Monday, December 31, 2018

Does Isaiah 53 Teach Penal Substitution?

        "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)

         The quoted excerpt from Isaiah 53 above clearly occupies substitutionary language. This passage foretold Christ bearing the sins of mankind upon Himself. He was offered up in the same manner as an unblemished lamb for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). His innocent blood was shed for both the just and the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). We are healed spiritually by His wounds (1 Peter 2:24). The previously referenced passages from the New Testament are based on the vicarious nature of the atonement sacrifices performed under the Mosaic Law:

         "When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness." (Leviticus 16:20-22)

         Animals paid the price for the sins of people with their very own lives. They were an innocent substitute. Though animal sacrifices served as a temporary covering for sin, the Levitical sacrificial system pointed to the perfect once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

         It might also be interesting to point out that Jewish commentators in centuries past recognized Isaiah 53 as being a Messianic prophecy (along with the substitutionary language contained therein). Following are a few quotes from an article by Jews for Jesus titled Jewish Messianic Interpretations of Isaiah 53:

         "Another statement from Yefeth ben Ali (10th c.):

         By the words “surely he hath carried our sicknesses,” they mean that the pains and sickness which he fell into were merited by them, but that he bore them instead. . . . And here I think it necessary to pause for a few moments, in order to explain why God caused these sicknesses to attach themselves to the Messiah for the sake of Israel. . . . The nation deserved from God greater punishment than that which actually came upon them, but not being strong enough to bear it. . . God appoints his servant to carry their sins, and by doing so lighten their punishment in order that Israel might not be completely exterminated." (
Driver and Neubauer, pp. 23 ff.; Soloff pp. 108-109)

         "Herz Homberg (18th-19th c.):

         The fact is, that it refers to the King Messiah, who will come in the latter days, when it will be the Lord’s good pleasure to redeem Israel from among the different nations of the earth…..Whatever he underwent was in consequence of their own transgression, the Lord having chosen him to be a trespass-offering, like the scape-goat which bore all the iniquities of the house of Israel." (Driver and Neubauer, p. 400-401)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Jesus Christ Our Passover and His Unlimited Atonement – Proof that Limited Atonement is False

By Steven M. McCalip

I want to focus on how the Old Testament, specifically the Passover ceremony, refutes this theory of limited atonement. The fact that Christ died for our sins is the very foundation of the gospel as Paul himself stated in

1st Corinthians 15:1-4: Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

If you noticed above, Paul said that Christ dying for our sins was the “first,” thus, most important part of the presentation of the gospel that was delivered to him and that we should deliver to others. This, then, is no trivial matter, and it is no issue of “semantics” or scholarly musings. The Calvinist will argue that the phrase “our sins” in the scripture above means only the elect’s sins, you know, the ones who were “pre-selected and pre-approved” for salvation. What I am about to show you concerning the Old Testament Passover feast will totally annihilate and put to rest this blatant heresy that Christ died only for certain people and not the whole world.

What I will demonstrate and hopefully prove to you is this: Since Christ is our Passover according to Paul; he fulfilled all the aspects of the Old Testament sacrifice. Even more importantly for this study, all the applications of the Old Testament Passover apply to Christ as well, including whom the Passover was intended to be applied to in the Old Testament. In other words, I will show you that it was all Israelites who were covered by the blood including any strangers that wanted to partake of the Passover lamb in the Old Testament. That type and foreshadow of Christ shows us that all men everywhere are also covered by that same Passover blood in Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that not all Israel were believers, yet from the scriptures I will show all of them had, at that time, the physical protection provided by the blood of the Passover lamb. I will also show scriptures proving that not all Israelites were believers to again show that Christ’s blood and the Passover’s blood is shed for all men, not just a select few as Calvinists would have you believe.

To begin, it’s quite simple to prove that the Passover was a type of Christ Jesus and that its ceremonies were all meant as a type and shadow of Jesus Christ, including the blood of the Passover and its application to all men:

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1st Corinthians 5:7).

That was Paul the apostle in the New Testament affirming that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Passover from the Old Testament by becoming the Passover lamb himself. Jesus is our Passover lamb, and his blood, like the Passover of the Old Testament, was shed for anyone who wanted to partake of that lamb. Now that we have established the direct connection between the Passover and Jesus Christ, we will look at the original Passover and who its blood sacrifice was intended for. Before we look at the Passover, though, let’s revisit the entire blood sacrifice system instituted by Moses to get the full picture of blood sacrifice. Let’s begin in the New Testament to see that this entire system also all pointed to Jesus and that its blood, too, like the Passover, was applied to all men and whoever wanted their sins covered by these animals’ sacrifices:

The Old Testament blood-sacrifice system in general

“For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you” (Hebrews 9:19-20).

In case you missed it, the word of God specifically notes that Moses sprinkled ALL THE PEOPLE with the blood of the testament. Moses’ priesthood was a direct type of Christ’s priesthood, just as this following verse in the same chapter below declares:

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people”(Hebrews 9:7).

The high priest didn’t offer blood sacrifices just for some “elect” Israelites. That is not only false, it is madness. The scriptures say “all the people” in Hebrews 9:19 partook of this blood sacrifice. Nowhere does it even hint that that meant “all the elect.” But this, of course, is the Calvinists’ only resort, and it shows the foolishness of their desperation to keep their limited atonement doctrine alive. Hebrews 9:7 says the blood was offered for the “errors of the people.” Maybe I missed something. Did anyone read there of any “errors of the elect people?” Was Moses’ job to go around and find out who was elect, write their names down, and then offer sacrifices for them only? As ridiculous as this sounds, that is what Calvinists have to believe about these sacrifices. These were blood sacrifices offered for the sins of the people. These were a direct foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice. Calvinists are in quite a pickle here. There is no getting around this. It is patently obvious that Moses offered blood sacrifices for every single Israelite’s sin. If a Calvinist denies this, he is denying the truth that is staring him right in the face. How great is that darkness of man’s religion! Let it go, my Calvinist’s friends. You think you are honoring God’s sovereignty, and yet you are destroying his mercy and goodness.

Thinking you are being holy by honoring God’s sovereignty but dishonoring his other attributes is an extremely deceptive spot to be in. Please consider what I say.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience” (Hebrews 9:9).

We see that everything Moses did was a “figure for the time then present.” Moses sacrificial system was a figure of Christ’s, and that includes who the blood was intended for.

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).

“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.” (Exodus 24:3).

Did Moses just tell the “elect” Israelites? Are you going to entertain that foolishness for one second? He told all Israelites, can’t you see? If he told them all, then the blood was good for them all. It covered all of them. Does this not fit in with God’s sovereignty enough? Does it make you uncomfortable to have to forsake your traditions of man? It would make me excited to learn that I am being delivered from anything that smacks of man’s traditions. How about you?

“And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:7-8).

Moses sprinkled this blood on the same crowd as was mentioned before. Do you seriously think he sprinkled it on just the elect part of the crowd? How would he even know who to sprinkle it on? Did God give him a list with names on it? I am mocking to make a point. I’m sure you see it by now. Moses sprinkled the blood on all the Israelites, and as we find out later, not all the Israelites ever came to the Lord. So then, he sprinkled blood on evil Israelites who never got saved. Was that blood made ineffectual? Not in the least. God knows what he’s doing; even if doesn’t match your theology.
The Old Testament Passover lamb and its blood sacrifice applied

“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.” (Exodus 12:3-4).

***This is unmistakable, and it shatters the “limited atonement” of Calvinism’s gospel that the blood of Christ was shed only for certain people. This was God himself telling Moses to tell ALL Israelites to get a lamb for the Passover. Notice the phrases: “all the congregation of Israel,” “every man a lamb,” “a lamb for a house,” “according to the number of the souls.”

How much clearer does it need to be? How many times does God have to say he did it for every Israelite? What excuse are you going to make for all of these? Please just stop and ask the Lord if what I am pointing out is the truth. He’ll show you if you are asking in an honest and sincere heart.

And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it” (Exodus 12:7).

Note that that blood was applied to every house.

“And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S Passover”. (Exodus 12:11).

Now we see that this whole ceremony is “the LORD’s Passover” showing us that the Passover was of such significance that the LORD called it his very own. Why do we think God went to such trouble to put blood on every house? Was it to show us that only a few of those houses were chosen to be delivered? Of course not. What will the Calvinist do with this? Will he come up with some private interpretation that ignores this obvious fact of every house having the blood on it? EVERY HOUSE that participated was delivered. Every person that participates today is delivered also. The type is perfect and it is undeniable. To say that this Passover blood applied only to certain houses would only demonstrate that you need help in basic reading. It would demonstrate that you, if you’re a Calvinist, will go to any length even in the light of obvious error, to say that your doctrine of limited atonement is still correct. To say that every Israelite was a believer is also a joke. Thousands of unbelieving Israelites who participated in the Passover and came out of Egypt later died in the wilderness. More on that to come soon.

“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

***What a beautiful type of Jesus’ shed blood at Calvary. When God sees the blood on our souls, he will pass over us in wrath also. That blood was on every Israelite house, and many of the Israelites were not believers. Now, of course, this does not mean that the Old Testament passover is what spiritually saved the Israelites, for it delivered them physically, but Paul applies it spiritually to us in the New Covenant as shown by calling Jesus “Christ our Passover” in 1st Corinthians 5:7. Just as all the Israelites that participated were physically delivered, all those who participate in believing that Christ’s blood is our Passover will be spiritually delivered. The parallel is too strong to be challenged, and to challenge it is to oppose yourself and the word of God.

“And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you” (Exodus 12:22-23).

“That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshiped” (Exodus 12:27).

Now let me deal with some obvious, childlike objections to this teaching. Calvinists will say that God delivered only the Israelites and not the Egyptians and that this shows only certain ones were saved and selected, like the elect of Calvinists. People should really think before they jump to such infantile conclusions. A little studying would help also, but for those who want to look for any “out,” they can always find one. God will oblige you if you want to find stuff to match your doctrine instead of looking at God’s words first and what they obviously teach. There’s a trap for just about any kind of unbelief, and if you don’t believe his words, you will fall into this trap like a snared animal. Getting out of this trap, however, is much more difficult. Let’s look at a few verses that will show us that most of these Israelites that participated in the Passover were EVIL and eventually DID NOT get saved, thus overthrowing the belief that God only shed blood for elect that gets saved:

Most of the original Israelites who took the 1st Passover were evil and never got saved but were still covered by the blood of the Passover:

“And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?”(Numbers 14:2-3).

“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Numbers 14:27). “I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die” (Numbers 14:35).

Since most of the original Israelites who partook of the Passover were evil according to God, we see another great teaching. God’s blood at Calvary was shed for evil people like you and me before we were saved. God died for the sinner, the wretched, miserable, poor, lost sinner whether they ever eventually came to him or not.

Now let’s consider something else here of great importance to our present teaching: It wasn’t just the Israelites that could partake of this blood sacrifice of the Passover lamb and be protected by it-the stranger could as well:

“And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the Passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the Passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land” (Numbers 9:14).

In conclusion, we see that Paul the apostle was the one who teaches that Jesus Christ was the perfect fulfillment of the original Passover. Every major teaching of the Passover, then, applies to Christ. Of course, the major one we’re dealing with here is the fact that this Passover sacrifice was participated in by every Israelite and every member of every house. The blood was put on their door, and God passed over them in wrath. The parallel should be obvious to Christ’s blood over us and him passing over us in judgment of our souls. All Israel was not even righteous, yet God said that this Passover blood should be applied to them as well.

Most Israelites never put their faith in Christ in spite of this sacrifice as we saw that most of them died murmuring against Moses in the wilderness and called them “evil.” Even the stranger outside of Israel was allowed to participate in this sacrifice and partake of all of its benefits. The parallels again are obvious to us today. Anyone outside of the “church” can participate in receiving the benefits of this blood sacrifice of God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

To say, then, that the blood of Christ applies only to certain men is to miss entirely the whole teaching of the Passover in the Old Testament. Christ is our Passover, and he is also the stranger’s Passover. To change this is to change the whole scope of Old Testament teaching, and more than that, it changes the gospel. If you are a Calvinist, I pray that you will ask the Lord Jesus to show you a deeper understanding of the Passover and apply it to your beliefs.

Lastly, as we look at this New Testament scripture again, even though the Calvinist will say that this scripture says “sacrificed for us,” we know now that the “us” doesn’t just mean a few of us, it means, according to the whole Passover teaching, anyone who desires the benefits of Christ’s death and blood sacrifice for them.

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1st Corinthians 5:7).


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Friday, December 28, 2018

How Catholic Apologists Deal With The Thief On The Cross

  • Discussion:
          -A blogger named Catholic Nick wrote an article titled The Good Thief and Bad (Protestant) Apologetics, which is a rejoinder to the common citation of Luke 23:39-43 as a proof text for Sola Fide. We begin this critique with a quote from the author:

          "We don’t know his faith background, e.g., if he was ever baptized in the past or if this was his first time meeting Jesus. His prayer “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom” shows he had some knowledge of the Gospel, since no such “kingdom” details are given in this passage."

          There is a possibility that the repentant thief on the cross was either baptized or unbaptized. All that we can really do on this matter is speculate. Although the importance of baptism cannot be minimized, the grace and forgiveness of God is not restricted to a set of rituals.

          By the way, a lot of the folks who say that the criminal did not need to be baptized due to being under the Old Covenant would simultaneously argue that Nicodemus needed baptism for salvation (John 3:5), who was also under the Old Covenant. That is a glaring logical inconsistency.

          "Terms such as ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ are not used in this passage, so there’s no reason to think ‘faith alone’ is even the focus, just as the Parable of the Pharisee & Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14) doesn’t use such terms, but rather highlights the virtue of “humility”.

          So what good works did the thief on the cross do for salvation? While he did have a penitent heart, all that we see from the text of Scripture is him placing his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Humility is not a work, but a state of heart.

          As for the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Christ was clearly addressing self-righteous individuals. The tax collector humbly believed on God for salvation, whereas the Pharisee relied on his own efforts to please Him. The first went home justified, whereas the latter was not. How can one deny that this parable is about salvation and the forgiveness of God?

          "In fact, we see a range of virtues being expressed here, including ‘Fear of the Lord’ (23:40; cf Prov 1:7), Repentance (which Jesus distinguishes from belief, see Mark 1:5), Warning Sinners (2 Thess 3:14b), Public Professing (John 10:42; Rom 10:10b), as well as Hope of going to Heaven and certainly Love for Jesus. The thief was even willing to suffer and die for his own sins, not to be freed from them, which means he carried his own cross (Lk 9:23). So this was *far from* faith alone."

          Well, it is not as though God has prescribed the various virtues that the author listed in the quoted excerpt above as being requirements (with the exception being repentance--how can a person be saved if he or she does not recognize the need of a Savior?) for salvation. They are evidence of a saving faith in Jesus Christ. They describe who we are as believers. These things should all stem forth from a love of God and gratitude for the atonement that he has made on our behalf. Repentance is not a work, but a change in heart. It appears that the author is attacking some sort of watered-down concept of faith, and has a deficient view on the nature of Christ's atonement.

          "This was a unique situation, it isn’t the norm for how people typically accept the Gospel (see Acts for the norm), and as such it has its limits. For example, Jesus had not yet Resurrected, Ascended, or sent the Holy Spirit yet, so Dismas probably didn’t profess faith in these, whereas these aspects of Jesus’ mission are required for us to profess (Rom 10:9b). Even the command to “baptize all nations” wasn’t even given until *after* Jesus resurrected (Matt 28:19), so pointing to this as an example of ‘not needing baptism’ is kind of moot. "

          The "norm" that we observe in the New Testament is people believing on the gospel before getting baptized. And the fact that that the thief on the cross did not know of the resurrection or the Great Commission is irrelevant. If we are capable of adding our own works to the sacrifice of Christ, then He must have died in vain (Galatians 2:16-21).

           "Plus, can we take this one example as an excuse to ‘not really have to’ obey the many teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, including getting baptized, gathering to worship with others, being subject to your pastor, sharing our possessions, etc?"

           Talk about a classic example of a straw man fallacy! If a person gets saved, then his or her heart will be transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Structure Of Atoms

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

Let’s go back to the very first moment that the supposed Big Bang took place. Evolutionists say that at that very first moment, everything was up to chance. The size and charge of electrons, protons, the structure of atoms or whether they would even exist could have been anything.

Now let’s move forward to what we actually know about the various atoms and their structure. Life as we know it is based on the carbon atom. Its structure makes it the only atom with almost unlimited ability to share pairs of electrons with other atoms. This makes possible the rich range of biological molecules needed for life. No other atom can do carbon’s job. The oxygen atom’s structure causes it to bind together in pairs. This type of bonding leaves unpaired electrons that allow oxygen to bind with iron. This feature makes hemoglobin capable of carrying oxygen in the blood. There are several other atoms that could replace iron in hemoglobin, but they would hold the oxygen either too tightly or too loosely. So there are no substitutes for iron. Likewise, the zinc atom is the only atom that can allow proteins to do the crucial job of identifying their own unique DNA sites.

The precise structure of atoms was clearly not the result of chance. Each was carefully designed by the Creator to support the life He would form only days after He made the atoms.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

We Are Back In Rome

"Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788) said that the following five attributes marked Rome at its end: first, a mounting love of show and luxury (that is, affluence); second, a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor (this could be among countries in the family of nations as well as in a single nation); third, an obsession with sex; fourth, freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality, and enthusiasms pretending to be creativity; fifth, an increased desire to live off the state. It all sounds so familiar. We have come a long road since our first chapter, and we are back in Rome."

Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, p.227 (1976)

Does The Sermon On The Mount Nullify "Faith Alone"?

  • Discussion:
           -A blogger named Catholic Nick wrote an article titled A Powerful Verse Against Faith Alone (Matt 7:14), making the following claim:

           "Catholics love the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew ch5-7) but Protestants generally avoid it, since it doesn't fit with their ideas of how salvation is supposed to take place."

           Before we begin this critique, the question of why the author would make such a claim needs to be answered. He cites Matthew 7:13-14 as his proof text, and asks these rhetorical questions:

           "But given the above teaching of Jesus, what is so "difficult" about the Faith Alone approach? What is so "narrow" path about it? Why are "few" saved if all they need to do is believe?"

           The Sermon on the Mount is about adhering to the spirit of the Law, not just the letter. God does not merely examine behavior, but the heart. People practice various sins because their hearts are already dedicated to unrighteousness (Matthew 5:21-28). Our deeds are the evidence of what is taking place in our hearts. Jesus obviously had the self-righteous, hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees in mind when He gave this sobering speech (Matthew 5:20). He is providing a description of what His true disciples will be like. The "narrow path" is "difficult" because it flies right in the face of everything our sinful nature prompts us to do. Salvation can only be found in Christ. Everybody who asks can receive eternal life (Matthew 7:7-8). Trusting in Christ is "easy" (Matthew 11:28-29). The moment of conversion is not to be conflated with following Jesus on a daily basis.

           Notice that all the world religions teach various forms of works-salvation. All the man-made religions require that adherents work their way to heaven. A unique characteristic of the Judeo-Christian worldview is that it upholds justification in the sight of God to be obtained by His grace through our faith in the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ. A sinful tendency of man is to boast over his accomplishments. Thus, works must be excluded from justification (Ephesians 2:8-9). This conflicts with man's sinful inclination. The doctrine of Sola Fide enforces humility because it rightfully gives all the credit to God alone.

           "Protestants typically 'interpret' the teachings of Jesus as being either (1) meant for Old Testament folks alone, or (2) simply to show us how sinful we are, not to actually impose any commands or expectations upon us. Such is quite absurd, and effectively renders the Gospels hollow."

           Surely, we can all benefit considerably from studying the Sermon on the Mount. It gives clear instructions as to how we can live a life of godliness and utilize discernment in our spiritual walk. Our good works are the product of a changed heart. Our principle care and focus in this life should be on getting to heaven. The only way for us to get saved is by trusting in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our chief concern in this life should be on proclaiming the gospel. We should be continually pursuing after God's righteousness. No person who has a biblically solid worldview would ever claim that following Jesus is optional. It is not as though Jesus here is prescribing sacraments for salvation or some monastic vows. The Sermon on the Mount does absolutely nothing to refute Sola Fide.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ephesians 3:10--A Proof Text For The Infallibility Of Rome?

  • Discussion:
           -The Roman Catholic Church has leveled a plethora of criticisms against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, many of which have already been addressed on this blog. Nonetheless, another argument used by Catholic apologists is based on their interpretation of this verse from Ephesians:

           "so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 3:10)

           It is claimed that this passage of Scripture supports the notion of God infallibly making known truth exclusively through a complex church hierarchy (i.e. a rank of Catholic priests and bishops). But does such an interpretation resonate with Paul's thinking in context?

           This verse is simply telling us that the underlying point in God redeeming the church is to demonstrate His splendor and majesty to the entirety of creation. The church exists to proclaim the staggering richness of His wisdom through sharing the gospel. His wisdom transcends that of the crafty. His glory transcends that of the wealthy. The fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers (as is indicated by their spiritual unity in Christ and His fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant) serves as a reminder to the devil and his angels of being conquered. The peace and unity in the truth among Christians is powerful attestation to God's glory throughout creation. Christians should love one another and the truth of His Word. Nowhere in context does the author assert that divine revelation is given to us through some sort of infallible interpreter.

           The infallibility of Scripture is not dependent upon the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Scripture is infallible because it was originally breathed out by God. In other words, it is inherently infallible. The Holy Spirit moved fallible men to pen infallible writings. He conforms in our hearts the objective internal and external evidences supporting the reliability of the Bible, which are numerous. The basic assumption of Roman Catholic apologists is that the Roman Catholic Church is true because it said so. That is a fideistic approach. We should not handle matters in a blind fashion. We are called to exercise discernment in our walk with the Lord (Ephesians 5:17). It appears that Roman Catholics have simply read the concept of an infallible church hierarchy into the text of Ephesians 3:10.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Biblical Showstopper For The Catholic Eucharist

  • Discussion:
           -The Roman Catholic Church maintains that its priests have the power to transform ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Yet, we are told in the New Testament that the Lord does not dwell in places made by human hands:

           "However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet; what kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord, ‘Or what place is there for My repose?" (Acts 7:48-49)

           "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things." (Acts 17:24-25)

           If God does not dwell in places such as tabernacles or synagogues (i.e. where animal sacrifices are performed), then the Eucharist is just an ordinary peace of bread and priests do not have the power to transubstantiate the communion elements. 

          We are also told in the New Testament that we need not think of God as being a material object:

          "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man." (Acts 17:29)

           Is not the Eucharist wafer manna, which is material? The bread and wine used in the Mass can at most be considered an image of Jesus Christ. God the Son ascended into heaven above:

           "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Hebrews 9:24)

           We have been commanded by Jesus Himself to not believe people when they claim that He is present in various locations:

           "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them." (Matthew 24:23-26)

           The above exhortation would most certainly be applicable to Roman Catholic priests, since they claim that Christ is brought into the presence of the attendees through the consecration of the bread and wine. This is sufficient proof that transubstantiation is a false doctrine.

Experiencing The Peace Of God

        "In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (Luke 2:8-14)

        Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, was sent into this world for the purpose of expiating our infinite sin debt and consequently enabling us to have fellowship with God. Believers are to seek after His peace. Believers are to seek after His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33-34). We must rest in Him. The object of our trust must be the Lord. We must place our trust in the promises that He has given. We must align ourselves with His will. The peace that He gives is to rule over our lives. Having rest at heart is evidence of the Holy Spirit working within us. In fact, we are commanded in Scripture to do our best to make peace with our neighbors (Proverbs 25:8-10; Romans 12:18; 14:19). 

        If we refuse to be at peace, then we are not being spiritually minded. We are acting carnally. We are trusting in our own efforts. We are not submitting ourselves to God. Peace and anxiety cannot co-exist in the heart. True peace is impossible without spiritual conversion. Saying no to God's offer of peace will only result in our lives being filled with hopelessness. Saying no to God's offer of peace will only result in our lives being filled with joylessness. A person's rejection of the gospel will only result in he or she being eternally separated from God. We are reconciled to Him by faith through His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:18). We should share the peace that He has bestowed upon us with others. The Lord is the source and summit of peace. He is the foundation for all order. Even in the midst of trials, suffering, and conflict, Christians can rest assured that God has conquered the world. Christ is returning to establish genuine peace.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Orwell And Huxley Revisited

"We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another — slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Word. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, “people are controlled by inflicting pain.” in Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A Biblical Critique Of The New Apostolic Reformation

           There is a global movement taking place within Christendom known as the New Apostolic Reformation, which maintains that God restored the offices of prophet and apostle so as to fix the problems of humanity. The ideological founder of this group is the charismatic theologian C. Peter Wagner. It is maintained that a consequence of the fall was that man lost his dominion over creation, and that Christ came not only to pay for our sins but also enable Christians to regain possession of the world. The hundreds of unaffiliated, self-governing churches and organizations which comprise this movement have been for a few decades striving to acquire or secure control over every sphere of business, culture, and politics. Members of the New Apostolic Reformation claim that God is giving new revelations to so-called prophets and apostles to aid in the process of establishing the universal sovereignty of the church. 

           The New Apostolic Reformation is purportedly working to bring the kingdom of God to earth. It is also responsible for a large proportion of the church growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It has even infiltrated denominations, with the Assemblies of God in Australia being a prime example. In summary, the mission of various "apostolic networks" extends far beyond the preaching of the gospel and making disciples. Succinctly stated, the purpose of this essay is to address the claim that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted a five-fold ministry (i.e. neo-charismatic belief that all five offices mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-15 remain operative in contemporary Christianity).

           When considering the verses from Ephesians, it is important to note that the Apostle Paul wrote in the past tense. This is a reference to the apostles and prophets who were alive during the first century. The passage of Scripture being discussed is not suggesting a continuation of the two offices. In other words, it is not saying that God is giving or will assign apostles and prophets. They were a part of the church's foundation, with Christ being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; 3:5). Christ completed His propitiatory work. The apostles and prophets delivered to us divine revelation. Moreover, Scripture speaks of the performance of miracles in the past tense (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4). The apostles and prophets are still edifying believers through their writings, which are self-sufficient (2 Timothy 3:15-17). God has now spoken to believers through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). The faith has "once for all" been given to the saints (Jude 3). Cults throughout history have made identical claims of receiving revelation from God.

           Nobody today can rightly claim to be an apostle, as is evidenced by looking at the qualifications necessary for one to obtain such an authoritative office. In order to qualify as an apostle, a person would have to be a direct eyewitness to the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:21-23; 1 Corinthians 9:1). In order to qualify as an apostle, a person would have been personally instructed by Christ (Luke 24:45; John 14:26; 16:13-14; Acts 1:2). Paul said he was the last appointed apostle (1 Corinthians 15:8). Therefore, this criterion is impossible to fulfill in modern times. Nobody wields the same authority today. Unlike the ministry of Christ and the twelve apostles, there are no verifiable miraculous accounts giving credence to the self-proclaimed apostles and prophets of this movement. Also, the prophetic utterances given are vague, subject to reinterpretation. Those who believe in the restoration of the five-fold ministry tend to teach that the so-called prophets and apostles deserve unquestioning acceptance, which is inconsistent with scriptural principles (Acts 17:11-12; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:8-9).

           Are there prophets today? To answer that question in further detail, four guidelines based on Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:21-22 as to what we should watch for when testing so-called prophets have laid out:

            * The utterance does not come to pass.
            * The utterance contradicts divine revelation.
            * The moral character of the person giving an utterance is inconsistent with office of profession.
            * The utterance exalts self, rather than God.

          Surely, this doctrinal test is quite problematical for all the self-proclaimed prophets in the New Apostolic Reformation, or any group that has a charismatic leader. There are literally no well-documented prophecies and miracles that these people can show us to demonstrate the validity of their ministries. If the Bible is already complete revelation from God, then why would we need prophets in the first place?

           Furthermore, the notion of the church bringing the kingdom of God into this world expressly contradicts biblical teaching. Jesus emphatically stated that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The Kingdom of God is not a worldly kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom (Luke 17:20-21). His kingdom is not based on diplomatic relations. His kingdom does not require the approval of sinners. Scripture tells us that in the later days wicked men shall wax themselves worse (1 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:13-14), not that matters will improve. It is the Holy Spirit that stimulates conversion of the human heart. Our mission as Christians is to present the unblemished gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). What the church needs to be preaching is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. That is the good news of salvation, which is not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We must entrust ourselves entirely to the power of God, who is working all things out to His eternal glory. Our undivided attention belongs to Him. We need not heed to subjective New Age occultism, but the objective Word of God. The New Apostolic Reformation is a significant source of aberrant doctrine. To make matters even worse, this movement has its own horrendously corrupt Passion Translation.

Logical Thinking Is Hindered

"When your mind has been so seared by acceptance of evil that you condone amputation of healthy body parts, it's not surprising that your ability to think logically is hindered. If you start with the premise that radical mutilation of the body is an acceptable practice ... you shouldn't be surprised to find it applied in ways that are different, yet equally disturbing."

Joe Carter, "The Diabolic Logic of Transableism", The Gospel Coalition, 6/5/15.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Answering The Mormon Claim Of Total Apostasy

  • Introduction:
          -Mormonism: a religious cult that was founded by Joseph Smith in the woods of Palmyra, New York in the year 1821. He claimed that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him to establish a completely new church. In other words, he had visions that told him to start a new religion.
          -Smith claimed that the "Angel Moroni" gave him some golden "Nephi Plates" so that he could translate them into English. This religious text is known as the Book of Mormon. The three other religious texts use by the Mormons are the King James Version, Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants.
          -The Mormon Church claims that the entire Christian church and the Bible have been totally corrupted. Thus, its alleged purpose is to restore the church back to the original teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles.
  • Is A Total Apostasy Of The Christian Church Possible?:
          -The Lord Jesus Christ specifically taught that the gates of hell would never prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). Paul said God be eternally glorified in Christ and His saints (Ephesians 3:21). If the Mormon Church is correct, then God must be a liar. May that never be. God has always preserved His faithful remnant. While the Bible does speak of apostasy, it nowhere speaks of a total apostasy.
          -The Words of the Lord are incorruptible. His Word shall endure forever (Isaiah 40:8; Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Peter 1:23-25). The Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). It is simply not possible for the Bible to be lost and forgotten. Those who present strange doctrine are to be deemed heretics (1 Timothy 1:3-4; 2 John 9-11). The faith has been delivered to the saints "once for all" (Jude 3). Thus, there is no need for new revelations. Angelic visions are not an acceptable method of drawing attention to oneself (Colossians 2:18).
          -The Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:8-9 wrote a categorical condemnation of any different gospels that could arise in the future after his death. He even issued an anathema to angels who could theoretically arrive to preach differently from the doctrine originally delivered by the apostles. So, even granting that Joseph Smith had an encounter with the Angel Moroni, Mormonism is a false religion because it preaches a different message of salvation. According to Paul, another gospel is no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6-7). The gospel never needed to be restored because it was never lost to begin with. Mormon revelation is not of divine but human origin. The simple, true gospel involves placing trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. We are not saved by obeying various laws, ordinances, and attending temple ceremonies.
          -It is one thing to say that the church has become unrecognizably dirty throughout history, but it is quite another to claim that the church disappeared completely from the face of the earth. The possibility of such a claim is ruled out by Scripture itself. 
  • The Mormon Claim Of Being The Complete Restoration Of Lost Truth Is Unfounded:
          -An essential question that needs to be addressed is, "When did the Christian church go into the state of total apostasy?" There has always been a unanimous consensus on what constitutes the essential doctrines of the Christian faith in the earliest church creeds. The New Testament is supported by thousands of different manuscripts. It is almost one hundred percent textually pure. The creed summarizing the gospel message that the Apostle Paul recounted in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 has been dated back to the first century, thereby proving that the gospel has not been lost or altered.
          -Why would Mormons use the Bible at all, since they maintain that the whole of Christianity was lost in the first century and the canon was assembled (along with the King James Version being produced in the seventeenth century) by an allegedly apostate church? Which parts of the Bible have been corrupted?
          -If any of Joseph Smith's claims regarding the alleged total apostasy of Christendom were true, then he should have been able to give an extensive list of all of the original teachings of Jesus Christ, where every denomination had went wrong, provide the exact date of when Christianity went extinct, and go back to the original teachings of Jesus and the apostles. He should have been able to refer to established facts, writings, history, etc. However, Joseph Smith never took the time to verify any of his claims.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

An Inconsistency In Muslim Logic

  • Discussion:
          -Following is an excerpt from a tract titled "The Bible God's Word Or Not God's Word The Islamic Dilemma":
          "In Surah 29:46, the Quran commands Muslims to say to Christians, "We believe in what has been sent down to us and what has been sent down to you, and our God and your God is one, and we are all Muslims to Him."

          Yet many Muslims say something very different to Christians. They say, "We don't believe in your book, because it's been corrupted and your God is a false god." If Muslims are commanded to say that they believe in what has been revealed to us, why do they instead say that they don't believe in the Bible, the only revelation we have? And if they're commanded to say that our God and their god is one, why do they instead say that our God is a false god?"

A Micro-Refutation Of Mormonism

  • Discussion:
          -Joseph Smith claimed to have received divine revelation from God to establish a new sect that possesses the fullness of allegedly lost truth. This encounter is described as a face to face dialogue between this so-called prophet and God the Father and God the Son. At this point, consider the words spoken by the Lord to Moses in the Old Testament:

          "And he said, Please, show me Your glory. Then He said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But He said, You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live. And the Lord said, Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

          What can be derived from the above quoted passage of Scripture is that no man in his sinful nature can look into the fullness of God's glory and survive. Also, the New Testament tells us that no man alive on this earth has seen God the Father:

          "Which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen." (1 Timothy 6:15-16)

          The mere fact that Joseph Smith came out of the woods walking and talking testifies to the falseness of his claims. In other words, the man is a liar and a deceiver. He received no divine revelation from God. Mormonism is based on utter falsehood.

Logical Flaws Of Buddhism And Hinduism

"Buddhism and Hinduism, currently in vogue among many Westerners, are both directly concerned with humanity's discontentment and have similar prescriptions to the problem of desire. 

For example, "The Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism (arguably the central teaching of that religion) address the problem of humanity's unfulfilled longing explicitly. The first truth is that life lacks satisfaction. While people may find happiness for a moment here and there, it is always fleeting. Everything changes and so nothing keeps us content. The second truth is that we are dissatisfied because we crave and cleave and thirst. We need to get rid of that desire, which is the result of ignorance. The problem is that we see a distinction between ourselves and the thing we desire. We think that the things of the world will add something to our lives if we could only attach ourselves to them. All is one. To desire something is to mistakenly think that you exist independently from the thing you desire. The third and fourth truths teach how to reach a level of experience in which you "realize emptiness" and cease to desire anything, largely because there ceases to be a "you" to do anything at all. All distinctions are gone.

Hinduism, for its part, similarly teaches that the goal of its various paths and stages of life is "liberation" from the desires of life and union with the divine. Although it recognizes that people can legitimately give themselves to lesser goals...ultimately the goal is to escape worldly pursuits and the worldly cycle of death and rebirth to enter Nirvana, where these desires will be no more.

...If everything is actually one, not only are you not different from the thing you desire, you are no different than me or that tree over there. Personhood is an illusion...No one lives as if that is true. Also, this teaching means that there is no such thing as good or evil, as those distinctions are illusory as well."

Donald J. Johnson, How to Talk to a Skeptic, pg. 203-205

Monday, December 17, 2018

Is The Watchtower Right In Claiming Jesus Was Created?

  • Discussion:
          -Following is an excerpt from a Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Publication:

          "God created Jesus before creating Adam. In fact, God created Jesus and then used him to make everything else, including the angels."

          According to the Bible, the above excerpt is an outright lie:

          "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb: I am the Lord, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Myself." (Isaiah 44:24)

          "Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?" (Malachi 2:10)

          In other words, God created the universe on His own. No created entities worked alongside Him in the process. Jesus Christ is not a created being, but the second person of the triune God. He is the creator of everything (Colossians 1:16). He is holding everything together. He is preeminent in all things. There are multiple lines of biblical evidence proving that Jesus is God in the flesh.

          Consider, for example, the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 12:10. God once spoke of Himself as being "pierced" through the prophet. In the New Testament, Christ was "pierced" in the side while on the cross (John 19:36-37). Revelation 1:7 also alludes to the text from Zechariah. Isaiah 53:5 also prophetically speaks of the Messiah being pierced. This is clear proof of Christ being God. What is very telling is this excerpt from Watchtower literature:

          "From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude...They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago." (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1981)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Biblical Dilemma For Roman Catholic Mariology

  • Discussion:
          -The Roman Catholic Church believes that Mary was conceived immaculately and a perpetual virgin. Yet, an inescapable dilemma arises in the process of upholding the two dogmas. Consider the following passage of Scripture:

         "But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)

         If Mary refused to have marital relations with her husband Joseph, then she would be guilty of sin. In order to remain consistent, a Catholic would either have to reject the notion of her remaining a virgin for her entire life or her sinlessness. Both cannot be true at the same time.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Repulsiveness Of Eugenics

"Voices haunt the pages of every book. This particular book, however, speaks for the never-born, for those whose questions have never been heard—for those who never existed.

Throughout the first six decades of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of Americans and untold numbers of others were not permitted to continue their families by reproducing. Selected because of their ancestry, national origin, race or religion, they were forcibly sterilized, wrongly committed to mental institutions where they died in great numbers, prohibited from marrying, and sometimes even unmarried by state bureaucrats. In America, this battle to wipe out whole ethnic groups was fought not by armies with guns nor by hate sects at the margins. Rather, this pernicious white-gloved war was prosecuted by esteemed professors, elite universities, wealthy industrialists and government officials colluding in a racist, pseudoscientific movement called eugenics. The purpose: create a superior Nordic race.

To perpetuate the campaign, widespread academic fraud combined with almost unlimited corporate philanthropy to establish the biological rationales for persecution. Employing a hazy amalgam of guesswork, gossip, falsified information and polysyllabic academic arrogance, the eugenics movement slowly constructed a national bureaucratic and juridical infrastructure to cleanse America of its “unfit.” Specious intelligence tests, colloquially known as IQ tests, were invented to justify incarceration of a group labeled “feebleminded.” Often the so-called feebleminded were just shy, too good-natured to be taken seriously, or simply spoke the wrong language or were the wrong color. Mandatory sterilization laws were enacted in some twenty-seven states to prevent targeted individuals from reproducing more of their kind. Marriage prohibition laws proliferated throughout the country to stop race mixing. Collusive litigation was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sanctified eugenics and its tactics.

The goal was to immediately sterilize fourteen million people in the United States and millions more worldwide—the “lower tenth”—and then continuously eradicate the remaining lowest tenth until only a pure Nordic super race remained. Ultimately, some 60,000 Americans were coercively sterilized and the total is probably much higher. No one knows how many marriages were thwarted by state felony statutes. Although much of the persecution was simply racism, ethnic hatred and academic elitism, eugenics wore the mantle of respectable science to mask its true character.

The victims of eugenics were poor urban dwellers and rural “white trash” from New England to California, immigrants from across Europe, Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Native Americans, epileptics, alcoholics, petty criminals, the mentally ill and anyone else who did not resemble the blond and blue-eyed Nordic ideal the eugenics movement glorified. Eugenics contaminated many otherwise worthy social, medical and educational causes from the birth control movement to the development of psychology to urban sanitation. Psychologists persecuted their patients. Teachers stigmatized their students. Charitable associations clamored to send those in need of help to lethal chambers they hoped would be constructed. Immigration assistance bureaus connived to send the most needy to sterilization mills. Leaders of the ophthalmology profession conducted a long and chilling political campaign to round up and coercively sterilize every relative of every American with a vision problem. All of this churned throughout America years before the Third Reich rose in Germany."

Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Is Your Sin Beyond The Forgiveness Of God?

        There is a number of Christians who feel burdened and disheartened in their walk with God as a result of previous shortcomings in their lives. There is a number of Christians who feel guilty on a constant basis for sins committed in the past, seemingly unable to find joy in the forgiveness that He provides. There are Christians who feel hopeless, utterly beyond the point of redemption. Indeed, the fact that we cannot change our past is a difficult pill to swallow. A basic fact of life is that all decisions have consequences. However, this does not mean all hope is lost.

        We do have the present, and can work to change our future with God's help. He does love us. No transgression is beyond His forgiveness. The salvation that He gives is complete, and without cost. We simply must ask Him to pardon our iniquity, even though it may be difficult or awkward to do so. We must trust Him at His Word. Our problem is sin, which is rebellion against God. It cannot simply be left unaccounted for. Sin has to be judged. That is the reason Christ came to offer Himself up as an atonement sacrifice. He paid an infinite ransom on our behalf, thereby enabling our redemption. This act in itself demonstrates the unfathomable depths of God's love for mankind. Consider the inspired words of King David the psalmist:

         "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:8-14)

         If the Lord did not have compassion for sinners, then He would not forgive us. He is not under obligation to save us. Nobody is deserving of His salvation. We are justified by faith, not works. The mercy of God has no limits. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses believers from every sin. Nonetheless, these truths should not be taken lightly. Christ came to earth so that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness could live life more abundantly (John 10:10). We must turn to Him. We must entrust ourselves to Him. If one is still struggling with how God could possibly forgive his or her sins after reading all this, then he or she needs to consider the notorious example of the Apostle Paul:

         "I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:12-16)

         If Paul could be saved, then so can anybody else who calls upon the name of the Lord. And it was that same man who uttered these refreshing words:

         "Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:34-39)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Signs Of A Spiritually Abusive Religion Or Religious Leader

"Abusive: Coerces obedience with power, manipulation, domination and fear.

Healthy: Leads the flock in his care with a servant’s heart and seeks cooperation and fellowship (Mk.9:35)

Abusive: Uses the Bible for his own purposes, i.e., to control and dominate the flock.

Healthy: Uses biblical doctrines in teaching and encourages the flock to do their own personal Bible study and study in groups.

Abusive: Has rigid or overly-enmeshed boundaries, and the members of the church are closed off from other groups.

Healthy: Has appropriate boundaries with members of the church. Doesn’t try to become enmeshed in their lives or cut them off from other Christians.

Abusive: May be narcissistic and believe that he knows what God thinks and may even see himself as “God’s mouthpiece.” Authority goes from the top down.

Healthy: Knows that God works through the Holy Spirit in each believer to give us discernment; accountability goes both ways.

Abusive: Sees itself as the only “true” church; has black and white thinking - us vs. wrong (the others are wrong).

Healthy: All those who have accepted the finished work of Christ on the cross, without need for personal performance, are brothers and sisters in the Lord. There are not “superior” believers; all believers are equally loved by God (Romans 8:1).

Abusive: Promotes legalism and perfectionism. This gives the leader ability to control people by their fears of not being saved and going to hell.

Healthy: Knows that the Christian is saved by grace through faith and salvation cannot be earned by one’s behavior (Eph. 2:8-9).

Abusive: Has obsession with discipline in which those who disagree are shunned, censured or expelled from the church. Leader expects to be obeyed because he has “the mind of Christ.”... Many sins are tolerated if a person is a loyal tithe-paying member.

Healthy: If the individual has erred, he confesses the sin and receives forgiveness (1 Jn.1:9). Believers are not shunned or expelled for disagreements on non essential matters of faith.

Abusive: Encourages “group think” by using rules and regulations that are constantly repeated, taught and reinforced by church literature, classes and teaching from the pulpit.

Healthy: Encourages the Bible as truth, does not obsess about rules and regulations, but focuses on helping individuals grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Abusive: Believes the end justifies any means. The denomination sponsors community events and public activities without saying who they are in order to gain proselytes. Immoral or criminal conduct on the part of a leader may be covered up for the sake of “the mission”....

Healthy: If the end that is desired is not consistent with God’s Word, then no means will be acceptable.

Abusive: Uses end-time events to promote its own eschatology. Eschatology itself isn’t wrong, but when the leaders use end time teaching to control the flock by promoting fear and anxiety, isolation from other Christians, perfectionistic behavior, uncertainty about salvation and “extra-biblical” teachings, they are in error. There may be an obsession with calculating the dates, situations or events that predict Jesus’ return...

Healthy: Teaches that no one knows the time of Jesus’ coming (Mk. 13:32).

Abusive: Uses insider double-talk with a confusing doctrine. The group encourages blind acceptance of its opposing teachings and rejection of logic through complex presentations on incomprehensible doctrines.

Healthy: The Bible is the doctrine upon which teachings are based; other ancillary teaching texts must be consistent with biblical truth."

Life Assurance Ministries, VOLUME 13, ISSUE 4

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Swedish Professor Under Investigation For Saying Men And Women Are Biologically Different

"A Swedish university professor is being investigated for making the comment that there are biological differences between men and women. Lund University neurophysiology professor Germund Hesslow was accused by a student of making “transphobic” and “anti-feminist” statements in a lecture, and though the school has asked him to recant, Hesslow is refusing.

During a lecture in his course on ‘Heritage and Environment’, Hesslow cited research that supports the idea that there are differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” concluding that for that reason genders cannot be regarded as merely “social constructs.”

After the lecture was over a female student complained to the department suggesting that Hesslow’s comments went against Swedish values which require all schools in Sweden to adhere to an ethical policy, which upholds egalitarian values, individual freedom and equality of the sexes.

Hesslow [said], some students, “for ideological reasons,” don't like to hear certain scientific facts about biological differences between men and women.

Reportedly, the comments were not necessarily tied to the course material but were prompted by a question asked by a student during the lecture.

According to Academic Rights Watch, Hesslow met with the chairman of the program board for medical education Christer Larsson, and was told that the student claimed he spoke on his “personal anti-feminist agenda.”

Hesslow has refused to recant his statements saying “At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether.”

He said, “Ideology, politics and prejudice form the conventional outlook, not science.”

Kayla Koslosky, “Swedish Professor Under Investigation for Saying Men and Women Are Biologically Different,” ChristianHeadlines Online, September 19, 2018

Why Be Transgender?

"My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy.

Next Thursday, I will get a vagina. The procedure will last around six hours, and I will be in recovery for at least three months. Until the day I die, my body will regard the vagina as a wound; as a result, it will require regular, painful attention to maintain. This is what I want, but there is no guarantee it will make me happier. In fact, I don’t expect it to. 

I was not suicidal before hormones. Now I often am."

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Roman Catholic Apologist De Maria's Peculiar Interpretation Of Romans 4

  • Discussion:
          -Quite simply, the purpose of this article is to rebut the claims made by Roman Catholic apologist De Maria on Romans 4. In summary, he believes that this text is a reference to the sacraments. As with the last article, we begin this critique with a quotation from the author:

          "Genesis 26:5 
          Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

          And this ties the Catholic back to Abraham. We also work because of our faith in God. "

          Our faith enables us to be pleasing to God. Our good works are rooted in our faith. Our good works are the product of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. So, the quoted excerpt has an element of truth to it. But there is nothing particularly Roman Catholic about this.

          "2 Corinthians 5:18
          And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

          No one can deny that David did many works. But here, in his confession, all he did was believe in God's mercy. That is what Catholics do when we attend the Sacraments."

          This harmonization of the "sacraments" is abruptly introduced. It is simply pulled out of thin air. Nowhere does Paul in Scripture justify or necessitate such an interpretation. The "ministry of reconciliation" is a reference to his own ministry of apostleship. He endured burdens, and those all had a purpose.

           "That pretty much repeats what I just said. We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ."

           "Imputation" is not dependent upon sacraments. The onus is on De Maria to validate his reasoning. There is also a "negative" aspect to this. Even granting that the author's premise is true, there is no evidence suggesting that a lack of sacraments would inhibit imputation.

           "So, even though they did everything by faith which they were supposed to do, they did not inherit the promise UNTIL Jesus died upon the Cross and established the Sacraments with His Blood."

           All the aforementioned comments apply here. The Roman Catholic Church maintains that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the seven sacraments. Where in the Bible does that occur? Various Catholic "proof-texts" can be analyzed by consulting context and up to date commentaries which employ proper hermeneutics. The concept of a sacrament has merely been "read into" those passages. The fallacy of anachronism is without a doubt committed in the process.

           "There was no ministry of reconciliation in the Old Testament. David's reconciliation was the exception and it was to show the blessedness to come. It was a foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

           False. The prophets time and time again call Israel to repentance. The Old Testament is replete with examples of God calling Israel back to Him.

           "Again, this explains why Catholics are children of Abraham. Because we believe and it is counted to us righteousness in the Sacraments."

           There is no mention of sacraments anywhere in the inspired writings of the Apostle Paul. What is the origin of this concept, anyway? All that we have encountered thus far is mysticism, interwoven with subjective, irrational speculation. The problem is that God-ordained symbols have been overemphasized. It is foolish to claim that something is a symbol of itself. The forgiveness of God is not restricted to a set of rituals. The sacraments are a theological postulate that has yet to be corroborated by Scripture.

           There exists a certain sense of irony in claiming that faithful adherents of Rome are the children of Abraham. Roman Catholicism shares a glaringly obvious parallel with the Judaizers, who claimed that believers needed to revert to observing the Law in addition to trusting in the sacrificial work of Christ for salvation. Paul combated their errors vigorously in his day as he wrote an epistle to the Church of Galatia. The Roman Catholic Church holds that sacraments are necessary for salvation. Both groups mix Law with grace. Such was categorically condemned by the Apostle Paul as a false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9). There is no need for us to corrupt the simplicity that is found in Christ Jesus. We must place our trust in His work alone for salvation. See this article for more details: