yadaim 2:13-14

The Gospels and the books of the books of the heretics do not impart uncleanness to hands. And the books of Ben Sira and all the books written thenceforward do not impart uncleanness to hands. 14R. Simeon ben Menassia’ says, “The Song of Songs imparts uncleanness to hands, because it was said by the Holy Spirit. Qohelet does not impart uncleanness of hands, because it is [merely] the wisdom of Solomon.” They said to him, “And did he write only this alone? Lo, it says, ‘And Solomon uttered three thousand proverbs and his songs were a thousand and five’ [1 Kings 5:12]. And it says, ‘Do not add to his words lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar’ [Prov. 30:6].”

Conclusion: OT canonized 400-300 BC, not AD 90! (over)

Cf. also Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 14b-15a Our Rabbis taught: The order of the Prophets is, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. Let us examine this. Hosea came first, as it is written, God spake first to Hosea. But did God speak first to Hosea? Were there not many prophets between Moses and Hosea? R. Johanan, however, has explained that [what It means is that] he was the first of the four prophets who prophesied at that period, namely, Hosea, Isaiah, Amos and Micah. Should not then Hosea come first? Since his prophecy is written along with those of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi came at the end of the prophets, he is reckoned with them. But why should he not be written separately and placed first? Since his book is so small, it might be lost [if copied separately]. Let us see again. Isaiah was prior to Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Then why should not Isaiah be placed first? Because the Book of Kings ends with a record of destruction and Jeremiah speaks throughout of destruction and Ezekiel commences with destruction and ends with consolation and Isaiah is full of consolation; therefore we put destruction next to destruction and consolation next to consolation. The order of the Hagiographa is Ruth, the Book of Psalms, Job, Prophets, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel and the Scroll of Esther, Ezra and Chronicles. Now on the view that Job lived in the days of Moses, should not the book of Job come first? We do not begin with a record of suffering. But Ruth also is a record of suffering? It is a suffering with a sequel [of happiness], as R. Johanan said: Why was her name called Ruth? Because there issued from her David who replenished the Holy One, blessed be He, with hymns and praises. Who wrote the Scriptures? Moses wrote his own book and the portion of Balaam and Job. Joshua wrote the book which bears his name and [the last] eight verses of the Pentateuch. Samuel wrote the book which bears his name and the Book of Judges and Ruth. David wrote the Book of Psalms, including in it the work of the elders, namely, Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Heman, Yeduthun, Asaph, and the three sons of Korah. Jeremiah wrote the book which bears his name, the Book of Kings, and Lamentations. Hezekiah and his colleagues wrote (Mnemonic YMSHK) Isaiah, Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The Men of the Great Assembly wrote (Mnemonic KNDG) Ezekiel, the Twelve Minor Prophets, Daniel and the Scroll of Esther. Ezra wrote the book that bears his name and the genealogies of the Book of Chronicles up to his own time. This confirms the opinion of Rab, since Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab: Ezra did not leave Babylon to go up to Eretz Yisrael until he had written his own genealogy. Who then finished it [the Book of Chronicles]? Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

List compiled by Dr. W.E. Nunnally, Evangel University:

Jehovah's Witnesses Refuted: "Yahweh" Is More Accurate Than "Jehovah"

Consider this admission from the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Society:

“While inclining to view the pronunciation "Yah.weh" as the more correct way, we have retained the form "Jehovah" because of people's familiarity with it since the 14th century.” (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1969, p. 23).

Confirmation from Jewish scholarship:

“JEHOVAH is a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible. The form ‘Jehovah’ is a philological impossibility.” (The Jewish Encyclopedia)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Morally Corrosive

"And “morally corrosive” is exactly the term that some critics would apply to the new science of the moral sense. The attempt to dissect our moral intuitions can look like an attempt to debunk them. Evolutionary psychologists seem to want to unmask our noblest motives as ultimately self-interested — to show that our love for children, compassion for the unfortunate and sense of justice are just tactics in a Darwinian struggle to perpetuate our genes. The explanation of how different cultures appeal to different spheres could lead to a spineless relativism, in which we would never have grounds to criticize the practice of another culture, no matter how barbaric, because “we have our kind of morality and they have theirs.” And the whole enterprise seems to be dragging us to an amoral nihilism, in which morality itself would be demoted from a transcendent principle to a figment of our neural circuitry.

Here is the worry. The scientific outlook has taught us that some parts of our subjective experience are products of our biological makeup and have no objective counterpart in the world. The qualitative difference between red and green, the tastiness of fruit and foulness of carrion, the scariness of heights and prettiness of flowers are design features of our common nervous system, and if our species had evolved in a different ecosystem or if we were missing a few genes, our reactions could go the other way. Now, if the distinction between right and wrong is also a product of brain wiring, why should we believe it is any more real than the distinction between red and green? And if it is just a collective hallucination, how could we argue that evils like genocide and slavery are wrong for everyone, rather than just distasteful to us?"


Friday, January 26, 2018

Investigating The Assumption Of Mary

  • The Assumption Of Mary Defined:
          -The mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was taken directly into heaven in body and soul without physical death.
  • References Of Bodily Assumption Found In Scripture:
          -Enoch (Genesis 5:24)
          -Elijah (2 Kings 2:11)
          -Jesus (Acts 1:9)
  • There Is No "Assumption" Of Mary Recorded In Scripture And The Doctrine Is Therefore To Be Deemed Unscriptural. As Roman Catholic Apologist Karl Keating Confessed:
          -"fundamentalists ask, where is the proof from Scripture? Strictly, there is none. The mere fact that the Church teaches the doctrine of the Assumption as something definitely true is a guarantee that it is true" (Karl Keating, Catholicism And Fundamentalism, [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988], p. 275)
  • The Most Primitive Christians Knew Nothing Concerning Mary's Alleged Assumption:
          -"Furthermore, the notion of Mary's assumption into heaven has left no trace in the literature of the third, much less of the second century. M. Jugie, the foremost authority on this question, concluded in his monumental study: 'The patristic tradition prior to the Council of Nicaea does not furnish us with any witness about the Assumption." (Raymond Brown, et al., Mary In The New Testament [Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1978], p. 266)
  • The Doctrine Of Mary's Assumption Is Strictly Apocryphal In Origin:
          -"The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in certain transitus–narratives of the fifth and sixth centuries. Even though these are apocryphal they bear witness to the faith of the generation in which they were written despite their legendary clothing. The first Church author to speak of the bodily ascension of Mary, in association with an apocryphal transitus B.M.V., is St. Gregory of Tours’." (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Rockford: Tan, 1974), pp. 209–210)
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia Tells Us That The First "Authentic" References To The Bodily Assumption Of Mary Can Be Found In Writings Dated In The Sixth Through Eight Centuries:
          -“The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious.”
  • The Assumption Of Mary Was Not Officially Declared An Article Of The Roman Catholic Faith Until 1950 By Pope Pius XII:
          -“The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (Munificentissimus Deus)
  • "Scriptural Proofs" Are Not Infallible As Is Roman Catholic Dogma:
          -"Catholic theologians teach with general concurrence, and quite in the spirit of the Church, that even a Scriptural proof in favour of a decree held to be infallible, is not itself infallible, but only the dogma as defined." [Originally cited by James Swan, Source: Johann Adam Mohler, Symbolism: Exposition of the doctrinal Differences between Catholics and Protestants as evidenced by their Symbolic Writings, trans James Burton Robertson (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1997), p.296].

Who Is The Woman Of Revelation 12?

        The Roman Catholic Church has endorsed a plethora of unscriptural Marian dogmas, and has traditionally identified the "woman" figure mentioned in the text of Revelation 12:1-2 to be Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

        This faulty interpretation of Revelation 12 has been a springboard for the development of doctrines such as the Assumption of Mary, her being called the Queen of Heaven, and the Mother of the Church. It accounts for the existence of portraits with her being dressed in cosmic clothing standing over the world.

        Hence, the Church of Rome literally believes the "woman" figure mentioned in Revelation 12:1-2 to be Mary. Pope Pius XII wrote in an Apostolic Constitution, “The scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos” (Munificentissimus Deus).

        Note how Revelation 12:2 depicts this "woman" figure as experiencing birth pangs. Also, notice that a part of the curse of original sin is pain during childbirth (Genesis 3:16). The Roman Catholic interpretation of Revelation 12 is inconsistent because according to official Roman Catholic teaching, Mary was preserved from receiving a fallen nature:

        "Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin." (CCC # 491)

        Thus, she could not experience pain when bearing children. But this is clearly not the case, according to Revelation 12:2. "She" was clearly in distress. So Roman Catholics are being theologically inconsistent when interpreting the passage of Revelation 12 as being a reference to Mary. It is counterproductive. If she was sinless, then she would not have to undergo pain in labor.

        Does Mary have eagle's wings (Revelation 12:14)? Where in Scripture do we ever hear of Mary going to Egypt to be fed for 1,260 days? What about the fact that the flight of this "woman" took place after Jesus Christ's ascension to God's throne (Revelation 12:5-6)? More reasonable interpretations of this passage would identify this "woman" as either being Israel or the church. The former position is described as follows:

        "John's reference to the sun, moon, and stars in his description of the woman is similar to the descriptions of Israel in Genesis 37. The 11 stars refer to the sons of Jacob, and the 12th star to whom the 11 bow is Joseph. This is a clear reference to the twelve tribes of Israel in Joseph's dream (Gen. 37:9-10). Israel is often represented as a woman (Isa. 26:18; 47:7-9; Jer. 4:31; 31:32; Ezek. 16:32; Hosea 2:16; Micah 4:9- 10). Therefore this is consistent with the woman as being Israel in Rev. 12. It is Israel, not the church that brings forth the male child who is the long awaited Messiah (verse 5) who will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9). In Hosea, Micah, and Jeremiah, Israel is depicted as a woman in birth pains trying to bring forth a child. For centuries Israel has suffered these terrible pains awaiting the promises of the coming of Messiah, all the promises of God, way back to Genesis chapter 3 about a seed of a woman who would bless, not only the nation Israel, but all the nations. In Revelation 12, we see a woman being persecuted by Satan. Clearly, the woman cannot be Mary, because the woman lees into the wilderness for 3 1/2 years. The woman is the symbol of God's purpose for Israel."

        The Roman Catholic New American Bible Revised Edition describes the latter interpretation of the "woman" mentioned in Revelation 12:

        "[12:1] The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Gn 37:9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and the New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (Rev 12:5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (Rev 12:6, 13–17); cf. Is 50:1; 66:7; Jer 50:12."

        To take the imagery of Revelation and claim that it shows Mary's assumption is really stretching the intent of the passage.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ernst Heackel's Confession Of Fraud

The furor in German scientific circles was so great that Haeckel found it impossible to persist in his policy of silence. In a letter to M√ľnchener Allegemeine Zeitung, ‘an international weekly for Science, Art and Technology’, published on January 9, 1909, Haeckel (translated) wrote:

‘… a small portion of my embryo-pictures (possibly 6 or 8 in a hundred) are really (in Dr Brass’s [one of his critics] sense of the word) “falsified”—all those, namely, in which the disclosed material for inspection is so incomplete or insufficient that one is compelled in a restoration of a connected development series to fill up the gaps through hypotheses, and to reconstruct the missing members through comparative syntheses. What difficulties this task encounters, and how easily the draughts-man may blunder in it, the embryologist alone can judge.’17

Discerning readers who compare Haeckel’s doctored dog and human embryo pictures with the originals (see photographs), will readily see that Haeckel’s ‘confession’ was itself a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts and essentially an attempt to justify and perpetuate his shameful forgeries.

Despite this totally dishonest and grievously mischievous basis for the theory of embryonic recapitulation, and the fact that it has long since been discredited scientifically, the completely false idea that human beings retrace their evolutionary past in the womb has been taught as evidence for evolution in schools and universities in the past, and it is still included in many popular science books.18,19

Even worse, the argument that ‘the foetus is still in its fish stage so you are just cutting up a fish’ is used to this day by some abortionists to convince girls and young women that killing their offspring is OK.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Human Reason Ultimately Points To God

"It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion: for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to providence and deity."

Sir Francis Bacon, A Father Of The Scientific Method (1561-1626)

Nature Is Not Enough

"...contrary to what Hawking claims, physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe. Laws themselves do not create anything, they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions."

John Lennox

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eucharistic Miracles Are Proof Of Transubstantiation?

  • According To Official Roman Catholic Doctrine, Only The Substance Of The Consecrated Elements (Bread and Wine) Are Changed By The Priest:
          -"If any one...denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, Thirteen Session, Canon 2)
  • How Eucharistic Miracles Contradict The Roman Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist:
          -The cited excerpt from the Council of Trent expressly states that the appearance of the bread and wine remains the same, despite the substance being mysteriously transformed (into the literal fullness of Jesus Christ's flesh, blood, and divinity) by the priest. In other words, the Catholic definition of transubstantiation involves an unverifiable miracle to human reason. However, Eucharistic miracles are readily observable to the people who are present at the Mass ceremonies. This is extremely problematical for the Roman Catholic position because according to official Church doctrine, the appearance of the transubstantiated elements remains completely unchanged. A change in appearance is contrary to no change in appearance. So when apologists for the Church of Rome cite occurrences of Eucharistic miracles as proof for the veracity of their beliefs, their arguments are actually counterproductive because these so-called supernatural occasions do not fit the Roman Catholic definition of transubstantiation.

The Roman Catholic Fallacy Of Appealing To Tradition

"The entire Roman Catholic argument depends upon the assumption that Rome could not do what Israel did. The problem is that in reality she has done exactly what Israel did. She has placed herself in precisely the same position that the Scribes and Pharisees found themselves in. Their oral law or tradition was so "synthesized" to the written Torah, that judgment of the validity of that unwritten law by means of the written law became an impossibility. Neither could judge the other because both were assumed to have originated with Moses. In the same way Rome has developed an unwritten tradition that she has synthesized with the written New Testament to the degree that it cannot be judged by that New Testament. If Mark 7 teaches us anything, it is that the two must not be "synthesized." The written Word of God must remain the unique norm."

Keith A. Mathison, The Shape Of Sola Scriptura, p. 179

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Evidences Of Supernatural Creation

“What about instinct? Evolution has no answer: Even if the bat’s sophisticated radar system suddenly appeared by chance, who taught the first mutated bat to use it? How many millions of Arctic terns drowned before the first one, by chance, learned to navigate thousands of miles across the ocean? How many salmon lost their way in the ocean and never made it back to spawn before this uncanny instinct was developed? How many millions of spiders starved before the amazing mechanism for making webs suddenly chanced itself into existence—and who taught that unique mutated spider how to make a web? How many eggs of all manner of birds rotted before the instinct to hatch eggs developed, and how was it learned and passed on?"

Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church, p. 36

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Jerusalem Council And Sola Scriptura

  • Introduction:
          -Roman Catholic apologists sometimes cite the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 as proof against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura to demonstrate the necessity of an infallible Magisterium. They believe that since men convened to settle a doctrinal dispute, that this passage affirms the church needing to submit to an infallible interpreter of Scripture (Roman Catholic Church hierarchy).
  • The Council Of Jerusalem Gives The Roman Catholic Apologist No Support In Proving The Papacy From Scripture:
          -Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders, and Peter is included but not singled out or accorded any primacy (Acts 15:2). Indeed, it was the apostles and elders who got together to look into the issue (Acts 15:6). Once again Peter is included but not singled out. While Peter speaks, his words are clearly not the end of the matter. James shows that Peter's words accord with the prophets, and he goes on to then give his judgment. If the Apostle Peter's word was final, then there would be no need for James to add his words at all.
          -The Jerusalem Council (which addressed the issue of circumcision) had subjugated itself to the supreme authority of Scripture. Notice how the text of Acts 15:15-18 begins, "The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written..." That statement is clearly an appeal to the Scriptures as the final court of authority in a doctrinal dispute, and is a quotation of Amos 9:11-12. 
          -The theme of the council centers around the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Gospel. It is de-emphasizing Jewish ceremonial laws such as circumcision. The Scripture teaches circumcision of the heart (Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 9:25-26; Romans 2:28-29). Also, note the fact that God had reckoned the righteousness of faith to Abraham (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:9-11) prior to his circumcision (Genesis 17:10). Circumcision was never necessary for salvation, even though it was a God-ordained act. So the Jerusalem Council had indeed based its rulings on Scripture. 
          -The doctrine of Sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone is the ultimate standard of authority in spiritual matters (not that Scripture is the only authority). Nobody is denying the importance of ministers. We are simply saying that they are subject to the judgment of Scripture. Thus, a church council is not incompatible with a Sola Scriptura church model. The Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 is only supportive of the supremacy of scriptural authority.
          -It was James who had presided over the Jerusalem Council, not "Pope Peter" (Acts 15:19). It was he who had made the final declarations of the matter, in accordance with Scripture. This event was not by any means based on the "Tradition of the Fathers." It was not governed by an ex-cathedra statement uttered by the pope. This text says nothing concerning papal supremacy. In fact, an epistle which was written and circulated to the churches as a result of the heresies promoted by the Judaizers made no mention of "Pope Peter" at all (Acts 15:23-29). Verse 22 says, "Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church." Verse 23 says, "The apostles and elders, your brothers." The primitive Christian congregations were governed by pluralities of elders, not by a single human arbitrator headquartered in Rome.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The King James Version--Preserved Or Restored?

  • Defining The Issues:
          -Certain King James only advocates argue that their translation of preference has been infallibly preserved by its translators as the Word of God. Consider this argument set forth by a fellow who believes such:
              "And while I agree that comparing translations would be a good idea, that work was already done for us when the kjv translators compared all the previous english translations plus the manuscripts in other languages of the majority text...the Lord providentially used the KJV translators to preserve his inspired words."
    • Offering A Logical Critique Of King James Only Claims:
              -If the King James Version translators were able to make comparisons with the texts that were available to them, then why are we not allowed to do comparisons with the numerous ancient manuscripts that we have discovered after the seventeen century? How come we cannot do the same?
              -The transmission that has been described in the above comments from the King James only advocate is the process of restoration, not preservation.
              -What people who subscribe to this position on the King James Version fail to recognize is that their logic contains a logical contradiction. Having various readings spread abroad which accurately record portions of the inspired words of biblical authors is completely different than having all the correct words aligned perfectly in a single document. In other words, what has been termed by King James only proponents to be an "infallible preservation" of the Bible is contradictory because having such would not be based upon manuscripts which contain textual variances. It is inconsistent to equate "correction" with "preservation" because both terms are contradictory. The first word implies the existence of error, whereas the later connotates maintaining the accuracy thereof. If errors are found and corrected in the manuscripts which form the basis behind a Bible translation, then how is the Word of God perfectly preserved?
              -Did the King James translators somehow obtain a perfect translation of the Scriptures? Also, King James only advocates fail to recognize that they have raised their own unique standard of textual criticism when they express their feelings for the text of the King James Version and resentment for other translations of the Bible.

    Thursday, January 11, 2018

    Answering A King James Only Conspiracy Theory About The Roman Catholic Church

            "Don't you know about the counter reformation? How that Catholic Jesuits use many tactics including false bible versions to blind men's eyes to the pure truth of the word and bring them back under the bondage of Rome and eventually the Antichrist."

            We should take into account that the King James only stance is impossible to verify. We do not possess the original, inspired Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments. If we did have them, then we would not need to consult the King James Version because we could compare our modern Bible translations directly to the original source. 

            The Counter Reformation argument is an ad hominem fallacy. Catholic scholars can understand Hebrew and Greek, just as well as any non-Catholic scholars. One's worldview does not necessarily disqualify his or her scholarship.

            Note that in the preface to the New King James Version, the Thomas Nelson Publishers quoted eighteenth century Roman Catholic theologian Alexander Geddes. He said the following concerning the King James Version, "If accuracy and strictest attention to the letter of the text be supposed to constitute an excellent version, this is of all versions the most excellent." How could such a statement be made if there was a Vatican conspiracy to discredit the King James Version through the circulation of bogus Bibles?

            The King James Version originally had contained the Roman Catholic apocrypha, and is ultimately a product of the Latin Vulgate. The 1611 King James Version is based primarily on the Textus Receptus, which was assembled by the Catholic Erasmus.

            We can trust our Bible translations because they have so much manuscript support. The New Testament alone has much earlier and wider source attestation than any other document of antiquity. It is almost one hundred percent textually pure.

            Unlike the translators of the King James Version, the scholars of today know much more about Koine Greek. Scholars have learned much about the Hebrew and Greek languages since the seventeenth century. We also have discovered thousands of manuscripts and fragments which date much closer to the timing of the apostles. Our language has also changed. Thus, we can see the need for modern translations of the Bible.

            Even if King James Version only advocates were correct in their argumentation, there are still important questions that need to be answered. Who gets to protect and publish this so-called inerrant Bible? Why must we assume that modern translations add or delete verses of Scripture, instead of accusing the King James translators of adding to the Bible?

    Mary Is Not The Ark Of The Covenant

              “Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is "the dwelling of God...with men." (CCC #2676)
              If Mary automatically inherits the title "Ark of the Covenant" for the reason that she once bore our Lord Jesus Christ in her womb, then would it not logically follow that all Christians can rightly be given the same title, since our bodies are also God's dwelling place (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20)?

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018

    An Evaluation Of The Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement

            Independent Fundamental Baptist congregations comprise a group that schismatized from the traditional Baptist denominations as a result of some deviating from biblically orthodox doctrine. This movement had its beginning in the late eighteen hundreds, and was done for the purpose of defending essential Christian doctrines such as the inerrancy of Scripture. Professing Christians who have affiliated themselves with the Independent Baptist label describe their worldview as being highly conservative, nondenominational, and usually express belief in the divine inspiration of the King James Version. While there are a great number of Independent Fundamental Baptist churches that faithfully preach the Word of God, there are also many circles categorized under the same umbrella which have wrongfully caused division throughout the church as a whole. This article is not meant to serve as hate literature, but rather aims to highlight the main problems existing among these autonomous Christian sects. It is an overview critique of the current state of the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches.

            The primary issue that should be addressed is the manner in which some Independent Fundamental Baptist congregations present the gospel. In many Independent Baptist churches, a watered down version of the gospel is preached. In other words, they tend to spread a gospel message of salvation by faith but forget to emphasize the aspects of repentance and Jesus Christ's Lordship over the believer's life. The Scriptures emphatically teach that obedience to Christ goes hand-in-hand with faith in what He has done for us (Matthew 7:15-23; Romans 1:5; Romans 10:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; James 2:14-26). Though justification comes by faith apart from the merit of any and all works, a changed heart will by definition result in godly living (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Good works spring forth from saving faith. Despite there being nothing that we can do to save ourselves from the wrath of God, conversion involves repentance and a change of heart. It occurs when we surrender our ways to Christ. It occurs when we recognize the absolute futility of our pride. It is God who saves man. It is God who deserves all the credit for saving us. But it still holds true that Jesus Christ is both our Lord and our Savior. If we are Christians, then we also need to act like Christians. A lot of times, Independent Fundamental Baptists do not speak much of repentance and obedience to Christ when presenting the gospel. This is most probably a result of their legalistic view of righteousness, which focuses more on external behavior than internal change. People who do not fit personal standards are viewed as inferior. Authentic change comes from the heart; actions are symptomatic of what is happening from within. God looks at a person's heart.

            The second important issue that should be taken into account is the fact that many Independent Fundamental Baptist churches do not really display a high view of the Bible. Many Independent Baptist pastors tend to invest too much time into merely discussing the cover of their Bibles. In other words, these people oftentimes praise the Bible for being an impeccable spiritual standard of authority without even delving into the text of Scripture itself. They rail their so-called perfect, divinely inspired King James Version down the throats of members of the Independent Baptist congregations. But one of the things that the Christian church needs the most is expository Bible teaching. We need to illustrate the divine inspiration of the Scripture by preaching it in its respective context. We need to teach the practical application of scriptural principles so that others can learn to develop a solidly biblical worldview. The Word of God imparts wisdom to those who diligently study it (Psalm 119). Scripture interprets Scripture. Scripture illustrates Scripture. Independent Fundamental Baptists need to focus on serving the God of the Word, rather than debating over which translation is the Word of God. These people oftentimes have misplaced priorities. The Bible is not like a bag of trail mix where various proof-texts can be cited at one's own whim. Neither are the sermons of the pastor meant to be stories where they themselves are the heroes. The Bible is not an idol. God gave it to us so that we can discern His will (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We should handle Scripture carefully. We should treat it with utmost respect. The Bible should be studied in context.

            Other problems rampant in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement that should warrant our concern are how the pastors tend to be elevated and that outside fellow brethren are essentially viewed as unbelievers. In many cases, the pastor of the congregation demands unquestioned obedience. Anybody who dares to make an inquiry is viewed as essentially standing in rebellion against God. These individuals are oftentimes adored, and given titles such as the "man of God" and the "Lord's anointed." He is treated as though he is king over the entire congregation. Critical thinking is often despised in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. There is much mind control. People are oftentimes coerced into blind submission, lest they get shunned by all their loved ones. The Independent Fundamental Baptist movement tends to be rather anti-intellectual. Pastors should not strive to be lords over God's heritage, but rather should be good moral examples for the flock to emulate (Luke 22:24-26; 1 Peter 5:1-5). Christian churches are supposed to be governed by a plurality of elders. Leaders are to be held accountable for their actions (1 Timothy 5:19-20), in the same way that we are to be held accountable for our own. The constant pattern found in Scripture is to evaluate the quality of ministry (Acts 17:11-12; Ephesians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; 1 John 4:1-4). We are all a royal priesthood, according to Scripture (1 Peter 2:5-9). The church encompasses all believers across the globe without distinction (1 Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 1:17-18). It is not limited to a group of elitist saints. This mindset is rooted in pride, as well as hypocrisy. This "holier than thou" and "us verses them" mentality that many Independent Fundamental Baptists display is disgusting and arrogant. In fact, the majority of Independent Fundamental Baptist congregations are so obsessed with the concept of separation that they bitterly divide themselves against each other over the smallest of preferential variances!

            So, should people attend Independent Fundamental Baptist congregations? The answer depends entirely on whether the church is faithfully preaching the Word of God. It depends entirely on whether the church accurately presents and lives in accordance to the gospel. Discernment is needed before joining an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. This is true of any professing Christian congregation. While there are Independent Fundamental Baptist churches that are for the most part doctrinally sound, the fact nevertheless remains that many of these congregations are cultic and man-centered. At the same time, there are also wonderful Independent Baptist churches. It is indeed a terrible misfortune that the liberals have made painstaking efforts to portray all congregations that identify under this label as being unbelievably wicked and vile. Such could not be further from the truth. Independent Fundamental Baptist churches (as do other nondenominational groups) tend to have variances in doctrine, custom, and practice. 

    Sunday, January 7, 2018

    The Book Of Hebrews Refutes The Catholic Eucharist

    • Introduction:
              -Roman Catholics are taught that priests transform bread and wine into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ (transubstantiation) to be consumed by the attendees during the Mass service. It is maintained that this alleged miracle is atonement for sin, that His propitiatory work is ongoing, and that His work is being "re-presented." However, the Book of Hebrews contains several plain statements which contradict the aforementioned ideas.
    • An Irrefutable Blow To The Myth Of Transubstantiation:
              -First of all, we are told that we have been sanctified by means of Christ's sacrifice "once for all" (v. 10). There is no need for any more sacrifices.
              -As a result of Christ's expiatory sacrifice, priests repeatedly offer the same sacrifices in vain because the objects used have the power to atone for sin (v. 11). Why would we need an ordained ministerial priesthood when there is no power in ritualistic sacrifices? How is the Catholic Mass, which occupies the same concepts found in this verse, an exception to this rule?
              -Jesus Christ is now at the right Hand of the Father (v. 12), and is currently waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool (v. 13). He is not coming down from heaven at the command of a parish priest. Nor can His physical body be located in several thousand different Roman Catholic congregations across the globe at the same time. Catholic eucharistic theology undoubtedly suffers from an ontological dilemma.
              -We do not need any of the sacrifices performed during the Mass because we are ETERNALLY perfected by the single sacrifice of Jesus Christ (v. 14).
              -The Holy Spirit bears witness to us and has inscribed His moral precepts into the innermost part of our being, the soul (v. 15-16). God will not count trespasses against the people whom He has forgiven (v. 17).
              -Consequently, there are no more offerings available for sin (v. 18). Now, God offers forgiveness of transgressions through the sacrificial work of His Son Jesus Christ. The sacrificial system was a thing of the Old Testament, which was fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament.
             -To reinsert a new priesthood with a new sacrificial system is to undermine what Jesus Christ has already done for us on the cross at Calvary. We need no more atonement for sin, and thus the eucharistic sacrifice has been invalidated.

    The Repulsive Conduct Of Liberalism

    "Consider that over the course of the past few years, Democrats and liberals have: booed the inclusion of God in their platform at the 2012 convention . . . endorsed a regulation that would allow transgendered students to use the bathroom and locker room corresponding to their identity; attempted to force small businesses to cover drugs they believe induce abortions; attempted to force nuns to provide contraceptive coverage; forced Brendan Eich to step down as chief executive officer of Mozilla due to his opposition to marriage equality; fined a small Christian bakery over $140,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; vigorously opposed a law in Indiana that would provide protections against similar regulations—despite having overwhelmingly supported similar laws when they protected Native American religious rights—and then scoured the Indiana countryside trying to find a business that would be affected by the law before settling upon a small pizza place in the middle of nowhere and harassing the owners."

    Sean Trende, cited by Matthew Continetti, The Problem of Identity Politics and Its Solution

    Manhood Must Be Developed In Our Male Children

    "As George Gilder explains pointedly in Men and Marriage, “Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda inscribed in his body.” The boy has no onboard GPS directing him toward his future. His transition into manhood can only come into being with significant, intentional work by other men. As a behavior, manhood must be learned, proven, and earned. As an identity, manhood must be bestowed by a boy’s father and the community’s larger fraternity of men. His mother can only affirm it. She cannot bequeath it.

    Maleness just happens, but manhood does not. The first is a biological event, while the second is a developed character quality. When manhood is not formed and cultivated, males fail to mature, resulting in the “perpetual adolescence” or “failure to launch” that plagues our culture. When so many men play beer pong into their forties, live in their parents’ basements, play videogames twelve hours a day, and encounter women only in the form of pixels on a porn site, it seems clear that we have a manhood problem.

    The human male nature doesn’t naturally go in the direction civilization requires; it requires the direction of other men. . . .

    Manhood must be crafted and refined in order to orient males in pro-social, communitarian directions. In fact, this is the first work of every civilization. Anthropologists tell us that the original and most fundamental social problem of any culture is the unattached male. Left to his own, he is not inclined to play well with others. He is not disposed to make himself, or anyone around him, a better person. He is not likely to become other-focused. Either fiercely competitive or indolent, he is more likely to become a social contagion. He will either seek to define himself in the community by power, false confidence, and selfish conquest, or shrink away toward inactivity and reticence. . . .

    [A]cross virtually all cultures, manhood has largely consisted of three essential qualities: procreation, provision, and protection. If the boy doesn’t learn these things, then he is not likely to become a good, selfless, serving man. Shame and derision from the community will become his lot. As Mead explains, “this behavior,being learned, is fragile and can disappear rather easily under social conditions that no longer teach it effectively.” Such domestic education can disappear within a generation. Tragically, manhood is becoming extinct because we are not teaching it."

    Glenn Stanton, Manhood Is Not Natural

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    Atheism Cannot Account For Logic (Transcendental Argument For God's Existence)

    • Notice What Cold Case Christianity Has To Say Concerning How The Naturalistic Mindset Has No Valid Explanation For The Laws Of Logic:
              -"God is eternal, uncaused, omniscient and omnipotent. He is the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator; the necessary, uncaused first cause of all matter, space and time. He has thoughts and possesses a particular character, essence and nature. Because He is all-powerful and all-knowing, these attributes are perfected (an all-powerful and all-knowing God has the power to eliminate imperfection). The Laws of Logic are simply an attribute and reflection of God’s perfect existence; God does not create these laws, they are an innate and immutable aspect of His nature. As God is necessary for all else to exist, so are the Laws of Logic. They are merely a reflection of His Being, and they permeate all of His creation.

              Both the atheist and the theist agree something is eternal, uncaused and necessary. But when the atheist says the Laws of Logic “simply exist”, he’s begging the question; he’s not providing an explanation for the eternal, uncaused and necessary existence of the laws (saying they exist does not provide us with an explanation for their existence). Theists, on the other hand, can make a case for God’s existence from a number of evidential lines, providing a reasonable foundation from which logical absolutes can then be elucidated. In addition, atheism fails to explain how the Laws of Logic can be eternal and uncaused and what role they play in causingall other contingent realities. Theism, on the other hand, accounts for the existence of the Laws of Logic by pointing to the existence of an omniscient and omnipotent uncaused, first cause possessing perfect rationality (by virtue of His limitless power) who also acts as the first cause of all other dependent (contingent) creations.

              The Laws of Logic are conceptual. They only exist in the mind. They don’t describe physical behaviors or actions of matter, but instead describe conceptual truths. Logical axioms are statements dealing with conceptual patterns and processes of thought."

    Monday, January 1, 2018

    C.S. Lewis On Human Reason

    "All possible knowledge, then, depends on the validity of reasoning. If the feeling of certainty which we express by words like must be and therefore and since is a real perception of how things outside our minds really “must” be, well and good. But if this certainty is merely a feeling in our own minds and not a genuine insight into realities beyond them—if it merely represents the way our minds happen to work—then we can have no knowledge. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.

    It follows that no account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have to be reaching by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished…It would be an argument which proved that no arguments was sound—a proof that there are no such things as proofs—which is nonsense."

    C.S. Lewis, Miracles, p. 23-24