Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poster: Negativity

Negativity

I always wanted to try my hand at poster-making (although I am not too familiar with graphic design software), especially since a picture is said to be worth a thousand words. Anyway, this is a very interesting poster I have made which sums up nicely one point of contention against Tim Challies' attack post.

See:

A Belated Response to Tim Challies' article attacking watchblogs.

Old AWARE exco prove to have promoted lesbianism

For background information, see: AWARE and the homosexual agenda.

The new leadership of the feminist organization AWARE in Singapore has released an interesting information sheet entitled On AWARE’s Changing Slant Towards Homosexuality and Comprehensive Sexual Education in Recent Years, proving beyond doubt the radical homosexualist agenda of the Old Guard, who after being voted out of power have engaged in a smear campaign against the so-called "coup leaders".

[HT: Isaiah Chua]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AWARE and the homosexual agenda

I guess I didn't have a good opinion of AWARE, seeing as a sexist organization. But the recent AWARE saga, in which a group of women through democatic means wrest control of the feminist NGO from the Old Guard and was then accused of staging of coup by them, is indeed interesting. The hysterics of the Old Guard and the spin placed on the media to promote the homosexual agenda here in Singapore is really revealing (so much for the neutrality of the press). As it is correctly reported by the Christian Post:

For the past week they were blasted by members of the public for an aggressive 'takeover'.

But leaders of the 'coup' have revealed to the media that the actual takeover had occurred some years back when certain elements in the organisation had used it as a platform to promote homosexuality.

In an impromptu press conference conducted yesterday at Raffles Town Club, New AWARE President Josie Lau opened up on the real crisis behind the NGO that had led the new team to run for leadership positions.

“I was being very polite when I said [that Aware had lost its focus]… It has really not lost its focus but I think it has gone further than that, much, much further than that,” she said.

“It has now become a single-objective organisation. So that's what the new team is here to do: we want to bring Aware back to its original, very noble objective, which is to represent all women, to advance their cause, all women whatever religion and race in areas such as professional development, their private life, their health... We need to look at ageism, all the problems... So we should be pushing those cause.

"Lau and the other new leaders, who form a third of the entire exco, were democratically elected at the NGO's annual general meeting last month but have been accused of using strong-arm tactics to gain control of the organisation in what has been negatively portrayed by public media as an act of Christian fundamentalism.

Under the leadership of ex-president Constance Singam, Aware sponsored the screening of the lesbian-themed movie Spider Lilies at its charity gala in 2007. When a concerned parent wrote in to the media asking why Aware’s choice of movie for a charity show was a film about two lesbians who fall in love, Singam said Aware embraced diversity and individual choices and was glad Singapore is now more open to discussing diversity.

In the NGO’s comprehensive sexuality education programme conducted in 30 schools for young girls aged from twelve to 18, homosexuality is regarded as a neutral rather than a negative word.

“The suggestion is that in this programme, young girls from twelve to 18 are taught that it’s okay to experiment with each other,” said Dr Thio Su Mien, the founding partner of a local law firm and first woman law dean at the National University of Singapore. Dr Thio says Aware was started by her contemporaries and friends and as a concerned party she played a part in persuading the four new exco members, namely, Ms Josie Lau, Ms Maureen Ong, Ms Jenica Chua and Ms Lois Ng to join the NGO and is presently acting as their mentor.

“And this is something which should concern parents in Singapore. Are we going to have an entire generation of lesbians?” She added that the parents to whom she had spoken about the sexuality programme were indignant. Such programmes, she noted, are not new and have been taking place in the United States and Europe.

[continued]

Guess what would happen if those in the new Exco were women from a certain religion known for the violence of its adherents? Oh yes, the newspapers would suddenly find other things to report. But of course, Christians are fair game to attack, mock and ridicule. So much for the Singapore creed: "regardless of race, language or religion".

Also, if four homosexuals were to take over a Christian NGO, do you think the Press would be decrying that the new guard had done an aggressive takeover? Forget it! I think we would see glowing reports of how "progressive" Christians NGOs have become. The duplicity of the Press is astonishing, if it was not so sad.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A belated response to Tim Challies' article attacking watchblogs

I have been writing for quite some time and am now polishing up my article on New Evangelical Calvinism or the "New Calvinism", after receiving constructive feedback from my friend Stephen Macasil.

Anyway, I thought I would post my belated response to Tim Challies' horrible posts attacking watchblogs. For those who have no clue as to what has happened, the "world's most famous Christian blogger" Tim Challies has decided to post an attack article attacking watchblogs as presenting Evil as Entertainment (presumably he is exempted from his own charge?). Both Steve Camp in his post Blogging, Watchblogging and Ministry, and Phil R. Johnson in his post Turning a Blind Eye to Evil is Evil Too have responded to the outrageous attack launched by Challies against fellow Christians. Challies responded to the outrage with a follow-up article Fighting Fire with Fire, in which he made some cosmetic changes but maintained his fundamental stance with regards to the issue.

Previously, I have decided to respond to Challies in the context of my larger article on New Evangelical Calvinism, for otherwise it may be harder to substantiate my refutations since they deal with an issue not normaly seen as errant, New Evangelicalism with its infatuation with positivity. However, it seems that such may not be a good idea after all, so I would be presenting my full rebuttal here first.


The idea of being positive or seen as positive was one aspect of the New Evangelical movement [1] which is however not as easily recognized as demarcating New Evangelicalism per se. The New Evangelical/ Fundamentalist divide is remembered more for the divide over the doctrine of separation, if it is remembered at all. The apostatizing mainstream "evangelicals" in our day have long since jettisoned treasuring and proclaiming the truth, and therefore the New Calvinists do not seem to be New Evangelical in the aspect of truth as compared to the "Evangelicals" nowadays. However, this has not been the case. The early New Evangelicals like Harold Ockenga and Edward Carnell treasure the truth [2] and desire that biblical Christianity experience a revival in the land. Trying to have their cake and eat it however, the New Evangelical strategy of infiltration backfired and it was the world that turned the church upside down instead of the other way round. But it must be remembered that the early New Evangelicals do treasure the truth and were appalled by the fruit of their compromise [3].

The desire to be loving and positive, both New Evangelical traits, have never been repudiated by the New Calvinist movement, a successor of the conservative wing of New Evangelicalism. In fact, these twin related traits manifests themselves in the blogosphere in New Calvinist Tim Challies' blog post attacking so-called watchbloggers [4]. In his highly inflammatory post, Challies utilizes zero Scripture to support his case and through analogy with the secular world accuses watchblogs or discernment blogs as utilizing evil as entertainment, merely because such watchblogs act as watchmen in portraying the errors within the professing visible Church. The irony that Challies is, in this one post of his, doing exactly what he accuses the watchblogs as doing (portraying the errors within the professing visible Church) is seemingly lost on him, as it has been written:

Take note of the irony here: what we just read was a blogger concerned about watchbloggers watchblogging, issuing a very pointed criticism against watchbloggers in general, but in point of fact was watchblogging about other watchbloggers on his own blog. [5]

Phillip R. Johnson [6] and Steven J. Camp [7] have both responded to Challies' article rather well, and it is not our desire to repeat their good arguments against Challies. What is more of concern here is to note that Challies' article betrays his New Evangelical tendency, in his desire to be loving and positive. In his initial attack piece, Challies labeled all Discernment ministries without any distinction and attacked all of them. Being taken to task especially by Phil Johnson, Challies in his follow-up article Fighting Fire with Fire [8] softens his absolutist stance and says that there is "a time and place to expose sin and even to expose sin publicly", but this as we shall see is mere cosmetic change.

The first warning sign that Challies has not in fact changed his view on positivity, on having an infatuation with being positive, comes from the title of the blog post itself "Fighting fire with fire". Taking the example of a forest fire, Challies likened doctrinal error to a forest fire, and the actions of watchbloggers as smaller fires started with the intention of preventing the creation of larger fires. While this may seem to convey his stated point that "negative watchblogging" is sin and cause destruction probably on par with the spreading of doctrinal error, what it also conveys is that both are destructive in the exact same way and degree. That such a bold claim is made is nothing short of astonishing. Does Challies know even one bit of Church history? The most "negative watchblogging", which focus on persons, can do is destroy individuals, which is highly unlikely in the first place. Heresy however attacks the truth and thus permanently destroys individual souls, churches, and denominations, and that destruction continues through time. The former deals with people, the latter with the Truth! It is a symptom indeed of Challies' view on positivity and his myopic view of reality that both are to be regarded as equally bad.

Having sullied the idea of discernment by his inappropriate analogy, Challies continued by poisoning the well. Challies opined on the type of feedback he has received and phrased it in such a way that the impression is given that he has received a lot of hatemail confirming the correctness of his first post, through the use of the phrase "learned more about those watchblogs than I have wanted". Challies is a good writer, and he skillfully uses his words to give the impression that the hatemail he received confirmed that many "watchbloggers" are indeed people who regard evil as entertainment. Even if the majority of emails rebuking Challies are harsh, it is logically fallacious to infer that therefore these same people are treating evil as entertainment. There is simply no causative relationships between the two, unless of course one believe in the principle of positivity as an axiom.

To support his so-far non-existent argument, Challies placed up a couple of links. The first one links to an article by James McDonald [9] about the idea of the gift of discernment used in the flesh. The whole argument is suspect however, for the very issue at hand is taking criticism from other Christians. Are we to suppose that any and ALL criticism equates to the use of discernment? Is McDonald, and Challies by extension, saying that criticism from others equals the use of the gift of discernment albeit in the flesh? It seems that one does not have to be a Christian in order to have this gift! Whether rightly or wrongly, criticism comes to all of us, and to attack the act of discernment and discernment ministries themselves because criticism occurs is utterly fallacious. In fact, since Challies is discerning the watchblogs here, why isn't this act of his done in the flesh?

The second links to New Evangelical Frank Turk's article [10] that discernment is to be exercised within the local church. Since discernment ministries are meant to inform people of error and in so doing contributing to the Great Commission by warning the flock of possible soul-destroying error, Turk's peculiar ecclesia localis centrism logically leads to the conclusion that evangelism is to be done only within the Local Church! This is simply untenable, and therefore Turk's view of the Local Church is in error. The early church came together for worship, prayer, fellowship and sacraments, and went out to reach the world for Christ. The focus always was outward. No doubt we should treasure the Local Church, but ministry is not limited to the Local Church: Evangelism for example should be always done without to reach lost souls for Christ. The early church in Acts also did not know of Turk's peculiar emphasis on the Local Church, and there never was a situation whereby Christians refuse to minister together or to accept each other's ministry because they were not of the same Local Church! Last of all, it will suffice that Turk is violating his own advice since this article of his is not posted within the context of the Local Church anyway, not to mention Turk is not a pastor or elder so he has disqualified himself on his own principles!

Challies finished by basically repeating the essence of his initial post. In his own words:

But a blog that has as its bread and butter exposing error in the church, and especially error that is completely decontextualized and irrelevant to any of its readers, is a blog I think we ought to avoid [11]. A Christian’s thoughts ought to be dominated by “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). As I said last Monday, “Do I really need to read and to know about the seedy underbelly of the church, when such things happen thousands of miles away, among people I will never meet and in places I will never be? Such news is plenty entertaining, but it is useless to me. It does nothing to further my faith or to cause me to grow in godliness.” [12]

The problem with Challies which can be seen here is that he has attacked the idea of discernment ministries in general, in his bid to be positive. This has nothing to do whatsoever with the responsibility of the readership, an issue which must be kept totally separate.

Now of course, is there nothing to Challies' complaint? Of course there is! There are so-called "discernment" blogs that I personally do not exactly want to be associated with. But to attack "watchblogs" in general and state that the problem is that they are "doing discernment in the flesh", or are using "evil as entertainment" attacks the very actions of discernment itself and is a judgmental statement on the state of people's souls. How does Challies know whether a person is operating a watchblog because he is concerned over others, or because he wants to destroy others or entertain others with evil? He doesn't! Also, we shouldn't confuse the motives of the writers with the motives of the readers. If people read it because they want to be entertained by evil, the blame should be placed on the reader not the sharer of information, unless it can be proven that that was the motive of the sharer in posting it also.

The proper biblical response to inappropriate "discernment" ministries is to lovingly reach them and call upon them to be loving as well as discerning. Most of these people are doing such because they are concerned over what is happening in the churches, not because they delight in entertaining people with evil. Instead of attacking them, they should be given loving guidance. In the case of inappropriate judgments, we should correct them in love and if they reject it, to stand firm in the truth. If rebukes are required, the offending parties are to be named, their errors shown biblically and specifically, and they are to be called to repent. Such people are wrong because they have no love or they make a wrong judgment, not because of their action of discernment.

Challies with his view of being loving and positivity has manifests his New Evangelical convictions and has done damage to the cause of Christ, with legitimate discernment ministries de-legitimized and the enemies of the Truth emboldened [13]. Just like New Evangelicalism historically, such an infatuation with positivity will slowly but surely destroy the Church. Will we reject this infatuation with positivity? Of course, this does not mean that we extol negativity; we should not strive to be either positivist or negativist, but to be biblical and embrace both in antithetical living. As it is written:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim. 4:1-5)

Note the pattern here: Verse 1-2 are "positive" verses, which is followed by a "negative" verses in verses 3-4, and capped with a "positive" statement in verse 5. Such patterns are in fact found throughout the Scripture, and this antithetical teaching and lifestyle should characterize the lives of Christians. We are to be positive and negative; positive towards godliness and truth and negative towards ungodliness and error. New Evangelicalism threw out the need to be negative, while Fundamentalism in general tend to throw out the need to be positive. Biblical Christianity is both, and may we therefore embrace both.

REFERENCES:

[1] Earnest D. Pickering, The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism (Greenville, SC, USA: Bob Jones University Press, 1994), p. 8

Early New Evangelical leaders took great pains to emphasize the fact that fundamentalists were too much "again" and not enough "for". Their plea was "Let's be positive and not negative". While this statement has an emotional appeal to many, it is not a biblical philosophy. Scripture is both positive and negative — it is for some things and against others. We must strive for that same balance.

[2] Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), p. 20

[3] Pickering, pp. 78, 96-97

[4] Tim Challies, Evil as Entertainment, Blog post dated April 6, 2009 (http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/evil-as-entertainment.php)

[5] Steven J. Camp, Blogging, Watchblogging and Ministry, Blog post dated April 8th, 2009 (http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com/2009/04/blogging-watchblogging-meta-and.html)

[6] Phil. R Johnson, Turning a Blind Eye to Evil is Evil Too, Blog post dated April 9th, 2009 (http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/04/turning-blind-eye-to-evil-is-evil-too.html)

[7] Steven J. Camp, Blogging, Watchblogging and Ministry.

[8] Tim Challies, Fighting Fire with Fire, Blog post dated April 13, 2009 (http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/fighting-fire-with-fire.php)

[9] James McDonald, Great Damage: The Use of the Gift of Discernment Used in the Flesh, Blog post dated March 2, 2009 (http://blog.harvestbiblefellowship.org/?p=1527 )

[10] Frank Turk, Establish Elders (3), Blog post dated April 8, 2009 (http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/04/establish-elders-3.html)

[11] Note that Challies' positivity criteria would function to throw a watchblog like Chris Rosebrough's Museum of Idolatry (http://www.alittleleaven.com/) under the bus, a blog site which Phil Johnson defended as serving a valid function.

[12] Challies, Fighting Fire with Fire

[13] One just need to glance at the meta of Challies' two posts to see Warren apologist Richard Abanes and Chris Lyons of the anti-Christian watchblog CRN.info praising Challies and attacking the watchblogs, to see the damage Challies has done.

Samuel Rutherford on the Well-meant Offer (part 2)

[Part 1 here]

Nor is it true that Christ's dying for all and everyone (which is a dream) makes salvation possible to all, so that the Covenant is Precheable to all upon condition of believing. ...

And it is true: whether all believe or none at all believe, and whether all or none at all be saved, as is this (whosoever shall keep the Law perfectly, shall be justified and saved by the works of the Law.) But, it makes neither faith nor salvation possible to Pagans and Reprobates, nor perfect obedience in doing the Law nor Justification or salvation by the works of the law possible to any living man. But the Question is, whether the connection of the former be made true by the decree and revealed will of God promising life to the believer, by no means, but only by this, because Christ died for all and everyone. ... This must be proved either by Scripture, or by some solid reason from Scripture; for it saith this, Reprobates cannot have life by believing in Christ crucified for them: except it be true that Christ was crucified for them, except they also believe that Christ rose from the dead, and ascended and intercedes in Heaven for them... (p. 349-350)

...the Covenant of Grace .... was it not a Covenant of its own nature that might at any age, be Preached to all Nations. But what is then revealed in these decrees? (if the Reprobates believe, they shall be saved). Answer: Not God's intention conditional or absolute to save them, or to give them faith or grace merited by Christ' death, to believe, for then some good-will and love of election, the Lord should bear toward the election of such, and should desire all the Reprobate to be saved, so that they would believe, ... , therefore this conditional decree (if all and everyone believe, all and everyone shall be saved) can infer no love of God through Christ to the persons of all and everyone to have them saved, more than this can infer a love of saving all and everyone, to be in God or to have been in the Lord, ... In a word, no simple conditional propositions can infer the desire or good will of God to the person or men or to have the things done, except God effectually work the condition ... ... For this connective proposition may stand true with the salvation of all angles, or all men, or no angels, or no men, according as the Lord shall be pleased of his good pleasure and free grace to work, or not to work the condition of moving the will of Angles and men to keep the Law. And therefore these connections nihil ponunt asoluti, they place nothing absolutely to PERSONS, but only to THINGS, to wit, 1) That it is the duty and obligation of all angels and men to perform absolute obedience to the Law, as they would be justified and saved by the Law, and it's the duty of all men in the Visible Church to believe in Christ if they would be justified and saved in Christ. (p. 353-355)

(Bold and CAPS added)

Samuel Rutherford, The Covenant of Life Opened, Edited by C. Matthew McMahon (New Lenox, IL, USA: Puritan Publications, 2005. Original published on 1654)

It has been said, "The more things change, the more they stay the same" or, to put it biblically, "there is nothing new under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9). Rutherford attacked the idea of a well-meant offer found within the Amyraldian movement in his time. Does this objection sounds familiar: "Reprobates cannot have life by believing in Christ crucified for them: except it be true that Christ was crucified for them, except they also believe that Christ rose from the dead, and ascended and intercedes in Heaven for them". In other words, God must be presented as purchasing universal atonement for all elect and reprobates in Gospel preaching, according to the WMO promoters.

Rutherford rejected this idea, albeit in rather long-winded prose. In Rutherford's view, God desires the things in salvation rather than people when viewed in the context of Gospel offer (Conditional proposition). It is the duty and obligation of all men to repent and believe the Gospel, of which these actions in the fulfilment of the Law qua things are pleasing to God. But God does not desire and intend conditional or absolute to save them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Spring Church Band performs "Highway to Hell"

This is a video by New Spring Church band performing AC/DC's rock song Highway to Hell.

Here are the lyrics courtesy of A Little Leaven:

Living easy, living free
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don't need reason, don't need rhyme
Ain't nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too

I'm on the highway to hell

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody's gonna mess me round
Hey Satan, payed my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey Momma, look at me
I'm on my way to the promised land

I'm on the highway to hell
(Don't stop me)

And I'm going down, all the way down
I'm on the highway to hell

I wonder if this is the latest trend in "contextualization", where you get to sing the Devil's songs in "church" to reach out to the "unchurched", even wishing to join them in hell it seems!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Samuel Rutherford on the Well-Meant Offer

I have been going through a book by the Scottish Puritan Samuel Rutherford in my free time (hence it would take some time to finish it) entitled The Covenant of Life Opened (New Lenox, IL, USA: Puritan Publications, 2005. Original published on 1654). Here is an interesting quote by Rutherford relevant to the topic of the Well-meant offer (Two can play the "quotes" game)

And this is a Gospel truth now, that stands after the Incarnation, as before Romans 9:18. He hath therefore mercy upon whom he will, and hardens whom he will. And he said it in the Old Testament, Exodus 33:19, and repeateth it to us, Romans 9:15. I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion upon whom I will have compassion. And if any man say that he hath the like antecedent natural good will, to save eternally all these whom he calleth and moveth finally to obey, and the greatest part of mankind whom he so moveth and calleth as he knoweth they shall never obey, whereas he can move all finally to obey, without straining their natural liberty: He speaks things that cannot consist with both the wisdom and liberty of God. (p. 190-191)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Upcoming talk by Ralph Davis

Shalom Reformed Baptist Church has invited Dr. Dale Ralph Davis to give a seminar cum talk in their church. This coming Friday the 17th April 2009, Dr. Davis would be giving a talk open to the public. Here are the details:

Date: 17th April 2009

Time: 8pm

Topic: Clarity on Carmel (1 Kings 18)

Venue: Shalom RB premises along Upper Paya Lebar Road.
8 New Industrial Road, LHK3 Building,#03-01, Singapore 536200

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quotable Quotes: The Adequacy of Words

In my on-going research into New Evangelical Calvinism, I stumbled onto a quote from a book I had lying on my bookshelf for some time, proving that there is nothing new under the sun.

Still more significant in undermining the evangelical position on Scripture has been the liberal argument that divine truth cannot be precisely stated in words. Given all the limitations of human vocabulary, it is said, revelation cannot exist in 'propositional form'. God's thoughts so transcend our capacity and language that it is a form of 'rationalism' to think that word can convey revelation inerrantly. So it is affirmed.

This is an old argument from philosophy, and it was adopted a century ago by those who wanted to retain faith in God's redemptive acts but not in the infallibility of the text of the Bible which records those acts. 'It is claimed', Douglas Johnson wrote in 1953, 'that the Bible does not provide us with definite propositions which would enable us to state formally what God has been pleased to reveal, and from which it is possible to draw up a creed.' 'No propositional revelation in Scripture' was the repeated objection raised against evangelical 'dogmatism'. Thus, at the same period, we find [Dr. Martin] Lloyd-Jones responding to the claim that 'fundamentalism cannot be true because it claims that truth can be reduced to a number of propositions'.

- Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided — A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2000)

James White on really believing the Gospel

Dr. James White has written an excellent article on the topic of really believing the Gospel. Some excerpts:

One is either convicted that the gospel is something that matters or not. There really isn't any middle ground. Saying the gospel is important, but, not really definitional, is absurd. It is no wonder that so many today find Paul a disagreeable character, because as far as I can see, I am following very closely in his footprints on this issue. There is a divine gospel whereby God glorifies Himself in the salvation of His elect, and anything less than that isn't the gospel at all. It's a sham, a fraud, a deception. Now that kind of thinking doesn't sit well in a post-modern world, to be sure, where it smacks of "epistemological arrogance." But to say otherwise is to insist that God has not spoken with clarity and that the Lord has not preserved the gospel for His people.

The fact of the matter is that most "Protestants" in the world today are Protestants of taste rather than Protestants of conviction. They just prefer their religion the way they have it. Maybe they don't like old cathedrals, or they don't like backwards collars, or the smell of candles. Maybe they think the Pope's hat is funny. Whatever the reason, they are not Roman Catholics basically because they don't feel like it. They are not convinced that Rome's gospel is false or that her theology is blasphemous. No, they have never really given all of that much thought. They might find the Marian dogmas a bit odd, but in the final analysis, their current religious affiliation is just a matter of taste, nothing more. And let me tell you: those folks are ripe for conversion: either conversion to Rome, or, conversion to apostasy, either one. For if they have no passion for the gospel, they have no passion for Christ, and hence no foundation of faith.

...

A true Protestant is a person who has made that act of will, that act of faith, in purposefully embracing the gospel of grace in opposition to a gospel of works and who recognizes that what he has embraced is fundamentally opposed to what he has rejected.

Someone who is truly convicted of the Gospel must not be merely positive, but also negative; not only loving [the truth] but hating [the lie]. A merely "positive" faith and Gospel is insufficient! As Dr. White has said:

Saying the gospel is important, but, not really definitional, is absurd.

To what extent does the New Calvinists with their insistence on being together for the Gospel are as such? Will they follow Scripture in all its fullness, or desire to be merely "positive" and refuse to refute heresy as heresy. It is simply not enough to just say "This is not right", but also "This is wrong!"; to say "This is not what the Scriptures teaches", but also "This is against what the Scriptures teaches"; or to say "You are not preaching in line with the Scriptures" instead of saying "You are preaching heresy"! Such an attitude which focuses on the positive while ignoring the negative is a blight on Christianity and contrary to the spirit and tone of Jesus and the Apostles.

To my grief, I have been given an impression by at least one of my New Calvinist friends that we should focus on the positive; on merely teaching the truths of Scripture, but not to rebuke error. In his/their viewpoints, our teachings/ blogs should be focused on teaching people the truth, and error should only be dealt with when they crop up and done so personally. Besides being unbblical and ahistorical (no significant group of Christians has ever adopted this attitude until the last 100-200 years in Church History), this attitude of being only positive and negative just does not work, since positive presentation without negative refutation leaves the way open for men to follow error without knowing it and by the time the error has leavened the loaf, there is nothing any man can do about it. Also, it is possible to be merely positive? I dare anyone to try teaching Christology without reference to any of the Christological heresies in all their forms (including the terms and concepts used) present in the early history of the Church, and see whether such would help people to evade the errors of Arianism or even Modalism. Such people would do well to read Church History of events such as the Downgrade Controversy to find out what happens when people desire to be positive and not contend for the faith — apostasy of the churches.

I have been researching into the New Calvinist movement for some time, and what I have discovered and discerned greatly disturbs me. I am very troubled by what I have found out and sincerely hope I am wrong, but what I have seen is the seeds of apostasy planted in the YRR movement. Those who have read and rejected the philosophy of New Evangelicalism will find the conclusion familiar, for the fruits of New Evangelicalism can be seen around us today: Prostituting of the Gospel for material gain, adding of corporate principles to the idea of Christian ministry, creation and toleration of heresies ie the Openness theology, increasing worldliness in the churches, compromise of the Faith in ecumenism, feminism and other -isms. What the Church does NOT need now is Neo-Evangelicalism version 2,which would do as much if not more damage to the Faith! May God have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Book review: Spirit Wars

I have just finished a review of Prof Peter Jones' excellent book Spirit Wars, which can be read here.

Entitled Spirit Wars, Dr. Peter Jones' book documents and exposes the New Spirituality and its growth in America (and through her, the world). After much research, Dr. Jones is convinced about the threat of this New Spirituality to the Church, and is concerned over the infiltration of this apostasy into the churches. Being a scholar of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, Jones through his research sees many similarities of the New Spirituality with the Gnostic error, and seeks to warn the Church against this growing neo-pagan gnostic threat to her faith.

With copious endnotes and references, Jones seeks to prove his case that a pagan revival is underfoot in America, and how this anti-Christian movement has developed in its opposition to biblical truth. The movement has re-spawned the ancient pagan worldview, and this worldview is totally antithetical to the Christian worldview; the former is monistic, while the latter is theistic. The growth of this worldview however has impacted the Church, altering Christians' perspectives and compromising their beliefs on issues such as femininity and homosexuality among others.

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Rick Warren: To be or not to be...

... that is the question.

I got a better suggestion. Rick, why don't you stop playing footsy and choose who you would rather offend? Consistency is much preferred.

[HT: Christian Research Net]

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Should you read heretical books?

I am critical of many aspects of Mark Driscoll and his ministry, as those who follow my blog will know. Yet, I have nothing against him as a person, and indeed sometimes Driscoll does give rather good answers to various questions.

In this video, Driscoll gave an excellent answer regarding the reading of various Christian and "Christian" books. Christians should not be getting all the latest Christian books in a quest to "broaden your mind". Understand your Bible and sound doctrine first and foremost, looking for sound orthodox books to complement your spiritual diet. ONLY if you are called to teach and minister to others should you read other books for research purposes, and that only.

[HT: Christian Research Net]

Panel on the Emerging Church

In this rather long video (88' 20"), Pastor Kevin DeYoung, Emergent Tony Jones, Scot McKnight and the Harris twins participated in a panel held about two weeks ago at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas to discuss the Emerging Church Movement:

My two cents take:

Kevin DeYoung was excellent, although I can emphatize with his frustration with the two representatives of the Emergen* Church Movement. Check out his blog here btw.

Tony Jones: If what he asserts of his theological knowledge is correct, they remain merely cognitio, sans assentio and fiducia. In point of fact, it is revealing that the idea of the perspicuity of Scripture is new to him despite his pompous pronouncement of familiarity with Church history.

Scot McKnight: I wonder if there is anyone he cannot tolerate besides Christians who believe in and practice Jude 1:3 in any form.

The Harris twins: Good questions asked. It is hoped that they would mature in the faith and learn that subterfuge is a very good strategy used by the enemy and his soldiers.

[HT: TeamPyro]

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Quote: The heresy of heresy-hunting

Here is an interesting quote taken from a book by Dr. Peter Jones:

It is Satan's sincerest wish that we should never make a negative judgment about those who set out to destroy the Church and its foundations, or who spread deadly heresy and false doctrine. Correspondingly, the real reason that human non-judgmentalism in any form is becoming so fashionable in this age is that it makes the concept of a judging, avenging God seem ridiculous, anachronistic and implausible.

- Alan Morrison, The Serpent, p.200. As cited in Peter Jones, Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America (Mukilteo, WA, USA: WinePress Publishing, 1997), p. 74

Sounds familiar? This comes from a section in the book under the heading The Modern Heresy: Heresy-hunting.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Reflection on Prof Peter Jones' talk on the 28th March 2009

I had attended a talk by Prof Peter Jones, adjunct professor at Westminster Seminary California and executive director for the ministry TruthXChange, which was organized by STEMI and held recently in Singapore on the 28th March 2009. Here is my personal reflection on this excellent talk:

On the 28th Mar 2009, Dr. Peter Jones, adjunct professor at Westminster Seminary California, gave a talk in Singapore held at True Way Presbyterian Church. The talk was organized by STEMI and occurred from 10a.m. to about 2:30p.m, with the title being The Paganization of the West and the Global Challenge to Christian Truth. The talk was good and informative, and it was interesting hearing such a presentation from a Reformed theologian as opposed to the multitudes of evidential apologists who sometimes sound more alarmist than inspirational, and definitely less biblical.

Prof Jones’ talk was split into two sessions, predictably one before lunch and one after lunch. In the first session, Prof Jones describes the pagan worldview and its challenge in today’s society, while in the second session, he exegetes Rom. 1:18-28 to answer the challenge of paganism.

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I think this message is very important for the church especially with the recent outbreak in interest in "Contemplative spirituality". It is hoped that the church will go back to the God of the Scriptures instead of going back to paganism in any form.

P.S.: There is a good sermon Prof Jones gave entitled Neo-Paganism: Stepchild of Secular Humanism, which you can obtain here.