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

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

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

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)

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)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

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:
          -Although Roman Catholics would consider this argument to be a straw man, it is a proven fact of history that the Church of Rome has placed into effect 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 viewpoints. 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).
  • Church Infallibility And Circular Reasoning:
          -How does one reach the verdict that Rome's interpretation of Scripture is always correct? From the Roman 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 as genuine Christianity. Thus, the pope wields the gift of infallibility through the power of the Holy Spirit because he said so.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Debunking Catholic Apologist Steve Ray On John 3:16 And Justification By Faith Alone

  • Discussion:
           -This article serves as interaction with a few claims made by Steve Ray on John 3:16 as it relates to Sola Fide. Following are some excerpts from the author alongside with a critique:

           "The present tense, “that whosoever believeth in him,” or in other words, “that whosoever is believing in Him” sheds a different light on the entire verse. One would expect, according to Protestant tradition, the word “believe” to be aorist, showing that it is a “one-point-in-time” event. I used to say, “I believed in Christ on such and such a date, so I know I am saved.” It could be asked why Jesus switched to the present tense in a verse full of aorists. The answer is that Jesus makes it utterly clear what he is really trying to say; that this belief is an acting, continual belief, and not just a past act of faith."

           The Apostle John's usage of the continuous tense does not refute the doctrine of justification by faith alone or even John 3:16 as a supporting text for that doctrine. The language employed simply indicates a person who ceases to have faith will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The doctrine of justification by faith alone is not a denial of faith being ongoing. Biblical faith involves trust in God.

           "...consider whether the word translated “believe” means a mere mental assent. The word in biblical times carried with it the concept of obedience and reliance. Kittel [Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the NewTestament Eerdmans, 1968] states, “pisteuo means ‘to trust’ (also ‘to obey’).” Vines [W. E. Vines, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984)] says, “[R]eliance upon, not mere credence.” This is confirmed further by John the Baptist’s statement in John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not (apeitheo) the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The word “apeitheo” is understood by all good translators and commentators to mean obedience. The opposite (antonym) of believe is disobey."

           Consider the purpose and creation of the bronze serpent in the Old Testament:

           "And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21:6-9, emphasis added)

            The unfaithful Israelites were dying from getting bitten by poisonous snakes. As a result, the Jewish people needed an antidote to ensure their survival after envenomation by these creatures. They were God's curse to punish His chosen people for sin and rebellion. In response to the people's plea for clemency, God instructed the Israelites to simply look at the bronze serpent, which was created by Moses. Those who placed their trust in the Lord by looking at it miraculously got rescued from the sentence of death. We can infer from this historical event the spiritually bankrupt nature of man. Jesus Christ Himself is the typological fulfillment of the bronze serpent:

           "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:14-18, emphasis added)

           Everybody has been spiritually poisoned by sin. This Old Testament incident of people getting spared from physical death is a typological illustration of Jesus Christ's power to save us from spiritual death. Those who turn to Christ by trusting in His redemptive work are saved from eternal condemnation. Sinners are cured of their spiritual illness by the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. The Jews were not saved by good works, but by simply placing their faith in God. The atonement of Christ is applied to all who come to Him by faith through the gospel.