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Diversity through Relentless Conformity

Dear friends, there is a great malignancy in our land called secular progressivism - a movement that ironically wants diversity through relentless conformity. But we cannot continue in our attempts to root out the cancer with the band-aid solution of surface arguments. While I do not doubt their sincerity in wanting to resolve the issues of the world, secularists do not know God, history or human nature, so their so-called solutions only serve to exacerbate the world's problems. I think we can all agree that there are serious problems in our world, but we are far apart on how these problems become solved. You and I know that sin cannot be effectively treated with Secularism, Marxism, liberation theology, more laws which increase power to politicians or re-educating our children. These "solutions" are the problem. They are a destructive force. Any view of the world which does not recognize the inherent sinfulness of man will put no limits on man's power. We can already see that the rule of law and balance of power is being torn down piece by piece and replaced by the rule of man. And so the more these "solutions" are forced upon us and our children the greater divisions and corruptions we will see.
 
So instead of treating cancer with a band-aid we must begin challenging our theological opponents such that they come face to face with their own basic assumptions and presuppositions about life. Socially liberal presuppositions about truth and the nature of humanity are as religious as anyone else. They have created their own narrative of the world and the nature of human beings, about who we are and where we are going. "Progressives" even have a whole narrative of redemption and liberation.
Thu, 07/14/2016 - 09:33 -- john_hendryx

Some Recoil At the Idea that God Ordains Evil or Disasters

It genuinely baffles me that there are professing Christians out there (e.g. Rachel Held Evans, Roger Olson) who, because of moral qualms, reject the biblical idea that disasters in this world are ordained by God. (Exodus 4:10-11, 12:29; Proverbs 16:4; 2 Sam 24:15-16; 1 Sam 15:2-3; Job 2:10; Isa 45:7; Amos 3:6; Eph 1:11) These concepts are so central to the biblical message that it makes the message of Christianity incoherent if they are rejected. Do they not stop to consider that due to the rebellion of Adam, humanity is now fallen and this whole world is under the judgment of God? And that anything that happens to us short of hell in this life is a mercy reminding us of our desperate condition and our need to flee to Christ for forgiveness?  Do these teachers think that we humans are innocent and do not deserve judgment? That a loving God would never do such a thing? Is not God also holy?  I do acknowledge that it is hard to behold the reality of our grim condition in our world, but it is vital if we are going to help those around us.

Some on the theological left contend that a truly sovereign God is a dangerous and un-Biblical concept. They cannot swallow the concept that the God of the Bible does preordain disasters, even disasters and evil that are enacted by men (Acts 2:23), and they can be seen as having been caused by sin, particularly original sin. That original sin puts humanity squarely in a place of judgment. Many of these folks on the left want to know how we can grieve disasters when they are ultimately God's plan. Reason:precisely because they are a punishment for original and continued sin. Ultimately catastrophes cause us to examine our own personal sin as well as the fallen state of the world. (Luke 13:4) Lord have mercy on us all.

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 17:32 -- john_hendryx

Inability and Accountability

"Can a ... leopard change his spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.
" - Jeremiah 13:23

There are a number of professing Christians who have actually been taught that God would never require us to do anything we are incapable of doing. But does not the whole Bible teach that we are required to obey the Law? Yet not one person, save Jesus, can perfectly obey the law? In fact, Paul declares that the purpose of the Divine legislation was not to show our moral ability, but to reveal sin i.e.. our utter inability and impotence to obey the law (see Rom 3:19, 20). Further, there was nothing that obligated God to send His Son to redeem us. He could have justly required the fallen human race to obey the Law and left us to ourselves to try ... and then He could have swept us all away in judgment when each of us failed to do so.

That people are accountable to do things they are incapable of doing is also evident in every day life. Consider those who borrow large sums of money from the bank and then lose it all through some foolish act. Their inability to repay the bank in no way alleviates them from the responsibility to do so. If the Arminian makes the charge that inability alleviates responsibility, then it follows that once I squandered the money away then I am no longer responsible to repay it. That I am off the hook. But we all know this is not the case.  Likewise, in Adam, we all owe a sin-debt that we cannot repay. The Arminian reasons that we are therefore no longer responsible for it if we can do nothing about it.

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 09:48 -- john_hendryx

Atheism and Existential Nihilism

Guest Post by Steve Hays

I'll comment on a post by Jeff Lowder:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2016/07/09/naturalism-theism-and-the-meaning-of-life/

Jeff's analysis is dependent on Erik J. Wielenberg's Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe.

    intrinsically meaningful life: a life has intrinsic meaning if the life is good for the person who lives it overall.

Take the head of a Latin American drug cartel. He enjoys the best of everything. Sexy women, gourmet food, yachts, mansions, sports cars, &c.

He has business rivals murdered. He has their family members murdered as a deterrent. He bribes judges and police. Those who can't be bribed he has tortured and murdered.

It's a very good life for him. He enjoys the perks. In fact, due to his sadistic streak, he even enjoys the vicious policies necessary to sustain it.

Doesn't that meet Jeff's definition?

If Jeff objects that it isn't "good" in the appropriate sense, does Jeff have a noncircular definition of "good"?  

    intrinsic value: something is intrinsically valuable if the thing’s value is inherent to the thing’s own properties, as opposed to its value being derived from the properties of another thing.

    extrinsic value: something is extrinsically valuable if the thing’s value is derived from the value of another thing.


Is it that cut-and-dried? Take a facsimile of Da Vinci's The Virgin and Child with St. Anne.

In one respect, the reproduction is valuable in its own right. If the original was destroyed, the reproduction would still be valuable. In that regard, the reproduction has a value independent of the original.

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 16:16 -- john_hendryx

12 Principles for Debating Online

12 principles that are worth considering and praying over before you engage in online debate: 

1) Do not respond hastily. Think and pray before you speak.

2) Be brief: You want to be clear—and to articulate your point without being pompous. Be direct. Stay on topic. Don’t lose yourself, or your readers, in overly wordy sentences or paragraphs.

3) Take the time to let people know you have understood their comments and concerns.  Show respect to them by repeating their argument back in your own words and ask if you have understood them correctly.

4) Respect the opinions of others. When you need to disagree, do so respectfully and acknowledge valid points in other's arguments. While others are entitled to hold any perspective on an issue, be sure to point out their own inconsistencies, but with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

5) Do not write anything that sounds angry or sarcastic. (James 1:19)

6) Never speak as if you are glad at the misfortune of another.  Show care, concern or empathy.

7) When you reprove another, remember that you are not without sin, and are not beyond the capacity to sin. Always keep in mind that you are not saved because you are better or more deserving than others, but are saved by God's mercy alone. Any good character we may now have is only because of God's mercy. Don't forget that in your discussions.

8) Do not use reproachful language against others: curses, reviling or argumentum ad hominem: attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 11:57 -- john_hendryx

Four-Point Calvinists & Multiple Intentions in the Atonement

Visitor: 4-point Calvinists like Bruce Ware  affirm 'multiple intentions' for the atonement, all shared symmetrically within the Trinity. The Father employs election and preterition, the Son atones generally and redeems particularly, and the Spirit calls both effectually and non-effectually (or something to that effect). No disharmony in that economy.

Response: 5 point Calvinists have always acknowledged multiple intentions, if you include non-redemptive benefits. But the debate on this issue has always been about REDEMPTIVE benefits. That is why it is called PARTICULAR REDEMPTION. .I.e.. Christ died REDEMPTIVELY for the elect only. That has always historically been what is at issue in this debate ..

Here is an historical example showing Jonathan Edwards (a five point Calvinist) on particular redemption which shows that he affirms, together with traditional Calvinists through history. both redemptive and non redemptive benefits related to Christ's work:

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 17:18 -- john_hendryx

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

Brothers and sisters, let's acknowledge reality: we are no longer on a slippery slope. We have already hit bottom and the edifices of the new order are already being erected there. But do not fret - it is not the end ... far from it. The gospel can flourish in any and all environments. In fact, that "plant" we call the gospel does best in the harshest of conditions. I have seen it with my own eyes. I lived in a communist country for 10 years where atheism was the official religion and Christianity suppressed, yet, in the midst of it, I witnessed one of the greatest revivals in history. Remember Paul, when in prison, said, "I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained." (2 Tim 2:9) And after saying this the gospel spread wildly through the then known world for the next 300 years under great persecution, tribulation and hardships. So do not view current events necessarily as evil things which make one lose hope. On the contrary view them as that which gives you hope and joy because you know it is carried out by the sovereign LORD, for the purposes of advancing His kingdom, though in ways out of the sight of man. God's power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9)

Read Psalm 2 & Psalm 37

Sat, 07/02/2016 - 15:42 -- john_hendryx

Who is Quashing Who's Freedoms?

Did you ever notice that the persons who love to claim that Christians are out to quash everyone's freedom; and want to oppress everyone, are the same persons who have so strenuously and forcefully fought to have a monopoly on what our children learn in public schools? i.e.. to push their views of sexuality and the origin of humanity as the only ones allowed to be taught, etc The irony should not be missed.

Why not allow open debate?, critiques of textbook views? and alternate views in our textbooks? Let the children ultimately decide which ideas sound most reasonable. If the secularist view of the world is right and true, what is there to be afraid of in debate and presenting alternate views? Secularists have become so defensive about the truth of their own views that, instead of debate, other views are either ridiculed or outlawed. It is the nature of human beings to think of themselves as unbiased, neutral bystanders, so totalitarian tendencies often sneak in without notice.. It is awfully convenient to declare that one's own view is "not religious" and thereby give yourself the right to monopolize the dialog in education.

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 13:05 -- john_hendryx

Abortion and Bodily Autonomy

Guest post by Steve Hays

A stock argument for abortion rights is that outlawing abortion violates a woman's bodily integrity. There are, however, problems with that argument:
 
i) By that logic, an abortion violates the bodily integrity of the baby. So the argument is self-refuting.
 
ii) Is bodily autonomy absolute? If a depressed teenager is about to commit suicide, and I'm in a position to stop it, should I intervene, or does that violate his (or her) freedom to do whatever he wants with his own body?
 
iii) Do I have a right to get high or get drunk, then get behind the wheel of a car? That's what I want to do with my body. Is it wrong for government to infringe on my bodily integrity in that situation?
 
iv) Historically, governments haven't hesitated to draft men to fight wars. What about the bodily autonomy of men? What if they don't want their bodies to be used in war? Tough luck!
 
Suppose you oppose conscription. But what if it's a war of national survival, like England was facing in WWII? 
 
v) Traditionally, women were exempt from the draft. So the charge of sexism backfires. In this case, men were having to assume a burden that women were not. The risk of death or injury in battle. The risk of capture and torture by the enemy. 
 
Wed, 06/29/2016 - 13:41 -- john_hendryx

Subverting Subversion, to the Glory of God

Subvert: to undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution).

Today we are going to discuss the presuppositions of secular postmodern social progressives. If you are unsure what I am talking about, a presupposition is an implicit assumption every person holds about the world or a background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse with others. It is something which people assume to be true even before they make a point. But in many, if not most, instances people's presuppositions about the nature of reality and how the world works are unprovable; they simply cannot be demonstrated to be true ... and in many cases because they are inconsistent or self-contradictory, can clearly be shown to be false. Why is that important?  Revealing someone's presuppositions also gives us a great opportunity to test the truth claims of those who hold them.

ok so ... what are some unproven and unprovable assumptions and presuppositions with which social liberals identify?:

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 19:24 -- john_hendryx

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