Saturday, April 09, 2011

William Lane Craig vs. Sam Harris Debate "Does Good Come From God?"

William Lane Craig recently handily defeated Sam Harris in a debate titled, "Does Good Come From God?" (link to debate) Mr. Harris provided a very limited attempt to ground an atheistic morality in his opening speech. After that, virtually all of his arguments were simply either anti-theistic or simply anti-Christian. Those arguments were pretty clearly off the topic. In fact, they were demonstrated to be off topic in Sam Harris' own response to the very first audience question.

Mr. Harris' defeat was partly due to his approach of being unable to present any grounding for atheistic morality. Partly Mr. Harris' defeat was ensured by Prof. Craig's avoidance of reliance on the premise "God exists."

Mr. Harris' defeat was also partly due to the fact that his attempt to ground morality involved a significant and obvious category error. Mr. Harris argued that the worst possible world would be one in which all sentient beings suffered a maximum amount for a maximum duration. He argued that this "worst case" provides an objective reference point from which morality can be judged. However, that is not a maximally immoral universe, just a maximally unpleasant (for sentient beings) universe.

Prof. Craig pointed out this problem and Mr. Harris' response was extremely weak. He tried to argue that Prof. Craig has to grant Mr. Harris' premise because hell (the realm of the immoral) involves suffering and consequently the aim of mankind is to seek the pleasure of heaven as opposed to the misery of hell. However, this simply confuses the reward/punishment in a particular system with the means by which it is accomplished.

Moreover, for the atheist, this life does not provide heaven/hell-like reward/punishment. Often a person who causes great suffering receives little suffering himself in this life. Moreover, there is no obvious correlation (in this life) between reducing overall suffering and obtaining reward.

Therefore, as Prof. Craig pointed out repeatedly, while an atheist may have morals, he has no foundation for them. He cannot give a reasoned account of his morals. He may think that the Holocaust is dreadful, but he cannot give you an authoritative answer to the question, "Says who!" in response to his moral condemnation.

Mr. Harris didn't do himself any favors by essentially accusing Christians of being psychopaths (and then saying he wasn't doing that -- and then doing it again). However, Mr. Harris delivered his speech in a very calm and measured tone, and maintained his cool despite some fairly solid hits he was taking from Prof. Craig.


Who Sets the Agenda?

"Zrim" has responded to my earlier post with a new post of his own. One comment of his stood out to me:
Contrary to [TurretinFan's] assertion, the fact that something has become highly politicized is precisely why more caution is called for, not for the amplitude to be turned up. This actually sounds like the sort of reasoning that compelled Protestant liberalism to suggest that the world sets the church’s agenda: the bigger the worldly deal the more the church should get involved.
There are two problems with this comment. First, the question is not simply whether the world generally makes a big deal about something. The attention that the world gives to something shows what is on the minds of the people. Sometimes that is a relatively significant issue (like abortion), sometimes it is a relatively insignificant issue (like who happens to be topping this week's Top 40 chart, or which sports team is winning). The world may actually think more about the latter topics than the former, but the church will spend more time on the former than the latter, because of the greater moral concerns.

Second, even if your reaction is "more caution is called for," you are still involved in a situation in which "the world sets the church’s agenda: the bigger the worldly deal the [less] the church should get involved." The fact that you swap "less" for "more" doesn't change the fact that the world is setting the agenda.

The church is in the world but not of the world. Churches in rural Alabama may have a very different "world" to contend with than those in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, they do need both to react and to transform the world in which they find themselves, by preaching the gospel of repentance and faith.

"Zrim" also asks: "since every aspect of life has moral dimension then wouldn’t the church also have to take on everything in terms of its moral primacy?" The fact that everything has a moral dimension does not mean that everything deserves the same amount of attention. Some sins are in themselves and by reason of several aggravations more heinous in the sight of God than others. The slaughter of the unborn falls into that "more heinous" category, and consequently when it is prevalent calls for more vocal opposition.

- TurretinFan

Friday, April 08, 2011

Lex Semper Accusat? Does the law always accuse?

Some folks like to throw around the mantra "lex semper accusat" (the law always accuses). This mantra may have value, and may even serve a didactic purpose in certain contexts. It is, however, theologically inaccurate.

A First Exception: Christ
Christ fulfilled the law. The law didn't condemn Christ, it justified Him. Pilate testified to this:

Luke 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

Luke 23:14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

John 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

John 19:4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

John 19:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

A General Condemnation
Aside from Christ, the law condemns everyone, for all have sinned.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

And consequently (Christ excluded) the law cannot justify anyone:

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Law's Condemnatory Power Destroyed
But for those who are in Christ, the law has lost its condemnatory power.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Indeed, it is impossible for those who are justified to be condemned by the law any longer.

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Law's Other Uses
Moreover, both before and after we are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone, the law has other uses. For example, the law has an evangelical use - it brings us to Christ:

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Moreover, the law enables us to express our love to God:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

And I could go on and on. The law has a thousand uses, many of which are celebrated in Psalm 119.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Don't Mention God's Law, Because It's About the Gospel!

True antinomians would simply deny that God's law has any force. Homiletic antinomians would make a comment like the title of this post. Those who have been influenced by a Lutheran division between "Law" and "Gospel" may even go so far as to suggest that preaching God's law is actually detrimental to preaching the gospel.

At least, that's the sense I got from a recent post at the Confessional Outhouse. According to the author, "Zrim," preaching a sermon against abortion (a rather heinous violation of the sixth of God's ten commandments) "goes a fair distance to alienate people from the gospel" (emphasis mine).

Yes, Zrim, people may not want to follow a God who has a law like God's law. People may be turned off by God's commandments. They don't love God's law, they hate it. Preaching repentance and faith is harder than just preaching faith. We get it.

But the gospel that Christ preached was a gospel of repentance and faith. If we want to preach the gospel Christ preached, we are going to have to preach against sin, even if that alienates people. Sorry if that bothers you, but that's how it is.

I know, I know. I've dealt with Zrim before. His response is that he just meant that we shouldn't bring politics into church. But Zrim has it backwards. We shouldn't identify something like abortion primarily as political, but as moral. It is first moral and afterwards political. In America today (unlike America 100 years ago) it is a matter that has become politicized. But just because something has become politicized doesn't mean preachers can't or shouldn't preach about it.

Indeed, the politicization of an issue may coincide with an increased need to preach on that very issue! The fact that people may be unhappy to hear the preaching is simply the cost of standing up for what is right. The Bible never tells us to avoid preaching about sins that are well-loved in a community or society. Quite the contrary: in the midst of a society full of fornication, John preached that fornicators have their place in the lake of fire.

And moreover if a particular political party chooses to support what the Bible teaches, and another particular political party chooses to reject what the Bible teaches, that does not make the Bible's teachings fundamentally "political." If one political party caters to evangelicals, that doesn't make evangelicalism fundamentally "political," even though it may make it a political issue.

The issue of abortion is fundamentally a moral issue. It's not like the difference between a Chevy or a Ford or the Yankees and the rest of major league baseball (I realize that some people may disagree with me about whether the New York Yankees are a moral issue). It's not simply a popularity contest. Political candidates may appeal to that issue, but fundamentally the issue is a moral issue. It is right for ministers to preach about it, and frankly in a society full of that abomination, it is hard to understand how ministers could properly perform their role without preaching about it (they will have to answer to God, not me, about that).

I would agree with Zrim if his point is that a church shouldn't hang banners supporting the New York Yankees up in a church in Boston, because it will alienate people without a good reason. One's sports allegiance is less important than the Truth. But preaching God's law regarding abortion isn't like rooting for the Yankees in Boston. Preaching God's law is a duty of Gospel ministers. Men, like the Bayly brothers, who preach against abortion should be praised, not criticized, for doing so.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Cursing(s) of the Fig Tree(s) or the Cleansing(s) of the Temple?

Dean Dough has provided a kind and thoughtful response to my on-going series discussing the multiple-event phenomenon and similar issues in 1 Samuel that should illuminate our discussion of alleged Biblical contradictions.

Mr. Dough specifically pointed out that not all of the alleged contradictions in the gospels can be addressed through the possibility of multiple events. Mr. Dough pointed to the issue of two passages in the gospels in which Jesus curses a fig tree and it dies.

Here are the two passages.

Account 1

Mark 11:11-26
And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever." And his disciples heard it.
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves." And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. And when even was come, he went out of the city.
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, "Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away."
And Jesus answering saith unto them, "Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Account 2

Matthew 21:12-22
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David;" they were sore displeased,
And said unto him, "Hearest thou what these say?"
And Jesus saith unto them, "Yea; have ye never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise'?"
And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there. Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever." And presently the fig tree withered away.
And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, "How soon is the fig tree withered away!"
Jesus answered and said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
There are some undeniable similarities between the accounts. In both cases, Jesus is coming out of Bethany, he curses a fig tree and it dies. The disciples notice the dead fig tree and marvel. Jesus uses the occasion to teach them a lesson that includes reference to the idea that whatever you pray for in faith you will receive.

How about the alleged contradictions?
Mr. Dough kindly provides us with a table of alleged contradictions or, as he expresses it, "salient differences." The following is based on his table:

(1) Chronological Order
1. Temple cleansing
2. Overnight in Bethany
3. Cursing of fig tree
4. Disciples comment on the withered fig tree

1. Overnight in Bethany
2. Cursing of fig tree
3. Temple cleansing
4. Overnight in outside of Jerusalem
5. Disciples comment on the withered fig tree
(2) Time the tree witheredImmediately after Jesus cursed itUnspecified but within a day
(3) When the disciples heard the cursingOn the morning after the temple cleansingOn the morning before the temple cleansing
(4) Who commented on the witheringdisciplesPeter
(5) When the disciples saw the withered tree for the first timeBy implication of their comment, immediately after Jesus cursed it.About a day after Jesus cursed it.
(6) Comment on disciples' frame of mindThey were amazedPeter remembered
(7) What they said about it"How did the fig tree wither immediately?""Look, the fig tree you cursed has withered."

There are really two categories of differences between the events: those unrelated to the timing of the event and those related to the timing of the event. Those unrelated to the timing (4, 6, and 7) are relatively easily resolved. Peter can remember and say one thing while the other disciples are amazed and say something similar. In fact, Peter (speaking for the rest) could say both things. These are differences, yes, but relatively trivial and easily resolved.

The remaining items relate to the timing of events. In dealing with that, perhaps it makes sense to point out here that the area "outside Jerusalem" mentioned in Mark's account could be Bethany. Bethany is an area outside but near Jerusalem, about "fifteen furlongs" from the city (John 11:18), home to Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3) as well as Lazarus (John 11:1; 12:1).

With that in mind, the following harmony is one possibility:

1. Temple cleansing
2. Overnight in Bethany1. Overnight in Bethany
3. Cursing of fig tree2. Cursing of fig tree

3. Temple cleansing

4. Overnight in outside of Jerusalem
4. Disciples comment on the withered fig tree5. Disciples comment on the withered fig tree

If we follow this resolution, there is a single cursing of a single fig tree and a single time that the disciples comment on it. There are two overnight stays near Jerusalem (as explicitly indicated in Mark). The only thing not explicitly stated in the texts that would be necessary for this harmonization to work would be that Jesus would have to cast the money changers out of the temple twice. Of course, it is entirely possible that Jesus twice (or more - see Luke 19:45-46 and John 2:13-15) cleansed the temple of the money changers. After all, are the money changers going to leave and never come back because someone drove them out one day?

And moreover while it did not make it into Mr. Dough's chronology, Mark does indicate that Jesus was in the temple on the previous day:

Mark 11:11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

That passage mentions him observing what was happening there, but (we must admit) it does not mention him disrupting the moneychangers. Still, there is certainly nothing in the text that would render it impossible that Matthew's account refers to a first day, particularly since the Mark 11:11 mention of Jesus in the temple appears to come right after Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem (as also does Matthew's account).

There are still two or three remaining objections to this harmony. The first objection (item 2 in Mr. Dough's list of seven) is that Mark says that the fig tree withered immediately. Of course, the fig tree withering by the next day is "immediately" in horticultural terms. Is the Greek word "παραχρῆμα" capable of such a meaning? It seems to be.

The second objection (item 3 in Mr. Dough's list of seven) is the relation between the temple cleansing and when the disciples heard the cursing. However, this objection is resolved if there are two temple cleansings.

The third objection (item 5 in Mr. Dough's list of seven) is the relation of the cursing and the disciples hearing it. Mr. Dough alleges that it is implied in Matthew's account that they saw it immediately. However, Matthew merely says "And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!" without specifying whether the disciples saw it immediately or the next day.

Hopefully this illustrates how a relatively simple explanation (namely that Christ twice - at least - cleansed the temple of moneychangers) can resolve the apparent contradiction with respect to the chronological order.

As Mr. Dough pointed out there are other ways in which the two accounts can be harmonized. For example, these could be entirely separate events a year apart or Jesus could have cursed the fig tree once and then again, with the fig tree withering immediately the second time. The two years solution is easy, but Jesus' triumphal entry seems like a one-time event. It's not intuitively pleasing to us to think it happened twice. Likewise, two cursings would make Peter's reaction of "remembering" an odd result, as also it would make Jesus' seeking fruit on the already-cursed tree an odd action.

Incidentally, for what it's worth, while I carefully examined the Scripture to come to the conclusions I present above, after doing so I sought out the counsel of one of the greatest Scriptural commentators, John Gill (died 1771). Had I done so in the first place I would have arrived at the same conclusion (see Gill's commentary on these passages). It is remarkable that Gill's 200 year old solution to the problem was unknown to Mr. Dough, but I blame the modern skeptics who are promoting these alleged contradictions, not my friend Mr. Dough (who could expect him to exhaustively survey all the Reformed scholarship on the subject?).


Carl Trueman's "Reasons ... For Moving Romeward"

No, Carl Trueman isn't moving Romeward, but he has post listing reasons that he thinks people give for leaving (link to post). But the reasons given for leaving was not exactly the question posed to him. The question posed to him was the reasons that people leave for Rome. Trueman listed a lot of salient items, but I think he overlooked a few, and so I offer this as a supplement to his post.

1. Love of Idolatry
Men love idols. We can see this throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. It's especially clear in the Old Testament, in which not only are idols to be found in Lot's possession (and stolen by Rachel)[FN1], but an idol is made by the Israelites as soon as Moses seems to have disappeared [FN2]. The Israelites are repeatedly warned against the dangers of idolatry [FN3], and yet they return to it time and time again [FN4]. This is the case even despite a number of purges of idols, such as under Asa [FN5].

The New Testament likewise describes the pagan fondness for idolatry [FN6]. John's last words in his first catholic epistle are to warn his readers to avoid idolatry [FN7]. Likewise, arguing from the evil example of Israel, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to avoid idolatry [FN8].

It's a huge temptation, and the religion of Rome is rife with it. For example, the bread and wine are worshiped as though they are God [FN9]. The practice of praying before images and presenting gifts during such worship is also viewed as normal [FN10]. Moreover, Rome has endorsed the so-called Seventh Ecumenical Council, which mandated the use of images of Jesus Christ, Mary, angels, and the saints in churches [FN11].

It seems reasonable to conclude that people who join Rome, join it because they love its idolatry. They are not filled with a righteous indignation at this abominable practice, but instead find it alluring.

2. Love of Certainty
I cannot document or prove this item as thoroughly as the first. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that a number of Roman converts point to the issue of certainty. They seem to think that the only way one can have certainty about doctrine is if one has an infallible church. Their typical rationale is that there are thousands of different opinions about Scripture, and consequently they conclude that one cannot be certain about one's conclusions from Scripture, since there are so many who disagree. Two obvious flaws in their thinking are that there is no good reason to suppose that any infallible church exists and that although there may be thousands of opinions about what Scripture teaches, remarkably none of the groups that hold to Scripture alone as their authority arrive at something approximating Roman doctrines.

3. Escondido Movement
Under the topic of flawed ecclesiologies, Trueman rightly points a finger at "Emergent Christianity" and the "Federal Vision" but Trueman omits to address the Escondido movement. This movement reacts strongly to the Emergent phenomenon and to the Federal Vision, but often on quite weak terms (such as an over-reliance on the amended Westminster Confession). It tries to set itself forth as the official voice of "Reformed" even while departing from the Reformers on a number of significant points. There needs to be a response to Rome's flawed ecclesiology, but that response cannot take the form of trying to provide a Reformed "Rome lite" where excommunication is viewed as being an exercise of power rather than a recognition of apostasy, where our amended (!) confessions become a rule of faith, and where Scriptural exegesis in debates over issues that the confession addresses are rare or secondary to the issue.

We need to recover the grammatical-historical hermeneutic more than we need to recover the Reformed confessions. We need to understand the importance of church discipline, and make sure it is properly applied. We need to make sure that the fundamentals of the faith are defended, Scripture is explained from the pulpit, and charity is extended in as many of the non-essentials as we can.

Of course, none of the failures of the Escondido movement would justify a departure to Rome. Rome's ecclesiological problems dwarf anything one can find in any other church. An earthly head of the church who claims to be Christ's vicar? Come on! A church that claims to have the gift of infallibility, and yet can't tell itself which (if either!) of Molinism or Thomism is correct. A move from an Escondido-style church to Rome is not a jump from the frying pan into the fire, it's a move from a cat with slight halitosis to a rabid lion.

Do I echo many of Trueman's concerns? Absolutely. I haven't spent this post repeating his points or patting him on the back. I hope he gets plenty of that already. I'm simply writing to emphasize a few points that he may have overlooked.



1) Genesis 31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

2) Exodus 32:23-24 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

3) Leviticus 19:4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God. | Leviticus 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

4) Isaiah 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?

5) 1 Kings 15:11-13 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

6) Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

7) 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

8) 1 Corinthians 10:1-14
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play [Exodus 32:6]. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear i Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

9) CCC 1378 "Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. 'The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.'"

10) "I am pleased to have the opportunity to pray before her image, br here specially from Gozo for this occasion. I am also delighted to present a Golden Rose to her, as a sign of our shared filial affection for the Mother of God." (source)

11) "We define the rule with all accuracy and diligence, in a manner not unlike that befitting the shape of the precious and vivifying Cross, that the venerable and holy icons, painted or mosaic, or made of any other suitable material, be placed in the holy churches of God upon sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, houses and streets, both of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and of our intemerate Lady the holy Theotoke, and also of the precious Angels, and of all Saints." (source)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Living god? Or soon to face the Living God?!

The headline reads: "Indian 'living god' in critical condition: hospital" (source). The story tells the tale of an Indian guru who has achieved a widespread following through purportedly performing miracles, yet who is now desperately attempting to cling to life as God has removed his lung and kidney function.

There is a living God. Scripture tells us:

Jeremiah 10:10
But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

And again:

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

That living and true God, as the verse tells us, has a Son. That Son was raised from dead. That Son delivered us from the wrath of God that is coming. That Son of God, namely Jesus, is the only way that we may escape the wrath of God.

Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

For the Son is Lord!

1 Timothy 6:13-16
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Jude 4
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

So we answer to this guru:

1 Corinthians 8:5-6
For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Dear Satya Sai Baba, be aware that you will soon come before the Living and True God. Prepare yourself now. Even at this advanced age, if you will humble yourself, repent of your sins, and turn to Christ, you may find forgiveness and salvation from the wrath to come. It is the only way that you will escape from the wrath of God.