Thursday, August 30, 2012

2 Science "Guys" respond to "the Science Guy" Bill Nye






Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has made a blog response to Bill Nye.  It includes the video above and also a link to the original video by secular evolutionist Bill Nye, "the Science Guy".  

The two science "guys" are Dr. David Mention, a Phd in Biology from Brown University and Dr. Georgia Purdom, a Phd in Molecular Genetics at Ohio State University.

Significant points:
1.  Belief in a creator (God) and against Naturalistic Darwinian Evolution is not unique to the USA.
2.  Dr. Georgia Purdom:  A big problem with Evolutionary Theory is "the complete lack of a genetic mechanism that allows organisms to gain genetic information to go from simple to complex over time."
3.  The difference between "Observational Science" (Observation, experimentation) vs. Historical Science (the origin of the universe and life and how it came into being).
4.  An Evolutionist admitted that most scientists who don't believe in Evolution "can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas".  (see the video for exact names and references.) This means that they can really do excellent work in Observational science; which is the opposite of what Bill Nye the Science Guy suggests.
5.  This means that belief in creationism and that God created all things as Genesis teaches does not hinder one from doing excellent work in observational science and experimentation.  
6.  The complexity of the hummingbird and its need for having all its parts to work all at once in order to survive, points away from a slow process of evolution and toward a special creator who said, "Be! and it was so".  Similar to the principle of "irreducible complexity" that Michael Behe explained so well in his ground breaking book, Darwin's Black Box.  Irreducible complexity is illustrated in a really neat way in the DVD presentation, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
7.  People who believe in God and Creation and the truth of Genesis don't mind teaching our children about the theory of evolution; we just want the freedom to critique it - and the public government schools should allow the other views to challenge the theory of evolution and have open and rational debate about it.  Darwinian Naturalistic Evolution should not be taught as dogma in our public schools.  Intelligent Design and Creationism (whether Progressive, 6 Day, Day-Age, or even Theistic Evolution (as oxymoron as it is) and the problems with the theory of evolution should also be examined.  Let the students and parents decide by honest and open debate, but allow the problems with the philosophical worldview of Evolution and the problems with scientific evidence for it be questioned and examined.  The problem with the public government schools is that they don't allow any one to question the theory and point out it's problems. [ * see at bottom for more]

Al Mohler reported on this also - Bill Nye, "The Science Guy"  says Creationism is not appropriate or good for children.   He also mentions news about trends in sex selection abortions.


Bill Nye wants parents who believe in the one creator God to stop teaching their children that God is the creator, and Genesis is true.  

Dr. Mohler points out that other famous atheists, like the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have said the same thing. 

One of the reasons why so many Christians send their children to private Christian schools or they home-school their children, is because the government schools push the same agenda that Bill Nye wants.  Public government schools teach a secular humanist and Evolutionary Atheist worldview.   The secular atheists want to steal our children’s minds.  As a result of this dominant worldview in the past 40 years, it permeates our culture and has affected beliefs about ethics, morals, and what is truth, and what is "right and wrong".  If Darwinian Atheistic Evolution is true, then there is no judge or judgment day.  If there is no judgment day, then there is no right and no wrong; society just decides what right and wrong is.   And we are seeing the devastating effects of that philosophy today.  

Mohler talks about how the atheists and scientists like Bill Nye are upset with “American parents”.  Apparently, Bill Nye and others like him, think European parents are more enlightened.  Look at what happens in Europe when they as a culture have left the idea of a Almighty Good and Holy Creator God.  

Maybe the recent sentencing of terrorist Anders Behring Breivik to just 21 years for killing 77 people in cold blooded calculated murder and bombing is indication of the lack of moral grounding in what is right and what is wrong; the lack of carrying out the death penalty in justice in Norway against Anders Breivik comes from this worldview also; rejecting God’s law against murder. (I believe he should be executed:  Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:3-4; Ecclesiastes 8:11) See here for more details on the sentencing of Anders Breivik.  What is really weird is how the Norwegian population feels good about themselves for being tolerant and merciful in giving him such a light sentence, yet they mostly agree that they don't want him released after 21 years and do agree that he is evil and sick. 

Back to the response to Bill Nye "the Science Guy": 

Mohler says, “Americans are recalcitrant in accepting the theory of Evolution” and it frustrates Evolutionary scientists and educators.   

Darwinian Evolution – that all life forms, including humans, “developed from a process of random genetic mutation and natural selection” - as Dr. Mohler pointed out,  “is also a religious creed”, a worldview, a philosophy of assumptions that has devastating results in today’s society.    

Some of the results are the radical experimentation with sex selection abortions, and experimentation with human cloning; and other genetic technologies that make marriage and a sexual relationship between one man and one women not necessary, at least for the homosexuals.   Homosexuals are able to not only adopt children that neither partner contributed to;  but now they are, because of advances in technology and genetic engineering, they also are able to have a child from at least one of the male partners by finding a surrogate mother, and using advanced technology of implanting his sperm into that woman.  (surrogate mother) Lesbians are able to have children because one of them gets a sperm bank donation or uses “In Vitro fertilization”.   Homosexual male couples who want to have children have to get a woman donor who agrees to be the one to have one of their sperm implanted into her and she carries it to term.  As Douglas Wilson pointed out in his lecture on Design Sexuality – the worldview of these actions come from a belief that creation is moldable and malleable and we can change nature; a pagan worldview.

So, which philosophy/worldview/religion is really not good for children?

* Addendum:
Children, teenagers, college students should at least be taught that there are intelligent critiques of evolution and allow and investigate other good books and sources such as:
Darwin on Trial by Philip Johnson
Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds by Philip Johnson
Not a Chance by R. C. Sproul
Answers in Genesis - Ken Ham, already mentioned above.
Michael Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box, linked above.
Books by Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and many others.  (too numerous to cite here)
The Genesis Debate (3 views debate each other)
Creation and Change - Douglas Kelly
Added on July 15, 2013:
Why Does the Universe Look so Old? by Al Mohler
The Face that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution, by Hank Hanegraaff  (does not discuss the age of the earth or "day" of Genesis issues)  
The Battle for the Beginning, by John McArthur
John Piper says it has to be either the young earth view or John Sailhamer's view explained in the book, 
Genesis Unbound
Reviewed here by Answers in Genesis.

Other Responses to Bill Nye, "the Science Guy"
C. I. Bolt at Choosing Hats
This conclusion was very good:
"In my view, Cornelius Van Til is right about the quagmire of evolutionary debate when he writes, “It is quite hopeless to fight evolution in the public schools and think that in doing so you have gone to the bottom of the trouble. Back of evolution lie relativism and impersonalism.” (Cornelius Van Til, Foundations of Christian Education, 9) Back of relativism and impersonalism lie atheism. Naturalistic evolution is a symptom of a deep spiritual problem, not the problem itself."

Bill Nye and Pie and in the Sky  (by Matthias McMahon; also at "Choosing Hats")



Monday, August 27, 2012

Cosmic Meatball Hits Catholic Answers Apologetics Forum

Thread Tools Search Thread Display 

  #1  
Unread Aug 21, '12, 10:46 pm
New Member
Join Date: January 30, 2012
Posts: 95
Religion: Proud Catholic. :)
Default Infallible interpretation,

I've been reading some Apologetic material from an Apologist who often likes to ask Protestants "Is your interpretation of this verse infallible?" The idea is that if they say no, it demonstrates that the rest of their interpretations or passages may also be wrong. If they answer yes...well, they're basically backed into a corner. My question is:

What if someone turns the question around? What if someone asks me? I'd have to answer no, because I'm certaintly not infallible....so what should I respond? This has been bothering me for days. Thank you 
Reply With Quote

(source). Read through the thread and enjoy (for lack of a better word) the twenty or so bogus responses.

A most revealing post: A Muslim admits that Islam has parallels with Fredrick Neitzsche's "will to power"

This Parallel between Islam and Neitzsche is very revealing.  This was written by a Muslim.  Read it before he may take it down.  Someone in the combox even suggested that.

Addendum:  (Sept. 18, 2012) Sometime last week, somewhere between Sept. 10-15, the MDI took down the post, just as I thought they would.  Apparently, they could not handle my comments in the combox and my defense of the Bible and that the NT fulfills the OT.  Hopefully, I can re-construct the arguments in writing and Lord willing, try to write something on this issue.  

It reveals that Islam at it's main core is all about power and will - Allah in Islam is ultimate power and will, not personality or love or holiness.  Allah in Islam is not a person.  Remember Neitzsche's philosophy - "the will to power".   Allah in Islam is an "it", a "powerful will".  the main goal in Islam is not to know God, one cannot know God in Islam.  In Islam, the goal for the humans is just to obey the will of Allah by following His commands, doing His will, obeying the Sharia (law).  Islam is about conquering through force (جهاد  = Jihad - struggle/effort/striving;  قتل = Qatal - fighting until the death (Surah 9:5; 9:29; 8:39), killing; حرب  = Harb - war)

Neitzsche did not like weakness - the crippled, the sinners (only those in his view - the undisciplined and the weak-minded), the undisciplined, the weak, the weakness of Jesus in allowing Himself to be killed on the cross.   This is also what made Hitler so angry at Christianity and it's "weakness".  This is the ultimate self-righteousness.  Jesus came for those who understand and realize that they are sinners, not for those who are so blinded to think they are good and disciplined and can improve the world by their will power and "doing good" by force.  Luke 5:32 - "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  Jesus meant those that think they are righteous, because no one is truly righteous. (Romans 3:9-23), except the Lord Jesus Himself.


The true God, the Trinity reaches out and loves the weak and the sinner and ungodly.  Romans 5:6-11


http://thedebateinitiative.com/2012/08/25/islam-and-neitzsche/


Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20  Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to uswisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:18-31  (with my emphasis) 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just one small correction for Carl Trueman

No Co Ever: Episode 1 from No Compromise Radio on Vimeo.

This was a very good video discussion, regarding the problems with modern Evangelicalism and "The Elephant Room 2" and compromises with T. D. Jakes and his modalism and anti-Trinitarian doctrines and his word of faith/prosperity theology, two very dangerous heresies.  And, as Phil Johnson says, "damnable heresies".

I agree with everything these gentleman said on the issues of doctrine and the problems with the Elephant Room 2

. . . except for one small side comment that Carl Trueman made that I think is important for Christians to understand.

The one small comment was one that Carl Trueman made and I am very surprised that he said it.   I really appreciate Carl Trueman, and I enjoy his blog at Reformation 21; and I tried to find his email at the Westminster Seminary Website, but I could not.  I respect him greatly, and his work in church history and historical theology is very important.  So nothing personal is meant here, and I know he is very mature and will take this for the merit of the issue.

When talking about the Christians at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, Professor Trueman said they were Turks.  [around the 31 minute mark] Professor Trueman was right that the men at the Council of Nicea were not "white men", but they were not Turkish either.  They were Greeks and Egyptians and Syrians (The Syrians before the Arabs conquered them in the 600s AD.)  That is an amazing mistake by a church history professor, in my opinion.  They were mostly Greeks, Syrians, 2 Latins from Rome, and Egyptians (Athanasius, for one) and others from around the Roman Empire.  The Turks did not live in what is today called Turkey at the time of the Council of Nicea.   The Turks (Seljuk and Ottomans) did not come to that land until before the Crusades (1071 AD) and they did not completely conquer the area known as Anatolia and Constantinople until 1453 AD.  No Turks lived in these areas in the New Testament days nor in early church history until the 900s AD!  It is possible that there were some Turkic peoples there from the time of Attila the Hun in the 400s, but not that many, and not any in 325 AD.

It is amazing to me that people don't take the time to study what happened to the Greeks and the Byzantine Empire.  The Arabs first attacked after they conquered Syria/Palestine and Persia and N. Africa.  (632-722 AD)  They tried to take Constantinople in the 600s and 700s but failed.

The Arab Muslims converted the Persians by force (Jihad, Qatal, Harb)  from the 630s into the 900s.  Jihad جهاد  (struggle/effort/striving) and Qatal قتل (the word for "slay" or "fight" = "fighting to the death" in battle - Surah 9:5, 9:29) and Harb حرب (War) are integral aspects of Islam from the time Muhammad conquered Medina in 622 AD.

Then the Arab Muslims converted the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, starting in the 600s, and by the 900s AD, the animist Turks had become Muslim.  (Today these areas are called Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghestan, etc.  Tajikistan is mostly a Persian speaking area - ethnically the Tajiks and southern areas of Uzbekistan are Tajik-Persian (Bukhara and Samarqand) ethnically and were part of the old Persian Empire.  The Arab Muslims also converted the Kurds to Islam by force.  Saladin ("Salah e din" = صلاح دین = "genuine religion"), the famous Muslim leader against the Crusaders, was Kurdish.  Today the Kurds are spread throughout western Iran, Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey, and the top corner of Syria.

The Seljuk Turks were hired as the palace guards and military force for the Arabs in Baghdad.  The Turkic peoples became the dominant fighting force.  the Seljuk Turks attacked the Greek Byzantine Empire in 1071 AD at the Battle of Manzikurt near Van in the east (was part of Armenia).  The Byzantines were defeated by the Seljuk Turks.

This caused the emperor in Constantinople to call for help from the Pope in France.  The Crusades were launched.  (1095-1299)

After the Crusades, the Ottoman Turks became the dominant Turkish people and eventually conquered all of Anatolia and then Constantinople fell in 1453 and it was renamed Istanbul.

So, today, the area known as Nicea (The Turks call it Iznik today, and it is about one hour outside of Istanbul), where the Council of Nicea was held in 325 AD is in the same area as the country of Turkey; but at the time of Nicea there were no Turks there.

The Turks never heard the gospel.  The Crusades are still major stumbling block to Muslims, especially the Turks.  The Crusades were somewhat understandable in the sense of a "just war" and self-defense, but the horrible mistakes, and the slaughter of the Greek Eastern Orthodox by the Latin Crusaders is a major scandal and shame, as was the Crusading against Jews along the way to the "holy land".   Today the Turks are still 99 % Muslim and there is some outreach to them, but not much.  The Arab Muslims have not been evangelized much either in history.  The Persians were not much either.  The ancient Persian church before Islam was mostly the ethnic Assyrians in Mesopotamia (today's Iraq); not the ethnic Persians farther east.  Henry Martyn translated the first complete copy of the Persian NT in the 1800s.  He died in 1812.

Let us reach out with the gospel to Muslims.

Why make such a big deal about a minor comment not related to the main topic?

The reason why this so important to get right is that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19; Luke 24:46-47) is to peoples, nations, ethnic people groups, not "countries" or "political boundaries".  The Greek word for "nation" is ethna (εθνη) and carries with it the idea of a cultural-ethnic people group that is unified by language and culture.  So even though the land of Turkey (and Egypt and N. Africa and Syria and Mesopotamia) had the gospel in earlier centuries, it was snuffed out by Islam in most of these areas, and eclipsed in places where there is some small evangelical witness left.

This is important because God is saving people from all the nations, peoples, tribes, and tongues, as the gospel goes out.  (see Revelation 5:9 and 7:9)   Some "nations" are spread over several political boundaries (countries) and some peoples/nations are within political boundaries and don't have their own country.  A classic example of this is the Kurdish people, who have never had their own political country and are spread over 4 countries.  (Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria)

The OT background of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:46-47 is in Genesis 12:1-3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Psalm 2:8, 67:1-7, 96:3-6, 87:4-6, Isaiah 49:6 and many other passages that use the word "families" (Mishpakha = משפחה ) and "nations" = "goyeem" גוימ and peoples  עמימ  ("ameem") .

A good book that explains the Biblical idea of nations and peoples is John Piper's Let the Nations Be Glad! (Baker) and the articles by Ralph Winter and John R. W. Stott and others in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement.    The Perspectives book is, overall, a good missions book, but there are some articles in it that I would disagree with, just in case any one wonders.

Addendum: (August 31, 2012)
I want to apologize if it seems I was being too nit-picky on Professor Trueman's statement.  I think if someone reads the whole thing that I wrote above, they can see why I wrote what I wrote, and that it was not meant as a "potshot", but an honest pointing out of the importance of understanding that aspect of church history in relation to missions and the spreading of the gospel among unreached people groups.  A big problem is that missions people are weak in theology and historical theology and church history; but also sometimes theologians are weak in missions.  I noticed that in seminary also, they have their separate disciplines and yet there is a great need for more inter-connectedness of these disciplines because they all come together in the challenge of Islam in today's world.  Islam is what should cause us who believe the Bible to also understand it and evangelize Muslims and also integrate it with church history and historical theology. (and politics, culture, just-war theory, etc.)   The challenge of Islam will force us to deal with the implications of it to all of these areas of study and knowledge.

Someone (D. Waltz) pointed out an article that Professor Trueman wrote, in which he was a little more accurate on the situation:

"Still, let us go back to the fourth century and see how the `middle aged white guy' critique measures up.  Well, at the Council of Nicea in 325, many of the participants were no doubt middle aged -- which Paul in the Pastorals would actually seem to think is quite a good thing in a church leader.  But white?    I suspect they were ethnically more akin to modern day Turks or south eastern Europeans, not that racial categories really meant anything then.  The key category in the fourth century was that of Roman citizenship, not skin color."

The modern Turks are a mixture of many peoples.  But they originally came from Central Asia, and they were not at Nicea in 325 AD and they were not in those lands in NT days that is now called "Turkey"; and they were never reached with the gospel in history; as I pointed out earlier.  They did Islamic wars/Jihads/killing against the Byzantine and Armenian men, and probably took many of the women as wives from the original people groups that lived there.  So, there is probably some Greek, Syrian, Arab, Galatian, Armenian, and other ethnicities within the modern day Turks who live in Turkey.  Today, Turkey is officially 99 % Muslim and very unreached with the gospel.  


How to Preach from an Amillennial Perspective

This past Sunday the senior pastor of my church preached on Micah 4:1-5. The sermon was entitled, "In The Last Days." The sermon never mentions the word amillennial, nor does it focus on the end of the world, nor does it meander through various eschatological views.  The sermon was though, purely amillennial.

For those of you who are up-and-coming Reformed preachers, this sermon is a great example of how to use theology to preach Christ without delving into complicated end-times theological distinctions.

The sermon can be found here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Muslim’s favorite conservative scholar proves them wrong


 Richard Bauchkam calls Mark 10:17-18 “a wonderful double entendre” and shows Jesus is actually claiming to be God!  (see below for exact place in a radio interview.)

A double entendre (literally: double meaning) is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first (more surface) meaning is straightforward and direct speech, while the second meaning is indirect and "underneath the surface" and usually the real intention behind the bare words.  

Oriental cultures, Middle Easterners, especially Iranians, use this kind of language and technique all the time in their poetry and their culture of “saving face” and “honor vs. shame”; has made them over the centuries experts at “indirect speech”. 

Jesus is indirectly claiming to be God, using an eastern method of indirect speech; but westerners think it is straight forward speech. 

On the Unbelievable Radio program, on October 10, 2009,  there was an excellent discussion between James Crossley and Richard Bauckham, about his book, Jesus and the God of Israel.

Muslims love to use Richard Bauckham to try and cast doubt on the NT and the gospels.  While Bauchkam is not an inerrantist, and not as conservative as I am or as Dr. White is; Bauchkam is hardly a good source for Muslims to use, because on this particular radio discussion, Bauchkam believes Jesus is claiming to be God in Mark 10:17-18. 

Shabir Ally and Paul Bilal Williams use some quotes from Bauckham as somehow trying to show that the gospels are not reliable and changed, yet in this program, Bauckham takes Paul Williams’ favorite passage (Mark 10:17-19) and demonstrates that Muslims are wrong on its meaning.  Williams brings up Mark 10:17-19 many times at his own blog. see here:  

Update to this article, Sept. 28, 2015:  I took out the old url of Paul B. Williams old blogs, because there is some kind of malware/scam there.  
(No longer available as Williams keeps changing his blog; several times.  One time he even left Islam for a few days and then came back and repented.)  Williams new blog, as of Jan. 2015, is www.bloggingtheology.net


and here, What must I do to be saved? (no longer available)

and here, "Why do you call Me good?  (no longer available)

In all three of these articles, he leaves out verses 23-27.

At Williams' three different blogs which he has changed, if you could look around, it seems that he has a blog article on Mark 10 or the gospel of John and/or liberal scholars every several blog articles.  He especially likes Mark 10:17-19 about "Why do you call Me good?" or about "keep the commandments", and seeing that from a Muslim viewpoint, he thinks Jesus said that in order to teach that someone is able to keep the law and be saved.   His Islamic worldview has blinded him from seeing the real meaning of this great passage, especially if one reads all the way until verse 27.  Of course, only the Holy Spirit can lift the blinders off sinners' hearts.

Williams constantly quotes the Mark passage, but always leaves out verses 23-27 in his polemics.  Williams constantly uses Mark 10:17-18 to try and say that Jesus is denying His Deity; and he constantly uses Mark 10:19-22 to try and say that Jesus teaches that salvation comes by obeying the law of God.  He is wrong on both accounts.  By leaving out verses 23-27, Williams is avoiding the deeper meaning of why Jesus approaches the rich young ruler the way He does.  We will address that issue later, Lord willing.

Bauckham on “why do you call me good?”


I am not going to type out every word in this section of the interview; I invite the reader to listen to the whole thing.  However, I want to include key phrases and sentences of Bauckham, and intersperse with my own comments.

Beginning at the 43:31 mark – Richard Bauckham – “can I come back to Mark ?
because in Mark chapter 2 – who can forgive sins but God alone?”, he is “expressing precisely one of these uniquely divine qualities” - qualities of God .

Mark 6 – “What kind of man is this who the wind and waves obey his voice?  Only God can rule the chaos - Order out of chaos; a very OT idea about God.”

Mark 10:17 ff – “Why do you call me good, only God is good. Actually works the other way, Jesus is good, so Jesus is God.  Bauckham calls this a “wonderful double entendre”,  and “if you are not thinking, you would say that Jesus is saying I am not God”; but Jesus is actually trying to get the rich young ruler to think about true goodness.  Thus, Bauckham is confirming the orthodox position of how to interpret this passage.  Jesus is not denying that He is good or God, but in an indirect way, Jesus is actually claiming to be God.  In effect, Jesus is saying, “If you recognize Me as good and call Me good, then you should see that I am God, since only God is good.”  But the man didn’t really understand absolute goodness. 

Mark 14:61-64

This is a very clear passage that Jesus is claiming Deity.  Even the Jews know that the Messiah is going to be “the Son of the blessed one”!  The Jews know Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7:13-14 and Proverbs 30:4 and Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13-14. 
Jesus quotes from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13-14 and the Jewish leaders tear their robes and say that Jesus has committed blasphemy by claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of God.  Jesus also said, “I am” ( ego eimi = εγω ειμι ) in verse 62.    Muslims and other skeptics like to make a big deal about the “I am” statements in John, and they claim that there are none of them in the Synoptic gospels.  Well, here is one.  Mark 6:50 is another “I am” statement. 

Bauckham says the clear claim of deity is there in Mark, so it is not only in the gospel of John, as some, particularly Muslims are saying, but the Deity of Christ is clear in Mark also.

Dr. White’s recent Five sermons on the Gospel according to Mark:

In his first message, “The Bookends of Mark” – he shows that Mark 1:1 (the Son of God – for an article about the textual variant here, see this.) and Mark 15:39 (“truly this man was the Son of God!”) – the centurions’ confession that Jesus is “the Son of God”, demonstrates Mark’s purpose of testifying that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah.  Dr. White made a great point about the Roman Centurion and his familiarity with death, in Mark 15:43-45.  The Roman Centurion better be sure Jesus was dead, since he had to give testimony to Pilate himself.  If he was wrong, he would have been executed.  The seriousness with which the Romans dealt with soldiers and guards who did not do their job well is seen in Acts 16:27.  The Philippian jailor was about to kill himself, because he had fallen asleep earlier, and he thought that Paul and Barnabas had escaped in Acts 16:27, after the earthquake. 

There are a lot of nuggets there that Dr. White brings out in these five sermons.  Because Muslims are not only using liberal scholars, but now they are using (and abusing) more conservative scholars to attack the New Testament and the gospels, we need to equip ourselves to be “ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us” to Muslims, and take up our cross in discipleship. (see Mark 8:34-38)

For two other articles on the unity of the gospel of Mark and the Deity of Christ in Mark, see here, and on the testimony to the resurrection of Jesus in Mark, see here. 

Credit goes to someone named "Monty" in the aomin chat channel, a few days ago (last week); for pointing to this particular Unbelievable Radio program, the discussion between Bauckham and Crossley.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Historical Developments that led to the eclipsing of the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone


James Swan had linked to this book on Purgatory and I recently received it in the mail and it is really interesting and helpful in getting a handle on how this unbiblical doctrine developed in church history.
(see under point 5)

The biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone was eventually neglected, over-shadowed, and eclipsed by the slow development of other unbiblical doctrines and doctrines.

It (Justification by grace through faith alone) appears at times in the writings of early Christians and early church fathers; but because some of these others things (listed below) were also developing at the same time, and sometimes some early church writers were inconsistent in seeming to affirm the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and also some of the other things listed below; this is one of the great reasons for why it is so hard and complicated to figure out what the early church believed about the doctrine after the Biblical era, and until Wycliffe, Hus, and Luther questioned these things.

1.  The Mono-Episcopate:  Biblical elders of a plurality of leaders was changed into taking one of the gifted elders out of the college and making him the sole bishop over the other elders in a church; then, later, in an entire area/city.  We can see that elders and bishops were interchangeable in the NT and in the earliest extra-canonical writing 1 Clement (96 AD), the Didache, Shepherd of Hermas.  Then, later we see a change in Ignatius (107-117 AD) and then Cyprian (around 250 AD) takes it further, and beyond in history.  see here for an Evangelical Introduction to church history part 1; and then, Part 2 here, that fleshes it all out.   But even Ignatius knows he does not have authority like an apostle.  (see his epistle to the Magnesians, epistle to the Trallians paragraph 3, verse 3, Ignatius to the Romans, paragraph 4, verse 3, and Ignatius to the Ephesians, paragraph 3, verse 1.  See also here, John Bugay has many excellent articles on this issue here and at Triablogue.   Even Cyprian, though he championed the ideas of the mono-episcopate of a local area, and that "the bishop is the church"; even he, did not agree that the bishop in Rome was the bishop of bishops.  He and 86 other bishops from all over the Christian world at the time, clearly stood against Stephen, the bishop of Rome at the time, in 258 AD.   Much later, the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome seems to have taken off some by Leo 1 in 440 AD, and then even more from Gregory the Great in 601 AD onward.  After Gregory the Great the power of the bishop of Rome kept developing, reaching a high mark of arrogance and false doctrine in Boniface VIII's statement in 1302 in the document, Unam Sanctum, ("It is necessary for every human creature to be in submission to the Roman Pontiff for salvation."); to the arrogance of Pius IX with "I am the tradition"; thus eventually developed into the Papal doctrines and dogma of infallibility in 1870.

2.  Baptismal Regeneration:  NT baptism as an outward evidence and sign/symbol of repentance and faith, an inward reality of regeneration/being born again/union with Christ by faith and repentance was changed into having power to actually cause one to be born again and regenerated. (baptismal regeneration)  The debate and discussion on that issue is still going strong in the com boxes here. 

3.  Penance:  Internal Repentance in the NT was changed into an outward penance, the work of satisfaction that one was assigned to do by a priest after confession.  William Webster has an excellent article on this the combines a lot of the other points also.    This was the first point of protest by Martin Luther in his 95 theses.  Later penance was developed along with private confession to a priest along with purgatory and then, with the treasury of merit of the saints into indulgences which really "took off" during the Crusades and was the spark that started Martin Luther questioning the Roman Catholic Church in 1517.

Addendum:  (January 3, 2014) - John Bugay made an excellent addition in the com box (on Aug. 15, 2012) to this issue on how the Latin mis-translation of the Greek word for repentance affected subsequent theology and church history. 

4.  Private Confession of sins to the priest for forgiveness:  Biblical confession of sin (1 John 1:9; James 5:16), and public confession of serious sin, developed into private confession of sins to a priest.  See also William Webster's article under point # 3.  Later, ex opere operato powers were given to the priests after the Donatist controversy.

5.  Purgatory - The idea of some kind of after death purging and cleansing was developed into Purgatory, starting with Clement of Alexandria and Origen and developing more after Augustine, especially by Gregory the bishop of Rome in 601 AD. See -
The Birth of Purgatory, by Jacques Le Goff. 

 James Swan has earlier linked to an excellent book called The Birth of Purgatory by Jacques Le Goff.   (Scroll down in this "Resources on Roman Catholicism" blog article)

6.  A NT office of priests.  This was wrong, as there is no NT office of "priest" in the local church.  None.  Jesus is our high priest.  For the NT church, there are
a. elders/overseers (same as bishops)/pastors and b.  deacons.  Every believer/saint is a priest to God.  (1 Peter 2:5-10; Revelation 1:6; 5:9-10.)   The word "priest" seems to be first applied to elders and ministers after they started applying OT language of sacrifice in worship to the thanksgiving and worship in the church and at the celebration of the eucharist.  (see # 13)

7.  Categories of mortal sins and venial sins and distinguishing between them. That seems to have started with Tertullian.

8.  Ideas of merit for good works, which is a contradiction to the Biblical teachings on grace.

9.  Gaining merit through Pilgrimages to graves and holy sites.  Simple remembering of martyrs' day of death as a "birthday" (going to heaven) and then venerating their bones (Would Polycarp have approved of such a practice?) , then to pilgrimages and visiting graves of dead saints and praying to them at their graves.

10.  Prayers to dead saints.  Whether at their graves or later, in front of pictures, later the icons, or statues.

11.  Prayers to Mary and the over-exalting of Mary as the greatest mediator, and then later other false dogmas such as Mary's Perpetual Virginity, her sinlessness, her Immaculate Conception(1854), and the Bodily Assumption (1950).  She is called, "co-mediatrix" - a clear contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:5.

12.  Almsgiving as a way of satisfaction for sins, often part of the penance assigned by a priest.

13.  Sacrificial language of the mass.  From using NT language of the sacrifices at the temple (Matthew 5:23-26), combining it with the need to reconcile with brothers before worship (Matthew 18:15-20) and taking the sacrificial language of the prophesy of Malachi 1:11 and applying all of that to the eucharist/Lord's supper in 1 Corinthians 11/Luke 22/Matthew 26. The sacrificial language of the OT (Malachi) and NT (Matthew 5:23-26) was not meant to say that the eucharist would be a sacrifice, but rather an application of OT language to worship/thanksgiving/memorial of Christ's death/celebration in the NT church.

14.   Transubstantiation:  From memorial/spiritual presence of Christ in communion/ eucharist (Biblical) to actual physical presence (Justin Martyr to Radbertus in the 800s) to transubstantiation (developed from the 800s into 1215 AD)

Sometimes the doctrine of justification by faith alone can be discerned in the early church, in the writings of Clement, The Epistle to Diognetes, and Ambrosiaster seem to be really clear references.  Also, later, in the writings of John Chrysostom seems clear, and in others, but they sometimes had some elements of the above practices and doctrines also.  So they were inconsistent.  These 14 practices/doctrines together (and probably with other issues not named here, too) combined to eclipse / hide the doctrine of justification by faith alone, like the moon hiding the sun in an eclipse.   All of these things combined together to over-shadow the doctrine of justification by faith alone over the centuries until Wycliff and Hus and Luther started questioning these things.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Remembering My Father

I received quite a number of private e-mails from my cyber-friends over the past week. Thank you all so much for your concern and condolences. Thanks also to Ken for keeping the blog going this past week.

For those of you who have lost both parents, you probably know the feelings I'm experiencing. It's a strange thing to consider that the very people that brought you into the world are both no longer there, at least physically there. What goes along with this, at least for me, is the process now of going through my parents possessions and selling the house I grew up in. When I close my eyes and think of "home" my immediate memory is of the house I spent most of my childhood in. Not only have I lost my parents, I'm losing my concept of "home" in a sense. These are all just striking reminders that there is only one lasting comfort in life and in death.

My three siblings and I spoke at my father's funeral. Below is the brief eulogy I gave in my father's memory:

My sister has summed up aptly my father’s commitment to his family and to raising us in the truth of the gospel. As a child, I never understood this commitment. The only thing I understood as a child was that I wanted my way, and that using my parents was the means to getting my way. It’s only been upon reflection in my later years that I’ve come to understand my father's love for his family, and his love for me.

My father seemed so different than I was... perhaps it had to do with the fact that my dad was in his early 40’s when I was born. My father, a World War 2 veteran, the father of 4 older children already, found himself in the 1960's with another small baby. I’ve often wondered what he thought about raising a family, and then again having another small child to raise. I never once though heard him complain that I, whether I was planned or not, was born. He never seemed resentful that I was born. Quite the opposite. When I was born, it appears he began to work harder to provide for his family. My father worked excessively to provide for us. In fact, I can recall that I often didn’t see him because he was working to provide for us.

I’ve been told that our family was living in a rather volatile neighborhood in the 1960’s. As the culture changed, sometimes violently, my father moved his family to safety. My earliest memories are that of a big house with a built in swimming pool in a nice neighborhood. This is probably much different than what my siblings remember about their childhood.

We went on big vacations. In the early 1970’s he took the family to Florida: Now I was going to visit Florida’s Disneyworld. What my father didn’t tell me though, was that going to Disneyworld in 1970 was actually going to visit a construction site. The park had not been built. He did though take us, around the same time, to California: and there, I as a young child experienced all the joys of Disneyland, with my father accompanying me on the rides.

As I grew older, it became more apparent that my father and I were two very different people. He was an elder in a very conservative church. I was a teenager with long hair, playing electric guitar, very loudly. We had many special times together discussing music in which Dad expressed his view that the best music was not a distorted electric guitar playing so loudly the neighbors would call over and ask for it to be lower. These conversations were often brief: "Jimmy, turn that thing down, now!" He did though tolerate that which he did not like. While my “music” appears to have worked him up at times, he found out that while a loud guitar in the house was a burden, drums were even worse. He would say, “Jimmy- it’s so loud the cat can’t find a place to sit.” He was right: I would find my cat Titus sitting on top of the refrigerator when the whole band was over and the house shook. But he tolerated it. He may not have liked it, but he allowed me do it.

As his last child, I think my father had a strong desire to pass on the family business. He would take me house to house fixing appliances, trying to teach me how to fix a washer or dryer. This went on for years- throughout junior and senior high school. The only problem though is I have no natural aptitude to fix anything. In fact, if he allowed me to work on a machine, chances are it would be broken worse than it already was. I didn’t like getting grease and dirt on my hands, because it took too long to remove so I could play my guitar. I also had bad dust allergies, so going down into someone’s basement often meant I would be suffering hay fever most of the day.

I don’t think I realized he was trying to pass on his successful business to me. He hoped I would get it, but I never did. Sometimes now I wish I paid more attention to what he was teaching me. Those of you who knew my father knew how well he could diagnose and fix something. Now, when something breaks in my house, I can no longer call my father, nor can I summon up what he tried to teach me. This is a hard lesson- that playing guitar really didn't help me provide for my family when something breaks. 

My father and I differed in other ways as well. In Missouri I enjoyed nothing more than going to Crown Center, the big mall, and having my parents leave me in the bookstore, and then picking me up when they were done. My father rarely read books, I loved reading. We just seemed like two very different people. I was reading and playing music, he was fixing machines and watching TV to relax after a hard day.

Dad and I though loved each other. We may not have understood each other, but we loved each other. This was our relationship up until his last day: we were two men who didn’t understand the other, but both wanted the best for the other. We just differed on what that best was.

But music and books, as many of you know, are just that music and books. I learned a few weeks ago that a guy I took lessons from, a world renowned Chapman Stick player, died suddenly of a heart attack. What became of all his music skills and what was the result of his hours and years of practicing? Nothing. He left this world with nothing.

My father though, did leave this world with something: salvation in Jesus Christ. While my father and I were different in so many ways, these differences similarly amount to nothing, because we both share in the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ. My father and I both agreed as to what the only lasting and true unity and comfort are  in life and in death:

That my father and I are not our own, but belong body and soul to our faithful savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all our sins with his precious blood, and has set my father and I free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over us in such a way, that not a hair can fall from our heads without the will of our father in heaven. In fact, all things must work together for our salvation. Because my father and I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit makes us wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Guitars and washer machines are not eternal. At some point, they’ll rust and disintegrate. I’m so grateful for my Father raising me with that which will not pass away, the truth of the gospel.

**********

This is a picture of my father and I, circa 1989, underneath the grape trellis in the backyard of my first house.  Also pictured is my first German Shepherd (I miss him too.)