Saturday, April 02, 2011

Just as Expected ...

I wish this were only a April 1st hoax, but sadly Muslims have killed completely innocent men in retaliation for the burning of a Koran on another continent (link). And, of course, Muslims were the first to burn the Koran (apparently), as explained in the following video which, though a little tongue-in-cheek, also has a serious point:


Friday, April 01, 2011

Thanks to My Two Hundred "Followers"

I noticed that the number of folks who have "Followed" this blog using the Google "Follow" option has finally hit 200. Thanks very much to my readers! I hope that the blog serves your edification.

May God receive all the glory.


Ken Ham Refuses to Compromise ...

... and suffers the consequences for standing up for his convictions (link to story). Hats off to Ken Ham for opposing Peter Enns and Enns' agenda. You can visit the Answers in Genesis website for more information. Specifically, here is the post that got Ken Ham in trouble (link to post).


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Door Was Shut, Rob Bell

Rob Bell (Love Wins, p. 66):
Could God say to someone truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation, "Sorry, too late"? Many have refused to accept the scenario in which somebody is pounding on the door, apologizing, repenting, and asking God to be let in, only to hear God say through the keyhole: "Door's locked. Sorry. If you had been here earlier, I could have done something. But now, it's too late."
Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:1-13):
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him."

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, "Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out."

But the wise answered, saying, "Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves."

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us."

But he answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not."

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Am I saying that those in Hell will come "truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation" - no, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that when the door shuts, it's too late. So, since you don't know when Christ will return, or when you yourself will die, take hold of the kingdom of heaven now. Be prepared.

Bell's dream of an always-open heaven is nothing more than a delusion.

- TurretinFan

Biblical "Contradictions" - Does God Repent?

Skeptics love to allege that there are contradictions between the gospels when the gospels say different things. If one gospel describes God one way, and another gospel describe him another way, this is sometimes alleged to illustrate a contradiction.

One way to handle these claims is, of course, to address the particular alleged contradiction. Another approach - the approach that I have been adopting in this series - is to point out that the methodology of refusing to let the text speak harmoniously is the problem.

In the example I have selected for this post, there is a question of whether God repents or not. There are three verses found in the course of a single passage in 1 Samuel that relate to the issue. The first is at verse 11, then at 29, and finally at 35.

1 Samuel 15:9-35
But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, "It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments."

And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, "Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal."

And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, "Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD."

And Samuel said, "What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?"

And Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed."

Then Samuel said unto Saul, "Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night."

And he said unto him, "Say on."

And Samuel said, "When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, 'Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.' Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?"

And Saul said unto Samuel, "Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal."

And Samuel said, "Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

And Saul said unto Samuel, "I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD."

And Samuel said unto Saul, "I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel." And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, "The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent."

Then he said, "I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God."

So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. Then said Samuel, "Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites."
And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, "Surely the bitterness of death is past."

And Samuel said, "As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women." And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
Notice that at the beginning and end of the passage it is written that the Lord repented. In the middle it says that the Lord will not repent. If the first and last descriptions of God were in two gospels, and the middle description was in a third, it would doubtless be alleged that the two gospels represent one position and the third gospel represents a different, conflicting, opinion.

In this case, though, the two "Lord repented" verses sandwich the "Lord will not repent" verse. Thus, it is natural to look for a harmonious explanation. And harmonious explanations are readily available.

For example, the expression "the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent" may be viewed as contrasting the permanence of the removal of Saul with the transience of Saul's appointment as king. In addition, or alternatively, the expression, "the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent," can be seen as referring to the fact that God speaks the truth, even about the future. The expression "the Lord repented," by contrast refers to a change in God's attitude toward Saul. Prior to this, God's attitude toward Saul was favorable, but after this it was favorable. Nevertheless, throughout the events, God kept His word. We can trust God, even though He cannot trust us.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Cross an Object Lesson? (UPDATED)

As reported here, Michael Horton wrote: "Third, Christ’s work on the cross was not an object lesson." Horton is wrong. Horton would have been right if Horton had said, "The cross was not just an object lesson," but that's not what he wrote.

It is an object lesson here:

1 John 3:16-17
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Notice that Christ's willingness to sacrifice himself in love for us is given as a moral example here for us to be willing to lay down our own lives for the brethren. It is plainly stated and virtually undeniable.

And Christ's work (though not the cross itself) is an object lesson here:

2 Corinthians 8:3-15
For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: as it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

The lesson here is similar the previous lesson.

It's perfectly fine for people to say that Christ's earthly ministry (and particularly the cross) are not merely an object lesson. But it is contrary to Scripture to deny that the cross is an object lesson. Horton ought to affirm the truths that he does affirm about the cross (that it was a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice) without denying the other truths as well.


Some more examples of the cross an object lesson or moral example:

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

- TurretinFan