Posts Tagged ‘faith’

The Great Debate: Nye vs Ham: The Outcome

February 13, 2014

Just a quick note about the debate.  I love Ken Ham.  He is brilliant.  However, he let the debate be about the age of the Earth and other such lesser issues.  He didn’t effectively challenge “The Science Guy” to account for matter, energy, consciousness, or information (DNA).  The closest thing to a challenge was from an audience question about consciousness.  More later.

Theology: God and Logic

November 13, 2011

In one of my first posts in 2007 on this blog entitled “John 1:1 Commentary”, I said this: 

John says “In the beginning was the Logos” What can we learn about Logos? We can learn that Logos is God expressing Himself in a person – the person of His Eternal Son – Christ, Jesus, Our Lord. But what more of Logos can we learn? This: We get the word “logic” from “logos”. Many Bible teachers imply or outrightly declare that “God is not logical”. This notion comes from unwillingness on the part of the Bible student to resolve apparent contradictions (there are no actual contradictions in the Bible) in a logical way. Why are they unwilling? Because they don’t like the obvious conclusions that scripture will lead them to. They prefer to declare the word of God to be a “mystery”, or a “paradox”; two seemingly contradictory truths that remain in perpetual tension, and have no resolution.

I would ask you this: do you really think God is illogical? Or as some would say – alogical? I would think that we would accept from the onset, as the Apostle John presents it, that Christ is God’s LOGICAL personification.

In support of my comments, I found the following short treatise on the matter as I was browsing the internet – comments very important in Christian Theology and missing from many churches today.

The basic laws of logic are neither arbitrary inventions of God nor principles that exist completely outside God’s being. Obviously, the laws of logic are not like the laws of nature. God may violate the latter (say, suspend gravity), but He cannot violate the former. Those laws are rooted in God’s own nature. Indeed, some scholars think the passage “In the beginning was the Word [logos]” (Jn 1:1) is accurately translated, “In the beginning was Logic (a divine, rational mind).” For example, even God cannot exist and not exist at the same time, and even God cannot validly believe that red is a color and red is not a color. When people say that God need not behave “logically,” they are using the term in a loose sense to mean “the sensible thing from my point of view.” Often God does not act in ways that people understand or judge to be what they would do in the circumstances. But God never behaves illogically in the proper sense. He does not violate in His being or thought the fundamental laws of logic.  (from http://christian-apologetics.org/2011/what-are-the-three-laws-of-logic/).

Notice the statement, “the laws of logic are not like the laws of nature. God may violate the latter (say, suspend gravity), but He cannot violate the former. Those laws are rooted in God’s own nature.”  Herein lies the trip-wire for too many Bible students.  They assume wrongly that God’s ability to violate the laws of nature represents an ability to be illogical.  This stems from the confusion of deduction and induction.

The modern mind has been trained to think inductively.  The scientific method is based on inductive reasoning, which is why knowledge gained by the so-called scientific method a most UNRELIABLE source of knowledge, much contrary to popular opinion.  Inductive reasoning is reasoning based on observations, particularly observations of nature.  Inductive reasoning claims that if some number of repeated actions all produce the same result, then it can be safely ASSUMED that those given actions will ALWAYS produce the same results.  Now, this sounds good, and indeed without dispute has been greatly beneficial in the development of modern medicine, engineering feats, and other such great accomplishments.  We are greatly indebted to the scientists that have used the scientific method to inductively discover the inner workings of the natural order and used that knowledge for our betterment.  However, scientific induction, failing to foresee the consequences of its inability to account for ALL possible outcomes, has often failed catastrophically, resulting in sickness, death, turmoil, and uncertainty in the human world it seeks to inoculate.

But even more catastrophic is the failure of scientific induction to answer the really big questions – questions about purpose, feeling, origins, and faith – that has dealt a mortal wound to the hope of man, engulfing him in nihilistic futility and doubt.  In terms of producing knowledge of things beyond the natural world, modern science has been and will always be an abysmal failure. 

Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation”.  Now we might have some discussion as to His meaning of this, but the implications are obvious.  The ways of God are not clamped inescapably to nature.  Indeed, He is far above the natural physical world (transcendent). 

The knowledge of God, being beyond the physical world, starts with metaphysical axioms, and relies on deduction rather than induction to discover the implications of those axioms.  For many people who deny the existence of God, it is equally necessary to deny truth, and more specifically, axiomatic (indisputable) truth.  Logic is where they meet there match, for they futilly deny the undeniable truth that “a” cannot be “not a” at the same time and in the same way.  This is an axiom.  This is metaphysical.  This is not simply “nature”, but is the Nature of God.  This is not the nature which God is above, but this is the nature of which GOD IS.

In light of the importance of metaphysics and the obvious inability of physics (modern science) to even approach questions of faith, I find it very curious that such an atheist and doubter as Steven Hawking  has usurped the role of Knower of All Things, delving into what for him ought to be nothing more than rank speculation about the origins, purpose, and destination of the universe and life itself. 

One would think that educators, regardless of religious mindset, would be highly disturbed by the influence of men like Hawking on young people who see him as an intellectual icon.  Hawking and others like him simply proclaim their opinions as if they were undisputable, established facts; not so unlike the alleged statements by a Russian cosmonaut, who supposedly said, “We went to outer space and we didn’t see God there”, which was supposed to be some sort of proof that He doesn’t in fact exist!  Lord, save us from this type of convoluted, illogical thinking.  Amen.

By the way, at the time of this writing, as far as I can tell, Mr. Hawking currently does not believe there is a God.  I point this out because it’s my understanding that in some previous time, he did hold to at least a possibility of a God.  And perhaps by the time I publish this article, he will have changed his mind again, for this is the nature of inductive reasoning – always looking for evidence to support a hypothesis, and never being able to come to the knowledge (certainty) of the truth.  Thus, there is a God one day, there isn’t One the next day; a certain medicine is good for you today, tomorrow, it’s bad for you; there is global warming one day, and not global warming but instead global turbulence the next; and so on.  And it seems that when scientists change their mind, they are at least as certain they are right THIS TIME as they were BEFORE!

It’s one thing to invest some guarded trust in these kind of thinkers when it comes to our bodily health, but should we ever trust our souls to them?  Maybe it’s time for we the people living the modern/post-modern world to build our hope on this axiom:

“In the beginning was the Word*; and the Word* was with God, and the Word* was God”.

*Logos/Logic

COVENANT THEOLOGY AND DISPENSATIONALISM: A COMPARISON Part 3

March 24, 2011

Part 3 – IMPLICATIONS

Go to Part 1 – A Look At Dispensationalism
Go to Part 2 – A Look At Covenant Theology

 A Weakened Church

I suppose this is a severely controversial statement that I’m about to make, but I cannot deny my conscience in this. 

I’m convinced that dispensationalism has weakened the Church. 

However, I ask the reader not to take that statement to an extreme, for it is a statement of degree, not an absolute.  For example, some of the people whom I believe to be among the greatest Christians of our era are dispensationalists; people like John MacArthur, Jerry Falwell, and Charles Stanley.  I do not advocate the proverbial throwing out of the baby with the bath water.  But do let us get to that bath water.

First of all, dispensationalism has weakened the Church by its inconsistent and disjointed hermeneutic, causing a latent uncertainty towards the Bible and shaking its adherent’s confidence. Now, I can hear the shouts of dispensationalists in my ear as I write this, because the most zealous Bible fundamentalists in the world are dispensationalists, and any accusation that they may have a weak position on the Bible would be totally perplexing to them.  However, I would point out that a strong attitude does not guarantee a strong position or doctrine.   

Inconsistency is really the hallmark of the dispensational approach to the Bible.  Its determined literalism is the root cause of this inconsistency.  A hermeneutic that presupposes that a given passage is to be taken literally unless one can be convinced otherwise, tends to have the opposite of its intended effect.  For example, when taken literally, certain passages can directly contradict other passages.  Well, if we are to take everything literally, by what means are we able to discern the truth when these apparent contradictions appear?  But when we let the scripture be what it is within a given genre and historical context, we can relax the tension between apparent contradictions because in fact those tensions don’t even exist in reality.

An example of dispensational inconsistence is given by Gentry:

“But when it supports their eschatological system, dispensationalists vigorously argue for literalism.  For instance, of Isaiah 9:7 the New Scofield Reference Bible explains:  “’The throne of David’ is an expression as definite, historically, as ‘the throne of the Caesars,’ and does not admit of spiritualizing.”  Yet dispensationalist Gordon H. Johnston writes: “God will fulfill His promises in the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7:8-16) to establish the eternal Davidic dynasty over Israel through a single ideal Davidic King who will reign eternally (Ps. 89:20-37).”  But when we read this passage we discover it expressly mentions David himself, not a “Davidic King”: “I have found David My servant;/With My holy oil I have anointed him,/with whom My hand will be established;/My arm also will strengthen him” (Ps 89:20-21).”

 

Also, Gentry repeatedly notes that dispensationalists, in contradiction to their own rules of interpretation,  consistently interpret certain passages non-literally when the text gives no warrant for a metaphorical understanding whatsoever.  Such is the case in almost every mention of the term “this generation” in the Gospels, which dispensationalists immediately spiritualize to mean “a future generation” (see againstdispensationalism.com).

So we see that the dispensationalists must constantly be unsure as to whether the passage he is reading is to be taken literally or not, whether the passage is “applicable” or not, and whether he has indeed taken the right side of the debate or not. 

Most embarrassing for dispensationalists is the glaring fact that their literalism is the same literalism that the first century Pharisees practiced.  It was the Jews’ literalistic approach to the Kingdom of God that was their downfall.  It was the Pharisees that believed that salvation was by their ethnic identity, an idea that Jesus flatly condemned (“not of blood”, John 3:12; “you are of your father the Devil, John 8:44).  Dispensationalism commits the grievous error of endorsing the doctrine of the Pharisees by insisting that God will someday save all of the Jews based on their blood-relation to Abraham.

Secondly, dispensationalism has weakened the Church by its portrayal of the Church as a sort of afterthought, a temporary companion while God awaits the return of His true love, Israel.  As will be discussed more at length in the next section, the idea that modern Israel is God’s People in every since of the Old Covenant has led many Christians to expend great effort and funds on the political objectives of modern Israel.  And many of those churches that do maintain a spiritual attitude toward Israel are guilty of over-emphasizing the conversion of Jews, which has steered energy and funds away from other areas of ministry that should have equal or greater value.  After all, the “Great Commission” was the Lord’s command to “teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Also, dispensationalism’s propensity to advocate the local church at the expense of the universal or invisible church has led to unnecessary fractures and extreme separatism within the body of Christ.  In the local-church-only system, the biblical commandment to care for one another, being “members one of another” (Romans 12:5), applies only to those members of a particular church, and not necessarily to those of another church.  When that ethos is mixed into the fundamentalist movement, noble and courageous as it was, the result has often been an ugly form of separatism that demonizes any opposition to one’s particular view and discounts the faith and questions the orthodoxy, yea, even the salvation, of other Christians.  In the separatists retreat into the bunker, anti-intellectualism and doctrinal in-breeding can take place.  When one is eventually forced outside the bunker, one’s faith can be easily weakened, being unaccustomed to opposing viewpoints, unable to articulate one’s viewpoint in the face of opposition, and unable to function in an environment of diverse opinions.  Others simply stay in the bunker, never willing to take the risk of discovering that they may be wrong.

 

Christian Zionism

I am compelled by the possibility of being labeled as anti-Semitic to provide a strong disclaimer.  My interest in this treatise is strictly spiritual, not political, and the status of modern Israel concerns me only insofar as it affects the Christian world.  I have no qualms with the right of Israel to exist; I support it as a rational solution to certain political and societal problems caused by the lack of a Jewish homeland during the Diaspora of nearly two millennia. 

But many dispensationalists have adopted an irrational political view of modern Israel in which all of Israel’s political objectives are unquestionably supported, even to the point of supporting Jewish expansion to ancient borders.  This is Christian Zionism.  Dispensationalism is the theological rationale for Christian Zionism, and all dispensationalists are at least latent Christian Zionists, with many being overtly Zionist.  Some take it so far as to propose that if the United States were to ever go to war against Israel, Christians should defect to Israel’s side.  I offer no proof text of this, as it is not the official public position of any dispensational group, but I know this to be true by my own experience as a dispensationalist. 

Taking the dispensational view of Israel to its radical logical conclusion, Pastor John Hagee, a popular television evangelist, declares:

“Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus.  But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced by Christianity”. (The Other Gospel of John Hagee, pfo.org, 2009)

 

So Hagee’s ministry unquestionably supports Israel politically, but does not support evangelism to the Jews based on his theory that Jews do not need Christ to be saved. 

Believing that modern Israel is the center of all prophecy, dispensationalists place great emphasis on the establishment of the modern state in 1948 as a prophetic fulfillment.  For example, Gary Demar notes that in Tim LaHaye’s first edition of The Beginning of the End, which was published in 1972, LaHaye says, “Carefully putting all this together, we now recognize this strategic generation. It is the generation that ‘sees’ the four-part sign of verse 7 [in Matt. 24], or the people who saw the First World War.”  But in LaHaye’s 1991 edition of the same book, he says, “Carefully putting all this together, we now recognize this strategic generation. It is the generation that ‘sees’ the events of 1948 (Response to Critic,  AmericanVision.com, 2010) .  The events of 1948 are so important to his theology that LaHaye was willing to edit his comments, subjecting himself to valid criticism for his change.  People that make prophetic declarations based on the news of the day are frequently given a pass on their failed prophecies.  Although most dispensationalists do not participate in this kind of pop-prophecy, they do theologically support it whether they intend to or not by their insistence that the events surrounding modern Israel are “signs of times”, and that the end must be near.

Conclusion

What does dispensational theology and its offspring Christian Zionism say about our attitude toward our Christian brethren, the Palestinian Christians?  Has the evangelical church become blind to their plight?  Have we, in our zeal to support Israel, made the mistake of demonizing all Palestinians, even the Christians?  Does their displacement have any place in our conversations?  Why are our churches sending money and people to relocate Jews to a disputed land and not sending help to Palestinian churches to aid them not only in their own economic plight but in their efforts to preach the Gospel in the land?  When is the last time we heard about a missionary going to Israel to witness to the Arabs?

Again, my concern is not political, but spiritual.  After all, what does it say to the world of nations, whom we are commanded to win to Christ, when we allow ourselves to be drawn into political conflicts and with a confused theology declare that God is not on their side?  How can we claim to be sending missionaries just to preach the Gospel?  How can we overcome the suspicions of hostile governments that frequently accuse Christian missionaries of having a political agenda?

All of these questions provide a sober critique and represent significant obstacles that the Church must face, and it is my estimation that dispensational theology does much to build the obstacles, rather than providing means to overcome them.

In contrast, Covenant Theology provides the greatest motive to the Church in its efforts to win the Jews to Christ.  We see the urgency in that Christ is the only way to God in any dispensation, and that the Church is the only earthly hope for Israel and the Jews, being “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), and according to Romans 11:30, “through your mercy [The Gentile Believers] they [The Jews] also may obtain mercy” (Romans 11:31).  Through Covenant Theology we also see that the Jews are not to turn back to Moses as their hope; they must turn to Christ and forsake the Old Covenant Temple in which God no longer dwells.  They must put their trust in Christ, not in land.  They must follow the faith of Abraham and our fathers, who “desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).  Christ is the Jews’ Land, their Temple, their Sacrifice, their Hope.  Let us return to preaching of the Gospel to every creature, in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the world.

A Problem for Dispensationalism: Zion

February 13, 2010

What is “Zion”?

Dispensationalism quickly answers, “Jerusalem”.

Now Dispensationalism has a problem.  Not only does the New Testament forthrightly define Zion as the Church, but the Old Testament frequently refers to Zion in an idealistic, metaphorical way, pointing to a place of eternal wonder and perfection.  This certainly does not, nor did it ever, describe the earthly Jerusalem.

William Gadsby, an early 19th century Baptist Pastor, preached a sermon called “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities.

Here is the first paragraph taken from the web site http://www.truegospel.net/Gadsby/016.htm:

By Zion I understand the real church of Christ, and, in the strictest sense, the whole body elect, chosen, and secured in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world: “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 132:13,14) So that Zion is the spiritual property, the glorious church, and the eternal residence of Jehovah. Here the Lord not only declares but subscribes his name, and maintains all the honours of his glorious nature; and to this blessed Zion every real believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is brought by the power of the Holy Ghost; as it is written, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” (Heb. 12:22-24) From this statement we learn that Zion is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the glorious vision of peace, where God lives and dwells as the God of peace, and that it consists of an innumerable company of angels; and if by angels the glorious angelic host above is intended, they are an innumerable company indeed; for “the chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels;” (Ps. 68:17) and the mountain was full of them for the protection of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

I would invite my dispensational Baptist friends to click on the link and read the rest of the sermon.

It’s interesting that dispensationalists like to brag about their version of the faith being “old fashioned”, yet even the most shallow review of Baptist history reveals that no Baptists believed in the dispensational scheme before the 1920’s.  The true “old fashioned” version of Baptist theology is Covenantal, mostly in the Amillennial mode, and to a lesser degree, in the Historic Premillennial mode, but never is it Dispensational before World War I.

The true Old Fashioned Gospel tells us that God has made “of twain” (Jew and Gentile) “one new man” (The Church) (Eph 2:15).  With the finished work of Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek” in the eyes of God (Gal 3:28).  The hope of salvation for the Jews is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, not Moses.  They are commanded to enter into the New Covenant in His Blood, signified by Baptism and Lord’s Supper.  They are not to continue in Temple worship, or offer sacrifices of any sort, lest they tread the Blood of Christ under foot.  They must repent.  They are not God’s people by the blood of Abraham.  Only through the Blood of Christ may they be restored to God.  This is “dispensational” truth.  The old dispensation is over, and the new has been inaugurated.  The old dispensation is over, God ain’t goin’ back to it.  Jews must be “born, not of blood [Abraham’s], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

The Twelve Doctrines of Christmas!!

December 22, 2009

Check this out, very funny.  My fellow theologically-obsessed brethren will get a big laugh out of it.  The non-theologue will say, “huh?”.

http://blog.rbseminary.org/2009/12/the-twelve-doctrines-of-christmas-a-christmas-carol/

I Love Dispensationalists…

October 20, 2009

…just so you’ll know, I don’t have it out for dispensationalists.  Some of them are among the men and women I respect the most of all people I know on earth.

People like John MacArthur cause me to glow with pride when I see him on national television upholding the truth of the Bible and telling millions of viewers that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.  And the contribution of one of his associates – Phil Johnson – to the propagation of truth is inestimable.

Another that comes to mind is Charles Stanley, whom God has used to bring untold thousands into the faith of Christ.  I could name so many more.

I spent over twenty years as a member, teacher, preacher, deacon, and pastor of Independent Fundamental Baptist churches.  Though I have moved on to a different identity (Independent Reformed), I still hold great respect for some of those fundamental men that stood, and continue to stand, boldly against the allurements of this evil world.  All of them were dispensational – and some of them were true, great, men of God.

But I believe they are very, very wrong in their dispensational theology.  I know it hurts my dispensational friends to read this.  They may consider me to be a traitor, a liberal, an “allegorist” – but none of this is true, and I only wish they might see these things clearly.

And though I love them, I don’t know if I could work together with them in a ministry or church.  Not because of feelings – no, not that at all, for my feelings tell me to put it aside – but because of the complete contradiction that the dispensational system brings against the covenant system.  Not only that, but once someone comes to understand the role of the Church in God’s plan, you simply cannot bear the thought of the Church being made a sort of afterthought necessitated by the refusal of God’s “real” people (the biological descendants of Abraham) to accept their Messiah.

The Bible is so filled with the certainty that Christ and His Church is the fulfillment of all things promised to Israel, I don’t know how it can be missed, even though I have to admit that I read the Bible for years and missed it the whole time.

The funny thing is, when I first became convinced of the truths of the theological system commonly called “Calvinism”, I knew I had entered a completely different way of seeing and understanding the scriptures.  But even then, I never imagined that I would ever be any thing but a dispensationalists – a Calvinist, yes, but a Dispensational Calvinist, much in the line of John MacArthur. 

Only by way of a sort of academic pursuit did I come to press myself to make an attempt at understanding Covenant Theology.  Hear a little, there a little, and the whole idea began to take root.  And over a long period of time, and with much less hoopla, my change from dispensationalism to covenantalism followed the pattern of my change from Arminianism to Calvinism.  By and by, and alas, I was convinced, and am this day more convinced than ever, of the overwhelming biblical evidence and truth of that way of understanding the scripture that is called “Covenant Theology”.

To my dispensational friends I say as Paul said, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”*

 

*Gal 4:16

Why Can’t Dispensationalists Agree on the New Covenant?

September 25, 2009

A large group of dispensationalists gathered together recently in an effort to pound out a definition of the biblical words “new covenant.”   More information about that meeting can be found here:

http://www.baptistbulletin.org/?p=5104

Why is so hard for dispensationalists to define these words that have been in the Bible for two thousand years?

One reason for this difficulty is that they can see the implications of a proper understanding of the new covenant.  Many dispensationalists, if not most,  place the New Covenant:  1)  In the future; and 2) for Jews only.

Now, understanding the New Covenant is not that difficult.  The plain fact is that the new covenant is the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ for all of God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, and the calling of those diverse nations into one body through faith in Jesus.  Even the most casual reading of the Pauline epistles and the book of Hebrews will reveal this.  It seems highly perplexing to me that the dispensationalists like to champion the cause of “plain interpretation” of biblical passages, yet they can’t seem to apply it to passages that are the most plain and easy to understand.

The problem is, this simple definition of the New Covenant crashes many of dispensationalism’s theories.   You see, the dispensationalist MUST find a way to re-divide the Jews from the Gentiles after the “Church Age”.  The dispensationalist MUST find a way that God will some day in the future save people by human DNA instead of by grace.

It is a sad commentary indeed when one attendant pastor admits his ignorance of this crucial New Testament doctrine:

“In two weeks I need to stand before my congregation and lead a communion service,” Workman said. “I need to be able to explain what Christ meant when he said, ‘This is the new covenant in My blood.’” 

Very sad.  O!  If my brethren were to just open to Augustine, or Calvin, or Henry, or the Westminster Divines, or Gill, or the 1689 Baptists – they could save themselves so much time and so many headaches. 

Here is Gill’s comments on Hebrews 8, provided for my dispensational friends:

God promises a “new covenant”; so called, not because newly made; for with respect to its original constitution, it was made from eternity; Christ the Mediator of it, and with whom it was made, was set up from everlasting; and promises and blessings of grace were put into his hands before the world began: nor is it newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam, and in some measure to all the Old Testament saints, though it is more clearly revealed than it was; but it is so called in distinction from the former administration of it, which is waxen old, and vanished away; and with respect to the order of succession, it taking place upon the former being removed; and on account of the time of its more clear revelation and establishment being in the last days; and because of its mode of administration, which is different from the former, in a new way, and by the use of new ordinances; and because it is always new, its vigour and efficacy are perpetual; it will never be antiquated, or give place to another; and it provides for, and promises new things, a new heart, a new spirit, &c. to which may be added, that it is a famous, excellent covenant, there is none like it; just as an excellent song is called a new song. The persons with whom this covenant is promised to be made, are the houses of Israel and Judah; which being literally taken, had its fulfilment in the first times of the Gospel, through the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, by whom this covenant was made known to God’s elect among the twelve tribes; but being mystically understood, includes both Jews and Gentiles, the whole Israel of God; Israel not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; such as were Jews inwardly; God’s elect of every nation: the word suntelesw, rendered, “I will make”, signifies, I will consummate, or finish, or end, or fulfil it; which shows the perfection of this covenant, and the imperfection of the former; and that what was typified in the first is fulfilled in this; and that it is now established and ratified by Christ; and is so finished, as to the manifestation and administration of it, that there will be no alteration made in it, nor any addition to it: the time of doing all this is called “the days to come”; the last days, the days of the Messiah, which were future in Jeremiah’s time: and a “behold” is prefixed to the whole, as a note of attention, this being an affair of great moment and importance; and as a note of demonstration, or as pointing to something that was desired and expected; and as a note of admiration, it containing things wonderful and marvellous.

So simple.  So plain.  So true.

By the way, please forgive if I seem to be taunting  dispensationalists a little.  No disrespect intended.

 

I’ll get back to you – soon!

May 15, 2009

To my readers:  Studying Koine Greek is taking all of my spare time lately, but I’ll get back to posting some articles and quips as soon as I can. 

In the mean time, I’m asking my Christian friends to pray for me and the ministry as we need to make some critical decisions soon.  We are progressing ever more closer to reformed theology in our thinking and we are weighing the arguments of the Westminster Confession in certain areas of doctrine in which I must have some measure of conviction before we can go forward in the ministry. 

Thanks.

Understanding Covenant Theology #5

February 25, 2009

Since I’m having a tough time getting back to this to wrap up this series on Covenant Theology, I thought I should at least provide my readers with a link to some good materials on the subject.

Nathan Pitchford has written an excellent little book called “What the Bible Says About The People of God”, which is essentially a work that accomplishes exactly what I am attempting to do with this series on Covenant Theology.  It outlines the basic tenets of Covenant Theology using simple statements that are easy to understand, and then follows these statements with copious Bible verses showing how these tenets are arrived at.

Follow this link to Monergism Books and when you get there look for the “Online PDF version” link just under the advertisement for Nathan’s book.  

This little book is an excelent resource and I am thankful that Nathan and Monergism Books have made it available at no cost online.  But not only do I recommend purchasing the book, I recommend taking advantage of the bulk purchase offer and get some to give to your friends.

Here is the link:

http://www.monergismbooks.com/What-the-Bible-Says-about-THE-PEOPLE-OF-GOD-p-17332.html

The Supreme Court and Child Raptists: Has America Sinned Itself to Death?

February 3, 2009

There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.   1 John 5:16

Sometimes I don’t know if I should pray for my country or not when I consider that our Supreme Court justices – those who are supposed to be the wisest among us – have determined that the “rights” of a child rapist is more important than the justice due the victim of that despicable act.  It may be time to throw in the towel on America.

Maybe Reverend Wright, the now-infamous former pastor of President Obama, was right after all.  How can we honestly petition God to bless such a wicked nation?  It seems we’ve gone beyond wicked to outright insanity.

The case in point is officially known as “Kennedy vs Louisiana”, which was decided on Jun 25, 2008.  It is odd to me how such a landmark decision made it under the media radar.  Most people haven’t even heard of it to this day.

But on that day, the Court ruled in a five to four decision that applying the death penalty to perpetrators of child rape to be unconstitutional.  The majority opinion – held by justices Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer – ruled that the death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment” and is therefore unconstitutional under the eighth amendment of the constitution.

These five – alleged to be actual human beings – even they admit to the great repugnancy of the crime at hand (child rape), and the outrageously heinous nature of the particular incident over which this decision was made.  I could not include in this article the details of the crime without violating the sensibilities of even the most thick-skinned among us.

And yet for all that, they perceive to themselves a duty to protect the guilty and deny the innocent the justice they deserve.

And what is the rational given by the five animals to justify this insult to humanity?  Here it is in the words of Justice Alito who spoke for the four dissenting members (Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas):

The Court today holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically prohibits the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of raping a child. This is so, according to the Court, no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be. The Court provides two reasons for this sweeping conclusion: First, the Court claims to have identified “a national consensus” that the death penalty is never acceptable for the rape of a child; second, the Court concludes, based on its “independent judgment,” that imposing the death penalty for child rape is inconsistent with ” ‘the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.’ ” (underlines added)

 

Can you believe it?  The Supreme Court makes rulings based on their opinions of what constitutes a “national consensus”!  And if that were not enough of the mind of human depravity, they further reveal their hatred of everything decent by stating that the death penalty for a child rapist is “inconsistent with evolving standards of DECENCY”!!

Words of protest fail me at this point.  I can only stand like the perplexed Habakkuk with mouth agape in wonder at the contradiction of it all.

 If the Lord delays His coming, the day is surely coming in which decent people will be forced to keep silent.  Although we already face the ridicule and scoffing of a self-absorbed and nihilistic world, at least we still have some remaining modicum of freedom to speak out against the encroaching darkness.

There is a Supreme Court in Heaven to which the Supreme Court of the United States must answer.  God has made is ruling on the issue:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  (Romans 13:4)

 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.  (Psalms 9:17)