OK, I will agree that most seeker-sensitivity fans would probably not condone this type of trash, which Al Mohler has raised some questions about, as written in this Slice of Laodicea post, but isn't this what their seeker-sensitivity philosophy leads them to? If the goal is to win souls, and every soul is priceless (Mk. 8: 36-37), and the Apostle Paul even say that it is worthwhile to be accursed and thrown into hell in order to save many souls (Rom. 9:3-4), and of course he himself told us to be "All things to all people so that by all means I [Paul] might save some" (1 Cor. 9:22b), doesn't this mean that as long as souls are saved, we can and in fact must do anything and everything possible to save them, including such ministries? Never mind about being holy!... < heavy with sarcasm >
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
After reading through the book The Church Effeminate, edited by John W. Robbins, I have posted excellent excerpts from certain articles in the book as stated and linked below:
Preaching to the heart by Jay E. Adams
The fallibility of ministers by J.C. Ryle
Calvinism and the Church by N.S. McFetridge
The New Babylonian Captivity of the Church by Godwell A. Chan
The Church Irrational by John W. Robbins
Since this is such a good book, I would highly recommand Christians who care about the Church of Jesus Christ to get and read it. You can get it here.
Here is my last installment from the book The Church Effeminate — a collation of essays by John W. Robbins. I would be sharing this excellent article written by John W. Robbins himself entitled The Church Irrational, which is also incidentally the last chapter (chapter 39) in this book.
Many observers have lamented  the lack of discernment among professing Christians,  the disappearance of "antithesis" in the thinking of contemporary Christians, and  the worldliness of the churches. ... (p. 631)
... "Parachurch organizations", which ... others decry [for being the cause of the lack of discernment] are no worse theologically than the churches. The name of every erring parachurch organization can be matched by the name of an erring church. ... Let us recall that just as Marxists find the free market "anarchuc," and fascists find elections and parliaments anarchic, so ecclesiastical totalitarians .... find parachurch organizations anarchic. (p. 632)
... So neither organization connections nor motivations are the central issue; the important consideration is the message preached. The matter of parachurch organizatios is a red herring. If the churches do not proclaim the Gospel, God will make rocks preach. The important question is: What is being preached? ...
The first cause of the lack of discernment
The Bible provies several answers to the question: Why do people lack discernment? The fundamental answer, the will of God, is an unpopular and unpalatable aswer, and modern man will not hear of it. ... "Whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes undiscerning." That is exactly what passages such as Romans 1 teach:
They are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their fooliosh hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. ... And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind... undiscerning... (p. 635-636)
The consistent message of the Bible is that God gives knowledge and wisdom to those who are to be saved; and withholds knowledge and wisdom from those who are to be destroyed. [Follwed by quotation of Jer. 13:13-14; Job 12:13-25; Job 17:4; Dan. 4:28-29 as proof texts]
These passages clearly show that discernment is an intellectual function, and that God controls the minds of all men, giving understanding and discernment to those whom he favors, and withholding understanding and discernment from those whom he is punishing. (p. 636-637)
It is clear from Scripture that all knowledge, wisdom, and discernment come from God alone. It is equally clear that it is God who withholds knowledge, wisdom, abd discernment from people. God darkens the minds and hardens the hearts of men; he withholds his knowledge and wisdom and sends delusions and lying spirits to men; he diminishes the ability of some men to judge correctly, not merely of those he wishes to destroy eternally, but those whom he wishes to destroy temporally as well: (p. 639)
The lack of discernment is the lack of wisdom and knowledge. It is an intellectual deficiency. Professed churches and professed Christians lack discernment today because they do not know or believe the truth. They profess to, but they do not. Those who decry the lack of discernment in today's churches usually fail to attribute the lack to its first cause: the purpose, plan and providence of God. Further, they fail to indicate how God carries out his plan, how he darkens minds, how he withholds his light and his face. Objectively this darkening is the dearth of preaching and publication of the Word; subjectively it is the rejection of revealed truth, including, at the present time, the revealed truth about logical thought. (p. 641)
Today, logic — usually denigrated as "mere human logic" — is suspect, not only in humanist circles, but also, perhaps even more so, in religious circles. ... But the effects of modern misology — the hatred of logic — have been far more extensive than the feminization of the churches. It is because churchofficers and churchgoers disdain "mere human logic" that systematic theology is de-emphasized in both seminaries and churches, and unsystematic theology is preferred. It is because seminary professors and students detest "mere human logic" that "practical" books, and in seminaries and churches "practical" courses, are preferred to doctrinal courses. It is because church officers and churchgoers despise "mere human logic" that they prefer "continuum thinking" to making distinctions and judgments. ... It is because church officers and churchgoers decry "mere human logic" that church discipline has disappeared, for the exercise of just discipline requires the most rigorous application of our rational powers of distinction, and judgment. Church discipline requires clarity and precision, two godly qualitites decried by modern churchmen. Those things which modern churchgoers and church officers find offensive about Christianity— its claim to be an exclusive religion; its claim to have a systematic monopoly on truth and salvation; its insistence on clarity in written and oral expression; its demand for clear definition of terms; its demand that judgment be done righteously, according to defined and objective standards; its requirements that Christians discriminate between right and wrong, god and evil, godly and ungodly; its requirement that Christians be a distinct people, seperate from the world — they find all these things offensive because of their deep-seated and sinful antipathy to logical thought. (p. 641-642)
This antipathy is itself due to hostiliy to God, who is the Logos, the Logic that lights the mind of every man: (p. 642)
The world and the wordly church hate "mere human logic," because it is the image of God in man, and they hate God: (p. 643)
God's truth and man's truth are not two different truths; the concept of twofold truth, in which one thing can be true in theology and its contradictory true in philosophy, or in which two contradictories can both be truein theology, is medieval and modern Antichristian nonsense. God's logic and man's logic are not two different logics; the notion of polylogism — many logics — is nonsense. ... Since the Logos is not created, the light of the Logos, logic, is not created. Man's arithmetic and God's arithmetic are not two different arithmetics; the notions of many arithmetics is mathematical nonsense. ... There is no such thing as "mere human logic," just as there is no such thing as "mere human arithmetic" or "mere human truth". Man is logical because he is the image of God — he has the capacity to think, to reason, as God thinks and reasons. (p. 643)
... Postmodernism in the churches — even many of the professedly Reformed churches — takes many forms:
Man cannot know God's truth, but only an analogy of God's truth.
Many, being finite, cannot understand the infinite.
God cannot be understood.
God is "Wholly Other."
Logic is created and is not the way God thinks.
There is an "infinite qualitative difference between man and God."
God's knowledge and man's knowledge do not coincide at any single point.
Truth is not propositional but personal.
God and the medium of conceptuality are mutually exclusive.
To think God is not to think God.
Life is deeper than logic.
Such pious platitudes are relativistic, agnostic, and Antichristian. They explicitly deny the central and fundamental idea of propositional revelation ... they make nonsense of all of Christianity, for they make it all unknowable. It is this rejection of the ontological and epistemological status of logic, this pious theological agnosticism, that lies at the root of the lack of discernment, the lack of judgment, and the worldliness of today's churches. (p. 644)
Because we are creatures with the gift of rationality, made in the image of rational God, the Logos, refusing to judge is impossible. All declarative statements — the cat is black, abortion is murder, chocolate is poison — are judgments. ... (p. 648)
... There is no command in Scripture to have one organization or one institute, [or one emotion either,] but to have one mind, the mind of Christ. Christians are to be unified in their doctrine, in their judgments. (p. 649)
... it is not judging per se that is condemned, but judging according to the wrong standard. (p. 652)
Paul continues his discussion of judging:
Do you not kow that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters [now]? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more [then]. things which pertain to this life? (1 Cor. 6:2-3)
Here, Paul expects Christians to judge; he demands that they judge. Paul calls men "foolish" (Gal. 3:1), "dogs" (Phil. 3:2), and "evil workers" (Phil. 3:2), as well as "saints". (p. 656)
... One motivation is quite clear: The moral agnostic wants to escape judgment himself. He thinks that if no one is permitted to judge others, then he himself will escape judgment. ... The proscription of moral judgment is a futile attempt by sinners to escape judgment. Paul says that moral agnosticism is futile, whether one condemns or approves the sinful practices of tohers:
Therefore, you are inexcusible, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn youself; for you who judge, practice the very same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Rom. 2:1-3)
One motivation that lies behind moral agnosticism is the desire to escape the judgment of God for one's own beloved sins. Its purpse is to allow the unrepentant sinner to escape uncondemned and unpunished. When a moral agnostic argues that we must not judge between good and evil, his advice, when followed, benefits only the evil and harms only the good. To refuse to judge righteous judgment is not neutrality or tolerance; it is an attack on the good and a sanction to the evil. (p. 656-657)
Moral agnostics, like their theological cousins, do not state their agnosticism tetatively; they do not humbly say, "I do not know", for that would be a candid admission of their ignorance. But it is not their ignorance they are admitting. They are actually boasting of their omniscience. They are asserting that no one can know. ... They are very dogmaticabout their agnosticism. And they are very arrogant of accusing anyone who claims to know of arrogance and pride. ... (p. 659)
To fail to object when error is being taught and truth denies is to condone error by treating error and truth as if they were the same. If Christ is under attack and a Christian keeps silent, he has not maintained neutrality; he has denied Christ. (p. 660)
Sometimes those who are concerned about the doctrines their church is teaching are told, "There are no perfect churches, so you might as well stay here." ... It is as if one were to argue, "There are no perfect women (or men), so it doesn't matter whom you marry." Or "There are no pure foods, so it doesn't matter what you eat." ... Foolishness in religion is a sin greater than foolishness in business or family. The stake are much higher in matters of theology than they are in matters of finance. (p. 663)
Collaboration, unlike cooperation, requires unity of purpose. One may collaborate with persons unknown, say in a large political or social organization, but only for a common purpose. The principle governing collaboration is: Do not collaborate in any purpose, project, or organization that has a non-Christian purpse. We are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers ... (p. 664)
Today's churches and churchgoers lack discernment because they lack knowledge and wisdom. They lack knolwedge and wisdom for two reasons: There is a famine of the preaching of God's Word in America [and in fact in Singapore and many other places also], and churchmen and churchgoers despise logic, clarity, definition, and precision. There is a famine of preaching and hearing God's Word, and a disdain for logic because God apparently intends to destroy us, either temporally or eternally or both. The only way in which to improve the situationis by repenting of the sin of unbelief, the sin of irrationalism, the sin of moral agnosticism, the sin of silence, and the sin of collaboration; by begging the forgiveness of God; and by asking God, who is truth Himself, for wisdom:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
There has been a total meltdown recently, it seems, of two Arminians — the Caner brothers. Dr. Ergun Mehmet Caner is the president of the Liberty Theological Seminary, a Southern Baptist seminary while his brother Dr. Emir Caner is currently the dean of The College of Southwestern (TCS) on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Both of them have experienced a total meltdown while trying to prepare a debate with Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and Dr. Tom Ascol of the Founders Ministry. You can read for yourselves about this meltdown here (1, 2), which demonstrate the utter unwillingness of at least these high-profile Arminians to allow scrutiny of their views according to Scripture but instead just place their Tradition above that of Scripture (just like all other Arminians, btw), practically denying Sola Scriptura in the process. And I agree with James White about his characterization of the Caners as mean-spirited, insolent and egoistic, with no sign of Christ-likeness in their entire behavior. And they are supposed to be spiritual leaders?! Judging by their behavior, I wouldn't even want any of them to teach young children!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Here are some more excerpts from the book The Church Effeminate collated by John W. Robbins. The article for today is The New Babylonian Captivity of the Church by Godwell A. Chan, an excellent article exposing the autocractic principles in operation now that keeps Christians, especially professing believers today, in bondage to Man and far from the liberating truth of God and His Word. Here are some excertps from it:
The Reformation had broken the chains that had captured the consciences of men, but her children are now busy yielding them back on. Just as the Jewish nations was carried away from their Temple into captivity to Babylon, so Christians are being carried away from Scripture into captivity by man-made rules.
In his essay To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, Luther attacked three tyrannical abuses of authority by the Roman ecclesiastics. Luther called the three abuses "three walls" that the Roman Church [sic] had built to protect itself from all criticism. The first wall is the distinction between the clergy and the laity. The second wall is the sole authority of the Roman Church [sic] to interpret Scripture. The third wall that Roman Catholicism set to protect itself is that only the pope can call a council — that the Roman Church [sic] is not answerable to any council that it itself has not called. Or to put it another way, layman can't say clergymen are wrong; if laymen use Scripture, their interpretations are faulty since they do not have any seminary training; and even if their interpretation and application could be correct, the clergymen still are not answerable to the laymen. ... (p. 31-372)
The first wall, the class distinction between "full-time" Christian workers (i.e. pastos, missionaries, seminarians) and ordinary Christians is apparent tday. ... The views of pastors are usually accepted at face value without a comparison with the Scriptures. Even with those in part-time ministries, ot unofficial positions, there seems to be an ecclesiastical caste system. .... Women seek spiritual help from the wives of pastors, regardless of whether they have any spiritual gifts or not, as if one can marry into the spiritual aristocracy. ...
Luther blasted down this first wall with 1 Peter 2:9; that all Christians are priests before God, and therefore need no other mediator pther than Christ; and Revelation 5:9-10, that all Christians are kings also by the blod of Christ, and therefore can have no clas distinction. ... That some are preachers is so because of their calling by the election of fellow Christians to fulfil certain functions, not status. They are "nothing else but an office holder". If they abuse that trust or calling, they may be deposed. (p. 372-373)
This wall of class distinction was ... re-established by the modern Protestants, in order to make the clergy immune to any criticism from the laity. The laity ought to respect the clergy by not disagreeing with them. "Touch not the Lord's anointed," the clergymen intone, as if all Christians were not the Lord's anointed. (p. 374)
Now, should the laity appeal to the Scripture for the authority to criticize errors, the Roman Church [sic] and modern Protestantism retreat behind the second wall of immunity: The interpretation of Scripture can properly be done only by the clergy class. ... Take, for example, the common practice of "stacking up rabbis." Pastor so-and-so says this," or, "Dr. so-and-so says this," as if their interpretations are, if not infallible, at least better than the laity's. ... "It is written" should settle all debates. ... (p. 374)
[Note: A strong argument against this stupid, arbitrary and elitiest self-serving nonsense is the plain fact that if this 'wall' is correct, then Jesus was wrong in questioning and rebuking the religious leaders of the OT Church in His days, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.]
The third wall of immunity with which Romanism protects itself is the pope's sole authority to call a council [the modern equivalent is that the clergymen are not answerable to the laity and that the laity cannot criticize the clergymen ] If the laity are to accuse the clergy, ..., they must "naturally call the church together."But if the right to "take the case to the people," so to speak, is taken away, then the clergy are immune to all criticism. ... (p. 375)
... [To this 'wall',] Luther wrote,
Would it not be unnatural if a fire broke out in a city and everybody were to stand by and let it butn on and on ... because nobody had the authority of the mayor, or because, perhaps, the fire broke out in the mayor's house? In such a situationis it not the duty of every citizen to arouse and summon the rest? How much more should this be done in the spiritual city of Christ if a fire of offense breaks out ... ! The same argument holds if an enemy were to attack a city. The man who first roused the others deservs honor and gratitude. Why, then, should he not derserve honor who makes known the presence of the enemy from Hell and rouses Christian people and calls them together?
The Babylonian captivity of the church begins when the Word of God is ignored and, in its place, a ton of commandments after the traditions of men is installed. Luther derides these man-made laws with great sarcastic hunor. Here are some samples:
It is actually a greater sin to silence or suppress the Word and worship of God that if one had strangled twenty popes at one time.
One of the reasons this [man-made] law is called "spiritual" is that it comes from the spirit: not from the Holy Spirit but from the eveil spirit. (p. 376) [lol... my personal favorite]
... Fundamentally, ... , Luther was really crticizing Rome's haphazard and whimsical way of interpreting the Scriptures every which way it pleased and then holding men's consciences captive under such interpretations. ...
Note: In modern days, the heretical Word-faith, latter-rain, Third Wave cult have been guilty of this, and the seeker-sensitive, Purpose Driven, Emerging crowd are also guilty of such disgusting and whimsical way of interpreting the Scriptures, though so far nowhere as bad as the Word-faith heretics.]
This statement can easily be applied to the doctrines currently in vogue in so-called Protestant churchs, such as the [libertarian] free will of man, the universal love of God, the universal atonement of Christ, etc. Men's conscieces are so enslaved that they are reluctant to leave churches that teach these heresies. (p. 377)
... there aren't any good reasons for staying in a church that propogates a false gospel. Some may object that since there are no perfect churches on earth, one might as well stay where he is. But though there are no perfect churches on Earth, this does not imply that there are no churches that preach the Gospel. (p. 377-378)
... out-of-context interpretation and haphazard application of the Scripture is rampant in Protestant churches today. ... Of this whimsical method of hermeneutics, Luther wrote,"[I]f we permit one institution of Christ to be changed, we make all of his laws invalid, and any man may make bold to say that he is not bound by any other law or institution of Christ. For a single exception, especially in the Scriptures, invalidates the whole." (p. 378-379)
... To shield themselves from criticism, the modern Romanists in Protestant clothing also have a few pithy platitudes to spit out: "love", "unity," and especially "judge not." Meanwhile, they criticize their critics with such labels as "heresy-hunters," "schismatics," "Lone Rangers," etc. These abusive labels are nothing but convenient methods of diversion from the discussion at hand. Why debate the issue when one can resort to character assassination?
The call to "judge not" the clergy for the sake of "love and unity" it a good example of the Babylonian captivity of the church. First, it exemplifies the clas distinction. The ecclesiastical elite may criticize anyone they please, especially those who disagree with them, but no one is allowed to criticize the clergy without drawing down their heavy curses. "Judge not us, but let us judge you!" ... Yet, the modern Romanists in Protestant clothing insist on a love and unity devoid of truth, in fact, against the truth. And it is highly ironical, indeed hypocritical, that those who advocate "judge not" and "love and unity" should at the same time judge those who judge them, and advocate hatred towards and seperation from those who criticize them. (p. 379-380)
... The Council of Trent (1563) condemned anyone who argues that priests can once again become laymen, even if they do not exercise the ministry of the Word of God. ... To the contrary, Luther maintained that whoever does not preach the Word, the Gospel, ought to be deposed.
... [W]hoever does not preach the Word, though he was called by the church to do this very thing, is no priest at all ... The duty of a priest is to preach, and if he does not preach he is as much a priest as a picture of a man is a man... Whoever, therefore, does not know or preach the Gospel is not only no priest or bishop, but he is a kind of pest to the church...
The "Protestant" churches are plagued with such pests.
The reader is informed of what Luther said about the Gospel in The Bondage of the Will. It is not "God loves everyone," nor "Christ died for everyone," nor "Man has the free will to believe," nor "God sincerely desires the salvation of all men." Such are false gospels. And anyone preaching these doctrines ought to get the Gehenna away from the pulpit! (p. 383-384) [Note: All these statements are synergistic and Arminian statements. Held consistently, they constitute heresy.]
... instead of facing the issues at hand, the modern counterparts [of Romanism during Luther's time] often flee behind slogans of "unity," "love," "judge not." These platitudes conveniently throw subtle insinuations (of temper, impatience, immodesty) at the one trying to bring forth the truth. ... Though Luther attacked not the immoral character of popes, but only their doctrines ... , his character was often assasinated. The true descendents of the Reformation can expect nothing less. (p. 385)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Here is an interesting article on the irrationality of Arminianism and all synergistic soteiological system, by Steve Hays. The target here is the synergist philosophical presupposition of libertarian free will, which I will agree with Steve that it is totally irrational.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Quite some time ago, I wrote a comment on my friend's blog, in reply to one liberal heretic who calls himself Bruce or
666 888. After some time, he wrote back to me by commenting on my blog on a totally unrelated post (which was on the Global Day of Prayer). I would like to make some preliminary comments before I engage this man's heretical ideas.
I would like to first share what my friend wrote in resonse to this man's accusation in the last post.
As for the quote:" There is a Chinese saying: "Man who cannot smile should not open shop". This is something you friend should learn, because he is not going to win any hearts with that terrible scowl on his face."
My answer to bruce is this: I don't intend to win hearts without Christ and bible centred truth. Just as a Chinese man uses the false image of a smile to attract people to buy things which people do not actually need or want or may even harm them, we cannot preach the gospel in the way (the so called win hearts) that would make them fall away in the future when they discover the real truth.
Anyway, I can't win hearts without Christ. if He uses a scowling man, then so be it. If he uses a smiling man, so be it. Whatever the case, Christ is preached and we rejoice.
To this., I would add a hearty amen. Anyway, knowing him personally, I can testify that Wenxian does not have a scowl on his face. But I disgress.
The other thing which I would like to address before coming to the main issue is the part about the word 'heresy'. Seems that Bruce is one of those academic liberals who exalt themselves in their own so-called wisdom. I use the word heresy as it is defined in the Bible. Who cares how it was defined in ancient times? Does anyone see a connection between how Bruce tries to redefine the word 'heresy' with how Dan Brown does it in the Da Vinci Code? Makes one wonder who borrow this concept from who here.
Finally, to the subject matter itself, I would NOT refute Bruce point by point first. After looking through his blogs and materials, it can be seen that he denies Sola Scriptura or Scripture alone. Thus, if Sola Scriptura is ture, Bruce's arguments are totally demolished, since he elevates Man's wisdom above that of Scripture. In fact, Bruce derogatorily call true Christians "Bible bangers". Well, Bruce, if you are wrong (and I will prove that you are), then a worse fate awaits you; and that is burning eternally in hell and the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15).
With this introduction, I would first start off in subsequent posts by proving Sola Scriptura first (the necessity, sufficiency, authority and perspicuity of Scripture), then I would demolish Bruce's ridiculous arguments as found in this blog of his.
I have finished reading the book The Church Effeminate (2001), a collection of essays edited by John W. Robbins of the Trinity Foundation, during my recent mission trip to Tokyo, Japan. I would like to post some excellent quotes from the articles in it.
The next excellent article which I would like to share is the article entitled Calvinism and the Church by N.S. McFetridge.
Each of these two systems, Calvinism and Arminianism, has an organic connection and a natural affinity with a distinct form of church government — the Calvinistic with the presbyterial and independent form, and the Arminian with the prelatical or episcopal form. As a matter of fact, this has always been so. (p. 361) ...
The fact, then, is that Arminianism and episcopacy do naturally symphatize and affiliate. There is that in the Arminian doctrines of emotions and works which leads directly to the external forms and ceremonies of prelacy or episcopacy. (p. 362) ...
... Thus, we see how Arminianism, taking to an aristocratic form of church of government, tends towards a monarchy in civil affairs, while Calvinism, taking to a republican form of church government, tends towards a democracy in civil affairs. ...
... Calvinism is a doctrine for the poor and Arminianism for the rich. A creed which insists upon the necessity of faith must be less costly than one which insists upon the necessity of works. In the former case the sinner seeks salvation by the strength of his belief; in the latter one he seeks it by the fullness of his contributions ... (Buckle, History of English Civillization, I, 611)
[Note: Calvinism IS a doctrine for the poor indeed; for those who are poor in spirit, and not those who think themselves like the Pharisee who have sometime to offer God (Lk. 18:10-14). Ultimately, although evangelical Arminians insist otherwise, all synergist soteriological systems make somthing in Man to be the determining factor of a person's salvation. Evangelical Arminians make faith into a mental work of Man, which contribute to the person's salvation, thus although they technically affirm Sola Fide, they in practice deny the essence of it.)
... "The more any society tends to equality, the more likely it is that its theological opinions will be Calvinistic; while the more a soceity tends towards inequality, the greater the probability of those opinions being Arminian (quoted from History of English Civillization, I, 612-613)" (p. 363)
The prelatical or episcopal form of church government, which has always been connected with Arminian doctrine, asserts that all church power is vested in the clergy; while the republical form, which has always accompanied Calvinistic doctrines, asserts that all church power is vested in the church; that is, in the people. This is a radical difference, and "touches the very essence of things" If all the power be in the clergy, then the people are practically bound to passive obedience in all matters of faith and practice. Thus the one system subjects the people to the autocratic orders of a superior, the center principle of monarchy and despotism; while the other system elevates the people to an equality in authority, the center principle of democracy. (p. 364)
the political character of Calvinism, which, with one consent and with instinctive udgment, the monarchs of that day feared as republicanism, is expressed in a single word — predestination. Did a proud aristocracy trace its lineage through generations of a highborn ancestry, the republican Reformers, with a loftier pride, invaded the invisible world, and from the book of life brought down the record if the noblest enfranchisement, decreed from eternity by the Kings of kings ... (Bancroft, History of the United States, II, 461)
This doctrine of predestination inspires a resolute, almost defiant, freedom in those who deem themselves the subjects of God's electing grace; in all things they are more than conquerors through the confidence that nothing shall be able to seperate them from the love of God. No doctrine of the dignity of human nature, ro the rights of man, ot national liberty, or social equality, can create such a resolve for the freedom of the soul as this personal conviction of God's favoring and protecting sovereignty. He who has this faith feels that he is compassed about with everlasting love, girded with everlasting steel; his will is the tempered steel that no fire can melt, no force can break. Such faith is freedom and this spiritual freedom is te source and strength of all other freedom. (Joseph Thompson, D.D., LL.D., The United States as a Nation, 30)
When in the great toil and roar of the conflict the fiery nature of Luther began to chill, ... it was this same uncompromising theology of the Genevan [Calvinist] school which heriocally and triumphantly waged the conflict [the Reformation] to the end. I but repeat the testimony of history, friendly and unfriendly to Calvinism, when I say that had it not for the strong, unflinching, systematic spirit and character of the theology of Calvin, the Reformation would have been lost to the world. ... (p. 367)
The two great springs by which men are moved are sentiment and idea, feeling and conviction; as these control, so the moral character will be shaped. The man of sentiment, of feeling, is the man of instability ...
Now, the appeal to Arminianism [and all synergist systems, I may add] is chiefly to the sentiments. Regarding man as having the absolutely free moral control of himself, and as able at any moment to determine his own eternal state, it naturally applies itself to the arousing if his emotions. ... Hence, the Arminian is, religiously, a man of feeling, of sentiment, and consequently disposed to all those things which interest the eye and please the ear. ... Calvinism, on the other hand, is a system which appeals to idea rather than sentiments, to conscience rather than to emotion. In its view, all things are under a great and perfect system of divine laws, which operate in defiance of feeling, and which must be obeyed at the peril of his soul. (p. 368-369)
Another prominent characteristic of Calvinistic morality is its courageousness. This follows from the former. Conscience and courage do together. Conscience makes "cowards" or heroes "of us all". To change the conscience you must first change the idea. ... conviction holds steadfastly on in the same unwarying way until by some brighter light it discovers its error and turns aside. Hence the men of conscience are, other things being equal, the brave men, the bold men, the courageous men. Calvinism, by appealing to conscience and emphasizing duty, begets a moral heroism which has been the theme of song and praise for three centuries. ... (p. 369)
If we now turn to the fruits of Calvinism in the form of devoted Christians and in the number of churches established, we shall see that it has been the most powerful evangelistic system of religious belief in the world. Consider with what amazing rapidity it spread over Europe, converting thousands upon thousand to a living Christianity. ... And in less than a half a century this so-called harsh system of belief had permeated every part of the land [France during the time of the Reformation], and had gained to its standards almost one-half of the population and almost every great mind in the nation... (p. 369-370)
Many are accustomed to think that revivals belong particularly to the Methodise Church, whereas, in fact, that Church has never yet inaugurated a great national or far-spreading revival. Her revivals are marked with localisml they are connected wth particular churches, and do not make a deep, abiding and general impression on society. The first great Christian revival occurred under the preaching of Peter in Jerusalem, who employed such language in his discourse or discourses as this: "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain". That is Calvinism rigid enough. (p. 370)
(Bold added and my comments are in red. Italics original.)
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Rev. Ken Silva, president of Apprising Ministries, have done an excellent job of 'deconstructing' the anti-Chirstian mystic practice of contemplative prayer in these two articles. Christians are strongly encouraged to read the other articles on his website also which document and prove the apostasy happening in the so-called 'evangelical' churches and the anti-Christian 'Emerging Church Movement'.
OK, just a short anouncement that I have arrived back safely home on Friday night. Am not feeling very well at the moment (no thanks to the many sleep-deprived nights due to intensive ministry), but hopefully will recover soon. Anyway, it was a fruitful time for the team in Tokyo, Japan as we reach out to the Japanese students. I will be writing my personal report on the trip soon.
Monday, June 05, 2006
OK, I know that's it has been almost 1½ weeks ago since I left for my mission trip to Tokyo, but I have been too busy in outreach and ministry to do anything else. My team is split into two smaller teams; one to Tsuda women's College and the other to Hitosubashi University, which I am in. We basically go in there to make friends and invite them for our activities like lunch gatherings and home parties on certain evenings, as well as random evangelism held mainly in the afternoon. As we do not speak Japanese — as least I do not and have only learn some basic simple phrases before I go — it was rather hard to communicate with them. This is because many Japanese do not speak English well, as they mainly learn how to read and write but not to speak English.
Anyway, regardless, God is faithful and we have been able to share the Gospel with a number of students, with our home parties being well attended. Even though I am not the very sociable type, God has given me the opporunity to share His Gospel with others and make a few acquitances. In this coming week and the next, I would be focusing more on these people and hopefully able to have a deeper friendship with them, and especially have opportunities to share the Gospel. May God grant us the strength to carry on and use us to bring His elect among the Japanese students unto salvation.