Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Baptize Dead Babies--Yes or No? Another Roman Catholic Rabbit Hole

Catholicism’s teaching on baptism is an irreconcilable dichotomy. On the one hand, the Catholic church insists that people MUST be baptized for them to even be considered for salvation. On the other hand, it has made concessions to religious liberalism and now grants that non-baptized members of other religions and even atheists may also merit salvation if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.” It’s quite strange that the Catholic church takes a very liberal attitude towards non-members regarding baptism, but still gets tightly wound around the legalistic axle when it comes to its membership.

For centuries, the Catholic church taught that infants who had died before they were baptized were consigned to a halfway house between Heaven and Hell called Limbo. In the last twenty years, the RCC has moved away from its Limbo teaching and now states that it “hopes” unbaptized babies will be allowed into Heaven. But baptizing babies from Catholic families is still a VERY important priority in the Catholic religion in stark contrast to the church’s liberal attitude with regards to non-Catholics and baptism.

Recently, I was listening to a podcast of the “Calling all Catholics” radio talk show and heard an example of how Catholicism still gets wrapped tightly around the axle over baptism technicalities.

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio – 4/1/19
Host – David Anders, Moderator – Thom Price

Beginning at the 16:07 mark, Anna from Omaha, Nebraska called in to say her aunt had stopped practicing her Catholic “faith” because the woman’s baby was born stillborn and her parish priest refused to baptize the baby because it was dead. Anna wanted to know from host and apologist, David Anders, if miscarried or stillborn babies can still be baptized. Let’s see how Anders responded:

David Anders: The church does baptize stillborn babies, and in the same way that the church would give last rites, anointings, and so forth, and absolution, to a person who had died biologically at the end of their life. Now, there’s a point beyond which you won’t do that. I mean you’re not going to baptize a corpse that’s three weeks old. You’re not going to anoint a corpse that’s in the grave three weeks. But when the priest is headed to the hospital to perform either an emergency baptism or last rites, and the nurse runs out and says,

“Don’t worry about it, father, the person just passed.” The priest says, “Uh, sorry, excuse me, I’m coming in anyway,” because we don’t know the moment of metaphysical death. We know the moment of biological death. We can put that in a text book. But we don’t know when metaphysical death occurs. I’m not a priest. I don’t have a copy of the ritual in front of me and I don’t actually know what the (Canon) law says about how long can you legitimately wait, but we have a preference for performing the sacrament, and yes, you can baptize either a baby or an adult person who has expired because we don’t know for sure. You can’t wait a week, but, yeah, if you’re five minutes late, sure, yes you can, and the church has always done that.

Anders states above that a baby can be baptized after he/she has died. He specifies five minutes as an allowable lapse between death and baptism, but then cites three weeks and then a week as obviously unallowably long lapses. Well, what then is the absolute legal limit for baptism after biological death? Is it ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? I searched the Catholic Code of Canon Law on Baptism (Cann. 849-878) and there are no allowances made for baptizing babies that have already died. The closest related Canon is Canon 871: “If aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be baptized insofar as possible.”

In an article in the Journal of the Catholic Health Association, chaplains at Catholic hospitals are advised NOT to baptize dead infants, with no lingering time allowances specified. In fact, the article argues very strongly against baptizing deceased babies. See here.

Once again we have an example of Catholicism creating a legalistic rabbit hole where there is no authoritative answer for this, that, and the other exception.

In contrast to convoluted Catholic teaching, we read in the Bible that Jesus Christ invites all young children to abide with Him:

“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

Baptism saves no one! It is Jesus Christ who saves. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Praise the Lord God for the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

https://excatholic4christ.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/baptize-dead-babies-yes-or-no-another-catholic-rabbit-hole/comment-page-1/?unapproved=18086&moderation-hash=adb591373e10317844cacdf28df7f8dc#comment-18086

Our Confidence Lies In Christ

'4. And—Greek, “But.” “Such confidence, however (namely, of our ‘sufficiency,’ 2 Co 3:5, 6; 2 Co 2:16—to which he reverts after the parenthesis—as ministers of the New Testament, ‘not hinting,’ 2 Co 4:1), we have through Christ (not through ourselves, compare 2 Co 3:18) toward God” (that is, in our relation to God and His work, the ministry committed by Him to us, for which we must render an account to Him). Confidence toward God is solid and real, as looking to Him for the strength needed now, and also for the reward of grace to be given hereafter. Compare Ac 24:15, “hope toward God.” Human confidence is unreal in that it looks to man for its help and its reward."

Excerpt taken from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Monday, July 29, 2019

Does 2 Timothy 1:16-18 Offer Support For Praying To Mary And The Saints?

  • Discussion:
          -A passage of Scripture that is sometimes appealed to by Roman Catholic apologists in supporting the concept of saintly intercession is 2 Timothy 1:16-18. In answering this argument, the following points should be made.

          There is no way of decisively knowing whether or not Onesiphorus was dead when the Apostle Paul wrote this epistle. Inferences can certainly be drawn in debating such a question, but the context of this verse does not conclusively rule in favor of either side. Knowing whether or not Onesiphorus was dead at the time Paul wrote his second epistle to Timothy is not necessary in order for the text to make sense.

          Perhaps Onesiphorus was alive and simply away from home. So Paul had an urge to pray for his companion's family. What the text does indicate is that the two were not together. As this resource explains

          "Knowing that even these good deeds could not save Onesiphorus and his house, the apostle asks the Lord to show mercy to his friend — to keep him in the grace of God that he might persevere until the very end."

          This makes perfect sense because Christianity was persecuted under the Roman Empire. A prayer for perseverance to the end would, by definition, mean that he was still alive. These notes from Dr. Thomas Constable are also pertinent here:

          "Onesiphorus’ household was an exception to the “all” above (v. 15), or perhaps they had felt differently and had later reaffirmed their loyalty to Paul. In any case his family had diligently and unashamedly sought out Paul and had ministered to him during his current imprisonment. For this Paul wished the Lord would show Onesiphorus “mercy” at the judgment seat of Christ (cf. “that day” in v. 12). Because Onesiphorus had “found” Paul, Paul hoped that Onesiphorus would “find” mercy from the Lord. Paul seems to have been envisioning a scene in which all his brethren would stand before the Lord, Onesiphorus among them, namely, Christ’s judgment seat. God would express displeasure with the failure of the others, but Onesiphorus would escape that shame (cf. 1 John 2:28). Paul again used the possibility of shame to motivate Timothy (cf. v. 8). Timothy knew about Onesiphorus’ earlier faithful ministry in Ephesus. Paul referred to this as well to encourage Timothy to throw in his lot with Onesiphorus and his family rather than with those who had turned against the chained apostle."

          Even if Onesiphorus was dead at this point in time, the apostle was merely petitioning God to show mercy to that man's family. After all, he was very beneficial to Paul during his ministry. He wanted his household to be blessed as a result of his faithfulness and loyalty. This scenario would be similar to King David blessing the household of Jonathon and his descendants (2 Samuel 9:1-7). Paul would essentially be expressing a hope for Onesiphorus to be resting in peace. These comments from English divine and scholar Edward Hayes Plumptre are insightful here:

          "It is, at any rate, clear that such a simple utterance of hope in prayer, like the Shalom (peace) of Jewish, and the Requiescat or Refrigerium of early Christian epitaphs, and the like prayers in early liturgies, though they sanction the natural outpouring of affectionate yearnings, are as far as possible from the full-blown Romish theory of purgatory." (E. H. Plumptre, D. D.)

          Onesiphorus received complete forgiveness of sins at the moment of his conversion. If he was dead when Paul wrote 2 Timothy, then his fate was already sealed. No amount of prayers could possibly alter or help his eternal destiny. Paul was neither praying to Onesiphorus nor supporting the idea of anybody else doing such.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

An Example Of Proto-Transubstantiation?

  • Discussion:
          -This excerpt regarding King David's use of a metaphor by Dr. Joe Mizzi is rather insightful in light of how Roman Catholics adamantly insist that the words uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ during the Last Supper ("this is my blood") must be taken literally:

          "In a narrative in the book of Samuel, three brave men put their lives at risk to bring fresh water for their master, David, from a well on the side of the Philistines. But when David found out about this, he would not drink it. He said, “Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” (2 Samuel 23:17). Is not this the blood of the men? He called the water in the vessel “blood,” not because it was transubstantiated, but simply because it represented the danger to the lives of those three men who brought it."

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Debunking Proof Texts That Roman Catholics Use In Defending Saintly Intercession

  • Discussion:
          -This article is essentially a continuation of another post that was written a few years back on the subject of praying to Mary and the saints. It is a rebuttal to a number of proof texts for this practice which are cited by Scripture Catholic:

          "Rom. 8:35-39 – therefore, death does not separate the family of God and the love of Christ. We are still united with each other, even beyond death."

          People enter into the supernatural realm at the moment of physical death. So in that sense, believers on earth certainly are separated temporarily from those present in heaven. 

          We should not expect Christians in heaven to be able to hear our prayer requests for the same reason that we cannot expect Christians across the globe to hear them.

          "Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30 – Jesus converses with “deceased” Moses and Elijah. They are more alive than the saints on earth."

          The point of the transfiguration was to show the preeminence of Jesus Christ. He was speaking to Moses and Elijah in His glory. These verses do not say anything in regard to prayer. Are there even any Roman Catholics who offer prayers to Moses and Elijah?

          "Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38 – God is the God of the living not the dead. The living on earth and in heaven are one family."

          Just because a saint is very much alive in the presence of God in the heavenly sanctuary, does not mean that he or she is capable of answering or being a recipient of prayers.

          "Luke 15:7, 10 – if the angels and saints experience joy in heaven over our repentance, then they are still connected to us and are aware of our behavior."

          Angels rejoicing over a conversion cannot simply translate into support for them receiving our prayer requests because they most probably know when a soul is added to the Book of Life.

          Even if saints and angels in heaven were conscious of events on earth, could hear prayers, and had the ability to pray for somebody on earth, these scenarios would still not grant biblical justification for people offering prayer petitions to entities other than God. The prophets and the apostles never once mentioned entrusting prayer requests to saints and angels in heaven. Neither do we see in Scripture God approving of such activity.

          Satan is without a doubt conscious of events taking place in this world, and yet no Roman Catholic would ever suggest prayer to him.

          "Heb. 12:1 – the “cloud of witnesses” (nephos marturon) that we are surrounded by is a great amphitheatre of witnesses to the earthly race, and they actively participate and cheer us (the runners) on, in our race to salvation."

          The context of this passage much more relates to viewing the Old Testament saints as good moral examples. We are all united into a spiritual family by faith. There is nothing in that which would even remotely suggest prayer to these witnesses.

          "James 5:16; Proverbs 15:8, 29 – the prayers of the righteous (the saints) have powerful effects. This is why we ask for their prayers. How much more powerful are the saints’ prayers in heaven, in whom righteousness has been perfected."

          The prayer of the righteous man does indeed avail much, but these passages of Scripture say nothing regarding prayers to or for deceased believers. Also, it is pure speculation to assert that the prayers of the saints in heaven are more effective than ours on earth. God is, after all, no respecter of persons.

          "Matt. 26:53 – Jesus says He can call upon the assistance of twelve legions of angels. If Jesus said He could ask for the assistance of angel saints, then so can we, who are called to imitate Jesus in word and in deed. And, in Matt. 22:30, Jesus says we will be “like angels in heaven.” This means human saints (like the angel saints) can be called upon to assist people on earth. God allows and encourages this interaction between his family members."

          This is a huge stretch in logic. It is more sensible to interpret this as referring to armies of angels. It is speaking of heavenly hosts, not deceased believers.

          "Rev. 5:8 – the prayers of the saints (on heaven and earth) are presented to God by the angels and saints in heaven. This shows that the saints intercede on our behalf before God, and it also demonstrates that our prayers on earth are united with their prayers in heaven. (The “24 elders” are said to refer to the people of God – perhaps the 12 tribes and 12 apostles – and the “four living creatures” are said to refer to the angels.)"

          This simply means that God allowed saints in heaven to "handle" the bowls of prayers. The text says nothing about prayers being directed to saints or angels in heaven, nor gives us permission to do so. The prayers were directed to God alone.

          "Rev. 6:9-11 – the martyred saints in heaven cry out in a loud voice to God to avenge their blood “on those who dwell upon the earth.” These are “imprecatory prayers,” which are pleas for God’s judgment (see similar prayers in Psalm 35:1; 59:1-17; 139:19; Jer. 11:20; 15:15; 18:19; Zech.1:12-13). This means that the saints in heaven are praying for those on earth, and God answers their prayers (Rev. 8:1-5). We, therefore, ask for their intercession and protection."

          The passage does not say that we can pray to saints or angels in heaven. The Apostle John was transported to heaven, and the souls under the altar are very much alive and not dead men's bones.

          Some Roman Catholics argue that they do not pray directly to the saints, but only "ask" them to intercede (intervene on behalf of another) for prayers. In other words, it is claimed that Mary and the saints are only "asked" to pray for those who request their spiritual support. However, a person would have to pray to the saints if he or she asks them for something because they are not physically present. Furthermore, it would be rather illogical to ask somebody in heaven for support when they are in turn going to ask God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Roman Catholics do indeed pray to the saints in heaven (CCC # 2679). The Hail Mary, Hail Holy Queen, and Memorare are examples of prayers to Mary (and the language employed in these petitions sound much as if they were directed toward some goddess!).

          Others may argue that prayer is not a form of worship, but is just asking (in the same sense that a student would request assistance from a teacher). On the contrary, the biblical concept of prayer is always a form of worship. In Scripture, people always worshiped through prayer. And those petitions were always directed to God alone. We never see followers of God praying to other entities for any reason. While it is true that asking is a component of prayer, the biblical concept of prayer cannot simply be watered down to "just asking somebody" because it also encompasses other factors such as praise, adoration, thanksgiving, repentance, and mediation (Psalm 23; 25; Matthew 6:6-14; Luke 18:9-14).

          "Rev. 8:3-4 – in heaven an angel mingles incense with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne of God, and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. These prayers “rise up” before God and elicit various kinds of earthly activity. God responds to his children’s requests, whether made by his children on earth or in heaven."

          Should we conclude that the bowls of wrath, which are mentioned in Revelation 16:1-12, must also be directed to the saints in heaven, since they also carried those?

           The text does not command believers on earth to pray to or through angels, and it does not say that prayers were made to angels or saints. It says the angel was to add incense to the prayers in the golden censer containing the prayers of the saints.

          "Psalm 103:20-21; 148:1-2 – we praise the angels and ask for their assistance in doing God’s will...Psalm 141:2 – David asks that his prayer be counted as incense before God. The prayers of the saints have powerful effects."

          The Psalmists are simply telling all creations in all places to praise God's name. Creation is a reflection of His glory. These passages do not in any way exhort us to honor or pray to beings other than the Lord.

          In Psalm 103:22, inanimate objects are told to praise God. In Psalm 148:3, the sun, moon, and the stars are also told to praise God. Should we pray to these things, as well?

A Great Observation Regarding Roman Catholic Mariology And Christ's Intercessory Role

"The church appears to have painted itself into a theological corner. In trying not to detract from Christ, its theologians have so defined the role of Mary as to make it entirely indispensable: everything we need we get from Christ. If that's the case, what is the point or importance of Mary's mediation?

One the other hand, the oft-heard affirmation that Mary can influence her Son to help us necessarily implies that the Son otherwise would be less disposed to do so. In fact, the very concept of a mediator presupposes that there are differences that need to be reconciled between two parties. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that, apart from Mary's mediation, Christ himself would not be perfectly reconciled to us. All this seriously compromises the integrity of his high priesthood.

The church is stuck in a hopeless dilemma wherein either Mary's role is rendered superfluous, or the all-sufficiency of Christ's mediation is diminished. In trying to avoid either of these perceived pitfalls, it has fallen headlong into both."

Elliot Miller and Kenneth R. Samples, The Cult of the Virgin: Catholic Mariology and the Apparitions of Mary, p. 56

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Is The Book Of Enoch Inspired Scripture?

          A pseudepigraphal text known as the Book of Enoch was gradually written and assembled into one volume, with the oldest section being the Apocalypse of Weeks (dated to the second century BC). This work has caught the attention of numerous people because of its detailed descriptions of heaven and angels. The Book of Enoch has extra-biblical accounts regarding the Nephilim race and fallen angels. In a few words, it is a work of apocalyptical speculation. 

          Some Christians have raised the question as to whether the Book of Enoch is inspired due to it seemingly being quoted in Jude 14-15. A few others have even devised a conspiracy theory that it was removed from the canon of Scripture. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church includes Enoch in its own list of books comprising the Bible. This ancient compilation was even venerated by early Christian authorities such as Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, and Irenaeus. Nonetheless, there is no reason for us to accept it as inspired Scripture. The words of Dr. John Oakes are very pertinent here:

          "Why, then, did the church in Alexandria, and therefore eventually the Coptic church, including the Ethiopian and the Egyptian churches, accept this book? This is not clear, but we know from the evidence that the early church began to use the OT apocrypha and other books, such as 1 Enoch, as early as the second century. Why Alexandria in particular used 1 Enoch more than the churches in Antioch, Constantinople and Rome is not clear, but we can speculate that they had more interest in eschatology (the study of end times) and apocalyptic literature in general. We know that Origen was open to fairly speculative theology and that Alexandria was the center of allegorical interpretation."

          Furthermore, the Book of Enoch was never a part of the Hebrew canon. Jesus Christ affirmed the traditional threefold division of the Old Testament books (Luke 24:44). The piece was not actually written by the Enoch mentioned in the Bible. The Essenes regarded this five part compilation as inspired Scripture, but their beliefs were entrenched in mysticism. In fact, the Encyclopedia Britannica tells us that:

          "Its survival is due to the fascination of marginal and heretical Christian groups, such as the Manichaeans, with its syncretic blending of Iranian, Greek, Chaldean, and Egyptian elements."

          The Book of Enoch does not appear in early canon listings provided in authoritative sources such as Codex Sinaiticus or the Muratorian fragment. It also contains things that are arguably false. As this source explains:

          "...it says that the giants of Biblical times were 400-450 feet tall. That is over 6 times taller than the largest dinosaur to ever exist, 4 times longer than a blue whale, longer than a football field, and the same height as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. If this is true, why does the Bible only speaks of giants as being 8-15 feet tall, and where are all the other legends in other cultures of giants who were this tall?"

          The Book of Enoch contains a number of absurd ideas. As this source illustrates:

          "Enoch tells...of angels (stars) procreating with oxen to produce elephants, camels and donkeys: 7:12-15; 86:1-5."

          Does not the fact that Jude makes reference to the Book of Enoch give us sufficient reason to incorporate that particular work into the canon of Scripture? Not by any means. The Apostle Paul on a few occasions quoted pagan philosophers, yet those who believe in the divine inspiration of Enoch would not argue for the inclusion of those into the canon. There also remains the possibility that Jude was not actually quoting from the Book of Enoch but to some valid oral tradition. Many truthful statements can be found apart from the Bible. The New Testament author does not call what he alludes to Scripture. Rather, the text reads as "Enoch said". The following article excerpt elaborates perfectly on this point:

          "This would be similar to a modern day preacher citing a line from an atheistic scientist or philosopher. While the atheist’s book is not entirely true, it does contain true statements. Jude’s argument does not hang on these apocryphal passages; instead, we could back up everything that is written elsewhere in the OT [See Isaiah 40:10; 66:15-16; Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 3:13]."

          How are Christians supposed to view the Book of Enoch? We are to approach it as a literary work. Some parts are truthful, others erroneous. This writing has been altered so many times by both Jews and Christians that there is no grounds to include it in the canon. As this source explains:

          "The full text of 1 Enoch exists in a Ethiopic translation of a Greek translation of an Aramaic original. There are some Greek fragments, as well as some Aramaic fragments. How can the church trust the reliability of a translation of a translation? Moreover, the textual transmission of 1 Enoch is ferociously complex. A related complication is how much of 1 Enoch we're supposed to canonize. 1 Enoch is a composite book. Even within that anthology, the Book of the Watchers is a composite work. 1 Enoch has a very complex editorial history."

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Requirement To Love Jesus Is Proof Of His Deity

Alluding to Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18, Jesus stated in Matt. 22:37-40 that the "first and great commandment" was to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" [Mark 12:30 includes and "with all your strength"]. Then in verses 39-40 Jesus goes on to say, "39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." In a similar passage Jesus even connects these two commandments with the Shema (Mark 12:29-31).

The New Testament also teaches that the Old Testament Scriptures prophesied about the Messiah's coming (John 5:39; Luke 24:25-27; 44-47; Rom. 3:21; 9:10:4-13), the nature of His ministry/work and the dignity of His person.

Now if the heart of true and faithful religion hang on the two commandments of loving God the most and one's fellow man as oneself, where does Jesus fit? How are we to relate to Jesus? Admittedly, there are passages in the OT that teach prophets were to be honored. The coming Messiah, being the greatest prophet of all, would require the greatest honor due to any prophet or human being (Deut. 18:15). Nowhere in the entire Old Testament or New Testament are humans required to love any other type of persons beside God and humans. For example, we are never commanded to love angels. Even if in the afterlife God may permit us to love angels similar to how we are to love other human beings, it is not specifically required in this life.

However, in contrast to that silence about angels, the New Testament positively requires a love, devotion, and allegiance to Jesus that no human prophet or angel deserves or can legitimately demand from their fellow creatures. This requirement is so great, essential and vital to the heart of true New Testament religion that Paul pronounces a curse on those who refuse to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote:

22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.- 1 Cor. 16:22-23

An eternal curse of damnation is pronounced on those who refuse to love the Lord Jesus Christ. How could Paul do that if Jesus were anything less than Almighty God? How can one's eternal salvation hinge or depend on loving supremely anyone in addition to Almighty God? No creature, no matter how exalted, can hold such importance and centrality with respect to salvation on pain of contradicting the Old Testament's drumbeat insistence that salvation and redemption hinges on single-hearted love and devotion to Almighty God alone.

Paul also wrote the following:

23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.- Eph. 6:23-24

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.- 2 Tim. 4:8

Jesus Himself requires us to love Him.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."16 He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.- John 21:15-17

If the New Testament requires us to love Jesus in a way that the Old Testament reserves only for God, and if the New Testament is the consistent fulfillment of the Old Testament Jewish religion, promises and prophecies, then the natural and necessary inference would be that Jesus is God Himself.

If Jesus were only a human being, then humans shouldn't place their ultimate trust and love in him.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.- Ps. 146:3

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.- Ps. 118:8-9

Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.- Jer 17:5 

[There are many other similar OT passages]

Here are more passages that teach we are to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.- John 8:42

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.- John 14:15

21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"23 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.- John 14:21-24

If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.- John 15:24

7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,-1 Pet. 1:7-8

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.- Matt. 10:37

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.- Luke 14:26

Compare these two passages about loving one's parents less than Jesus to how God requires a similar love in the Old Testament.

6 "If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which neither you nor your fathers have known,7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other,8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.- Deut. 13:6-8 [cf. Deut. 33:8-9]

https://trinitynotes.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-requirement-to-love-jesus-is.html

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Trinity And Ancient Paganism

Some cults, such as Oneness Pentecostalism, argue that the doctrine of the Trinity emerged out of paganism. Pagan nations such as the Babylonians and Assyrians, however, believed in triads of gods who headed up a pantheon of gods. This triad-pantheon religious system constituted polytheism, which is utterly different from the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity affirms only one God (monotheism) with three persons within the Godhead.

The pagans taught a concept of a creator. They also taught the concept of a great flood that killed much of humankind, as well as the idea of a messiah-like figure named Tammuz, who was resurrected. If cultists were consistent in their reasoning, they would have to strip from their beliefs the idea of a creator, the flood, and the resurrection because of loose parallels of these doctrines in pagan religions.

Though Oneness Pentecostals argue that the Trinity is pagan, their concept of modalism is as pagan as can be. Hindus view God as Brahman (the absolute and undivided one) who is revealed in three modes: Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), and Shiva (destroyer). This is quite similar to the Oneness Pentecostal view of one God revealed in three modes-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Dr. Ron Rhodes, 5-Minute Apologetics for Today, Day 140

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mother Goddess Of The Shack And The AA's "Higher Power"

"Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit" (Jeremiah 2:11),

Why have so many rejected the Christ of the Bible? Why have so many created a “Christ” of their own understanding? What happened?

This was driven home yet again when an allegedly Christian church decided on Mother’s Day to worship the Mother Goddess. How can this happen? And how can a book like The Shack, with its serpentine assault on the biblical God, be accepted by so many Christians?

I would like to suggest cultural and spiritual amenability to God in any shape or image began long before the unclean spirit moved on Paul Young to write The Shack. The now deceased Phyllis Tickle, queen of the emergent movement, knew exactly what has happened to the visible church:

“As Phyllis Tickle has noted, the development of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) probably did as much as other, more celebrated events to undermine our concept of religion. Emerging in the late 1930s, AA made it acceptable to talk about a generic God, a ‘higher power'” [A Heretic’s Guide To Eternity, by Spencer Burke (The Ooze) and Barry Taylor, pg. 34-35, foreword by Brian McLaren.]

Burke and Taylor further note what Alcoholics Anonymous has brought on us. Of course, they see it as a good thing: “Consequently, a generation of people began speaking about God in new ways not previously sanctioned by the consensual illusion and traditional religious perspectives began to change as a result” [Ibid.]

In the ground-breaking article by Jack Alexander, an article which is now official “A.A. General Conference-approved literature,” here is how the “god” of Alcoholics Anonymous can be defined:

“Any concept of the Higher Power is acceptable. [The alcoholic] may choose to think of his Inner Self, the miracle of growth, a tree, man’s wonderment at the physical universe, the structure of the atom, or mere mathematical infinity. Whatever form is visualized, the neophyte is taught he must rely on it and, in his own way, to pray to the power for strength.”(emphasis mine)

The article notes that even a tree can be prayed to. Interestingly, the Bible refers to this: “Who say to a tree, “You are my Father,” And to a stone, “You gave me birth.” For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face” (Jeremiah 2:27).

In The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, secular author Christine Wicker credits Alcoholics Anonymous with “hastening the fall of the evangelical church” [The Fall Of The Evangelical Nation, by Christine Wicker, pg. 134-138.]

Wicker states A.A.’s Twelve Step program “slowly exposed people to the notion that they could get the [higher power] without the dogma, the doctrine, and the outdated rules. Without the church in fact.” This has removed the authority and influence of “the preacher and the Bible and tradition” [Ibid.]

According to the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (the A.A. “bible”): "We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of the Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God” (pg. 55).

The Lord tells us: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is BROAD that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it" (Matthew 7:13).

Give credit where credit is due. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups have influenced the culture and so weakened the church over the last eight decades that it has been relatively easy for many to accept The Shack’s goddess version of the Lord.

It also has to be acknowledged that many well meaning Christians accepted The Shack as a good thing because they were drawn not to the mother goddess concept, but to the emotions the novel evoked.

Yet, The Shack was always an assault on the God of the Bible. Nine years after its publication, after Young charmed scores of Bible believing churches, he finally admitted his heresy. In his 2017 book, The Lies We Believe About God, Young wrote: "Are you suggesting everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying" (pg.118).

https://thewordlikefire.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/mother-goddess-of-the-shack-and-aas-higher-power/

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Why Did God Call For The Extermination Of The Canaanite People?

God commanded His people, the Israelites, to exterminate "whole peoples"-the Canaanites in particular. God issued this command not because He is cruel and vindictive, but because the Canaanites were so horribly evil, oppressive, and cancerous to society that-as with a human cancer-the only option was complete removal. To not "excise" the gangrenous Canaanites would amount to dooming Israel and all the righteous of the earth to suffer a slow death (see Deuteronomy 20:16-18). The Canaanites regularly burned their children in worship of false gods, engaged in sex with animals, and practiced all kinds of loathsome vices (see Leviticus 18:21, 23-24; 20:3).

The Canaanites had plenty of time to repent. The biblical pattern-indeed, God's promise-is that when nations repent, God withholds judgement (see Jeremiah 18:7-8). The principle is clearly illustrated for us in the case of Nineveh (Jonah 3).

The Canaanites were not acting blindly. They had heard of the God of the Israelites and knew what was expected of them, but they defied Him and continued in their sinful ways. They were ripe for judgement. God, as the absolutely sovereign Ruler over affairs of life and death, maintains the right to take life when circumstances call for it.

Dr. Ron Rhodes, 5-Minute Apologetics for Today, Day 44

Ancient Jewish Witness Against Roman Catholic Prayers To The Dead

        "so no one shall ever pray for another on that day, neither shall any one lay a burden on another; for then every one shall bear his own righteousness and unrighteousness." (2 Esdras 7:105)

         "The last stage of the complicated history of this book is perhaps the most interesting and dramatic; it involves the discovery of a lengthy section (amounting to no less than seventy verses) which had been lost from chapter 7, and which was  thenceforth incorporated into English revisers of the Apocrypha in 1895. For many years the text of the Latin version of II Esdras was based on manuscripts which presented chapter 7 in a form which made it clear that a passage was missing between verses 35 and 36. Though other ancient versions (Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Armenian) contained a long addition at this place, most scholars were hesitant about accepting it as genuine. When, however, in 1874 Robert L. Bensly of Cambridge University discovered a ninth-century manuscript in the public library of Amiens containing the lost Latin text, it was recognized that now the equivalent of a chapter must be added to the Apocrypha. In modern English translations this previously missing section is numbered 7:36-105, while the rest of chapter 7 in the King James Version (7:36-70) is now given that additional enumeration 7:106-140. It is probable that the lost section was deliberately cut out of an ancestor of most extant Latin manuscripts, because of dogmatic reasons, for the passage contains an emphatic denial of the value of prayers for the dead (verse 105)." (Bruce M. Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, p. 22-23)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Trusting In The Wise Council Of God

          What do the Scriptures say concerning anxiety, and how can trusting in God's divine providence be a pillar of strength for us during times of pain and misfortune? These types of questions merit an answer for at least two reasons. First of all, things relating to the spiritual realm or our personal relationship with God are by their very nature greatly significant. Secondly, knowing how to firmly rest in the promises of our divine Creator can help us to retain our faith during hard times. For the Apostle Peter wrote: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

          The Bible contains multiple exhortations for us to constantly depend on God to sustain us as we live day by day. As the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples in praying: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). God is the source of all life. His self-sufficiency permeates in every area where we fall short. We can never be truly strong independently of His grace. We as humans small are frail creatures, suffering as a result of having a fallen nature. By contrast, His power, goodness, and understanding transcends our faculties in every way. Love, hope, mercy, truth, and righteousness are aspects of God's character. We must turn to and trust on Him always. We in our sinful state tend to place an emphasis on what our hearts want rather than what is objectively good for us. Our perception of what is true and right can also be mistaken. Hence, we see the need of turning to our Creator. Paul wrote the following to the church at Philippi when he was under house arrest: 

          "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." (Philippians 4:7-9)

          If we trust in the wise council of God, then we will also submit to Him on His own terms. We will seek after His will rather than our own, putting to death the deeds of the flesh. We will be encouraged and guided by the Holy Spirit in following His precepts. Trusting in the wise council of God means centering our lives according to His will. Trusting in the wise council of God involves us being a beacon of light in the midst of the calamities of this world. We must fight the good fight of faith, taking the truth as our sword and faith as our shield. If God is for us, then nothing can be against us. He will impart to us His supernatural peace. Nothing can snatch us from His grasp. We may not be delighted with or understand precisely what the Lord has in store for us at this moment. What we do know is that He wants to gradually polish and refine our character, just as a blacksmith forges jewelry. But the handiwork of God is that of perfection. We shall be fulgent like precious stones in righteousness with God. While here on earth, we must allow Him to cloak us in the robes of His divine grace in order that we may withstand the hour of trial. 

          "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones." (Proverbs 3:5-8)

          The question of what Scripture has to say regarding anxiety is a question based on our current standing with God and how He can furnish us if we choose to place our trust in Him. It is important that we do so, for without Him nothing is possible. It is through God that we can discover the meaning of true and lasting peace, joy, and fulfillment. Those who do not confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, however, have every reason to be in fear. Eternity is too long a time to be wrong. The only way that sinful people can be reconciled to a holy God is through the blood of Christ. It is Him that we must entrust all our concerns each passing day. Fear, though an appropriate reaction in certain situations, is sinful if it is caused by an absence of trust in God. Examine the words which were spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel According to Matthew: 

          "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?...Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6:25-27; 34)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Theoretical Physicist [Sabine Hossenfelder] Has A Hard Time Convincing Peers To Accept Reality

Sometimes I believe in string theory. Then I wake up.

But then I got distracted by a disturbing question: Do we actually have evidence that elegance is a good guide to the laws of nature?

The brief answer is no, we have no evidence. The long answer is in my book and, yes, I will mention the-damned-book until everyone is sick of it. The summary is: Beautiful ideas sometimes work, sometimes they don’t. It’s just that many physicists prefer to recall the beautiful ideas which did work.

And not only is there no historical evidence that beauty and elegance are good guides to find correct theories, there isn’t even a theory for why that should be so. There’s no reason to think that our sense of beauty has any relevance for discovering new fundamental laws of nature.

Sure, if you ask those who believe in string theory and supersymmetry and in grand unification, they will say that of course they know there is no reason to believe a beautiful theory is more likely to be correct. They still work on them anyway. Because what better could they do with their lives? Or with their grants, respectively. And if you work on it, you better believe in it.

...here are the facts: This trust in beauty as a guide, it’s not working. There’s no evidence for grand unification. There’s no evidence for supersymmetry, no evidence for axions, no evidence for moduli, for WIMPs, or for dozens of other particles that were invented to prettify theories which work just fine without them. After decades of search, there’s no evidence for any of these.

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2018/01/sometimes-i-believe-in-string-theory.html

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Is Mary The Mother of God?

  • Information To Ponder:
          -In 431 AD, the Council of Ephesus declared that Mary was "theotokos", a Greek term which is translated to mean "God-bearer". This was done to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ in response to the Archbishop Nestorius, who believed in separating His human and divine natures (heresy termed "Nestorianism"). In summary, the title theotokos was originally used to defend the full deity of Jesus Christ.
          -Pope John Paul II, in a speech in 1996, encouraged people “not only to invoke the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of Jesus, but also to recognize her as Mother of God” (L'Osservatore Romano, 4, December 1996, p. 11). Today, the Church of Rome uses this title which was initially centered around the nature of Christ as a way to exalt Mary.
          -"...the term God-bearer as it was used in the [Chalcedon] creed and as it was applied to Mary in these controversies said something about the nature of Christ, not the nature Mary. "Mother of God" is a phrase that has proper theological meaning only in reference to Christ. Hence, any use of the term that is not simply saying, "Jesus is fully God, one divine Person with two natures," is using the term anachronistically, and cannot claim the authority of the early church for such usage." (James R. White, Mary--Another Redeemer?, p. 47-48)
  • The Term "Mother Of God" Can Result In Confusion If Not Properly Explained:
          -Is Mary the mother of the Trinity? Is she the creator of God?
          -If Mary is the mother of God, then why not start calling her mother the "Grandmother of God"? How come nobody exalts Mary's mother in the same manner? 
  • Using This Title In A Biblically Orthodox Sense:
          -God is eternal (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 90:2). Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh. So Mary could not be His mother in that His divine nature originated in her whom. It is biblical to say that Mary was the mother of Jesus during His incarnation on earth. Mary did indeed carry both of Christ's natures in her womb as His body was still developing. These statements are in accordance with Scripture, and Roman Catholics would readily agree with them. But the problem is that the Roman Catholic Church has added all sorts of bizarre teachings regarding Mary to the biblical concept of her motherhood.
  • Further Commentary On The Mother Of God Title:
          -Roman Catholic apologists have taken advantage of the ambiguity surrounding this title for the purpose of giving credibility to their Marian theology. Mary in the Catholic Church shares several of the same qualities and abilities as the Lord Himself. The many titles ascribed to her perfectly fit the description of a goddess. Nowhere does the Bible justify erecting pillars in the name of Mary, giving her religious titles of honor, and assigning providential roles to her. Kissing and weeping in front of statues of prominent Christian figures is also idolatry (these acts are done by Roman Catholics, unfortunately). The Roman Catholic Church calls Mary the mother of mercy. It has even been said that Mary sits at the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ! None of this has any foundation in Scripture.
          -It is not necessary for us to resort to titles created by men (much less a Marian title) in drawing inferences relating to the nature of Jesus Christ. Statements about how we come to understand Him can be made firsthand from His Person (God-man, etc). Scripture already has plenty of information on the the Person of Christ. Furthermore, the Marian title mother of God has been mishandled to support an aberrant ideology. Church councils are authoritative, provided that they are consistent with the written Word of God. The sayings of men are mere subjective opinions apart from an objective standard.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Confidence Of Victory Over Evil

"[Jude] 24-25 The closing doxology repeats and intensifies the note of assurance with which the letter began. The church has good reason to fear (cf. 23); she has no reason to despair. There is One who has the power to bring her safely and triumphantly through all the temptations that beset her into His glorious presence at the Judgement, the Savior God whose eternal glory, majesty, dominion, and authority are all in the service of His mercy, which shall pronounce her blameless on that day. She shall hear Jesus Christ say, "Come unto Me!"

Martin Franzmann, Concordia Self-study Commentary [commentary on Jude], p. 284

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Theory Of Biological Relativity: No Privileged Level Of Causation

  • Discussion:
          -Following is an excerpt from a paper written in 2011 by Denis Noble, a secular biologist, who criticizes neo-Darwinism:

          "Must higher level biological processes always be derivable from lower level data and mechanisms, as assumed by the idea that an organism is completely defined by its genome? Or are higher level properties necessarily also causes of lower level behaviour, involving actions and interactions both ways? This article uses modelling of the heart, and its experimental basis, to show that downward causation is necessary and that this form of causation can be represented as the influences of initial and boundary conditions on the solutions of the differential equations used to represent the lower level processes. These insights are then generalized. A priori, there is no privileged level of causation. The relations between this form of ‘biological relativity’ and forms of relativity in physics are discussed. Biological relativity can be seen as an extension of the relativity principle by avoiding the assumption that there is a privileged scale at which biological functions are determined."

Does The Bible Say The Earth Is Flat?

Does the Bible say the earth is flat? No. (Do we really have to cover this topic?) Scoffers twist the Bible into saying the earth is flat. Now a growing number of professing Christians are doing it, too.

Flat earthers use 1 Samuel 2:8 and Psalm 75:3 which mention the pillars of the earth, and how God has "set the world upon them." But this is poetic, meaning that God has created all things and established them.

Flat earthers use Job 28:24 and Psalm 48:10 which refer to the ends of the earth. But this is symbolic for a great distance or all people. Acts 13:47 says the Lord has commanded us to "bring [the message of] salvation "to the ends of the earth."

Flat earthers use Isaiah 11:12 and Revelation 7:1 which speak of the four corners of the earth. Still symbolism, referring to something happening in all directions: north, south, east, and west.

The Bible doesn't explicitly say the earth is flat or round, although it does allude to its spherical shape. Job 26:7 says that God hangs the earth on nothing, and Isaiah 40:22 says He sits above the circle of the earth. If you think the Bible says the earth is flat, you put that in the text. You did not pull that from the text. Flat earth cosmology is derived from paganism, not Christianity.

Whatever you believe about the shape of the earth, it doesn't have any bearing on your salvation. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Nonetheless, the Bible says avoid irreverent, silly myths. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies, when we understand the text.

http://www.wwutt.com/2018/10/does-bible-say-earth-is-flat.html

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Catholic Answers Gets Galatians 2:16 Completely Wrong

  • Discussion:
          -Luke Lancaster of Catholic Answers wrote an article titled Galatians 2:16 and Sola Fide, where he defends the Roman Catholic view of justification by arguing that the text from Galatians is not so much supportive of faith alone as it actually pertains to salvation no longer being on the basis of the Mosaic Law system. Right from the beginning of the post, a straw man has been erected:

          "On this view, God is not concerned with whether the person obeyed God by living a holy life or whether he was baptized."

          Of course, no Christian actually believes that God does not care about our obedience to Him. Sola Fide simply means we cannot earn our way into heaven. That is it. Nonetheless, this same misrepresentation is routinely repeated by apologists for the Church of Rome. Another key component of the Catholic apologetics argument being critiqued is cited here as follows:

         "Paul emphatically rebuked Peter. Man reaches heaven by the universal action of faith, which is always “working through love” (Gal. 5:6). Both Jews and Gentiles are justified by faith, as one family of God, which automatically dismantles any separation between them.

          Next, Paul draws out the —the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled by the New Law (Matt. 5:17). Jews and Gentiles have been united by Christ—He has torn down the wall separating them, and Paul cannot “build up again those things which I tore down” (Gal. 2:18). His identity is no longer found in the Mosaic Covenant, he has a new one: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20)."

          The Apostle Paul spells out that our justification is not by works but by faith. His purpose in distinguishing between faith and works of the Law is to tell us not only the way in which we cannot receive justification, but also how we can be justified in God's sight. Paul very clearly affirms that we are justified by faith. He nowhere states we are saved by keeping some new law. Those who place their trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ will also serve Him, but that service does not make the basis for justification.

          "The point of Galatians 2:16, then, is that Gentile Christians do not have to live like Jews. This is because going under the yoke of the Mosaic Law does not lead to salvation. Christians must follow Christ and His way of life (Gal. 6:2). They do what Christ commands, not what Moses commands (John 1:17). Christians need to live by faith, lovingly obeying Christ by loving others, which fulfills the whole Mosaic Law (Rom. 13:8). The Spirit empowers us to love others – and his presence particularly distinguishes the old yoke from the new (Rom. 8:1-4), which has the “circumcision of Christ,” baptism (Col. 2:11-12), and the new Passover, the Eucharist (1 Cor. 5:7, John 6:53).

          Galatians 2:16 has nothing to do with the Catholic belief that good works and receiving the sacraments are necessary, but not sufficient, for salvation. Deciding who spends eternity in heaven remains entirely the prerogative of our loving Creator, who has given ample guidance to the faithful. Our Protestant brothers and sisters have been misled about the meaning of the text, so let us gently show them their error (2 Tim. 2:25)."

          The author abuses certain passages of Scripture and simply spews off assertions that are contrary to what has already been explained in the first paragraph. Justification does not depend on obedience to the Mosaic Law, since it is by faith. Justification does not depend on any other law for the same reason. We are justified by faith, apart from the merit of good works. Consider, as an example, Romans 13. To say that we are required to follow the Law of Love rather than the Law of Moses misses the entire point. The Law of Love was literally embedded into the Mosaic system. So it is not something new by any means. The concept was taught in Leviticus and many other places throughout the Old Testament. To say that a person is not justified by the Law encompasses the Law of Love. This excerpt from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible Commentary is pertinent here:

          "for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified; reference seems to be had to (Psalms 143:2) and contains a reason why these believing Jews relinquished Moses in his law, in whom they formerly trusted, and looked to, and depended on for their justification, because that by obedience to the law of works no sinful mortal man can be justified in the sight of God."

          And lastly, there are reputable translations of the Bible that render the Pauline text being discussed in the following manner (which further proves that Galatians 2:16 reinforces justification by faith alone in a straightforward manner):

          "Yet we know that a person is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be put right with God through our faith in Christ, and not by doing what the Law requires. For no one is put right with God by doing what the Law requires." (Galatians 2:16, Good News Translation)

          Interestingly enough, the Good News Translation is approved by the Roman Catholic Church for adherents to use in study. Following is another translation of Galatians 2:16:

          "yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16, New English Translation)

          The New English Translation has this footnote on Galatians 2:16:

          "tn Or “faith in Jesus Christ.” A decision is difficult here. Though traditionally translated “faith in Jesus Christ,” an increasing number of NT scholars are arguing that πίστις Χριστοῦ (pistis Christou) and similar phrases in Paul (here and in v. 20; Rom 3:22, 26; Gal 3:22; Eph 3:12; Phil 3:9) involve a subjective genitive and mean “Christ’s faith” or “Christ’s faithfulness” (cf., e.g., G. Howard, “The ‘Faith of Christ’,” ExpTim 85 [1974]: 212-15; R. B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ [SBLDS]; Morna D. Hooker, “Πίστις Χριστοῦ,” NTS 35 [1989]: 321-42). Noteworthy among the arguments for the subjective genitive view is that when πίστις takes a personal genitive it is almost never an objective genitive (cf. Matt 9:2, 22, 29; Mark 2:5; 5:34; 10:52; Luke 5:20; 7:50; 8:25, 48; 17:19; 18:42; 22:32; Rom 1:8; 12; 3:3; 4:5, 12, 16; 1 Cor 2:5; 15:14, 17; 2 Cor 10:15; Phil 2:17; Col 1:4; 2:5; 1 Thess 1:8; 3:2, 5, 10; 2 Thess 1:3; Titus 1:1; Phlm 6; 1 Pet 1:9, 21; 2 Pet 1:5). On the other hand, the objective genitive view has its adherents: A. Hultgren, “The Pistis Christou Formulations in Paul,” NovT 22 (1980): 248-63; J. D. G. Dunn, “Once More, ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” SBL Seminar Papers, 1991, 730-44. Most commentaries on Romans and Galatians usually side with the objective view."

          Brandon Addison provides these relevant comments on the subjective genitive phrases:

          "...if one wants to argue for the subjective genitive here or elsewhere in Galatians (διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ) then we are all sons of God because of Christ’s faithfulness, in which case, something like imputation is functioning as Christ’s faithfulness imputes benefits to believers." (https://hakalonhumas.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/my-take-on-imputation/comment-page-1/)

Monday, July 8, 2019

Lessons Of The American Eugenics Movement

"U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas cited lessons from the history of the American eugenics movement [on May 28] in warning that abortion can be a “tool” to eliminate entire segments of the population.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that eugenic goals are already being realized through abortion,” Thomas wrote.

“With today’s prenatal screening tests and other technologies, abortion can easily be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics,” he wrote. “Indeed, the individualized nature of abortion gives it even more eugenic potential than birth control, which simply reduces the chance of conceiving any child.”

Thomas’ 20-page opinion accompanied the court’s refusal to hear a case involving an Indiana law banning sex-, race-, and disability-selective abortions. Thomas agreed with the court’s decision not to take up the case but only because the issue needed more time to percolate in lower courts. The high court often will take up an issue only after it is considered in multiple circuits. The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down the Indiana law.

Thomas – who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush – detailed the history of the American eugenics movement.

Former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher, he said, “endorsed the use of abortion for eugenic reasons.” The U.S. Supreme Court, in the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision, supported the forced sterilization of certain people. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger called blacks “the great problem of the South” – the “group with ‘the greatest economic, health, and social problems.’” She wanted to promote birth control among the black population, Thomas noted.

Thomas then pivoted to modern-day data.

“The reported nationwide abortion ratio – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births – among black women is nearly 3.5 times the ratio for white women,” he wrote. “And there are areas of New York City in which black children are more likely to be aborted than they are to be born alive – and are up to eight times more likely to be aborted than white children in the same area.”

He added: “Whatever the reasons for these disparities, they suggest that, insofar as abortion is viewed as a method of ‘family planning,’ black people do indeed ‘tak[e] the brunt of the ‘planning.’”

Sex-selective abortion is regularly used in India, where 300,000 to 700,000 female fetuses are “selectively aborted in India each year.” Today, “there are about 50 million more men than women in the country,” he wrote.

Another targeted population, he wrote, includes individuals with Down syndrome.

“In Iceland, the abortion rate for children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero approaches 100%. … Other European countries have similarly high rates, and the rate in the United States is approximately two-thirds,” he wrote.

Abortion has “proved to be” a “disturbingly effective tool for implementing the discriminatory preferences that undergird eugenics,” he asserted.

“Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the Court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s,” Thomas wrote."

https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/abortion-is-a-disturbingly-effective-tool-for-eugenics-supreme-court-justice-warns.html

A Textbook Example Of Roman Catholic Mariolatry

  • Discussion:
          -Roman Catholic Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira once gave a devotional commentary on a Marian prayer composed by Bernard of Clairvaux, with an excerpt (from Dr. Plinio's writing) being presented as follows:

          "Our Lady, as an omnipotent Mediatrix with God, solves everything. I need help from her for things big and small. For the ordinary, as for the enormous.

          And although the things of apostolate may seem very complicated, very committed, I must trust in Our Lady to resolve; I put my trust in her and do not think of anything else.

          This applies even more to our spiritual life. Our Lady called us to the TFP, and within the [vocation of] the TFP calls us to holiness. If She calls us to holiness, She will not interrupt the work that She began and will lead us there if we can trust.

          Someone will say, "Dr. Plinio, beautiful words ... In reality, they are empty and do not correspond to anything, because if I sin I am creating obstacles to the action of Our Lady. And if I am creating obstacles to the action of Our Lady, I can not suppose that She will sanctify me. I mean, you are saying something that is very beautiful, but that is worthless, has no consistency. It's a chimera. "

          The answer is right here in St. Bernard. Although we have the great pain of having offended Our Lady, even though she has the pain of having seriously offended, we must continue to trust in her. Because if we distrust her, then everything is lost. The door of Heaven is She! And if we, by our lack of confidence, close the door of Heaven, we condemn ourselves."

          My initial reaction upon reading Bernard's prayer to Mary was that of shock, as his petitions to her sound identical to the pleas of the Old Testament Psalmists toward God. Plinio's reflection on this prayer is also disturbing in that he calls "Our Lady" the "omnipotent Mediatrix with God" and the door of heaven. This is idolatry at its finest.

          For those interested in what the prayer says, here is an excerpt from the page which requires translation (due to being in a foreign language):

          "For my sake, O Mother, I will wait only in You, only in You after God. And the whole foundation of my hope will be my trust even in your maternal goodness.

          "My dearest Mother, may I lose my good graces for the poor and the poor." "Dearest Mary, may the evil ones rob me of the reputation and the little good I possess. sin.

          "But my loving trust in your maternal goodness, this I will never lose, I will keep it, this unswerving confidence until my last breath."


          We should be placing this much confidence and hope in God alone. The truth of the matter is that Mary was an ordinary human being who cannot intercede for sinful man. Those Roman Catholic apologists, who go miles to deny the charge of Mariolatry, are so full of themselves; defending that which cannot be reasonably defended. The language used in "honoring" Mary serves as a witness against them.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Examining A Few Of Catholic Nick's Presuppositions Regarding Romans 4:2-8

  • Discussion:
          -A blogger who goes by the name of Catholic Nick wrote an article titled Another Gold Nugget in Romans 4:6 (Against Faith Alone), where he interacts with comments made by John Piper on the meaning of "counted righteous" as found in Romans 4. This article is not so much a commentary on Mr. Piper's Desiring God ministry, but rather serves as an analysis of Nick's claims (which are quoted as follows) regarding this passage from Romans:

          "First, Piper has not been consistent with the parallelism of the passage: 4:6 Blessing to whom God credits righteousness apart from works, 4:7 Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and 4:8 Blessed is he whom the Lord will not reckon his sin. Notice that the parallel is not of “iniquities” and “sin” corresponding to “apart from works,” as Piper hurriedly assumed, but rather the “crediting of righteousness” corresponds to “iniquities forgiven” and “not crediting sin.” In other words, Paul is saying that to “credit righteousness” is synonymous with “not crediting sin. Thus, there is no actual correspondence between “apart from works” and “sinner” here."

          First of all, it is somewhat foolish to try to use one passage of Scripture to refute a doctrine so profoundly and clearly enforced by that same text. Nick's argument is not accurate. Romans 4:6 is explicitly speaking of those, "to whom God counts righteousness apart from works". That is the direct quotation of that verse. There is no way those can be separated.

          It is true that the crediting of Christ's righteousness corresponds to our iniquities being forgiven. That is double imputation. Our sins are credited to Christ and His righteousness is credited to us. The Reformation Study Bible has this footnote:

          "4:6–8 That Paul’s exegesis of Gen. 15:6 is correct is confirmed by an appeal to David’s words in Ps. 32:1, 2. Blessedness (fellowship with God together with all its accompaniments, and salvation) is not earned, but is the effect of the gift of forgiveness. It is by Christ’s work, not ours, that we are justified. Any merit of our own, even the good that redeemed people do by the tower of the Holy Spirit, is excluded."

          The key to interpreting the passage is verse 2, which says, "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” Paul is making a case that Abraham and others are not justified by works because then we could boast before God. Verse 4 further supports this idea with the simple point that if someone earns wages then it is not a gift. Verse 5 then says that God justifies the ungodly and counts them as righteous by faith. The text is crystal clear in rebuffing the Roman Catholic view of meritorious works in justification. King David is quoted in here as an example of being justified in spite of his transgressions against God.

          Justification by faith alone includes forgiveness and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. It is an exchange of our sinfulness onto Christ and His righteousness onto us. The lines do parallel one another by emphasizing the different sides of justification. Verse 6 says that King David is credited or counted as righteous apart from works. 7-8 is emphasizing our pardon from sin. The overall point from these parallel phrases is that we are not justified by works. They do not merit our salvation.

          "Second, consider that Piper shows there is just as much of a parallel between 4:5 and 4:6 as there is between 4:6 and 3:28. Here Piper shows that “justified by faith apart from works of the law” (3:28) is to be understood synonymously with “credits righteousness apart from works” (4:6). Thus, the “ungodly” is one who is “apart from works of the law.” Realizing this, it is even less reasonable to say “apart from works of the law” is a synonym for “sinner” in general (for example, being uncircumcised does not make one a sinner in general)."

          This paragraph does not follow at all. We can agree with the first part of what is being said, "“justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (3:28) is to be understood synonymously with “credits righteousness apart from works” (4:6)." That part of the argument makes perfect sense. However, Nick follows that with, "Thus, the “ungodly” is one who is “apart from works of the Law.” In light of this, it is even less reasonable to say “apart from works of the Law” is a synonym for “sinner” in general (for example, being uncircumcised does not make one a sinner in general)." It is difficult to see precisely where Catholic Nick this conclusion from. It is not connected to nor logically flows from the first part of that paragraph.

          "The only fitting explanation is that “ungodly” is a slang (or even pejorative) way of speaking of a Gentile, who is by definition someone who lacks works of the law. Note this parallel found in Galatians 2:15-16. And not only is this the only consistent way to interpret that parallel, it's the only way to make sense of Paul's earlier statements regarding Abraham."

          This does not seem to fit at all as a logical flow. Moreover, how somebody can draw a distinction between an ungodly person and a sinner is far beyond me. If the ungodly are without good works (which means they are lawless), then that means they are a sinner in need of having faith accounted to them as righteousness, in the same manner as Abraham.

          Nick ignores the language of sin and the need for the covering of it in the passage itself. Also, formulating a sharp distinction between having the Law and actually being a sinner is not legitimate because without the Law a person cannot be certain as to what what is sinful verses what is not. Nick seems to be implying that Gentiles are not actually sinners; the Apostle Paul is simply occupying the term as a word without any meaning other than "someone who does not have the Law of Moses". Paul's use of the language of sin and iniquity in Romans 4 is therefore rendered myopic and superfluous. A commentor on Catholic Nick's article made these insightful remarks:

          "The relationship between "works of the law" and "sin" is vitally important. It is your contention that "works" here merely represents the ceremonial aspect such as the circumcision and kosher foods or sabbath keeping. But Paul already refuted this in Romans 3:20. "For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin." The relationship between "works of law" and "sin" has been so forged in Pauline thought that to be found not having the "works of the law" is to fall short of the glory of God thereby unrighteous and ungodly."

          The very reason one might be able to boast before God is precisely because of the absence of sin and the keeping of the Law, as opposed to Gentiles who do not have the Law and sin. In summary, Catholic Nick has turned Romans 4:5-8 right on its head.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Is Believing In Sola Fide ("Faith Alone") And Conditional Security A Theological Contradiction?

  • Discussion:
          -A blogger who goes by the name of Catholic Nick wrote an article titled Quickie Apologetics: Sola Fide and Losing Salvation, where he argues that belief in the loss of salvation is incompatible with Sola Fide (faith alone). He posits this clever question to stump unsuspecting Protestant Christians who reject eternal security:

          "How can you say we are saved by faith alone if salvation can be lost?"

          Then, the argument is elaborated in further detail as the author states the following:

          "If faith is what saves you, then your works obviously cannot play a role. If your works do play a role in saving you (including keeping you saved), then obviously it's not faith alone saving you. You would be surprised how many Protestants get stumped by this question - and indeed they should, since it's a blatant contradiction."

          The truth of the matter is that our salvation is not to be earned or maintained by good works (which simply indicate our state of heart). A saving faith will certainly be accompanied by good works, as they signify a regenerate heart. It all revolves around the heart. Faith is not a work.

          We are saved by trusting in the atonement sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone. He paid the full penalty for our sin. That is all we have as a means of salvation, and that is all we need. All that one has to do in order to receive God's gift of justification is place his or her faith in Him.

          But at the same time, the New Testament contains far to many exhortations against apostasy. Thus, I would maintain that people can "walk away" from (meaning to forfeit or abandon) their salvation. Loss of salvation simply denotes the loss of benefits from the Cross of Christ. Sin does have a callousing effect on the heart.

          Christians do not lose their free will upon conversion. People can and do, though as shocking or unfortunate it may seem, abandon heartfelt convictions. God forbid that a believer apostatize from the faith, but it is an undeniable reality. He certainly has the power to keep us, but will not force people into heaven. That would not be love. We were not created to be robots or puppets, but His children.

          Belief in justification by faith alone and conditional security would constitute a logical contradiction only if a person identified as a Calvinist. Additionally, it is not as though penal substitution is an inherently Calvinistic idea. Catholic Nick goes on to say:

          "It is interesting that Paul himself quotes this example of David having lost his salvation and having to repent to become re-justified in Romans 4:6-8 (quoting Psalm 32)."

           Neither King David, nor the Apostle Paul who quotes him, says this was an instance of re-justification. David in the Psalm speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin. He does not say, God had imputed this sin to me since my justification, and now he is not imputing it to me. It seems that Catholic Nick is far too busy reading his Roman Catholicism into Scripture.

           We read in the Psalms King David pleading for the Lord in humble repentance to restore him to the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12). In other words, he was heavily disciplined by God. David lost his first child as a result of his adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12). God disciplines those who He loves, just as a father does a son who is guilty of some wrongdoing (Deuteronomy 8:3-5; Proverbs 3:12).

           A God who is willing to lay down His life for sinners is not going to instantaneously give up on somebody. That is totally unrealistic. A person does not reach sinless perfection upon conversion. We still struggle with a sin nature, but the grace of God, which we do not deserve, does transform our hearts. How God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament is a testimony to His patience. King David himself serves as a display to the greatness of His mercy.

The Heretical Teachings Of Finis Jennings Dake

GOD’S NATURE

Many of Dake’s doctrinal errors begin with his misunderstanding of God’s nature. He states, “God has a spirit body with bodily parts like man.” 21 The only difference between God’s body and man’s, according to Dake, is that God’s body is a spiritual substance while man’s body is a material substance. He offers several lines of faulty reasoning to support his view. First, he argues that since the natural body will be raised a spiritual body, this means that spirit beings have bodies:

Paul speaks of the human flesh-and-bone bodies in the resurrection as being “spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:42–44), and “like unto his glorious body” (Luke 24:39; Phil. 3:20–21); so if human bodies that become spiritualized are still material and tangible, then certainly God and other spirits can have bodies just as real and still be spirit beings. After all, John 4:24 is a mere statement of fact — that God is a Spirit — but it does not define and analyze a spirit. 22

First Corinthians 15:42–44, however, does not refer to the nature of God, but to the nature of the resurrected human body. “Spiritual body,” moreover, in this context, does not mean a body made of spiritual substance; rather, it means that the physical, material, flesh-and-bone body that will be resurrected and made immortal and imperishable will no longer be dominated by the flesh (i.e., the sinful nature) but by the Spirit.

Dake also argues that since humans were created in God’s image and have bodies, God must have a body as well: “If man was made in the image and likeness of God bodily, then God must have a body, and an outward form and shape.” 23 Mormons make the same argument. It is false, however, to assume that because we are like God, God must be like us. Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes explain, “Just because all horses have four legs does not mean that all four-legged things are horses. And just because God made male and female does not mean he is male and female. ‘God is Spirit’ (John 4:24), yet he made people with bodies (Gen. 2:7). Just because we have a physical body does not mean that God has one too.” 24

Dake asserts that the Bible plainly speaks of God as having a face, hands, eyes, arms, legs, and other body parts just like any other person. 25 He recognizes that the Bible sometimes uses language that obviously is figurative, such as when it says Jesus is “the door” (John 10:7); however, based on his rule to “take the Bible literally where at all possible,” he contends that the passages that attribute human body parts to God should be interpreted literally. In other words, he believes it is possible for God to have a body, and therefore interprets these passages literally.

There is a problem with this simplistic approach: whether it is possible for God to have a body is a philosophical question that must be answered before interpreting passages that speak of God’s body parts. It is similar to the question of whether God can lie: whether it is possible for God to lie (He cannot because of His nature) is a question that must be answered before interpreting the biblical statement, “God cannot lie.” It cannot be answered based on the biblical statement alone, because it is logically possible that God lied in that statement.

Many philosophical arguments prove that God cannot have a body; for example, if God has a body that is composed of parts, then He must have been composed (i.e., created, assembled) by another being greater than Himself, for He could not have composed Himself. In other words, if God has a body, He is not really God. Another argument is that bodies exist in space and time; but God created space and time; therefore, He must exist apart from space and time. God, therefore, cannot have a body.

The point of these arguments is that it is logically impossible for God to have a body because of His nature (i.e., what God is). A body is limited, temporal, changing, visible, material, composed of parts, and present in only one location at a time, whereas God is unlimited, eternal, unchanging, invisible, immaterial, not composed of parts, and always present everywhere; therefore, God cannot have a body. (This doesn’t mean that one of the persons of the Trinity could not take on, or add, a human nature that includes a material body, as is the case with Jesus who now has two natures: divine and human.)

If it is logically impossible for God to have a body, then those passages that speak of God’s body parts cannot be interpreted literally; they must be interpreted figuratively. When biblical authors attribute human characteristics to God, they are using a figure of speech called anthropomorphism. This means that they are referring to God in terms of human body parts or passions. Speaking figuratively of God’s hands, eyes, anger, or even love, helps finite humans comprehend truths about an infinite God and the way He acts. Theologian Lewis Sperry Chafer comments, “Where physical members are thus ascribed to God, it is not a direct assertion that God possesses these members, or a corporal [physical] body with its parts; but that He is capable of doing precisely those things which are the functions of the physical part of man.” 26

If all the characteristics that are ascribed to God in the Bible were taken literally, one would end up with an absurd view of God as having wings and feathers (Ps. 17:8), being made of stone (Ps. 18:31), or having eyes that literally “run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chron. 16:9 KJV). Dake recognizes that ascribing literal birdlike or rocklike characteristics to God results in absurd conclusions; however, he does not recognize that ascribing literal humanlike characteristics to God results in absurd conclusions as well. By taking anthropomorphic passages literally, Dake has denied the historic Christian doctrine of God. He, instead, has “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man” (Rom. 1:23 NASB).

THE TRINITY

Dake defines the Trinity as “the union of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one (unified) Godhead or divinity, so that all three persons are one in unity and eternal substance, but three separate and distinct persons as to individuality.” 27 This statement is similar to historic Christian definitions of the Trinity, such as in the ancient creeds, but Dake’s view of the Trinity clearly is not the same as the historic Christian view.

The historic Christian view of the Trinity — that God is one being constituted by three persons — is “foolish and unscriptural, to say the least,” says Dake. 28 He states, it is a fallacy “that there is only one person or one being called God.” 29 Dake says that the Trinity is three separate and distinct persons in one God; however, he defines person as “a rational being with bodily presence, soul passions, and spirit faculties.”30 In his view, person and beingmean the same thing. He concludes, therefore, that the Trinity is three separate and distinct beings, each with a body, soul, and spirit: “What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each one having His own personal spirit body, personal soul, and personal spirit in the sense that each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul and spirit.” 31

This characterization of the Trinity as three separate beings is different than the historic Christian view that the Trinity is three separate persons who are united in one essence or substance — in other words, one being. When Dake says “all three persons are one in unity and eternal substance,” he means three separate beings who are one in unity or purpose. It is true that all three persons in the Trinity are one in purpose, but the historic Christian view is that “one in substance” means one in being (essence or nature). In other words, the Trinity is three persons (three whos) who are one being (one what).

The Athanasian Creed (c. AD 361) was written partly to defend the orthodox understanding of the Trinity against an error known as tritheism, which says that the Trinity is three separate Gods. It states, “We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.” 32 Trinitarians have historically understood substance here to mean essence or being, not purpose as Dake argues.

Trinitarians, moreover, have not understood being to mean the same thing as person, as Dake argues, otherwise the Trinity would be three infinite, perfect beings. Theologian Henry Thiessen points out, “There can be only one infinite and perfect being. To postulate two or more infinite beings is illogical and inconceivable.” 33 One reason there cannot be two or more infinite, perfect beings is because they would have to differ from each other in some way, and to differ means each being must lack something that the others have; however, if they lack something, they are not infinite, perfect beings; therefore, there can be only one infinite, perfect being.

Many of Dake’s statements regarding the Trinity are similar to classic Trinitarian statements, but his view is not the same as the historic Christian view; if it were the same, he certainly would not have called the historic Christian view foolish and unscriptural.

JESUS CHRIST

Dake’s misunderstanding of God’s nature also results in a problematic view of Jesus’ nature. He teaches, for example, that Jesus became the Son of God at His incarnation 34 (a view held by Jehovah’s Witnesses known as adoptionism) and that Jesus became the Messiah at His baptism 35 (see, however, Luke 2:11 and Matt. 2:4). These views have been rejected by the majority of the church throughout history. His most troubling views, however, relate to Jesus’ incarnation and resurrection.

Dake argues, as noted above, that before the Incarnation, the Son (Jesus) had a spirit body as did the Father and the Spirit; however, he says that when Jesus came to earth, He exchanged His spirit body for a human body: “He laid aside His God body to take a human body, His immortality in body to become mortal.” 36 Jesus’ resurrection, in Dake’s view, was a return to a spiritual body, the same kind of body that believers will receive at their resurrection. Dake claimed, “Even resurrected bodies of flesh-and-bone saints are called ‘spiritual’ (1Cor. 15:44), so spiritual bodies are of materialized, spiritualized substance — something we know nothing about, as far as experience is concerned, at the present time.” 37 This type of spiritualized body, he argues, enabled Jesus (as it will us) to go through doors (John 20:26), appear and disappear at will (Luke 24:31), and change form (Mark 16:12).

There are several reasons to reject Dake’s view that man’s resurrected body will not be physical (i.e., material). First, Scripture teaches that Jesus’ resurrected body was the same physical body that went into the grave. Jesus declared to the Jews, for example, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19 NASB, emphasis added). John explained, “He was speaking of the temple of His body” (v. 21). In other words, the body that came out of the grave was the same one that went in.

Second, according to Peter, David foresaw that Jesus’ body would not see decay in the grave (Acts 2:30–31; cf. Ps. 16:10). There would be no reason for God to preserve Jesus’ physical body if it was going to be exchanged for a different, spiritual body.

Third, many of Jesus’ post resurrection appearances in the Gospels emphasize the physical nature of His resurrected body: it had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39); it had the crucifixion wounds (John 20:27); it ate food (Luke 24:41–43), and it was physically recognized and touched by humans (Matt.28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:17, 27).38 The Gospels attest that Jesus’ body that arose and appeared to the disciples and other witnesses was the same physical body that was crucified.39

Dake recognizes the strong biblical support that Jesus’ resurrected body was (and is) physical flesh and bone. He vigorously argues, however, based on his view of the “spiritual body” in 1 Corinthians15, that Jesus’ body was “materialized, spiritualized substance.” A “materialized, spiritualized substance,” however, is a contradiction in terms; moreover, the phrase “spirit body,” as defined by Dake, is the same as saying “immaterial material,” which also is a contradiction in terms. A thing is either material or immaterial — there is no middle ground.

JESUS’ NATURE WHILE ON EARTH

Paul says that Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…being made in the likeness of men” (Phil.2:7 NASB). This is known as the kenosis passage, which comes from a Greek verb that means “to empty.” The question is, what does “emptied himself” mean, and of what did Jesus empty himself while on earth?

Rhodes explains, “Paul’s statement…involves three basic issues: the veiling of [Christ’s] preincarnate glory, a voluntary nonuse of some of his divine attributes, and the condescension involved in taking on the likeness of men.” 40 Jesus “emptied himself” by voluntarily limiting the use of some of His divine attributes while on earth, but at no time did He cease to possess them.

Dake argues, however, that Jesus did not possess His divine attributes while on earth. He explains, “The limitations of Christ in knowledge and wisdom cannot be explained and harmonized with the fact that Christ had omniscience [unlimited knowledge]. His limitations in power and His powerlessness to act and do things in Himself cannot be harmonized with the fact that He had his original attribute of omnipotence [unlimited power]…. Christ’s emptying Himself in reality includes the laying aside of His attributes and powers or at least limitations of them in becoming man.” 41 Dake says that Jesus “could not have retained immutability.” 42 Finally, Dake states that Jesus became unequal with God: “If He had not laid aside His equality as God, then He could not have been unequal with God as manifested in the days of his flesh.” 43

There are a number of problems with Dake’s view. First, the fact that Jesus did not know or do something does not mean that He could not know or do it. A person can choose not to open a door to see who is knocking, but that does not mean that person lacks the power to do so. In several statements, Dake seems to leave room for the view that Jesus merely chose not to use His divine attributes; but this view requires that Jesus possessed His divine attributes, which is inconsistent with Dake’s many arguments that He did not possess them.

Second, without His divine attributes, Jesus cannot be God. This is because God is a perfectly simple being, that is, He is not composed of parts, which means His attributes and His nature are one and the same. God doesn’t just have the attribute of omnipotence, for example, He is omnipotence. In other words, God minus even one of His attributes is not God. God’s nature, moreover, is immutable (unchangeable), which means He cannot change and become different than He is; for example, God cannot change from being unlimited in power to being limited in power. It is also illogical to say, as Dake does, that Jesus changed from being immutable (unchangeable) to being mutable (changeable).

Finally, to say that Jesus laid aside “His equality as God” goes against Jesus’ claims to be (equal with) God and instead agrees with the Pharisees who said that Jesus, being a man, was falsely making Himself to be God (John 10:30–33).

In the incarnation (when Christ “became” human), Christ’s nature did not change from divine to human; rather, the second person of the Trinity took on a human nature in addition to His divine nature. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, possesses two separate and distinct natures in His one person. This doctrine was spelled out at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The incarnation, therefore, did not require Jesus to give up His divine nature or attributes. Any limitations He had can be ascribed either to His human nature (e.g., His physical body could not be present everywhere at once) or to His choice not to exercise certain attributes of His divine nature, which He fully possessed even while on earth.

Dake’s view that Jesus retained His divine nature, but gave up the very attributes that make that nature divine is contradictory. It reveals a misunderstanding of the divine nature and compromises the very divinity of Jesus, in which he claims to believe.

SALVATION AND WORKS

Dake’s view of salvation is another problematic area. On one hand, he states that salvation is by grace and not by works: “Eternal life is a free gift….Men merit hell, but not eternal life. Jesus Christ alone procured it and gives it freely to all who believe.” 44 He also says it is by faith alone and not works: “The law of works cannot pardon….Faith alone in Christ will pardon and cancel the death penalty.” 45

On the other hand, he flatly denies that grace alone is sufficient for salvation: “It is true that grace cannot be…mixed with the law of works, but this does not prove that there are no conditions men must meet in order to get the benefits of grace. Not one scripture teaches unconditional grace.” 46 Dake asserts, “Grace cannot excuse and ignore the failure of saved man to meet the many conditions of salvation.” 47 He lists, for example, “two things [that are] necessary for one to be saved from all sin and only two,” 48 “3 things men must do and continue in to receive eternal life,” 49 “7 conditions of eternal salvation,” 50 and “23 conditions of eternal life.” 51 In one comment, he says, “There are 1,050 commands in the N.T. for the Christian to obey….If obeyed, they will bring rich rewards here and forever; if disobeyed they will bring condemnation and eternal punishment.” 52

In Dake’s view, grace can set aside condemnation only if one remains free from sin. In a section listing “30 things grace cannot do,” he asserts, “The modern fallacy that judicial forgiveness covers ALL sins, past, present, and future; that God does not impute sins of believers to them; and that God never condemns a saved man for any sins committed, but charges them to the Lord Jesus Christ, is one of the most unscriptural and demon-inspired theories in any church.” 53

According to Dake, justification, the initial act of God by which He declares a believing sinner righteous, is maintained by obeying certain conditions and by not sinning: “every act of obedience is an act of faith and works combined to maintain justification before God.” 54 He states elsewhere that a believer who sins can lose his salvation and again be condemned: “A man forgiven of past sins must quit sin. If he commits the same sins again after conversion he will be charged with them again. They must be properly confessed and forgiven again or he will pay the death penalty for the new crimes.” 55

Dake fails to clearly and consistently teach that salvation (justification) is by grace alonethrough faith alone apart from works — two of the central doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. He states that salvation is by grace through faith, but he also teaches that obedience and confession of sin are necessary to receive and maintain justification. This is a confused gospel of grace plus works. Scripture, however, teaches that the only condition a person must meet to receive and keep eternal life (salvation) is to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31; cf. John 3:18; 20:31; Eph. 2:8). It also teaches that a believer does not lose eternal life and fall back into condemnation when he or she sins (John 3:18; 5:24; Rom.8:1–4,33–39).

GUARANTEED HEALTH

Dake’s literal interpretation of passages such as Isaiah 53:5, John 14:14, and 3 John 2 results in the view that Jesus bore our sickness as well as our sin in the atonement; therefore, physical healing can be appropriated now by faith the same as forgiveness. He states,

“Everyone can get healed now — right now by faith — as much as he can be forgiven of sins now. The reason all are not healed is because they do not believe this truth and accept it as they do forgiveness of sins.…Both forgiveness and healing were atoned for on the cross, but they are appropriated individually by faith when one meets the necessary conditions of repentance and faith in the atonement. All Hell cannot rob him of either blessing if one refuses to permit demon forces to defeat him.” 56

The problem with equating physical sickness with sin in the atonement is that if a person does not have enough faith to be healed, then that person has no assurance that he or she has enough faith to be saved. Hank Hanegraaff points out, “If both healing and salvation are included in [the atonement], they must be accessed in the same way. And if one does not have enough faith to make oneself well, it follows that he cannot have enough faith to be saved. Therefore those who die physically due to lack of faith must also wind up in hell for the same reason.” 57

In Dake’s view, the failure to be healed reflects willful unbelief and disobedience to the laws of God and nature. 58 He even calls sickness sin: “It becomes sinful to bear in our bodies those things that Christ has already borne for us.” 59 This view is not only unbiblical, it adds guilt to a person who is already suffering from an illness or disease. One wonders if Dake believed that his own inability to be healed from Parkinson’s disease, which eventually took his life, was a sin due to unbelief.

Dake argues that to deny his view results in the absurd conclusion that God wants us to be sick: “Shall we say that it is God’s will for us to live in sickly and diseased bodies in preference to clean and healthy ones? 60 This is a false dilemma. It is not the case that either God heals sickness now or He prefers sickness to health; there is a third option: God will defeat sickness and disease in the future. Paul, in fact, stated that the whole world is waiting for the full and final redemption from the effects of the fall, which includes sickness and disease (Rom. 8:18–25).

Dake’s recurring theme of guaranteed health by positive confession of faith is paralleled by his theme of guaranteed prosperity. 61 These are standard doctrines among Word-Faith teachers and can devastate a person’s health, finances, and faith if followed.

https://www.equip.org/article/dakes-dangerous-doctrine/