Saturday, February 27, 2010
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . that the church should, or someday would be divided into competing and disagreeing denominations?
1) The Bible doesn't use the term "denominations."
2) The Bible does declare that Christ came to bring division.
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
1) The existence of some divisions is natural. People who speak different languages must necessarily worship separately. Scripture teaches us that the prayers and singing should be in a language understood by the congregants.
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
2) The existence of some divisions is desirable from the standpoint of the spread of the gospel.
So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
3) The existence of some divisions is necessary because of false teaching.
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
4) The existence of some divisions is undesirable, particularly within a local church:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
Notice that these undesirable divisions are all within a local church. The people are coming together to worship in the same place, but there are divisions or cliques among the people.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . .tell us Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man from the moment of conception (e.g. how do we know His Divinity wasn't infused later in His life?) and/or tells us Jesus Christ is One Person with two complete natures, human and Divine and not some other combination of the two natures (i.e., one or both being less than complete)?
1) We know that Jesus was the Lord in his mother's womb at least from this verse:
Luke 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
2) We also know that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost by this verses:
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
3) The same verse above tells us that Jesus is God ("the Son of God") and another verse in the immediate context also shows that Jesus is both man ("the son of his father David") and God ("Son of the Highest"):
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
There are many treatises that examine this important Scriptural doctrine in much greater depth, especially those by Athanasius and the men of his generation, the generation before him, and the generations immediately following him. I've tried to give a simple and concise answer, but many writers from ancient times down to modern times, have given much greater and more comprehensive exegeses of Scripture to thoroughly demonstrate this same truth.
Another verse pair I could have included above, and perhaps should have, is the following:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
The reason for this name is that Jesus was not just a child (a human) but also God. He was really both things, not a hybrid, but God and man in two distinct natures and one person.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The idea of temporary faith is taken from the stony-ground hearers in the parable of the sower. They are said to "hear the word," and "immediately with joy to receive it;" yet they "have no root in themselves," and they "endure only for a while." Hence their faith is called temporary, because it doth not continue to the end. This attachment to the word of God includes, not only an assent to the truth of the Scriptures, but some sudden, though transient, flashes of joy in the affections, and some hasty resolutions for God and religion, while they are hearing the word. Their character and apostasy are thus described by Luke, "These have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away." Such believers either receive the word upon the evidence of those arguments that satisfy the understanding about the truth of it; or else their faith rests upon the prejudice of education, or upon the testimony of him that preaches the word: and their joy usually arises from an apprehension of their own happiness being promoted by what they hear. Upon this principle they hear the word gladly, even while they neither understand the spiritual meaning of the law of God, nor depend upon the report of divine favor through Jesus Christ.- Rev. Archibald Hall, A Treatise on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel, pp. 242-45
It is of little importance to us to examine the precise differences between historical and temporary faith, as it is evident that neither of them is the faith of God's elect. Only it may be observed in general, that historical faith seems more immediately to refer to that persuasion the mind has of the truth of the word of God; whereas temporary faith, as it is compared to the seed which fell upon the stony ground, and forthwith sprung up, because it had no deepness of earth, seems more directly to respect that comfort which the mind receives in the goodness of the joyful sound. Persons may have no doubt of the truth of the Scripture, while yet they never relish any comfort or joy in the declarations of it: or, in other words, they may be historical believers, while they are not stony-ground hearers. It is, moreover, reasonable enough to allow, that the temporary joy may vanish, when the historical belief remains; though it is certain, that there can be no such joy as the temporary believer has in the word, without some historical belief of those things that occasion his gladness being the truths of God.
Layman Romanist Matthew Bellisario disagrees with "His Eminence" and states:
The only thing we have in common is using the name, Jesus Christ. ... I don't know what in the world the dear Cardinal was thinking when he said this. ... What is more ridiculous is that a Cardinal would think that all of this is a common point of reference of the gospel of Jesus Christ.(source)
I think Cardinal George has the better argument from Vatican II (after all, if Muslims worship the "same God" while explicitly denying the Trinity, how can Mormons really be left out of the big tent?). However, ignoring Vatican II, Bellisario has the better argument from reason. After all, it is (to use his word) "ridiculous" to suppose that the there is common ground with Mormons in the person of Christ, given that Mormons allege that Jesus was a created being. And while Mormon soteriology is closer to Roman soteriology than it is to Reformed soteriology, Mormons deny (among many other significant differences) that is “absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” and consequently it appears that the Mormon gospel is different from the Roman gospel (which are both different from the gospel that Paul preached).
Thanks to Dr. James White for bringing the main article to my attention.
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . tell us the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity?
1) As discussed in a previous segment, the Scriptures don't use the word "Trinity."
2) The Scriptures, therefore, also don't use the precise terminology "person of the Trinity."
3) However, the identity of the Holy Spirit as God (i.e. as one of the three persons of the Trinity) is confirmed by a vast number of verses, such as the following:
Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Notice that the Holy Spirit is equated with God's presence. This shows us, fairly simply, that the Holy Spirit is not merely an angel or the like, since to be with a mere angel would not be to be in God's presence.
There are many treatises that examine this important Scriptural doctrine in much greater depth. I've tried to give a simple and concise answer, but many writers from ancient times down to modern times, have given much greater and more comprehensive exegeses of Scripture to thoroughly demonstrate this same truth.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Let therefore every man thoroughly examine his own heart, whether, upon supposal of times of trial and persecution, he can say with David, 'My heart is ready:' Psal. 108:1 [old translation] whether he can say of his dearest pledges,'All these have I counted dung for Christ's sake?' Philippians 3:8 whether he find in himself that he can, if need be, even lay down his life for his profession? He that cannot do thus, what differs his faith from a temporary faith, or from hypocrisy? Mark, I beseech you, what I say; I will not affirm, I will only leave it to your Christian discretion: a temporary faith, that is, a faith resembled to the seed in the gospel, which being sown on the stony ground, withered as soon at the fun arose, a faith that fails as soon as it feels the heat of persecution, can save no man. May we not with some reason think, that the faith of many a one, who in time of peace seems to us, yea, and to himself too peradventure, to die possessed of it, is yet, notwithstanding, no better than a temporary faith, and therefore comes not so far as to save him that hath it? Rufus, a certain philosopher, whensoever any scholars were brought unto him to receive education under him, was wont to use all possible force of argument to dissuade them from it; if nothing could prevail with them, but needs they will be his hearers, this their pertinacity he took for a sure token of a mind thoroughly settled, and led, as it were by instinct, to their studies. If God would use this method to try who are his, and bring on us those temptations which would make the man of a temporary faith to shrink, think we that all those who, in these times of peace, have born the name of Christ unto their graves, would have born unto the rack, unto the sword, unto the fire? Indeed to man, who knows not the thoughts of his friend, some trials sometimes are very necessary; but he that knew and foretold David what the reSolution of the men of Keilah would be, if Saul came to them, knows likewise what the resolution of every one of us would be, if a fiery trial would appear. Who knows, therefore, whether God hath numbered out the crowns of life, according to the number of their souls, who he foreknew would, in the midst of all temptations and trials, continue unto the end? For what difference is there betwixt the faith that fails upon occasion, or that would fail if occasion were offered? for the actual failing of faith is not that that makes it temporary, it is only that which detects it, which betrays it unto us to be so. The faith therefore of that man which would have sunk as fast as St. Peter did, if tempests had arisen, notwithstanding that through the peace of the church he dies possessed of, is no better than a temporary, and cometh short of a saving faith. It is a hard speech, some man may say; but let him that thinks thus recount with himself, that it is a hard way that leads to life. Beloved, deceive not yourselves; heaven never was, nor will be gotten without martyrdom: In a word, my brethren, try therefore yourselves, whether you have in you true resolution: summon up your thoughts, survey every path in which your affections were wont to tread; see whether you are prepared to leave all for Christ: if you find in yourselves but one affection looking back to Sodom, to the things of this life, 'remember Lot's wife,' Luke 17:32 her case is yours; you are not yet sufficiently provided for the day of battle.- John Hale, Of St. Peter's Fall, in The Works of the Ever Memorable John Hales of Eaton, Volume 2, pp. 226-29
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . who wrote the Book of Acts?
Luke wrote the book of Acts, as explained in the previous segment.
As explained in the previous segment, we don't hang any important doctrine of the faith on whether the name of the author of Acts was really "Luke" or was really something else.
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . inform us of the names of the authors of the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?
1) The text of Matthew's Gospel doesn't tell us the name or identity of the author. All of the texts of the gospel use the title "according to Matthew" but we aren't necessarily insistent that the title has to be right.
2) The same is true of Mark's Gospel.
3) Luke's gospel doesn't specify that the name of the author is Luke, although the same title note as with Mark and Matthew is also true of Luke. We can tell from the introduction of Luke and of Acts that the two were written by the same author:
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
We also learn from Acts that the author of the book was one of Paul's companions, at least from Acts 20:
Act 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
And continuing to Acts 28:
Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
4) The identity of the author of John's gospel has already been discussed in the previous segment.
We have additional historical evidence that the gospels should be attributed to their respective authors. Nevertheless, nothing important about what believe hangs on whether the names of the titles of the books were the actual names of Jesus' disciples that wrote the books.
I'd like to respond to a few of these "issues."
1) Injeel means Angel?
In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner stumbles over the Arabic word for an evil spirit. The Arabic-root word he was looking for (and initially says) is Djinn (from Arabic جني jinnī). Then, however, Caner makes a terrible blunder and follows Djinn with "Injeel" which is an Arabic word for the Gospel.
Result: Embarrassing slip of the tongue that suggests that Caner's Arabic is not fluent.
2) Prophet Bahruch
In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner lists something that sounds like "Bahruch" as one of the prophets of Islam. It may be that Caner is referring to the Old Testament dubious military hero Barak, who famously was afraid to go to battle without Deborah by his side. This is still a bit strange, because Barak is not really referred to in the Old Testament as a prophet, although Islam tends to claim the Old Testament prophets as being among her prophets.
Result: Puzzling comment from Caner.
3) 40 Days of Ramadan
In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner slips up and says that there are 40 days in the lunar month of Ramadan. This is, of course, simply a conflation in Caner's mind between the 40 days of Lent in Romanism (and Eastern Orthodoxy) and the shorter 29-30 day months that are lunar months.
Result: Embarrassing conflation between Romanist and Muslim fasting practices.
4) Ergun's Shahada
In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner slips up in two ways. First, he recites the wrong Arabic text when trying to state the Shahada (he quotes instead the opening lines of the Koran). Second, when he gives the translation of the Shahada in English he adds "final" or "greatest" into the translation, although there is no literal basis for that expression in the Arabic.
Result: Embarrassing pair of mistakes that strongly suggest that Caner is not very familiar with Arabic.
5) Jesus is the Messiah
In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner suggests that Muslims believe that Jesus was only a messenger and not the Messiah. However, of course, Muslims also call Jesus the Messiah. It's unclear from the clip whether Caner is aware or unaware of the Muslim claims. Christians recognize that being the Messiah involves being the Son of God. Muslims reject the idea that there is such a thing as the Son of God. Thus, even if they us the term "Messiah," they mean something different by it than what we mean.
Result: Ambiguous alleged error.
6) Shabir Ally Dead?
In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner refers to someone he calls "Shabir Ally" and states that this man was a leader, a debater, and is now dead. That's troubling, because Shabir Ally (one of Islam's leading debaters in North America) is very much alive. What Caner almost certainly meant to refer to is the late Ahmed Deedat. However, Caner used the wrong name.
Result: Embarrassing transposition of names, confusing that of one famous Muslim debater for that of another famous Muslim debater.
I haven't addressed all of the alleged errors attributed to Ergun Caner, but I've addressed some of the big ones. Others include some of the details surrounding Caner's conversion (the exact dates and relative dates between Caner's conversion and the conversion of his two brothers). Also, the birthplace issue that I've already mentioned in a previous post is brought up.
What is the conclusion of all this, though? The impression that I get is that Caner doesn't seem to remember that much Arabic from 25 years ago, assuming he ever understood Arabic at that time. It also appears that Caner has a tendency to get some of the details mixed up during his oral presentations. However, nevertheless, it does not seem to be reasonable to suggest that Ergun Caner is faking the whole fact that he was a Muslim as a child.
Ergun Caner has himself responded to these (at least I think it is these, or at least some similar charges) and his response can be found at the following link (link). His comments there are unequivocal and maintain his claim to having been a Muslim. However, as noted in a number of the videos, he was converted as a teenager in 1982. So, it has been over 27 years (at this time) since he was Muslim. Does that make some of his mistakes (identified above) less embarrassing? Only a little.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Let's set up the problem clearly:(source)
1. Elijah announced a dynastic judgment on Ahab’s line and household. God told Jehu to execute this judgment, which he did. Jehu is commended by YHWH for executing the house of Ahab in 2 Kings 10.30:
The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."
2. But then, a century later, in Hosea 1.4, Jehu is punished for the massacre!
Then the LORD said to Hosea, "Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. (NIV)
The allegation is that God’s express commendation (earlier) is incompatible with/contradicts God’s (later) ‘negative judgment’ on Jehu for the same events, as expressed in Hosea 1.4.
The source I've linked above provides some possible solutions, but I think the easiest explanation is found by looking at a verse that the problem's statement overlooks.
In addition to killing the house of Ahab in Jezreel, Jehu also killed a significant part of the royal family of Judah (by God's providential decree, but not by God's command to Jehu):
2 Chronicles 22:7-9
And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.
2 Kings 10:12-14
And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them.
This murder God did not permit to go unpunished, but brought judgment on Jehu's line with a Jezreel of their own. Jehu was right to kill Ahab and his family, but not the family of David.
Thus, God commended and blessed Jehu:
2 Kings 10:30 And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.
My friend Fred Butler will be happy to notice that "fourth generation" here was taken fairly literally:
2 Kings 15:12 This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.
1) 2 Kings 10:35 And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead.
2) 2 Kings 13:9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash [aka Jehoash] his son reigned in his stead.
3) 2 Kings 14:16 And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead.
4) 1 Kings 14:20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.
Leading finally to the destruction of the entire family of Jeroboam:
1 Kings 15:25-30
And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite: because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.
One final note. Passages like these highlight two things. First, God is punishing the sins of Jehu upon Nadab. Second, God is also punishing the sins of Jeroboam upon Nadab. But, note that Jehu himself is not some innocent God-fearing man who is getting punished for nothing. He walked in the way of his father and did evil in the sight of the LORD. Had he repented, God would have spared him, for God is rich in mercy. So do not use the sins of your fathers as an excuse for your lack of repentance. Don't follow your fathers' evil ways, but follow the paths of righteousness that it may be well with you.
This faith [saving faith], although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.- Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Chapter 14, Section 3
(Heb. 5:13, 14; Matt. 6:30; Rom. 4:19, 20; 2 Pet. 1:1; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 5:4, 5; Heb. 6:11, 12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 12:2)
Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.- Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Chapter 18, Section 1
(Job 8:13, 14; Matt. 7:22, 23; 1 John 2:3, 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24, 5:13; Rom. 5:2, 5)
Q.119. What is temporary faith?- Philadelphia Baptist Catechism, Q/A 119-20
A. Those who for a short time take joy in certain portions of the Word of God, believing certain promises belong to them.
Scr. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” 2 Peter 2:20
Q.120. Where does temporary faith fall short of saving faith?
A. Temporary believers have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them.
Scr. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” — Romans 8:9 See also Hebrews 6:4-9
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . tell us the name of the “beloved disciple”?
1) The Bible doesn't say "the name of the disciple whom Jesus loved is [x]."
2) The Bible does tell us that the disciple whom Jesus loved is the author of the Gospel of John:
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
3) While no verse of the text tells us that the author's name is John although all the copies of the gospel title it the gospel "according to John."
We have additional historical evidence that it was John's gospel. Nevertheless, nothing important about what believe hangs on whether it was John or some other of Jesus' disciples that wrote the book.
Monday, February 22, 2010
What is temporary faith?- Menno John Bosma, Exposition of Reformed Doctrine, pp. 196-97
It is a receiving of the word straightway with joy, often caused by artificial methods.
What is lacking in a person having temporary faith?
A regenerated heart and therefore godly sorrow for sin and absolute surrender to Christ.
The name temporary faith is derived from the parable of the Sower, wherein Jesus describes those who are like seed sown on rocky places, and declares they endure only for a time.
Matt. 13:20, 21: "And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth."
This temporary faith may last a shorter or longer time, sometimes till death, sometimes its true nature will be sooner discovered, as Jesus says in days of persecution or tribulation, or it may and often does fail when the stimulus and excitement which has produced it is taken away. An example of temporary faith is found in the history of Demas, who was once a companion of Paul, Col. 4:14, later he forsook him, "having loved this present world." II Tim. 4:10.
In what does temporary faith differ from saving faith?
Jesus says they who endure for a while have no root in themselves.
In this their principal difference from those having saving faith is found. True believers have the true root of faith in the depths of their hearts, implanted within them when they were born again by the Holy Spirit. Temporary believers lack this true principle of faith, for they were never regenerated; their faith does not therefore proceed from the depth of their hearts and control the whole soul, but is much more a temporary affection of the emotions; it is not accompanied by sincere sorrow for sin as saving faith is, but straightway, when the emotions have been stirred, it receives the promise and assurances of the Bible with joy, it is sure of salvation without having forsaken the old sinful life, it applies and appropriates something to itself that does not belong to it. A peculiarity of temporary faith is that it is intent wholly on its own enjoyment and salvation, but cares little or nothing for the honor of God, it is selfish.
Temporary faith differs from saving faith therefore in character as well as in duration.
When is temporary faith most likely to be found?
In stirring times, as in periods of war, famine and pests, and especially during some man-made revivals of religion when people are agitated and excited but not deeply convicted, not changed in heart.
Notice that for Bosma the difference is not simply one of duration (i.e. that temporary faith doesn't last) but one of kind (arising from an unregenerate heart).
This argument, furthermore, was itself deemed heretical by the universal church, which (unless Protestantism sprung from the sixteenth century ex nihilo) includes Protestantism.(source)
In the comment box there, Steve Hays has already demonstrated one of the holes in this argument (namely that icon-rejecting Protestants are themselves at least a part of the universal church), but there are several other holes in the argument:
1) The Iconoclastic Council of 754 with 338 bishops in attendance unanimously condemned the use of images of Christ.
2) The later council of 787 to which Mr. Milliner was appealing was convened to try to overthrow the earlier council. Like the council of 754 it called itself an ecumenical council, but it wasn't universally received.
3) In fact it was initially rejected in the west by, for example, the council of Frankfurt (called by Charlemagne) of 794. Naturally, as with all these sorts of disputed topics, folks have tried to argue that Frankfurt actually rejected a bad translation of the council of 787.
4) It was also rejected by various bishops in the East including, most famously, Patriarch John Grammatikos (also known as John VII of Constantinople or John the Grammarian) (patriarchate from 837-43).
5) We might also add that the entire argument that something was "deemed heretical by the universal church" is the sort of polemic claim that has been popular since the 4th century, but which always begs the question of the definition of the bounds of the church. When the church is defined to include only iconophiles, then one gets one result, when the church is defined to include only iconoclasts, a second result, and when both are included, a third result.
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . explain the doctrine of the Trinity, or even use the word “Trinity”?
1) The Bible doesn't use the word "Trinity."
2) The Bible doesn't have a special section called "Explanation of the Trinity" though the entire Bible reveals the Trinity to us.
3) The triune name is given in Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
We could write, and many fathers of the church - from ancient to modern times - have written, a huge treatise on the Trinity from Scripture. Among the many verses that we would and they have relied on would be:
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Next followeth a temporary. Of this faith ye have these texts : Matt. xiii. 20, 21, But he that received the seed in stony ground, is he who heareth the Word, and by and by receives it with joy, yet hath no root in himself, but is for a time, and when persecution and trouble ariseth because of the Word, is offended presently. To the same purpose read Luke viii. 13. Of this faith see also Heb. vi. 4, 5, For it cannot be, that they which have been once enlightened, and tasted of the good Word of God, and of the powers of the world to come, if they fall away, &c. To conclude, of this faith ye have John v. 35, He, namely, John, was a burning and a shining candle, and ye would for a time have rejoiced in his light. The reason of the name is this; it is called Temporary, because it endures but for a time, because it hath no root.- Robert Rollock, "A Treatise of God's Effectual Calling," in Select Works of Robert Rollock, pp. 207-10
It hath the same object with justifying faith, and which is properly so called, namely, Jesus Christ with his benefits, offered in the word of the Gospel and in the Sacraments; wherein it differs from historical faith, which hath for the object thereof the universal truth. It hath the same subject with justifying faith: for it hath its seat both in the mind, and also in the will and heart.
Last of all, it hath as many parts of nature as the justifying hath. For it is a knowledge of the understanding, conjoined with both the judgments of the mind, and it is the apprehension of the will or heart, whereout followeth also the stirring of the affections, as of joy, delight, &c.
But that I may speak a little more largely of this apprehension, which is in temporary faith, and of this joy. First, it is certain, by the Scripture, that these things are in the temporary faith, For Christ saith in Matthew, That he, which is but for a time, doth receive the Word, and that with joy. And in John, the Jews are said to have rejoiced for a time in the light of John Baptist. And to the Hebrews, there is attributed to this faith, not only the enlightening of the mind, but also the taste of the heart, and that performed not only by the Word, but also by the Spirit; for he saith, "They which have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost." Therefore, in temporary faith, there is indeed a kind of apprehension; there is indeed a certain joy, wherein temporary faith differeth from historical faith. For in historical faith, these things are not indeed, but he that hath it doth feign, and dissemble, and lie, in his outward profession, that he hath these things; wherefore he is a shameless hypocrite. But he that hath temporary faith hath these things indeed—apprehension, I say, and joy, after a certain manner, neither doth he so feign or lie, as he that hath an historical faith; yet he is a hypocrite, because this apprehension and this joy are not sincere, albeit after a certain manner they be true.
I say, they are not sincere, because they are not for that cause for which they should be, that is, they are not for Christ himself, offered in the preaching of the Gospel; they are not for God's sake, they are not for his glory, nor for those heavenly benefits of Christ, his righteousness and eternal life; but they are for other causes, as for the newness of the Gospel, which is to be understood in that place, John v. 35, He was a burning and a shining candle, and ye would have rejoiced for a time in his light, namely, for the newness of the matter. Secondly, they be, because of a licentiousness to sin, which men by and by snatch to themselves, upon the hearing of free justification by Christ, and Christian liberty. To conclude, they are for riches, honours, and other commodities of this life. Now, seeing the temporising professor hath these causes propounded to himself in hearing and receiving the Word, and in rejoicing, it must needs be that these are not sincere in him. For nothing is done sincerely, unless it be done in respect of the glory of God. And herein differs Temporary Faith from Justifying. For the Justifying Faith doth all things for Christ himself, for God himself, for the heavenly and spiritual benefits of Christ, as much as it can for man's infirmity.
Out of this, therefore, it follows, that the temporiser is also a hypocrite, seeing he is not sincere, and that the temporary faith is hypocritical, seeing it is not sincere. Out of that again, that it is not sincere, another thing followeth, namely, that it is not sound and firm; for nothing that is not sincere can be sound. For those causes upon which it depends are not sound; as, for example, those worldly things, as riches, honours of the world, &c. In which thing temporary faith differeth from justifying faith; for justifying faith, as it is sincere, so it is sound. For of that it is said, Col. ii. 5, And the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. For justifying faith is, as it were, a solid body, consisting of three dimensions, length, breadth, depth, for it possesseth the depth and lowest of the heart; but temporary faith is not a body with three dimensions, but only a surface, sticking in the upper part of the heart; for it is not either a sound light, enlightening all the heart, or a sound apprehension, arising from the bottom of the heart; or, to conclude, a sound joy possessing the whole body, but all these things are only superficial in the temporary faith. Whereupon, Heb. vi. 4, that apprehension of heavenly things which is therein, is compared to tasting, or slight touching, seeing that the heart doth but, as it were, with the tip of the tongue, lightly taste those heavenly things, and not quite drink them up, and receive them into itself.
Again, out of this, that temporary faith is not sound, another thing also followeth, namely, that it doth not endure for ever, but only for a time. For that which is not sound, is not durable and perpetual; but only temporary. Wherein also it differeth from justifying faith, which, as it is sound, so it is perpetual and constant. From this property this faith took her name, and was called temporary; now this property doth presuppose the two others going before; namely, first, that it is not sound; secondly, that it is not sincere, albeit it be in some sort true.
While I consider somewhat more diligently of the cause of these three properties, I find that it is not to be imputed so much to those outward things for which this faith doth apprehend Christ in the Word, and rejoiceth in him, as to the inward evil affection of the heart. For the heart of man, as Christ saith, is stony ground; that is, it is neither good nor honest of its own nature. Now, we measure this goodness and honesty, chiefly by simplicity and sincerity, which is opposed to hypocrisy and dissembling. Therefore, a deep hypocrisy, which is contrary to sincerity, possesseth the heart of man. Now, the heart, so affected, doth believe, apprehend and rejoice, not sincerely, for a true cause, for which it ought to do these things, but for other worldly causes. It followeth, therefore, that the cause of these evils doth lurk in the heart. Wherefore, if any man will not be a temporiser, let him above all things look to his heart, and sift and examine it diligently, night and day, so long till he feel that the faith of Christ takes root in the bottom of his heart, and doth throughout possess the whole heart, as much as may be.
Out of these things which we have spoken, touching the properties of this faith, and of the cause of them, a mark may be taken, whereby any one may discern true and justifying faith from temporary. And that is, sincerity; in a word, sincerity in doing, in believing, in apprehending, in rejoicing, and in doing all things throughout the whole course of the life. Now, sincerity is known by this, if all things be done and performed by us for God and for Christ, whether those things be of small or great moment. Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31. By these things which have been spoken, it is easy to gather a definition of this faith. For temporary faith is a knowledge in the mind, and an apprehension in the will, of Christ with all his benefits; but yet temporary, or enduring but for a time. And thus much of temporary faith.
One might expect, then, that the article would explain someone's struggle in view of persecution for being a Christian. What a surprise, then, when the article is mostly a complaint that my friend Dr. White has criticized Dr. Ergun Caner. After all, my friend Dr. White has never (and would never) criticize Dr. Caner for following Christ.
The article points out that there is a ten part video that aims to show that Dr. Ergun Caner was never a devout Muslim. If the article had simply noted that much of that ten part video is absurd, I'd agree (it seems that most of the ten part video series is criticism of Caner for not using the correct pronunciation of various words), I'd agree.
Frankly, I think one should be careful about trying to silence criticism of Caner, given his apparent propensity to report facts inaccurately. Listen to the following two clips and let me know if you can reconcile the two of them.
Where does the Bible . . .
. . . provide a list of the canonical books of the New Testament?
1) Of course, there's an uninspired list provided in the front of most Bibles.
2) If someone had their Bible (assumed in the question) but their Bible didn't have that list, one could go through and create such a list quite easily.
3) But if the question is simply asking whether one of the books of the Bible includes an inspired list of the books of the New Testament, then of course the answer is that no one book provides such a list.
1) Some of the books of Scripture to the canonicity of other books:
1 Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. [Deuteronomy 25:4] And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. [Luke 10:7]
2 Peter 3:15-16
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2) Paul's epistles sometimes more and sometimes less explicitly claim divine inspiration
1 Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
3) Some books of Scripture refer the reader back to other books of Scripture
2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,