Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Presuppositional Apologetics

Must Hear Debate

I highly recommend you listen to Dr. James White debating a Hebrew Israelite.  This is a subject I have never encountered.  I once heard these guys “preaching” on the streets of New York City and when I walked by one of them pointed at me and called me “white devil.”  That was my brief encounter with these guys.  Their theology is radically off from biblical Christianity as Dr. White clearly shows.

My prayer is that the Church will rise up and answer the Hebrew Israelite movement.  They are racist, anti-Christ, and false teachers.  They need to be shown their errors and I pray that they repent.  As I listened to the above debate, I prayed for God to open this man’s eyes to his sins and that he would be brought to repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

I greatly appreciated the end of the debate where Dr. White clearly preaches the gospel.  He preaches that Jesus is calling all sinners to repent (Acts 17:30-31) and He will save people from every nation as He has promised (Revelation 5:9-10).  The gospel is not just for Jews but for all people (Acts 13:44-52; Ephesians 2).

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Short Thoughts on the Islamic View of the Bible

I was listening to Dr. James White teaching on Islam and their view of the Bible and his talk got me thinking about the nature of the Islamic view of the Bible and how that plays into their view of Allah’s determinism of all things.  The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is so sovereign that everything that happens whether good or bad happens because Allah wills it so and Allah renders all things certain.  Some have tried to place the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty on the same level as the Muslim view but there are major differences between the two and I will not go there.  Just a cursory reading of the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty reveals that despite their holding to divine determinism, there is a large element of God’s goodness and His love toward His creation including the reprobate (Romans 9:22).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is not entirely loving and good.  His nature is not loving.  While Muslims believe that Allah is merciful and compassionate, they hold that Allah is to be known not in a loving sense but in submission (thus Muslims are those who submit to Allah).  The nature of God in Christianity is that God is love (1 John 4:7-8).  God is both holy and loving.  God hates our sins and He will judge our sins but He has also sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross (John 3:16).  This is the hope of the gospel, that Jesus has bore our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7) and we will be raised to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  No doubt sin separates us from our holy God and Creator (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 2:1-3) but God has sent His Son for our sins because of His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4-9).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is completely other from his creation.  Allah often remains angry with humanity because we fail to obey his laws as he gave to Mohammad in the Quran and mostly in the Hadith.  Allah will judge all of humanity and will judge the Christians harshly for their worship of Jesus Christ (Surah 19:88-98).  Muslims fear the day of judgment .  They fear that Allah will not be merciful toward them even if they have kept his laws and sought to obey the pillars of Islam.  Some Muslims even believe that no person is safe on the day of judgment for Allah may choose to ignore the works of the Muslim and simply choose to send them to hell because of his own sovereign choice.

Now back to my original thought.  Islam holds that Allah not only controls all things but he renders certain all things.  Nothing happens that Allah has not willed so.  Allah is the supreme cause of all things.  The view of God in Islam amounts to fatalism.

Yet Muslims hold that Allah gave the Old Testament (the Torah) to the Jews.  Allah gave the New Testament to the Christians (the Gospels).  Yet they hold that the Jews and Christians corrupted the Scriptures given to them by Allah.  Therefore, Allah in his mercy sent Mohammad 600 years after the New Testament to correct true religion and to bring people back to submission to Allah.  The Quran is seen to be given by Gabriel to Mohammad as the final revelation from Allah (notice that it had to come through the angel because Allah does not deal with mankind).  Muslims then reason backwards that the newer revelation is superior to the older revelation.

Muslims hold that the Bible has been corrupted though they can’t truly point out the corruptions.  They often point to variants in the Greek text such as Mark 16:9-20 or John 8:1-10.  However, Christian scholars acknowledge these variants.  We also acknowledge the textual differences among the Greek family of manuscripts.  By the way, Muslim scholars know that there are variants in the Quran texts as well.  Bear in mind that the Quran was written years after Mohammad had even died.  The key differences here is that the Bible has thousands of manuscripts for it.  The New Testament alone has thousands of Greek texts.  Muslim scholars also now that the variants do not effect any major doctrines in Christianity.

Yet all of this, the variants, the so called corruptions in the Bible, etc. all happened because Allah willed it.  Yet Allah states in the Quran that he will guide and protect his word.  How can this be if Allah allowed the Old and New Testaments to be corrupted?  How can Allah be trusted if he allows this?  And if Allah allows the Bible to be corrupted, how can the Muslim argue that Allah has protected the Quran from error?

On my desk here as I write is a copy of the Quran along with my New American Standard Bible.  The two are not even close when you read them.  As Dr. White pointed out in his talk, just take the book of Acts and read it and notice how Luke emphasizes places, historical people, emperors, etc. while the Quran does little to none of this.  One cannot read say Surah 2 and know for sure when this is or what is happening.  The Quran is not even fun reading.  Meanwhile, the Bible is full of history, poetry, prophecy, etc. that places the Bible and its events in human history with humans interacting with God as the will of God is accomplished mainly the salvation of mankind through the cross (John 1:29).  The Bible has been given to us to reveal God’s final and ultimate revelation of Himself in His Son for His glory and for our salvation (Hebrews 1:1-3).  John 20:31 records that these were written so that we might believe in Jesus and be saved.

The Quran, on the other hand, is not that way at all.  The beauty is not there.  The historical interactions are not there and what few are there are borrowed from the Bible in some form.  Even what is known about Jesus has to come from the Bible (such as His virgin birth which the Quran has to borrow from).  The Quran has to borrow from the Christian worldview (mainly the Scriptures themselves) to establish itself.  The Book of Mormon is similar in this vein where Smith has to borrow from the Bible and then attack the Bible to establish his book above the Bible.

The bottom line is that if Allah is all-powerful and he causes all things then he caused the corruption of the Bible yet he said in the Quran that he gave the Bible and protects his words.  Which is it?  Did Allah protect the Bible or did he fail?  Obviously, if the Bible is true then we have no need for the Quran and Mohammad is a false prophet and false teacher.  This is my view.

The Absolute Authority of Scripture

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  This is true because the Bible comes from God who is the absolute authority and He has said that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2).  Because God is the absolute authority and He is perfection, His Word is both absolute in its authority and inerrant because it comes from God (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).  Any denial of the authority of the Word of God will always lead to the elevation of the individual to the judge of what is true and not God Himself.

For example, some claim that they follow Christ but they deny the inerrant of the Bible.  They claim that such a view is outdated and not supported by modern science or some other claim.  Either way, they have placed science or a theologian or a creed or a person to the judge of God.  God is glorious and He will not be judged by fallible humans (Job 40:2).  God is exalted above all His creation and He will not lay down on a table for us to dissect and examine.  He has given us evidence both within and without of who He is (Romans 1:20) and He will not be judged by sinful people (Romans 11:33-35).  Who are we to judge the Lord of Glory?  Who are we to question His ways?  Who are we to say that we don’t believe God could create in six days or that He could rescue Noah and his family from the worldwide flood?  Who are we to question the miracles of Scripture when in fact God can do whatever He wants to do?

The reality is that the Bible flows from Him who is truth (John 14:6).  The absolute truth is found only in God.  It is not found in religion.  It is not found in human philosophy.  It is not found in our meager attempts at knowledge.  In fact, the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3).  The Bible, because it has come from a perfect God who created all things, is perfect and infallible.

Everything must then submit to the authority of the Bible since the Bible comes from the One who created all things and who is the source of absolute truth.  When we reject the Bible, we reject our standard for truth and we become the standard for truth.  This only leads to insanity as we humans are so full of wickedness are easily swayed by our emotions and sins.  The standard for truth is God alone.  Any other claim of truth without God has no standing.  God is the foundation for knowledge and truth.  If you begin with any truth claim apart from God and His revelation, we have already erred.

The liberal churches give us a picture of what happens with the Bible is rejected.  Certainly liberal churches such as the PCUSA, many Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist churches show us what happens when the Bible is only held up as an example but not the inerrant and infallible truth.  The gospel is reduced to nothing but a social cause.  Lost is the forgiveness of sins (because sin no longer can be defined since the Word of God has been rejected and man is now the judge of sin).  Lost is the authority to warn sinners to repent.  Lost is the authority to call evil as evil and good as good.  Lost is the authority to teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).  All is lost and these liberal churches become nothing but social causes  and fighting for rights of sinful people without any authority.  Their authority becomes them and they sit as judges of God.  Yet God is not to be judged by us.  We will be judged by God (Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:11-15).

All of us approach the Bible with certain presuppositions.  I approach the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God because that is what the Bible says.  Someone will argue, “But that is circular reasoning.”  Yet if I told you I was the strongest man in the world, you wouldn’t reply, “Okay, prove that but don’t use your muscles.”  My muscles are my authority to prove I am the strongest man in the world.  Why deny me my guns (see what I did there)?  The Bible claims to be from God and by definition God would be superior to us and He would be judge of us.  He would not be like us and He is not (Isaiah 40:25).  God gave us His perfect Word because it flows from Him who is perfect.

Now when a person approaches the Bible and says, “I believe in Jesus Christ but I reject the parts in the Bible about the flood or about creation or about an ax head floating or about Daniel in the lion’s den or about Jonah and the great fish.”  Who is now the judge of Scripture?  Who now judges God?  Yet I may not understand some things about the Bible but I submit to a holy and perfect God.  I believe that He is certainly more than able to do even above what I could imagine or think (Ephesians 3:20).

It is nothing for God to raise the dead or for Him to feed 5000 people.  It is nothing for God to calm the seas or to bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices.  It is nothing for God to become a man and make His dwelling among us (John 1:14).  This is the greatest example of God revealing who He is to us (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In the end, there is no reason to reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Any claim otherwise is to set ourselves up as the judge of the Bible and we lose our authority and answer for truth.  From here we have no truth to stand on and our standard for truth will be our feelings, our emotions, our culture, our reasoning.  And all of this is sinful and flawed.  However, God is not sinful nor is He flawed.  He is perfect in every way possible.

The Insanity of Atheism

I was listening to an evangelist sharing the gospel with a young man on the streets and the young man claimed he was an atheist.  He claimed that he did not believe in any god yet he hated the Christian God more than them all.  He despised the Christian God and ranted on and on about how Christianity is simply stupid.

The irony of this is that atheists are insane.  They hate a God that they don’t even believe exists.  Their thoughts are consistent in their bitter hatred toward a God that they believe was created by the minds of human beings.  They despise the very God who made them.

Romans 1:20 tells us that all people have the same evidence about God’s existence.  We all know that God exists.  However, atheists and false religions choose to worship false gods.  Atheists worship the god of themselves.  Their god is the creation of their own imaginations.  They have a god and they worship that god and that god is the atheist and their worldview.  However, they are not consistent with their atheism (at least most of the time).  Atheists operate their lives based on morals, objectivity, and they use laws like we all do each and every day yet they find no basis for any of these things because without God, nothing makes sense.

Romans 1 goes on to tell us that atheists (and all other false religions) reject the God of the Bible for one reason: they love their sin.  Romans 1:18 is clear that atheists and false religions love their wickedness more than they love God.  They hate the God they claim doesn’t even live in the first place.  That is insanity and atheists are hating someone who doesn’t even exist in their worldview.  Again, atheists know they are wrong and thus the Bible calls atheists fools because they do know God exists and simply refuse to repent of their wickedness (Psalm 14:1).

The fabric of our human society is God.  Morals, laws, science, absolutes, joy, happiness, work ethic, etc. all come from God.  The atheist appeals to culture or to their own intellect when defending morality yet they can’t be sure of anything (so they reason) but they can’t even be sure of that.  Again, atheism is insanity!  The disciple of Christ appeals to something outside of themselves, mainly the Word of God for our authority.  The reason that we hold to morality, to ethics, to right or wrong, to evil and good, to justice and injustice, etc. is because of the Word of God.  And the Word of God is true for all people whether they acknowledge God or not (Hebrews 4:12).  The disciple can show the foolishness of the atheists thinking by appealing to the Word of God despite the atheists denial of the Word of God.  Ironically, the atheist wants the Christian to listen to their insane arguments against God yet deny the Christian the use of the Word of God to prove God.  Yet both the theist and the atheist has the same evidence for God yet the atheist, by ignorance, despises God and ignores all sound reasoning in favor of insanity.

The atheist worldview leads only to despair.  After all, death is the end.  Death has no meaning but neither does life.  All we are in the atheist worldview is atoms put together by random chance.  We serve no purpose and the quicker we make our exit from this world, the better (especially Christians in the atheist worldview).  There is no hope, no reasons for joy, no true meaning to life or death, and no promise of tomorrow.  The entire worldview of the atheist should be summed up like this: 1 Corinthians 15:32.

I rejoice in the risen Savior!  I am thankful that He saved me when I was lost and dead in my sins (Ephesians 2:1-5).  I am thankful that Christ is alive and He ever lives to pray for me (Hebrews 7:25).  I rejoice that God hears my prayers (Matthew 7:7).  I rejoice that my life, my job, my marriage, my raising my boys, my hope, my future death all have meaning because of Christ.  Jesus is truly my life (Colossians 3:1-4).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/02/2014 at 11:24 PM

When We Deny Inerrancy, We Become the Judge of Scripture

Does the Bible judge you or do you judge the Bible?  This is fundamental to the authority of the believer.  How can we speak for God?  How can we preach that Jesus rose from the dead?  How can we speak that God will forgive sinners of their sins?  How can we bring comfort to the dying?  How can we offer help in marriage?  How can we address cultural issues?  How can we know what God deems as necessary for salvation, what God calls sinful or not?  How can we know God?

All of these begin with a worldview, a fundamental position by which we judge all things.  Every human being has been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and thus we are able to reason, to think.  We have a worldview and we judge things based on that presupposition.  That we are able to reason assumes that there is a God.  That we judge assumes that there is truth or error.

For the disciple of Christ, the Bible is the presupposition that we always begin with.  If a truthful God wrote the Bible (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2) then what He wrote is truthful (John 17:17) and cannot lie (John 10:35).  God wrote the Bible using people but He guided them by His Spirit so that they wrote using their own thoughts but guided by the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).  All that they said was truthful in that it was given to them by the Spirit of God so that all that is recorded in the original autographs comes from God and His will.  The Bible records truth even if he truth goes against the character of God for example the sins of the people in the Bible or the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By God’s providence, He guarded His Word and protected it from error because it reveals Him who cannot lie.

Yet when people reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God, they do so because they want to be a god.  They want to judge even God Himself.  They despise the authority of God.  They want to set themselves up before a holy and pure God so that they can live their lives of sin and rebellion against God (Romans 1:18-32).  Even people who claim to be Christians often will reject many parts of the Bible because they simply don’t like them.  They want to feel comfortable in their sins.

The reality is that the Bible judges us (Hebrews 4:12-13).  The Bible cuts us deeply and exposes our sinful hearts and minds.  The Bible destroys our fleshly world views.  The Bible shatters our utter depravity and shows we are guilty before God (Romans 3:19-20).  The Bible faithfully reveals the salvation of the Lord that we reject.  The true disciple of Jesus should spend time daily in the Word of God (John 8:31-32).  The disciple should faithfully preach the Bible to the lost exposing their faulty world views in light of God’s truth (1 Peter 3:15-16).  The Bible should be our focus in evangelism (2 Timothy 4:1-5).  The Bible should be our focus in apologetics (Psalm 19:7-11).  The Bible should be our focus in conversion of sinners (1 Peter 1:18-25).  The Bible should be our focus in our teaching (James 1:21).  The Bible glorifies the work of Christ Jesus (1 John 5:13).

I believe the consistent response from the Church should be: the Bible says.  No matter what the question, the answer is the Bible says.  Creation: the Bible says.  Marriage: the Bible says.  Child raising: the Bible says.  Money:  the Bible says.  Salvation:  the Bible says.  Cults: the Bible says.  The end of the world: the Bible says.  Doctrine: the Bible says.  Holiness: the Bible says.  Prayer: the Bible says.

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It has never failed and never will fail (Isaiah 40:8).  Every movement that rejected the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God has failed.  We would do well to learn from history and not reject the Word of God.  To do so will only bring the judgment of God.  Let us stand firmly upon the foundation of Church History and know that God is faithful to glorify His name when His people preach His Word.

Lord give us more men like William Tyndale or John Knox who will defend Your Word even unto death.

Approaching All Things Biblically

I am a firm believe that in every area we are to approach it biblically.  In other words, whatever the issue may be whether religious or social or even sports, we should approach the subject biblically.  What does the Bible say is the driving question for the disciple of Christ.  Not what does culture think on the subject or what is the opinion of this person or that but what does the Bible say.  That is not always an easy question to answer and it requires a diligent study of the Bible and it requires that we hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we can answer those who question us (1 Peter 3:15-16).

However, one hallmark for a true disciple of Jesus is to abide in His teachings.  John 8:31-32 reads:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

To abide in His teachings is to abide in His Word.  His Word (the Bible) is His teachings.  2 John 9 shows another hallmark for the disciple of Jesus:

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

The duty of the disciple of Jesus is to abide in His teachings (to know His Word and remain faithful to Him).

As we abide in His Word, the Bible sets the course for us.  It reveals the heart of God.  As we abide in His teachings, the Word leads us to godly discernment (Proverbs 2:3).  The Word guides us and it renews our minds so that our minds are inclined toward God’s ways (Romans 12:1-2).  How can we ever begin to know the voice of God (John 10:27) if in fact we are not hearing His voice speaking in His Word?  How can answer a world that rejects God if in fact we are trying to reason with them using their logic apart from the Word of God?  We must resound to the world with the Word.  This is the biblical approach to all things.

My approach then to all issues is to answer with biblical texts.  One could reason that the unbelieving world would reject the Word and they will but this does not change the fact that God has spoken and we must speak His words to the world.  We must engage the world with the Word.  We must examine all things biblically and through the lenses of the one true source for the mind of God: His inerrant and infallible Word (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) because we have His Word.  Let us answer all things by using His mind.

Culture Debates and the Clash of World Views

When it comes to cultural debates, we disciples of Christ must not forget that we are dealing with more than just a difference in opinion over an issue but with an entirely different world view.  The disciple’s world view comes directly from the Bible.  It is a biblical worldview.  Our view of all of life flows from our relationship with the one true and living God.  We obey Him because we acknowledge His absolute Lordship over all things (1 John 2:3-6).  No matter what the issue may be, we view it from the perspective of the Bible.  It doesn’t matter what the issue may be, we always begin with what does Scripture say about this issue or what guidelines do the Scriptures give us about this issue.  Our primary focus is on the glory of God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Our focus is on pleasing God and giving Him glory and honor in all things.

Paul the Apostle argued this way with the Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians Paul dealt with many various sins.  Divisions.  Sexual immorality.  Lawsuits among brethren.  Division over spiritual gifts and improper uses.  The role of women in the fellowship.  The abuse of the Lord’s Supper.  Yet he seemed to always point back to the glory of God.  What God said was what mattered.  For instance, in 1 Corinthians 6 Paul deals with the issues involving sexual immorality (we humans are still the same are we not?).  In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he quotes the Corinthians and then turns the quotes of the Corinthians around to show that our focus is not on self-pleasure but upon the Lord Jesus Christ and how we can please Him.  He ends 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 by telling the Corinthians that disciples are temples of the Holy Spirit and he ends by telling us to glorify God in our bodies which are temples of God.  The focus of Paul was clear: glorify God who alone is worthy of worship.

Cultural debates are difficult for the true disciple because we begin where unbelievers don’t and that is with the glory of God.  We begin with this and not with self-pleasure, license for sinning, or the focus on what we desire or want.  We begin with pleasing God and we remain committed to that principle throughout a civil debate.  In all things the disciple of Christ begins the question with, “Does this glorify God or not?”  and move from there.  What has God said in His Word about this?  What does our position do for the glory of Christ?

It is almost a given then that the disciple of Jesus must first deal with the non-Christian worldview that the unbeliever is expressing but don’t allow them to borrow from our worldview to prove their point.  For instance, the whole idea of fairness or equality must be based on a biblical worldview.  The unbeliever borrows from a Christian worldview to prove or disprove their point.  We should not allow them to borrow our foundations while denying the Word of God on a given issue.  The disciple should consistently question their foundation.  On what right do you have to borrow from the Christian worldview while denying the Lordship of Christ over all things in your life?  This frames the debate in a much different fashion.  It points to the lostness of the unbeliever, that they are dead in their sins apart from the life of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3) and it shows their ignorance of what Christ has said in His Word about cultural issues or at least principles of holiness.

Never get caught up in a debate where you are put on the defensive while the unbeliever borrows from your worldview.  You can presume two things about all unbelievers.  First, they know that God exists and that He is real but they want to suppress that knowledge because of their sin (Romans 1:18).  Secondly, the unbeliever begins with a worldview that pleases self above God (Titus 1:15-16).  The disciple begins with an opposite view with the glory of God reigning supreme and a worldview that seeks to glorify God completely.

I urge you to listen to the following mp3 from Gary DeMar.  You can find the teaching here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/28/2013 at 10:00 AM

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