Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An Ancient Voice For The Day #15

Augustine (354-430):

"It follows that this Jew, if he wishes to be a Jew inwardly, in the spirit, and not in the letter, if he wishes to be thought a true Israelite, in whom is no guile, will recognize in this dead Jesus, who led the people into the land of mortality, a figure of the true living Jesus, whom he may follow into the land of life. In this way, he will no longer in a hostile spirit resist so plain a prophecy, but, influenced by the allusion to the Jesus of the Old Testament, he will be prepared to listen meekly to Him whose name he bore, and who leads to the true land of promise; for He says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the land.” The Gentile also, if his heart is not too stony, if he is one of those stones from which God raises up children unto Abraham, must allow it to be wonderful that in the ancient books of the people of whom Jesus was born, so plain a prophecy, including His very name, is found recorded; and must remark at the same time, that it is not any many of the name of Jesus who is prophesied, of, but a divine person, because God said that His name was in that man who was appointed to rule the people, and to lead them into the kingdom, and who by a change of name was called Jesus. In His being sent with this new name, He brings a great and divine message, and is therefore called an Angel, which, as every tyro in Greek knows, means messenger. No Gentile, therefore, it he were not perverse and obstinate, would despise these books merely because be is not subject to the law of the Hebrews, to whom the books belong; but would think highly of the books, no matter whose they were, on finding in them prophecies of such ancient date, and of what he sees now taking place. Instead of despising Christ Jesus because He is foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures, he would conclude that one thought worth), of being the subject of prophetic description, whoever the writers might be, for so many ages before His coming into the world, — sometimes in plain announcements, sometimes in figure by symbolic actions and utterances, — must claim to be regarded with profound admiration and reverence, and to be followed with implicit reliance. Thus the facts of Christian history would prove the truth of the prophecy, and the prophecy would prove the claims of Christ. Call this fancy, if it is not actually the case that men all over the world have been led, and are now led, to believe in Christ by reading these books."

Source: NPNF1: Vol. IV, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XVI, §20.

For an excellent compilation of quotes of the Church fathers teaching on the primacy, sufficiency and ultimate authority of Scripture, get a copy of Holy Scripture:The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Vol III- The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura.

A Worthy Read

Churchmouse: Purgatory and the Earliest Fathers

When Catholic Apologists Pray for You

I'll keep praying for you, as I do all my severe, hostile, critics.” [Source]

I’m curious how these prayers actually sound, and if any of this language is utilized:


Anti-Catholic polemicist and pseudo-"apologist" James Swan

James ‘Dave Got The Citation Wrong Again!’ Swan

James ‘A.......g Botches Every Citation He Makes’ Swan

Similarly, I wonder if these titles are used as well:

Steve “Whopper” Hays, David T. “I Could Care Less about Context”, KingDr. Eric “The Yellow” Svendsen, Frank “Federal Action If You Misrepresent Me” Turk, William “Historical Revisionist” Webster, Bishop King James White

Perhaps there is a particular saint being prayed to, one of whom enjoys such creative language.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Double Standards

"I have said over and over again that I have used McGrath to show that Luther's interpretation is novel and that gives a reason to reject the Protestant's view on justification."

Note the double standard. When the same historical standard is applied to certain Roman Catholic dogmas, like Mary’s Bodily Assumption, Purgatory, Indulgences, etc., this same historical standard is swept under the rug and hidden. One has to seriously question why a standard that Catholic apologists hold Protestants to is not likewise applied to their own beliefs. Wade through the corridors of church history and search for the threads of all Roman Catholic dogma. One falls flat of linking many of them back to the early church, or in some instances, even the Bible.

Sippo Quotes Alister McGrath’s book, Iustitia Dei

Catholic apologist Art Sippo recently cited Alister McGrath’s book, Iustitia Dei. This book is a history of the Christian doctrine of justification. Those of you who stop by this blog know I enjoy taking a look at those who cite this book.
Sippo was provoked by someone citing Harold O.J. Brown’s book, Heresies. Brown’s statement inferred Justification by faith alone was “…by no means new with Luther.” Brown didn’t offer proof, but rather referred his readers to a work by Hans Küng for more information. Sippo admits, “…it is true that the term ‘justified by faith alone’ WAS used in the Patristic and Scholastic literature prior to Luther. But not in the way that Luther used it and consequently, not in the manner that St. James condemned it.”
Sippo quotes McGrath stating:
"The significance of the Protestant distinction between -iustificatio- and -regeneratio- is that a FUNDAMENTAL DISCONTINUITY has been introduced into the western theological tradition WHERE NONE HAD EXISTED BEFORE [emphasis by McGrath]."

"However, it will be clear that the medieval period was astonishingly faithful to the teaching of Augustine on the question of the nature of justification, where the Reformers departed from it."

"The essential feature of the Reformation doctrines of justification is that a deliberate and systematic distinction is made between JUSTIFICATION and REGENERATION. Although it must be emphasised that this distinction is purely notional, in that it is impossible to separate the two within the context of the -ordo salutis- [the order of salvation], the essential point is that a notional distinction is made where none had been acknowledged before in the history of Christian doctrine."

"A fundamental discontinuity was introduced into the western theological tradition where none had ever existed or ever been contemplated before. The Reformation understanding of the nature of justification -- as opposed to its mode -- must therefore be regarded as a genuine theological novum."
Sippo concludes:
So I am afraid that [Harold O.J. Brown] got it wrong. Luther's doctrine was not known or taught prior to his time. It was entirely new: unbiblical, untraditional, and thereby heretical.”
In his usage of this book, Sippo attempts to show that the Protestant understanding of justification was unknown in church history previous to the Reformation. Further, this “fact” is supposed to “prove” that the Reformers deviated from the historical Catholic understanding of justification. Implied in this argument is the proposition that the Roman Catholic Church received their understanding of Justification from the Apostles, and subsequent Church history records the passing on of its understanding to the Church Fathers, and then ultimately to its dogmatic proclamation at the Council of Trent.
Pause for a moment and consider Sippo’s argument and usage of McGrath. Alister McGrath is a well-respected Protestant theologian. His book Iustitia Dei is not the work of someone with a “new perspective on Paul” or from a man who (to my knowledge) would call himself a “Reformed Catholic”. Why in the world would McGrath present argumentation giving historical support to Roman Catholicism? He isn’t. There are many things to keep in mind when Catholics like Sippo attempt to pull this rabbit out of a hat. Indeed, it is deception. It is a misuse of McGrath’s book. Here are some facts, context, and historical points not mentioned by Sippo.
Does McGrath deny Paul taught justification by faith alone? No. McGrath states, “It has always been a puzzling fact that Paul meant so relatively little for the thinking of the church during the first 350 years of its history. To be sure, he is honored and quoted, but - in the theological perspective of the west - it seems that Paul's great insight into justification by faith was forgotten.'” [Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 19].
A key phrase in the above quotes used by sippo is “western theological tradition”. What does McGrath mean by this? I would assume Roman Catholics think it means their “tradition”- that is, the Roman Catholic Church received their understanding of Justification from the Apostles, and subsequent Church history records the passing on of its understanding to the Church Fathers. Luther then came along “out of the blue” and proclaimed sola fide, quite against the "apostolic tradition."
McGrath though begins his book by studying the Pre-Augustinian “tradition”. He states of this period that "For the first three hundred and fifty years of the history of the church, her teaching on justification was inchoate and ill-defined" [p. 23]. And also, “Furthermore, the few occasions upon which a specific discussion of justification can be found generally involve no interpretation of the matter other than a mere paraphrase of a Pauline statement. Justification was simply not a theological issue in the pre-Augustinian tradition” [19]. So, right from the start, McGrath notes 350 years in which one cannot account for what the exact understanding of justifcation was. This compounds the Catholic understanding of justification, because history is supposed to verify their conclusions. Here are 350 years of trouble for Catholics wishing to trace their doctrines in order to validate their doctrines.
McGrath makes the case that Augustine didn't know Greek and the entire direction of the Western Church was redirected away from what the Bible means by justification. Commenting on McGrath’s book, R.C. Sproul notes, “McGrath sees Augustine’s treatment of justification as pivotal to the subsequent development of the doctrine of justification in the Roman Catholic Church..." Sproul then quotes Mcgrath: “Augustine understands the verb iustificare to mean ‘to make righteous,’ an understanding of the term which he appears to have held throughout his working life. In arriving at this understanding, he appears to have interpreted -ficare as the unstressed form of facere, by analogy with vivificare and mortificare. Although this is a permissible interpretation of the Latin word, it is unacceptable as an interpretation of the Hebrew concept which underlies it.” [R.C. Sproul, Faith Alone : The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification, (Grand Rapids: Baker books, 1999), 99]. One must wonder about unquestioned Roman Catholic allegiance to Augustine’s understanding of the term justification. They’re putting all their chips with a guy who didn’t know Hebrew (or Greek on level needed to do Biblical exegesis), and simply used private interpretation to arrive at his etymological understanding.
Was Augustine’s view a “theological novum” (a favorite phrase Roman Catholics culled from McGrath)? Who previous to Augustine understood the term the way he did? Consider what McGrath notes: "The pre-Augustinian theological tradition, however, may be regarded as having taken a highly questionable path in its articulation of the doctrine of justification in the face of pagan opposition" [p. 18-19]. McGrath mentions that "For the first three hundred and fifty years of the history of the church, her teaching on justification was inchoate and ill-defined"[ Ibid. 23]. So, where is Augustine's view in the early church?
McGrath shows that the Reformers demonstrated both continuity and discontinuity with the period which immediately preceded it, and he notes this is true of “all periods in the history of doctrine”[187]. .McGrath notes “The protestant understanding of the nature of justification represents a theological novum, whereas its understanding of its mode does not” (184). Note there are two aspects to McGrath’s point: nature and mode. One aspect was a discontinuity, the other continuity. If one is to use McGrath’s insight, at least use it correctly. Be willing to put forth the actual position he presents. Be willing to admit McGrath says this is true of all periods in the history of doctrine.
There was a great ambiguity as to what exactly "justification" was even at Trent, and this is documented by McGrath:"The Council of Trent was faced with a group of formidable problems as it assembled to debate the question of justification in June 1546. The medieval period had witnessed the emergence of a number of quite distinct schools of thought on justification, clearly incompatible at points, all of which could lay claim to represent the teaching of the Catholic church." [p. 259)]. McGrath goes on to point out "...[T]here was considerable disagreement in the immediate post-Tridentine period concerning the precise interpretation of the decretum de iustificatione" [ibid. 268]. In other words, even after Trent made its decree on Justification, Catholics were confused as to how to interpret it!
Sippo is reading into McGrath what he wants to. McGrath is not arguing for Rome’s view of justification. A great question to ask Mr. Sippo is what exactly was the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification previous to Trent? Jaraslov Pelikan’s book, Obedient Rebels: Catholic Substance and Protestant Principle in Luther’s Reformation, points out:
“Existing side by side in pre-Reformation theology were several ways of interpreting the righteousness of God and the act of justification. They ranged from strongly moralistic views that seemed to equate justification with moral renewal to ultra-forensic views, which saw justification as a 'nude imputation' that seemed possible apart from Christ, by an arbitrary decree of God. Between these extremes were many combinations; and though certain views predominated in late nominalism, it is not possible even there to speak of a single doctrine of justification.” (p.51-52)
Pelikan says elsewhere:
"All the more tragic, therefore, was the Roman reaction on the front which was most important to the reformers, the message and teaching of the church. This had to be reformed according to the word of God; unless it was, no moral improvement would be able to alter the basic problem. Rome’s reactions were the doctrinal decrees of the Council of Trent and the Roman Catechism based upon those decrees. In these decrees, the Council of Trent selected and elevated to official status the notion of justification by faith plus works, which was only one of the doctrines of justification in the medieval theologians and ancient fathers. When the reformers attacked this notion in the name of the doctrine of justification by faith alone—a doctrine also attested to by some medieval theologians and ancient fathers—Rome reacted by canonizing one trend in preference to all the others. What had previously been permitted (justification by faith and works), now became required. What had previously been permitted also (justification by faith alone), now became forbidden. In condemning the Protestant Reformation, the Council of Trent condemned part of its own catholic tradition."[Source: Jaroslav Pelikan, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (New York: Abingdon Press, 1959), pp. 51-52].
There is also the problem of Catholic apologetic double standards. The Catholic apologists assume Trent was following the tradition of the church, and there was no teaching of “faith alone” previous to Luther. In other words, Luther invented “justification by faith alone”. It didn’t exist until Luther. It can’t be verified in church history. It can’t be true. On the other hand, when the same historical standard is applied to certain Roman Catholic dogmas, like Mary’s Bodily Assumption, Purgatory, Indulgences, etc., this same historical standard is swept under the rug and hidden. One has to seriously question why a standard that Catholic apologists hold Protestants to is not likewise applied to their own beliefs. Wade through the corridors of church history and search for the threads of all Roman Catholic dogma. One falls flat of linking many of them back to the early church, or in some instances, even the Bible.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Art Sippo Comments “Edited by - Patti on 05/26/2007 06:12:31 AM”

Catholic apologist Art Sippo must have said something not so nice in his recent rant about me over on the Envoy forum. Well, whatever it was, Patti, an Envoy moderator, did the right thing and helped Art not embarrass Envoy and Catholic apologists.

In this recent rant, Sippo is rehashing material from our dialog on Luther biographies:

“First of all, I support the ban on Mr. Swan. He is arrogant and no friend of the truth. he acted quite poorly on this board and has some nerve complaining about my "vitriol." His idea of a "Catholic theologian with a positive assessment of Luther" was Fr. Josef Lortz, who had been a card carrying Nazi before and during WWII. Fr. Lortz was a big fan of Hitler's book Mein Kampf and saw the Third Reich as a chance to get the Church "back on track" with its historical agenda which had been derailed by all those Roman policies since the 13th Century.”

Well Art, anyone interested can read that discussion and see if I was arrogant, no friend of the truth, and acting poorly. In regard to Luther and his Catholic biographer Joseph Lortz, you can read my perspective on this here:

Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Catholic Historian Joseph Lortz

Art Sippo Comments “Edited by - Patti on 05/26/2007 06:12:31 AM”

Catholic apologist Art Sippo must have said something not so nice in his recent rant about me over on the Envoy forum. Well, whatever it was, Patti, an Envoy moderator, did the right thing and helped Art not embarrass Envoy and Catholic apologists.

In this recent rant, Sippo is rehashing material from our dialog on Luther biographies:

“First of all, I support the ban on Mr. Swan. He is arrogant and no friend of the truth. he acted quite poorly on this board and has some nerve complaining about my "vitriol." His idea of a "Catholic theologian with a positive assessment of Luther" was Fr. Josef Lortz, who had been a card carrying Nazi before and during WWII. Fr. Lortz was a big fan of Hitler's book Mein Kampf and saw the Third Reich as a chance to get the Church "back on track" with its historical agenda which had been derailed by all those Roman policies since the 13th Century.”

Well Art, anyone interested can read that discussion and see if I was arrogant, no friend of the truth, and acting poorly. In regard to Luther and his Catholic biographer Joseph Lortz, you can read my perspective on this here:

Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Catholic Historian Joseph Lortz

Also, if one wants a Catholic apologists' perspective on my Envoy discussion with Dr. Sippo, take a look at this:

How Do Catholic Apologists feel about Art Sippo?
Ok, somebody else deal with this. I'm going to lunch.
Some of you know I get the Fatima Crusader delivered to my home. It's the work of Father Gruner. Over on Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin's blog, he has an entry about the alleged fourth secret of Fatima. According to Akin's entry, there is no fourth secret, because the Vatican say's there is no fourth secret. I really don't have a dog in this fight, but I simply wonder if this is an infallible declaration, or if it's not (I'm assuming it is not). In other words, how do Catholics really know with certainty there is no fourth secret?

Friday, May 25, 2007

The impenetrable Envoy fortress has been lobbing rhetoric at me for my latest postings reviewing Gary Michuta’s book, Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger. I think the Envoy Forums could use an overhaul, so I would like to suggest they use this picture for their logo.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who Talks About The 5 Points All Day Long?

I just found this tidbit:

"...I'm not going to try to explain my understanding of Justification, or what I think is the understanding that many Calvinists hold. Many of the most outspoken Calvinists of our day draw a line in the sand between Calvinists and everyone else, and say things like, "We preach the true Gospel; any derivation from it means that it is a false gospel." If you don't believe me, just go read the blogs/websites/books by James White and everyone who follows him like a messiah, including Colin Smith, Mike Porter, Alan Kurschner, Jeff Downs, James Swan, and the dozens of guys who hang out in an IRC chatroom hosted by AOMin and talk about the 5 points all day long:"

Hmmm... I wish i had time to talk about Reformed theology all day long, but I have a job and a family. That being said, I rarely do blog entries on Calvinism, nor I do I hang out in a chat room for long periods of time, nor do those whose names appear above. Also, if you do stop into ProsApologian Chat, the topics can vary from the sublime to the.... well, let's just say the topics vary.

If you're curious about the guy who wrote this comment, see his blog entry on John 6 and The Potter's Freedom.

Luther discussions

When I find Luther related discussion threads, I’m going to link to them here, so that way I can find them easier and check in on them from time to time. This doesn’t mean I’m actively participating in the discussion.

Martin Luther had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (From the CARM Lutheran board)

"Martin Luther had OCD, he suffered from it... Does this mean hisTheology is not valid?"

Looking for Luther Quote (From the Catholic Answers Apologetics board)

"Looking for Luther Quote ...on his authority to determine which books are canonical. I had read it in one of the many apologetic books I have, but I can't seem to locate it now. A loose paraphrase is: I can remove books from scripture on my authority; my will alone is sufficient to determine this."

Luther Suppresses Catholic Bibles (!) (From the CARM Church History Board)

"Janssen writes of a hypocritical instance of Luther's censorship (1529): Luther . . . set his pen in motion concerning this Catholic translation of the Bible. 'The freedom of the Word,' which he claimed for himself, was not to be accorded to his opponent Emser . . . When . . . he learnt that Emser's translation . . . was to be printed . . . at Rostock, he not only appealed himself to his follower, Duke Henry of Mecklenburg, with the request that 'for the glory of the evangel of Christ and the salvation of all souls' he would put a stop to this printing, but he also worked on the councillors of the Elector of Saxony to support his action. He denied the right and the power of the Catholic authorities to inhibit his books; on the other hand he invoked the arm of the secular authorities against all writings that were displeasing to him. (Janssen, XIV, 503-504)"

Calvin vs. Luther (From Christian Forums Theologia Crucis)

"Calvinists believe in an "evident" God. He can be known in the depth of His greatest mysteries. Lutherans hold to more of a "hidden" God. To search out His mysteries to make Him explainable to us in all His actions and doings is simply not even ridiculous, but goes against His body of revelation which it obscures. If such foreordained knowledge decides the elect, it kind of makes one ask of Jesus' work: what's the point?Luther was a monk and approached God with a sense of mystery. What He did not reveal, we should not presume and press for answers.Calvin was a lawyer who took the a,b,c approach of logic. It is the attempt of the finite to understand and grasp the infinite. Presumptious and ridiculous. How can a Calvinist know they are one of the elect?How can a Lutheran have the assurance of salvation?The answers provide key insights into the theologies of both, the good, the bad, the ugly."
This was an interesting recent statement from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin's blog:

"Well, I'm back from the pilgrimage/cruise now and am semi-recovered. (It was very rewarding but also very exhausting!)"

I guess it's the dual nature of this trip that I find interesting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

David Letterman at McDonald's and Taco Bell

I rarely post non-theological content, but these clips are too funny not to share.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

An Ancient Voice For The Day #14

Theonas of Alexandria (bishop 282-300):

"Let no day pass by without reading some portion of the Sacred Scriptures, at such convenient hour as offers, and giving some space to meditation. And never cast off the habit of reading in the Holy Scriptures; for nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so well as those sacred studies do."

Source: ANF: Vol. VI, The Epistle of Theonas, Bishop of Alexandria, To Lucianus, §9.

For an excellent compilation of quotes of the Church fathers teaching on the primacy, sufficiency and ultimate authority of Scripture, get a copy of Holy Scripture:The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Vol III- The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Protestants, Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid...

The Envoy boards provided this newsbreaker from Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid:

"My new book on the subject of sola scriptura, which I'm finishing up this summer, responds directly and in detail to these claims made by King and Webster.The book, published by Servant Books, will appear in early 2008."

Oh boy, I shake in fear even thinking about this... Looking forward to this one. Thanks Patrick.

Hey Phil Porvaznik

I don't know if you read this blog, but I saw your post on this thread. You said:

"My references were accurate, I just double-checked.[Swan: "this comment found only on page 85"] Wrong, page 84-85 (volume 2) is correct. Don't know what Swan is looking at. I got the volumes shortly after they came out, maybe Swan has a later edition."

The Catholics Answers forum discussion thread provided this quote:

"Such statements [regarding the unhistorical nature of sola Scriptura] manifest an ignorance of the patristic and medieval perspective on the authority of Scripture. Scripture alone as the infallible rule for the ongoing life and faith of the Church was the universal belief and practice of the Church of the patristic and medieval ages. " (volume 2 by William Webster, page 84-85)"

In my copy of Holy Scripture Vol II, this quote begins on the bottom of page 85, last paragraph, 6th line from the bottom.

Have a nice day.

Postcards From Mordor

I always try to keep up with my few fans - those that drop me little helpful reviews of something i've written. Here is a recent posting from the Envoy boards:
"James Swan in a May 21st post on the AOMIN blog attempts to justify King’s and Websters’s 3 volume treatise on scripture and tradition. Since the AOMIN blog does not allow responses (as I have noted on prior occasions), I shall attempt to address some of James Swan’s comments here."
"To make a very long story short, there is a Catholic understanding of sola scriptura that is much closer to that of the Church Fathers than that of the Reformers and modern day Evangelicals. My hope is the James Swan (and others) will enter into a constructive dialogue to discuss these important issues."
Hey guess what! Did you know I was banned from the Envoy boards for simply posting a link to an article from AOMIN? Perhaps you should ask Mr. Madrid why he won't let you actually discuss this issue with me on a discussion board, but will let you post a link about me, knowing I can't respond to you on the discussion board.
So please, stop all this nonsense about that big bad meanie James White not allowing responses on his blog. His blog is not a discussion board. If you want "constructive dialog", I suggest writing Mr. Madrid and asking him if Roman Catholicism is more true if links to AOMIN are not allowed to be posted. In other words, let Madrid know the real world still exists outside of his Envoy forums.
Further, if you knew I was banned from Envoy (which I think you do), you need to stop and ask yourself why you would post a thread at Envoy asking me to discuss something, knowing full well I can't respond to you in the thread. In other words, I strongly question your intentions, and find them less than honest. I see your thread as a vehicle to allow the likes of Prejean, Sippo, and Jerry Jet to engage in their typical attacks. Shame on you. You do not want a discussion on this topic, and you know it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Excerpt From Luther's Sermon: Men Who Fulfil The Law


But there are two classes of men who fulfil the law, or who imagine they fulfil it. The first are those who, when they have heard it, begin with outward works; they desire to perform and fulfil it by works. How do they proceed? They say: God has commanded thou shalt have one God; I surely will worship no other God; I will serve him and no idol, and will have no heathen idolatrous image in my house or in my church; why should I do this? Such persons make a show with their glittering, fabricated service of God, like the clergy in our day, and they think they keep this law, when they bend their knees and are able to sing and prate much about God. By this show the poor laity also are deceived; they follow after and also desire to obey the law by their works. But the blind guides the blind and both fall into a pit, Lk 6,39. This is the first class, who take hold and imagine they will keep the law, and yet they do not.

The other class are those who know themselves by the law and study what it seeks and requires. For instance, when the law speaks: "Thou shalt have one God, and worship and honor him alone," this same heart meditates: What does this mean? Shalt thou bend the knees? Or what is it to have one God? It surely is something else than a bodily, outward reverence; and finally it perceives that is a very different thing than is generally supposed; that it is nothing but having trust and hope in God, that he will help and assist in all anxiety and distress, in every temptation and adversity, that he will save him from sin, from death, from hell and from the devil, without whose help and salvation he alone can do nothing. And this is the meaning of having one God. A heart, so thoroughly humble, desires to have God, namely, a heart that has become quite terrified and shaken by this commandment, and in its anxiety and trouble flees to God alone.

This now the hypocrites and work-saints, who lead a fine life before the world, are not able to do; for their confidence is based alone upon their own righteousness and outward piety. Therefore, when God attacks them with the law and causes the poor people to see that they have not kept the law, aye, not the least of it, and when overwhelmed by anxiety and distress, and an evil conscience, and they perceive that external works will not suffice and that keeping the commandments of God is a very different thing from what they thought; then they rush ahead and seek ever more and more, and other and still other works, and fancy that they will thereby quiet their conscience; but they greatly miss the right way. Hence it comes to pass that one wishes to do it by rosaries, another by fasting; this one by prayer and that one by torturing his body; one runs to St. James, another to Rome, this man to Jerusalem, that to Aix; here one becomes a monk, another a nun, and they seek their end in so many ways that they can scarcely be enumerated.

Why do they do all this? Because they wish to save themselves, to rescue and help themselves. The consequence of this is great blasphemy of God, for they also boast mightily of these works, and vaunt and say: I have been in an order so long, I have prayed so many rosaries, have fasted so much, have done this and that; God will give me heaven as a reward. This then means to have an idol. This also is the meaning of Isaiah, when he says: "They worship the work of their own hands," Is 2, 8. He is not speaking of stone and wood, but of the external works, which have a show of goodness and beauty before men. These hypocrites are ingenious enough to give the chaff to God and to keep the wheat for themselves. This then is true idolatry, as St. Paul writes to the Romans: "Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples?" Rom 2, 22. This is spiritual robbery.

Therefore you will find that there is nothing good in any man of himself. But you have this distinction, that the upright, in whom the law has exercised its work, when they feel their sickness and weakness, say: God will help me; I trust in him; I build upon him; he is my rock and hope. But the others, as hypocrites and work-saints, when trial, distress and anxiety are at hand, lament and say: Oh, whither shall I go? They must at last despair of God, of themselves and of their works, even if they have ever so many of them.

Such in the first place are these false and unrighteous pupils of the law, who presume to fulfil it by their works. For they have an appearance and glitter outwardly, but in their hearts they have nothing but filth and uncleanness. Therefore they also merit nothing before God, who regards not external works that are done without any heart in them.

Source: Sermon for the Sunday after Easter; John 20:19-31 A Sermon by Martin Luther; taken from his Church Postil in 1522; It was preached by Luther in 1522 at Borna.[The following sermon is taken from volume II:364-377 of The Sermons of Martin Luther, published by Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI). It was originally published in 1906 in English by Lutherans in All Lands Press (Minneapolis, MN), as The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther, vol. 11.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vatican denies hiding the full truth about the end of the world

I was reading the Slaves of Righteousness blog, and this interesting link was pointed out:

Fatima stuff..I'm waiting for a big budget Hollywood movie on this. sooner or later, the fiction produced by these three will find its way to the big screen.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why I Don't Go To The Christian Reformed Church

People sometimes ask me my church affiliation. No, I’m not a Lutheran. And surprise, I’m not a Reformed Baptist. I go to the Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church. My church is a member of the United Reformed Churches in North America. My church was previously a member of the Christian Reformed Church. Now, I don’t recall those days, because I was not raised Reformed. I’m a refugee from garden-variety evangelicalism.

Recently, I’ve been teaching a Sunday School class focusing on the connection between sola scriptura and sola fide. The Christian Reformed Church website (CRC) serves as an excellent example of why I probably won’t be part of a Christian Reformed Church, and shows how something is not quite right with this denomination.

The CRC website has a webpage entitled, “Reformation.” Here is an interesting quote

“Reformed Christians are a small part of a much larger body of believers who love and serve Jesus Christ. We’re part of a family that includes Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical, and a host of other churches that confess and practice the Christian faith.”

From their webpage, “Ecumenicity

“On the way to achieving unity, major differences in the perception of biblical truth must be overcome. God must be trusted to teach all of us as we engage in ecumenical dialogue and thereby to unite us through a more common understanding of his truth. In the search for unity the biblical message must not be compromised, but the presumption of possessing the truth in all of its fullness must also be guarded against. Churches must seek to heal past wounds by overcoming differences with those who are closest to them. The Christian Reformed Church in North America gives high priority to relations with other Reformed churches and after that to churches of other traditions such as non-Reformed Protestant churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and Orthodox churches.”

And lastly, the gospel of justification by faith alone, because of Christ alone, by grace alone, has become:

“How did Calvin get along with other church leaders of his day? Opposing Roman Catholic teachings of the time, he agreed with the other Reformers that Salvation is by grace alone through faith, and not by our own good works.”

Discussion: Luther’s view of Mary

When I find Luther related discussion threads, I’m going to link to them here, so that way I can find them easier and check in on them. This doesn’t mean I’m actively participating in the discussion.

This is from the CARM boards: More quotes from Luther about Mary! For St. Ignatious!

Luther's Works, Available On-Line....Almost

Google Books has put up limited previews of some of the volumes from the English edition of Luther's Works. By "limited," not all the pages of the volume are on-line, only selections, but large selections.

Volume 32: Career of the Reformer II

Volume 33: Career of the Reformer III

Volume 34: Career of the Reformer IV

Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I

Volume 36: Word and Sacrament II

Volume 37: Word and Sacrament III

Volume 39: Church and Ministry I

Volume 40: Church and Ministry II

Volume 41: Church and Ministry III

Volume 43: Devotional Writings

Volume 44: The Christian in Society 1

Volume 45: The Christian and Society II

Volume 49: Letters 2

Volume 50: Letters 3

Volume 51: Sermons 1

Volume 53: Liturgy and Hymns

Volume 54: The Tabletalk

Volume 55: Index

Updated:  a very helpful links page to Luther and Luther related books here.

White Vs. Sungenis: Justification By Faith Alone

Someone (correction: Sungenis posted it) posted the video of the Robert Sungenis vs. James White debate (in 25 parts). This was back when Roman Catholics liked Robert Sungensis, and would frequently point to him as their definitive apologist. Somewhere, I’m in the first few rows. If you watch nothing else, watch Chris Arnzen’s introduction in part one.

Part one Part two Part three Part four Part five

Part six Part seven Part eight Part nine Part 10

Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15

Part 16 Part 17 Part 18 Part 19 Part 20

Part 21 Part 22 Part 23 Part 24 Part 25

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reformed Confessions

I wanted to recommend a free software program I’ve used for quite a few years now, available on-line. It’s called Reformed Confessions. Information about it can be found here. I use it often when doing research. Many thanks to Daric Bossman, who provides this free program. I use if often when working on blog entries, or preparing material I’ll be teaching on.

“Reformed Confessions is an MS Windows Help file that contains many of the historic and Reformed Christian creeds, confessions, and catechisms. It runs on Win3.1, Win95, Win98, and most likely Win2000, and is about 600k in size.”

It contains the following documents:
· The Apostles’ Creed
· The Nicene Creed
· The Athanasian Creed
· The Chalcedonian Creed
· The Belgic Confession
· The Canons of Dort
· The Heidelberg Catechism
· The Westminster Confession
· The Westminster Larger Catechism
· The Westminster Shorter Catechism
· The French Confession
· The Second Helvetic Confession
· The Waldensian Confession
· The Children’s Catechism (from Summertown Texts)
· Savoy Declaration
· London Confession of Baptist Faith
· Thirty-nine Articles of Religion
· Lausanne Covenant
· Manila Manifesto
· Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
It has a topic index, and under Win95 it has the equivalent of a concordance of the material. A brief description of each document is given, as well as references.

Reading Carefully

I read this entry from a Catholic apologist this morning. His name came up on a Catholic Answers thread. One of his readers made mention that one of his books says Calvin accused the Papacy of Pelagianism. Another person questioned if he was taking Calvin out of context.

The Roman apologist took the time to refute the charge. After reading his explanation, it would appear it was the person reading the book that needs to read a little more carefully.

The points made questioning the citation and reading primary sources on Calvin are well taken. Indeed, it is the responsibility of those quoting this book to quote both the author and Calvin correctly. This person quoting the apologist really hasn’t read Calvin.

The author takes the time to assure that he did not quote Calvin out of context. He says:

"Now, note that I did not come right out and assert that Calvin accused Catholics of Pelagianism. I simply cited what he wrote about this passage in his biblical commentary (because the book was devoted to how well-known historic Protestant exegetes dealt with verses that Catholics use as prooftexts for Catholic theology). Calvin compared Catholics to Pelagians in a particular context, and then made an argument that seems to equate Catholic soteriology with at least semi-Pelagianism (which I would fully expect him to do). My point was perfectly valid in and of its own right. Nothing was taken out of context or distorted. I criticized Calvin, but then cited a great Protestant, John Wesley, over against him."

He gleefully corrects any who would question him. Perhaps what he should have done with equal zeal, is take the time also to exhort his readers to read his books more carefully, and challenge them to read primary sources. Perhaps though, he will add this exhortation to his readers once he reads this. He tends to edit his blog based on what I post here.

Deliver Us From Evil: The Catholic Church and Pedophile Priests

When I discuss Roman Catholic issues, I make it a point on this blog to try to focus on only theological and historical issues. In other words, I don’t spend time trying to prove the Pope is the antichrist, or Rome is the whore of Babylon. I also don’t spend time on how immoral particular popes have been. I recall many years ago having some good Christian friends hand me Jack Chick’s “Alberto” comic books: “James you have got to read these! The papacy is sending Jesuit spies into evangelical circles!” Even then, while young in age, and young in the faith, I was extremely skeptical of Mr. Chick's "work". I dislike those types of arguments maybe as much as Roman Catholics do.

That being said, this is an extremely difficult blog entry for me to write, and even my wife said to “leave it alone.”

Recently I watched a new documentary that just came out on DVD, Deliver Us From Evil: Innocence and Faith Betrayed. This documentary takes an in-depth look at child sexual abuse perpetrated by one particular priest, Oliver O’Grady.

Now look, I realize that not ALL priests are pedophiles. I also realize that Protestant ministers likewise have been caught doing all sorts horrendous crimes. In other words, I recognize that in terms of argument, a priest caught molesting a child does not prove Rome is false church.It does not prove all priests are criminals, nor does it prove any particular percentage of priests are sexual criminals.

Even while watching the DVD, my particular nature not to believe anything kicked in. I’m usually the guy who says: don’t execute that criminal, I don’t trust the American justice system. Particularly with a documentary, I realize there is an underlying agenda and worldview. I don’t trust documentaries. I do like them, but I don’t trust them.

That all being said, the documentary left me in tears at many points. If what the victims of this priest say is true, their lives were horrendously violated by Father O’Grady. Now, I do recall those cases years ago in which workers at children’s day care centers were put through the fire, only to uncover, the police influenced the minds of the children to accuse their teachers of abuse. Innocent lives were ruined by false accusations. The difference with Father O’Grady, is that he admits to his perverse crimes, and there were many. He was a predator of children for years.

Now, I’m sure my Catholic readers will stand with me and say: all predators, Protestant or Catholic should be stopped, whatever the cost. The thing about this video that stunned me, was the bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic Church. This guy was known to Catholic authorities as a pedophile, yet they allowed him to get away with it for years. Whenever he was caught, the church would move him somewhere else, only for him to have a new set of children to prey on. Those in authority over this priest had their own careers which could have been ruined by this man’s atrocities, so, according to the documentary, there were many cover ups.

The documentary also looks at how Rome is handling these type of cases. The documentary concludes Rome isn’t really doing anything. The most fascinating segment was watching some of O’Grady’s victims (led by a man who was a priest, or formally a priest) go to the Vatican, to plea with the papacy to take action, and to stop those like Father O’Grady, or to at least hear the pain caused by O'Grady. These victims were turned away. They would not be heard, by anyone.

The spoiler of this film must be said: O'Grady was convicted, and served some jail time. The documentary puts forth the notion that the Roman Catholic Church had the trial moved through the court quickly, because had it lasted longer, evidence would have been brought forth to show the church knew of his "problem" for a very long time, perhaps as far back as when O'Grady entered the priesthood. The US Government had O'Grady deported upon his release. Rome knows he's out of the United States. He is a free man, walking the streets in another country, and initially, not known to his new neighbors as an impulsive pedophile, with a multitude of victims, spanning years.

O'Grady will collect a pension from the Roman Catholic Church at age 65. The victims though, according to the documentary, have not gotten anything from Rome.

I recommend everyone get this documentary, even though it is an extremely uncomfortable to watch (as it should be). If you are a Roman Catholic, I challenge you to look into the facts of this case. If the papacy is not taking correct action against immoral priests, its up to you, her people, to get angry and demand they protect you and your children from men like Father O’Grady.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

An ancient voice for the day #13

Caesarius, bishop of Arles (470-543):

"Similarly, one who refuses to read the sacred writings which have been transmitted from the eternal country should fear that he perhaps will not receive eternal rewards and even not escape endless punishment. So dangerous is it not to read the divine precepts that the Prophet mournfully exclaims: ‘Therefore is my people led away captive, because they had not knowledge.’ ‘If anyone ignores this, he shall be ignored.’ Doubtless, if a man fails to seek God in this world through the sacred lessons, God will refuse to recognize him in eternal bliss. . . . A man should first be willing to listen to God, if he wants to be heard by Him. Indeed, with what boldness does he want God to hear him when he despises God so much that he refuses to read His precepts?"

Source: FC Vol. 31, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons (1-80), Sermon 1.3 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1956), pp. 47-48.

"I beseech you, beloved brethren, be eager to engage in divine reading whatever hours you can. Moreover, since what a man procures in this life by reading or good works will be food of his soul forever, let no one try to excuse himself by saying he has not learned letters at all. If those who are illiterate love God in truth, they look for learned people who can read the sacred Scriptures to them."

Source: FC, Vol. 31, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons (1-80), Sermon 8.1 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1956), p. 49.

"Therefore consider at once, brethren, and carefully notice that the man who frequently reads or listens to sacred Scripture speaks with God. See, then, whether the Devil can overtake him when he perceives him in constant conversation with God. However, if a man neglects to do this, with what boldness or with what feelings does he believe God will grant him an eternal reward, when he refuses to speak with Him in this world through the divine text?"

Source: FC, Vol. 31, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons (1-80), Sermon 8.3 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1956), p. 52.

"For this reason I beseech you with fatherly solicitude, equally admonishing and exhorting you, as was already said, to endeavor continually to read the sacred lessons yourselves or willingly to listen to others read them. By thus always thinking over in the treasury of your heart what is just and holy, you may prepare for your souls an eternal spiritual food that will bring you endless bliss."

Source: FC, Vol. 31, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons (1-80), Sermon 8.4 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1956), p. 54.

"Let us examine the Scriptures, and in them we will be able to understand this more clearly."

Source: FC, Vol. 31, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons (1-80), Sermon 38.3 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1956), p. 191.

"When the Gospel was read, we heard that word which is at the same time both terrible and desirable, the sentence of our Lord which is equally dreadful and desirable. It is terrible because of what He says: ‘Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire’; it is desirable because of the words: ‘Come, blessed, receive the kingdom.’ . . . For if a man carefully heeds this lesson, even if he cannot read the rest of the Scriptures, this lesson alone can suffice for him to perform every good act and to avoid all evil."

Source: FC, Vol. 47, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons 187-238, Sermon 158.1 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1963), p. 359.

"We want to confirm the evidence of Sacred Scripture where the Holy Spirit can clearly be recognized as equal to the Father and to the Son in all powers."

Source: FC, Vol. 66, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons 187-238, Sermon 212.1 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1973), p. 102.

"We have gathered these facts as well as we could, dearly beloved, from the different books of Scripture for the progress of your soul, and we suggest them to the consideration of your charity. If, with the Lord's help, you will read over the Sacred Scriptures rather frequently and heed them carefully, I believe that you can find an even better explanation."

Source: FC, Vol. 47, Sermons 81-186, Sermon 84 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1964), p. 19.

"Willingly listen to the divine lessons in church, as you usually do, and read them over again in your own homes. If anyone is so busy that he cannot take time for holy Scripture before lunch, he should not be ashamed to read over something of it at his own little meal. In this way just as the body is fed with food, so the soul is refreshed by the word of God, the handmaid is satisfied but the mistress is tormented by hunger, and your holy selves know how wrong this is. For this reason, as I have already said, you ought to read and listen to the sacred lessons with such eagerness that you may be able to speak about them and teach them to others both in your own homes and elsewhere, wherever you are. As you, like clean animals, masticate the word of God by continuous reflection, you may be able both to procure useful flavor for yourselves, that is, their spiritual meaning, and with God’s help give it to others."

Source: FC, Vol. 66, Saint Caesarius of Arles, Sermons 187-238, Sermon 198.5 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1973), pp. 51-52.

"Sacred Scripture speaks about the godhead and divinity of the Holy Spirit, but does not say whether He should be called begotten or unbegotten. See what confusion a lack of faith creates. You do not want to know what God did not want to be unknown, and you want to know what He did not decree should be asked. . . .

You ask whether He [i.e. the Holy Spirit] was begotten or not. Sacred Scripture has said nothing about this, and it is wrong to violate the divine silence. Since God did not think that this should be indicated in His writings, He did not want you to question or to know through idle curiosity. "

Source: FC, Vol. 66, Sermons 187-238, Sermon 213.1-2 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1973), pp. 106, 107.

For an excellent compilation of quotes of the Church fathers teaching on the primacy, sufficiency and ultimate authority of Scripture, get a copy of Holy Scripture:The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Vol III- The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I haven't had a chance to write much this week, but I have been having a little cyber-fun on this Catholic Answers thread:

Luther, Protestant theology and the Epistle of James

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Team Apologian

Here are my last few entries for Team Apologian:

Gary Michuta, Josephus, and the Twenty-Two Books of the Hebrew Bible- A mini-review of the canon citation of Josephus as explained by Catholic apologist Gary Michuta. (5/9/07)

Checking Facts on the Reformers- A look at the difficulty in engaging a Catholic apologist in dialog. One Romanist is now publishing books with facts probably nott even researched. (4/26/07)

Checking In With The Other Side Of The Tiber- I regularly visit Roman Catholic blogs and websites to see what the apologists are up to. These are a few highlights. (4/19/06)

C. Gordon Olson on John Calvin and the Gift of Faith-C. Gordon Olson presents a fair amount of historical analysis in Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism. Coming under scrutiny is none other than John Calvin. One curious historical tidbit by Olson is the implication Calvin did not believe faith is the gift of God given to a specific chosen people. (4/17/07)

Having A Laugh With Catholic Apologist Mark Shea- A blog entry from Catholic apologist Mark Shea demonstrates the difference in purpose between Catholics and Protestants. Mark took some shots at Dr. White's work on the recent Jesus Tomb controversy. (4/16/07)

C. Gordon Olson: Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism- A look at C. Gordon Olson's book, which is a repackaging of the the anti-reformed arguments of Norman Geisler and Laurence Vance, combining them with an allegedly "inductive" and exegetical Biblical work. (4/15/07)

Envoy's Fixation- The Envoy discussion board will not allow links to Alpha and Omega Ministries, yet they are fixated on the aomin blog. The Envoy crowd are fixated on Alpha and Omega Ministries because the materials and arguments put forth are effective, and they know it. (4/13/07) Update: Another Wonderful Example of the "Charity" of Mr. Bradley.

Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on the 1 Esdras Problem-A quick look at the problems of Esdras and Catholic apologist Art Sippo's evaluation. (4/11/07)

Also noteworthy:

William Webster: A Further Response to Gary Michuta and John Betts on 1 Esdras (4/23/07). I took the time to format this response from William Webster for the aomin blog. As usual, Mr. Webster has provided excellent work in refuting the claims made by Gary Michuta and John Betts.

Alan Kurschner:
Dean Burgon and His Phantom Manuscripts (4/19/07)

Jeff Downs:
The Cult of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda (4/10/07)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I’ve been in Wheaton Illinois for the last few days attending the graduation ceremony of my niece. Condoleezza Rice was supposed to be the speaker at the ceremony, but Mark Noll spoke instead. Noll’s most famous book was The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Also, Noll was co-author of Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism (Baker Books, 2005). I’ve not read this book.

So I’m a bit behind with the blog. Thank you all for your participation while I was away.

During the 14-hour drive (each way!), I did have a chance to get through some of Catholic apologist Gary Michuta’s new book, Why Catholic Bible are Bigger. I plan on doing a few entries either here or at aomin on it.

Also, a new blog surfaced from the depths of the nether world while I was away. It’s called the Art of Attack. More on this during the week.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New Catholic Apologist

Here's the new Catholic apologist....the new kid on the block, so to speak.

click here

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Quotable Sippo #1

I’ve been thinking that I should have a blog entry every now and then entitled, “The Quotable Sippo”, where I let Catholic Apologist Dr. Art Sippo speak for himself (cf. James 3:3-12).

“Swan is another Death Eater ne'er do well. Nothing there of substance.”

Source: Envoy forums, 4/29/07

“Cthulhu is the water-elemental and archdemon in the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Please note that there is NO relationsip [sic] intended or implied between the Campus Crusade for Christ and the Kampus Krusade for Kthulhu.”

Source: Envoy forums, 4/12/07
“…you gotta remember that the people who leaped on the ‘Davinci Code’ band wagon got out several rebuttal books and made a mint. I am sure that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named thought he would get in on the ground floor this time since he missed the boat last time. Well, now he won't need all those old Sears catalogs for the outhouse anymore. He is set for life.”

Source: Envoy forums, 4/28/07
Updated quotes:
"The Protestant apologist James Swan has now started a new line on his blog where he quotes me out of context. This is par for the course with ol' Jim whose idea of a "Catholic theologian" was the late Fr. Josef Lortz, a card carrying Nazi who reinterpreted European history through Hitler's eyes and agreed with Uncle Adolph that Martin Luther was a great German (i.e., Anti-Semitic) hero right up there with Himmler, Eichmann, and Heydrich."
"Anti-Catholics like Swan, Webster, Ensweger, Svendsen, Chick, and White constantly preach to the choir. Their fans want to believe their lies and so -- like their forbear Uncle Adolph -- they tell big ones and they tell them often. When challenged about this, they whine and make excuses for themselves, but they cut no one else any slack and descend into personal insults whenever they can."
"I use terms for them like the Kampus Krusade for Kthulhu, and Death Eaters to make a point. They are insulting towards Catholics and other people who do not agree with their narrow religious views. And they do so with a complete lack of charity. When you read what they write you can see that they have no doubts about their own infallibility and will not admit any ambiguity in their position or that the rest of us might have a point."
"All protestant religions are man-made cults created in defiance of the Church that Jesus founded. They have no authority to speak and cannot bind the conscience of anyone. If they claim otherwise they are blasphemers and idolaters."
"What lies at the heart of all Protestantism is disobedience and rebellion against God. People who speak like this joker are neither intelligent nor honest. They are doing this because they love darkness and hate the light. Furthermore they think that by personally denying what is obviously true, they will somehow deceive God and can therefore continue to live in their sins with no fear. Their comeuppance will be fearsome for they have no excuse."