Thursday, 25 February 2010

Grace Alone

by R.C. Sproul

Soli Deo gloria is the motto that grew out of the Protestant Reformation and was used on every composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. He affixed the initials SDG at the bottom of each manuscript to communicate the idea that it is God and God alone who is to receive the glory for the wonders of His work of creation and of redemption. At the heart of the sixteenth-century controversy over salvation was the issue of grace.

It was not a question of man’s need for grace. It was a question as to the extent of that need. The church had already condemned Pelagius, who had taught that grace facilitates salvation but is not absolutely necessary for it. Semi-Pelagianism since that time has always taught that without grace there is no salvation. But the grace that is considered in all semi-Pelagian and Arminian theories of salvation is not an efficacious grace. It is a grace that makes salvation possible, but not a grace that makes salvation certain.

In the parable of the sower we see that regarding salvation, God is the one who takes the initiative to bring salvation to pass. He is the sower. The seed that is sown is His seed, corresponding to His Word, and the harvest that results is His harvest. He harvests what He purposed to harvest when He initiated the whole process. God doesn’t leave the harvest up to the vagaries of thorns and stones in the pathway. It is God and God alone who makes certain that a portion of His Word falls upon good ground. A critical error in interpreting this parable would be to assume that the good ground is the good disposition of fallen sinners, those sinners who make the right choice, responding positively to God’s prevenient grace. The classical Reformed understanding of the good ground is that if the ground is receptive to the seed that is sown by God, it is God alone who prepares the ground for the germination of the seed.

The biggest question any semi-Pelagian or Arminian has to face at the practical level is this: Why did I choose to believe the gospel and commit my life to Christ when my neighbor, who heard the same gospel, chose to reject it? That question has been answered in many ways. We might speculate that the reason why one person chooses to respond positively to the gospel and to Christ, while another one doesn’t, is because the person who responded positively was more intelligent than the other one. If that were the case, then God would still be the ultimate provider of salvation because the intelligence is His gift, and it could be explained that God did not give the same intelligence to the neighbor who rejected the gospel. But that explanation is obviously absurd.

The other possibility that one must consider is this: that the reason one person responds positively to the gospel and his neighbor does not is because the one who responded was a better person. That is, that person who made the right choice and the good choice did it because he was more righteous than his neighbor. In this case, the flesh not only availed something, it availed everything. This is the view that is held by the majority of evangelical Christians, namely, the reason why they are saved and others are not is that they made the right response to God’s grace while the others made the wrong response.

We can talk here about not only the correct response as opposed to an erroneous response, but we can speak in terms of a good response rather than a bad response. If I am in the kingdom of God because I made the good response rather than the bad response, I have something of which to boast, namely the goodness by which I responded to the grace of God. I have never met an Arminian who would answer the question that I’ve just posed by saying, “Oh, the reason I’m a believer is because I’m better than my neighbor.” They would be loath to say that. However, though they reject this implication, the logic of semi-Pelagianism requires this conclusion. If indeed in the final analysis the reason I’m a Christian and someone else is not is that I made the proper response to God’s offer of salvation while somebody else rejected it, then by resistless logic I have indeed made the good response, and my neighbor has made the bad response.

What Reformed theology teaches is that it is true the believer makes the right response and the non-believer makes the wrong response. But the reason the believer makes the good response is because God in His sovereign election changes the disposition of the heart of the elect to effect a good response. I can take no credit for the response that I made for Christ. God not only initiated my salvation, He not only sowed the seed, but He made sure that that seed germinated in my heart by regenerating me by the power of the Holy Ghost. That regeneration is a necessary condition for the seed to take root and to flourish. That’s why at the heart of Reformed theology the axiom resounds, namely, that regeneration precedes faith. It’s that formula, that order of salvation that all semi-Pelagians reject. They hold to the idea that in their fallen condition of spiritual death, they exercise faith, and then are born again. In their view, they respond to the gospel before the Spirit has changed the disposition of their soul to bring them to faith. When that happens, the glory of God is shared. No semi-Pelagian can ever say with authenticity: “To God alone be the glory.” For the semi-Pelagian, God may be gracious, but in addition to God’s grace, my work of response is absolutely essential. Here grace is not effectual, and such grace, in the final analysis, is not really saving grace. In fact, salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end. Yes, I must believe. Yes, I must respond. Yes, I must receive Christ. But for me to say “yes” to any of those things, my heart must first be changed by the sovereign, effectual power of God the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo gloria.


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Prosperity Gospel & Self Denial

Do you wanna be a Christian? Do you? This is the END of YOU!

All the wisdom, all that you have learned from all the world's geniuses, all the insights that you have accumulated has amounted to absolutely nothing. This is not the Gospel of self-fulfilment. This is not about you. This is the Gospel about self denial. When you made the decision to believe, you denied yourself. (Luke 9:23). You literally disown yourself. You have to refuse any association with yourself, to disconnect from yourself. John MacArthur said,
"Let me learn by paradox. That the way down is the way up, the way low is the way high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the triumphant soul, that to have nothing is to possess everything, that to bare the cross is to wear the crown, that to give up everything is to receive all. It's the prayer Lord, let me find your light in my darkness, your joy in my sorrow, your grace in my sin, your riches in my poverty, your glory in my humiliation, your life in my death. That's a hard thing to accept."

It's insulting to your self-determining will. It's a call to fall down to your feet and deny yourself. It's not an ascension to the next level or some deeper understanding to life. You want into the Kingdom? Then it's the end of you, it's over! You hate your sins. You don't want anything to do with your self, nothing to do with your own desires. How desperately do you want the gift of eternal life? How much are you willing to give up? It's about denying yourself picking up your cross. This is not the Gospel that will give you everything you want in this world. This is the Gospel that will take everything you want and everything you have. John 12:25 says, He who hates his life will keep his life eternal. It's not the Gospel of self-fulfilment. This is the Gospel of self suicide. It's the polar opposite of the popular "feel good" message. How come the path is so narrow? (Luke 13:24,25). Because self-denial is so hard. As lost as the rich man on the road, the undenied spirit will not inherit the Kingdom of God. You have to give all your life to God. Everyday.

Forgotten Sojourners

"You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt."
Exodus 23:9

I have come a long way from my adolescence. Even though I am only twenty-four, it feels as if I have matured ten years in the past two. God has reminded me this year to think back on how I used to think before I pledged my life to Him, before I deplored the death of His Son on the Cross, and before the Holy Spirit reformed my life. I pledged my life to Him before I even knew who He was. And now I realised how judgemental I've been, even only in my mind, toward the lost souls, the unforgiven.

We must remember, how our Lord loved us even before we turned from our wicked ways and ran towards Him into His embracing arms. We may have long forgotten the way we were before that day we called out for His redemption and forgave us. I'm talking about the ones who have turned to Him later in life. Some of you may not remember because you may have been so young, maybe a toddler when you believed. This might be a reminder to some of you of the time when you were given "reproof" of your salvation that was received as a child. That time when your faith was tested and you sought the evidence to the truth. Maybe you needed some evidence to the veracious truth-claim of the Scriptures to convince yourself to belief in the authenticity of the Bible, or maybe you just needed some reassurance.

O' how thankful I am to the Lord that He has redeemed me in my young adult years. I have sometimes wished that I could have shared my childhood with Him and especially my teen years. But with those years in condemnation, living for myself has taught me so much of my flesh and wicked self. It is a good reminder to reflect on how far I could go, or worse, if I had made the decision to turn from His sovereign grace.

We were once ignorant of the Lord and naïve as a sojourner seeking redemption in the desert. Be patient with the unforgiven. Show compassion as the Lord did with you. He waited patiently for you. Give mercy to the ones who are seeking Him. Let them hear your earnest call for their repentance and call to salvation. But shake the dust off your feet after they have not listened to you and leave them with their fate, for their hearts are hardened. Their ears are clogged by believing the lies of the scientists and thinkers of the world, and therefore are deaf. They're eyes seduced by harlots of entertainment, and therefore are blind. Give grace to the humble, but the Law to the unrepented hearts.

Cosmic Treason

by R.C. Sproul

“The sinfulness of sin” sounds like a vacuous redundancy that adds no information to the subject under discussion. However, the necessity of speaking of the sinfulness of sin has been thrust upon us by a culture and even a church that has diminished the significance of sin itself. Sin is communicated in our day in terms of making mistakes or of making poor choices. When I take an examination or a spelling test, if I make a mistake, I miss a particular word. It is one thing to make a mistake. It is another to look at my neighbour’s paper and copy his answers in order to make a good grade. In this case, my mistake has risen to the level of a moral transgression. Though sin may be involved in making mistakes as a result of slothfulness in preparation, nevertheless, the act of cheating takes the exercise to a more serious level. Calling sin “making poor choices” is true, but it is also a euphemism that can discount the severity of the action. The decision to sin is indeed a poor one, but once again, it is more than a mistake. It is an act of moral transgression.

In my book The Truth of the Cross I spend an entire chapter discussing this notion of the sinfulness of sin. I begin that chapter by using the anecdote of my utter incredulity when I received a recent edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Though I was happy to receive this free issue, I was puzzled as to why anyone would send it to me. As I leafed through the pages of quotations that included statements from Immanuel Kant, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and others, to my complete astonishment I came upon a quotation from me. That I was quoted in such a learned collection definitely surprised me. I was puzzled by what I could have said that merited inclusion in such an anthology, and the answer was found in a simple statement attributed to me: “Sin is cosmic treason.” What I meant by that statement was that even the slightest sin that a creature commits against his Creator does violence to the Creator’s holiness, His glory, and His righteousness. Every sin, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is an act of rebellion against the sovereign God who reigns and rules over us and as such is an act of treason against the cosmic King.

Cosmic treason is one way to characterize the notion of sin, but when we look at the ways in which the Scriptures describe sin, we see three that stand out in importance. First, sin is a debt; second, it is an expression of enmity; third, it is depicted as a crime. In the first instance, we who are sinners are described by Scripture as debtors who cannot pay their debts. In this sense, we are talking not about financial indebtedness but a moral indebtedness. God has the sovereign right to impose obligations upon His creatures. When we fail to keep these obligations, we are debtors to our Lord. This debt represents a failure to keep a moral obligation.

The second way in which sin is described biblically is as an expression of enmity. In this regard, sin is not restricted merely to an external action that transgresses a divine law. Rather, it represents an internal motive, a motive that is driven by an inherent hostility toward the God of the universe. It is rarely discussed in the church or in the world that the biblical description of human fallenness includes an indictment that we are by nature enemies of God. In our enmity toward Him, we do not want to have Him even in our thinking, and this attitude is one of hostility toward the very fact that God commands us to obey His will. It is because of this concept of enmity that the New Testament so often describes our redemption in terms of reconciliation. One of the necessary conditions for reconciliation is that there must be some previous enmity between at least two parties. This enmity is what is presupposed by the redeeming work of our Mediator, Jesus Christ, who overcomes this dimension of enmity.

The third way in which the Bible speaks of sin is in terms of transgression of law. The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers the fourteenth question, “What is sin?” by the response, “Sin is any want of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God.” Here we see sin described both in terms of passive and active disobedience. We speak of sins of commission and sins of omission. When we fail to do what God requires, we see this lack of conformity to His will. But not only are we guilty of failing to do what God requires, we also actively do what God prohibits. Thus, sin is a transgression against the law of God.

When people violate the laws of men in a serious way, we speak of their actions not merely as misdemeanors but, in the final analysis, as crimes. In the same regard, our actions of rebellion and transgression of the law of God are not seen by Him as mere misdemeanors; rather, they are felonious. They are criminal in their impact. If we take the reality of sin seriously in our lives, we see that we commit crimes against a holy God and against His kingdom. Our crimes are not virtues; they are vices, and any transgression of a holy God is vicious by definition. It is not until we understand who God is that we gain any real understanding of the seriousness of our sin. Because we live in the midst of sinful people where the standards of human behavior are set by the patterns of the culture around us, we are not moved by the seriousness of our transgressions. We are indeed at ease in Zion. But when God’s character is made clear to us and we are able to measure our actions not in relative terms with respect to other humans but in absolute terms with respect to God, His character, and His law, then we begin to be awakened to the egregious character of our rebellion.

Not until we take God seriously will we ever take sin seriously. But if we acknowledge the righteous character of God, then we, like the saints of old, will cover our mouths with our hands and repent in dust and ashes before Him.


Putting Faith into Action

Read | Romans 4:17–22

The author of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith fills the vacuum of hope. Hope, when coupled with faith, has substance, and substance is something rather than nothing. Faith also provides evidence for that which is not visible. Faith is not blind. Indeed far from being blind, it is both far-sighted and sharp-sighted. Its evidence rests not on speculation but on confidence in a God who sees what we cannot see. It rests on trust in the reliability of every promise that is uttered by God.

It is one thing to believe in God. It is quite another to believe God. Abraham believed God when He said He would show him a better country. He believed God again later when God dramatized His covenant promise in Genesis 15, and by this faith Abraham was counted righteous. He was justified by his faith.

That Abraham’s faith was genuine is seen in that he obeyed God by faith. True faith is always obedient faith. Abraham obeyed the call of God on his life—and he demonstrated this obedience when he “went out.” His faith issued in action.

Coram Deo
How can you put your faith into action today?


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Defining and Defending Historical Evangelicalism

The Meaning of the Mantra

"There is not a single aspect of the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha's teachings which is not contained in Avalokiteshvara's six syllable mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum", and as such the qualities of the "mani" are praised again and again in the Sutras and Tantras.... Whether happy or sad, if we take the "mani" as our refuge, Chenrezig will never forsake us, spontaneous devotion will arise in our minds and the Great Vehicle will effortlessly be realized."
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
-- Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones

People who learn about the mantra naturally want to know what it means, and often ask for a translation into English or some other Western language. However, Om Mani Padme Hum can not really be translated into a simple phrase or even a few sentences.
All of the Dharma is based on Buddha's discovery that suffering is unnecessary: Like a disease, once we really face the fact that suffering exists, we can look more deeply and discover it's cause; and when we discover that the cause is dependent on certain conditions, we can explore the possibility of removing those conditions.

Buddha taught many very different methods for removing the cause of suffering, methods appropriate for the very different types and conditions and aptitudes of suffering beings. For those who had the capacity to understand it, he taught the most powerful method of all, a method based on the practice of compassion. It is known as the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, because practicing it benefits all beings, without partiality. It is likened to a vast boat that carries all the beings in the universe across the sea of suffering.

Within the Mahayana the Buddha revealed the possibility of very quickly benefiting all beings, including oneself, by entering directly into the awakened state of mind, or Buddhahood, without delay. Again, there are different ways of accomplishing this, but the most powerful, and at the same time the most accessible, is to link ones own mind with the mind of a Buddha.

In visualization practice we imagine ourselves to be a Buddha, in this case the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig. By replacing the thought of yourself as you with the thought of yourself as Chenrezig, you gradually reduce and eventually remove the fixation on your personal self, which expands your loving kindness and compassion, toward yourself and toward others, and your intelligence and wisdom becomes enhanced, allowing you to see clearly what someone really needs and to communicate with them clearly and accurately.

In most religious traditions one prays to the deities of the tradition in the hopes of receiving their blessing, which will benefit one in some way. In the vajrayana Buddhist tradition, however, the blessing and the power and the superlative qualities of the enlightened beings are not considered as coming from an outside source, but are believed to be innate, to be aspects of our own true nature. Chenrezig and his love and compassion are within us.

Chenrezig: The Embodiment of Compassion

In doing the visualization practice we connect with the body and voice and mind of the Buddha by the three aspects of the practice. By our posture and certain gestures we connect with the body, by reciting the words of the liturgy and by repeating the mantra we connect with the voice, and by imagining the visual form of the Buddha we connect with the mind.

Om Mani Padme Hum is the mantra of Chenrezig. In the words of Kalu Rinpoche, "Through mantra, we no longer cling to the reality of the speech and sound encountered in life, but experience it as essentially empty. Then confusion of the speech aspect of our being is transformed into enlightened awareness."

That enlightened awareness includes whatever we might need to understand in order to save any beings, including ourselves, from suffering. For that reason the entire Dharma, the entire truth about the nature of suffering and the many ways of removing it's causes, is said to be contained in these six syllables.

The Powers of the Six Syllables

The six syllables perfect the Six Paramitas of the Bodhisattvas.
Gen Rinpoche, in his commentary on the Meaning of said:

"The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Päd, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?"

The six syllables purify the six realms of existence in suffering.

For example, the syllable Om purifies the neurotic attachment to bliss and pride, which afflict the beings in the realm of the gods.

Samsaric Realm
bliss / pride
jealousy /
lust for entertainment
jealous gods
passion / desire
stupidity / prejudice
poverty /
hungry ghost
aggression / hatred

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Does God Exist?

Even the question seems absurd to those that already know Him. I half-apologize for asking the question because I know that to those that have long walked with Him, the question carries within it a certain kind of hubris (arrogance). How can it even be asked? He is everywhere and involved in everything, and every molecule in the universe holds His special signature. And yet we should not be so bold as a people of faith to disregard the struggles of the earnest seeker as they grapple with things that might be obvious to us, but a violent battle for them. It’s too easy to forget the paths that took us from faithless to fidelity.

For some of us, we had that special blessing of having been born into a Christian family and so from the time we could understand the words we’ve had God-talk in our ears. We have always been pleasantly engaged with the presence of the Deity. For others, at least, He has always been in the ornamentation of our lives in the songs of the Holydays, publicly recognized religious observances, our friends with a religious orientation, or even the general presence of Judeo-Christian ethics that so powerfully pervades our culture, if inconsistently so. Then there are those that have not had such privileges and so the entire line of reasoning seems to be stated in a foreign language. What are you people even talking about? Are you all crazy? You say you see things I don’t see at all. You all seem to be hearing something where there is no voice. You are just praying into the air. There is nothing there; just silence. The universe is an accident of matter in the void. There is no meaning. Death waits.

That is a much more difficult kind of person to talk theology with (theology just being the study of God either through the Bible or philosophy). We seem to lack a common language through which we can communicate. Polite discussions readily breakdown into angry debates or muted silence. Religious people get defensive and begin to attack non-religious people themselves; non-religious people often feel that there is some kind of trick in the entire discussion or that they are being asked to check their brain at the door. Really neither of these extremes is very helpful.

If we take revelation (the Bible) seriously, we see that the vast majority of bad people within it were if anything, deeply religious. We also see some of the most important figures of the most excellent faith came from either irreligious or questionable moral backgrounds so that the entire mode of insulting the unbeliever becomes immediately off limits within the scope of Christian practice. Doesn’t it say in regard to dealing with those that disagree with us, “deal with every one with gentleness and respect, hoping that God will bring them to a knowledge of the truth.”? That might be a difficult burden to bear but it does not seem to be Christian optional.

As to the antitheists or the merely un-religious, the common claims of the absence of intellectually credible Christian thought seem fragile when compared to the commanding history of philosophy, science, and religion that seems to be the very foundation of the most recognized aspects of Western intellectual culture. Not that Western is to be inherently prized above Eastern or Southern or Northern, but as non-theism (the belief that there is no God) seems to be a particularly Western infatuation it is best to focus on that way of thinking. Theism (the belief in a God) is intellectually defensible. More than that, it is philosophically defensible. More than even that, to the vast majority of the people in the world through out all ages of human history, it seems vastly superior to any non-theistic interpretation of who and what we are and our place in the universe, if not to our understanding of the universe itself. This, of course, does not make it true, but it might lead one to think that the chorus of voices so intent on singing the song of an indefensible faith have not seriously studied their music. Had the faith of the faithful been as weak as men claim, it would long ago have been lost in the dust of history; as it is our engagement with God seems more vibrant than ever, and this in the intellectual and not merely the spiritual ways of thinking.

Christopher Neiswonger


Sunday, 14 February 2010

My Baptism Day

And now Saida Lilja Rahkola's day. Hyvää Kastepäivä!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of Christ

Question: Was Jesus Christ "eternally" the Son of God before the foundation of the world or did He "become" the Son at His incarnation?

Briefly, the doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of Christ is this:

The doctrine of eternal Sonship declares that the Second Person of the triune Godhead has eternally existed as the Son. His Sonship had no beginning. There was never a time when He was not the Son of God. There has always been a Father/Son relationship in the Godhead. Sonship is not merely a title or role or function that Christ assumed at some point in history, but it involves the essential identity of the Second Person of the Godhead. He is and has always been the true, proper, actual Son of God.

Those who deny eternal Sonship teach that Christ became the Son at some point in history—at His incarnation, at His baptism, at His resurrection or at His exaltation. Most who deny eternal Sonship say that He became the Son at His birth (at the incarnation), and that prior to Bethlehem He was not the Son of God. They do not deny His deity or His eternality, but they deny His eternal Sonship. Some teach that the term “Son of God” means “subservient to God, less than God, inferior to God.” They believe that Christ's Sonship is external, extrinsic, and extraneous to the real, true, proper, and essential essence of who Jesus Christ really is. Thus they teach that Sonship was merely a role or a title or a function that Christ assumed at the incarnation. They also teach that the Father became the Father at the time of the incarnation.

Those who teach this view would include Ralph Wardlaw, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Jimmy Swaggart, Finis J. Dake (Dake's Annotated Reference Bible), Walter Martin (author of Kingdom of the Cults). Popular Bible teacher John MacArthur, Jr. for many years denied the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of Christ, but he has changed his position and now embraces this doctrine.
(from Middletown Bible

The Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

I think just that one verse pretty much speaks for the eternal Sonship of Christ.

Any thoughts?

Re: The Enemies of Reason

I felt like I could have stood beside Dawkins as he defended science (not evolutionary science). I applauded when I saw Deepak Chopra on the table. But the problem Dawkins has is that he promotes Christianity like it sits in the pile with Spiritualism, Post-modernism, New-Ageism, Illusionists, Psychics, homoeopathy and all superstitious beliefs, and making it look like Christianity is against science.

As if we were afraid of walking under a ladder or a black cat running across your path, this is the type of person Richard Dawkins sees the Christian as; a superstitious, ignorant bafoon. I can see how someone like Dawkins can believe this. There are many so-called Christians who have religion and take it a step further into superstitious beliefs like praying to angels, talking to dead people and worshipping tree knots. There are a lot of coo-coos out there, that's for sure!

I too, am outraged that people are attacking science as the enemy. Real Christians are not angry against science. We promote science. The foundation of modern science came from Bible-believing men. If anything, Christians are attacking the Evolutionary theory, not science. Science can exist without having a presupposition of evolution. The first fathers of science wanted to learn more about the world of their Creator. There is an interest to learn more about it since there is reason to look. An evolutionist's motive is curiosity of how the world came into existence. Dawkins believes that Christians are ignorant of science, like germ theory, and deny evidence of the real world.

Michael Faraday, founder of the induction of electric current, belonged to a group whose position was: “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.” James Maxwell, who like Faraday, worked with electricity, was also a believer in a personal God. Indeed, the majority of those who founded modern science, from Copernicus to Newton to Maxwell, were functioning on a Christian base. Many of them were personally Christians, but even those who were not, were living within the thought forms brought forth by Christianity, especially the belief that God as the Creator and Lawgiver has implanted laws in his creation which man can discover.

Even Richard Dawkins, leading Neo-Darwinist, claims that the U.S. “is originally a Christian country.”

On the Christian base, one could expect to find out something true about the universe by reason. There were certain other results of the Christian world view. For example, there was the certainty of something “there”--an objective reality--for science to examine. What we seem to observe is not just an extension of the essence of God, as Hindu and Buddhist thinking would have it. The Christian worldview gives us a real world which is there to study objectively. Another result of the Christian base was that the world was worth finding out about, for in doing so one was investigating God’s creation. And people were free to investigate nature, for nature was not seen as full of gods and therefore taboo. All things were created by God and are open for people’s investigation.

The Greeks, the Muslims, and the Chinese eventually lost interest in science. The Chinese had an early and profound knowledge of the world. Joseph Needham explains why this never developed into a full-fledged science: “There was no confidence that the code of Nature’s law could ever be unveiled and read, because there was no assurance that a divine being, even more rational than ourselves, had ever formulated such a code capable of being read.” But for the scientists who were functioning on a Christian base, there was an incentive to continue searching for the objective truth which they had good reason to know was there. Then, too, with the biblical emphasis on the rightness of work and the dignity of all vocations, it was natural that the things which were learned should flow over into the practical side and not remain a matter of mere intellectual curiosity and that, in other words, technology, in the beneficial sense, should be born. The Christian worldview later came to China, India, Japan and south-east Asia when Britain made colonies in the pacific region.

What was the view of these modern scientists on a Christian base? As Francis Schaeffer would put it, “They held to the concept of the uniformity of natural causes in an open system, or, as it may also be expressed, the uniformity of natural causes in a limited time span. God has made a cause-and-effect universe; therefore we can find out something about the causes from the effects. But it is an open universe because God and man are outside of the uniformity of natural causes. In other words, all that exists is not one big cosmic machine which includes everything. Of course, if a person steps in front of a moving auto, the cause-and-effect universe functions upon him; but God and people are not a part of a total cosmic machine. Things go on in a cause-and-effect sequence, but at a point in time the direction may be changed by God or by people. Consequently, there is a place for God, but there is also a proper place for man.

This carries with is something profound--that the machine whether the cosmic machine or the machines which people make, is neither a master nor a threat--because the machine does not include everything. There is something which is “outside” of the cosmic machine, and there is a place for man to be man.”

Saturday, 6 February 2010

When a Kiss Was Something Special

Remember how it used to feel when a kiss was something special? Do you remember your first kiss? Has it gotten to the point where a kiss means nothing to you? Has it become a joyless prerequisite on the path to intercourse? Then something is deeply wrong. Maybe it's time to think about what it means. And on that last point, maybe a time to repent.
If you kiss someone, but don't love them, then what's the point? If you kiss someone just to get something in return then that is the wrong motivation. A kiss should be special, filled with love, gentleness, and only meant to be shared with the one you love. It is a selfless act of love towards another and the person you love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant or rude. It idoes not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, 5 February 2010

The Ugly Truth About Humanism

Journalist calls for euthanasia of disabled newborns
03 February, 2010, 15:29

The article titled “Finish it off so it doesn’t suffer,” which calls for the euthanasia of disabled newborn children, has caused public outrage in Russia and has led to fierce debates in the blogging community.

In the article under question, the author says that “the killing of the newborn is in fact the same as an abortion or super-late term abortion” and calls disabled newborns “defective blanks” and “newborn idiots”. He states that depriving disabled infants of life is “true humanism”.

The Union of Russian Journalists has accused the author of the article of breaching professional ethics.

The Union Board’s criticism comes from the fact that, instead of discussing the right for free choice of a disabled newborns’ fate, the author claims the only rational way is to deprive them of life. The board concluded that the article entrenches upon extremism.

The board added that the author of the article should have realized that he is humiliating people who are already bringing up disabled kids.

“The author is not raising a disabled child – that is why his generalized conclusions about the life of disabled people and their families… are just speculations. As a mother of a disabled child, and based on my experience, I state that these speculations have nothing to do with the reality,” said Svetlana Shtarkova, who, along with another disabled child’s mother, Snezhana Mitina, has written a letter to the Union of Russian Journalists’ Board.

According to statistics, there are 545,000 disabled kids in Russia. Only 12.2% of them live in foster homes, 23.6% of these children have various organ diseases and/or metabolic disorders, 23.1% have motor disabilities, and 21.3% have mental disabilities.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Quote of the Month

Many are discouraged by the present and past attainments of Christians. They are constantly stumbled by the consideration that holy men of former and present times have known so little of full gospel salvation. They might just as reasonably let the past and present state of the world shake their confidence in the fact that the world will ever be converted. And indeed, whether they are aware of it or not, I suppose they have as much confidence in the one as in the other. They seem not to be aware of the fact that they are full of unbelief in regard to the world's conversion, while they are sensible that they have no confidence in the attainableness of rest from all their sins in this life; The reason why they are sensible of unbelief in the one case and not in the other is, the one is placed before them as a present duty, in attempting to perform which they experience the chilling influence of unbelief; while the other is a thing which they have never tried to do, and which they do not understand to be their duty to do. Consequently a want of confidence in respect to this, is not the object of the mind's attention. Certainly a state of mind that can be discouraged by the past or present history of the Church, would of course feel the same discouragement, and have the same reason for discouragement, in regard to the world's conversion.

Charles Finney

He's kinda pushy to get people evangelizing ain't he? But he is right....

Some may call him a wolf in sheep's clothing. Some have called him stubborn, arrogant, and a bit devious. But if we think about it, aren't we judging him by 21st social standards? In the 17th century, theological issues were not debated very friendly. In the 18th century the influence of Puritans as the philosophies of many other men, such as John Locke and Montesquieu and leaders of the European enlightenment, formed state legislatures in each of the American colonies. The puritans were a prime example of religious development of America. They had become social outcasts in England, where they had little voice in matters, and so they migrated to America. At the turn of the 19th century America had already seen a huge influence of the Enlightenment leaders' ideas into the church. So you can see how Finney could have been a little bullheaded, but honest. But then again Finney did judge the bible by 19th century American legal standards to the biblical doctrine of atonement... hmm. I understand he doesn't believe in original sin but this issue on evangelism I think is correct.

I don't want to sound like I'm speaking out of both sides of my mouth, so I'm open to comments!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Should Christians Do Yoga?

I was just looking up some sermons and I found one on Yoga and it was saying Yoga means "Union With God"..but which god? Do christians know what they are getting into when they assume the YOGA positions? Although YOGA is advertised as excercise.. it is actually a major part of the Hindu religion, the various positions in Yoga are to give worship to the many Hindu gods. Wow.. that's something for Christians to think about..