Christianity as the True Worldview pt. 1

Allow me to Defend Christianity

Many times I hear folks dismiss the Bible as an accurate record of history because the Old Testament stories are too far-fetched. What rational person in 2013 believes that God created this entire universe in six days?

For one, I do. I believe that Genesis is all true, very true. I believe a donkey talked in the book of Numbers. I believe Moses really wrote the body of the first five books of the Bible, and that the sun stood still while Joshua led the Israelites into battle, and on and on. And my I.Q. is well over 100 – I’ve been tested a number of times since a boy.

What gives? I was a biology major for my first 2 1/2 years in college, taking plenty of chemistry, genetics, evolutionary theory, and math. I have a degree in English and creative writing, and I have an extensive library in my home. I’m working through a Master’s degree in Theology. I’ve traveled much more than the average person, and I understand at least three languages on a functional level, with reading comprehension in more.

What’s up with me? Many atheists tend to get huffy and rude, making light of anyone who believes in an inerrant Bible (and I can understand why – 9/10 Christians in the West seem to be about as able to argue their beliefs as an elephant is able to compose a symphony, leaving themselves wide-open to ridicule and scorn).

Yet there are many of us who are nobody’s fool. I believe in the full inspiration of every word of the Bible – nothing false or incorrect, and I am happy to argue for it.

Simple but not Easy

Being smart about consistencyyour faith does not mean being complicated. The simple fact is that without God we cannot know anything. The Christian worldview is the only way of looking at our world that is fully consistent. That is your mark of truth. Ultimate truth.

That doesn’t mean people will agree or recognize the consistency of the Christian worldview. There are major obstacles in the way:

  1. Every person conceived is fallen in the sin of Adam and Eve, and therefore their rationality is skewed. We can’t think straight. We won’t think straight, for as we do, our knowledge leads us right to the God against whom we have sinned. The Bible tells us that no one (outside of the work of the Holy Spirit) seeks for God, no not one. This means that every form of worldview that does not start and conclude with the God of the Bible is a demonstration of futile rebellion. We strive to escape the sovereignty of the God we all know, and our religions, philosophies, and educations are our main tools to do so.
  2. Christians are poorly equipped and educated. Many times I float around the internet looking at how Christians are arguing for the faith. It is a miracle anyone is a Christian who has ever seen the internet. The majority of the Christian voice out here is totally silly – plagued with straw-man arguments, baseless assertions, logical fallacies, and worse. This is not a failure of Christianity to be able to stand as the consistent explanation of all things – it is a failure of her adherents to know what they believe and why they believe it.
  3. Most of the Western world’s Christianity is a misrepresentation of the faith and thinking of the historical church. As I often do, I lay the lion’s share of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the anti-intellectual carnival barkers passing for pastors and theologians. Men and women within the church are far more destructive to the Christian message than anyone outside of it: Ed Young Jr. the 50+ screecher trying so hard to be 25, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Peter Lumpkins, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Ergun Caner and on and on it goes. We are absolutely outshouted by heresy, idiocy, prosperity hawking, and general provincialism. It’s no wonder we’re a joke to so many.

And there are even more obstacles. Christian truth is generally buried beneath a mountain of cultural trash in the church. Yet by God’s grace, there are many of us who still stand. We don’t have all points agreement on all things, but the best of Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, and Baptist Protestantism are still producing women and men who know how to defend the faith and worldview of Christ’s religion.

Next time I post, I’ll delve into the arguments for the Christian worldview. Keep in mind, I’m not a philosopher by trade; there are many others who do a better, more thorough job of defending Christianity. Yet as I do my best to explain our religion in all its glory, I provide another committed voice to the equation, showing that the words of Jesus are ever true: “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” (Matt. 16:18b).

Until next time,

-Justin

Categories: Comparative Religions, Foundations of ItC blog, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Living in a (Western) Corpse

Although Theonomists are generally derided for their minority viewpoint on biblical law, their cultural analysis often provides clarity where other Protestants tend to live in murky gray areas.

fire

In his 1991 critique of the faculty of Westminster Seminary, Gary North gave a scathing rebuke of the Enlightenment.

In his view, everything blessed and glorious about the Calvinistic Reformation was forfeited by the 17th-18th centuries:

From 1660 to 1789, the humanists took the fundamental doctrines of Calvinism and secularized them. They stripped
these ideas of all biblical theological content and produced a
new man-centered worldview, which became dominant in the
West.

First, they took the doctrine of the sovereignty of God
and made it the sovereignty of nature and nature’s finest product,
autonomous man. The twin idols of nature and history
again became the idols of man, as they have been throughout
pagan history.

Second, the Calvinist doctrine of the priesthood
of all believers became the foundation of modern democratic
theory, beginning with the Levellers in the Cromwell period.
Calvinism’s concept of the right of the laity to vote in church
elections became the model for politics.

Third, the Calvinist view of God’s law and man’s God-given ability to recognize it and apply it to this world became the foundation of modern
science and technology.

Fourth, Calvinism’s doctrine of God’s sanctions in history – blessings and cursings – became, in the writings of the anti-Calvinist Scottish common sense rationalists, the concept of the impersonal market forces of supply
and demand.

Fifth, Puritanism’s unique concept of the triumph of the kingdom of God in history became the foundation of the Enlightenment idea of mankind’s inevitable progress. [1]

Rotten Fruit

Although I am not a scholar of the Enlightenment, I know enough of what came about throughout that period to know how we got to where we are today. Man is always attempting to set himself above the throne of God. The present visible breakdown of Western civilization is the inevitable result of our tower-building autonomy; our idolatry of technology over humanity, our idolatry of progress over preservation, our idolatry of markets over justice. We are reaping what was sown centuries ago, decades ago, and yesterday.

Humanity may not replace the law of God with itself without deadly consequences – and yet the only institution equipped to deal with brazen idolatry is the Church of Jesus Christ.

Ed Young Jr

And what is she now experiencing in the West? The rotten fruits of compromise with the world. In the hour of clear need for an unequivocal call to repentance and grace in Jesus Christ, the churches are busy preaching about… well, themselves.

Perhaps Calvin’s Christendom was also a misapplication of (Old Testament) biblical law, but could we have ended up much worse off going down that road? Yes, modern life has its amenities and perks, but even those things are the product of the Christian worldview in motion – the Christian worldview presupposed by every single scientist, doctor, and engineer who puts pen to paper in search of a better world.

But the Church sinks deeper and deeper into irrelevance as the professionals attempt to construct terribly relevant sermons, and the culture turns toward us with sharper teeth and bloodier claws, sickened by pastel church clothes barely covering up our shameful bigotries and hypocrisies.

They are going to subdue the Christian remnant in the West, if it’s the last thing they do. Our only strength is the gospel truth of Jesus Christ the King – and as we capitulate our precious treasure to the politically correct censors of godless media, we are left with impotent, pagan mouthpieces to speak for us (hello Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter).

As Dr. R. Scott Clark put it:

We may well be coming back to a time like that [with persecutions against the church]. The Enlightenment was not so much really an Enlightenment as it was a repudiation of Christian theism and an elevation of rebellion against God. It took time for the effect of that rebellion to sink it and work out its principle but it has happened. We’re there. We don’t live in Israel. We live in Babylon.

And Babylon was a time for God to cleanse the ranks of His people from idolatry.

Are you trusting more in your money and status than in the Lord of glory? I know I struggle with that – and may God have mercy as the pagan culture overthrows the last remnants of the Protestant heritage in the West, completing the revolution of the counterfeit Enlightenment.

Must it be inevitable?

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

[1] Gary North, Westminster’s Confession: The Abandonment of Van Til’s Legacy (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), x-xi.

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Beat the Surveillance State

So our illustrious Harvard professor of the U.S. Constitution turned President has been presiding over George W. Bush-style surveillance of the American people vis-a-vis the alphabet soup agencies that George Washington would nuke if he were alive. Well, are we surprised? We voted for this over the past 75 years. It is our bread and butter in America – military, both foreign and domestic… and when you can’t find enough enemies to fit a budget of $700,000,000,000.00 a year, you turn inward and fight your own people. Happens every time people worship the State! In any case, be sure to greet the President each time you call mom or order Chinese – it’s rude not to acknowledge him and his friends now that we know they are in our company at all times. Hello, Mr. President! I’m about as much a threat to national security as Mr. Rogers, but I understand if you want to keep tabs on me. At least land me a few hits on my blog, eh? It’s no fair when you sneak around and play hard to get. Let’s agree on some rules, huh? Oh, wait – that we did in 1787, and you’re an infidel to those oaths… nevermind.

Fun in the Sun

Instead of letting the encroaching Fourth Reich get your gander, I think it’s a good time for Americans to get back to basics. Tired of sharing all of your intimate secrets with desert-wide storage facilities? There’s this awesome new invention called go outside – it works like this… Put down the government microphone (your smart-phone), turn off the big-brother box (laptop and iPad), and search around for your front door. Don’t be scared! Walk outside, down the street, and into the nearest forest; bring a loved one with you too. Find a log or a nice, dry grassy spot. Now talk to each other. Privacy – nobody can hear you. outside Ask each other questions. Learn about one another’s passions. Encourage one another. If you’re alone, meditate on the glory of God who made all things. Seek His face – pray and enjoy your short life in His world. Or go for a drive in the countryside, and listen to something mellow. Maybe send a paper letter to a family member or friend from your past – most of those aren’t read by the government. Write a story, do some crafts with your own two hands, go fishing… love one another. Remember to live this life holding very loosely to the gadgets of this world – they can be taken away in a moment. And if you find yourself enslaved to things, having sold yourself to the baubles of wealth and comfort and status, it’s never too late to repent. It’s never too late to receive the gospel truths of Jesus Christ who sets us free from the fear of men and their monstrous agendas. — -Justin

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Early Christians were Pro-Life too

Christians are marked by their respect for the dignity of every human life. Any time in history when Christians have acted differently, they have not acted as Christians.

The faith of Jesus Christ is a life-giving faith, and so those with faith in Jesus are protectors of life. Every child has a God-given right to life, from the moment of conception onward.Little Baby

This is why Christians should never use the birth-control pill, as it it possible that it causes the tiny baby to be washed out of her mother’s body in a chemical abortion.

This is why Christians cannot vote for politicians who support abortion in any form.

This is why Christians should go to every reasonable extent to speak up for the rights of the unborn, including stopping doing business with companies who support Planned Parenthood, AKA the Minority Population Reduction Centers of AmeriKa.

And this is what Christians have believed for our nearly 2,000 year history. See a section of a letter from Mathetes to Diognetus, circa A.D. 150 as he describes the distinctive lives of Christians:

 Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.

They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. (Literally, Christians “do not cast away fetuses”).

They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh.

Christians ought to have a completely different mindset than those around us. We do not destroy our unborn children! Yet in America, land of the selfish, thousands of abortions each year are committed by those who self-identify as Christians, Evangelical and otherwise. They are Christian like I am giraffe.

A few other early Christian citations (including one non-Christian Jew), against infanticide-abortion, from http://www.abortionfacts.com/literature/the-christian-view-of-abortion :

“Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born” (Letter of Barnabas 19 from 74 AD).

“…And these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion” (The Apocalypse of Peter 25, 137 AD).

“You shall not procure abortion, nor destroy a newborn child” (Didache 2:1 from 150 AD).

“There are some women among you who by drinking special potions extinguish the life of the future human in their very bowels, thus committing murder before they even give birth.” (Mark Felix, Christian Lawyer, Octavius chap. 30 from 170 AD).

“The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion (see Ex. 21:22) Tertullian, 210 AD.

“Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does” (Tertullian, Apology 27 from 210 AD).

“Women also who administer drugs to cause abortion, as well as those who take poisons to destroy unborn children, are murderesses.” (First Canonical Letter from 374 AD).

“The law, moreover enjoins us to bring up all our offspring, and forbids women to cause abortion of what is begotten, or to destroy it afterward; and if any woman appears to have so done, she will be a murderer of her child, by destroying a living creature, and diminishing humankind.” (The Works of Josephus, Flavius Josephus Against Apion, Book II, 25).

“Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder” (Jerome, Letters 22:13 from 396 AD).

Let us stand with the ancient Christian witness, and with the Word of God: “You shall not murder.”

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Dead Guys, Humankind in Distress, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Everyone Knows what Abortion is

On the edge of the legalization of abortion-on-demand, a California Medicine journal article from September 1970 told the truth, and the whole truth. Keep in mind, this is a pro-abortion editorial I’m quoting from:

Since the old [Judeo-Christian] ethic [of the sanctity of life] has not yet been fully displaced [by the new ethic which places relative rather than absolute value on human lives] it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death.

The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices. It is suggested that this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary because while a new ethic is being accepted the old one has not yet been rejected. [1]

With the above quote in mind, what kind of people do you think are in charge of this nation, who unashamedly approve of the homicide of millions of kids? Better question: what kind of people are we all, that we not only allow this to continue, but actually approve of it by our votes in the ballot box and in our silence?

Black Tie Event, Black President Praises Black Genocide

Last week President Barack Obama addressed the Planned Parenthood (AKA Minority Population Reduction Centers of AmeriKa) annual gala, in which he praised their work, and ended his speech with “God bless you.”

The American Spectator has a lucid article critiquing this Orwellian moment. Paul Kengor writes

It reminds me of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic nearest to me, which has windows with colorful drawings and balloons, the look of a cheerful daycare center. The difference, however, is that mom and child walk in, but the child never returns. That’s really what Planned Parenthood “is about.”

Everyone knows it. Barack Obama knows it.

(Do be sure to see page 2 of the AS article).

Just like the California Medicine article above noted. We all know what is happening in the abortion mills around our nation. We know what kind of people we are, and we are experts in covering it up with medicine, entertainment, and self-help jargon.

I’m reminded of some cutting words of Yahweh through the prophet Jeremiah. Although the context is ancient Judah, yet the prophecy is fresh and precise applied to the apostate Church in America. Read it all:

5:20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob
And proclaim it in Judah [AmeriKa], saying,
21 ‘Hear this now, O foolish people,
Without understanding,
Who have eyes and see not,
And who have ears and hear not:
22 Do you not fear Me?’ says Yahweh.
‘Will you not tremble at My presence,
Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea,
By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it?
And though its waves toss to and fro,
Yet they cannot prevail;
Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.
23 But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart;
They have revolted and departed.
24 They do not say in their heart,
“Let us now fear the Lord our God,
Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season.
He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
25 Your iniquities have turned these things away,
And your sins have withheld good from you.

26 ‘For among My people are found wicked men;
They lie in wait as one who sets snares;
They set a trap;
They catch men.
27 As a cage is full of birds,
So their houses are full of deceit.
Therefore they have become great and grown rich.
28 They have grown fat, they are sleek;
Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the fatherless;
Yet they prosper,
And the right of the needy they do not defend.
29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says Yahweh.
Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’

30 “An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end? (NKJV)

[1] “A New Ethic for Medicine and Society,” California Medicine, Sept. 1970, 113(3):67-68.

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Either Rome or Reformation – Not Both (Repost)

Originally posted 4/5/12, this was a part of a debate I had with a Roman Catholic. The original question was “Do Roman Catholics Have the Gospel?” Please read and share – I put a lot of work into this post.

The reason I deal a lot with Roman Catholicism is because we interpret the cosmos in much the same way they do – One God who is Trinity, Scripture is His Word, and His Church is the means of communing with Him on earth, etc. Yet it is in the additions to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that they have departed from a true interpretation of spiritual, human reality. They lead many to damnation, tip-toeing inches from eternal life.

And so I write. Enjoy, rejoice:

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for this burden for my Roman Catholic friends

Over the course of my nine year life in Christ, my heart has become heavy for the Catholics. Each day recently I have been pondering these issues, thinking hard about both sides, and trying to pray for wisdom. To most of you dear readers, this is perhaps an intellectual, interesting, or maybe slightly dry discussion which is all probably right up your alley if you’ve read this far.

Yet I hope it is a little more than that to you – it is to me. These Catholic folks with their internet nicknames who have taken the time to talk with me… they are made in the image of God – and they are deceived by an antichrist spirit. I know that sounds harsh to our postmodern ears, but to be true to Jesus Christ I must be direct. Letting Smoke Out (my debate opponent) in particular has referred to me as a Christian who is “outside of the Church.” I appreciate his recognition of the Holy Spirit in me, but with all due respect, the Bible knows nothing of a Christian who is outside of the Church. I believe if we dig at this a little bit, maybe – by God’s wonderful grace – He may use it to unravel a little of the string holding together their bonds in darkness. I know, heavy sounding words… but this is life and death!

Daddy, what’s a Church?

One of the main problems here is that Letting Smoke Out and his Roman Catholic brethren have an unbiblical, twisted definition of “Church.” From LSO found here:

Read Matt 18:17 again.  See how Jesus instructs the apostles to tell the “church”.  Clearly He is not referring to some theoretical entity, but to an established organization – His church. Our Lord gave definitive instruction at this passage and yet you believe He was referring to an “invisible body”.  How can someone tell or listen to an invisible body?  “Tell the church”…”listen even to the church”… now that’s clear.

When I say that the Body of Christ is “invisible,” I mean that no one but God knows exactly all who is the wheat, and who are the tares. Remember how Jesus warned (Matthew 13:24-30, and basically the entire New Testament carries the same warnings) of unbelievers (hypocrites) who come into the fellowship with us, who pretend to be real Christians, but are not? We don’t really know who many of those “fakers” are… because they can look very convincing. That’s why the true Church of Jesus Christ is “invisible.” Those who have received the grace of adoption into the family of God are only known in our full number by God. This leads us to our point, namely that the Church of Jesus Christ is not a building, not an organization, but it is the Body of Christ made up of individuals.

Would any Roman Catholic really say that every single individual who claims to be a Catholic is really, truly “in the Church”?

Don’t Run Away! It’s Just an Eeeeeensy bit o’ Greek!

So what is the definition of “Church” from the Bible? The Greek word ἐκκλησία (ecclesia), from Thayer’s Lexicon:

(from ἔκκλητος called out or forth, and this from ἐκκαλέω); properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly; so used.

Also, from the  Bible:

ek, “out from and to” and 2564/kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.

[The English word “church” comes from the Greek word kyriakos, “belonging to the Lord” (kyrios). 1577/ekklēsía (“church”) is the root of the terms “ecclesiology” and “ecclesiastical.”] (All emphases mine).

In light of the definition of “church,” and not to mention the word comes from the same Greek word used for “elect,” should we not see the Church as the whole Body of believers, and not an organization or institution in Rome? How could LSO think of me as a sincere Christian who is simply “outside of the Church”? Being a Christian means I have been “called out” of the world and into the assembly of God’s people – it does not mean I am a Roman Catholic, Baptist, Amish farmer, or any other denomination. See the confusion of categories?

OK – so that was a bit sloggy, but I had to do it – and if you are still with me, I think this will be worth it for all involved. The Roman religion defines the Church as the Roman religion, and no other. If someone is not in the Roman religion, Rome does not see him or her as in a state of salvation. What’s that teaching called? Salvation by institution. Just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are scared stiff to even think thoughts about stepping into a real church for fear of Jehovah God annihilating them. Look here:

Classical, true Roman Catholicism has preached that there is no salvation outside of the Roman religion. From catholicism.org:

“Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is a doctrine of the Catholic Faith that was taught By Jesus Christ to His Apostles, preached by the Fathers, defined by popes and councils and piously believed by the faithful in every age of the Church. Here is how the Popes defined it:

  • “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
  • We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
  • “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

Let’s be honest. Rome believes that she is the one true Church of Jesus Christ as an institution – not defined by faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of sins, but only defined by belonging to its number – to be saved you have to be in the Roman organization, and then cooperate fiercely with the prescribed ladder of sacramental righteousness to “make it.” And all of this off of an obscure verse about building the church on “this rock” – which may mean Peter, or his confession of faith, or Jesus may be talking about Himself… but even if He meant Peter, this still does not demonstrate a papacy!

Most importantly though, the gospel of Christ is not found in Rome’s teachings. In some ways, it is very close – an almost gospel, yet the Apostles fiercely condemned counterfeit gospels which had merely added little bits and pieces to the gospel of Christ – while Rome has added dozens of things to it. Catholicism is a religion of lies, and it is taking its people to hell by the billions. That’s not funny – and believing Christians need to stop toying around with Rome. We are to stand up and call our Roman Catholic friends to repentance of dead works into a living, secure relationship with Christ based solely on His works and one time atonement.

Here’s the hard, cold truth: I, Justin, and numerous others like me are not Roman Catholics, and yet we are the Body of Christ.  I do not believe and in fact vehemently reject Romanist theology – I am walking in the footsteps of the millions who have gone before me, and in the footsteps of the Reformation Christians who shed their blood to salvage the gospel out from Rome. I have these convictions because of the gospel, because of God’s Word, and because He has chosen me unto an everlasting salvation, accomplished by Christ outside of and before me. I do not merit the grace He gives, otherwise it would no longer be grace but a debt He would owe. God will be no man’s debtor, believe that.

So that is all to say to LSO and my other Roman Catholic readers; you may feel yourself generous and magnanimous for granting to me that I am a Christian, just simply outside of the Church, but your own papal doctrines really don’t allow for such. Either I, as a gospel believing Christian, am wrong and outside of His Body, or you are, or we are both in mythology. It cannot be that our mutually exclusive truth claims are the same gospel or ecclesiology!

Finally, and most importantly, what does God’s Word say?

What does it take to become a part of the Church of Jesus Christ invisible and universal?

Belief in who Jesus is and what He has done, is doing, and will do. A very few of the many Scriptures on this subject:

  • Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9[e]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, [f]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [g]resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE [h]DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
  • John 6:28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
  • John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were [i]born, not of [j]blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
  • John 5:37 And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. 39[i]You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive [j]glory from one another and you do not seek the [k]glory that is from the one and only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
  • Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.(All Scripture NASB)

What does becoming a member of the Church/the Body of Christ result in?

Justification, sanctification, and glorification. Good works which justify the reality of faith.

  • Romans 8:28 And we know that [k]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was [l]raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of [m]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Just as it is written,“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
    WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (real faith which saves will always produce good works as a fruit).
  • James 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [n]that faith save him? (No!)
  • James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [p]dead, being by itself. (saving faith is always accompanied by works)
  • James 2:18 But someone [q]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that [r]God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [s]as a result of the works, faith was [t]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (Context and harmony with the entirety of Scripture!)

 

Thanks for reading an extremely long, but heartfelt post.

-Justin

P.S. I am aware that the Reformation was only 500 years ago and that Roman Catholicism has been in its present form for over 1,600 – but when I say “Reformation” in reference to the true Church, it is a synecdoche for Apostolic, original Christianity.

P.P.S. I know that this in not the world’s greatest apologetic attempt, and that many of you could do better, but in all sincerity it is dedicated to the beautiful lover of my soul, Christ Jesus. May He do with it as He wills.

Categories: Comparative Religions, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Boston Marathon 2013 Bombings

Boston MarathonYou can find infinite commentary on what happened in Boston today. Many people were seriously injured, and at least a few died, including an 8 year-old. Our nation suffers yet another traumatic, surprise massacre. This has become the natural order of the day we live in.

A few thoughts from the Christian worldview.

  • Jesus is Lord. There is no good or evil in this world except by His working the good, or allowing the evil. He is Lord, and we must trust Him in all things.
  • Reports have come in that in Iraq today, there were a series of bomb blasts that killed scores of people, and injured dozens more. Today Boston, USA is sharing in the bloodbath of what is everyday life in our war zones overseas. Although our tragedy is more unexpected, it has the same root cause: the sin of lust manifest in war. War is upon us. We are a people of war. We like war. We love war. It is intertwined in the fabric of our nation, and with each senseless tragedy, we drink down the wine of endless war’s fruit. This is the world we have chosen as a culture.
  • Whoever did this deserves to face justice, and be sentenced to a just punishment fitting the crime. Acts of murder must be met with severe justice, in honor of the image of God we are all created in – life must be protected and cherished.
  • Planned Parenthood is the slow-motion, blood-bath bombing that has been going off in our cities for decades. The Boston Marathon massacre is a broad-daylight, caught on video representation of what goes on in 3,000+ wombs each day of the year in our murderous society.
  • The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in America is complicit in so far as we have capitulated to the prevailing winds of culture, forming ourselves into the image of a circus train, rolling into town with entertainment rather than Gospel power. We have given the country away to the secular humanist church, and they have gladly reformed it into their own image.
  • The new America includes regular acts of mass murder, which drives our duplicitous leadership to enact more and more of a police state to “keep us safe.” In fact, we have never been more vulnerable, and we are waking up to a nation with no security, and a rapidly shrinking inheritance of liberty. Only the true Gospel can free this nation once more, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
  • The media will tell us how to feel and react to this tragedy, as they do each time. The hypnosis has already begun, no doubt, and they will successfully ensnare the majority of us into a safe groupthink before long. This should be resisted, and political solutions which include surrendering our liberties must be rejected out of hand.
  • Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. We are in a much worse situation than we can see.

With more to say, I’ll quit. What a tiring, yet beautiful age to be a part of. I am grateful to be alive.

-Justin

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Exposing the Bankruptcy of the Pro-Abortion Argument

Yesterday I commented on and linked to a ghastly article on salon.com written by Mary Elizabeth Williams. In it she asserts that unborn human beings do not have a right to life as compared to those stronger than them. Her final sentence of the article is the chilling conclusion that an unborn child is “a life worth sacrificing.”

This morning I have been listening to the January 29, 2013 podcast of Issues, Etc. from Lutheran Public Radio.

Scott Klusendorf

On this program, Scott Klusendorf shared his insight into Williams’ salon.com article, cutting down her rhetoric to expose the naked, post-modern power-play just beneath the surface.

I recorded some of his comments:

[Williams] is essentially saying there is one class of human beings that you can set aside and kill, and there’s another class you can’t. [We have] a marvelous opportunity to step up and say . . .

Listen, I believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life regardless of that human beings size, gender, race, level of development, or degree of dependency.

I believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life. [Williams] denies that central premise. She believes that only some humans have a right to life based on some accidental and fleeting thing that may come or go in the course of your lifetime, such as your dependency needs.

Which view, the pro-life view or the alleged “pro-choice” view does the better job of explaining human equality?

Lincoln argued that any way you argued for enslaving the black man will work equally well to enslave many whites, and you say man A is white, man B is dark, the white skin having the right to enslave the dark skin man, well take care because by that rule you’re a slave to the first person you meet who has skin fairer than your own.

It comes down to this: [Williams] says a fetus doesn’t have a right to life; therefore a fetus doesn’t have a right to life.

This is power politics; this isn’t any kind of rational argument… if there is indeed a class of human beings that can be set aside to be killed because they don’t meet her standard, you can’t just isolate out one victim class, namely the unborn, and say that doesn’t apply to anybody else.

If living independent is what gives us value, then those that depend on any kind of medical device forfeit their right to life, as do conjoined twins. There is no rational argument for why this applies only to the unborn, and not to anyone else.

We’ve really come this far. Don’t compromise with this type of monstrous worldview, my friends, but pray for our enemies.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Abortion Advocate: So What if it Ends a Life?

Read this honest, horrifying article from Mary Elizabeth Williams of salon.com. Really read it, and let her very last sentence simply rest on your mind for a few moments. Then come back and read my assessment. Here’s an excerpt, and then the link right below it:

“Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.”

Her article: So what if abortion ends life?

Shocked?

This should come as no surprise. For decades the abortion rights crowd has been struggling in vain to argue that a child in utero is not a human life, tacitly admitting the immoral nature of, well, killing kids. The debate has centered on where and when life begins – pro-life advocates arguing correctly that it begins at conception, and pro-death advocates arguing it begins… some other time.

The debate has been an argument in semantics. The pro-death crowd has known all along that abortion is murder, but it would not have been very convenient politically to go around mere decades after the holocaust openly arguing that some people are less worthy of life than others, and may be  legally murdered by those who are stronger.

Well, no longer is such a deception quite necessary. It seems that in the midst of our rapidly declining culture, the unbreakable focus on self-pleasure has opened the way for some brutal honesty in the pro-death crowd. Our collective idol is surely the glorification of the self, and so as events and people threaten the promotion and happiness of self, any means necessary becomes permissible in continuing on the path of -ME FIRST-.

HEDONIST HULK SMASH

We see this on a national scale – for at least 70 years, we have been willing to send our military into other peoples’ countries if there is a threat to our economic interests. The CIA has busily toppled one harmless government after another (killing off countless civilians) in pursuit of more favorable business conditions for our major corporations. We invade, bomb, break, and steal in pursuit of happiness.

In the past 10 years, we have reached the new heights of openly practicing torture on non-combatants, keeping people in prison camps who have not been charged with any crime or been found taking up arms against our country. We are viciously committed to our way of life, willing to kill anyone who blocks our path to personal Valhalla. We smash the people and things that stop us from pleasuring ourselves.

Too bad for children

Kids are a gift in the ways we need them most. They teach us infinitely more about self-sacrifice and self-giving than anything else can. They become our greatest contribution to the world as we train them up and teach them the ways of righteousness, ingenuity, and selfless love for others. But they do put a crimp in our style. They whine, they cry, they disobey. They have bedtimes that keep us from going out and drinking ourselves into the latest STDs, and they demand more of us than we feel we have to give. They oftentimes take us down a notch or two on the financial ladder of life. That’s really the final straw for many Americans. We smash the people that stop us from pleasuring ourselves.

Did we really think abortion was about something else?

I know that there are many different, nuanced reasons that women get abortions, but underneath each of those reasons is a lie. She is hearing a lie that she is believing, and the victim will be her own daughter or son. Counting all the “surgical” abortions and birth control pill abortions over the past 50 years, America and the West have hundreds of millions of murdered children on our hands. That’s a lot of happiness being pursued, I guess.

And how are we doing on that happiness thing? We’re the most heavily medicated nation on earth, by far. We live and function on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. We’re miserable in so many ways. Oops – maybe we didn’t kill enough of us?

I wonder how long it will take for our nation, our culture to realize the pursuit of happiness is on a self-forgetting path, and it runs like a dagger right through the beating heart of self-centeredness.

Until we get that, we’re the puppets of tyrants, we’re the puppets of devils, and we’re the puppets of these evil hearts within us.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

True Freedom

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feelings are not God

Piper says it all right here: to us Western thinkers.

Samuel at Gilgal

Finally AliveJohn Piper:

“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.” (Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again?)

View original post

Categories: Humankind in Distress, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.