Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Lord's Supper Is To Be Understood Symbolically

"That the bread 'is' his body means that it 'represents' it; we should interpret his words here no more literally than the disciples would have taken the normal words of the Passover liturgy, related to Deuteronomy 16:3 (cf. Stauffer 1960:117): ‘This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate when they came from the land of Egypt.’ (By no stretch of the imagination did anyone suppose that they were re-eating the very bread the Israelites had eaten in the wilderness.) Those who ate of this bread participated by commemoration in Jesus’ affliction in the same manner that those who ate the Passover commemorated in the deliverance of their ancestors....M. Pesah. 10:6 uses the Passover wine as a metaphor for the blood of the covenant in Ex. 24:8." 

Dr. Craig S. Keener, A Commentary On The Gospel Of Matthew, p. 631, n. 27, Cited by Jason Engwer of Triablogue 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sufficient Proofs For The Word Of God

"Men crave in these days some demonstration from the unseen world. Here is abundance of such evidence—Here is clear proof of an unseen and almighty intelligence presiding over human history, and showing us that He does so by describing beforehand the whole course of its events. What need we any further proof? The order of the visible world is evidence of the invisible to him who reads history in the light of prophecy! He beholds the hand of God in human experience, and watches the development of the Divine plan in the progress of the world. He knows, moreover, what events to expect, for he discerns his own chronological position in the stream of time; and as nine-tenths of the program have already been fulfilled, he doubts not that the remaining tenth will be in its predicted and fast-approaching season. And further, it is clear that if by so many infallible proofs we are convinced that the Bible as a whole is from God, no difficulties as to the mode of its inspiration, no scientific or critical objections, should be suffered to interfere with our hearty and thankful reception of its revelation. If God has spoken, man is responsible to hear, to believe, and to obey. And lastly, may we say, that to study the Christian evidences, whether of this or of any other kind, is merely to examine the foundations of the house. It is well at times to do this. But it is better to enter and abide in the house! It is infinitely better to avail one’s self of its shelter from the stormy blast, to enjoy its rich and spacious accommodation, to dwell in safety and peace under its blessed roof and to gaze on the widespread prospect from its windows."

Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910)

Contradictions Between Sexual Revolution And The #MeToo Movement

"There is a deep tension between the premises of the sexual revolution and those of #MeToo. The sexual revolution promises greater availability and enjoyment of sexual pleasure without commitment or guilt. This promise can only be accomplished by the trivialization of the intrinsically personal meaning of sex. It is very difficult to see how we can simultaneously promote the trivialization of sex and treat sexual assault with the seriousness that it deserves.

But a powerful personal drive like sexual desire cannot really be trivialized, and its personal meaning cannot be completely denied. If sex ceases to be about love, it will necessarily be about war. This is evident in the hook-up culture, which pushes the revolution’s core premise—sex without marital commitment, or “free love”—to its logical conclusion by elevating sex without any commitment at all. In the hook-up culture and its #MeToo reaction, we can see how sex without comprehensive commitment necessarily becomes predatory, thus paving the way for sexual assault."

Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sex Needs More Than Just Consent

"Certain moral norms follow from the personal meaning of sex. In the first place, there is a need for consent. Sexual contact without consent is a direct assault against the whole person. It is deeply depersonalizing. But sexual assault is only the most extreme kind of sexual depersonalization. Every time a person is used for sexual gratification, he or she is depersonalized. This fact accounts for the true meaning of sexual modesty (and shame), not puritanical repression. It is our natural defense against the “objectifying” gaze, against being used for someone else’s gratification.

But not just any kind of consent is adequate to the intrinsic and personal language of sex, and thus to the dignity of the person. Because sex is an embodied union of thewhole person, consent to sex without total commitment to the whole person contradicts the meaning and language of the body. It makes an act that speaks love between persons into an act of use of persons.

Sex is thus very different from other human activities. In some contexts, the mutual “use” of persons is morally acceptable. In typical market transactions, for example, the parties “use” one another for their own benefit. When someone purchases bread from the baker, each person is unproblematically looking to his or her own advantage, and (unless the transaction involves force or fraud) neither person feels“used.”

Why is it that “feeling used” is a common experience in sexual intercourse, even when it is consented to? And what conditions for sexual intercourse would prevent that feeling? While “affirmative consent” may at least avoid rape, most people have a sense that consent should be broader, that sex should at least be “a part of a relationship.” But what kind of relationship is sufficient to prevent sex from being depersonalizing? A committed one? How committed? Experience leads us to the following conclusion: Nothing short of comprehensive personal consent—in other words, marriage—is adequate to the intrinsic language of sex or the vulnerability it necessarily entails."

Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Commentary On Hebrews 10:7

"Then said I, lo, I come,.... Christ observing that legal sacrifices were not acceptable to God; that there was a body prepared for him; and that it was written of him in the book of God, that he should come; and the time being now come, with a note of attention and admiration, the matter being of great moment and concern, he cheerfully expresses his readiness to come, immediately, without any compulsion, even he himself, and not another.

In the volume of the book it is written of me; in the book of the law, as the, Targum and Kimchi on Psalm 40:7 interpret it; and which may design the Bible in general, the whole book of the Scriptures of the Old Testament: so ספר, "the book", is used for the whole BibleF18, and it is saidF19, all the whole law, that is, all Scripture, is called מגילה, "a volume"; accordingly there are things written of Christ in all the writings of the Old Testament, in the law, and in the prophets, and in the psalms. Jarchi interprets it of the law of Moses, and so it may design the pentateuch, or the five books of Moses; and there are several places therein, in which it is written of Christ, and particularly in Genesis, the first of these books, and in the head, the beginning, the frontal piece, the first part of that book; namely, Genesis 3:15 which may be principally designed. Books were formerly written in rolls of parchment, and hence called volumes; See Gill on Luke 4:17, See Gill on Luke 4:20. The end of his coming is next expressed by him,

to do thy will, O God; which, when he came, he set about with the utmost delight, diligence, and faithfulness, in preaching the Gospel, performing miracles, doing good to the bodies and souls of men, and in finishing the great work of man's redemption, which was the main part of his Father's will he came to do; and which he did, by fulfilling the law in its precept and penalty; by offering himself a sacrifice to God; by suffering death, the death of the cross; by destroying all his and our enemies, and so working out everlasting salvation."

Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-10.html. 1999.

1 Timothy 5:18 Is Important In Apologetics

                                                By Jason Engwer Of Triablogue

For example, the passage has significant implications for the canon of scripture, the dating of the Synoptics and Acts, whether Paul agreed with concepts affirmed in Luke's gospel (the virgin birth, the empty tomb, etc.), and how widely accepted the beliefs in question were (e.g., since Paul expects his audience to accept what he's saying without further explanation). And much of what I just mentioned is applicable to some extent even if Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy is rejected and the document is dated later than Paul's lifetime. For example, if the passage reflects widespread acceptance of the virgin birth, then that's significant even if Paul wasn't involved. In fact, if the initial audience was much wider than one individual (Timothy), as it presumably would be under a pseudonymous authorship scenario, then the implications of the passage are more significant accordingly.

I've sometimes cited Michael Kruger's work in support of the conclusion that 1 Timothy 5:18 is citing Luke's gospel as scripture. In a book published late last year, he provides a lengthier case for that conclusion. It's on pages 680-700 of Lois K. Fuller Dow, et al., edd., The Language And Literature Of The New Testament (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2017). If you don't want to pay the large price for the book, you can get it at a library or through interlibrary loan, as I did. Kruger's chapter is well worth getting and reading. He goes into a lot of detail, but here are some highlights:

Given that we have an exact match with a known source (Luke 10:7) - and exact matches are quite rare when tracing the words of Jesus during this time period - this raises the question of why we would prefer an unknown source to a known one. And there is another advantage of preferring the known source, namely that we know that (at some point) Luke actually acquired the scriptural status that 1 Tim 5:18 requires, whereas we have no evidence that any sayings source ever acquired such a scriptural status….

If it is too early for Luke to be regarded as Scripture, why is it not also too early for a written sayings source [a hypothetical alternative to Luke] to be regarded as Scripture? After all, one might think that Luke's purported apostolic connections (Luke 1:1-4) might allow his Gospel to be regarded as Scripture even more quickly than an anonymous sayings source….

He [John Meier, a New Testament scholar who's not a conservative and rejects Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy] states, "The only interpretation that avoids contorted intellectual acrobatics or special pleading is the plain, obvious one. [1 Timothy] is citing Luke's Gospel alongside Deuteronomy as normative Scripture for the ordering of the church's ministry." (689-91)

If Jesus Christ Is Not God, Then Why Was He Worshiped As A Deity In Scripture?

  • Discussion:
          -If Unitarians are correct about Jesus Christ not being God, then how do they account for the multiple occasions throughout Scripture where He is worshiped as one who has divine status? Consider the following texts from the Gospel of Matthew:

          "After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)

          "And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!" (Matthew 14:33)

          "And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him." (Matthew 28:8-9)

          The problem for folks who reject the deity of Christ is further enhanced as one considers how the Old Testament Scriptures expressly condemn idolatry (Exodus 20:4-6; 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:13; 32:29; Isaiah 42:8). Only God is to be worshiped. If our Lord Jesus Christ is not God, then He cannot rightly be the recipient of worship. This excerpt provides us with necessary backdrop:

          "To enter into this debate, you must understand the Greek term for worship: proskuneo. Groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to point out that proskuneo can refer to the act of bowing low to the ground before someone. This act was used to express respect or reverence towards a superior (e.g. a king). In these situations, proskuneo is better translated or bow down, not worship. However, when proskuneo is used in a religious context, it is an act of acknowledging deity. Therefore, context is key in determining whether or not Jesus was actually worshiped."

          The four gospels clearly indicate that Jesus Christ was revered as a deity. His triumphant arrival into Jerusalem and praise from a crowd on Palm Sunday especially brings this point into light (Matthew 21:15-16). The people had called Christ hosanna, which is an utterance of adoration and recognition of His Messiahship. When confronted by Jewish leadership about this incident, He quoted Psalm 8:2. That context indicates the type of honor that only God is worthy of receiving. Yet, Jesus Christ applied to Himself that passage from the Psalms which was originally addressed to Yahweh. This proves Christ to be God in the flesh. 

           It is also telling to note that the New Testament records angels and the apostles always refusing the type of honor that Christ accepted (Acts 10:25-26; 14:13-15; Revelation 4:10; 19:10; 22:8-9). Neither would it have made any sense for the Father to say that He was pleased with His begotten Son (Matthew 3:16-17), if He were acting disobediently. Christ never once in Scripture rebuked anybody who worshiped Him.

           If Jesus is not God, and accepted worship in violation of Jewish Law, then the New Testament must be in error for telling us that Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:14-16). He would not even be a good moral teacher. If Jesus Christ is not co-eternal with the Father, then He is not really much different from the rest of us. Would anybody say, "Lord, save me," to a mere prophet (Matthew 14:28-30)?

           It is evident from Scripture that Christ is the second Person of the triune God. Revelation 5:13-14 describes the same amount of worship being given to the Lamb and God. The Greek term "latreuo" is applied both equally to the Father and Son in Revelation 22:3. In this passage, the throne of the Lamb is made equivalent with the throne of God. This excerpt from Dr. Thomas Constable's expository notes is pertinent here:

           "[Revelation] 22:3 There will no longer be a curse because the tree of life will heal (redeem?) the nations. The curse in view is probably the curse that God pronounced on the old creation at the Fall (cf. Zech. 14:11; Mal. 4:6). God will have intimate fellowship with His people because this curse has now been lifted. Evidently believers (His bond-servants in the new creation; cf. 1:1) will occupy themselves serving God and the Lamb in the new earth. The Greek word for “serve” (latreuo) suggests priestly service in view of its other uses in this book (cf. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). “His” and “Him” present God and the Lamb as essentially one being."

Questioning Darwin

Chinese Professor: "The strange thing about these Cambrian fossil finds is that they turn Darwin's tree upside down. Instead of having the simple forms at the bottom and gradually morphing and then the complex forms arising and then branching out, we have the disparity between form at the very beginning of the [Cambrian] explosion, with nothing underneath."So there was some uncomfortable shuffling. And then we went to the Q&A time. And one of the geologists from the University of Washington raised his hand and he said, almost as if in warning, "Professor, aren't you a little bit uneasy about expressing scepticism about Darwinian evolution coming as you do from such an authoritarian country?"

And suddenly you could cut the tension with a knife, to use the old metaphor. But this Chinese professor - no one's fool - got a wry smile on his face, and he said, "In our country we can question Darwin, just not the government." And then he said, "In your country, you can question the government, but you can't question Darwinism."

Source: Stephen Meyer discussing (here at approximately the 23:15 mark) a lecture he attended given by a Chinese professor of paleontology


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

No Such Thing As "Co-Dependency"

"The literature on codependency is based on assertions, generalizations, and anecdotes. … To start without the slightest shred of scientific evidence and casually label large groups as diseased may be helpful to a few, but it is potentially harmful and exploitive as well. If as the best sellers claim, 'all society is an addict,' and 96% of us are codependents, that leaves precious few of us outside the rehab centers — but at that point the claims become ludicrous at best."

“Codependency,” University of California Berkeley, Wellness Letter, October 1990, pg.7, cited by Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt Goedelman, “Twelve Steps in the Wrong Direction: A Biblical Critique of Codependency and Alcoholics Anonymous,” The [PFO] Quarterly Journal, January-March 2016, pg.15

Monday, July 23, 2018

Dangerous Occult Mysticism In The Church

"It should be of more than passing interest to everyone that Jesus Christ and the prophets and apostles, whose words are recorded in the Bible, predicted the burgeoning interest in generic “spirituality” which we are experiencing today. As we shall see, they foretold a time of unprecedented interest in the mysterious and apparently miraculous. Yet they warned that these “last days signs and wonders” would be a great delusion that would prepare the world and a false church for Antichrist.

The fact that Christ and His apostles accurately pinpointed more than 1900 years ago precisely what we are seeing today ought to pique our interest in what else they said, and why. We will examine these prophecies and seek to understand them in the context of today’s highly touted “spiritual awakening” that is occurring simultaneously inside and outside the church. Could there be a connection?

Biblical prophets and Jesus Christ Himself warned of a great spiritual delusion and occult seduction in a period of time called the “last days” just prior to Christ’s return. The warnings concerned “false prophets” who would perform “great signs and wonders” that would be so convincing that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). Paul also warned of a false “signs and wonders” movement in the last days (2 Timothy 3:8). Significantly, nowhere in the Bible do we find a good or legitimate “signs and wonders” movement prophesied for the last days, nor even a hint that it would be needed or helpful.

Today a growing “signs and wonders” movement in the Christian church is literally exploding and is involving not only charismatics and Pentecostals but even evangelicals who only a few years ago were opposed to what they would have characterized at that time as fraud. Today, in spite of the warnings by both Jesus and Paul, there is scarcely any thought that today’s signs and wonders might be part of the very spiritual deception which the Bible foretells."

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

The Shroud Of Turin Is Not Genuine

"Bloodstains found on the shroud of Turin burial cloth, believed by many to have once wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, are likely fake, according to new research reported in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

In June 2017, researchers at the Institute of Crystallography found traces of blood on the 14-foot-long relic, with initial analysis of the particles discovering "a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was wrapped up in the funeral cloth."

The nanoparticles uncovered were found to not be typical of the blood of a healthy person.

The Journal of Forensic Sciences report on July 10 revealed that the bloodstain patterns were analyzed in a type of crime scene scenario. In the test, researchers found that the linen seems to have been patched with bloodstains from a standing model, and not from a crucified man or a facedown corpse....

In 1988, radiocarbon measurements suggested that the shroud was a forgery made somewhere between 1260–1390 A.D., but later research found that the fibers tested at the time were from a patch added later on the shroud, and not part of the original cloth.

DNA sequencing tests in 2015 found pollen and dust particles from the shroud belonging to plants from South America, the Middle East, Central Africa, Central Asia, China, and other regions.

The Catholic Church has never declared the shroud to be a genuine religious relic, but regards it as an icon, attracting millions of people when it is put up for public display at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, where it is kept."


The Scriptural Definition Of Repentance

  • Discussion:
          -There is confusion among professing Christians as to the definition of repentance, namely whether it consists of a change in mind or a change in ways. The Bible does provide a simple, clear answer to this dispute, which will be found unsatisfactory to the many in our culture who preach a watered-down or seeker-sensitive version of the gospel (2 Timothy 4:3). According to the Scriptures, the act of repentance is more than a mere change of mind. It involves turning from sinful ways. It involves entrusting oneself to God, who gives lavish, tender forgiveness. Repentance is not a work, but a change in heart. It is a change in purpose. It is a change in perspective. It is crying out to God, admitting the futility of remaining in sin. This theme was taught especially in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:20-31). The underlying theme of the gospel is repent or perish. Repentance is certainly accompanied with godly sorrow and grief, as was the case of the Apostle Peter who denied knowing Jesus Christ three times in a row (Luke 22:62-64). Notice how the Old Testament records the men of Nehemiah who heard the preaching of Jonah:

          "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." (Jonah 3:5-10)

          Note how Jesus Christ alludes to this event:

          "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here." (Matthew 12:41)

          People who profess the name of Christ have no excuse for having their lives continually characterized by sin. A genuine faith in Christ will be evidenced by good works. It will be accompanied with a desire to serve God. These are the evidences of a changed heart. The lives of the apostles themselves are evidence of this truth. If we truly wish to inherit eternal life, then we must turn to God and seek the forgiveness that He provides. If we truly want a relationship with God, then we must follow Him on His terms. True repentance will inevitably result in a changed lifestyle. Repentance is the conviction that sin should no longer persist in our lives. We must recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt sinners who are in need of His redemption. A faith that saves is one that obeys. We need to be given a new heart. We need to be given a pure mind.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

We Are Solely Responsible For Staying Out Of Poverty

"No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior."

Walter Williams, “Dependency, Not Poverty

Friday, July 20, 2018

General Causes Of Poverty

"A majority of poor people, however, are poor because they did it to themselves. They failed to educate themselves. No matter how lousy government schools are, you can learn in them if you want to. One study of Asian children found that they excelled whether they attended a good school or a slum school. The difference was, their parents motivated them to learn.

Besides, there is hardly a city or town in America that doesn’t have a public library, and there’s a Ph.D.’s worth of knowledge sitting on those shelves, free for the taking. Harrison Ford, the actor, went to a library and taught himself to be a master carpenter before he became a successful actor. The public libraries are probably one of the most valuable and least used resources in America that are available to everyone.

Some people are poor because they develop drug or alcohol addictions. Chemical addictions are not racial in the least. I know of a former lawyer and judge, white as bleached flour, who wrecked his career, his family and his life because of an addiction to crack cocaine. A chemical addiction can drive anybody down if it is not faced and stopped.

Some people are poor because they never developed good work habits or even good grooming. Nobody is going to hire some kid with his pants down around his buttocks, who talks jive instead of English, and who is two days from his last brush with soap and water. Nobody is going to keep or promote someone who is chronically late for work, watches the clock and is the first out the door...

Some people are poor because they never learn to handle money. Government schools and a lot of parents fail their children in this regard. It’s one of the most important things a child can learn, because the formula for success is simple: You must spend less than you earn; you must save and then invest. That’s all there is too it. There are thousands of how-to books written on the subject, but the good ones all boil down to those three rules. Spend less than you earn. Save it. Invest it…

Finally, as sad as it is to say it, some people are poor because they are stupid and/or lazy. These you can’t help. They will either squander or let somebody gyp them out of whatever you give them...But don’t buy this con game of laying poverty on the non-poor. It’s bull uttered by people with an ideological interest in big government."

Charley Reese, “Poor do it to themselves,” Conservative Chronicle 10/19/05

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 moot. 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 creation 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, intention, and plan for those who are justified in the sight of God. Believers experience fellowship with God. Believers are appointed for His glory. 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 works things to His eternal glory.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Roman Catholicism And The Canon Of Scripture

"It is not that the Church and her Magisterium actually create the canon: even less do they endow Scripture with its authority, as mistakenly rather than intentionally certain Catholic apologists have sometimes maintained. With this dogma, as with the others, Church and Magisterium simply recognize the truth established by God's action, submit to it and, since they are responsible for it, proclaim it with authority, making it into a Church law."

Yves Congar, The Meaning of Tradition, p. 110

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Brokenness Of Darwinian Evolution

"For one thing, the Royal Society, dating back to 1660, is a legend in the science world. Its founders included the great chemist Robert Boyle, and it was later headed for 24 years (1703-1727) by Isaac Newton – a fact that is hard to forget with Newton's death mask on prominent display in a glass case. Portraits of Boyle and Newton look down from the walls above. So the historical connections lend a certain weight by themselves.

What's really notable, however, is that such a thoroughly mainstream body should so openly acknowledge problems with orthodox neo-Darwinian theory. Indeed, though presenters ignored, dismissed, or mocked the theory of intelligent design, the proceedings perfectly illustrated a point made by our colleague Stephen Meyer, author of the New York Times bestseller “Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.”

Dr. Meyer, a Cambridge University-trained philosopher of science, writes provocatively in the book's Prologue:

“The technical literature in biology is now replete with world-class biologists routinely expressing doubts about various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory, and especially about its central tenet, namely the alleged creative power of the natural selection and mutation mechanism.

“Nevertheless, popular defenses of the theory continue apace, rarely if ever acknowledging the growing body of critical scientific opinion about the standing of the theory. Rarely has there been such a great disparity between the popular perception of a theory and its actual standing in the relevant peer-reviewed science literature.”

The opening presentation at the Royal Society by one of those world-class biologists, Austrian evolutionary theorist Gerd Müller, underscored exactly Meyer’s contention. Dr. Müller opened the meeting by discussing several of the fundamental "explanatory deficits" of “the modern synthesis,” that is, textbook neo-Darwinian theory. According to Müller, the as yet unsolved problems include those of explaining:

Phenotypic complexity (the origin of eyes, ears, body plans, i.e., the anatomical and structural features of living creatures);

Phenotypic novelty, i.e., the origin of new forms throughout the history of life (for example, the mammalian radiation some 66 million years ago, in which the major orders of mammals, such as cetaceans, bats, carnivores, enter the fossil record, or even more dramatically, the Cambrian explosion, with most animal body plans appearing more or less without antecedents); and finally non-gradual forms or modes of transition, where you see abrupt discontinuities in the fossil record between different types.

As Müller has explained in a 2003 work (“On the Origin of Organismal Form,” with Stuart Newman), although “the neo-Darwinian paradigm still represents the central explanatory framework of evolution, as represented by recent textbooks” it “has no theory of the generative.” In other words, the neo-Darwinian mechanism of mutation and natural selection lacks the creative power to generate the novel anatomical traits and forms of life that have arisen during the history of life. Yet, as Müller noted, neo-Darwinian theory continues to be presented to the public via textbooks as the canonical understanding of how new living forms arose – reflecting precisely the tension between the perceived and actual status of the theory that Meyer described in “Darwin’s Doubt.”

Yet, the most important lesson of the Royal Society conference lies not in its vindication of claims that our scientists have made, gratifying as that might be to us, but rather in defining the current problems and state of research in the field. The conference did an excellent job of defining the problems that evolutionary theory has failed to solve, but it offered little, if anything, by way of new solutions to those longstanding fundamental problems.

Much of the conference after Müller’s talk did discuss various other proposed evolutionary mechanisms. Indeed, the prime movers in the Royal Society event, Müller, James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and Eva Jablonka – known to evolutionary biologists as the "Third Way of Evolution" crowd, neither ID theorists nor orthodox Darwinists – have proposed repairing the explanatory deficits of the modern synthesis by highlighting evolutionary mechanisms other than random mutation and natural selection. Much debate at the conference centered around the question of whether these new mechanisms could be incorporated into the basic population genetics framework of neo-Darwinism, thus making possible a new “extended” evolutionary synthesis, or whether the emphasis on new mechanisms of evolutionary change represented a radical, and theoretically incommensurable, break with established theory. This largely semantic, or classificatory, issue obscured a deeper question that few, if any, of the presentations confronted head on: the issue of the origin of genuine phenotypic novelty – the problem that Müller described in his opening talk.

Indeed, by the end of Day 3 of the meeting, it seemed clear to many of our scientists, and others in attendance with whom they talked, that the puzzle of life's novelties remained unsolved – if, indeed, it had been addressed at all. As a prominent German paleontologist in the crowd concluded, “All elements of the Extended Synthesis [as discussed at the conference] fail to offer adequate explanations for the crucial explanatory deficits of the Modern Synthesis (aka neo-Darwinism) that were explicitly highlighted in the first talk of the meeting by Gerd Müller.”

In “Darwin’s Doubt,” for example, Meyer emphasized the obvious importance of genetic and other (i.e., epigenetic) types of information to building novel phenotypic traits and forms of life. The new mechanisms offered by the critics of neo-Darwinism at the conference – whether treated as part of an extended neo-Darwinian synthesis or as the basis of a fundamentally new theory of evolution – did not attempt to explain how the information necessary to generating genuine novelty might have arisen. Instead, the mechanisms that were discussed produce at best minor microevolutionary changes, such as changes in wing coloration of butterflies or the celebrated polymorphisms of stickleback fish.

Moreover, the mechanisms that were discussed – niche construction, phenotypic plasticity, natural genetic engineering, and so on – either presupposed the prior existence of the biological information necessary to generate novelty, or they did not address the mystery of the origin of that information (and morphological novelty) at all. (Not all the mechanisms addressed were necessarily new, by the way. Niche construction and phenotypic plasticity have been around for a long time.)

Complex behaviors such as nest-building by birds or dam construction by beavers represent examples of niche construction, in which some organisms themselves demonstrate the capacity to alter their environment in ways that may affect the adaptation of subsequent generations to that environment. Yet no advocate of niche construction at the meeting explained how the capacity for such complex behaviors arose de novo in ancestral populations, as they must have done if the naturalistic evolutionary story is true.

Rather, these complex behaviors were taken as givens, leaving the critical question of their origins more or less untouched. While there is abundant evidence that animals can learn and transmit new behaviors to their offspring – crows in Japan, for instance, have learned how to use automobile traffic to crack open nuts – all such evidence presupposes the prior existence of specific functional capacities enabling observation, learning, and the like. The evolutionary accounts of niche construction theory therefore collide repeatedly with a brick wall marked "ORIGINAL COMPLEX FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY REQUIRED HERE" – without, or beyond which, there would simply be nothing interesting to observe."


Why The Left Loves And Hates Science

“Why do you hate science?”

That’s the question leftists have taken to asking non-leftists. Leftists claim to love science, insofar as anyone can love a method for testing a hypothesis, and accuse their enemies of hating it. How can anyone love or hate an indifferent set of techniques? And how can an ideology that believes technological civilization is destroying the planet really claim to love the science behind it?

But swap out “science” for “god” and the question, “Why do you hate science” makes perfect sense. So do the constant assertions of love for science. These aren’t scientific assertions, but religious ones.

Actual science doesn’t care whether you love or hate it. That’s not how you engage with the theory of relativity. But religion is measured by love and hate. Either you love a deity or you hate it.

No one loves or hates science. But they do love Scienticism. Scienticism is science without skepticism. It takes the ideas of science and uses them to create an infallible belief system that gives our lives meaning and dictates how we should live those lives.

In other words, a religion.

Its god is Homo Progressivus, born an ape and ascending to singularity synthesis. Its heaven is a social services agency. Its saints died for social progress. And if you want angels, why not try UFOs?

Religion is vanishing in Europe and America is catching up. Morals are as outdated as phrenology. No one believes in the golden future anymore. Least of all the worshipers at the chrome altar of Scientism.

Every crackpot leftist theory from Marxism to Global Warming is cloaked in an inevitable something. The revolution of the working class can’t be stopped. The world is bound to run out of food, oil and sanctimony. The rise of the oceans can’t be stopped (except by electing Democrats). Science says so.

But science is the opposite of infallible. Its strength is its fallibility.

Science offers a crab walk forward, because it’s willing to admit and correct errors. But Scientism never admits it’s wrong. Instead it claims that scientific testing has found it absolutely true. Then it hides its data and tries to pass laws banning anyone from questioning its absurdly premature conclusions.

Scientism strips science of its greatest strength and builds a cargo cult around wearing a lab coat.

The left loathes real science because it hates skepticism. But it loves infallibility. And that is all that’s left of its science. What was once the soul of secularism, a belief system bestriding civilization, now exists solely to offer infallibility to whatever loathsome nonsense the left believes at any given moment."


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Scholarly Affirmation Denying Papal Supremacy

"It was during the Middle Ages that Christianity, in the form of the Roman Catholic Church, became a political power in western Europe. A leader called a bishop headed each major Christian community. By the A.D. 500s, the bishops of Rome, now known as popes, became the leaders of the Catholic Church." Eastern Orthodoxy was, “not under the leadership of the popes in Rome, but rather the emperors in Constantinople.” (Our World Today: People, Place and Issues, Boehm, et. Al, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill (2003), page 241, section "The Rise of Christianity")

Catholic Answers Provides Lousy Excuses For Marian Devotion

  • Discussion:
          -An apologist named Mary Beth Kremski wrote an article for Catholic Answers titled Making Peace with the Mediatrix, where she attempts to clarify Catholic doctrines on Mary, especially the title of Mediatrix in light of 1 Timothy 2:5. In fact, the author boldly stated:

          "The idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture: Ephesians 4:29 tells us that you and I are to "impart grace" to others by our words. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to "impart" (or mediate) grace in a variety of ways, including ministries of healing, teaching, and prayer."

          There are absolutely no words that can sufficiently express the degree of foolishness behind this apologetic. The Roman Catholic Church clearly teaches that Mary is co-mediator with the Lord Jesus Christ, whereas Scripture teaches that He is the one reconciler between God and man. This constitutes a flat contradiction. There is no explaining this away. Scripture plainly tells us that the only way that we can reach the Father is through the Son (John 14:6). We do not access Christ through Mary. There is no other name among men by which we can be saved (Acts 4:10-12). Thus, He is the only one who can impart to us salvific grace. The reason He is the mediator of the New Covenant is that He give Himself up as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of this world. Yet, the author blindly suggests "the idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture." Now, consider for a moment the cited proof-text in the Catholic Answers excerpt being dissected:

          "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29)

          This passage of Scripture speaks of us "imparting grace" in the sense of being forgiving, compassionate, and kind. Ephesians 4:28-30 is simply stressing the importance of godly conduct in the Christian life. It has nothing to do with praying to souls who have departed into the supernatural realm. It says nothing concerning the administration of grace that justifies, which the Church of Rome claims also belongs to Mary. The Bible teaches that only God has this kind of power. He will not bestow His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). Hence, the points made by the folks at Catholic Answers are outright wrong. The entire article which has been linked here in this post is a work of fanciful speculation, twisted exegesis, and cognitive sophistry. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see people giving Mary veneration. Never does the Word of God direct us to Mary for heavenly intercession. It is simply blasphemy to attribute traits, titles, and roles to Mary that rightly belong to God alone. It is idolatry to pray to, keel before statues of, and entrust salvation to her. The Lord was not joking when He told the Israelites that He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-6).

          The Roman Catholic concept of prayers to deceased saints is not only foreign to the pages of Scripture, but is also contradicted by primitive writers. Consider a handful of excerpts from various church fathers which can be found in this article at a Reformed blog called Christian Answers:

          "Neither does [the Church] accomplish anything by angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by some other perverse curious art, but she directs her prayers to the Lord, who has done all things, in a pure, sincere and upright spirit, and invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she is accustomed to doing miraculous works for the benefit of mankind, not to make them wrong...the altar is then in heaven. our prayers and directed offerings)." (Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies 2: 32: 5 and 4: 18: 6)
          "Paradise, the place of heavenly bliss appointed to receive the spirits of the saints, cut off from the knowledge of this world." (Tertullian, Apology 47)

          "For whoever of his soul serves the Divine Being in any other way, who does not always take into account the Creator of everything, to direct his prayers to Him alone , and to do all things as if in the eyes of God, who sees us completely, even our thoughts." (Origen, Against Celsus 7:51)

          "But if we accept prayer in its full sense, we can never pray to any created being, not even to Christ himself, but only to the God and Father of all whom our Savior has prayed as we have already shown, and teaches us to pray." (Origen, About Prayer 10)

          "It is evident that those who pray to the dead , or venerate the earth, or offer their souls to unclean spirits, do not act as if becoming men, they will suffer punishment for their wickedness and guilt , who, rebelling against God the Father of the human race, committed themselves to inexpiable rites, and violated the whole sacred law." (Lactantium, The Divine Institutes 2:18)

           The Roman Catholic Marian dogmas developed gradually after the New Testament Scriptures were penned:

           "Thus the veneration of Mary gradually degenerated into the worship of Mary; and this took so deep hold upon the popular religious life in the Middle Age, that, in spite of all scholastic distinctions between latria, and dulia, and hyrerdulia, Mariolatry practically prevailed over the worship of Christ...Irenaeus calls her also the "advocate of the virgin Eve," which, at a later day, is understood in the sense of intercessor. On this account this father stands as the oldest leading authority in the Catholic Mariology; though with only partial justice; for he was still widely removed from the notion of the sinlessness of Mary, and expressly declares the answer of Christ in John ii. 4, to be a reproof of her premature haste. In the same way Tertullian, Origen, Basil the Great, and even Chrysostom, with all their high estimate of the mother of our Lord, ascribe to her on one or two occasions (John ii. 3; Matt. xiii. 47) maternal vanity, also doubt and anxiety, and make this the sword (Luke ii. 35) which, under the cross, passed through her soul." (Philip Schaff, "History of the Christian Church")

Formation Of The Old Testament Canon

"A possible model for the formation of the Hebrew canon may be suggested here in broad outline. Deut 31:26 records that the "book of the law" (presumably Deuteronomy or a text similar to it) was to be placed in the most holy place of the tabernacle. As the Word of God was being written, it continued to be collected and preserved in the Jerusalem temple, where it could be read and copied by others who were interested in its contents. By 586 BC copies would have been taken by the exiles out of the country, while other copies may have been hidden near Jerusalem. Even if copies were not already present at Jerusalem, Ezra returned with the books of the Law (the Pentateuch). He and others may have brought back various books of the Bible to Jerusalem. In any case, a collection in the temple allowed the priesthood to regulate what they considered as Scripture and what they did not. At some point prophecy was regarded as having ceased, and the final scrolls came into the collection [Thus 1 Macc 4:46, "Until a prophet should come," suggests the absence of prophecy]. After that, as far as the sources attest [1 & 2 Maccabees, as well as sources cited above that attest to major divisions and the number of books in the Hebrew Scriptures], no further scrolls were added to the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Jerusalem temple. As noted above, these were the thirty-nine books that came to be known as the Old Testament. The rabbis recognized the authority of these texts after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70."

R. Hess, The Old Testament: A Historical, Theological, and Critical Introduction, p. 8-9, originally cited by Steve Hays

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Abortion Is Wrong Even If The Fetus Is Not A Person

"Marquis thinks abortion is wrong even if the fetus is not a person.

Once again, to see the force of this strategy, imagine two people on a sidewalk debating the issue. If someone told you that the two debaters had come to agree that the fetus is not a person, you’d probably form the belief that the “pro-choice” side had won; likely, you’d conclude that the “pro-lifer” had been convinced.

But Marquis’ argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person.

Here it is:

(1) What makes killing someone wrong, in most respects, is it deprives them of a future of value.

(2) When a fetus is killed, it suffers the same kind of loss.


(3) Abortion is immoral just as killing an adult or a child is immoral.

As Marquis puts it:

When I am killed…I am deprived of all the value of my future. Inflicting this loss on me is ultimately what makes killing me wrong. This being the case, it would seem that what makes killing any adult human being prima facie seriously wrong is the loss of his or her future. …

The future of a standard fetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children. Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to fetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie seriously morally wrong.

Notice that Marquis’ argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person. Marquis is in essence shoving the question of personhood aside and looking strictly at what it is that makes killing someone wrong.

If it turned out that what makes killing someone wrong crucially relies on personhood, then Marquis wouldn’t have an argument against abortion (using the assumptions he’s relied on). But the wrong-making feature of killing that he’s identified is something adults, children, and fetuses share when each of them are killed. So if the feature that makes killing someone from the first two groups wrong is that it deprives them of a future of value, then it also furnishes us with an argument against abortion, since the fetus, like the child and the adult, has a future of value.

(Interestingly, Marquis’ argument does not provide grounds for seeing euthanasia as wrong, given that in many cases the candidate for euthanasia does not have a future of value.)

Notice that Marquis’ argument is not vulnerable to the familiar “pro-choice” lament that anti-abortionists are “giving full rights to a potential person” or anything like that. The question of personhood is irrelevant.

Marquis’ argument relies on a theory about what makes killing someone wrong, and then noticing that the same effects occur when a fetus is killed — the fetus, like the adult, is wrongly stripped of a future of value. It’s not like, when an adult is killed, someone can plausibly respond “Yes, but, they only had this ‘future of value’ potentially — so there’s no wrongdoing here.” No one would accept this reasoning. That’s because, as Marquis notes, we see this future of value as something an adult possesses in the present. That’s precisely why we’re so scandalized when someone is killed — they are robbed of something — the most precious thing — they possess: their future of value.

That’s what makes abortion seriously immoral."


Friday, July 13, 2018

The Legacy Of The True Historical Patrick

                                            By Greg Bentley Of Berean Beacon

Ireland has a very distinctive history. It was an island untouched by the Roman legions, and Patrick, the Evangelist, brought to it the Gospel of grace. Patrick was descended from a family that had placed their faith in Christ Jesus for at least two generations. He tells us his father was “the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a presbyter, of the settlement of Bannaven Taburniae.”[1] These facts are recorded in Patrick’s own testimony of faith. This authentic document is preserved in five manuscripts: one in the Book of Armagh of the seventh century, the second in the Cotton Library of the tenth century, a third in the French monastery of St. Vedastus, and two more in the Cathedral Library of Salisbury. This authenticated document is the main source of both the person and the mission of Patrick, and also his clear statement of the Gospel of grace.

Patrick was born in the year A.D. 373[2] in a town on the River Clyde in Roman Britain, now a part of Scotland. When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was captured by a band of pirates who sold him to a chieftain in what is now county Antrim in Northern Ireland. For six years he tended flocks. In his testimony, he tells us, “I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun.”[3] It was during the time of his captivity that he turned from his careless ways and came to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. He was convicted that he was a sinner. In his own words,

“[B]efore I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in His mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”[4]

Patrick, like so many of the godly men of history, found God’s favor in the riches of the grace of Christ. This was the theme echoing throughout the testimony of Patrick, in his own words “I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace.”[5] He then grew in the grace of God. Having believed on “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,”[6] he directly received “of his fullness…grace for grace.”[7] In his own words,

“More and more did the love of God, and my fear of Him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.”[8]

Patrick relates how, after six years, he escaped and following a difficult journey on land and sea returned to his people in Scotland. In his own words, “I was again in Britain with my family [kinsfolk], and they welcomed me as a son, and asked me, in faith, that after the great tribulations I had endured I should not go any where else away from them.”[9]

His Direct Mission from the Lord

Like the Apostle Paul, he received a clear and personal call from the Lord to preach the Gospel in the land of his former captivity. He described his call in these words,

“I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: ‘The Voice of the Irish’, and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.’ And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.”[10]

He speaks of being called again in a dream another night, but makes it clear how he interpreted what was happening by the Scriptures. He wrote, “‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.’” And again, “‘The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’” Thus, Patrick relies on Scripture to understand his experience and to see that it was the Lord Himself who was calling him. In his own words, “He who gave his life for you, He it is who speaks within you.”[11] He understood that Christ Jesus, who had died for his sins, was the One who was calling him to work as an evangelist in the very island where he had been held captive.

A second historical document from Patrick’s own hand is his letter to Coroticus. In it he explains, “Thus I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[12] This is a major factor in understanding Patrick. He knew himself as a sinner and found salvation where only sinners find it, “in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[13] The first words of his testimony read, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.” Likewise, in the beginning of his letter to Coroticus he states, “I, Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, resident in Ireland”. Quite clearly Patrick saw himself as a sinner. He did not look to some spark of divine life from within himself or to some ritual; rather, he looked unto Christ Jesus. Patrick’s words, “unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” shows his distinct and personal comfort and courage in Christ. Totally unlike religion that looks to rituals, Patrick had his eyes set on the Lord. Catholicism now, and to some extent even in Patrick’s time, looks to sacraments as necessary for salvation.[14] Patrick saw himself only as a sinner saved by grace in Christ Jesus. Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone—a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism, then and now.

His Mission Begins

Patrick, the Christian evangelist, being about 30 years old, together with some brothers in the Lord, set out for Ireland. He arrived in or about the year 405. This fact of history is authentic and verified. For example, Marcus, an Irish Bishop, who lived at the beginning of the ninth century, states that Patrick came to Ireland in the year 405, and Nennius, who lived about the same time, repeats the statement.[15] This date is of great importance because many centuries later there was an attempt made to confuse Patrick with Palladius, who had been sent out by Pope Celestine as a missionary to Ireland. When news of Patrick’s Christian success had reached Rome, Pope Celestine then sent Palladius as a bishop to bring the churches under the control of the Papacy. It was in 432, at least 27 years after Patrick’s commission from God, that Palladius from Rome came on the scene. When Palladius did come to Ireland, it was to an Ireland that had many Christian churches and that did not accept his message of subservience to the Bishop of Rome. In actual fact, Palladius was greatly discouraged by his lack of success. To quote from the historian Philip Schaff, “Palladius was so discouraged that he soon abandoned the field, with his assistants, for north Britain, where he died among the Picts…. The Roman mission of Palladius failed; the independent mission of Patrick succeeded. He is the true Apostle of Ireland, and has impressed his memory in indelible characters upon the Irish race at home and abroad.”[16]

God’s Grace Over the Course of Sixty Years

The work of Patrick and his associates in Ireland was extremely difficult. He came up against the old pagan religion of the Druids. The people believed in the Druids as pagan priests who would mediate for them in the things of the spirit. When Patrick preached Christ Jesus in his own words he said,

“I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, and the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth. As He once promised through His prophets: ‘To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.’[17] And again, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.’ And I wish to wait then for His promise which is never unfulfilled, just as it is promised in the Gospel.”[18] He wrote of baptizing many thousands of believers after they had professed faith.[19]

He also wrote about anxious journeys, difficulties, and disappointments. He combated the powers of darkness in the priesthood of the Druids. He relied on Christ Jesus and the glorious Holy Spirit given to convict people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He understood grace to be entirely from God when he declared,

“I, alone, can do nothing unless He Himself vouchsafes it to me. But let Him search my heart and [my] nature, for I crave enough for it, even too much, and I am ready for Him to grant me that I drink of His chalice, as He has granted to others who love him. Therefore may it never befall me to be separated by my God from His people whom He has won in this most remote land. I pray God that He gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing.”[20]

Over the course of 60 years, Patrick went the length and breadth of Ireland preaching the Gospel and, like Timothy and Titus before him, he ordained elders and established churches. It is reckoned that at the end of his days there were 365 churches across the island. These were established, as were the churches in biblical times, with the people served by a pastor or elder. The authority of the pastor was one of service, rather than lording it over the people. It was like the establishing of churches thatwere written about in the pages of the New Testament. Likewise, the monasteries set up by Patrick, were totally unlike the monasteries that were established under the Church of Rome. These monasteries were quite like those of the Vaudois and other early Christian churches of northern Italy and southern France, whereby men came aside for some years to be trained in the Scriptures and to learn how to evangelize and to bring the Gospel to others. Later in their lives, these men married and had families. These men were not forsaking the world for some retreat of inner holiness; rather, they were men who saw light and life in Christ Jesus and wished to evangelize others with the true Gospel. Because of these monasteries andthe churches that Patrick founded in Ireland, Ireland became known as the “Isle of Saints and Scholars.”

Six Hundred Years of Fruitfulness

The clarity of the Gospel message cherished by Patrick and those who worked with him was to live on for many years after him. There were many famous missionaries like Patrick, such as Columba and his companions who set out for Scotland in 563. Then there was Columbanus with his companions that went to evangelize France and Germany in 612. Kilian and the brothers that accompanied him went as missionaries to Franconia and Wurzburg in 680. Forannan and twelve brothers with him set out to bring the Gospel to the Belgian frontier in 970.[21]

For more than 600 years, Irish missionaries carried the Gospel with the same truthfulness as Patrick’s to Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and beyond. Darkness covered Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Dark Ages had begun and the Roman Church, having gained rulership through intrigue and persecution, now held most of Europe in her iron grip. Even so, in those dark centuries, the Irish missionaries continued to spread the true Gospel, seed which for centuries to come would bear much good fruit all across Europe.
Embezzlement of the Legacy of Patrick

With the coming of the Danes in the ninth century, however, the Celtic Church in Ireland began to lose its biblical clarity. Furthermore, Papal Rome began to unleash military power to bring Ireland under her control. This began with the decree of Pope Adrian IV issued to King Henry II of England in 1155. The Pope authorized the invasion of Ireland and sent the k
ing a ring of investiture as Lord of Ireland, calling upon the monarch to, “to extirpate the vices that have there taken root, [in Ireland]…saving to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church the annual pension of one penny from each house.”[22]

King Henry carried out the designs of the Papacy in 1171 and with a strong military force subdued the whole Irish nation. He received from every Archbishop and Bishop, at the Synod of Cashel in 1172, charters whereby they confirmed the Kingdom of Ireland to him and his heirs. The King sent a transcript of these charters to Pope Alexander III, who, according to the letters of the Archbishops and Bishops, was extremely gratified by the extension of his dominion, and in 1172 issued a bull confirming the Papal decree of Pope Adrian. Further rulings were sent from Rome to Henry II and to the princes and nobles of Ireland, and to the bishops of Ireland to establish the hierarchy over the people and pastors and command obedience of both Ireland and England to the Papal throne.

The Heritage of Patrick Lives On!

The heartbeat and the soul of Patrick was the Gospel of Christ. He wrote in his testimony,

“I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless, I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul’s desire. I am not ignorant of what is said of my Lord in the Psalm: ‘You destroy those who speak a lie and a lying mouth deals death to the soul.’ Likewise the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘In the day of judgment, men shall render an account for every idle word they utter’’ So it is that I should fear mightily, with terror and trembling, this judgment on the day when no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.”[23]

These words of Patrick are like a prophetic trumpet of the Lord. It is most serious to steal the legacy from the people of the nation, particularly when that heritage was life and light in Christ Jesus! Many Irish have grown up engrossed in the rites and rituals of Roman Catholicism. Many of us, turning from those dead things and having drunk deeply of the biblical grace of God that is in Christ Jesus, now want to stand on Patrick’s words, “no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.” To publish abroad the Gospel of God’s chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world”[24] is our longing now, as it was Patrick’s then. The wonder of Patrick’s life was simply God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The divine call to the true Gospel went forth from Ireland for more than 600 years. Just as Patrick expected the power of God’s grace to overcome the priesthood of the Druids, we now stand for the same biblical Gospel that he preached to evangelize even those in the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy. The battle is the Lord’s and the victory will be His. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[25] In the legacy of Patrick, we pray Christ words, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”[26] The frightening words of the Lord ring in the ears of those who spend their lives in man-made religion, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”[27] No person by merely acknowledging Christ through a priesthood and sacraments shall have any part with God in Him, but only the one who does the will of His Father. The Lord made the will of the Father abundantly clear when He said, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”[28] “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts….”[29] As Christ Jesus’ Gospel stands, so also is His call on your life. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”[30] Believe on Him alone for, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”[31] Then you will stand where, before you, Patrick stood immoveable, and this is how it will be for all eternity. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”[32] “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” §

Permission is given to copy and distribute this article.

[1] The Confession of Patrick, http://irelandnow.com/confession.html 1/18/2012

[2] “According to the best authorities, Patrick was born about A.D. 373; and Lanigan has adduced good evidence to prove that he died in A.D. 465 (Apud Lanigan, vol. iv. p. 112). The Book of Armagh furnishes corroborative evidence of the same fact. It says, ‘From the passion of Christ to the death of Patrick there were 436 years.’ The crucifixion took place about A.D. 30; and adding these thirty years to the 436 that intervened between the crucifixion and the death of Patrick, we arrive at A.D. 466 as the year of his demise. Traditions of the highest authority attest that he spent sixty years in preaching the Gospel to the Scoto-Irish.” From, “St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” in History of the Scottish Nation by J.A. Wylie (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co. Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh 1886) Vol. II, Ch 9.

[3] The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

[4] Ibid., p. 2

[5] Ibid., p. 5

[6] John 1:14

[7] John 1:16

[8] The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

[9] The Confession of Patrick, p. 3.

[10] Ibid., p 3.

[11] Ibid., p. 3.

[12] Letter to Coroticus, http://prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_letter_to_coroticus.htm 1/30/03, p. 2.

[13] “…that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith..” Philippians 3:8-9

[14] “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (italic in the original). Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second ed., (United States Catholic Conference, 1997) Para. 1129.

[15] The historian, J A Wylie goes to great lengths of demonstrate the fact that Patrick came to Ireland to evangelise in 405. Among others, he quotes Dr. Killen as saying “‘Its [i.e., this fact] claims to have been acknowledged by the best critics of all denominations,’ by Usher, Ware, Tillemont, Lanigan, and Neander….He [Dr. Killen] thinks that Patrick arrived in Ireland immediately after the death of Nial, or Nial of the Nine Hostages, in the year 405.’” From “St Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” by J.A. Wylie in History of the Scottish Nation, Vol. II, Ch. 13, endnote No. 4.

[16] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, Sect. 14, “The Conversion of Ireland”.

[17] Jeremiah 16:19

[18] The Confession of Patrick, p. 5.

[19] Ibid., p. 2.

[20] Ibid p 8

[21] For a more complete list, see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, “Conversion of Northern and Western Barbarians”, Sect. 15, “The Irish Church after St. Patrick. The Missionary Period”.

[22] The full text of the Papal Bull of Pope Adrian IV that empowered king Henry II to conquer and subdue Christian churches to Rome can be read at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/bullad.htm 2/1/2003

[23] The Confession of Patrick, p. 8.

[24] Ephesians 1:4

[25] Luke 12:32

[26] John 17:24

[27] Matthew 7:21

[28] John 6:29

[29] Hebrews 3:7, 8

[30] Romans 10:17

[31] 1 John 5:11-12

[32] II Corinthians 5:17

Presenting A Different Jesus

"The Jesus being presented in many churches today is different because He is not the One we find in the Bible. The popular Jesus being presented is the one who fills churches to the rafters with fans and not disciples. People are following a genie in a bottle that will grant them all of their hopes and dreams. He is a Hallmark card version of Jesus who is willing to overlook sin and just be a good friend to pal around with. He never makes us feel bad or consider ourselves less than number one.

Many of our modern churches focus on self-improvement instead of dying to self. This is works based nonsense and basically, the same thing practiced among many pseudo-Christian cults including Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism. The logic is if you work hard enough and be good enough, you can earn eternal life.

Instead of lovingly warning people about fleeing the wrath to come, we decide we know a better approach. We attempt to woo people into the Christian life by presenting its features and benefits much like a good salesman. This isn't the biblical model of how to present the gospel and it is certainly not the way to make disciples.

The local church's main purpose isn't to help people improve their financial planning skills, have a better marriage, or to get them connected into activities galore for the whole family. What people desperately need is to hear the gospel to come to the end of themselves and be truly born again. We don't want to present a different Jesus who is a cosmic genie who caters to our felt needs and desires.

Trouble begins when seeker-sensitive hirelings who are not shepherds water down the gospel. They present a different Jesus and this is a deception plaguing many churches today. These preachers may want to improve their image, popularity, or ministry numbers, so they make coming to Jesus about life enhancement, not dying to oneself.

I feel the uneasy tension when [speaking] to people about heaven, hell, eternity, sin, and repentance. The Lord never promised it would be easy to be His disciple but he promised to be with us always and give us the words to say when we testify about Him. It's my deep desire and prayer for each of us to renew our commitment to speak the truth, with love as the motive and do it with boldness as the Holy Spirit directs us. While many are compromising and presenting a different Jesus, I pray the faithful remnant will continue to make Him known."


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fulfilling God's Call To A Holy Life--A Cross Reference Study

  • We As Christians Have Been Saved To Serve The Living God:
          -"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Christians Confess With Their Mouth That Jesus Is Lord:
          -"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
  • Heretics Misuse The Grace Of God As An Excuse To Continue In Sin:
          -"For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." (Jude 4)
  • The Scripture Teaches That Christians Do Experience A Change Of Heart:
          -"Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)
          -"For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13-14)
  • The Grace Of God Teaches Us To Resist Sin:
          -"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:11-14)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Does A Rejection Of Calvinism Mean That Man Takes Credit For His Own Salvation And That God Is Not Sovereign?

          Just because one believes that he or she must choose to accept Christ for salvation, does not validate the charge of a performance oriented gospel. That is only a strawman. It is true that man in his fallen nature can never please God. We could never merit our salvation. His grace is an absolute necessity. We absolutely need His imputed righteousness. It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved. However, we must accept the terms of forgiveness as prescribed in the gospel. This is analogous to a physician informing a patient of the need for a procedure such as a liver transplant. The latter performs the work on the former. In the same vein, it is God who diagnoses our problem of sin and totally removes it from our being. We have the ability to recognize that we have a spiritual problem in light of divine revelation. The choice to accept the gift of justification is not a work, anymore than is grabbing a lifesaver while drowning or accepting a birthday gift from a loved one. To say that we take credit for accepting a free, and even undeserved, gift would be irrational in the highest degree.

          There is no denying that salvation is of the Lord. He is the author of our salvation. He is the finisher of our salvation. It is He who gets all the credit for saving us. Our decision to approach God in humble repentance merits us nothing. Admitting that we are under the curse of sin does not save us. God is not under any obligation whatsoever to save us. He is compassionate. He is merciful. Our decision to repent is not the same as His decision to save us. These two ideas cannot be equated. None of His plans are thwarted because He has given us the ability to either accept or reject Him. That is how He ordained things to be. Faith is the opposite of works (Romans 11:6). Atonement is applied freely to all who come to Christ by faith. It is God who regenerates us. The gospel itself has sufficient power to draw any sinner to God (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Hebrews 4:12). It is God's gracious offer of salvation to undeserving sinners. His grace is an absolute necessity. Faith is not meritorious, but the antithesis of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ's substitutionary atonement is not merely an example to follow, but was actually done as atonement for our sins.

          The Bible is crystal clear that we must execute a decision to humble ourselves when seeking the forgiveness of God (2 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 12:7; Matthew 18:4; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6). This is not heresy, but is an emphatic teaching of Scripture. In fact, the Calvinist systematic is loaded with problems of its own. It makes everything a meticulously designed puppet show. It gives the lost a perfect excuse on Judgement Day. It makes the devil irrelevant, as it was God who decreed that he caused the fall. Our Lord Jesus Christ plainly identified those who continually reject and oppose His message as being among those that He came to save (John 12:47-48), which violates any notion of limited atonement. Neither does the grafting or severing from the Root of Salvation that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 11:16-25 make sense, if unconditional election is true.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Theological Musings On Music

"...Music in our day is dominated by the rapidly degenerating corruption of our society. It is riding the culture’s corruption down. For music that is beautiful, music that is magnificent, we have to go backwards in time. We have to get out of this culture to another time and another place. We even call that classical music. We have to go back sometimes decades, maybe centuries, to find music that endures because of its quality, its elevation, its dignity, its excellence.

...The music of the redeemed is different. We live in a different world. We are citizens of a different kingdom. The music of the redeemed is alien to the music of the world. The music of the redeemed is reflective of that which is most lofty, most elevated, most exalted, most noble: the truth of God – it never changes. So our music doesn’t ride the culture. Music doesn’t ride the culture among the redeemed, it simply reveals the truth, and the truth never changes.

...Music is not worship. Music is a means to express worship, but it is not worship. Worship is the heart going up toward God in gratitude and thanksgiving for all that God has done: that’s worship. Worship is acknowledging God to be who He is revealed to be in Scripture. It is acknowledging what God has done; and in particular, that He has saved us, redeemed us, given us eternal life; and it is expressing gratitude to God. There are many ways to do that; music is one of them. But music is not worship. Music is a means by which a worshiping person expresses his thanks.

Secondly, a misconception is that music motivates worship, music induces worship. That’s not true either.That is not true. It gives expression to love; it gives expression to adoration. But the motivation for that has to come from somewhere else, not from music. Music enhances and enriches. But the motive for all of our songs is not a sound, it’s a truth.

Another misconception is that when people have trouble worshiping, music will create worship, music will create the mood for worship. Worship is not a mood experience. That needs to be said loudly and clearly.You go to many “churches” and you’ll be in the dark, and there will be sensual kind of music that appeals to the flesh at one level or another; and there will be lights flashing in all kind of directions. That has nothing to do with worship; and, frankly, does the opposite of inducing worship. It simply induces a fickle feeling. It’s a false substitute for true worship.

...Another misconception is this, that non-Christians aren’t going to come to church unless we import their music. Music so dominates our culture. It is so ubiquitous that if we’re going to appeal to nonbelievers,we’ve got to change our music. We’ve got to do the kind of music that they like and somehow baptize it if we’re going to reach out evangelistically. That’s not true. Never, never in Scripture is music ever, ever stated to be used as an evangelistic technique in some direct sense.

So what is music? It is the gift of God, common grace to the world, to give them a means of expressing their emotion. That’s the broad part of music: their joys, their sorrows, their hopes, their aspirations, their disappointments. But for believers, it is a gift of God to allow believers to give expression of gratitude to God for who He is, what He’s done, and particularly for our salvation. The redeemed sing. Music reaches its highest level among Christians, its greatest usage among Christians. The music of the church is just that: it’s the song of the redeemed."