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Divine Impassibility with Dr. James Dolezal

December 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Such a fascination discussion. I encourage you to spend a few twenty minutes periods listening to the whole of it.

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Updated Statement of Faith.

John Calvin on the goodness of man compared to the goodness of God

As long as we do not look beyond the earth, being quite content with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue, we flatter ourselves most sweetly, and fancy ourselves all but demigods. Suppose we but once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and to ponder his nature and how completely perfect are his righteousness, wisdom, and power—the straightedge to which we must be shaped. Then, what masquerading earlier as righteousness was pleasing in us will soon grow filthy in its consummate wickedness. What wonderfully impressed us under the name of wisdom will stink in its very foolishness. What wore the face of power will prove itself the most miserable weakness. That is, what in us seems perfection itself corresponds ill to the purity of God.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 1, §2

St. Paul on the necessity of the resurrection to the Christian faith

March 12, 2012 1 comment

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you were saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.  Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Paul of Tarsus, in his first letter to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 15:1-19. Emphasis added.

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. We are also found to be false witnesses of God. And if the dead do not rise, Christ is not risen. If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men to be pitied the most. I cannot stress to you the necessity of an actual, literal, bodily resurrection of Christ for the dead. If this did not occur, we are without hope.

Noted atheist Christopher Hitchens responds to liberal “Christianity”

March 12, 2012 8 comments

When C.S. Lewis, for example, says–now, I don’t particularly admire the writer but he did have some moral courage–says, ‘If this man [Jesus] was not the Son of God, then his teachings were evil. Because, if you don’t believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and that you can’t get to it by the Way, the Truth, and the Life offered by the Gospel, then there’s no excuse for telling people, “Take no thought for tomorrow,” for example if he did. There’s no excuse for telling people that they don’t have to practice thrift, care about their children; they must leave everything and follow him. That would be a wicked thing to say–it would be like Jim Jones–if he didn’t sincerely believe that the story–the preaching–was true. It would be an evil nonsense.’

Christopher Hitchens in an interview with ‘liberal Christian’ Marilyn Sewell.

Christopher Hitchens was a brilliant man. He was a great philosopher. Nevertheless, as far as I know, he died apart from having faith in Christ for the remission of his sins. He understood the nature of Christ’s command and the authority that must be a part of the Scripture if it is true. But, and he serves here as a supreme example if he died apart from Christ, if one does not have faith in Christ for the remission of sins, all the brilliance in the world does nothing for salvation. I know a great many people who were praying for him as he drifted further into his illness. His brother came to know the Lord a few years ago, and they spent a good amount of time as Christopher grew worse. But this serves as proof: the Lord despises the proud but gives grace to humble; we must turn to Christ and trust him for the remission of our sins.

Julian Baggini on the foundation of morality for both the atheist and theist

March 9, 2012 4 comments

Anyone who thinks it’s easy to ground ethics either hasn’t done much moral philosophy or wasn’t concentrating when they did. Although morality is arguably just as murky for the religious, at least there is some bedrock belief that gives a reason to believe that morality is real and will prevail. In an atheist universe, morality can be rejected without external sanction at any point, and without a clear, compelling reason to believe in its reality, that’s exactly what will sometimes happen.

Julian Baggini

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian living contra the worldly system

When the Bible speaks of following Jesus, it is proclaiming a discipleship which will liberate mankind from all man-made dogmas, from every burden and oppression, from every anxiety and torture which afflicts the conscience.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Question: Infralapsarianism, Supralapsarianism, or neither?

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

I had a friend ask me what my thoughts were concerning lapsarianism. Lapsarianism is “the set of Calvinist doctrines describing the theoretical ordering of God’s decree order of his decree for the fall of man and reprobation.” (Source)

The following is my response:

Definitions first:

via Lapsarianism

  • Lapsarianism:  the set of Calvinist decrees describing the theoretical ordering of God’s decree order concerning the Fall, Election, and reprobation.
  • Infralapsarian:  the belief that God first decreed the creation of humanity, authorized the Fall, decreed to save some and condemn others, then decreed to provide salvation only for The Elect.
  • Supralapsarian:  the belief that God first decreed to save some and condemn others, decreed to create The Elect and the reprobate, authorized the Fall, then decreed to provide salvation only for The Elect.

I think that such questions are of a two-fold nature:

  1. Foolish.
  2. Impossible to answer.

The reasons for those categorizations are fairly simple:  there is no Scriptural discussion regarding the ordering of God’s decrees; God’s decrees are eternal from eternity past to eternity future; and we are wholly unable to know the mind of God.

What the Scriptures teach is that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and that Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). If we take “before the foundation of the world” to mean that it was before time existed, since time is a product of creation—if time were not a product of creation, then God would be bound by it, and, therefore, not eternal—if that is what we take those to mean, then we are not left with any clear direction regarding the “ordering” of God’s decrees. In fact, if God’s decrees are eternal, it seems foolish to suggest that one decree came “before” the other, whether theoretically or practically speaking. Since God’s ways are greater than our ways (cf. Isaiah 55), we ought not suppose that His rationality works in the same way as ours, although ours may be similar in nature—form and function—to His.

Our thoughts are necessarily bound by time. Because we currently live within a time-fixed reality, our thoughts must proceed in that fashion. God, however, is in no such position. But, you may ask, does God not change his heart or his desires to his people—was he no grieved by the destruction from the flood (Genesis 6)? Yes, his heart was grieved, but, no, his purposes and plans do not change. God exists outside of creation, outside of time itself. He upholds all of creation (Colossians 1; John 1).

So, when we see God enter into creation, he is literally passing through the threshold from eternity to temporality. But, his eternal and specific purpose did not change; what we perceived it to be has changed. His promises in the scriptures last forever. Yes, the Lord can be grieved; he does not desire anybody to be condemned; however, his desires, his emotional attachment to his image-bearers do not supersede his nature, which requires that men choose Christ to be saved. Yes, God is grieved by willful rebellion, but his grief does not go beyond the “limits” of his nature, although, as the Most Free being in the universe, God has no limits as we understand them.

Specifically in regard to lapsarianism, I am wary of attempting to provide frameworks or standards through which God works that are not explicitly identified, or at least discussed, in Scripture.

Be blessed, my brothers and sisters.

Rene Descartes on the Dependency of Man and the Independency of God

February 5, 2012 5 comments

And when I take note of the fact that I doubt, or that I am a thing that is incomplete and dependent, there comes to mind a clear and distinct idea of a being that is independent and complete, that is, an idea of God. And from the mere fact that such an idea is in me, or that I who have this idea exist, I draw the obvious conclusion that God also exists, and that my existence depends entirely upon him at each and every moment. This conclusion is so obvious that I am confident that the human mind can know nothing more evident or more certain.

Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

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