Friday, June 15, 2018

The Calvinist Misuse Of John 6:32-58

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Calvinist Misuse Of Ephesians 1:1-13

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

What About Warefare Prayer?

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

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

Gifts And Sacrifices Cannot Purify Our Consciences Before God

Hebrews 9:9 - The present time (ver. 9) is opposed to the time of setting things right (ver. 10). The tabernacle is in view in Hebrews, not the temple; but the fact that offerings were then still made is recognized in what follows. He could not call it 'the present age' (a Jewish term for the age preceding the Messiah), because Messiah was come and he had been crucified; but the carnal ordinances were still offered, so that for the Hebrews it was not 'the age to come.' The 'image' could be only for a present time on earth. The patterns were in the heavens.

J.N. Darby's Translation footnote on Hebrews 9:9

No Such Thing As Innate Homosexuality

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

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

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Spirit Of Holiness

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

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

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

Grace And Truth Came Through Jesus Christ

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Atheism Refuted: The Impossibility Of Abiogenesis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

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

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

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

          In fact, abiogenesis has “no empirical support.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

           Diversity of Life

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

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

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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We Learn About Humanity From History, Not Science

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

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

Os Guinness, Impossible People, p. 150