Can Objective Morality be Arrived at by Unaided Reason Alone?

Atheist: Objective morality can be arrived at with reason alone and we should all be obligated to live by it. Right is simply what makes the most people happy.

Response: I am not sure you understand the implications of your assertions. Given your worldview you have no reason to believe in a moral imperative that is true for everyone. Who decides? And to whom is everyone accountable? And by what standard? In an accidental universe, whatever happens, just happens. Chemical reactions simply follow the law of physics.

To claim that morality is OBJECTIVE is like saying that they are like the laws of logic, which are true for everyone, regardless of where they were born and what culture they were brought up in. The law of non-contradiction, for example, is true regardless of whether you were born in Mexico or Indonesia. And, as you know, these abstract and immaterial laws of logic do not change with time and are always true without exception. Is that what you mean by objective morality? And what is to prevent your neighbor from creating a different morality than you? Why should your view be the accepted view?

In an accidental universe why would there be universal standards? Therefore it is quite plain that morality could never be objective in a strictly atheistic material universe. To claim something like right is something that makes the most people happy is to make an arbitrary assertion. Why should people be obligated to follow THAT particular preference? And even if they did, they might have a different definition of happiness. And how could one chemical reaction be morally obligated to another? If we are merely the reaction of chemistry over time why does anyone deserve respect?

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 21:06 -- john_hendryx

Repentance in the Ordo Salutis

Repentance is not forsaking sin that you may turn to Christ. It is turning to Christ that you might forsake sin.

When we trust in Jesus Christ we do not simply go to a generic Jesus, but to Jesus Christ, the Savior from sin (Matt 1:21). You do not merely believe in Jesus' existence to be saved (James 2:19) but you trust in him to redeem you from the guilt and tyranny of sin. So when you initially go to him in faith, that us what you are trusting in him for.

The command to repent and believe does not assume the moral ability to do so. For this to happen, the Holy Spirit must show us the misery of our sin and create in our heart the desire to be free from it (Ezek 36:26, John 6:63, 65) Then initial repentance is, seeing we cannot save ourselves from sin, we turn to Christ to rescue us from it. That turning to Christ could be called initial repentance because you no longer want to be under the tyranny of sin, but since you cannot break the shackles of sin yourself you still need Christ, so the actual forsaking of sin only occurs when Christ has broken its bondage and liberated us from its tyranny.

So if people are taught they must first clean themselves up BEFORE Christ will accept them, you have no small doctrinal error.

Calvin said, 

"Forgiveness of sins can never come to anyone without repentance, because only those afflicted and wounded by the awareness of sins can sincerely invoke God's mercy... But at the same time that repentance is not the cause of forgiveness of sins....the sinner does not dwell upon his own compunction or tears, but fixes both eyes upon the Lord's mercy alone." -John Calvin 3.4.3

No repentance unless God grants it in Christ (2 Tim 2:25-26)

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 15:25 -- john_hendryx

Why do Christian's Always Talk About Salvation?

What do Christians mean when they say that people need to be "saved"?

Do we mean that people need to just modify their behavior and obey God's law? It would be great if it were that simple, but that is not what we mean. 

It means, rather, that human beings are prisoners, captives and slaves to their idols, to their own lusts, to the world system and to the devil. That we cannot extract ourselves from these things because, like those who have Stockholm syndrome, we have fallen in love with our captors, i.e. we love those things which are doing us the most harm. And while we all vaguely recognize that something is not right in the world and with the nature of human beings, we tend to shrug this off, suppress and ignore it, and willingly come under the illusion that we live in freedom. We cling to the falsehood of human progress and and think human ingenuity will somehow deliver us from ourselves and our problems. 

We pridefully hold to the false idea that we are something and can do something to make things right. But in the end we cannot extract ourselves from our captivity. No wisdom, no plan, no power, no understanding, and no technology can do so. The problem runs far too deep in us for that. Like the Hebrews in Egypt we are slaves needing rescue from our captivity. The tyranny of our idols and lusts are too powerful for nature to conquer. We need redemption from the outside. 

So salvation is not behavior modification. No. We are too entangled in the web of our own making to get out. We first need supernatural intervention by One like us who breaks the bonds and leads us out of slavery. Then, and only then, after being freed from our captors are we free to do right, to love mercy and do justly and to walk humbly with our God.

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:49 -- john_hendryx

Be Content With Your Present Condition

by Thomas Brooks

If the saints have such an excellent, such a transcendent, and such a matchless portion, oh then, let them be content with their present condition, let them sit down satisfied and contented, though they have but a handful of meal in their barrel, and a little oil in a cruse, 1 Kings 17:12. O sirs, in having of God you have much, in having of God you have enough, in having of God you have all; and why then should you not sit down quiet with your present allowance? Certainly, if much will not satisfy you, if enough will not satisfy you, if all will not satisfy you, nothing will satisfy you: Heb. 13:5, 'Let your conversation be without covetousness (or love of silver, as the Greek word signifies); and be content with such things as you have (or as the Greek hath it, ἀρκούμενοι τοῖς παρουσιν, be content with present things): for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' There are five negatives in the Greek, 'I will not, not, not, not, not leave thee nor forsake thee;' fully to assure and fully to satisfy the people of God that he will never forsake them, and that he will everlastingly stick close to them. What doth this unparalleled gemination, 'I will never, never, never, never, never,' import but this, 'I will ever, ever, ever, yea and for ever and ever take care of thee, and look after thee, and be mindful of thee.' Though they had changed their glory for contempt, Heb. 11:36–38, their fine raiment for sheep-skins and goat-skins, their silver for brass, their plenty for scarcity, their fulness for emptiness, their stately houses for holes and caves, and dens of the earth, yet they are to be contented and satisfied with present things, upon this very ground, that God will always cleave to them, and that he will never turn his back upon them.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 18:48 -- john_hendryx

The Providence of God After the Pattern of Christ

by Thomas Boston

Observe the providence of God in the dispensations of it, about the man Christ, the most noble and august object of it, more valuable than a thousand worlds. Did not Providence keep this course with Him, first humbling Him, then exalting Him, and lifting Him up? First bringing Him to the dust of death, in a course of sufferings thirty-three years, then exalting Him to the Father's right hand in an eternity of glory? "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. " "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him." The exaltation could not fail to follow His humiliation. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" And He saw and believed it would follow, as the springing of the seed does the sowing it. There is a near concern the humbled in humbling circumstances have here.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 14:46 -- john_hendryx

How We Ought to Respond to Difficult Providences

by Thomas Boston

In your sufferings,

"Consider His holiness and justice, showing he wrongs you not;

His mercy and goodness, that it is not worse;

His sovereignty, that it may silence you:

His infinite wisdom and love, that may satisfy you in it."

A spirit brought down to their lot.

Their lot is a low and afflicted one; but their spirit is as low, being, through grace, brought down to it. We may take it up in these five things:

(1.) They submit to it as just. Micah 7.9, “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him.” There are no hardships in our condition, but we have procured them to ourselves; and it is therefore just that we kiss the rod, and be silent under it, and so lower our spirits to our lot. If they complain, it is of themselves; their hearts rise not up against the Lord, far less do they open their mouth against the heavens. They justify God, and condemn themselves, {72} reverencing His holiness and spotless righteousness in His proceedings against them.

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:33 -- john_hendryx

Does God give People a Choice?

Question: Does a person have a choice when God deals with their heart?

Response: All people without exception are called to repent and believe the gospel. God holds no one back from believing. However, due to a corruption of nature all people who hear the gospel reject it. But those whom he inwardly calls by his Holy Spirit, out of all the ill-deserving sinners on earth, willingly come to Christ.

Paul declares, "we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor 1:23-24

As you can see from the text, the gospel call goes out indiscriminately to all, both Jews and Gentiles... but to Jews it is a stumbling block, and to Gentiles it is folly (i.e. universal rejection) - but to THOSE WHO ARE CALLED out of these groups, the power to God... they all rejected the outward call but embraced the inward call. Make sure to notice the distinction Paul makes between the two types of calling in this Text.

Likewise Jesus himself declared, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing ... that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." John 6:63, 65

But in the same context of John 6 Jesus says "all that the Father gives me will come to me." John 6:37

Notice he says, ALL, not some, of those the Father gives him will come to faith in him.

So let's place these two statements side by side since "grant" and "give" (vs. 37 & 65) are the same Greek word here and both sentences use the phrase "come to me":

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 17:03 -- john_hendryx

Resources on Covenant Theology

"In studying divine covenants in general, one is treading through understanding God's Redemptive Plan throughout history. This is a matter of Eternal Salvation. It answers the question: How may a sinful man approach God (Exodus 3:5)?"
Herman Witsius

Free aBooks

Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man (eBook) by Herman Witsius

A View of the Covenant of Works (eBook) by Thomas Boston

A View of the Covenant of Grace (eBook) by Thomas Boston

The Marrow of Modern Divinity: Modernized and Annotated (eBook)  by Edward Fisher & Thomas Boston

Covenant Theology: A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study of God's Covenants (eBook) by J. Ligon Duncan

The Covenants of Works and Grace (eBook) by Walter Chantry

The Doctrine of the Two Covenants (eBook) by by Ezekiel Hopkins

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 15:00 -- john_hendryx

Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word

by Thomas Manton

1. What is quickening?

2. Why asked of God?

First, What is this quickening? Quickening in scripture is put for two things:—

1. For regeneration, or the first infusion of the life of grace; as Eph. 2:5, 'And you that were dead in trespasses and sins hath he quickened;' that is, infused life, or making to live a new life.

2. It is put for the renewed excitations of God's grace, God's breathing upon his own work. God, that begins life in our souls, carries on this life, and actuates it. Now this kind of quickening is twofold spoken of in this psalm; there is quickening in duties, and quickening in afflictions. Quickening in duties, that is opposite to deadness of spirit; quickening in affliction, that is opposite to faintness.

[1.] Quickening in duties, that is opposite to that deadness of spirit which creeps upon us now and then, and is occasioned either by our negligence or by our carnal liberty, that deadness of spirit that doth hinder the activity of grace.

Sat, 07/27/2019 - 18:50 -- john_hendryx

The Free Grace of God

by John Newton

“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 
1 Corinthians 15:10

The true Christian is sensible and mindful of indwelling sin. He confesses that in everything he comes exceedingly short, and that his best services are not only defective — but defiled.

He accounts himself as an unprofitable servant — and is abased in his own eyes.

He knows that all that distinguishes him from the vilest of men — is the free grace of God!

He derives all his hope and comfort, as well as his strength — from Jesus, whom he has known, received and loved, and to whom he has committed his soul.

He renounces all confidence in the flesh, and esteems all things as loss – compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord, for whose sake he has lost all things — considering them rubbish, that he may gain Christ!


From the Letters of John Newton

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 15:58 -- john_hendryx


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