To all: Blessed Reformation Day! Please do spend some time this week to thank God for the blessings that He has given to us this day many years ago through the catalytic action of one man, Martin Luther, and the many who came after him. May our Lord be pleased this day to raise up more people like him and the many reformers, as the church today is very sick and need her reformers who are willing to stand up for and proclaim the Gospel and the whole counsel of God fearlessly (of which Evanjellyfishes wouldn't do so).
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
I would like to revisit the doctrine of seperation for some time. Here are two articles which I have written previously, and will use as a base framework to expand more on the practical aspect soon.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Dr Don Carson gave a short approximately 2 hours talk on the Emerging Church Movement on Friday afternoon, from 2-4pm including Q&A. It was informative, especially since Carson has researched and has even written a book on the Emerging Church Movement, entitled Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.
In this talk, Dr. Carson spend most of his effort on analyzing the Emerging Church on the fronts of Epistmology and Truth. In this he presented the truth excellently. The Emerging Church Movement is by and large fraught with a flaweed Epistemology which have more in common with Postmodernism than with biblical Christianity. Similarly, their delibrate obfuscation of the truth doesn't help matters.
Now, of course, when discussing an ever-evolving and non-monolithic movement, sweeping generalizations are generally not helpful. Carson acknowledges this to be the fact, and definitely whatever one might say, they would be always at least one person who could speak up and protest that this is not what they or their group believes to be the case. Nevertheless, despite the variation in beliefs and practices, there are a few traits common to the Emerging Church Movement. The most important similarity of course is the emphasis placed on praxis or works over and against doctrine. The Emerging Church Movement, in a bid to reach the culture, has a certain propensity to ape it even on areas where Chrstians are told not to ape the world. This is particularly seen in the area of Epistemology, whereby the Emerging Church Movement by and large have embraced the skepticism and cynicism of Postmodern deconstructionist theories, and have thus applied these theories to the doctrines of Scripture.
As it happens, most people in the audience doesn't seem to an inkling of philosophical trends, and thus Carson took some time to explain the difference between the pre-modern, modern and postmodern epistemologies. Everything here of course is a summary, and he didn't have the time to go into the details. That is why although it lasted about 2 hours, it is still considered short, since only a summary of the main points could be stated, and only those 'in the know', so to speak, are most likely to know the various people which Carson mentions (Derrida, Foucault etc.). As it is already, Carson did not have the time to mention various trends in the Emerging Church Movement with the recent polarization and possible fragmentation of the movement (which I asked him about it privately), and the difference between Emerging and Emergent, and of course the various leaders within the movement, only mentioning the most famous figurehead and leader Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell in passing. Incidentally, Carson is of the impression that Mark Discoll has left the Emerging Church Movement. If he has indeed done so, I sure hope he has made it public and renounced the heretics in them publicly, otherwise he would continue to be tarnished with the label of the rapidly apostasizing Emerging Church Movement.
All in all, this was a good introduction to the challenge of the Emerging Church Movement. It is hoped that the next talk on this issue, if it would ever materialize, would be much longer and more in-depth.
And so, in conclusion of the three posts, I am thankful for the opporunity to attend this conference, and for God to provide us with a good speaker in the person of His servant Dr. Don Carson. For those who did not go for the conference, if you are interested you may purchase CDs of the sermons and talks here (go to the 'PT tapes' section) when it is ready.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, to the only wise God our Savior, be all blessing and glory and honor and power and praise. Amen.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Dr. Carson, in the later half of the morning, finished each day's morning conference with the topic of Preaching OT narrative: Preaching Nehemiah. In this, Dr. Carson uses the book of Nehemiah as a foil as to how to preach Narrative theology, while he starts off first with an overview of preaching.
The first thing Dr. Carson emphasized on is the genre of the Scripture passage under exposition. As it is self-evident, yet disturbingly hard to keep sometimes, we must respect the genre of the context of the text which we are seeking to exposit before we start expositing the text. A correct and pithy saying Carson told us is that 'Text without context is a pretext for a prooftext'. For those who may not understand this phrase, what it is saying is that utilizing a text of Scripture, rippped out of its original context, is a pretext, a devious pretension, to utilize the text just to prop up your position with some seemingly relevant Scriptures while in actual fact they probably do not suport your position. As such, Dr. Carson very much prefers the form of preaching called Expository preaching, of which I agree totally, as it 'forces' the preacher and/or teacher to follow the flow of Scripture and exegete accordingly, instead of imposing one's preconceived ideas onto Scripture (eisegesis). As Carson shared with us, a friend of his shared that he doesn't mind if a precher preached topically once a year, if he repents immediately afterwards. I concur whole-heartedly with the sentiment. Incidentally, one of my contention with Warrenism is that it promotes eisegesis by utilizing the fallacy of prooftexting, as what Warren has done throughout his book The Purpose Driven Life, which I have documented in my book Driven Away by Purpose.
Carson then go through some of the forms of theology we encounter in Scripture; namely Systematic, Biblical and Narrative Theology. Systematic Theology is the asking and answering of atemporal questions like 'Who is God', while Biblical Theology has an element of time in it. Thus, Biblical theology asks and answers such question as hoe does a certain theme runs through Scripture and how does an incident or book within the Bibe fit within the realm of redemption history. Carson also notes the danger of concentrating on biblical theology to the exclusion of systematic theology, as this would result in the person losing bearing within the great scheme of the Bible and without a strong biblical framework to ground his temporal reading of the flow of Scripture, resulting in chaos I might add.
The last form of theology to be looked at is Narrative theology. Now, narrative theology is a tricky word, and I do not like to use the term myself, seeeing as to how the Emerging Church Movement has utilized it in equation to story telling. Nevertheless, its definition as how Carson defined it is definitely valid, though I prefer to think of it as the narrative element in biblical theology. Carson also warns against the misuse and misappropriation of the term as being equitable to story telling. Instead, he speaks about the proper method of utilizing narrative theology, in the importance of the plot, of the characterization inherent within it and of the literary structure in the narrative under study. Looking at it this way would definitely yield important Scriptural information from the narrative, and thus aid in exegeting the Word of God.
Even with this proper approach, however, Carson warns us of the importance of subsuming the narrative under the Analogia Fide, or the Analogy of Faith. Everything we infer and derive from the narrative must needs be consistent with the whole of Holy Writ. Since narrative tends to be more subjective than the other two forms of theology, such consistency is very needful. An example of the importance of such a subsumption woud be in the instance whereby God is said to repent. Throwing away the Analogia Fide while emphasizing the narrative would lead one to embrace the heresy of Open theism. In order of objectivity therefore, Systematic theology ranks first and foremost, followed by Biblical theology and then Narrative theology. Proper subsumption of the various forms to those that are more objective would greatly aid us in doing proper exegesis and exposition of the Scriptures.
Finally, Carson speaks of the importance of locating inner canonical threads in the narrative and tracing them back to Jesus. Since Jesus is the Word and the focus of Scripture, all narrative must ultimately trace back to Him as primary importance. Of course, we do not overdo things and insist on inserting Jesus even when there is no warrent to do so. Rather, such should be something which comes naturally since the entire Bible is about Jesus and His salvation of His people on the Cross. And to this I heartily concur.
After a couple of applications, Carson ended this topic of his, which was also very good. In actual fact, it should not be just the pastors, theologians, or full-time workers who need to listen to it. Ordinary Christians should also be involved, since the skill to be learnt here are invaluable; the types and methods which we should be utilizing to grow deeper in the Word.
In the last post, we would look into Carson's talk on the Emerging Church Movement.
[to be continued]
[continued from here]
Here's a photo of Dr. Don Carson. Due to the fact that I took this with my handphone camera while he was preaching (and I was seated) and from a rather far distance, it isn't of a very good quality, but should be good enough.
Anyway, let's continue with his talks.
The first topic which Dr. Carson preaches on is The Living & Enduring Word, which basically addresses basic issues on the doctrine of Sripture and how it relates to the Christian faith. Although I know most of what he teaches, it was still refreshing to hear solid truth preached on the topic, whereas most of my knowledge on this regard has almost exclusvely come from reading books such as Scripture Alone by Dr. James R. White and the 3-series volume Holy Scripture by Webster and King, nevermind the countless articles off the Internet on the subject.
In the talk he gave, Dr. Carson preaches on the authority, perspicuity, and finally on the sufficiency of Scripture. Under the section of the authority of Scripture, Carson makes the link between Truth, faith and authority, stating that these three are interlinked and that there isn't true faith and thus no authority where there is no truth. In this, he spoke out against the mystical idea of a faith and spirituality devoid of truth, while science becomes the sole vehicle of truth. The validity of faith is therefore dependent on the truthfulness of the object of faith. Without truth, any faith is invalid and I would add it is not faith but superstition indeed.
Carson then continued with the difference between an authoritative presentation and the authority of the presentation. These two are NOT equal. One could and should speak authoritatively, but without there being truth at the core of the presentation (more specifically God's truth), there is no power and therefore no authority within the message so proclaimed. Such an authority inherent in the message comes from truth which is inevitably tied to the person of Jesus in the Scripture. All truth leads to Christ, and magnify Him above all else. The authoritative proclaimation should therefore leads to an exaltation of the person (and works) of Christ through the exposition of Scripture.
Carson then discusses a bit about the postmodern mindset of relativism and its undermining of the authority of Scripture. He agrees with them that we humans are perspectivalists, or people with limited perspectives based on our various experiences. However, the only true non-perspectivalist ever is God Himself, because He is omniscient with perfect knowledge. And because of this, it is wrong to use such a truth about the limitation of human understanding to undermine the authority of Scripture. The authority of Scripture is tied to the role of Holy Spirit in inspiring Scripture cf 2 Tim. 3:16-17. Although not exactly stated, Dr. Carson made a short comment which seems to talk about the role of the Holy Spirit in illuminating and showing our minds with the Truth (capital T) in Scripture, which I think is definitely important in combating the postmodern arguments raised against the authority of Scripture.
Dr. Carson then raised the issue of ontology vs. phemenology with regards to the doctrine of Scripture. In other words, is our doctrine of Scripture to be derived from what Scripture says about itself (ontology) or how Scripture seems to treat other sections of Scripture (phemenology). Of course, ontology is the correct way to go about answering the question, while phemenology tends to go off the rails because it does not have a framework to adequately see the thread of unity and inspiration within the seeming chaos in how Scripture seem to relate to each other (My own wordings in paraphrase).
With regards to the subject of perspicuity, or the clarity of Scripture, or claritas scripturae, Dr. Carson made a couple of points on this topic which I didn't take down. This was due to the fact that I didn't hear anything I regard as substantial in this regard as this was a plain enough topic. But I do agree whole-heartedly 100% with Carson that the Scriptures are perspicuous. Not all Scriptures are as clear as each other, as what the apostle Peter wrote about some of the writings of Paul (2 Peter 3:16). However, they are not so obscure that we need a Magisterium or some mystical hermeneutic in order to interpret Scripture properly.
Lastly, the Scriptures are sufficient. Dr. Carson states that this is not exhaustive sufficiency, in the sense that the Scriptures are not sufficient for things they are not intended for, like how to make a car. Rather, they are sufficient for ALL manner of faith and Christian living, echoing 2 Tim 3:16-17 in this regard. Or, to phrase it as Carson did, sufficient 'for salvation and all that goes along with it'. Carson did not go in-depth into the concept of material and formal sufficiency, but I doubt he needs to since we are not doing apologetics against the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox religions. However, he did speak regarding something which is more prevalent among Christian Evangelical circles, and which is especially pertinent for Singapore where the Charismatic movement is very strong. Dr. Carson states that sufficiency means that ALL of our Christian living is to be centered on the Word of God. The Scripture are not meant to be for salvaton and then we 'switch' to the ways of the world, and of psychology, for our sanctification. Carson thus have a very dim view of extra-biblical techniques of sanctification. I have personally asked Dr. Carson regarding the practice of contempative or centering prayer and Lectio Divina, and although he disagreed with me on their relation to Christianity (he thinks they are patristic practices while I tend to think of it as having a veneer of Christianity), he did say that they are wrong.
The idea of the sufficiency of Scripture comes to a head during one of the Q&A sessions whereby a person asked for advice when professed Christians disparage Bible study because the Spirit supposedly 'leads them' and thus as long as they 'flow in the Spirit', they are fine. Dr. Carson answered in stark terms that this is absolutely nonsense. The Word is inspired by the Spirit of truth, and thus for anyone to say that they 'follow the Spirit', while rejecting the Scriptures, is a liar. Carson states that the apostle Paul had the most awesome experience of being caught up to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2), but yet he insists that he be judged NOT by his experiences, but by His word and deed. In fact, writing to the Corinthian church, one which was extraodinarily gifted, he states that those who claim to be led by the Spirit and flowing in the gifts SHOULD ackowledge that the things he writes are a command of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37). In other words, regardless of whether a person is a cessaionist or not, it is a plain truth of Scripture that those who claim to be spiritual and have the gift of prophecy must first and foremost acknowledge the Scriptures which were inspired by God. To do otherwise, like what lots of charismatics are doing, is to deny the sufficiency of Scripture, and this in fact shows that their gifts of prophecy etc. are NOT of God, if real.
Carson ventures into the nature of the inspiration of Scripture, using Heb. 1:1-2 as the text where it is stated that in the last days "He has spoke to us by His Son". The last phrase, if literally translated from the Greek, is rendered something akin to the 'Son-Revelation'. Therefore, Scripture revelation is final in Jesus Christ the Son of God (through the Holy Scriptures), and therefore all other contenders for final revelation like the Book of Mormon is false revelation.
Carson ended this topic by drawing some practical conclusions from the doctrine of Scripture. One of them was that knowing this would engender confidence in preparation and delivery of the sermon, as we know that we have authority of the Scripture to back us up, that the Scripture are clear enough for us to know what they are saying and for the congregation to understand, and sufficient for us to live the Christian life instead of hoping onto the next fad and technique that comes along independent of the Scripture.
All in all, an excellent take on the topic. A feast indeed!
In the next post, I would post my reflections on the third topic, since the second topic, the sermons on Nehemiah, is expository in nature and there is no way to summarize it (very packed). I would just say that it was very good and I would like to have such sermons on a weekly basis.
[to be continued]
I recently attended an expository preaching conference on the book of Nehemiah, which was conducted by Dr. D.A. Carson over one Friday and one Saturday morning (Yes, I took one day leave to attend the Friday session). All I can say is WOW! Lots of solid food to feed upon; a feast indeed. And almost all the stuff he was talking about were just at or around my level; the optimum level for spiritual intake.
Anyway, here's my reflection on the conference itself.
The expository preaching conference is divided into three distinct sessions which are spread out over two days. In other words, Friday morning consists of part one of each of the three topics, while part two of the three topics were covered on Saturday morning. The topics are as follows:
1) The Living and Enduring Word
2) Exposition on Nehemiah
3) Preaching OT Narrative: Preaching Nehemiah
As it can be seen, the topics are truly interesting. Besides this conference, I also attended a short talk on Friday afternoon on the Emerging Church movement given by Dr. Carson.
In the next few posts, I would be giving my reflection on all these various talks.
[to be continued]
Friday, October 26, 2007
This would hopefully be my final post on the homosexual issue for some time. In this post, I would just like to look at some of the arguments homosexual apologists like to use:
1) Intolerant imposing of your own morality
We have covered this in a pervious post here, and have shown that they are the intolerant ones who are attempting to impose their immorality on others
2) Sexual discrimination
a) I wasn't aware that we have extra
1 2 3 eh 4 more genders, making a total of 6 (Male, Female, Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders). However, dosn't anyone find it strange that all the others define themselves using the primary two sexes? For example, gays are biological males who have an attraction to other biological males. Transgenders are those who desire to become a member of the opposite sex (male to female, female to male), and may undergo surgery to make their 'dream' a reality. What kind of gender it is when it can't be defined by itself and is biologically non-existent?
If the homo-apologists deny that their GLBT 'classes' are true gender classes, then upon what basis do you derive the charge of sexual discrimination? Sexual discrimination can only exist when there is a gender class to begin with.
b) It is possible for those who are GLBT to change their 'orientation', as the presence of ex-gays proves. If the 'orientation' can be changed, then why should it be termed a gender class, as these are more or less immutable?
c) Some homo-apologists try to avoid the force of the previous arguments by claiming that those who revert were never true homosexuals at all, or if they were they delude themselves via fantasizing. In making such a claim, they create a circular argument which is unfalsifiable. How do you prove that you are truly homosexual? By staying homosexual. How do you prove that you are not a homosexual? By not remaining homosexual. That they would have to resort to such petitio principii shows the bankruptcy of their argument
3) Charge of homophobia
We have dealt with that charge over here. The word is a misnomer which etymologically makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, from the prefix homo- and the suffix -phobia, the word simply means fear of Man. In that post, the exposed phony "Rev." Sutter tried to push the nosensical modern definition of homophobia, to which I responded by saying that using such a definition is nonsensical and leads to ridiculous words (ie. Homophobe-phobia, Christo-phobia etc.). In fact, if you want to use that definition, all homosexual activists are by definition "Christian-phobic", and thus they should all be sued for "making hate speech" anytime they promote homosexuality.
And from the Gay 'Christian' Movement, at least those who attempt to use the Bible (against the Bible),
4) It's wrong to pick one verse from the Bible in Lev. and not apply others (which always turn out to be a ceremonial command)
The Law given by God in the Old Testament had multiple functions, of which some were temporal and some were not. The injuction against homosexuality is part of the moral law, whereas those that deal with dietary concerns, clothing etc are part of the ceremonial law, in which they are a foreshadow of the various aspects of Christian living and ultimately of Christ. Failure to differentiate between the various aspects of the law prove their ignorance.
Even if you do not like the Old Testament, the New Testament says enough to remove all doubt that homosexuality is acceptable anytime anywhere in all of Scripture.
5) Homosexuality which is condemned in the Bible refers to male temple prostitution only
This betrays an utter lack of knowledge of the ancient Greek world, which were even more gay-frindly than most 'progressive' countries today. Not to mention that the Scripture make no such distinction between 'forced homosexuality' and 'loving homosexuality'.
exegesis eisegesis ....
I would now go into the gymnastics that homo-activists use to get around the plain teaching of the texts of Scripture. Suffice it is to say that most texts are so clear that a person with an interlinear Bible and a Strong's Concordance should be able to refute them.
For societal issues,
7) Disproportionate attention placed on sin of homosexuality yet no one condemns sins such as gluttony
If that's the case, then whoever those Christians are, they are wrong. Sins such as gluttoney are still sins and ought to be called as sins. BUT, and this is a big but, sins have varying degrees of sinfulness. On such a scale, sexual sins are much worse than dietary sins, because sexual sins are sins against one's own body (1 Cor. 6:18). Therefore, sexual sins are to be more severely condemned than most other more trivial sins. GLBT perversation is even worse than other sexual sins, because it also sins against God's ordained order in sexuality which He first instituted in Gen. 2:21-24. It is in this in mind that we sharply oppose the GLBT agenda, especially its stated purpose of forcing everybody to accept their "sexualities" as normal.
The other important reason why we oppose the GLBT agenda is because the fundamental issue of normal and abnormal sexuality is one of the gateways mentioned in Scripture in Rom. 1:26-27 as to the health of a society. By allowing the GLBT agenda free rein, society would descend to the level of Rom. 1:26-27, and from there it is just a small step to Total Anarchy and the destruction of a nation.
8) It's hypocritical to condemn homosexuality while not condemning other sins like adultery in a secular context
Normally, this is placed in the context of 'imposing of morality' in a secular society. The problem with this line of argument is that Christians and society in general frowns on adultery. That it may be common does not make it mainstream morality, and even the adulterer does not think it is good (only probably necessary according to him/her). However, the GLBT agenda seeks to glorify their perverse lifestyle and force everybody to at the very least tolerate such actions of theirs. Therefore, it is imperative that we oppose them right from the start.
9) Why "impose" laws against homosexuality, but not blasphemy laws?
This problem only occurs if you think that the Kingdom of God is of this world. However, it is not (Jn. 18:36)! Therefore, all laws relating to God and the worship and honoring of God are not to be imposed by the secular courts, but left to God for His meting out of judgment in due course. Of course, if a society is Christianized, they may choose to pass laws against blasphemy as a near unaminous decision of its citizens, but that has no Scriptural support whatsoever, and is thus something which the citizens just want to have and enforce. Within limits which do not infringe on the rights of others to practice their own religions, such a law is perfectly legitimate but not compulsory.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
While for keeping and upholding S377a of the Penal Code, and being totally against the bigoted homofacist agenda, it has come to my attention that some people hate gays with a passion. This has came to the forefront even while those of us who object do so rationally, some who object do so with a malice that is clearly deplorable.
Let's put it this way. Homosexuals are not the problem. They are still humans and deserve to be treated as such. They are not second-class citizens to be ill-treated as a scapegoat, or to be used as anyone's punching bag. What we are against is homosexualITY, and the bigoted homosexual agenda. Bashing homosexuals for fun is wrong, although the homosexual activists sure do enjoy bashing us. But we are not to stoop to their depraved standard. Even if we can 'get away with it', anyone who bashes gays for sport is wrong. Homosexuals are to be treated with compassion, in the same manner as we should treat mentally ill people. They are to be pitied and helped to get out of their depraved state.
Homosexual activists of course are a different issue altogether. These people are the ones who create more homosexuals out of impressionable young minds, and who glory in their shame. These people are to be treated as criminals, in fact worse than criminals, for leading people astray. In the same way as those who brainwash people to commit suicide bombings are to be punished more severely than those who acually attempt to do so (since those who successfully did so are dead by then), homosexual activists are to be punished most severely for their wicked acts. Justice must be meted out against the perpetuators of this outrage. Since they are already sold out to the extent of desiring to corrupt others (Rom. 1:32), they are not to be treated with kids' gloves, otherwise we are telling others that it is ok to do the same thing. Yet, at the same time, we are to offer them a choice to repent of their sins, and forgiveness IF they sincerely do so.
My last two articles on this subject (here and here) were written against homosexualITY and its wicked activists. Christians especially should learn how to differentiate between the two, and to treat each group accordingly. To those who struggle with their sin, we should be compassionate, but to those who glory in it and seek to drag others down with him/her, they should be vehemently denounced in a bid to protect others from them. The hearts of such people are very hard, and only hard measures must be used in order to perhaps get through the hardness of their heart (like Paul against the Judaizers, John against the Gnostics etc). Of course, without God, such change is impossible, so we should pray to God for them at the same time as we interact with them.
As for the pagan West, we would probably soon see the active persecution of faithful Christians in these once Christianized nations. Dr. James R. White has written a very good article whereby he shows this to be the case, and exhort us to prepare ourselves for it. Because we are Christ's, we will be hated by the world, and the world will persecute us (well, at least those who are faithful). In fact, shouldn't we have learned already that 'all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted' (2 Tim. 3:12)? While we still have the liberty to do so, let us therefore do the works of God, before we will be hunted down by the 'tolerant' and 'loving' secularists out there in their secular Inquisition.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 4)
The task of contending for the faith has been entrusted to all Christians, regardless of whether they want it or not. Jude in this epistle of his was writing to the members of the churches, NOT only to pastors, full-time workers, office bearers, 'elite Christians' and definitely not only to watchmen. Nevertheless, the sad situation in the Church today is that very few people ever heed this command in Scripture. Instead, what we have is a bunch of 'passionate' Christians who 'love' Jesus but think that we should not contend for the faith. What exactly has gone wrong here? Why do people who call themselves Christians are so timid and refuse to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints?
For this, let us leave behind the entire history of New Evangelicalism and the Feminization process ongoing in the churches. While true, I would like to focus more on the individual Christian in this post. Why is it that any individual Christian is at best hesitant about contending for the faith?
To answer this question, we can look at a few factors.
The first factor is of course due to the environment caused by all the social conditioning in the churches. The effeminate version of 'love' which is praised in the churches is that which is gutted of any concept of genuine Christian love. The twin slogans of 'Love' and 'Unity', and of not hurting another's feeling, have descended on the churches like a cloud. As it is, love in the churches came to be analogous to 'don't offend anyone', 'don't create controversy', and most definitely 'don't say anyting bad against anyone', whatever 'bad' means or refers to. Of course, in general, these are good principles to live by. We shouldn't in general offend anyone, nor to create controversy, nor to badmouth anyone. However, the problem with such a definition is that the Bible seems to be unloving in certain circumstances, even commanding us to publicly rebuke leaders who persist in sin (1 Tim. 5:20).
As it is, all of such carnal definitions are not what true Christian love really is. True Christian love is that which seeks the good of a person, even though that may not be what the person think is actually good for him/her. Therefore, we should not be involved in ecumenical events because they are not good for anyone involved, even though the world and the apostate Church may think it is good. Failure to realize the true meaning of Christian love has led many into disaster, and bring dishonor to the name of Christ.
The second factor is the natural inclincation of the flesh against any form of conflict and sacrifice. No one desires conflict, including me, but that is what contending for the faith would neccessarily lead to. No one likes to be ostracized, and no one likes to be hated, even though it is not their fault that they are so hated. Where possible, most people desire to be at peace, to have many friends, to have a smooth life etc. Therefore, contending for the faith is something that lazy and comfort-loving Christians would naturally want not to do.
I would now like to focus on the last factor, which trumps all the others. It is my contention that the love for Christ has gone cold, which is the primary reason why contending for the faith has gone out of fashion nowadays. Cultural conditioning can be overcome by meditation on the Word of God, laziness by growth in sanctification, love of comfort by santification through the trials send by God, but nothing can overcome a lack of love for Christ. Also, all of these spiritual weapons by which we overcome our disadvantages can only be and will be exercised by a person who truly loves Christ, and therefore this reason is the primary reason behind the failure of Man to contend for the faith.
For the individual, therefore, there is no excuse whatsoever for not contending for the faith. Yes, we may have baggages due to the conditioning of the culture and others, but ultimately it's the individual's own fault for not doing what he/she is commanded to do. Just as in the time of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 18), the Lord will hold every single person accountable for the good they did or did not do. No one can say to God that 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’ (Eze. 18:2b), as if this somehow absolve them from the responsibility of their actions.
Let us now go into the details as to how a lack of love for Christ is the primary cause for not contending for the faith.
When we are saved, we are adopted into the family of God and become His sons and daughters. Within this family, we have a love for God who saves us and adopts us as His children. Also, we receive a love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Put into this family context, contending for the faith would be analogous to protecting our spiritual father, God, from dishonor.
Now, with this analogy, we can see why is it that not contending for the faith shows a lack of love for God. All of us have earthly parents, and all of us should feel angry if someone insults them. What more, therefore, when someone insults our heavenly Father? If we are truly sons and daughters of God, shouldn't we not be filled with indignition whenever our heavenly Father's name is insulted, defamed or otherwise dragged through the mud? Shouldn't this holy indignition lead us to attempt to defend the honor of our Father? And this is what contending for the faith is! To contend for the faith is to defend God and His truth from corruption whether through wrong beliefs or through wrong actions, which sullies the honor and glory of our God. Conversely therefore, what can you say about a person who is perfectly nonchalant when his parents or siblings are insulted, except that he does not love them at all! If we push this truth into that of the familial analogy we have established so far, what does the lack of contending for the faith in individual Christians say about our professed love for Christ?
But yet, some may say, these people are just so on fire for Christ, or maybe they are just ignorant about Jude 4. Really?! Which part of being the child of God is so hard for a young Christian to grasp? Shouldn't the reaction be natural; that a child would be upset if his/her father is dishonored? Do children need to learn to be upset if their earthly parents are insulted? Yet why are we Christians by and large so apathetic towards what is supposed to be natural for us as children of God? Yet still others may say that we should not be indignant so that we will not offend unbelievers in order to reach them. Nonsense! What kind of witness are we showing to the world when we allow people to dishonor our God without us even making a sound? Aren't we telling people that God can be dishonored at will, since even us His followers apparently do so? And what is this rubbish regarding not offending unbelievers? Unbelievers will be offended by our lives and teachings whether we like it or not! The Cross is an offence (Gal. 5:11) to the natural Man, and a fragrance from death to death unless they repent (2 Cor. 2:16). Furthermore, only God is the one who saves, and He will save those He wills to (Rom. 9:18) and whoever He wills to save will be saved (Jn. 6: 37). To think that our actions has any ultimate decisive effect on whether a person is saved is to resurrect the Pelagian heresy from the pits of hell where it should rightfully be.
Therefore, in conclusion, it is hoped that we should learn how to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 4). If we are truly God's sons and daughters, let us do this as a natural expression of our love for Him who save us from darkness into His glorious light, into the adoption as children of the one true and living God our heavenly Father.
Of course, this is not something new. Most of our secular and humanistic opponents are hypocrites when it comes to such matters. Their irrationality is evident to all but the most blinded of fools. Anyway, I have browsed quickly through the various comments with regard to the homosexual S377a issue, and it seems that sooner or later, some naive Christian will comment and apply Christian morality on the issue. The pro-homosexual secularist will inevitably shoot the naive person down by using the time-honed weapon of ad hominem name-calling, followed by accusations of intolerance and imposition of THEIR morality on them.
Of course, such people never truly think. If they do think logically, they would not be pro-homosexual secularists anyway. Their depraved, fallen minds are so degenerate that they fulfil the Scriptures exactly in Rom. 1:24, 26, 28, and in Ps. 14:1-2 . They are exactly as what the Scripture say they are, that 'Claiming to be wise, they became fools' (Rom. 1:22). And how is that so? Let us look.
Those depraved and wicked people slander us by charging us with imposing our morality on them. Yet, isn't what they are doing imposing their own (im)morality on us and others also? We have never said that we are without bias, but those people, by sanctimoniously declaring themselves unbiased, fair and tolerant, are actually the most intolerant and most bigoted people around. Furthermore, since they claim to be tolerant while intolerantly attacking others, they are the worst types of hypocrites! Hypocrisy is always wrong, but epistemological hypcrisy is the worst type since it redefines even the concept of hypocrisy! Those secular pro-sodomite humanists are the actual intolerant ones imposing their (im)morality on others who disagree with them. If they are so tolerant, they should just shut their mouths and stop FORCING everybody to accept their abominable lifestyle.
Of course, I do not expect any of these people to be convinced of these arguments. Logical reasoning can never persuade anyone who is so in love with his/her own sin and who follows the depraved longings of his/her sinful nature. If precedents can be trusted, the most the secular homanists can muster is ad-hominem rhetoric and character assissination. Of course, I haven't received any death threats yet, unlike in the West, but I wouldn't be surprised that these 'tolerant' and 'loving' people will do such a thing if they can get away with it.
In the meantime, dearly beloved of the Lord, do not be afraid of these people. For it is written,
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace (Ps. 37:10-11)
We do not have to worry much about these people, because their doom is certain and their time short. They will never ultimately succeed, because God is still sovereign, regardless of whether He is acknowledged as King. For
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Ps. 2:4-6)
God will not be thwarted. Evil men tried and will continue to try to go against God, but He who is high and lofty scorns at their futile attempts. And their end is destruction (2 Peter 2:1,3, 17).
As for us, we can rest secure in this knowledge, and continue to serve God in doing the good works He has given us to do (Eph. 2:10). And we should follow the admonition of Jude with regards to such people:
And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh (Jude 22-23)
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Doctrinal controversies have plagued the Church since her inception. From the beginning, the Apostles have to fend off the proto-Gnostic heresy. Further generations of church leaders have fended off the various Christological heresies such as Sabellianism, Apollinarianism, Arianism etc. As if that was insufficient, the soteriological controversies erupted with Pelagius's attack on the doctrine of Original Sin, and this conflict was continued on into the Reformation era by the Reformers over against corrupt papal Rome. Arminius and his followers then carried on the controversy with their doctrine of partial depravity and the repudiation of Predestination and Election. In this present age, with no unified front and the dumbing down of doctrine in Evangelical churches, error and heresies have mutiplied greatly within professing Christianity. It is sadly the case that there are more false believers than true believers nowadays.
Into this mix, the spectre of Pluralism rears its ugly head. In the above linked article, an essay written by Ron and Karen Schwartz, the authors attempt to address what they call "diversity of beliefs in Christianity". However, the solution which they advocate is much worse than the perceived problem, which I will show to be the case.
Now, it must be stated that what the authors seem to advocate is not religious pluralism per se. Yes, what they advocate logically leads to religious pluralism, but the essay in and of itself does not do so. What the authors are advocating is epistemological pluralism; that everybody has the truth. Obviously, they seem very certain others (their opponents) do not have it, which immediately exposes their hypocrisy. But anyway, let us look at their so-called biblical arguments.
The first argument that they advance comes from the passage in 1 Cor. 13:9, which states that "For we know in part and we prophesy in part". However, to read this verse which talks about our limitation in knowing God as saying that we cannot know for certain any truth whatsoever about God is to rip the passage out of its context. The conclusion the authors get out of this is totally illogical, by saying that we can be "both right and wrong". Not only is this a total cotradictory statement, this statement itself cannot be both right and wrong. The authors clearly think that their statement is right, and thus their nonsensical irrationality is revealed.
The authors followed up by quoting Eph. 4:11-14 to say that our drive should be towards unity and not division. They further state that "the purpose ministry is to bring about unity – unity in the body of Christ as a whole, not to just those that follow us". However, this is pure eisegesis! The unity of faith comes about when we grow into Christ, who is the Word and Truth incarnate (Jn. 1:1)! Unity does not come about through our creating it. Rather, we become united when we grow into Christ and embraced the same Truth in Him. This false unity and ecumenism is what God absolutely hates (2 Cor. 6:14-18). The authors therefore err when they make unity the key goal of Christianity. The goal of Christianity is to prepare the Bride of Christ, the Church, as a spotless bride without blemish for her Bridegroom, not to play the harlot with other lovers. As an aside, the authors convenietly ignore Lk. 12:51-53, whereby Jesus came to bring division. This division is caused because some people follow Christ while those who don't remain in their sin, and therefore Christ came to bring division between the believers and the unbelievers. We can go on in mentioning Peter (in 2 Peter) and Jude, who warned and seperated themselves from heretics, even condemning them in harsh terms.
The next passage which is Mk. 9: 38-41. The authors make the erroneous and eisegetical claim that this passage shows that we should not seperate from anyone, even though obviously they may be heretics. However, this passage in context shows that the person was doing the work of God in Jesus' name. It is thus analogous to the passage in Phil. 1:15,17 whereby Paul rejoices even though the person who preached the Gospel do so out of ill intent. Therefore, what this passage is telling us is that we should not stop people from doing God's work, not that we should welcome them into the Church even if they are not believers. The Schwartzs then further quote 1 Cor. 3:3, out of its context also, to justify their error, as this passage refers only to division based on personality cults, NOT to doctrine. In fact, the apostle Paul who wrote this same epistle later tell the Corinthians to seperate from a sinning brother who has committed an abominable act in marrying his father's wife (1 Cor. 5:1-2)! So much for ecumenism!
Before we go any further, let us see the total illogical nonsense sprouted by the Schwartzs. They divide Truth (what is true) from truth (what we can know to be true), claiming that we can know the former by jettisoning the latter. Yet, at the same time, they are very adament that their position (truth) is true (Truth) and their opponents' positions (truth) are not true (Truth)! The utter arrogance of these wolves is indeed breathtaking! Their nonsense continues when they claim that "when we lift up Christ, our doctrine falls into the background", which begs the question of which 'Christ' they are lifting up. They further arrogantly pontificate on the reason why church leaders are 'dividing along party lines', which is that they use this as a reason to 'discover who has the most toys'. Well, I for one have little if any followers, and I therefore reject the arrogant judgmentalism of the Schwartzs in labeling those who contend for the faith 'those who want to have the most toys'. Nevermind the detestable alluding of biblically faithful shepherds to Satan.
We would finish off by looking at three issues that are raised in this text which are more pertinent for true believers. These three issues are namely: the issue of Absolute truth, the passage in 1 Cor. 8:1 where it is stated that 'Knowledge puffs up', and the reality of total unity in heaven itself.
The Bible has made it clear that whatever it says is true (Ps. 119:151) and that truth is used for our santification (Jn. 17:17). Furthermore, because the Scriptures are breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17), they have higher certainty of being correct than any true experience (2 Peter 1:19). As such, truth can definitely be known. This truth is Absolute and Objective truth because they come from the ultimate reality and authority, God Himself. Therefore, to deny that we can know Absolute truth is a denial of God's Word and thus a denial of God Himself.
For the second issue, if this is the only passage in the Bible which have that phrase, then the Schwartzs are indeed pitiful. This passage is placed within the context of food offered to idols, and thus talks about Christian liberty or in this case, not to abuse Christian liberty to stumble another brother or sister. Therefore, this phrase tells us not to abuse our Christian liberty, on an issue upon which we have more knowledge of, to stumble another but instead to love them. It is in this context whereby knowledge is said to puff up, because such a person does not love his weaker brother so as not to restrain his liberty based on his knowledge. This passage therefore is NOT, as the Schwartzs maintain, denigrating doctrine. To use this passage to dengrate doctrine therefore shows that such a person is not interested in knowing God but in creating a god of his own making.
Last, but not least, let us look at the issue of unity in heaven. It is indeed true that there would be no division in heaven, but to say that there would be no division on earth or there shouldn't be one is just plain ridiculous. Definitely, unity in heaven would be possible because by then we would know in full (1 Cor. 13:9) and therefore we would all know the truth. However, on this side of heaven, divisions within true Christianity are neccessary since not everybody agrees on the finer points of the truth. And it is possible to have divisions without animousity, contrary to popular opinion, if we accept and love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. However, to totally disregard disagreements because of 'love and unity' is to show contempt for God's truth, since you are telling God that His truth is not important. Now, of course effort may be made through examination of Scripture so that one side may convince the other, but capitulation for the 'sake of unity' is never an option, as this shows the person's lack of love for God and His truth.
In conclusion, what are we draw out of this? Christians ought to reject such fallacious and errant teachings of Epistemological Pluralism. Not all 'truths' are true. We should never give in to the siren call of ecumenism. Instead, we should remain faithful to God and His Word and grow deeper in Christ and His truth, and also in love for the saints which manifests itself in a desire to bring the saints who err to God's truth. Let us resist the name-calling of these antichristian deceivers, and work on unity God's way through His truth. As for the Schwartzs and those who follow them, beware! God will judge you for teaching damnable heresy (2 Peter 2:1-3). Repent now before it is too late.
PS: Jan, if you read this, please next time try not to reference liberal apostate interfaith websites. You clearly need to read up more on the Christian faith, especially if you cannot discern the heretical slant of the authors.
It seems that Christian Harry Potter fans would have to deal with this piece of 'bad news', especially those who continue to insist that Harry Potter is a Christian allegory, or that JK Rowling is a Christian. Neither is true, for the record, as this story shows:
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed.
Rowling outed Dumbledore, a central character in the books, while speaking to an audience of fans in New York.
The revelation was greeted with gasps, then applause.
"I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy," the author quipped.
Hmmm, I wonder what the 'Christian' Harry Potter apologists are going to say next.
Although both the Pyromaniacs and CRN have utilized this Youtube video against the Emerging Church Movement, I thin it is VERY appropriate to widen the net to include all New Evangelicals also. This is sadly the sitation in many churches here in Singapore too, as many professed Christians, especially "full time workers" are so 'aggresively inarticulate' (to use a term in the video) that they do not take a stand on anything, but behave exactly like (evan)jellyfishes.
As an experiment, you may want to try the following:
1) Try asking your pastor or any pastor or full-time worker whether they have a stand on any clear issue mentioned in Scripture (ie women being elders, the Doctrines of Grace, publicly calling out heretics etc.)
2a) If they have no stand on these clear Biblical issues, they are Evanjellyfishes.
2b) If they have a stand (regardless of whether it is right or wrong), ask them whether they will enforce it. Use real life cases where possible (ie ask them whether it is biblical to call out David (Paul) Yongi Cho as a heretic), and why.
2bi) If they will not or do not enforce it, they do not truly have a stand on the issue, only an opinion. As such, they are Evanjellyfishes.
2bii) If they say they will and/or do enforce it, either (1) they really will or do enforce it, in which they are one of the rare people, or (2) they are lying.
Note: Parts of it is hyperbole. I am NOT asking you to criticize all your church leaders, nor to rebel against them.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
A website (Keep377a) has been created to combat the pro-sodomite website Repeal377a.com (which promotes the repeal of a perfectly legitimate and moral law, in order to serve the homosexual minority interest).
You can access the site and sign the petition here.
We have already garnered about 9000+ signatures, more than the pro-sodomite Repeal377a website (with around 7000 signatures).
As we take a stand for truth, let us realize that ultimately this is a spiritual battle. The sodomites and their supporters are blinded in their depravity by their depraved nature and kept that way by the the god of this age, Satan himself. Satan himself is manipulating them in his bid to destroy the society of Singapore, as he has already succeeded to a certain extant in other so-called 'progressive' countries. This battle must ultimately be fought by prayer, although that does not mean we should not support and sign this petition. Those who think that just praying is enough have a skewed, unbibical view of how God works in the world, since He does use means e.g. people like us, and definitely even unbelievers, to accomplish what He desires to do on our behalf. The opposite error is of course also wrong, since this is primarily a spiritual battle.
As such, I hereby call on all concerned Christians, especially those in Singapore, to action. In the name of our Lord, please stand up and be counted. Please sign the petition as a responsible Christian in this land, AND THEN go and pray to God and intercede for our nation.
Speaking of intercession, please pray first of us for God to forgive our sins. God has allowed this to happen because of the compromises of the Church. The (visible) Church of Singapore has compromised the Gospel in varying degrees, and she has prostituted herself to various heresies and lusted after idols; idols of wealth, fame and false "peace" & "unity". This homosexual plague is a curse sent on us because we have not followed Christ with a pure heart. Do you think that God can stop this from happening? But yet He choses not to. We would probably win this round, but this is a warning to us. If we don't get our act together, this issue would definitely crop up again and it may well be successful the next time round. While we still can, let us turn to God, before it is too late and God pour out His judgment on us, like what He is currently doing to USA.
[HT: Viva Vox Dei]
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Reposted from Archive
Originally posted on the 26th June 2006.
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.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Looks like the United Kingdom [of Sodom and Gomorrah] has decided that if you can't win against the truth civilly, you must persecute the truth. A new fascist
anti-hate-crime law is being promoted by the British government which would open the floodgates to throw true Bible-believing Christians into jail simple because they obey Christ. I shudder as I think about what will happen if such a thing were to happen to Singapore, as it nearly did. Let us use the reprieve that God has given us in Singapore to win and build people in Christ, as the end is drawing near.
Anyway, here are some additional resources on militant homosexuality. Check out this website here and the various e-books and tracts it contains. Do read it with an open mind, as there is no contact information, which is valid since it is indeed true that the homosexuals are vicious against their opponents. However, this also makes it hard for anyone to validate the authenticity of the site.
Second excerpt with regards to Warren's embrace of the Arminian and even semi-Pelagian heresy which is taught in the Purpose Driven Life (PDL):
Arminianism in particular and synergism in general both deny predestination and make the free will of Man the determining factor in his/her salvation. It is thus a damnable heresy which is justly condemned in the Canons of the Synod of Dordt. Regardless of its practical detriments, it has serious theological consequences, besides the enormous exegetical problem it poses for the discipline of hermeneutics. The major theological consequence of the Arminian system is that the glory and power of God is compromised. If Man has the free will to choose whether to accept God and thus be saved, and God has done all He can do to make Man choose him, then the reason why one person is saved and the other is not saved depends on the person's free choice, therefore in salvation Man can claim a small part of the glory and God's power and glory is thus compromised. Logically, this would entail a works-righteousness system of salvation, the work being the continuous choice to accept Christ. Thankfully, most Arminians are inconsistent and thus, in principle accept salvation by faith alone, but this does not mean that the Arminian heresy is any less serious.
In the PDL, the Arminian system is ubiquitous throughout the book. We will look at some examples here.
One area where Warren often shows his Arminian tendencies is in the application of verses which concerns the elect of God to that of the general public. (p. 36)
However, it seems that Warren is indeed an Arminian, as later on, [Richard] Abanes [in his book Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives him] quoted from Warren's Easter 2004 sermon, where Warren has said,
You were created to last forever. And you're going to live forever in one of two places— heaven or hell. God says ... I've done everything possible to get you into heaven including sending (sic) My Son to die for you. To go to hell you have to reject the love of God. Why would anybody do that?(Emphasis original)
This well displays Warren's Arminianism, with his ignorance of the depravity of Man ('Why would anybody do that [reject the love of God]?' – which cast doubt on Warren’s subscription to Total depravity). The highlighted sentence also exactly displays Warren's Arminianism, whereby God made salvation possible for all Man (Universal atonement) instead of the biblical doctrine that God made actual salvation for the elect (Limited or Definite Atonement). However, even if this was not the case, which it certainly is, judging from the PDL book itself, Arminian concepts are taught in it, and thus the charge against the book stands. (p. 43-44)
(Chew, D.H., Driven Away by Purpose, 2nd Ed., published by Xulon Press, 2006)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Here is an interesting article by Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon entitled Transexuality and Ordination. It is rather technical but it presents some good sociological and scientific argumentation against both transexuality and homosexuality.
Monday, October 08, 2007
I guess I should post some excerpts from my book, though I am hesitant to do so as I do not want to promote myself, just the message in the book. However, as one recent commentor has expressed interest, I think that doing so may perhaps help spread the warning message to others, and therefore I'll concede.
Anyway, here is the first excerpt, with regards to Warren's 'gospel' presentation:
Perhaps the most visible problem with Warren's PDL [Purpose Driven Life] is seen in Warren's presentation of the Gospel in the PDL. On p.58, Warren presents the Gospel so that people who have yet to receive Christ could now accept Him as their Lord and Savior. ...
The immediate problem one has when one looks at this 'Gospel' presentation is that there is no sign or mention of repentance. Sure, we are told to receive God's forgiveness for sins. However, receiving God's forgiveness for sins is NOT by itself repentance. Repentance involves acknowledging with God that we are sinful mentally and with our heart, and feel broken because of our sinfulness, thereby choosing NOT to want to sin again. I can ‘receive’ God's forgiveness without repentance, with the wrong mindset that God ought to forgive me, that is. From this passage alone, we can see that repentance is totally missing in the Gospel presentation.
(Chew, D.H., Driven Away by Purpose, 2nd Ed., published by Xulon Press, 2006, p. 23-24)
I have finally managed to finish a project I have been working on for nearly two weeks now, albeit intermittenly due to my current employed status. After hearing more than 60 (so far) sermon mp3s of Pastor John Piper's sermons through the first few books of Romans, I can say that I have a rough inkling of how he thinks. But anyway, what I have done and completed is a critical review of John Piper's sermon. More specifically, I have reviewed Piper's sermon on Rom. 2:6-10 which was preached on 6th December 1998, as I do not agree with Dr. Piper's exposition of this passage.
Before going any further, let me say first of all that I respect Pastor John Piper and his ministry. He is a man that has been used by God for the growth and edification of the Church. This sermon review is therefore not an attack on his person nor even of his orthodoxy, as the points of contention are not foundational doctrines. That said, I do think that the error he has made in this sermon of his is significant and would be very serious if taken to its logical conclusions. Perhaps we should therefore thank God that Piper is not very logical at times (remember his neo-Amyraldism) and therefore he is still mostly orthodox.
The significant error I am certain Pastor Piper is making is with regards to the doctrinal system known as Covenantal Theology, in his undermining or denial of the Covenant of Works. Yes, perhaps some of you may be encountering these terms for the first time, but rest assured it is not too hard, or at least I tried not to make them too complicated.
Without further to do, and if you would like to know more, here is the review of John Piper's sermon preached on the passage of Rom. 2:6-10.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Here is an all too real satirical piece on anti-discernment ministries. It looks too real for comfort, with the only exception that most of such anti-discernment (mostly Emergent-friendly) websites express their intolerance and hostility towards God a bit more subtly. Oh my, I just can imagine such comments being thrown around by those 'loving and non-judgmental' Christians who continually judge us for judging others. Funny why I don't seem to 'feel the love'...
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I am the publicity IC for this year's Reformation Day Conference (RDC) in Singapore. Shown above here is the finalized publicity bookmark for the RDC to be held on the 7th and 8th Nov 2007. For all who would be in Singapore during this period, you are all invited to come for this conference held in commemoration of the great 16th century Protestant Reformation so do make yourself available. If you want the actual bookmarks so that you can pass it on to friends and or churchmates, please email me.
P.S.: The publicity poster for churches would be coming out very soon too. If your church (in Singapore) wants one, email me too.
Is there such a thing as a non-essential doctrine? Spurgeon doesn't seem to think so. I don't think so either. All doctrines are essential. Some doctrines are not essential for salvation, and others not for expression of Christian unity. However, they are all essential in some manner or other. For example, one's view of baptism (paedo- vs. credo-) is not essential for salvation, nor of expression of Christian unity, but it IS essential for whether any two individuals can be in the same church. One's view of the doctrine of seperation is not essential for salvation, but it is definitely essential for the expression of Christian unity. Lastly, holding different eschatologies are not essential for salvation, nor of the expresion of Christian unity, and not even for fellowship within the same church. However, it will affect our obedience to God's Word.
From such examples, it can be seen that there is no such thing as a absolutely non--essential doctrine. The question we must ask ourselves is it is essential or non-essential for what purpose? For a Christian who is serious about following Christ, there is no such thing as non-essential doctrines, but yet he/she is mature enough to realize that the essentiality of each doctrine depends on the nature of the action that is under consideration, and thus act appropriately.
Some may ask how and by what standard we are to apply to know what level of essentiality each doctrine is at. This calls for spiritual discernment indeed and the application of general concepts instead of a lists of do's-and-don'ts. The overarching objective for all Christians should be the glory of God and obedience to the Word of God. Therefore, through these two judging principles and criteria, we can know the essentiality of any particular doctrine; whether it is essential for salvation, for unity etc.
In conclusion, it is hoped that all Christians should grow deeper in a love for God and take His Word and the doctrines it teaches more seriously. There is no such thing as a non-essential doctrine, and therefore we do not have the liberty to ignore a particular 'minor' doctrine just because there are disagreement over it between godly Christians. Such a scenario does not logically give rise to the postulate that the one who is wrong is somehow ungodly or that he must be demonized or even just less respected because of his wrong belief. It is probably a sad fact that such things do happen thus other Christians may react against it and swing to the other extreme of tolerance of any form of errors in the name of 'love'. At the very least, this has gave rise to the neglect of 'minor and divisive' doctrines, with such people of course coveniently forgetting that truth does divide (Lk. 12:51-53). May God help us to live out the balanced life and avoid either extreme.