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The Barna Group – National Study Describes Christian Accountability Provided by Churches

In Apologetics on November 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

The Barna Group – National Study Describes Christian Accountability Provided by Churches.

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Suffering

In Apologetics on November 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Suffering poses many problems for faith. At one level, it poses a knotty riddle for any serious minded Christian who has to try to explain why its existence does not compromise the Christian faith. The main issue with suffering for apologetics is primarily because it appears to demonstrate the logical incoherence of Christianity to most critics of the faith.

a. God is omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all wise)

b. God is completely good

c. There is suffering and evil in the world.

d. A good and omnipotent God could and would eliminate suffering entirely.

e. There could not be morally sufficient reasons for God permitting suffering.

These three statements are inconsistent: The omnipotence and goodness of God are not consistent with the existence of suffering and evil in the world. All three statements cannot be true at one and the same time. The reality of suffering and evil cannot be denied. It is an experiential reality.

Therefore, either God is not all powerful or he is not God. The logical coherence of the Christian faith seems to unravel. A fatal logical flaw has been exposed.

Or has it? Your thoughts and answers on this one then I’ll offer mine.

 

Alleged Errors of Paschasius Quesnel from Turrentin Fan Bolg

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on November 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

Alleged Errors of Paschasius Quesnel.

The following document contains excerpts from Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma (first part)(second part). The first number is the number from Denzinger’s English translation, the second number is the number of the identified “error” in the document.

Errors of Paschasius Quesnel [Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, “Unigenitus,”Sept. 8, 1713]

1351 (Sec. 3) 1. What else remains for the soul that has lost God and His grace except sin and the consequences of sin, a proud poverty and a slothful indigence, that is, a general impotence for labor, for prayer, and for every good work?

1352 2. The grace of Jesus Christ, which is the efficacious principle of every kind of good, is necessary for every good work; without it, not only is nothing done, but nothing can be done.

1353 3. In vain, O Lord, do You command, if You do not give what you command.

1354 4. Thus, O Lord, all things are possible to him for whom You make all things possible by effecting those same things in him.

1355 5. When God does not soften a heart by the interior unction of His grace, exterior exhortations and graces are of no service except to harden it the more.

1356 6. The difference between the Judaic dispensation and the Christian is this, that in the former God demanded flight from sin and a fulfillment of the Law by the sinner, leaving him in his own weakness; but in the latter, God gives the sinner what He commands, by purifying him with His grace.

1357 7. What advantage was there for a man in the old covenant, in which God left him to his own weakness, by imposing on him His law? But what happiness is it not to be admitted to a convenant in which God gives us what He asks of us?

1358 8. But we do not belong to the new covenant, except in so far as we are participators in that new grace which works in us that which God commands us.

1359 9. The grace of Christ is a supreme grace, without which we can never confess Christ, and with which we never deny Him.

1360 10. Grace is the working of the omnipotent hand of God, which nothing can hinder or retard.

1361 11. Grace is nothing else than the omnipotent Will of God, ordering and doing what He orders.

1362 12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at whatever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God.

1363 13. When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of His grace, no human will resists Him.

1364 14. Howsoever remote from salvation an obstinate sinner is, when Jesus presents Himself to be seen by him in the salutary light of His grace, the sinner is forced to surrender himself, to have recourse to Him, and to humble himself, and to adore his Savior.

1365 15. When God accompanies His commandment and His eternal exhortation by the unction of His Spirit and by the interior force of His grace, He works that obedience in the heart that He is seeking.

1366 16. There are no attractions which do not yield to the attractions of grace, because nothing resists the Almighty.

1367 17. Grace is that voice of the Father which teaches men interiorly and makes them come to Jesus Christ; whoever does not come to Him, after he has heard the exterior voice of the Son, is in no wise taught by the Father.

1368 18. The seed of the word, which the hand of God nourishes, always brings forth its fruit.

1369 19. The grace of God is nothing else than His omnipotent Will; this is the idea which God Himself gives us in all His Scriptures.

1370 20. The true idea of grace is that God wishes Himself to be obeyed by us and He is obeyed; He commands, and all things are done; He speaks as the Lord, and all things are obedient to Him.

1371 21. The grace of Jesus Christ is a strong, powerful, supreme, invincible grace, that is, the operation of the omnipotent Will, the consequence and imitation of the operation of God causing the incarnation and the resurrection of His Son.

1372 22. The harmony of the all powerful operation of God in the heart of man with the free consent of man’s will is demonstrated, therefore, to us in the Incarnation, as in the fount and archetype of all other operations of mercy and grace, all of which are as gratuitous and as dependent on God as the original operation itself.

1373 23. God Himself has taught us the idea of the omnipotent working of His grace, signifying it by that operation which produces creatures from nothing and which restores life to the dead.

1374 24. The right idea which the centurion had about the omnipotence of God and of Jesus Christ in healing bodies by a single act of His will, [Matt. 8:8] is an image of the idea we should have about the omnipotence of His grace in healing souls from cupidity.

1375 25. God illumines the soul, and heals it, as well as the body, by His will only; He gives orders and He is obeyed.

1376 26. No graces are granted except through faith.

1377 27. Faith is the first grace and the source of all others.

1378 28. The first grace which God grants to the sinner Is the remission of sin.

1379 29. Outside of the Church, no grace is granted.

1380 30. All whom God wishes to save through Christ, are infallibly saved.

1381 31. The desires of Christ always have their effect; He brings peace to the depth of hearts when He desires it for them.

1382 32. Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to death to free forever from the hand of the exterminating angel, by His blood, the first born, that is, the elect.

1383 33. Ah, how much one ought to renounce earthly goods and himself for this, that he may have the confidence of appropriating, so to speak, Christ Jesus to himself, His love, death, and mysteries, as St. Paul does, when he says: “He who loved me, and delivered Himself for me” [Gal.2:20].

1384 34. The grace of Adam produced nothing except human merit.

1385 35. The grace of Adam is a consequence of creation and was due to his whole and sound nature.

1386 36. The essential difference between the grace of Adam and of his state of innocence and Christian grace, is that each one would have received the first in his own person, but the second is not received except in the person of the risen Jesus Christ to whom we are united.

1387 37. The grace of Adam by sanctifying him in himself was proportionate to him; Christian grace, by sanctifying us in Jesus Christ, is omnipotent, and worthy of the Son of God.

1388 38. Without the grace of the Liberator, the sinner is not free except to do evil.

1389 39. The will, which grace does not anticipate, has no light except for straying, no eagerness except to put itself in danger, no strength except to wound itself, and is capable of all evil and incapable of all good.

1390 40. Without grace we can love nothing except to our own condemnation.

1391 41. All knowledge of God, even natural knowledge, even in the pagan philosophers, cannot come except from God; and without grace knowledge produces nothing but presumption, vanity, and opposition to God Himself, instead of the affections of adoration, gratitude, and love.

1392 42. The grace of Christ alone renders a man fit for the sacrifice of faith; without this there is nothing but impurity, nothing but unworthiness.

1393 43. The first effect of baptismal grace is to make us die to sin so that our spirit, heart, and senses have no more life for sin than a dead man has for the things of the world.

1394 44. There are but two loves, from which all our volitions and actions arise: love of God, which does all things because of God and which God rewards; and the love with which we love ourselves and the world, which does not refer to God what ought to be referred to Him, and therefore becomes evil.

1395 45. When love of God no longer reigns in the heart of sinners, it needs must be that carnal desire reign in it and corrupt all of its actions.

1396 46. Cupidity or charity makes the use of the senses good or evil.

1397 47. Obedience to the law ought to flow from the source, and this source is charity. When the love of God is the interior principle of obedience and the glory of God is its end, then that is pure which appears externally; otherwise, it is but hypocrisy and false justice.

1398 48. What else can we be except darkness, except aberration, and except sin, without the light of faith, without Christ, and without charity?

1399 49. As there is no sin without love of ourselves, so there is no good work without love of God.

1400 50. In vain we cry out to God: MyFather,if it is not the spirit of charity which cries out.

1401 51. Faith justifies when it operates, but it does not operate except through charity.

1402 52. All other means of salvation are contained in faith as in their own germ and seed; but this faith does not exist apart from love and confidence.

1403 53. Only charity in the Christian way makes (Christian actions) through a relation to God and to Jesus Christ.

1404 54. It is charity alone that speaks to God; it alone that God hears.

1405 55. God crowns nothing except charity; he who runs through any other incentive or any other motive, runs in vain.

1406 56. God rewards nothing but charity; for charity alone honors God.

1407 57. All fails a sinner, when hope fails him; and there is no hope in God, when there is no love of God.

1408 58. Neither God nor religion exists where there is no charity.

1409 59. The prayer of the impious is a new sin; and what God grants to them is a new judgment against them.

1410 60. If fear of punishment alone animates penance, the more intense this is, the more it leads to despair.

1411 61. Fear restrains nothing but the hand, but the heart is addicted to the sin as long as it is not guided by a love of justice.

1412 62. He who does not refrain from evil except through fear of punishment, commits that evil in his heart, and is already guilty before God.

1413 63. A baptized person is still under the law as a Jew, if he does not fulfill the law, or if he fulfills it from fear alone.

1414 64. Good is never done under the condemnation of the law, because one sins either by doing evil or by avoiding it only through fear.

1415 65. Moses, the prophets, priests, and doctors of the Law died without having given any son to God, since they produced only slaves through fear.

1416 66. He who wishes to approach to God, should not come to Him with brutal passions, nor be led to Him by natural instinct, or through fear as animals, but through faith and love, as sons.

1417 67. Servile fear does not represent God to itself except as a stern imperious, unjust, unyielding master.

1418 68. The goodness of God has shortened the road to salvation, by enclosing all in faith and in prayers.

1419 69. Faith, practice of it, increase, and reward of faith, all are a gift of the pure liberality of God.

1420 70. Never does God afflict the innocent; and afflictions always serve either to punish the sin or to purify the sinner.

1421 71. For the preservation of himself man can dispense himself from that law which God established for his use.

1422 72. A mark of the Christian Church is that it is catholic, embracing all the angels of heaven, all the elect and the just on earth, and of all times.

1423 73. What is the Church except an assembly of the sons of God abiding in His bosom, adopted in Christ, subsisting in His person, redeemed by His blood, living in His spirit, acting through His grace, and awaiting the grace of the future life?

1424 74. The Church or the whole Christ has the Incarnate Word as head, but all the saints as members.

1425 75. The Church is one single man composed of many members, of which Christ is the head, the life, the subsistence and the person; it is one single Christ composed of many saints, of whom He is the sanctifier

1426 76. There is nothing more spacious than the Church of God; because all the elect and the just of all ages comprise it.

1427 77. He who does not lead a life worthy of a son of God and a member of Christ, ceases interiorly to have God as a Father and Christ as a head.

1428 78. One is separated from the chosen people, whose figure was the Jewish people, and whose head is Jesus Christ, both by not living according to the Gospel and by not believing in the Gospel.

1429 79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.

1430 80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.

1431 81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.

1432 82. The Lord’s Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading.

1433 83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures, and have heresies been born.

1434 84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.

1435 85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.

1436 86. To snatch from the simple people this consolation of joining their voice to the voice of the whole Church is a custom contrary to the apostolic practice and to the intention of God.

1437 87. A method full of wisdom, light, and charity is to give souls time for bearing with humility, and for experiencing their state of sin, for seeking the spirit of penance and contrition, and for beginning at least to satisfy the justice of God, before they are reconciled.

1438 88. We are ignorant of what sin is and of what true penance is, when we wish to be restored at once to the possession of the goods of which sin has despoiled us, and when we refuse to endure the confusion of that separation.

1439 89. The fourteenth step in the conversion of a sinner is that, after he has already been reconciled, he has the right of assisting at the Sacrifice of the Church.

1440 90. The Church has the authority to excommunicate, so that it may exercise it through the first pastors with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole body.

1441 91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, as long as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.

1442 92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority or of destroying unity.

1443 93. Jesus sometimes heals the wounds which the precipitous haste of the first pastors inflicted without His command. Jesus restored what they, with inconsidered zeal, cut off.

1444 94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies than to see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals.

1445 95. Truths have descended to this, that they are, as it were, a foreign tongue to most Christians, and the manner of preaching them is, as it were, an unknown idiom, so remote is the manner of preaching from the simplicity of the apostles, and so much above the common grasp of the faithful; nor is there sufficient advertence to the fact that this defect is one of the greatest visible signs of the weakening of the Church and of the wrath of God on His sons.

1446 96. God permits that all powers be opposed to the preachers of truth, so that its victory cannot be attributed to anyone except to divine grace.

1447 97. Too often it happens that those members, who are united to the Church more holily and more strictly, are looked down upon, and treated as if they were unworthy of being in the Church, or as if they were separated from Her; but, “the just man liveth by faith” [Rom. 1:17], and not by the opinion of men.

1448 98. The state of persecution and of punishment which anyone endures as a disgraceful and impious heretic, is generally the final trial and is especially meritorious, inasmuch as it makes a man more conformable to Jesus Christ.

1449 99. Stubbornness, investigation, and obstinacy in being unwilling either to examine something or to acknowledge that one has been deceived, daily changes into an odor, as it were, of death, for many people, that which God has placed in His Church to be an odor of life within it, for instance, good books, instructions, holy examples, etc.

1450 100 Deplorable is the time in which God is believed to be honored by persecution of the truth and its disciples! This time has come. . . . To be considered and treated by the ministers of religion as impious and unworthy of all commerce with God, as a putrid member capable of corrupting everything in the society of saints, is to pious men a more terrible death than the death of the body. In vain does anyone flatter himself on the purity of his intentions and on a certain zeal for religion, when he persecutes honest men with fire and sword, if he is blinded by his own passion or carried away by that of another on account of which he does not want to examine anything. We frequently believe that we are sacrificing an impious man to God, when we are sacrificing a servant of God to the devil.

1451 101. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit of God and to the doctrine of Jesus Christ than to swear common oaths in Church, because this is to multiply occasions of perjury, to lay snares for the weak and inexperienced, and to cause the name and truth of God to serve sometimes the plan of the wicked.

Declared and condemnedas false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.

 

Have we considered Jesus is the smartest man who ever lived?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on November 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

“How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him?

Matthew 13:54 b

Recently I listened to Dallas Willard professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California lecturing on this issue and I had to admit I hadn’t really given this much thought. This really exposes our need to see Jesus as relevant to our intellect. This particular way of thinking makes Jesus the foundation of discipleship and promotes a profound respect outside of the more usual understandings the modern church seems to focus on. Thinking of Jesus as the one who forgives, heals the sick, and challenges the local religious establishment and their proud pious attitude is more common. Thinking of Jesus in this way is not wrong per se but without establishing His superior and eternal intellect the consequences are disastrous to the faith.

Why is the issue so neglected and over looked? We tend to think of the time He existed in the flesh as backward and barbarian. We spend a great deal of time thinking about His holiness but what about His competence? Unfortunately it seems He is the great “lifeguard in the sky” that rescues us when we are in trouble but not relevant to the intellect. This lack of relevance to our intellect and careers has drastic negative effects on taking the Great Commission seriously. The scripture is pretty clear when it comes to His wisdom.  “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people” (Luke 2:52 HCSB). Jesus engaged the most influential, wealthy, educated and powerful people of that day and confounded them with His logic. There seems to be a modern arrogance based on technological advances but the fallen nature of man is still the same.  If anything the modern man shares all the same moral shortcomings with the ancient man. Because of that similarity this makes Jesus intellect all the more relevant to modernity.

If the premise “Jesus is the smartest man who ever lived” is true how does that relate to our careers?

Looking at those who walked with Jesus and benefited from His contact in their lives they saw Him as the Master and the smartest man. He had so much influence in their lives it affected their work as servant, slave or master. Much is made of relationships at work, being honest, honorable, trustworthy, compassionate, dependable, and missionaries at their occupations. We are able to use the wisdom and Spirit given to us at redemption in our daily jobs as a blessing to those we are around and work for.

History shows those who followed Jesus saw his power over creation,  when He walked on the water, made wine from water, made bread and fish, most importantly He died and was resurrected. As Dallas Willard (the lecturer) stated Jesus was “the master of the molecule” he has the power over creation and life.

Finally Jesus is revealed as the “Mater of the moral life” for all to contend with. People were changed from wicked to good. His message is challenged but reality there is no other body of recognized moral knowledge that people can use to guide their lives. Jesus presents two pictures of moral understanding:

a. It can make life beautiful

b. It can enable us to become like Him (Christ in us) so that we can do the proper thing for our enemies pray for them or bless them. (Taken from Dallas Willard lecture)

This does not conflict with the idea that Jesus didn’t die to make bad people good but dead men live. This is the result of new life and certainty of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and his changing our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. The new life we have in Christ penetrates and permeates every area of our life including our intellect. I know my thinking has been challenged and I am committed to seeing Jesus as the smartest man who ever lived. Ideally it will affect all facets of my life including my career and pursuit of future endeavors. Living our lives in view of the intellect that Jesus has and is willing to teach us should give us cause to become better disciples and make more disciples. True belief moves us from mental assent to real mental and physical changes in our lives. No matter how our lives play out we have a clear understanding this is the worst it’s ever going to be for those who have been born again and the best it’s ever going to be for everyone else. Living with the view of Jesus as the smartest man who ever lived as our foundational understanding, allows us to trust His guidance in our lives no matter the current circumstance. This cannot be said any better than it was written!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! (Rom 11:33 HCSB)

 

True and false conversions

In Apologetics on November 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

“That is the reason we have so many “mushroom” converts, because their stony ground is not plowed up; they have not got a conviction of the law; they are stony-ground hearers”-George Whitfield

Over the past couple of years while teaching and visiting with people who self identify as Christians. I have been overwhelmed with a consistent theme regarding salvation as it is understood by most professing Christ today. Churches with the aid of marketing studies and the desire to be more relevant in our culture try to soften the offense of the gospel. There are TV and ad campaigns using slogans of the modern marketing world such as “come experience Jesus “or “contemporary worship” or “convenient worship times for your busy schedule” or “register with us and receive a free name the prize” churches offer many things in an effort to make church more palatable to those who might visit. Church growth numbers and statistics are kept based on number of baptisms (can mean a number of things) and we celebrate our impact in the community.

Somehow in the modern Christian era “backsliding” is seen as a common, normal occurrence in Christianity and prevalent in our churches today. Even pastors fall prey to thinking this is a normal occurrence in some ways a right of passage. Many surveys indicate young people at our churches walk away from their faith in numbers as high as 80%. According to the same surveys about 45% return seeking some type of faith experience. All too often we hear people say

“I was once a born-again Christian. Now I believe I am a good person and God is a good God so I really don’t need church!”

The Bible often speaks of false prophets, false teachers, false apostles and false brethren. It seems we neglect this concept in the modern church of true and false conversion. The New Testament is filled with teachings about the subject and gives many examples of false converts. One of the foundational teachings of this is found in the story of the sower. After Jesus discusses the different soils and seeds ‘he said to them “Do you not know or understand this parable?” and how then will you know understand all parables?’ (Mark 4:13) One glaring fact comes from this parable when the gospel is preached, there are true and false conversions. In Mark we are told about the thorny ground, the stony ground, good-soil hearers, the false and the genuine converts.

In light of the other parables one principle seems to stand out, the principle of the true and false being alongside each other, then the other parabolic teachings makes sense: the Wheat and Tares (true and false), the Good fish and Bad fish (true and false), the Wise virgins and the Foolish (true and false), and the Sheep and Goats (true and false).

(Mat 13:47-51 HCSB)  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones.So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out, separate the evil people from the righteous, and throw them into the blazing furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they told Him.

In this story the good and bad fish were in the net together. From this story we see the world does not call in the net. The “fish” that are caught are those who respond to the gospel-the evangelistic “catch”. They remain together until the Day of Judgment.

False converts lack genuine contrition for sin. They may a profession of faith but are deficient in biblical repentance-“(Tit 1:16 HCSB)  They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work. A true convert, however, has knowledge of sin and godly sorrow, truly repentant and produces the “things that accompany salvation” (Heb 6:9). These things the Bible speaks of for evidence of salvation are the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of righteousness, etc.

We have Judas as an example of a false convert. He seems to be a thorny-ground hearer according to the Gospel of Mark. (Mar 4:19 HCSB)  but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

 

There seems to be a naïveté in our churches concerning those who fall into the “Judas” category. As the example the church should have tremendous clout in our society: yet it seems powerless to change even one law. If as surveys tell us we have 142 million professed believers, we can’t even outlaw the killing of unborn children. In this flavorless and dark society we are to be salt and light, where is our impact? If this is real Christianity, the’ salt of the earth, ‘where is the effect of which Jesus spoke?

How can we know for sure our position in Christ? There’s a lot of talk regarding real Christianity and pseudo-Christianity. Many churches claim if we say the right words, get baptized in the right water, profess the right creed, or any other physical reassurance that must mean we are Christians. The Scripture is our best source for confirmation of our position in Christ.

(Joh 15:5-8 HCSB)  “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

Rom 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences testify in support of this, and their competing thoughts either accuse or excuse them on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.

(Heb 12:5-8 HCSB)  And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives. Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline–which all receive–then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

 

 

Will a Christian who has just recently “come out” as a homosexual lose his salvation and go to hell?

In Apologetics on November 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

Recently I was asked this question by a high school senior at an apologetics class I was teaching. The class had ended and several people were milling around asking about truth, reality, reliability of the scriptures and then this young man very sincerely and honestly asks me this. I have to admit this question was very difficult on a moment’s notice to answer. Trying to understand the context and the person who has asked this question having a reasonable, responsible, truthful, and loving answer is paramount. We are charged with the responsibility to tell the truth in love. This young man was seeking a way to talk to a friend who is headed down a disastrous path.

To offer a little context about this particular moment, the young man was a high school senior at a Christian school. His friend who he has grown up with claims to be a Christian and a homosexual. He attends church every Sunday, goes to Sunday school and is involved in the youth group. The young man who asked me this was confused, disappointed and distrustful of the answers he had been given by other well-meaning adults. Typically many in church tend to use the Bible as a weapon quoting Scripture intended like a bullet to kill a particular sin, someone else is having trouble overcoming. Given the political and social pressure regarding homosexuality and its impact on the church, I felt a more responsible answer should be given.

My first response to this question was “Are you asking this honestly or are you looking for an argument?” Before we respond to such important and weighty questions I believe we have a responsibility to establish intent. After establishing the sincerity and honesty of the question at hand I responded with the following. If you disagree that’s fine but more importantly show me your evidence and help me understand your point of view.

The young man responded he cared about his friend was concerned he was misled and doesn’t understand what true Christianity looks like. I felt the obligation to prove biblical authority as our final response to the matter. As I question and visited with him we established they had grown up together go to the same school and are involved in some of the same church activities. One of my first statements no man can know another man’s heart, only the Holy Spirit can view and weigh a man’s heart. However Scripture is clear about how a Christian is to live their life. While homosexuality is in the spotlight it is no more or no less a grievous sin than any other. Our view on the sinfulness of sin comes into play when our friends we care about behave sinfully. Rather than focus on the particular sin of homosexuality I used an example involving a serial adulterer. Both behaviors are condemned specifically in Scripture, both expose the hurt and attitude God expresses about sin and his counsel on repentance.

(1Co 6:9-11 HCSB)  Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. Some of you were like this; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

As Christians we are responsible to rightly handle the word of God, we are commanded to tell the truth in love. Jesus used the illustration of a vine, branch and fruit in describing the Christian life. I took the same illustration and asked this young man about the fruit in his life. My point to him before we can confront others about sin, we have a responsibility to confess ours and seek God’s forgiveness in our own lives. Confession and forgiveness are the fertilizer for the fruit in our own lives. Second when we confront others especially our friends we are tempted to take the offense of the gospel out of the gospel! The gospel is an offense and a stumbling block to those who are rebelling against God. We also have a responsibility and duty to not add any more offense to the gospel. Third you cannot control the other person’s response; give the outcome to God your job is obedience. Four pray for your friend and trust God for what he is doing in that person’s life. God has the responsibility for the outcome we have the responsibility for obedience. I am grateful God designed the Christian life this way, the Father decrees, the Son accomplishes, and the Holy Spirit applies. I am relieved of the burden of outcome so I can focus on the responsibility of obedience. We walk by faith and not by sight; unfortunately sometimes we get this wrong. We want to see results and we want to see them now and it may take years or possibly the person may never yield his will to God’s will. I will not, cannot and fortunately I am not allowed to take responsibility for the success or failure of the truth in someone else’s life. However I am commanded and held responsible for my obedience in my life.

If you notice the conversation focused on a vertical relationship between the believer and Christ not the brother living apart from God’s will. The conversation moved from our vertical relationship to our horizontal relationships and how we approach others. My recommendation was to approach his friend in Christian love and concern, explained his relationship with Christ and his responsibility to confront his friend about this issue in his life. I provided Scripture references made sure he understood their meaning and suggested he use the 10 Commandments as a standard for the Christian life. The law cannot save you but you can point you to the cross. The law is designed to be a burden to the lost and a schoolmaster to the redeemed. I suggested he keep up as best possible his friendship and continue to share the truth of the Gospel with his friend. I pointed out that then eventually the truth becomes such a burden that many run from it and to not get disheartened if that happens. In closing I suggest we provide answers on social issues for people before they are confronted with situations that demand an answer and cause them to doubt their faith. If we in our churches examine the relevant social issues provide some clear thinking and biblical responses can share them and give people an opportunity to think about how relevant the Scriptures really are. The church for so long set the standard and controlled the discourse of social issues we have forgotten that society no longer looks to the church for relevant answers to their lives. My belief is the church can and should be relevant in the discourse and content of our daily lives. As Christians we should be able to discuss any relevant social or moral issue with clear thinking based on scriptural truth. Your thoughts?

 

Dan

 

Score Card

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on November 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Michel Foucault (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl fuˈko]), born Paul-Michel Foucault (15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984), was a French philosopher, sociologist, and historian. He held a chair at the prestigious Collège de France with the title “History of Systems of Thought,” and also taught at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Berkeley.

Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences, and the prison system, as well as for his work on the history of human sexuality. His writings on power, knowledge, and discourse have been widely discussed and taken up by others. In the 1960s Foucault was associated with structuralism, a movement from which he distanced himself. Foucault also rejected the poststructuralist and postmodernist labels later attributed to him, preferring to classify his thought as a critical history of modernity rooted in Kant. Foucault’s project was particularly influenced by Nietzsche, his “genealogy of knowledge” a direct allusion to Nietzsche’s “genealogy of morality”. In a late interview he definitively stated: “I am a Nietzschean.”[1]

In 2007 Foucault was listed as the most cited scholar in the humanities by The Times Higher Education Guide.[2]

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (French pronunciation: [saʁtʁ], English: /ˈsɑrtrə/; 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, literary critic, and atheist. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, existentialism, and Marxism, and his work continues to influence fields such as Marxist philosophy, sociology, critical theory and literary studies. Sartre was also noted for his long polyamorous relationship with the author and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir. He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused the honour.

The defining characteristic of polyamory is belief in the possibility of, and value of, multiple romantic loving relationships carried out “with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.”[3] What distinguishes polyamory from traditional forms of non-monogamy (i.e. “cheating”) is an ideology that openness, goodwill, intense communication, and ethical behavior should prevail among all the parties involved. Powerful intimate bonding among three or more persons may occur. Some consider polyamory to be, at its root, the generalization of romantic couple-love beyond two people into something larger and more fundamental.[citation needed]

Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach (July 28, 1804, Landshut, Lower Bavaria – September 13, 1872) was a German philosopher and anthropologist. He was the fourth son of the eminent jurist Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach. His thought was influential in the development of Marxist dialectic.[1]

Feuerbach talks of how man is equally a conscious being, more so than God because man has placed upon God the ability of understanding. Man contemplates many things and in doing so he becomes acquainted with himself. Feuerbach shows that in every aspect God corresponds to some feature or need of human nature. “If man is to find contentment in God,” he claims, “he must find himself in God.”

Thus God is nothing else than man: he is, so to speak, the outward projection of man’s inward nature. This projection is dubbed as a chimaera by Feuerbach, that God and the idea of a higher being is dependent upon the aspect of benevolence. Feuerbach states that, “a God who is not benevolent, not just, not wise, is no God,” and continues to say that qualities are not suddenly denoted as divine because of their godly association. The qualities themselves are divine therefore making God divine, indicating that man is capable of understanding and applying meanings of divinity to religion and not that religion makes a man divine.

Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German[2] philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, and communist revolutionary, whose ideas played a significant role in the development of modern communism and socialism. Marx summarized his approach in the first line of chapter one of The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

Friedrich Engels (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɛŋəls]; 28 November 1820 – 5 August 1895) was a German social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of communist theory, alongside Karl Marx. Together they produced The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Engels also edited the second and third volumes of Das Kapital after Marx’s death.

From 1845 to 1848, Engels and Marx lived in Brussels, spending much of their time organizing the city’s German workers. Shortly after their arrival, they contacted and joined the underground German Communist League and were commissioned by the League to write a pamphlet explaining the principles of communism. This became The Manifesto of the Communist Party, better known as the Communist Manifesto. It was first published on 21 February 1848.[2]

Dialectical materialism-asserts the primacy of the material world: in short, matter precedes thought. Materialism is a realist philosophy of science,[5] which holds that the world is material; that all phenomena in the universe consist of “matter in motion,” wherein all things are interdependent and interconnected and develop according to natural law; that the world exists outside us and independently of our perception of it; that thought is a reflection of the material world in the brain, and that the world is in principle knowable.

Os Guinness-A great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer and founder of the Guinness family, Guinness was born in Hsiang Cheng, China, where his parents were medical missionaries. In 1943, he survived the Henan famine in which five million died, including his two brothers. He returned to England in 1951 when most foreigners left China after the climax of the Chinese Revolution in 1949.

 

For the Defenders Class

In Apologetics on November 2, 2010 at 5:02 am

We discussed several books last night and other resources  hopefully the links will post:

Forgotten Trinity, The by James R. White

Forgotten Trinity, The by James R. White

 

History, Law and Christianity by John Warwick Montgomery

The Trinity: The Classic Study of Biblical Trinitarianism by Edward Henry Bickerseth
The Trinity: The Classic Study of Biblical Trinitarianism by Edward Henry Bickerseth

The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ by Gary R. Habermas
The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ by Gary R. Habermas

Institute for Creation Research (home)

 

 

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