Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Monday, November 30, 2009

    Continuing Attempts to Curb Sin

    “Children are altruistic by nature,” he writes, and though they are also naturally selfish, all parents need do is try to tip the balance toward social behavior.

    Quote taken from here.

    History has shown a plethora of attempts to suggest education, rewards, drugs, or a combination thereof, etc. are all that is needed to produce acceptable behavior and among humanity to put an end to sin. Here's another approach, and this one is simply to "tip the balance" between the two (altruism and selfishness). Seems the world which fails to accept the Bible's position of both humans as image bearers as well as the need for a change of heart will always be trying to come up with something new, but to no avail, until man accepts that the the sinful nature of man cannot be solved apart from the cleansing and renewal found in Christ.

    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Christian Response to Humanist Advertisement about Labeling Children

    The final phase of the atheist bus campaign (/advertising) will begin this week. The advertisement will display a picture of a girl with the text: "Please don't label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself."

    This is an example of half truths (and half lies) being propagated. Additionally, while the advertisement is in response to religious schools, Christians should be aware of attempts to further confuse thinking as well as to interfere or encroach upon the teaching or tear down the home.

    Several Things Christian Parents Should Remember
    1. God Commands It

    Christian parents are to train up our children in the way they should go. In Deut. 6:1ff, we read: "These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you...Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates... be careful that you do not forget the LORD..." Additionally, the Scripture instructs us to: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it"(Proverbs 22:6).

    Not only this, but God blesses our homes and our children as we serve him - as displayed through sanctification (not necessarily redemptive, through relationship with believers, 1 Cor 7:14) and the administration of the sign of baptism.

    It is GOD, not the humanists, nor Richard Dawkins, etc. whom we are to follow.

    2. As Parents, we choose, not the humanists, how we bring up our children.
    Humanists have no authority to tell us how to rear our children. They may suggest their opinions, but believers are to weigh such opinions in light of God's authoritative and instructive Word.

    3. The Advertisement Fails to Acknowledge Christian teaching of Individual Liberty and ResponsibilityWhile the Bible does instruct parents to train up and provide for their children, the Bible no where suggests Christian parents are to restrict the conscience or try to force belief upon another.

    The hypocrisy of humanists is shown in their own attempts to train up children at their humanist summer camps. While one might point out there's a difference between providing training and "labelling" an individual, just give it time and see if humanists don't "copy" the religious community the way it is doing in other areas (summer camps, financial collections, churches, etc.). Besides this, there's a difference between labeling as an association and labeling as representing an actual and lasting reality.

    4. From a Humanist perspective - what difference does it make anyway?
    The truth is from a humanist (/darwinian) viewpoint - it's hard to explain free thought and will (not to mention purpose and lasting significance) so what difference does it make anyway if one is groomed early with the environment of their parent's beliefs or if one is left to another environment later.

    Conclusion: Christian parents, don't be fooled and don't let your guard or practice down when it comes to training up your children in the Lord and protecting your right to do so. As we read in the book of Joshua, "...if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

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    Blindness and Islam

    15-year-old Egyptian girl Dina el-Gowhary, who converted from Islam to Christianity, has sent a plea to President Obama, complaining of mistreatment by the Egyptian Government and asking for his mediation. “Mr President Obama,” she writes, “we are a minority in Egypt. We are treated very badly. You said that the Muslim minority in America are treated very well, so why are we not treated here likewise? We are imprisoned in our own home because Muslim clerics called for the murder of my father, and now the Government has set for us a new prison, we are imprisoned in our own country.”

    Paragraph taken from here.l

    While it's true one must distinguish between Muslims and their beliefs, shouldn't the overwhelming examples throughout the world be enough to cause people to reject Islam, ... unless they are blinded in their unbelief.

    The bloodshed and killing of people who believe differently
    The attempts to force outward confessions and submission even though they can't change the heart
    The failure and refusal to allow religious freedoms
    The tyranny displayed through threats, kidnappings, forced marriages, etc.
    The treatment of women without dignity

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    Kadhafi - Another Example of Muslims Making Stuff Up

    "You think that Jesus was crucified, but this is not true. God took him to heaven. They crucified someone who looked like him. The Jews tried to kill Jesus because they wanted to put the religion of Moses on the true path," ANSA news agency quoted him as saying.

    Kadhafi, in a one hour lesson on Islam, to a paid audience, stated in regard to Jesus' crucifixion: "They crucified someone who looked like him." And his evidence is?????

    This is just another example of an uneducated madman speaking about historical events he knows nothing about in order to deceive people into buying into more of his lies. (I'd love to hear him provide rationale along with respond to questions regarding the overwhelming view of scholarship, the witness of Christ's own mother, the willingness of Christ's disciples to give their lives, etc.) But hey, if he either doesn't comprehend Islam which he professes or believes (in regard to women) he can make up his own rules, then why should we believe he wouldn't make up stuff about other religions?

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    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Dever Christian Apologetics Examiner on "God: The Failed Hypothesis"

    This unscientific response is a picture of the entire effort of the book: to bring an infinite and transcendent God to the bar of finite human reason.

    Shawn Mathis (Denver Christian Apologetics Examiner) provides an excellent review of
    Stenger's book "God: The Failed Hypothesis" here. Be sure to read part 2.

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    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Colson on the Sex-Ed Lobby

    The sex-ed lobby has always claimed it was all about health-teaching kids how to stay safe. But in reality, their goal was not preventing disease, pregnancy, and emotional distress. It’s about indoctrinating them into a radical ideology-sexual freedom. Kids are urged to consult websites that urge them to begin “exploring” their sexuality at a young age, insist that sex at any age is a right, and encourage them to engage in bizarre and dangerous activities.

    Once again, science is backing up the truth of the Judeo-Christian worldview. That is, sex ought to occur exclusively within the context of marriage. And anybody who tells us otherwise is sacrificing truth, science, and the health of our children.

    Quotes from Colson taken from here.

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    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    "Faith" Inspired Violence?

    The claim comes as officials in different branches of law enforcement and the military squabble over who knew what when about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's leanings toward faith-inspired violence, ...

    The above quote was taken from here.

    It seems journalists need to either coin a new term or be more specific when they use the term "faith". For example, Hasan conducted this violence while living apart from true faith (i.e., it was NOT faith inspired violence, but "faith-less" violence) and thus to refer to it as "faith-inspired" violence is misleading in that it can suggest the horrible acts were carried out in the name of faith (as opposed to what society considers those "without faith"). Sure, some will suggest Hasan still this this based on his "faith", though it be in Allah rather than Yahweh. While the latter is true, it should also be noted that everyone exercises faith on some level (even atheists), so the term is not helpful unless the object of the person's faith is qualified. This point is all the more important in a day where "anti-religion" or "anti-faith" sentiments are expressed and distinguished in the media.

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    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Recommended Books for Christain Apologetics

    Brian at Apologetics 315 (blog) has published a list of recommended apologetics. You may see the list here.

    Thanks to Brian for doing this.

    click here to see full post and any posted comments...

    A Christian Skeptic Reviews - The Fourth Kind

    Link here - excellent review

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    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Scientists ... in all seriousness

    But the difficulties faced by those working on the project have prompted some members of the scientific community to speculate, in all seriousness, that the machine is sabotaging itself — from the future.

    Let all our friends who declare to us that scientists always deal with "the rational" take a look at Large Hadron Collider Halted By Bird Crumbs where the above quote is found. It's the phrase "in all seriousness" that I draw attention to, for while this quite possibly or even likely was the addition of the writer, I suspect by the wording there is more behind this than meets the eye.

    It should be noted that if it's only evidence scientists look to, then the "bit of baguette" was responsible. But what a leap to suggest the machine is sabatoging itself! While I do not doubt the things which have occured have done so within the providence of God, it's another thing for scientists to suggest a machine is sabatoging itself - from the future. ... And those who proclaim scientism is the answer to all suggest believers are irrational (when it comes to faith)?

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    Invitation to Atheists (and Consistency, please)

    In Stand up, stand up, against Jesus, Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk state the following:

    Surely the claims of religion — of all religions — merit scrutiny from every angle, whether historical, philosophical, scientific, or any other.

    It's WONDERFUL to see atheists admitting this, now if you will just do it! We invite you to do so.

    However, the authors then go on to state:

    As atheists, we should state clearly that no religion has any rational warrant, ...

    Are we now to assume that they have done what they previously suggested? I doubt it. Like others, they seem quick to declare one thing, but then render an unsubstantiated assertion. Wouldn't it be great if they actually did what they declared, for think of the many former atheists who did just that ... and set out to try to prove biblical Christianity false but were converted in the process!

    Sure, anyone can find fallacies among the ignorant, or uninformed, or those blinded by their sin & persuasions, etc., but it's something altogether different when one examines the rationality of biblical Christianity.

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    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    Unbelievers Are Without Excuse

    "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20)

    When liberalism, pluralism, and emerging theology speak of the greatness of God as being too much for the human mind to understand, do not think for a second that they are giving any honor to God. They do just the opposite, for they render God as weak and powerless, unable to make Himself understood in any adequate way to His own creation. For example:
    "Bahá'u'lláh taught that God is too great and too subtle a Being for the finite human mind ever to understand Him adequately or to construct an accurate image of Him." (From The Bahá'í Concept of God)

    This is a self-refuting statement, for how did the mind of Bahá'u'lláh manage to understand this, and how accurate can his image of God be? If this statement were true, then

    1.) We could never know it to be true, and
    2.) We would have no reason to listen to anything Bahá'u'lláh says about God.

    This is what happens when the Holy Scriptures are rejected as God's revelation of Himself. Once someone makes any kind of statement about God, they are acknowledging that He can be known, is known, and that the unbeliever is without excuse.

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