Search This Blog

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hey, Christian? Take down the white flag. Lift up the Black Book and get a backbone!

Pyromaniacs blog is a site where some Christians as a team post on issues of interest primarily to Christians.  I recommend reading such blog output as Pyromaniacs and Christian Thinktank and other Christian blogs to help you, as a Christian, hear from other Christians and compare their thoughts to your own and to the Bible.  Remember that Paul gave praise to the Bereans because they didn't simply believe what they were told but first compared what they were told to the Scriptures to make sure that they were in agreement.

Acts 17:11 (New International Version, ©2010)

11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.



Here is the Assemblies of God's view on Creation.  I am concerned that they are now apparently allowing for a theistic evolutionist position.   I do not belong to the AG so my church is not connected with the group, but this is a step back from what a Christian position should be.   God's Word is authoritative and true.   If we allow the slightest crack in our foundation it will soon be destroyed.   There is no place in the creation account for evolution at all, none.   You either (when it comes to origins) decide to believe that the Mind of God and the Will of God and the Word of God is right or that mankind is smarter than God.   Operational science can be done by scientists who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but much of the scientific research being done today is foolishness because it is being done by people trying to disprove that there is a Creator God.  How can Christians agree with this?  Why should they?   Darwinism is composed almost entirely of just-so stories, lies and outrageous suppositions that are statistically impossible and philosophically void of substance.


This post is intended primarily for Christians.   Do you understand what it means to surrender the literal interpretation of Genesis to fallible man's current view of "truth?"   Mankind keeps discovering new things and they keep changing what they think about how the world operates.   Every science is a continually changing landscape of new discoveries that falsify old beliefs and send people on new investigations.   Fine.  As long as science doesn't impose naturalism on scientific research we should be in agreement with science.   All sorts of great Christians like Newton were scientists of note.   

Methodological Investigation is science.  Methodological Naturalism is religion, the religion of atheists.    We must not accept the intrusion into science of the atheistic mindset.    

  
The following is from Pyromaniacs:

True Religion, Undefiled

More on gospel faith and the proper role of good works in Christian living
by Phil Johnson

ood works are a fruit of justification, not the means of it. But good works are inevitable as an expression of authentic faith. They are the vital signs of spiritual life. "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead" (James 2:26).

To put it another way: having been justified by faith, we are saved unto a life of good works that flow naturally from saving faith. According to Ephesians 2:10, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

That's not talking about ceremonial, legalistic, or "religious" works—smells and bells, robes and rituals, outward symbolism and formal liturgy. But the "good works" that are the ineluctable fruit and vital expressions of true faith are spiritual qualities like holiness, humility, compassion, selfless expressions of love for one's neighbor, love for Christ, and a particular love for His people.

That is exactly what James 1:27 means: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James is not suggesting that doctrine doesn't matter. He is not depreciating objective truth. He is not downplaying the content of the gospel message. He is not saying the atoning work of Christ is merely an example for us to follow rather than a vicarious atonement offered to propitiate God. He is certainly not suggesting that if you do enough acts of kindness, it doesn't matter whether you believe in Christ or not.

He is saying that true faith in Christ will inevitably produce works of kindness and love—an overflow of Christ's righteousness. This is an essential, inevitable expression of authentic Christian faith.

Don't miss the vital point: The essence of "true religion" as described by the Word of God is not—and never has been—embodied in altars or animal sacrifices. Its most important expressions are not ceremonies and dietary laws or festivals and priestly institutions. But true religion and undefiled is about real life—everyday life—and a quality of life that reflects the mercy, love, and goodness of Christ in the way we serve and minister to one another.

Not that we have already attained a sufficient righteousness of our own—far from it. As a matter of fact, even our best works are imperfect and therefore worthless for any merit in the sight of God. This cannot be overstressed: our own works play no role whatsoever in justifying us. But every authentic believer has a new heart, new desires, a new love for God and spiritual gifts that enable us to be used by the Holy Spirit in spite of the remnants of sin in our flesh. And we press on toward Christlikeness, because Christ Jesus has made us His own (cf. Philippians 3:12).

In other words, if our faith is truly genuine, there should be some evidence of "faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6) somewhere in our lives.

Conversely, when someone verbally professes faith in Christ but his or her personal life and private thoughts are utterly devoid of good works, personal holiness, righteous desires, love for God, and love for the brethren—that person needs to hear and heed 2 Corinthians 13:5: "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"

In the words of YHWH Himself: "I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6).

Phil's signature





John 3

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
 1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
 3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]
 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]
 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
   10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]
 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. 

  1. John 3:3 The Greek for again also means from above; also in verse 7.
  2. John 3:6 Or but spirit
  3. John 3:7 The Greek is plural.
  4. John 3:8 The Greek for Spirit is the same as that for wind.
  5. John 3:13 Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven
  6. John 3:14 The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.
  7. John 3:15 Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 21.
You must be born again in the spirit.   This is what happens when you become a Christian.  If you are not reborn you are not a Christian.

An animal is a body and a soul.  Animals have the breath of life and they have bodies.   But mankind and only mankind has a spirit.  We are three part beings, and the spirit portion of man in Adam and Eve died when they sinned.  We are born with that dead spirit and it either becomes revived by the Holy Spirit of God or it stays dead or, if you prefer, a spirit of death.   Animals do not comprehend "right and wrong" although they certainly can be trained by mankind or experience by learning what is rewarded and what is punished.   But only man really is able to judge between right and wrong and therefore we can sin and therefore we do sin and break the laws of God and are doomed to Hell...unless by faith in Christ we receive His free gift of salvation.   
You cannot do good works to become the child of God.   Joining a church or saying all sorts of special slogans or working hard or giving money...none of that does anything about the condition of your internal self.  You were born in rebellion to God and you either surrender and give God His due as Lord of all and gladly receive the gift of salvation or you are doomed to be judged by your works and deeds.   The trouble with that is that you must be 100% perfect to earn the right to heaven.   But Jesus was and is 100% perfect and has already paid the price for your sins and offers the gift of eternal life and companionship and relationship with God freely for the taking.   Can you humble yourself enough to admit that you need God and are not by yourself sufficient for your own salvation?

We who have been born again understand that Jesus died for our sins, rose again to new life and now sits at the right hand of the Father God in heaven.   But the Spirit of Christ who died and rose again is like a seed that is planted within a true believer and grows within.   We are born with dead spirits, dead because of sin, inherited from our parents and on down since Adam and Eve.   Everyone has sinned so there is no excuse.   Everyone who is reading this blog has lied, every one of you has disobeyed parents, every one of you has done something to dishonor God, probably most of you have stolen something and on it goes.   You have held adultery and murder in your heart even if you have not acted on it.

Some people make an intellectual assertion, a logical conclusion that the Creator God made everything and that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind.   If this is all true, then you are simply agreeing that something is true.  Thinking or even knowing that Jesus is the Christ does not make you a Christian.   As they say, just because you walk into a garage that doesn't make you a car.  To be a Christian you must be born again. 

To be born again requires that you not only understand that Jesus is the answer, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner and receive the gift of salvation by asking Christ to forgive your sins and come to live in your heart as Lord.   It is not the matter of the words you say but simply a decision of the heart.   If you believe Jesus can take your sins and live within you and ask Him to come in then He will.   From the outside you will not look one bit different.   You will not lose any memories, you will not become a robot and the desire to sin will not disappear.    If you have bad habits like a drug addiction, it won't just walk away, you will still have to deal with that.   But what does happen is that, deep inside, the desire to do good and be like Jesus replaces a desire to live entirely for yourself.  It pushes selfishness closer to the surface and so while you have all the components that make up what you have always been, underneath it all is the Spirit of the Living God.  

It is true I quit drugs and smoking and excessive drinking not long after being born again.   But they didn't fall off, I had to work at it.   Before salvation I had no reason to want to quit drugs and smoking and drinking because I was pleasing myself.   But when God came to live inside I wanted to do what was right and my new Spirit within was like a light shining into my internal darkness and wanting to come out.   I read the Bible to find out what I was supposed to do and I wanted to read the Bible.   More to the point, it made far more sense to me once I was born again.   Before it was just a jumble of stories and morals and do this and don't do that written in "Shakespeare" English (the Bible I had was a King James Version) that frankly just wasn't particularly interesting.   After I was "saved", I found myself reading and re-reading the New Testament like it was food and I was hungry.   God was speaking to me from that Bible and He was speaking to the new creature I had become.   I was a brand new creation on the inside even while appearing to be the same on the outside:


2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (New King James Version)

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,


So I have to say to you all, that to be a Christian is not merely a matter of worldview or philosophy.  An intellectual assent to the concept of Christ is meaningless even if correct.  You are not a Christian without the new birth within.   Doesn't matter what you say, doesn't matter what you do.   It is a new birth or it is meaningless.

This is also why Christians must defend the Bible as the authoritative and inspired and authentic Word of God.  This is why we must accept that Genesis is correct.   I could argue that only the Bible qualifies as a genuine book of history concerning the world before the Flood of Noah and only the Bible has accurate historical information about the history of the Jews and the genealogical history of mankind.   I can argue that only the Bible was preserved carefully by a quality control process used by the scribes that was more sophisticated than any used by man (to our knowledge) until the 20th Century.  But what is most important is that Adam and Eve as the first people, created by God and the first to sin are crucial to Christianity.  

If Adam and Eve are symbolic rather than literal and if the Creation account in Genesis is a myth then Christianity is simply a philosophy with no power to change people and is no more important than Buddhism or Krisha Consciousness or the Power of Positive Thinking in the grand scheme of things.   In fact, if Genesis is not literally true then there is no grand scheme of things.   The Universe is an accident, there is no meaning to life, Jesus Christ was at best a deluded self-styled prophet and all the rules of physics and motion and thermodynamics and etc. could suddenly change tomorrow because they are not the result of a Grand Designer but rather simply randomly popped into existence and could just as easily pop out again.

22 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

"Do you understand what it means to surrender the literal interpretation of Genesis to fallible man's current view of 'truth?'"

Yes: it means you're thinking about the subject, instead of just passively believing what you're told.

A fine principle to live by. You should try it some time.

Anonymous said...

It seems your pride now has evolved from being a hinderance to yourself to utterly dangerous to others.

Radar, I seem to recall that you once said that in order to be saved it doesn't matter whether one believes in creationism or the theory of evolution.

If you really meant that, then why present this either-or scenario in the last paragraph? You do realise, I hope, that if you present people with this black & white choice that there will always be people who say: "OK, if that's Christianity I don't want anything to do with it." What's more important, Radar? You being right, or people being saved? How many souls are you willing to risk just in order to be right? Do you think God will reward you in the afterlife for this?

If you really meant what you said, i.e. that one can be saved, this is a terribly irresponsible thing to do.

Anonymous said...

"I can argue that only the Bible was preserved carefully by a quality control process used by the scribes that was more sophisticated than any used by man (to our knowledge) until the 20th Century."

That would be only after it was compiled, however. The document that was so carefully copied was in turn a mixture of ancient documents, oral transmissions etc. If it was copied carefully from a certain point on, that doesn't necessarily tells us that the text itself was 100% accurate to begin with. We know that there were no eye witness accounts for, say, the events portrayed in Genesis or around the time of Jesus's birth.

One question though: why tie your religious worldview so closely to aspects that can be proven or disproven by modern science? I can understand your anxiety and your absolute need that a certain outcome is reached. It doesn't exactly engender open-mindedness when examining the evidence.

The previous commenter also had a good point. Your position runs the risk of having the opposite effect: by insisting that Christianity = YEC, you could easily be creating little atheists instead of Christians. Given your belief system, that's somewhat irresponsible.

Another Christian called Paul was on here a while ago, with a much more positive and persuasive approach.

radar said...

As I said before, a belief in YEC is not necessary for salvation. Salvation depends upon trusting and believing in Jesus and being born again, which you can do without even knowing anything about Genesis. Either you trust Christ or you don't.


However, if you do decide to study Christianity and the Bible, you do come to a place where you must decide the authenticity of Genesis. Those who have accepted Christ are Christians and God doesn't do "take-backs" and yet, if you are a Christian and then accept an atheistic view of Genesis you have a conundrum. Your worldview will be flawed and so it can be a hindrance to you and even stop you from being all you can be as a Christian.

As much as some commenters want to make this about me, it isn't about me at all. It is about worldviews and authority and absolutes. Will you have the Bible as authority and allow God to proclaim the absolutes? Or will you pick and choose from Nietzsche and Marx and Skinner and Sartre and Freud and Hitchens and Dawkins and Hawking? Whereas you can blend up your own brand of worldview from the minds of men, I prefer mine straight God on the rocks of faith.

I can present a short and to-the-point message by Charles Spurgeon to underscore the message of salvation is all about Christ. But then I am saying that whether saved or unsaved, Genesis must be addressed. You accept it or reject it. If you reject it and you are not a Christian, you likely never will be...but then again I rejected what I knew of Genesis and God got through to me anyway.

One of you commenters has been so illogical and kneejerk ridiculous that it truly makes me wonder why you come by...are you assigned by the NCSE or talkorigins to make dumb comments on my blog? Or are you really that indoctrinated?

radar said...

Here is love. I will tell you the truth. I believe in the truth. I do not get paid to do it, it costs me time and time is precious. But if by telling you the truth some of you or even one of you gets it, then it was worthwhile.

Agape love is an action-based concept. Darwinists have a fatally flawed worldview which will plop them into Hell. I don't want them to go to Hell and I don't want them leading others there with them. So therefore I write this blog and deal with some honest questions and a lot of trolls. But trolls are people.

God keeps giving people second and third and fourth and fifth and...many chances to see Him and believe. I prefer to see people live rather than die.

Some who come here prefer Stephen Hawking to Jesus. But you can always change your mind.

Anonymous said...

"One of you commenters has been so illogical and kneejerk ridiculous that it truly makes me wonder why you come by...are you assigned by the NCSE or talkorigins to make dumb comments on my blog? Or are you really that indoctrinated?"

If you mean Jon Woolf by that, then I seriously urge you to look at his comments again - with an open mind, if possible. Woolf is quite logical and not ridiculous in the slightest. It's clear you perceive him as a threat and that is why you've been quite harsh with him.

As for the options you offer above - have you considered that people simply have a different opinion from yours and will gladly discuss them with you? Why do the alternatives have to be "agree with Radar" and "indoctrinated" / "paid operatives of some conspiracy"?

Anonymous said...

"Your worldview will be flawed and so it can be a hindrance to you and even stop you from being all you can be as a Christian."

If a Pope can weigh the evidence and, with all the theological knowledge that his position entails, conclude that it is possible to unite the Bible and evolution in a Christian worldview, then I would humbly suggest that it doesn't take an atheistic worldview - nor even a flawed Christian worldview - to take a view that disagrees with yours.

Jon Woolf said...

"I can argue that only the Bible was preserved carefully by a quality control process used by the scribes that was more sophisticated than any used by man (to our knowledge) until the 20th Century."

You can try to argue that ... but you know in your heart it's false. As has been proven here in recent days with the arguments over the accuracy of certain biblical passages. There are a number of cases wherein a "contradiction" in the biblical text is explained away as a typographical error -- which would be impossible if the Bible had been copied as carefully as you say it has.

Anonymous said...

The Pope is a fallible human being. The Bible is the infallible Word of God. I don't care what training a person has I judge what they say by what I know is the truth. If you don't have a literal Adam and Eve and their disobedience leading to death you have no need of the "second Adam" to bring us life. DebB

Anonymous said...

"The Pope is a fallible human being."

Indeed, but he does know a thing or two about theology and has no agenda to tear down Christendom. On the contrary.

"The Bible is the infallible Word of God."

As filtered through fallible human beings...

"I don't care what training a person has I judge what they say by what I know is the truth."

You're right, you shouldn't simply take authority at face value. But when you say that you judge what others say by what you know is the truth, you're ignoring the obvious fact that you, too, are a fallible human being, and that you may learn from others.

"If you don't have a literal Adam and Eve and their disobedience leading to death you have no need of the "second Adam" to bring us life."

Would a metaphorical Adam and Eve not serve the same purpose?

Anonymous said...

"Would a metaphorical Adam and Eve not serve the same purpose?"

Would you trust your eternal soul to a metaphor? DebB

Anonymous said...

That depends on what the metaphor represents, of course.

Anonymous said...

Deb, do you think God is not capable of communicating in any other ways than literally. Believers scour the Bible for revealed layers of meaning, and you think metaphorical expression is beyond the capabilities of God?

Anonymous said...

A metaphorical Adam and Eve makes God an unrighteous ruler, arbitrarily determining to punish all creation for something that did not take place.

A real God created an actual Universe and gave Adam and Eve a paradise to enjoy and watch over. They were simply to avoid the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were tempted and convinced that God was wrong to deny them that knowledge. Trouble is, they disobeyed God and they also tried to take the right to judge away from God and have it for themselves.

It is not so different today. Atheists eat from that same tree and proudly proclaim that their judgment is superior to that of God.

But Adam and Eve repented and believed and trusted God, that He
could accept their sacrifices as a symbol of The Lamb of God being sacrificed on a cross.

Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. The only pride I see here is the commenter who places himself above God and accuses others of being prideful.

It is not prideful to put God above yourself and determine to live by His standards. It is actually God's plan that His people diffuse knowledge and wisdom so that some will hear and understand. We cannot know who will stubbornly reject God no matter what, but we can be sure some will listen and think and pray.

a sock puppet

Anonymous said...

A metaphorical Adam and Eve makes God an unrighteous ruler, arbitrarily determining to punish all creation for something that did not take place.

I would argue that a literal adam and eve makes god an unrighteous rule for arbitrarily punishing me for something two people did 6000 years ago. Just sayin'.

lava

Jon Woolf said...

DebB: "Would you trust your eternal soul to a metaphor?"

Does your church believe in the Eucharist?

Anonymous said...

Jon, do you really think I can't understand the difference between an historical narrative and Jesus telling his disciples to do something symbolic to remind them of him? What is your point? Jesus acknowledged Adam and Eve. Also Noah and Jonah and David and Solomon and Moses and Elijah and Daniel and Abraham and on and on people whose lives were recorded in the scriptures. DebB

Anonymous said...

"Jon, do you really think I can't understand the difference between an historical narrative and Jesus telling his disciples to do something symbolic to remind them of him?"

Hard to say, as you seem to not understand the difference between creation myths and historical narratives.

Anonymous said...

"A metaphorical Adam and Eve makes God an unrighteous ruler, arbitrarily determining to punish all creation for something that did not take place."

Something being metaphorical doesn't mean that something didn't take place. Again, it depends on what the metaphor stands for. It is not un-Christian to see Genesis as a metaphor.

"Atheists eat from that same tree and proudly proclaim that their judgment is superior to that of God."

That's a lie. Show me a single atheist who proclaims such a thing. Do you really not understand that atheists don't believe in God? We say God doesn't exist. We say that the Bible is man-made, just like every other mythology out there. We don't "secretly believe in God" and think we "know better than God". And we certainly don't "hate God", any more than you "hate", say, the Greek pantheon.

Your own rabid hatred and demonization of atheists is rather un-Christian, btw.

"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. The only pride I see here is the commenter who places himself above God and accuses others of being prideful."

Accusing others of being prideful is not a sign of pride. And no commenter here placed him- or herself above God. Your own pride, however, is well-documented throughout this blog, and you should keep in mind your own realization that "pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall". It has already made you stumble into censorship and standing in the way of a simple, open, technical discussion... you're on a slippery slope.

radar said...

Look at the comments thread, where there are those who believe they are far superior to average people and their minds are superior to any "God." Rather than deal with the evidence, they attack the author(s) because they cannot deal with the evidence. It seems very prideful.

Then they attack me hoping I will lash out at them with pride. Many of the comments ignore the material and are simply "stick-poking."

A metaphorical Adam and Eve? Look, the Bible is history. You can reject it, but the books of Genesis through to the wisdom books are history. The Bible has been a handbook used by researchers in the field to help identify and date archaeological findings. It is the one accurate account we have of ancient mankind. You can yell at me and sound hysterical but your problem is really with God and the Bible.

radar said...

And atheism is still a religion...it is a belief system. You can throw rocks and tear your clothes but it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Nobody's yelling at you and nobody here has indicated they think they're above God. That's just a construction that your own worldview dictates to you. For all your talk that everyone has a worldview (which is obviously true), you're simply ignoring the fact that, yes, everyone has a worldview... and that quite a few are different from yours.

When somebody says that they think God doesn't exist, have you considered they might just mean what they say? You dismiss this possibility so easily, for no discernible reason, and all your other conclusions on this subject flow from this initial error.

"A metaphorical Adam and Eve? Look, the Bible is history. You can reject it, but the books of Genesis through to the wisdom books are history. The Bible has been a handbook used by researchers in the field to help identify and date archaeological findings. It is the one accurate account we have of ancient mankind. You can yell at me and sound hysterical but your problem is really with God and the Bible."

By calling the first book of Genesis history because other parts of the Bible (the NT and some parts of the OT) actually do feature historically verifiable facts, you're simply engaging in the logical fallacy of composition. There is no evidence that the first book of Genesis represents actual history, and YEC has this backwards: the assumption that it is literal history, followed by trying to bend everything else, including science, to accommodate that view.

Fascinating to watch the human mind grapple with this conundrum though...