Saturday, June 30, 2018

Romans 5 Is A Problematic Passage For Calvinistic Limited Atonement

  • Discussion:
          -"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
          -"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." (Romans 5:17-18)

          Just as the curse of sin infected the entirety of mankind through the fall of Adam, so the Lord Jesus Christ made atonement for the sins of the whole world. Salvation is not given only to an elect group of individuals, anymore than condemnation was passed on only to an elect group. In other words, there is a universal problem presented alongside a universal solution. The parallelism involved here is undeniable. The consistency of this message is utterly incompatible with Calvinist theology. If Jesus does not save all who come to Him by faith, then He must also be a liar. Romans 5:6-10 expressly tells us that Christ died for the ungodly, which would include us all. This message flatly contradicts any notion of limited atonement.

    Thursday, June 28, 2018

    Spontaneous Generation Is Delusional Thinking

    "No, there is not a single known circumstance in which microscopic beings may be asserted to have entered the world without germs, without parents resembling them. Those who think otherwise have been deluded by their poorly conducted experiments, full of errors they neither knew how to perceive, nor how to avoid."

    Louis Pasteur, “Sorbonne Scientific Soiree” of April 7, 1864

    Why I Reject Darwinism As Science

            In short, the concept of evolution revolves around changes in physical structures which take place over given periods of time. According to the Theory of Evolution, a source of matter brought about all the existing life forms that we see in our world today. It is maintained that all this took place stochastically through the processes of genetic mutation and natural selection.

            Microevolution is the small, rapid changes within a particular animal species or a small group of living organisms. Macroevolution is the very gradual, major evolutionary transition which takes place among the different species of animals in becoming different types of organisms. The latter category of evolution has no evidence.

            The first major promoter of evolution was Charles Darwin. The Theory of Evolution is now taught as a proven fact by many in the secular world, which stands in stark contrast to the creation narrative recorded in the first two chapters of Genesis. Darwin recognized that people would make objections to his novel scientific proposals:

            "...why, if species have descended from other species by fine graduation, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not nature all in confusion, instead of species being, as we see them, well defined?" (The Origin of Species, chapter six)

            We have never observed life forms reproduce different life forms. In other words, all life forms produce after their own kind. Thus, the life reproduction pattern laid out by the Book of Genesis is more consistent with the modern scientific realm than evolution. Transitions between basic features in organisms are also rendered impossible by the fact that other vital functions would simultaneously be disabled. Consider this excerpt from computer scientist David Gelernter, former Darwinist, on the Cambrian explosion:

            "Darwin’s theory predicts that new life forms evolve gradually from old ones in a constantly branching, spreading tree of life,” Gelernter writes. “Those brave new Cambrian creatures must therefore have had Precambrian predecessors, similar but not quite as fancy and sophisticated. They could not have all blown out suddenly, like a bunch of geysers. Each must have had a closely related predecessor, which must have had its own predecessors.” Some argue that the Precambrian precursor fossils are missing because they were soft-bodied organisms that didn’t survive as fossils. But some Precambrian soft-bodied fossils did survive — they just weren’t the predecessors to the Cambrian fossils. Gelernter says the incremental development of new species is largely not there. “Most species enter the evolutionary order fully formed and then depart unchanged.”

            Biochemists D.E. Green and R.W. Goldberger said the following in their book Molecular Insights into the Living Process, p. 407:

            "The macromolecule to cell transition is a jump of fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this area all is conjecture."

            Consider this excerpt from Associate Professor of Biochemistry Douglas L. Theobald, who is not sympathetic to supernatural worldviews:

            "Universal common ancestry (UCA) is a central pillar of modern evolutionary theory. As first suggested by Darwin, the theory of UCA posits that all extant terrestrial organisms share a common genetic heritage, each being the genealogical descendant of a single species from the distant past. The classic evidence for UCA, although massive, is largely restricted to ‘local’ common ancestry—for example, of specific phyla rather than the entirety of life—and has yet to fully integrate the recent advances from modern phylogenetics and probability theory. Although UCA is widely assumed, it has rarely been subjected to formal quantitative testing, 7,8,9,10, and this has led to critical commentary emphasizing the intrinsic technical difficulties in empirically evaluating a theory of such broad scope 1,5,8,9,11,12,13,14,15."

            A commonly accepted postulate by atheistic defenders of evolution in regards to how the universe began is the Big Bang Theory, which is a problem in itself for atheistic worldviews because of its theistic underpinnings. It is simply contrary to reason to suggest that something can originate from nothing. Living matter cannot originate from non-living matter and chemicals. Nothing cannot be the cause of a cosmic expansion of matter. It is a fact that atheistic evolution cannot account for the origin of life. It is more reasonable by an infinite margin to believe that God created all things ex nihilo. Consider this excerpt from Creation VS. Evolution What You Need To Know Quick Reference Guide, John Ankerberg and John Weldon:

            "It is a physical and mathematical impossibility for matter to create itself from nothing as in the 'Big Bang' theory; the universe cannot be eternal because this violates several scientific laws such as the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, which teach that the universe had to have a beginning, is slowly running down (or running out of energy), and that, left to its own, will one day become lifeless and inert. Creation scientists argue it is more logical that the universe was created by God than by nothing, because 'out of nothing, nothing comes.' To ascribe absolute power to nothing is to engage in myth-making and magic, not science."

            Genetic mutations are very rare, and are generally harmful. Changes can be made, but new genetic information cannot be added to an organism's genetic code (which is what is required for evolution to work). Moreover, there is no agreed upon explanatory mechanism for evolution. Our DNA is intelligent information, which points to an intelligent designer. How did mammals reproduce before they somehow evolved into a male and female of the species? Did some mysterious creature that had both pairs of genitalia have intercourse with itself? How did our essential organs (heart, lungs, stomach, etc.) develop in the first place? How could the precise, natural process of blood clotting arise from blind, unguided chance? Is it reasonable to believe that the 37.2 trillion cells in our bodies are products of mindless evolution (one cell alone contains a nucleus with more intelligent information than 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica combined)? Why is it that some organisms have supposedly evolved to a certain state of complexity over millions of years just to cease in the process since (we have found snakes and spiders that are dated back millions of years that are the same today as they were back then)? How does one account for the fact that humans have characteristics that provide no advantages for survival such as music and religion? Why do living organisms have symmetry? Where did all the elements originate? When and where did compounds come into being? Many compounds must have came into existence as compounds because interaction between elements is relatively scarce. Which elements and compounds were included in the primordial soup? Where did gravity and energy come from? Where did life begin? When did the laws of physics come into being? These are only a few of the countless questions that render naturalistic evolution inadequate as a scientific postulate. 

            The overall design and complexity of our universe cannot simply be accounted for in an atheistic evolutionary worldview. Naturalists have ascribed the role of creation and the reason for our finely-tuned universe to mere accidents. Thus, the Theory of Evolution has literally attributed to chance the power of producing intelligent, designed, functional, meaningful systems. Having this great leap of faith is simply unthinkable:

              "No rational person looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper would suggest that this masterpiece came into being through blind chance. Incredibly, however, many blindly believe that chance operating through natural processes can account for the masterful precision and design of the universe in which we live. The eye, the egg, and the earth are but three examples of organized complexity that can not be accounted for apart from the existence of an omniscient designer. As the science of statistical probability demonstrates, forming even a protein molecule by random processes is not only improbable; it is indeed impossible." (Christian Research Journal, volume 21, number 1, from 1998) 

            There are scientists who have objections to a purely naturalistic account of the origin of life:

            "Scientists on this list include Russell W. Carlson, Prof. of Biochemistry; Molecular Biology, U. of Georgia; Jonathan Wells, PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U.C. Berkeley; Dean Kenyon, Prof. Emeritus of Biology, San Francisco State; Marko Horb, Researcher, Dept. of Biology & Biochemistry, U. of Bath; Tony Jelsma, Prof. of Biology, Dordt College; Siegfried Scherer, Prof. of Microbial Ecology, Technische Universität München; Marvin Fritzler, Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, U. of Calgary, Medical School; Lennart Moller, Prof. of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Inst., U. of Stockholm; Matti Leisola, Prof., Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering, Helsinki U. of Technology; Richard Sternberg, Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute (2002)" (Georgia Southern University, "NO EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION")

            Science does not say anything by itself. It is the scientists who interpret available data in accordance with their underlying philosophical presuppositions about life that speak. Our scientific reasoning will inevitably be colored by our preconceptions about reality. Scientific data is subject to interpretation. Everybody brings a set of foundational assumptions to the table in the process of scientific investigation. There are basic facts of science that everybody agrees on such as the existence of gravity and the movement of tectonic plates. However, a person either studies the natural world with the belief in a Creator or no Creator at all.

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Notes On The Christian Prayer Life

    • Defining The Issues:
              -The fact that God seemingly ignores certain prayer requests has been a major source of discouragement in daily religious life, and has in fact destroyed the faith of some. We have all been disappointed from time to time with how He decides to answer our prayer supplications. But this is by no means a valid reason for turning away from God, for we are in no place to question the intentions of our Maker. Neither are we fully able to comprehend His will. Anyway, there are several biblical principles for a Christian to take into account in his or her daily prayer life.
    • Keep In Mind The Possibility That God May Be Trying Our Faith For The Purpose Of Building Our Character:
              -"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2-3)
    • Keep In Mind That In Order To Have A Deep Relationship With God We Must Pray To Him On A Regular Basis:
              -"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
    • God Will Not Answer The Prayers Of Somebody Who Has The Wrong Motives:
              -"You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3)
    • God Will Not Answer The Prayers Of People Who Have Doubt In Their Hearts:
              -"But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:6-8)
    • God May Be Reluctant To Answer The Prayers Of People Who Are Not Fulfilling Their Duties As A Christian Or Have Cherished Sin In Their Hearts:
              -"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." (1 John 3:21-24)
    • Other Things To Keep In Mind:
              -Even when God says no to a prayer request, that is still an answer to prayer.
              -God can answer our prayers in totally unexpected ways.
              -Maybe God wants us to wait for a period of time before He answers a prayer.
              -The forgiveness of sin does not entail the undoing of negative consequences.
              -God wants us to pray according to His will (1 John 5:14).
    • There Are Different Types Of Prayer:
              -If the conscience of a person is burdened by sin, then he or she can pray and meditate on Psalm 51.
              -If a person does not know what to say or how to pray, then he or she can always recite from the heart the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:6-14).
              -If a person even needs encouragement, then he or she can pray and meditate on Psalm 23.

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Revelation 1:13-15 And The Deity Of Christ

            The following passage from the Book of Revelation describes Jesus Christ as metaphorically having pure white hair and sounding like the voice of many waters:

            "and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters." (Revelation 1:13-15)

            Old Testament texts referring to God the Father have also been applied to the Son, which proves Him to also be God:

            "and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory." (Ezekiel 43:2)

            "I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. “A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened." (Daniel 7:9-10)

    Liberals Avoid Debate By Charging ‘Homophobia’

    "Writers who have written for years, or even decades, without ever mentioning homosexuals have been denounced for “homophobia” because they began to write about the subject after the AIDS epidemic appeared—and did not take the “politically correct “ position on the issues. How can someone have a “phobia” about something he has scarcely noticed? Many people never knew or cared what homosexuals were doing, until it became a danger to them as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Whether those people’s reactions were right or wrong is something that can be debated. But attributing their position to a “phobia” is circular reasoning, when there is no evidence of any such phobia other than the position itself. Like so much in the vocabulary of the anointed, it is a way of avoiding substantive debate.

    Among the writers who took non-“politically correct” positions on AIDS was the late Randy Shilts, whose best-selling book And the Band Played On is a chilling exploration of the political irresponsibility, based on fears of offending the organized gay lobby, that led to thousands of unnecessary deaths before the most elementary public health measures were taken to reduce the spread of AIDS. No doubt he too would have been called “homophobic” if he were not himself an avowed homosexual who later died of AIDS."

    Thomas Sowell, "The Vision of the Anointed," p. 216-217

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53

    • Introduction:
              -Isaiah chapter fifty three is the most keen, vivid description of the Jewish Messiah provided in the entire Old Testament. It portrays Him as being a servant who suffers for our sins. It contains the very basic message of redemption as revealed more fully through New Testament revelation. We Christians naturally identify this suffering servant figure to be the Lord Jesus Christ. While the text of Isaiah 53 may seem pretty straightforward to us, many Jews absolutely refuse to see the emphatic implications set forth by the natural reading of the passage being discussed. They insist that the suffering servant refers to the Nation of Israel, but the evidence simply does not point in favor of that interpretation. Isaiah 53 is clearly a Messianic prophecy that has already been been long fulfilled by Christ Himself.
    • It Appears That Virtually All Jewish Rabbis Once Believed That The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53 Was Referring To The Coming Of A Promised Messiah. In Fact:
              -"Rashi (1040-1105 a.d.) might have been the first to deny that this incredible passage is messianic. But many Jewish sages, before and after Rashi, saw the Messiah in Isaiah 53." (Daniel Mann, Jews for Jesus, "Rabbis, Skeptics and the Suffering Messiah")
    • Following Are Some References Cited In The Article From Which The Excerpt Above Was Taken:
              -"The highly regarded first-century Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai stated: “The meaning of the words ‘bruised for our iniquities’ [Isaiah 53:5] is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer them for them himself."
              -"The mystical Zohar records: “The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. Whence do we learn this? From the saying, “‘He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities“‘ (Isaiah 53:5)” (Numbers, Pinchus, 218a)"
              -"Many different rabbis – Gaon Rabbi Saadia, Rabbi Naphtali ben Asher, and Rabbi Moshe Alshich adamantly opposed Rashi’s new interpretation, and demanded that the Sages of Israel should ignore him and return to the original interpretation, the most famous of among them was Mamonides, who categorically declared that Rashi was completely mistaken."
    • Additionally, Isaiah 53 Has Been Called The Forbidden Chapter In Jewish Communities. As This Source Notes:
              -"The 17th century Jewish historian, Raphael Levi, admitted that long ago the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in synagogues, but after the chapter caused “arguments and great confusion” the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be to just take that prophecy out of the Haftarah readings in synagogues. That’s why today when we read Isaiah 52, we stop in the middle of the chapter and the week after we jump straight to Isaiah 54." (Eitan Bar, One For Israel, "Isaiah 53-The Forbidden Chapter")
    • Other Quotes From The Linked Article Above:
              -"In Midrash Tanhuma it says, “Rabbi Nachman says, it speaks of no one but the Messiah, the Son of David of whom it is said, here a man called “the plant”, and Jonathan translated it to mean the Messiah and it is rightly said, “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”."
              -"Midrash Shumel says this about Isaiah 53: “The suffering was divided into three parts: One for the generation of the Patriarchs, one for the generation of Shmad, and one for the King Messiah”."
    • The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53 Cannot Simply Be A Reference To Israel, But To A Person:
              -"At the end of Isaiah, the individual servant takes on the role that Israel as a nation failed to achieve. Nonetheless, the Servant in Isaiah 53 cannot be the people or the remnant, because he is said to be cut off from the people (Isa 53:8) and is said to die for our sins and iniquities (Isa 53:5, 11). This cannot be the nation, because how can the Servant be cut off from himself? In addition, he is a righteous sufferer. That cannot be the nation, as Isaiah has portrayed the nation as being in sin (just look at Isaiah 58)." (Matt Smethurst, The Gospel Coalition, "The Suffering Servant and Isaiah 53: A Conversation with Darrell Bock")

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Children And Salvation

              There are competing theological speculations among Christians as to what happens to the souls of children who depart into the supernatural realm. Some have postulated that unbaptized infants perish eternally in hell. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church unofficially taught that the souls of deceased children go to a place called Limbo. Others believe that the destination of little children who pass away enter into the presence of God in heaven, which is the position that will be defended in this article.

              Scripture implicitly affirms the concept that we call the age of accountability (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:15-16). This is relative due to the fact that everybody develops differently. Thus, there exists a period of time in childhood where God does not count sins against a person due to lacking reason and understanding. They have no knowledge of good and evil. While babies are born with a sin nature, they still cannot commit acts of evil. Jesus Christ stated that the kingdom of God is not only for little ones, but also for those who become like children in their faith (Mark 10:13-15; Luke 18:15-17). He implicitly affirmed that the kingdom of God does belong to children (Matthew 18:3; 19:14-15). Consider also the mourning of King David when the Lord took away his newborn child as discipline for acts of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12:22-23). The text of 2 Samuel affirms that both would go to the same place at the moment of physical death. He entered into the presence of God (Hebrews 11:32-33).

              The God of the Bible is a God of love, mercy, righteousness, and truth. He would not condemn to hell somebody who never even had a chance to live. We must also keep in mind those who have severe cognitive disabilities. Though it is a teaching of Scripture that God has inscribed a moral law into the hearts of all people, each individual nevertheless needs to be capable of understanding it. Each person will be judged according to his or her own conduct (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 1:17). Babies can accomplish neither good nor evil. So what could God judge them for?

    Monday, June 18, 2018

    The Danger Of The “#MeToo” Movement

    "The #MeToo movement has uncovered real abuses of power. But the solution to those abuses is not to replace valid measures of achievement with irrelevancies like gender and race. Ironically, the best solution to sexual predation is not more feminism, but less. By denying the differences between men and women, and by ridiculing the manly virtues of gentlemanliness and chivalry and the female virtues of modesty and prudence, feminism dissolved the civilizational restraints on the male libido. The boorish behavior that pervades society today would have been unthinkable in the past, when a traditional understanding of sexual propriety prevailed. Now, however, with the idea of “ladies and gentlemen” discredited and out of favor, boorishness is increasingly the rule."

    Heather MacDonald, “The Negative Impact of the #MeToo Movement

    Sunday, June 17, 2018

    Good Reasons To Remain A Virgin Until Marriage

    "There are many valid reasons that it may be a good thing to remain a virgin until later in life. Forgoing sex proves that one is disciplined enough to delay gratification for the sake of a greater good. It allows one to concentrate one’s efforts on one’s work and perhaps achieve greater professional success than one would if one were constantly scheming about how to bed one’s next partner, and it virtually guarantees that you’ll never catch an STD. If you’re a believing Christian, Jew, or Muslim, it gives you the security of knowing that you’re protected from committing any number of soul-damning sexual sins. If you’re an intellectually oriented atheist or agnostic, it frees you to live a life of the mind without becoming enslaved to the passions of the body. If you’re a human being with a living, beating heart, it saves you from the messiness, tedium, and soul-crushing heartbreak that so often accompanies romantic relationships.
    Linking sex to lifelong, committed, married love—the very bond that much of the sexual revolution was intent on severing—can make sex truly wonderful."

    Daniel Ross Goodman, “The War Against Abstinence: Blockers, American Pie, and the Last Great Sexual Taboo.

    Saturday, June 16, 2018

    Is There A Mistranslation In Psalm 22:16?

    For one, the Septuagint (the oldest Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible) reads “they pierced my hands and feet.” The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament, which is dated sometime between 250 B.C.E. and 132 B.C.E.[5] This was obviously not a Christian translation of Psalm 22, because Christianity didn’t even exist yet. This was a Jewish translation done by Jewish rabbis, and it was done before Jesus ever walked the Earth. Therefore, the Jews who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (from before the time of Christ) believed that this passage should be translated as “pierced.” [6, Brown writes, “The Septuagint, the oldest existing Jewish translation of the Tanakh, was the first to translate the Hebrew as ‘they pierced my hands and feet.’” Brown, Michael L. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Messianic Prophecy Objections. Volume Three. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003. 125.)

    In addition, our oldest Hebrew copy of this passage reads “they pierced my hands and feet.” In 1997, archaeologists found a fragment from the book of Psalms in Nahal Hever in the Judean Wilderness. It dates between 50-68 C.E., and it reads k’ ru (“they pierced”). Hebrew scholar Michael Rydelnik writes, “Thus, the oldest extant Hebrew manuscript… reinforces the Septuagintal, Syriac, and Vulgate readings, supporting the translation, ‘they pierced my hands and my feet.’”[7, Rydelnik, Michael. The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2010. 46.] In addition, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain this reading also.[8, Brown writes, “The oldest Hebrew copy of the Psalms we possess (from the DSS, dating to the century before Yeshua) reads the verb in this verse as ka’ aru (not ka’ ari, ‘like a lion’).” Brown, Michael L. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Messianic Prophecy Objections. Volume Three. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003. 125.]

    Furthermore, even the Masoretic Text is not conclusive on the “like a lion” reading. While almost all Masoretic manuscripts read ka ‘ari (“like a lion”), there are still a dozen medieval manuscripts that read ka’ aru or karu (“pierced”). Remember, the critics based their argument primarily on the Masoretic Text; yet the Masoretic Text isn’t in complete agreement on this reading."

    James Rochford, Evidence Unseen, excerpt taken from Chapter 6: How Will Jesus Die? Psalm 22

    Friday, June 15, 2018

    The Calvinist Misuse Of Acts 13:48

              "When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48)

              The context of Acts 13 is about the preaching of the gospel by Paul and Barnabas. It was preached first to the Jews in the Synagogues who rejected the message, and then to the Gentiles who embraced the divine revelation of God. That is precisely the message conveyed by the text of Acts 13:48 in its respective context. Consider the gospel presentation delivered by the Apostle Paul prior to him articulating the statement being addressed in this article:

              "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you:‘Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and perish; For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.’” (Acts 13:38-41)

              He delivered a thought-provoking sermon to the Jews on salvation being given by the Lord to "everyone who believes," thereby demonstrating that choosing to believe is a necessary condition in order for election to take place. Warnings of perishing eternally in the afterlife were uttered to those who were scoffing at the message of the gospel. The people who reject the gospel are under condemnation by God. Faith is the fundamental element in election; the instrumental cause of our justification. Paul and Barnabas went to the Synagogue on the upcoming Sabbath at the request of many Jews, and to their jealously several individuals from Antioch attended (Acts 13:46-48). Verse forty-six is absolutely critical in understanding Acts 13:48:

               "Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles." (Acts 13:46)

              The Jews rejected the preaching of Paul and Barnabas. So the two traveled elsewhere to evangelize the Gentiles. That is precisely the meaning of Acts 13:48. That is what the surrounding context of the passage being discussed is about. The Gentiles received the gospel with great joy and readiness of mind through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They were glorifying the Lord as a result of Him offering to them the opportunity of salvation. This is about the Gentiles believing after the rejection of the gospel by the Jews. There exists a systematic contrast in the reaction of both groups. This has nothing to do with some predetermined decree. Nevertheless, Calvinists heavily emphasize the word "appointed" in Acts 13:48 in isolation of context to support their doctrine of unconditional election. Consider these observations by Dr. Jack Cottrell on the Greek word for ordained:

              "The key lies in the form of the main Greek verb, tassō. The basic meaning of this verb is “to place, to order, to appoint, to ordain, to determine, to arrange in order.” As it appears in this text, the verb form is the participle tetagmenoi. It is simply assumed that this is the PASSIVE form of the verb, thus: “to be appointed, to be ordained, to be destined.” What is often forgotten is that in the Greek language, often the passive and the middle form of verbs are spelled exactly the same way. That is the case here. The word tetagmenoi can also be the MIDDLE form of the verb. Here is the main point: that is how it should be understood in Acts 13:48."

              In other words, the text is simply telling us that the Gentiles have now been set into a position where they can receive the gospel and have fellowship with God. He shifted His focus to the Gentiles so that they could receive the gospel.

              Nowhere does the context mention a divine decree. Nowhere is man's alleged inability to respond to the callings of God implied in this text. Nowhere does Acts 13:48 state that one must be elected in order to believe, or even that all who are chosen will believe. It does not state that faith is a gift of God. Calvinists are simply reading their doctrine of unconditional election into this passage of Scripture. It is not taught there.

    The Calvinist Misuse Of Romans 8:28-30

    • Calvinists Use The Following Text To Teach Unconditional Election:
              -"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be confirmed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:28-31)

              The people under consideration in Romans 8:28-30 are those who love God, not a select few whom God "irresistibly causes" to love Him. It does not state that certain people are predestined to become Christians. Rather, those who believe on Christ and His gospel for salvation are destined to inherit eternal blessings. This Scripture passage simply discloses what happens to the elect.

              Even so, it appears that the Apostle Paul places the concept of foreknowledge before predestination, which is problematic for unconditional election. Calvinism has traditionally argued that foreknowledge follows predestination. In other words, the inspired author presents the sequence of the order in a "backwards" manner (not in a consistently Calvinistic fashion).

              Whether or not the term "foreknow" in this passage of Scripture simply means knowing basic facts before hand or God's eternal love is essentially beside the point. We can all agree that God foreknew believers personally as His children. He is not simply a cosmic hard drive that stores random information. Consequently, God predetermined a plan of redemption before the foundation of the world. This does not amount to Him predetermining the eternal destiny of each individual.

              The type of election being addressed in Romans 8 is not a matter of identity, but rather concerns the character and plan for those who are justified in the sight of God. Believers experience fellowship with God. Believers are appointed for His glory. They become vessels of honor to Him. This process of reconciliation takes place when we first believe (Romans 5:1-2). It is a decree to save those who come to Christ by faith. These soteriological blessings are categorically applied to all Christians.

              The entire point that the Apostle Paul establishes here is that God works for the good of all who love Him, and that He wields absolute power over everything. Nothing is beyond His grasp. Nothing is beyond His comprehension. Humans having free will does not negate the sovereignty of God. We as believers should have great comfort and assurance because of these scriptural truths. God does interact with creation. He is working things for good and His glory.

    The Calvinist Misuse Of John 6:32-58

              "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out...No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:37; 44)
              This passage of John's gospel narrative is known as the Bread of Life Discourse, where the Lord Jesus Christ had delivered a speech at a Synagogue in Capernaum. In the sermon, He likened bread and wine to His body and blood so as to articulate the point to His unbelieving Jewish audience that He was indeed their promised Messiah, who would offer Himself up as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind. It should be noted that Christ chose not to fully reveal Himself to all members of society during much of His earthly ministry so that He could complete His mission of atoning for the sins of the world. Moreover, these Jews were not born with a seared conscience against God. This is not a matter of people being born hated by God and predestined to eternal condemnation since the timing of creation. The context of John 6:32-58 nowhere indicates an irredeemable situation. It says nothing concerning regeneration leading to faith, which is required for salvation. It says nothing concerning an irresistible calling of the human will. Does regeneration proceed faith? No, regeneration comes after faith. That is what the Scripture affirms (John 20:31; Acts 11:18; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:13).

               More precisely, these Jewish people willfully turned their backs against God (John 5:39-40; Acts 28:27). They wanted to be self-righteous. They wanted to be arrogant. They wanted their own sinful lifestyles. They wanted to rebel against the God who created them. In short, this was a totally voluntary hardening of the human heart by sin, which God allows. The mission of Christ was accomplished through the unbelief of Israel. The Jews were handed over to their vices, which explains why they were rejecting Christ. This willful blinding of the conscience was never meant to be permanent, for God has always wanted to save His chosen nation Israel. The Father draws the sinner who listens and learns (John 6:45). We must accept the truth of the gospel that we preach in order to be saved (Romans 10:14-17). We have the responsibility of hearing, knowing, and understanding the revealed truths of God. We absolutely must make the decision of accepting the forgiveness of God as proclaimed through the gospel.

               In John 6:32-58, Jesus Christ was simply trying to get the Jews to see their disconnect from God. They did not truly love the Father because they did not love the Son. One cannot come to have a true relationship with the Father without also believing on the Son. Nobody can come to Christ without first hearing and accepting the truth of the gospel. Hence, the unbelieving Jews were under spiritual condemnation. Their hearts were not right with God. The twelve apostles, however, were drawn by the Father through the miracles and sound teachings of Christ. Their hearts were open to God. As a result, those obedient to the Father also chose to follow the Son. The will of the Father is that all who come to Him and believe on His name be saved (John 6:40). As a result of the crucifixion, God wants to draw everybody to salvation through faith in Him (John 12:32-33; Romans 11:32).

               It is important to note that consistent Calvinism does not actually allow adherents to have assurance of salvation, seeing that there is no way for us to know whether we are really a part of God's elect. Also, it would be irrational for Calvinists to teach that God allows the hearts of people to become hardened by sin, since Calvinism teaches that we are bankrupt of the ability to even choose God at birth. Neither can unconditional election account for how the names of various individuals can be blotted out of the book of life (Exodus 32:32-33; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5; 22:19). If the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement is true, then why is it that Jesus Christ wept for all the unbelieving inhabitants of Jerusalem for rejecting Him as their Savior (Luke 19:41-44)? Calvinists are guilty of limiting God when they argue that He cannot foreknow what He did not foreordain. He is sovereign enough to give us the freewill to accept or reject Him. He can do whatever He wants. He is limited by nothing. The fact of the matter is that the Calvinists have misconstrued the meaning texts such as John 6:37 and John 6:44 to fit their own preconceived theological conclusions.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    The Calvinist Misuse Of Ephesians 1:1-13

              "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will...also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5; 11)

              To preface, it should be noted that the verses in question do not actually say anything about God choosing before the creation of the world which individuals will be saved. In fact, Ephesians 1:1-13 does not even mention anything about the unrepentant and the unbelieving, nor an irresistible calling of the human will. This passage from Ephesians discusses God predetermining the plan of salvation and how those who get saved will serve Him. It concerns predestination for blessings, not who will specifically be recipients of salvation. It concerns what will happen to those who get saved. Those who are faithful to God have been predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to have a relationship with us. He wants to redeem us. He wants to make us His children. We are included in Christ the moment we believe from the heart the message of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). We were not predestined to be in Christ. Rather, we are predestined "in Him."

              The truth of the matter is that Calvinists misunderstand Scripture due to having a confirmation bias. These people take out of context words such as elected, predestined, foreknew, and before the foundation of the world to fit their deterministic theological paradigm. Thus, Calvinists altogether miss the point of Ephesians 1:1-13. If our eternal destinies have already been determined by God since the beginning of time, then why would the Apostle Paul pray for the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? How could God reason with His chosen nation Israel (Isaiah 1:18)? Why would He tell His people to make the choice of either serving Him or idols (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Jeremiah 21:8)? How could the Lord draw near to those who seek Him (1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Jeremiah 29:13)? How is it possible for people to harden their own hearts against God (Psalm 95:8)? Why should Christians even be concerned about the loss of heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 John 8-9)?

               Hence, the Calvinist view of predestination is irrational at best. The Bible presupposes our capacity to reach out to God through faith and humble repentance. God has no desire in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 33:10-11). God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). The Lord does act in a contingent manner (Jeremiah 18:1-13). Election is conditioned on faith.

    Monday, June 11, 2018

    What About Warefare Prayer?

    "Warfare prayer is without a shred of support in the Old Testament, and is specifically prohibited in the New (2 Pet. 2:10-12; Jude 8-10). Then again, nothing is lost in rejecting this technique, because we do not need to defeat Satan.. Christ has defeated him already, and will one day destroy him. He needs no help, which is certainly a relief, because mortals could provide none if it were necessary. Our role is to proclaim Christ boldly, cast out demons as they manifest, resist temptation at all times, and stand fast in persecution. That gives us all we can handle, and sometimes more."

    Chuck Lowe, Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation?, p.144

    Friday, June 8, 2018

    No Such Thing As Innate Homosexuality

    "In a letter to the editor of the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper, February 26, 1992, Dr. Joseph Berger, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, writes, “in my 20 years of psychiatry I have never come across anyone with innate homosexuality. That notion has been a long proclaimed gay-activist political position, intended to promote the acceptance of homosexuality as a healthy, fully equal alternative expression of human sexuality. It has zero scientific foundation, though its promoters latch on to even the flimsiest shreds of atrocious research in their attempts to justify the notion.”

    Scott Lively; Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika, p. 11

    Thursday, June 7, 2018

    The Spirit Of Holiness

    [Romans] 1:4 In many cases it is impossible to put a small or a large S rightly to the word Spirit, as the presence and power of the Holy Spirit characterizes the state, and that and the state are both included; so it is here. It is divine, not merely human, perfectness, and by the Holy Spirit, yet it is Christ's state. But it is not merely a state, but that state which consists in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and is the absolute expression of it. On the whole, I put a large S here, but it is the Son manifested on earth who is spoken of, and characteristic of him. Resurrection was the proof, but he who had eyes to see, saw what came in flesh justified in the Spirit even when here, the same Spirit which was quickening power in resurrection, as 1 Pet. 3.18.

    [Romans] 1:4 Hagiosune, the nature and quality itself, as 2 Cor. 7.1 and 1 Thess. 3.13. Distinct from hagiasmos, the practical effect produced, the character in activity, translated 'holiness' in Rom. 6.19, 22; 1 Cor. 1.30; 1 Tim. 2.15; Heb. 12.14; and 'sanctification' in 1 Thess. 4.3; 4.7; 2 Thess. 2.13 and 1 Pet. 1.2. Another word, hagiotes, is used in Heb. 12.10 (the only time in Scripture), for the quality itself.

    J.N. Darby's Translation footnotes on Romans 1:4

    Grace And Truth Came Through Jesus Christ

    [John] 1:17 - Ginomai, 'has come,' that which, not having actually been in being before (i.e. in the world), now begins to be so. So the Word was (v. 1), but everything else 'began to be.' The world 'had its being,' 'began to be,' through Him (v. 10). He 'became flesh' (v. 14), ginomai. So 'grace and truth came into being.' I am not satisfied with 'subsists,' but 'came' gives the idea of coming into the world. No doubt they did so, but the word has not this force. They began to exist de facto down here. The verb is singular, and 'grace and truth' go together in the person of Christ. Nothing subsisted by the law, it was a rule given; but grace and truth actually commenced to be, not in God's mind of course, but in revelation and actual existence down here. But its so taking place supposes its continuance.

    [John] 1:18 - Eis, not en: perhaps 'on.' The expression indicates the place where, or the state: see Acts 8.23; Mark 1.9. In chap. 13 it is en in ver. 23, epi in ver. 25.

    [John] 1:23 - 'Lord' has no article here, which is irregular in Greek, but I do not doubt it is in place of the name 'Jehovah,' as in other Gospels.

    J.N. Darby's Translation footnotes on John 1:17-23

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    Atheism Refuted: The Impossibility Of Abiogenesis

    • Discussion:
              -Following is an excerpt from an article originally published by the Cosmos Magazine:

              "Since he and colleague Tracey Lincoln first succeeded in creating this artificial genetic system that can undergo self-sustained replication and evolution last year, the molecules have changed dramatically as they evolve better and better solutions."

              Naturalistic atheists seem to believe that the creation of these self-replicating RNA enzymes vindicates the notion of abiogenesis, which is the theory that life originated spontaneously from inanimate materials.

              However, this effort to demonstrate the possibility of life coming from non-living matter does not hold water, considering that these enzymes did not actually create themselves. They did not simply appear from nothing and start evolving.

              If this scenario proves anything at all, then it only means that all created things require an intelligent designer. After all, these RNA enzymes were created by scientists, who have intelligence. They were developed in laboratory conditions, which are artificial, controlled, and customized by intelligent beings.

              There is no scientific evidence existing whatsoever to support the idea of a self-sustaining cell that could arise spontaneously in the appropriate environment. The modern theories of abiogenesis cannot account for the extraordinary complexity and design of living organisms. Neither is there a known explanatory mechanism for how such an unguided process could work.

    Tuesday, June 5, 2018

    More On Alien Octopi: New Paper Admits Failure Of Evolution To Explain Life

              -Regarding origin-of-life studies, which try to explain how living cells could somehow have arisen in an ancient, inorganic, Earth, the paper explains that this idea should have long since been rejected, but instead it has fueled “sophisticated conjectures with little or no evidential support.”

              …the dominant biological paradigm — abiogenesis in a primordial soup. The latter idea was developed at a time when the earliest living cells were considered to be exceedingly simple structures that could subsequently evolve in a Darwinian way. These ideas should of course have been critically examined and rejected after the discovery of the exceedingly complex molecular structures involved in proteins and in DNA. But this did not happen. Modern ideas of abiogenesis in hydrothermal vents or elsewhere on the primitive Earth have developed into sophisticated conjectures with little or no evidential support. [Emphasis added.]

              In fact, abiogenesis has “no empirical support.”

              …independent abiogenesis on the cosmologically diminutive scale of oceans, lakes or hydrothermal vents remains a hypothesis with no empirical support…

               One problem, of many, is that the early Earth would not have supported such monumental evolution:

               The conditions that would most likely to have prevailed near the impact-riddled Earth’s surface 4.1–4.23 billion years ago were too hot even for simple organic molecules to survive let alone evolve into living complexity

               In fact, the whole idea strains credibility “beyond the limit.”

               The requirement now, on the basis of orthodox abiogenic thinking, is that an essentially instantaneous transformation of non-living organic matter to bacterial life occurs, an assumption we consider strains credibility of Earth-bound abiogenesis beyond the limit.

               All laboratory experiments have ended in “dismal failure.” The information hurdle is of “superastronomical proportions” and simply could not have been overcome without a miracle.

               The transformation of an ensemble of appropriately chosen biological monomers (e.g. amino acids, nucleotides) into a primitive living cell capable of further evolution appears to require overcoming an information hurdle of superastronomical proportions, an event that could not have happened within the time frame of the Earth except, we believe, as a miracle. All laboratory experiments attempting to simulate such an event have so far led to dismal failure.

               Diversity of Life

                But the origin of life is just the beginning of evolution’s problems. For science now suggests evolution is incapable of creating the diversity of life and all of its designs:

                Before the extensive sequencing of DNA became available it would have been reasonable to speculate that random copying errors in a gene sequence could, over time, lead to the emergence of new traits, body plans and new physiologies that could explain the whole of evolution. However the data we have reviewed here challenge this point of view. It suggests that the Cambrian Explosion of multicellular life that occurred 0.54 billion years ago led to a sudden emergence of essentially all the genes that subsequently came to be rearranged into an exceedingly wide range of multi-celled life forms — Tardigrades, the Squid, Octopus, fruit flies, humans — to name but a few.

                As one of the authors writes, “the complexity and sophistication of life cannot originate (from non-biological) matter under any scenario, over any expanse of space and time, however vast.” As an example, consider the octopus.

    Saturday, June 2, 2018

    We Learn About Humanity From History, Not Science

    "Why is it that, contrary to what people think, we can learn more about humanity from history than from science? (As John Lukacs notes, history seeks to understand human beings as agents and subjects, whereas in science they can never be more than objects.)

    How do secularists hope to help the advanced modern world rise above a hedonistic mass culture and civilization when they have no strong values to offer, let alone transcendent values, when they have deliberately destroyed such institutions as tradition and the family, and when they are now intent on gutting the independence of the world of civil society and allowing it to be invaded by the forces of the state and market?"

    Os Guinness, Impossible People, p. 150