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The Dangerous Illogic of Secularism

The image on the right was a recent meme posted on Facebook shortly after the horrible tragedy killing 50 people in Orlando, carried out by a lone Muslim gunman who had declared his allegiance to ISIS.  The ACLU and many progressive secularists were eager find a way to blame Christians for the massacre.

The rhetoric dished out by progressive secularists defining anyone who disagrees with them as a "bigot" has now been stepped up a notch. Not only are you a bigot if you disagree with them but now it somehow follows that if you disagree with their ideas you must want them to suffer a horrible death. Huh? Excuse me. That is an inexcusable leap of prejudicial logic. If anything this reveals the hearts of the persons making the declarations. The whole argument is based on the idea (false in my estimation) that if you disagree with LGBT politically then you must want them dead. So I am simply taking the same logic and turning it back on them. If that argument has any validity then it follows that you must want people dead if you oppose them politically. Since I disagree with making POLYGAMY legal (for example), your leap of logic is that somehow I want them dead. So if you likewise opposed polygamy then it would follow you wanted them dead, according to your own logic. This is a self defeating argument that cancels itself out.

Not only his this irrational thinking  but it is demonizing a whole group of persons of horrible intentions and is creating perhaps one of the widest wedges between people this land has ever seen  Isn't THAT the very definition of prejudice? Let's live in peace together with our diverse ideas, allowing liberty of conscience(1) and stick to changing people's minds through persuasion, not bullying or fear tactics.

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 21:06 -- john_hendryx

So if the unregenerate cannot understand God, what is the use of declaring the gospel to them?

Have you considered that those who are unregenerate already know God, but they know Him as an enemy, not as a friend. Romans 1 declares although they "knew God" they "suppressed the truth in unrighteousness". So they are guilty for rejecting what they KNOW. When they hear us preach the gospel they reject it outright and will not believe because they "love darkness" and "hate the light" (John 3:19). Then the truth that they know and hate is changed altogether by God to a truth that they know and loves. Before that time, unless God opened their eyes and ears, they could neither see nor hear (Deut 29:4, 30:6) because they would not. It is a matter of their love and hate, not a matter of simply having no conception whatsoever of what is being said. They understand the concepts being communicated well enough, they just hate it. How could they be "hostile to God" (Rom 8:7) if they knew nothing about Him?

So if the unregenerate cannot understand God, what is the use of declaring the gospel? When we proclaim the law (and gospel) to unbelievers we do not preach it thinking they will want it, or believe it on their own. No Paul says the purpose of the law is not to show their ability, but to reveal sin.(Rom. 3:19) But we do so always with an eye to God that the things we say will be used by God to convict them as He changes their heart of stone to a heart of flesh, so they will flee to Christ as their only hope. People are not saved in a void but through the gospel. James says, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth” (James 1:18).

Part of a comment by Patrick Korseck I think will be helpful here:

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 18:25 -- john_hendryx

Pray When You Evangelize Because God Alone is Sovereign Over the Hearts of Men

"And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." -Tim 2:24-26

"And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Act 18:9

"...brothers,pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith." 2 Thess 3:1

Let these Texts soak in deeply and remind us who is sovereign over the whole of creation and over the hearts of men ...  For certain, it isn't me and it isn't you and it isn't those who hear the gospel. It is God and God alone. 

Sat, 06/11/2016 - 13:40 -- john_hendryx

Should We Teach "Free Will" for Practical Reasons?

Recently, I received a comment from someone who suggested that we should still teach "free will" because it practically helps encourage people to behave ethically. This was the statement:

The belief that one can choose to do good freely... significantly impacts upon the idea that the Golden Rule is worthy of practice ... and will significantly help to lead one to behave accordingly.... and to encourage treatment of others with the dignity of self-determination. It is better to promote the idea of free will ... the belief is important. Hopefully, whatever one defines as "good" is in agreement.

How do we respond to this? The truth is, freedom entirely depends on which side of grace we are on. There is no biblical concept of free will before grace. Better to be as biblical as we can and explain freedom the way Jesus does: "whoever practices sin is a slave to sin ... [but] if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed." (John 8:34, 36)  To teach that the natural man has a free will, therefore, is to overthrow the gospel. That our will and affections were in bondage to sin (as natural men) is precisely why we needed the gospel in the first place. But now that we have been set free by Christ, we are free to obey and live according to the principles like the golden rule that the comment mentions.

When we give God's commands to an unbeliever, however, it is not because he is able to obey them. Paul rather says the purpose of divine commands is to reveal sin (Rom. 3:19) - and when men and women despair of themselves then they are in a perfect position to receive grace.

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:32 -- john_hendryx

What are the Moral Values of a Consistent Atheist?

What are the moral values of a consistent atheist? Well, it would be consistent if he or she were a person of integrity but it would also be consistent if they were a person of dishonor, racism, greed, oppression, torture, human trafficking, slavery and rape ... all of which are not, in any way, inconsistent with being an atheist. But neither is being a person of honor, sincerity and decency. That is the reality of a system of understanding the world which has no belief in objective truth. Atheists cannot, therefore critique the morals of other atheists or people with differing belief systems, and remain consistent in their claim to moral relativism. As soon as they claim their own morals are "better" they are appealing to some absolute standard of morality. To consistently live by "atheistic principles", therefore, is a recipe for moral anarchy. It is true that a person professing to be a Christian may also be a dishonorable person, but he is being inconsistent with what he knows to be true.

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 14:22 -- john_hendryx

God Calls Us to the Impossible

God calls all of us to the impossible: an impossible standard, an impossible life, an impossible faith. The Divine legislation was not designed to awaken our natural ability but to reveal our inability, our impotence, our sin (Romans 3:19-20). It forces us to come to an end of our own resources and find the only way to godly living is if God supernaturally changes our hearts. That is why I can only shake my head when I saw a Yahoo! News headline yesterday which declared that some Christian rocker had come out as gay and left his family. It is not as if this rocker did not know that living for Christ is a call to do something against his very nature. This is explicitly made known throughout the scripture. God calls all of us to a radical, impossible life of self-denial. not a life of self-fulfillment. It is no easier for me than it is for him. Someone might say that they feel happier to do something natural, but so what? What we want, our happiness is not the goal. To be a Christian we are no longer our own but are the Lord's.
 
Frankly, I am not sure what was newsworthy about the Yahoo! story. The man is just doing what is natural to him; sinning. What would really be newsworthy is to do a story about a person who does something that is impossible -- someone who, by the regenerating grace of God, has broken his lifestyle of sinning and lives in a way of love that goes against his nature (1 John 3:9). There are plenty of those stories but I do not see them make the headlines. Impossible to live against our nature? yes, of course. That is the point. "But what is impossible for man is possible with God." (Luke 18:27)
Thu, 06/02/2016 - 13:02 -- john_hendryx

A Reminder to the Covenant God

by John Hendryx

It is pretty common knowledge that it rains quite a bit here in our city of Portland, Oregon. Most often it is a very light rain such that the city-dwellers do not even use umbrellas when they go about their business. But recently we had quite an unusual phenomenon.  My wife and I were in our home early in the evening just before sunset and over the airwaves came the news that a major electrical storm would be passing over our area.  It is not very often that thunder and lightning accompanies the rain here, but especially at this magnitude. As we went out on our front porch the sky became dark and gloomy while lightning flashed from one end of the sky to the other.  But since the sun was near to setting in the west, its light came through underneath the dark clouds creating a surreal glow among the half-darkness.  Then as we looked out at the beauty of the moment, what appeared to be a transcendent rainbow, one like I had never seen in my life, sprang to life in full color in the midst of the mournful sky.  While most rainbows seem to be partial, disappearing into the clouds, this one created a full arc or a half-circle from one end of the heavens to the other. Then another rainbow was revealed creating a double rainbow.   We just stood in awe at its dreamlike quality and immediately both my wife and I, who were now sitting on the front porch transfixed at the vision, recalling its biblical significance spoke of it as a sign of a great blessing from God.  I also saw several neighbors come out of their houses to view the unusual prism of colors. I approached to see if our next door neighbors had seen it and one of them said they thought was that it was “the end of the world”, but my wife and I recalled that rainbows are not signs of the end but of a new beginning in which God looks at His creation with favor.  God uses covenant signs to create and affirm His covenant favor toward us.

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 16:40 -- john_hendryx

The Self-Denial That Brings Contentment

by Jeremiah Burroughs

Christ teaches self-denial and how that brings contentment.

1. Such a person learns to know that he is nothing. He comes to this, to be able to say, 'Well, I see I am nothing in myself.' That man or woman who indeed knows that he or she is nothing, and has learned it thoroughly will be able to bear anything. The way to be able to bear anything is to know that we are nothing in ourselves. God says to us, 'Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not' (

Proverbs 23:5) speaking of riches. Why, blessed God, do not you do so? you have set your heart upon us and yet we are nothing. God would not have set our hearts upon riches, because they are nothing, and yet God is pleased to set his heart upon us, and we are nothing: that is God's grace, free grace, and therefore it does not much matter what I suffer, for I am as nothing.

2. I deserve nothing. I am nothing, and I deserve nothing. Suppose I lack this and that thing which others have? I am sure that I deserve nothing except it be Hell. You will answer any of your servants, who is not content: I wonder what you think you deserve? or your children: do you deserve it that you are so eager to have it? You would stop their mouths thus, and so we may easily stop our own mouths: we deserve nothing and therefore why should we be impatient if we do not get what we desire. If we had deserved anything we might be troubled, as in the case of a man who has deserved well of the state or of his friends, yet does not receive a suitable reward, it troubles him greatly, whereas if he is conscious that he has deserved nothing, he is content with a rebuff.

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 13:29 -- john_hendryx

Follow the Lord Wherever He Leads

by John Calvin

ALTHOUGH the Law of God contains a perfect rule of conduct admirably arranged, it has seemed proper to our divine Master to train his people by a more accurate method, to the rule which is enjoined in the Law; and the leading principle in the method is, that it is the duty of believers to present their “bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable service,” (Rom. xii. 1.)

Hence he draws the exhortation: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” The great point, then, is, that we are consecrated and dedicated to God, and, therefore, should not henceforth think, speak, design, or act, without a view to his glory.

What he hath made sacred cannot, without signal insult to him, be applied to profane use.

But if we are not our own, but the Lord’s, it is plain both what error is to be shunned, and to what end the actions of our lives ought to be directed.

We are not our own; therefore, neither is our own reason or will to rule our acts and counsels.

We are not our own; therefore, let us not make it our end to seek what may be agreeable to our carnal nature.

We are not our own; therefore, as far as possible, let us forget ourselves and the things that are ours.

On the other hand,

We are God’s; let us, therefore, live and die to him (Rom. xiv. 8.)

We are God’s; therefore, let his wisdom and will preside over all our actions.

We are God’s; to him, then, as the only legitimate end, let every part of our life be directed.

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 14:58 -- john_hendryx

Key Quotes from Answering Jihad by Nabeel Qureshi

If we define Islam, not as the practice of Muslims, but as the teachings of Muhammad then violence is an integral part of Islam. 

Those Muslims who teach that surah 9 of the Quran has not been abrogated (the final teaching of Muhammad), still affirm the command to disavow all treaties with polytheists and to subjugate Jews and Christians so that Islam may "prevail over every faith." This final surah of the Quran gives no limits to assimilation, subjugation and violence against non-Muslims.  According to this surah those Muslims who do not fight are even counted among the hypocrites.

Former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi says,

"...frustrated by the increasing frequency and scale of Islamist terrorism [many people] suggest that Islam needs a reformation. What they may not realize is that radical Islam is the Islamic Reformation.

This might sound shocking, but consider: Just as the Protestant Reformation was an attempt to raze centuries of Catholic tradition and return to the canonical texts, so radical Islam is an attempt to raze centuries of traditions of various schools of Islamic thought and return to the canonical texts of the Quran and Muhammad's life. 

The question arises then, If Muhammad taught this, why don't all Muslims believe this then? Because each persons Islam is interpreted through the tradition of their local imam or jurist. Many local imams may claim this part of the Quran has been abrogated. But those Muslims who continue to affirm surah 9 and the traditions of Muhammad and the earliest followers of Muhammad, believe violence or subjugation against non- Muslims is still valid. Qureshi says,

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 16:17 -- john_hendryx

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