Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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Good Blogroll (from Pyromaniacs)

  • Colin Adams
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  • Aletheuo
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  • Tim and David Bayly
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  • Steve Hays and the amazing "Triablogue" team
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  • Stephen Newell
  • Dean Olive
  • Dan Paden
  • Paleoevangelical
  • A Peculiar Pilgrim
  • Jim Pemberton
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  • Bill Pershing
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  • Said at Southern Seminary
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  • Kim Shay
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  • Brian Shealy
  • Ken Silva
  • Tom Slawson's "Tom in the Box"
  • Tom Slawson's other blog
  • Doug Smith
  • Richard Snoddy
  • Social Hazard
  • SolaFire
  • Rebecca Stark
  • Kevin Stilley
  • Cindy Swanson
  • Talking Out Of Turn
  • Justin Taylor's "Between Two Worlds"
  • Robert Tewart (StreetFishing)
  • TheoJunkie's Thoughts on Theology
  • Theology Bites
  • Through the Veil
  • Three Times a Mom
  • Voice of the Shepherd
  • Jared Wall
  • Adrian Warnock
  • David Wayne
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  • Steve Weaver
  • Über-apologist James White's legendary "Pros Apologian" blog
  • Brad Williams
  • Doug Wilson
  • Writing and Living
  • Ryan Wood
  • Todd Young
  • Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Lloyd Ogilvie on "Searching for God"

    Lloyd Ogilvie on "Searching for God"

    Paul insists, "There is none who seeks after God." I have often engaged peole in conversations who profess to have a desire to know God but who, after careful thought, have agreed that their search is more for a good argument than for a living God.

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    John Kerry's Statement regarding GOD (Christianity, Muslim)

    John Kerry's statement to Christian and Muslim leaders at a Loving God and Neighbor Conference

    “we all worship the One God, the same God”

    GOD of Islam: God is impersonal, not manifest in the trinity, divorced from His creation, the author of evil as well as good, not a father.
    GOD of Christianity: God is personal, manifest in the trinity, simulateously transcendent but involved in creation, the author of only good, a father to his people.

    ...While it's true that relationships centered on opposing radicals who intend to kill others are beneficial, that doesn't mean Christians and Muslims worship the SAME God, for we don't.

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    Robert Haldane on Romans 2

    Speaking to Paul's statement "none that seeketh after God", Haldane writes:

    "To seek God is an expression frequently used in Scripture to denote the acts of religion and piety. It supposes the need all men have to go out of themselves to seek elsewhere their support, their life, and thappiness, and the distance at which naturally we are from God, and God from us, - we by our perversity, and He by His just wrath. It teaches how great is the blindness of those who seek anything else but God, in order to be happy, since true wisdom consists in seeking God for this, for He alone is the sovereign good to man. It also teaches us that during the whole course of our life God proposes Himself as the object that men are to seek, Isa. lv. 6, for the present is the time of His calling them, and if they do not find Him, it is owing to their perversity, which causes them to flee from Him, or to seek Him in a wrong way. To seek God is, in general, to answer to all His relative perfections; that is to say, to respect and adore His sovereign majesty, to instruct ourselves in His word as the primary truth, to obey His commandments as the commandments of the sovereign Legislator of men, to have recourse to Him by prayer as the origin of all things. In particular, it is to have recourse to His mercy by repentance; it is to place our confidence in Him; it is to ask for his Holy Spirit to support us, and to implore His protection and blessing; and all this through Him who is the way to the Father, and who declares that no man cometh to the Father but by him."

    This expresses well man's dependence upon and satisfaction in God, and at the same time the depravity and fault which keeps man from Him apart from His grace.

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    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Atheism Remix

    Al Mohler's new book: Atheism Remix

    Atheism Remix book site

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    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Mother of All Diamonds

    Did life come from a primordial soup, or was it transported from somewhere else in space, or now the LATEST...

    Diamonds May Have Jump-Started Life on Earth. Doesn't the term "mother of all diamonds" and doesn't suggesting someone is a "diamond in the rough" now take on new significance?

    1. This shows how determined natural man is to try to find ANY possibility ... in their quest to suppress or deny the truth.

    2. And we get criticized for taking matters on the basis of faith? I quote "When primitive molecules landed on the surface of these hydrogenated diamonds in the atmosphere of early Earth, a few billion years ago, the resulting reaction may have been sufficient enough to generate more complex organic molecules that eventually gave rise to life, the researchers say."

    3. Even if this was possible, it's another great step to show evidence it actually happened. (Not to mention explain the rise of intelligence, the origin and sustenance of laws, etc.)

    4. "Hydrogenated diamond advances to the best of all possible origin-of-life platforms," the researchers contend." - To form this opinion, they first had to deny theistic presuppositions.

    4. How many diamonds are there? How much time? Are they opening the possibility of "multiple" origins of life? Or, was this possibility so rare that it takes even "more faith" to trust it occured? And are various stages of life found having originated from diamonds exposed to hydrogen in the natural realm even today?

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him nothing was made that has been made. IN HIM WAS LIFE, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:1-5)

    [By the way, it's great to be back from vacation and a Missions Trip outside the country where communications were voluntarily forfeited for a time in order to focus on the ministry]

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    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Dawkin's Incredulous over Creationists and IDers

    from this over-fawning article:

    That we are still trying to sell evolution to a large part of the public bothers him. “It is weird in many ways that natural selection is still debated,” he says. “But it is not debated by anyone who knows anything about it.” Indeed, Dawkins refuses to share a stage with creationists. “I don’t like giving them the oxygen of respectability, the feeling that if they’re up on a platform debating with a scientist, there must be real disagreement. One side of the debate is wholly ignorant. It would be as though you knew nothing of physics and were passionately arguing against Einstein’s theory of relativity.”

    How laughable - maybe it is because it is a non-falsifiable theory - a "just so" story that presupposes it's conclusions. A modern fairy tale built on a cosmic accident that reduces morality to brain chemistry and purposeless gene-passing.

    Don't be fooled, only the poseur is afraid of debating his adversaries for fear of exposure.

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    Manifestation of the Spirit, Purposeful Deception or Sad Self-Delusion?

    You decide...

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    Friday, July 18, 2008

    A Review of "The Devil's Delusion"

    Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions" by David Berlinski.

    "...a great many men and women have a dull, hard, angry sense of being oppressed by the sciences. They are frustrated by endless scientific boastings. They suspect that, as an institution, the scientific community holds them in contempt. They feel no little distaste for those speaking in its name, They have a right to feel this way." Thus David Berlinski, who characterizes himself as a "secular Jew", opens his critique of militant atheism. This short, easy-to-read volume seeks to establish the limits of scientific inquiry as well as counter the claims of atheist's who use science for off-the-wall philosophical purposes.

    In Chapter One, "No Gods Before Me", Berlinski examines some of these boastful scientific claims. Proclaiming his own naturalistic worldview to be the default position, Richard Dawkins, after proudly setting forth the humility of the scientific community, suggests that "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane". (p.7). Not to be outdone, fellow Oxford professor Peter Atkins "is ardent in his atheism" as well.

    "In the course of an essay denouncing not only theology but poetry and philosophy as well, he observes favorably of himself that scientists "are at the summit of knowledge, beacons of rationality, and intellectually honest." It goes without saying, Atkins adds, that "there is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence." Science is, after all, "the apotheosis of the intellect and the consummation of the Renaissance."

    These comical declarations may be abbreviated by observing that Atkins is persuaded that not only is science a very good thing, but no other thing is good at all.

    Neither scientific credibility nor sound good sense is at in any of these declarations. They are absurd; they are understood to be absurd; and what is more, assent is demanded just because they are absurd. "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs," the geneticist Richard Lewontin remarked equably in The New York Review of Books, "in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories" (my emphasis).

    Why should any discerning man or woman take the side of science, or anything else, under these circumstances? It is because, Lewontin explains, "we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

    If one is obliged to accept absurdities for fear of a Divine Foot, imagine what prodigies of effort would be required were the rest of the Divine Torso found wedged at the door and with some justifiable irritation demanding to be let in? " (p. 9)

    In chapter Two "Nights of Doubt", Berlinski touches on the moral argument. Rightly agreeing with Ivan Karamazov in declaring that if God does not exist, then everything is permitted, he undercuts the idea that "religion poisons everything". Of special value is the "DOUBLE-ENTRY BOOKKEEPING" that militant atheists like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens are known for.

    "For scientists persuaded that there is no God, there is no finer pleasure than recounting the history of religious brutality and persecution. Sam Harris is in this regard especially enthusiastic, The End of Faith recounting in lurid but lingering detail the methods of torture used in the Spanish Inquisition. If the readers require pertinent information concerning the strappado, or other instruments of doctrinal persuasion, they may turn to his pages. There is no need to argue the point. A great deal of human suffering has been caused by religious fanaticism. If the Inquisition no longer has the power to compel our indignation, the Moslem world often seems quite prepared to carry the burden of exuberant depravity in its place.

    Nonetheless, there is this awkward fact: The twentieth not an age of faith, and it was awful. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot will never be counted among the religious leaders of mankind." (p. 19)

    Page 24 gives a detailed account of these attrocities, but on these, are utopian atheists remain silent. Berlinksi points out that atheist "Christopher Hitchens is prepared to denounce the Vatican for the ease with which it diplomatically accomodated Hitler, but about Hitler, the Holocaust, or the Nazis themselves he has nothing to say." (p. 27)

    Chapter 3 "Horses do not fly" is, in my opinion, the weakest of the chapters. It deals with the nature of the evidence used is examining the existence of God. In this area, Berlinksi comes close to the heart of the issue. He writes, "Neither the premises nor the conclusions of any scientific theory mention the existence of God. I have checked this carefully. The theories by themselves are unrevealing. If science is to champion atheism, the requisite demonstration must appeal to something in the sciences that is not quite a matter of what they say, what they imply, or what they reveal". In one sense, this is the heart of presuppositionalism, that the question of God's existence is not one that can be approached from a purely naturalistic worldview. That isn't to say that there is no natural evidence for God, but rather that is insufficient proof, relegating believers to the "God of the gaps" philosophy. What Berlinski fails to examine, however, is the validity of naturalistic science in an atheistic worldview. Berlinski does expose the self-defeating view of David Hume's analysis of abstract and experimental reasoning in relation to metaphysical claims (p. 57). What he doesn't do is examine the validity of knowledge, reason, or the uniformity of nature without God. In avoiding this issue, he gives the worldview of naturalism too much creedence, then again, this is to be expected from one who labels himself a "secular Jew".

    From this point, Berlinksi begins to deal with some of the classical arguments for God's existence. Chapter 4 "The Cause" starts with the cosmological argument, specifically interacting with the works of Thomas Aquinas. While he admits, and rightly so, that "This is not by itself an argument for the existence of God" (p. 64), he makes an astute observation concerning materialistic assumptions. Because we "cannot allow a Divine foot in the door"...materialism hinders scientific inquiry. After all, what can materialism tell us about a time when there was no matter?

    Berlinksi goes on to examine other suggestive evidences such as The Ontological Argument (Chapter 5), and the Watchmaker Argument (Chaper 6). While none of these arguments are conclusive, Berlinski does a very good job of updating them with modern evidence. He then expresses the ramifications of Materialistic presumptions in dealing with (or ignoring) these issues. In doing so, he shows the enormous philosophical bias exhibited by our modern day atomists. This can be best summed up in the following statement:

    "Scientists," the physicist Paul Davies has observed, "are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth—the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient 'coincidences' and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal."

    These arguments are very much of a piece with those that Fred Hoyle advanced after studying the resonances of carbon during nucleosynthesis. "The universe," he grumbled afterward, "looks like a put-up job." An atheist, Hoyle did not care to consider who might have put the job up, and when pressed, he took refuge in the hypothesis that aliens were at fault. In this master stroke he was joined later by Francis Crick. When aliens are dropped from the argument, there remains a very intriguing question: Why do the constants and parameters of theoretical physics obey such tight constraints?

    If this is one question, it leads at once to another. The laws of nature are what they are. They are fundamental. But why are they true? Why do material objects attract one another throughout the universe with a kind of brute and aching inevitability? Why is space-and-time curved by the presence of matter? Why is the electron charged?

    Why? Yes, why?

    An appeal to still further physical laws is, of course, ruled out on the grounds that the fundamental laws of nature are fundamental. An appeal to logic is unavailing. The laws of nature do not seem to be logical truths. The laws of nature must be intrinsically rich enough to specify the panorama of the universe, and the universe is anything but simple. As Newton remarks, "Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things."

    If the laws of nature are neither necessary nor simple, why, then, are they true?

    Questions about the parameters and laws of physics form a single insistent question in thought: Why are things as they are when what they are seems anything but arbitrary?

    One answer is obvious. It is the one that theologians have always offered: The universe looks like a put-up job because it is a put-up job. That this answer is obvious is no reason to think it false. Nonetheless, the answer that common sense might suggest is deficient in one respect: It is emotionally unacceptable because a universe that looks like a put-up job puts off a great many physicists.

    They have thus made every effort to find an alternative. Did you imagine that science was a disinterested pursuit of the truth?

    Well, you were wrong." (The Devil's Delusion - pp. 110-112)

    For a book that tries to approach the question of God from a naturalistic worldview, it does a pretty good job. The main weakness of this work is that it doesn't examine the any of the preconditions of science in the atomist philosophy. While Berlinski does a good job of outlining scientific arguments for God's existence (particularly in chapter 6), the question of God's existence is ultimately not a scientific question, especially since modern science "cannot allow a divine foot in the door". This book, however, is very good from an evidential perspective. It addresses the boastings of our modern militant atheists, and is quite readable and entertaining. Highly recommended.

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    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Skeptical of "Ex-Traffic Cop" Jesus

    Apparently Christ has returned, taking time off from saving souls to help direct traffic for a few years.

    Ex-Traffic Cop Says He's Jesus
    Remote Russian Sect Revolves Around Self-Proclaimed Messiah

    "Deep in the heart of Siberia's birch forests lies one of the largest and most remote religious communes of the planet. More than 5,000 people have left their families and their homes to move here and join the Church of the Last Testament, which has more than 10,000 followers worldwide. The church centers on one man. He is known simply as Vissarion, meaning "he who gives new life," or simply as the teacher, and he claims that he is Jesus Christ."

    These poor deluded people need to be directed down the straight and narrow path.

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    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    Review of the Creation Museum - very insightful

    Many exhibits at “world-class” museums cost between 20 and 50 million dollars. But the entire Creation Museum right outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, cost just $27 million—and it is definitely world class. On the other hand, however, it’s not world class.

    The Creation Museum goes far beyond mere science. It doesn’t elevate man’s intellect by using science to “prove” ScriptureIn comparison with the Creation Museum, “world-class” museums—even museums like the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History in New York City or the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.—seem paltry and commonplace. Most impressive is the scope of the museum. The individual displays—mounted skeletons, animatronic dinosaurs that turn their bodies in realistic motion, and mounted placards which present science and Scripture—these are amazing, but the big picture is just that: big. Bigger than anyone would have expected.

    The lobby itself rivals any full-size exhibit at a secular museum. A young child plays with a squirrel next to two small dinosaurs that watch the visitors walk under giant cypress trees. The walls, the floors, the rocks—everything is carefully handcrafted. The rock-lined waterfall and pool in the lobby is full of so-called “living fossils” like garfish as well as “modern” creatures like turtles and minnows.

    I love Lucy. I don’t mean famous TV comedienne Lucille Ball; I mean Lucy—the nickname given to a fossil skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis. The museum’s replica of the Lucy skeleton is just one of the many similar displays that show very plainly how scientists’ presuppositions influence their conclusions. A scientist who believes the biblical account of creation would see nothing more than an “ape from southern Africa” (which is literally what its name means) in the assortment of bones now hanging in the display case. But a scientist who has been conditioned to see millions of years and evolution will probably find a missing link in those bones—despite the conspicuous lack of feet, hands, or even an intact hipbone....

    The Creation Museum goes far beyond mere science. It doesn’t elevate man’s intellect by using science to “prove” Scripture. Instead, God’s Word is placed first and human reason is last.

    Between these exhibits and the Creation Walk is a dark, graffiti-covered brick wall. It shows in stark detail the state of Western society. Abortion, gay marriage, school violence. The brick wall ends in a blatant expression of the prevailing social theory. No longer is absolute morality something that can be determined—even by humanity.

    The Creation Museum shows that the problems in our culture aren’t the disease—they are merely symptoms of a much more serious cultural infection. Rejecting the biblical account of history led to the rejection of biblical authority in all other areas. By revisiting God’s Word in Genesis, we can realize the full breadth of Scripture and be ready to give an account for the hope we hold.

    The Creation Walk opens into the Garden of Eden—the perfect world God created before sin. It shows the first man and woman living peacefully with the other creatures—including, of course, dinosaurs. But this paradise didn’t last. Mankind broke God’s law, cursing all of creation and staining the human race with sin forever. The museum shows the vast array of evil that has blossomed as a result of that single act of rebellion thousands of years ago.

    The Creation Walk shifts focus to what is arguably the most spectacular event in the earth’s history after Creation and before Christ’s Resurrection: a Flood that covered the entire earth and destroyed every living creature on its surface.

    In my opinion, the museum is worth visiting solely on the basis of the Ark and Flood exhibits. Visitors are shown the massive scale of the ark, potential details of its construction, and the population’s probable attitude that pervaded the pre-Flood world. They see animatronic workers discussing the folly of building a huge boat; after all, science has “proven” a worldwide flood is impossible. “Ever since our fathers died,” say the scowling models, “all things continue as they have since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3-7).

    Computer animations show how tectonic activity on the ocean floor and huge tsunami-producing earthquakes could combine to cover the earth in water in just over a month. Alongside these displays are placards that answer common questions about the Flood. Secular scientists claim that the geological strata show less complex organisms at the bottom and more complex ones as you go up, attributing this to the evolutionary process over millions and millions of years. But if we consider the order of burial during the cataclysmic activity of the Flood, it makes perfect sense that sea creatures would be buried first, followed by invertebrates and finally by mammals and other vertebrates. The placard shown here gives an example of how the sequence could have worked during the first few hours of the Flood.

    After finishing with the Flood and describing the events surrounding the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 11), the museum makes an important point. Contrary to most evolutionists, all humans are of one blood (Acts 17), descended from Noah. In the light of true biblical history, the museum tackles tough issues like racism, genocide, apartheid, and abortion—all problems that come from man’s rejection of God’s Word.

    When the truths of Genesis are taken at face value, the redemptive acts in the play of human history—Christ and the Cross—fit together the way God intended them to. Sin, judgment, atonement, redemption, repentance, faith—all these doctrines are foundationally rooted in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Instead of stopping with those first eleven chapters, however, the museum tour ends by simply presenting the gospel and leaving the rest between the visiting individual and the Lord of Creation.

    Somewhat surprisingly, the museum does not devote inordinate amounts of space to “disproving” evolutionary ideas or “proving” creation. The displays are scientifically accurate and easy to understand, but this isn’t the focus. Instead, the museum demonstrates the difference between the evolutionary mindset and the mindset that Christians should have from Scripture. We have the same evidence, the same earth, the same universe, but it is our presuppositions that lead us to our conclusions. We know from Romans 1:20 that we can clearly see God’s hand in nature—the question is whether we have the courage to submit ourselves to Him. If we refuse, then we are “without excuse.”

    from here

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    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    Yeah! Christianity Today Article on Apologetics

    article here

    A New Day for Apologetics

    People young and old are flocking to hear — and be changed by — winsome arguments for the Christian faith.


    "It wasn't too many years ago that scholars were writing off apologetics because we live in a postmodern world where young people are not supposed to be interested in things like the historical Jesus," Strobel says. "The biggest shock is that among people who communicated to me that they had found faith in Christ through apologetics, the single biggest group was 16- to 24-year-olds."

    Last summer, hundreds had to be turned away from a Focus on the Family- sponsored apologetics conference for teenagers that drew an overflow crowd of 1,500. Meanwhile, the hotbeds of apologetics education—Biola University and its Talbot School of Theology (CT, June 2003), Southern Evangelical Seminary, and Liberty University—are crammed with students pursuing graduate degrees in philosophy and apologetics.

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