Friday, July 31, 2020

Church Councils And The New Testament Canon

"It is a remarkable fact no early Church Council selected the books that should constitute the New Testament Canon. The books that we now have crushed out all rivals, not by any adventitious authority, but by their own weight and worth. This is in itself a strong proof of the genuineness and authenticity of the books that have survived. It is not until the close of fourth that any Council even discussed the subject."

Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 25

Thursday, July 30, 2020

2 Timothy 3:16 And Inerrancy

"...The translation, "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable," etc., is open to several criticisms: its rendering of pasa graphe and of kai, and its disposition of the verbal adjective theopneustos. Robertson says, with abstract substantives, proper names, and single objects pasa is tantamount to "all"; and "since graphe is sometimes regarded as definite pasa graphe (2 Tim. 3:16) can be "all Scripture" or "every Scripture'." Lock so translates it. Other considerations make this the preferable reading. There is no copula in the Greek text, but we have to insert one in the translation. The rendering we are criticizing treats theopneustos as an attributive and so inserts the copula after "God." This requires that the particle kai be rendered as "also," an adjunctive participle. Now "also" implies that we are adding one co-ordinate idea to another; but the words "is also profitable" are not an addition to anything that goes before, It is better, therefore, to treat theopneustos as a predicate and to insert the copula after "Scripture." The statement will then read as it is in the Authorized Version: "All Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable," etc. In other words, the correct rendering of this verse makes Paul teach the full inspiration of the entire Old Testament."

Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 87-88

The Uniqueness Of The Bible As Literature

"The Bible is primarily a religious book and as such it is unique in the world of literature. How could uninspired man write a book that commands all duty, forbids all sin, including the sin of hypocrisy and lying, denounces all human merit as insufficient for salvation, holds out as man's only hope faith in in the atoning death, physical resurrection, and present intercession of Christ, and condemns to hell for all eternity all who reject this one way of salvation and persist in sin?"

Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 85

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Jude 4-5 And The Deity Of Christ

[Jude 4] c Most later witnesses (P Ψ 𝔐 sy) have θεόν (theon, “God”) after δεσπότην (despotēn, “master”), which appears to be a motivated reading in that it explicitly links “Master” to “God” in keeping with the normal NT pattern (see Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Tim 2:21; Rev 6:10). In patristic Greek, δεσπότης (despotēs) was used especially of God (cf. BDAG 220 s.v. 1.b.). The earlier and better witnesses (𝔓72, 78 א A B C 0251 33 81 323 1241 1739 al co) lack θεόν; the shorter reading is thus preferred on both internal and external grounds.

sn The Greek term for Master (δεσπότης, despotēs) is the same term the author of 2 Peter used (2 Pet 2:1) to describe his Lord when he prophesied about these false teachers. Since δεσπότης is used only ten times in the NT, the verbal connection between these two books at this juncture is striking. This is especially so since both Peter and Jude speak of these false teachers as denying the Master (both using the same verb). The basic difference is that Peter is looking to the future, while Jude is arguing that these false teachers are here now.

[Jude 5] "tc ‡ Some translations take ἅπαξ (hapax) with the following clause (thus, “[Jesus,] having saved the people once for all”). Such a translation presupposes that ἅπαξ is a part of the ὅτι (hoti) clause. The reading of NA, πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ (panta hoti [ho] kurios hapax), suggests this interpretation (though with “Lord” instead of “Jesus”). This particle is found before λαόν (laon) in the ὅτι clause in א C* Ψ 630 1241 1243 1505 1739 1846 1881 pc co. But ἅπαξ is found before the ὅτι clause in most witnesses, including several important ones (P A B C 33 81 623 2344 M vg). What seems best able to explain the various placements of the adverb is that scribes were uncomfortable with ἅπαξ referring to the readers’ knowledge, feeling it was more appropriate to the theological significance of “saved” (σώσας, sōsas).

sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.

tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (theos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς(though P has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [theos Christos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦςis, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate."

Excerpts taken from the New English Translation

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Control Freaks In Our Midst

The story of Jesus feeding some 5,000 people, as told in the books of Matthew and John, is well known throughout the world. It goes like this:

As a large and hungry crowd gathers to hear Jesus, his disciples nervously ask him how so many people can be fed. The only food in their midst consists of five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus informs his associates of some rich people who live nearby. “Go and take what they have and give it to these who want it” he commands.

So the disciples raid the homes of the rich, as well as a grocery store and a bank, and redistribute the proceeds to the grateful multitude. After the event is over, Jesus lobbies Roman authorities to raise taxes on the rich and fork over the loot so that next time the disciples won’t have to go steal it themselves.

Of course, that’s not the real story at all. Jesus never commanded anyone to swipe somebody else’s property, not even for a “good cause.”

Matthew and John convey a different message. As the throngs gathered, Jesus asked his disciple Philip a very capitalist question: “Where shall we buy food for these people to eat?” John 6:6 tells us “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” And then Jesus did it: Using his unique power, he created new wealth without pilfering a crumb from anyone. He multiplied the loaves and the fishes until the crowd was fed.

Jesus never expressed sympathy for the socialist agenda: political redistribution of wealth, the concentration of power, government ownership of the means of production, central planning of the economy, or a welfare state. He encouraged personal responsibility and charity and never hinted that one can accomplish those things by passing the buck to vote-buying politicians. His “Good Samaritan” was good because he helped a needy man by choice and with his own resources. It’s your heart that counts, not your big mouth.

“But…you’re not defining socialism correctly. It’s workers owning stuff in common and running the businesses where they work!” That’s deceptive, window-dressing baby talk. My response always is, “What’s holding you back? You can do that under capitalism, as long as you do it consensually and voluntarily.” But socialism is not about consensual arrangements and voluntary participation. It’s about centralized power and compulsion.

It may be harder for a socialist to get to Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Why? Because getting there does not depend on one’s political beliefs or good intentions. That is a matter of the heart and soul, not of politics.

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/the-control-freaks-in-our-midst/

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Made In The Image And Likeness Of God

        "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:27)

        God made man to be a reflection of His glory. He made us to be morally upright. He gave us reason and the ability to make our own choices. Mankind is the greatest of His creations. That is what made the fall of Adam so devastating.

        The terms "image" and "likeness" are to be understood synonymously. The idea of human life having indelible value finds its basis in having been fashioned in the image of God. It is this factor which distinguishes man from the animal kingdom. Adam Clarke once noted:

        "Gregory Nyssen has very properly observed that the superiority of man to all other parts of creation is seen in this, that all other creatures are represented as the effect of God's word, but man is represented as the work of God, according to plan and consideration: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. See his Works, vol. i., p. 52, c. 3."

        God created man to represent Him on earth and to take care of creation. The earth was meant to be the domain of man. This is comparable in certain respects to the ancient Near Eastern idea of statues of kings or deity representing their presence. The object of emphasis was not so much physical appearance as more so one's special rights or privileges. It is in that sense we are made in the image of God.

Defining The Term Canon As It Relates To Scripture

"In the 59th Canon of the Synod of Laodicea (A.D. 363) the term canon was definitely applied to the normative Scriptures. But the idea of a canon is much older than the use of the word in that sense. Previous to that time the words Old and New Covenant were used to express the idea of authoritative documents of a divine revelation. The former was not called antiquated, but old, for it was still valuable, and the latter was not called new in the sense of the Greek word nea, youthful, young in age, but in that of kaine, fresh, i.e., in the sense of quality. The term Scripture in the sense of a passage of Scripture was already in vogue when the New Testament was written, and the term the Scriptures, with or without the epithets holy, sacred, or divine, was applied to the whole Old Testament at the same time. Sometimes the singular, Scripture, was applied to the whole Old Testament by the writers of the New; but this usage was commoner in later times."

Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 4

Friday, July 24, 2020

Faithfully Keeping The Word Of God

"The Scriptures are called fire, to consume false teaching (Jer. 23:29); a hammer, to shatter people's hard hearts (v. 29); food, to sustain one's soul (Ps. 119:103; Jer. 15:16; 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:13-14; 1 Peter 2:2); a light, to guide our paths (Ps. 119:105); and a sword, for offense against Satan (Eph. 6:17; cf. Luke 4:4, 8, 12). In Psalm 119 the psalmist used many verbs to speak of his response to God's Word: walk according to keep, obey, follow, trust in, seek out, delight in, meditate on, consider, rejoice in, see, understand, hope in, teach, speak of, remember, not forget, not forsake, not depart from, not stray from, not turn from, believe in, consider, long for, love, stand in awe of, tremble at, sing of, and choose."

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 280

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Internal Evidence For The Consistency Of The Old Testament--New Testament Authors Recognized The Writings Of The Prophets To Be Divinely Authoritative

  • Matthew Refers To A Prophecy In The Book Of Jeremiah As Finding Its Fulfillment In Christ:
          -"Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel." (Matthew 27:9)
  • Mark Endorses Mosaic Authorship Of The Pentateuch:
          -"But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26)
  • The Apostle Peter Affirms Joel To Be A Prophet In Addressing A Crowd:
          -"No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy," (Acts 2:16)
  • The Apostle Paul Affirms Hosea To Be A Prophet In Quoting Him:
          -"even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’” “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” (Romans 9:24-26)
  • The Apostle Paul Affirms Isaiah To Be A Prophet In Quoting Him:
          -"Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly." And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, we would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.” (Romans 9:27-29)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Papal Infallibility And The Problem Of Antipopes

       There have been men throughout church history who have tried taking control of the Papacy by overthrowing the elected popes. These people are known as antipopes. Motivating factors for such actions have been varied, in the words of one encyclopedia:

        "...Historically this situation has occurred as the result of various causes, not all of which imply bad faith. Antipopes have risen by violent usurpation (Constantine II, 767); by election following a prior selection falsely judged as invalid (Clement VII, 1378); accession after an unwarranted deposition or deportation of the previous pope (Felix II, 355); or double election (Anacletus II, Innocent II, 1130). Yet not all antipopes emerged because of malfeasance or bad faith. Because of the lack of a readily accessible electoral code, there could be confusion as to the requirements for a valid choice. Instances occurred where a pontificate, uncanonical in its beginnings, was validated by subsequent acceptance on the part of the electors (Vigilius, after Silverius's resignation or death, 537)."

        It is also worth noting that there has been at least 37 antipopes throughout church history. In the words of Encyclopedia Britannica:

        "The elections of several antipopes are greatly obscured by incomplete or biased records, and at times even their contemporaries could not decide who was the true pope. It is impossible, therefore, to establish an absolutely definitive list of antipopes, but it is generally conceded that there were at least 37 from 217 to 1439. Felix V (1439–49) was the last."

        This does not sit well with the Roman Catholic dogma of papal infallibility because if there are two people claiming to be legitimate popes simultaneously, then it is impossible to determine which man has authoritative teaching. Both can officially exclude each other. There exists no infallible mechanism we can use to figure out which man claiming to be pope is the rightful successor.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Application Of Biblical Principles

"...we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:7, "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life." A principle that may be drawn from this statement, as well as Philippians 4:8, is that viewing pornographic literature or films is wrong. Obviously such media is not explicitly condemned in Scripture, but sexual purity in thought and action is a principle clearly seen in these and other passages. A personal application of this principle would be, I will not view pornographic literature or films."

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 288

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Was Jesus Wrong In Identifying The Mustard Seed As Smallest?

"In Matthew 13:31-32 did Jesus make an error when He said the mustard seed is the smallest? Some people answer yes to this question because as they point out, the orchid seed, not the mustard seed, is the smallest of all seeds. Jesus, however, referred to the mustard tree as a garden plant and in His day the mustard seed was in fact the smallest seed garden-variety seed in Palestine. Obviously no orchid seeds were in Palestine at that time. Mustard seed is so small that approximately 750 seeds are needed to weigh a mere gram (1/28 of an ounce). This means approximately 21,000 seeds would be needed to weigh one ounce. And yet, given this unusual small size, the mustard plant can grow to a height of 12 to 15 feet in one year!"

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 85-86

Monday, July 13, 2020

An Insight On Acts 2:38 And Baptismal Regeneration

"...An important observation, which can be seen only in Greek, is that the verb repent is in the plural, as is the word your which precedes the word sins. Interestingly, however, the words baptized and the first occurrence of you in the verse are in the singular. This seems to suggest that the words "and be baptized, every one of you (sing.), in the name of Jesus Christ," should be set apart as a parenthetical statement. The main thought then is, "Repent [pl.] so that your [pl.] sins may be forgiven. This is a command that corresponds with many similar commands in the New Testament. Then the instruction to be baptized is directed to individuals, suggesting that any individual who does repent should then submit to water baptism."

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 120

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Why Did God Love Jacob And Hate Esau?

"Why did God say in Malachi 1:2-3, "I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated"? Two explanations are possible. One is that in the ancient Near East a person would use the word word love in his will to designate the person chosen to inherit his estate, and he would use the word hate to mean a legal rejection of any rival claim. (In a similar fashion to despise or hate wisdom, as in Prov. 1:7, is to reject it.) Another explanation is that this is a form of comparison, in which the Lord was saying He loved Jacob more than He loved Esau. A parallel to this is seen in Genesis 29:30-31 in which Jacob is said to have loved Rachel and not to have loved (i.e., to have hated) Leah."

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 89

The Septuagint And Anthropomorphisms

"The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament made in Alexandria about 200 years before Christ, makes deliberate attempts to remove the anthropomorphisms of God. For example the Hebrew of Exodus 15:3, “The Lord is a man of war” (KJV) is rendered in the Septuagint by the words, “The Lord crushing wars.” “The form of the Lord” in the Hebrew of Numbers 12:8 is rendered in the Septuagint “the glory of the Lord.” In Exodus 32:14, “And the Lord repented of the evil,” the Septuagint reads,“And the Lord was moved with compassion."

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 30

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Living A God Honoring Life

"It is one thing to read 2 Timothy 1:9, noting that God has "called us to a holy life," and to understand that holiness is a life of purity and godliness, made possible by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. But it is another thing to deal with sin in our lives so that we are in fact leading holy lives. It is one thing to study what the Scriptures say about the return of Christ in passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-56. But it is another thing to build on and move beyond those facts to the point of loving His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8), that is, longing for and anticipating His coming, and continuing steadfast in serving the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58)."

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 14

Correctly Handling The Word Of Truth

Observing what we see in the biblical text, we then should correctly handle it (2 Tim. 2:15). The participle “correctly handling” (incorrectly translated in the King James Version “rightly dividing”) translates the Greek word orthotomounta. This combines two words that meant “straight” (ortho) and “cut” (tomeo). One writer explains the meaning of this as follows:

Because Paul was a tentmaker, he may have been using an expression that tied in with his trade. When Paul made tents, he used certain patterns. In those days tents were made from the skins of animals in a patchwork sort of design. Every piece would have to be cut and fit together properly. Paul was simply saying, “If one doesn’t cut the pieces right, the whole won’t fit together properly.” It’s the same thing with Scripture. If one doesn’t interpret correctly the different parts, the whole message won’t come through correctly In Bible study and interpretation the Christian should cut it straight. He should be precise…and accurate.

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, p. 12-13

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Roman Catholic Church On Limbo

        The Roman Catholic Church teaches that a person must be baptized in order to attain salvation. One question of debate amongst Catholic bishops and theologians during the Middle Ages was the fate of unbaptized babies. Limbo was a development put forward to answer this question, and is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as follows:

        "Limbo, in Roman Catholic theology, the border place between heaven and hell where dwell those souls who, though not condemned to punishment, are deprived of the joy of eternal existence with God in heaven. The word is of Teutonic origin, meaning “border” or “anything joined on.”

        While Rome never pronounced the idea an infallible dogma, it was approved and taught by the vast majority in positions of leadership. The Baltimore Catechism says the following:

        "Limbo: The place where unbaptized infants go.” (The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No. 2), 1991 edition, p. 248., Imprimatur issued by Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York)

        Limbo is no longer taught by the Roman Catholic Church due to the influence of religious ecumenicalism. This concept was faded out as popes such as Pope Benedict XVI cast doubt on its veracity. The Encyclopedia Britannica provides details concerning the history of limbo:

        "The Roman Catholic Church in the 13th and 15th centuries made several authoritative declarations on the subject of limbo, stating that the souls of those who die in original sin only (i.e., unbaptized infants) descend into hell but are given lighter punishments than those souls guilty of actual sin. The damnation of infants and also the comparative lightness of their punishment thus became articles of faith, but the details of the place such souls occupy in hell or the nature of their actual punishment remained undetermined. From the Council of Trent (1545–63) onward, there were considerable differences of opinion as to the extent of the infant souls’ deprivation, with some theologians maintaining that the infants in limbo are affected with some degree of sadness because of a felt privation and other theologians holding that the infants enjoy every kind of natural felicity, as regards their souls now and their bodies after the resurrection."

        It is worth considering for a moment the dreadful implications of this concept. All are separated from God because of original sin. By logical deduction, the aborted and stillborns would be excluded from the kingdom of heaven because they had no opportunity to receive baptism. Unbaptized babies could not even receive burial in Roman Catholic cemeteries and were given no religious rites. Former Catholic priest Peter de Rosa details a number of the technicalities which came about as a result of belief in limbo:

        "Small children were once warned of what to do if they came across a dying baby and no priest was present. They had to pour water over the little one's head while saying the baptismal words. If words and pouring were not simultaneous, the poor wee thing would go not to heaven, only to Limbo. Doctors and nurses attending women in childbirth were told to baptise a baby in the womb if it was likely to die before birth, using a syringe. A devout Catholic couple told me of their terror at the thought of their baby being run down by a car on the way to church for baptism. They'd never see him again in this life or the next. Limbo was always a problem in the developing world when most babies died unbaptised. Rome simply said they could not be saved. The situation worsened when geneticists found that perhaps three quarters of embryos are aborted without the woman knowing it. This meant, according to the Vatican, that most humans have to be snatched out of the drain by their guardian angels and transported to Limbo."

        Jesus Christ would no doubt express derision at the burdens placed on the backs of people who follow the Roman Catholic hierarchy (Matthew 23:4-5). He implicitly affirmed that the kingdom of God does belong to children (Matthew 18:3; 19:14-15). Consider also the mourning of King David when the Lord took away his newborn child as discipline for acts of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12:22-23) The text of 2 Samuel affirms that both the baby and David went to the same place at the moment of physical death. He did go to heaven (Hebrews 11:32-33).

        Since Rome no longer teaches the concept of limbo, that means priests and bishops have upheld a misguided notion for 1,500 years. How then can we trust them on other matters? Moreover, it is worth noting that the Magisterium has never pronounced an "infallible" ruling on this topic. Limbo was invented to solve a problem that Roman Catholicism itself created. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has the following to say regarding babies and the afterlife:

        "…allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism…” (CCC # 1261)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Examining Indulgences In Light Of Scripture

        "The Church invites all its children to think over and weigh up in their minds as well as they can how the use of indulgences benefits their lives and all Christian society.... Supported by these truths, holy Mother Church again recommends the practice of indulgences to the faithful. It has been very dear to Christian people for many centuries as well as in our own day. Experience proves this." (Indulgentarium Doctrina, 9, 11)

        "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead." (CCC # 1471)

        Reconciliation with God takes place through the atonement of Jesus Christ alone. The remission of any and all punishments for sin cannot occur as a result of any good works done on our part. Our confidence in God having provided a way to restore our relationship with Him comes not from indulgences but solely through His redemptive work. It makes no sense to say that the merits of Mary and the saints are applied to Christians when Scripture describes them as already having been fully reconciled to God through the work of Christ:

        "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)

        "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:8-11)

        We cannot receive remission of temporal punishments of sin before God "under certain prescribed conditions" because Christ Himself has turned away the wrath of God on the cross:

        "whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins." (Romans 3:25)

       The idea of a relationship where punishments have yet to be dealt out does not match how Scripture represents our relationship with Christ:

        "Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17)

        There can be no expiation for sins done on our part because Jesus Christ Himself saves us to the uttermost:

        "...he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)

        The idea of indulgences is rendered superfluous as the author of Hebrews describes the work of Christ as making perfect forever those who have been sanctified:

        "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14)

        One commentator says the following regarding the forcefulness of the above quoted text:

        "...The word [perfected] itself (Gr teleioo) involves completion, the bringing of something to its end. Second, the use of the Greek perfect tense suggests that the perfection has been accomplished and its effects are continuing. Third, the modifier, for ever, expresses the security of the believer." (King James Version Bible Commentary, p. 1698)

Mormon Contradiction: Is There Salvation After Death Or Not?

        The Book of Mormon says that there are no chances for salvation after death:

        "Therefore, if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and epain, and fanguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever. And now I say unto you, that mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment." (Mosiah 2:38-39)

        The Doctrine and Covenants, on the other hand, affirms the idea of postmortem salvation:

        "And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh." (section 88:99)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Mormon Contradiction: Is The Nature Of God Changeable Or Unchangeable?

        The Book of Mormon contains passages describing God as having an unchangeable nature:

        "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." (Moroni 8:18)

        "Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved." (Alma 41:8)

        "For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?" (Mormon 9:9)

        Official Mormon doctrine, in contrast, affirms that God is increasing in knowledge. Consider this excerpt from Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, volume 6:

        "The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is coequal with God himself. I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their relatives and friends are only separated from their bodies for a short season: their spirits which existed with God have left the tabernacle of clay only for a little moment, as it were; and they now exist in a place where they converse together the same as we do on the earth....There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal with our Father in heaven."

        What we have here, in plain English, is an example of theological inconsistency in Mormon revelation.

         If God is able to increase in knowledge, then it follows that He can make mistakes and thus His commandments are liable to error. The Mormon conception of god is not a god in any meaningful sense of the term.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Mormon Contradiction: Is The Trinity One God In Three Persons Or Three Separate Gods?

        The Book of Mormon contains passages describing the Trinity as one God:

         "Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil." (Alma 11:44)

         "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen." (2 Nephi 31:21)

         Mormon theology, in contrast, teaches that the three members of the Trinity are three separate gods:

         "Latter-day Saints believe in God the Father; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost (A of F 1). These three Gods form the Godhead, which holds the keys of power over the universe. Each member of the Godhead is an independent personage, separate and distinct from the other two, the three being in perfect unity and harmony with each other (AF, chap. 2)." (https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Godhead)

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Forensic Nature Of Justification Before God

"In the LXX, dikaioun is a forensic term. Yet it does not have a predominate negative connotation ("to condemn") as in the Greek, but is constantly used in the postive sense of "to pronounce righteous," "to justify," "to vindicate." The forensic element is even stronger in the LXX than in the Masoretic text."

Gottlob Schrenk, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, cited by James R. White, The Roman Catholic Controversy, p. 255

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Notes On The Book Of Proverbs

Proverbs, Book of. The superscriptions which are affixed to several portions of the book, in i. 1, X. 1, xxv. 1, attribute the authorship of those portions to Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel. With the exception of the last two chapters, which are distinctly assigned to other authors, it is probable that the statement of the superscriptions is in the main correct, and that the majority of the proverbs contained in the book were uttered or collected by Solomon. Speaking roughly, the book consists of three main divisions, with two appendices. 1. Chaps. i.-ix. form a connected didactic poem, in which Wisdom is praised and the youth exhorted to devote himself to her. This portion is preceded by an introduction and title describing the character and general aim of the book. 2. Chaps. X.-xxiv., with the title, "the Proverbs of Solomon," consist of three parts:-X. l-xxii. 16, a collection of single proverbs, and detached sentences out of the region of moral teaching and worldly prudence; xxii. 17-xxiv. 21, a more connected didactic poem, with an introduction, xxii. 1722, which contains precepts of righteousness and prudence; xxiv. 23-34, with the inscription, these also belong to the wise," a collection of unconnected maxims, which serve as an appendix to the preceding. Then follows the third division, XXV.-xxix., which, according to the superscription, professes to be a collection of Solomon's proverbs, consisting of single sentences, which the men of the court of Hezekiah copied out. The first appendix, ch. XXX., "the words of Agur, the son of Jakeh," is a collection of partly proverbial and partly enigmatical sayings; the second, ch. xxxi., is divided into two parts, the words of King Lemuel" (1-6). and an alphabetical acrostic in praise of a virtuous woman, which occupies the rest of the chapter. Who was Agur, and who was Jakeh, are questions which have been often asked, and never satisfactorily answered. All that can be said of him is that he is an unknown Hebrew sage, the son of an equally unknown Jakeh, and that he lived after the time of Hezekiah. Lemuel, like Agur, is unknown. It is even uncertain whether he is to be regarded as a real personage, or whether the name is merely symbolical. If the present text be retained, it is difficult to see what other conclusion can be arrived at If Lemuel were a real personage, he must have been a foreign neighbor-king or the chief of a nomad tribe; and in this case the proverbs attributed to him must have come to the Hebrews from a foreign source, which is highly improbable, and contrary to all we know of the people. The Proverbs are frequently quoted or alluded to in the New Testament, and the canonicity of the book thereby confirmed. The following is a list of the principal passages:

                                       Compare
          Prov. i. 16                    ''        Rom. iii. 10, 15.
                 iii. 7                      "        Rom. xii. 16.
                 iii. 11, 12              "        Heb. xii. 5, 6; see also Rev. iii. 19.
                 iii. 34                    "        James iv. 6.
                   x. 12                   "        1 Pet. iv. 8.
                  xi. 32                   "        1 Pet. iv. 18.
               xvii. 13                   "        Rom. xii. 17; 1 Thess. v. 15; 1 Pet. iii. 9.
               xvii. 27                   "        James i. 19.
                 xx. 9                     "        1 John i: 8.
                 xx. 20                   "        Matt. xv. 4; Mark xii. 10.
               xxii. 8 (LXX.)        "        2 Cor. ix. 7.
               xxv. 21, 22             "        Rom. xxi. 20.
               xxvi. 11                  "        2 Pet. ii. 22
              xxvii. 1                    "        James iv. 13, 14.

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 773-774

A Refutation Of The Roman Catholic Dogma Of Papal Infallibility

  • Defining Papal Infallibility:
          -The Church of Rome teaches that the Pope cannot pronounce doctrinal error when making official declarations from his chair in matters pertinent to faith and morals ("ex-cathedra"). In other words, Roman Catholicism maintains that the head Roman bishop cannot error when speaking in his fullest capacity, and not as a mere private theologian. Also, it is believed that the entire body of legitimate Roman Catholic bishops, who constitute the teaching office commonly known as the "Magisterium," cannot error when they unanimously agree on a doctrine formally defined by the their leader. In short, this is what knowledgeable Roman Catholics mean when they speak of their church hierarchy as being infallible.
  • Roman Catholic Scholars Frank K. Flinn And J. Gordon Melton Say That Many In The Church Of Rome Stood In Opposition To The Notion Of Papal Infallibility In 1870:
          -"In protest, 55 council members left Rome the day before the final vote. Amid widespread disagreement and protest over the council, those now known as old Catholics separated from communion with Rome." (Encyclopedia of Catholicism, p. 621)
  • Papal Infallibility Is A False Doctrine Of Roman Catholicism Because History Has Shown Us That Popes Can Officially Teach Heresy:
          -If the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility is historical, then how could the Sixth Ecumenical Council officially anathematize Pope Honorius I (A.D. 625-638) for enforcing the heresy of Monotheletism (Christ had no human will) on the entire Christian church (his heretical proclamation began with, "We confess one will of our Lord Jesus Christ...”)?
          -"In late 357 Liberius went to Sirmium (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). Supposedly dejected, he agreed to sign certain unorthodox formulas that served to emasculate the Nicene Creed (the Creed had implicitly disavowed Arianism). Liberius also agreed to sever relations with Athanasius and submitted to the authority of the emperor." (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Liberius)
          -"Also known as Zozimus, he succeeded Innocent I, and was followed by Boniface I. Although his reign was brief, it was turbulent and left a powerful impact on the papacy. Zosimus is best known for his role in the Pelagian controversy. He at first pronounced the Pelagian teacher Caelestius to be orthodox and later declared him and Pelagius both to be heretical." (https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Pope_Zosimus)
  • Roman Catholic Tradition Cannot Simply Be Deemed Infallible Because It Continually Evolves:
          -Though Catholics do not want to hear this, it is a proven fact of history that the Church of Rome has placed into effect changeable, and even contradictory, church traditions. Examples would include, but are not limited to, Pope Gelasius denying the validity of the Mary's bodily assumption and upholding the notion that no one can be saved outside the Roman Catholic Church. In modern times, however, Rome has affirmed the exact opposite of the previously listed church traditions. In fact, Rome has referred to Protestants as "Separated Brethren." Recently decreed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church would include the immaculate conception of Mary (1854) and the assumption of Mary (1950).
  • There Inevitably Exists Circular Reasoning In The Operational Processes Of The Roman Catholic Hierarchy:
          -How can a Roman Catholic know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Church of Rome is infallible, and that it is the only true church which was originally established by Jesus Christ Himself? How can one come to the conclusion that Rome's interpretation of Scripture is always correct? From the Catholic perspective, people must submit themselves to the authority claims of their church by resorting to the Catholic hierarchy's interpretations of Scripture and seeking its approval. In other words, the Church of Rome argues its validity by appealing to its own claims to having been sanctioned by God to govern Christianity. Thus, the pope and Magisterium wields the gift of infallibility through the power of the Holy Spirit "because they said so."