Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Redeeming Words

My new blog project exists to redeem Christian terminology from misuse and misunderstanding.

Check it out: Redeeming Words

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I’ll Be Over Here:

So coming back to this particular blog doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. However, the other blogs to which I’ve been contributing have been revamped and that’s where I’ll be spending most of my blogging time. Hope to see you over there!

Re: Fundamentals KJV Only Debate Blog

Easy to Believe?

Easy to Believe?

The old rugged cross on which Jesus died
Is foolishness to those not made alive
Its bloody details cause them to grieve,
And you say it is easy to believe?

The Greek thinks it nonsense to accept the risen Christ,
The skeptic thinks the disciples pulled off the greatest heist
The New Atheist wishes all Christians would leave
And you say it is easy to believe?

To the Jews it is a block of stumbling,
It provokes the educated toward grumbling,
A story no one could ever conceive,
And you say it is easy to believe?

The Lord invited man to take up his cross,
To count the cost and consider all things loss –
Things the natural man cannot receive,
And you say it is easy to believe?

The scriptures say salvation is of the Lord,
A supernatural work man’s hands cannot afford
To think man can raise the dead is very naive,
The results of these methods can only deceive

Regeneration is the work of the Spirit,
Otherwise men would never hear it
You say that it is easy to believe?
Saving faith is only something God can achieve!

Darrell Bock on Paul’s Christianity

Jesus was a revolutionary leader of a Jewish reform movement against religious legalism and political oppression. Years later, Paul came around and elevated him to a god-like status. The latter is the Christianity we’ve inherited.

This is the argumentation of the day when it comes to refuting Christianity. And I believe it’s fueled by man’s hatred of the Church. This is why I detest the Emergent ideas of repainting the entire faith as if we’ve got it wrong for 2,000 years. Oh believe me, we’ve gotten many things wrong. Christians have done terrible things. And I stick by the motto “Reformed and Always Reforming.” But this doesn’t suggest we’ve been duped all along. The fundamentals have stayed the same. Jesus claimed he was Lord and exalted Himself. Paul wasn’t giving anything new, just elaborating on established truth given to him by Jesus Himself.

Continuing in the stream of a previous post, here’s what Darrell Bock recently said about the Jesus-Paul connection in a recent interview with John Dickson:

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The Package Theory of Election

packageIn no uncertain terms, the Apostle Paul is inspired by the Spirit to write in Ephesians 1 that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and predestined to be adopted as God’s children. What does this mean? It means what it says.

The non-Calvinist doesn’t think so, however (I’d like to use terms like Arminian or Semi-Pelagian, but most non-Calvinists I know reject those. A simple glance at a comparison between Calvinism and Arminianism, however, will reveal that many non-Calvinists are at least 4-point Arminians. But I’ll  stick with the elusive term, “non-Calvinist” for now). He is adamantly opposed to the idea that God would predestine an individual for salvation. The problem, however, is that the New Testament is replete with that kind of language. Something is predestined by God, but it can’t be me. So what is it? The Package.

It’s sort of like buying insurance. There are several different packages one may choose. One has a higher deductible, but a lower premium. Another includes a rental car, free of charge, if needed. Those kinds of stipulations are worked into the package, and are available for the one who chooses said package. But, ultimately, the choice is yours.

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Encouraged by the Ignorance of Others

doubtYou know that feeling you get when you realize your own shortcomings are not so much greater than others’? Like the fact that the great Apostle Paul struggled with sin is comforting to us who have to fight the flesh daily? It reminds us that we’re all part of this sin-cursed world and we all have a fallen nature.

So when it comes to ignorance, it ought to be no surprise that there are people out there that are just as dumb as I am at times. And while their ignorance is encouraging, it’s also very discouraging.

Last week, I had two different episodes involving atheists. Well, I think they are atheists of some sort. Maybe agnostic. But most certainly antagonistic – toward the Christian faith, that is. Both would describe themselves as intelligent, but I was taken back a bit by two specific things that were said.

The first one occurred at a coffee shop. It’s a privately owned cafe and coffee roastery that I’ve worked out since it opened. Though I don’t officially work there anymore, chances are you’ll see me there if you visit. Last Saturday, I was putting some finishing touches on my sermon preparation for the next morning.  I came to get away from distractions at home, but obviously this was no better.

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The Sovereignty of God Conference, Finally

Next year’s conference will be here before I finish this recap. The conference was a blessing to me personally. It helped secure a few things in my heart and encouraged me to trust in God’s sovereignty. I will link to the audio files when they become available. Until then, I’ll have to forfeit my (nonexistent) reporting skills and save conference recaps to the pros.

It’s time for another brief hiatus. I’ll be back soon.

The Sovereignty of God Conference, Day 2 (am)

sovGodconfDue to work, I missed the morning session of Day 2, which included 2 messages. However, I was able to listen to them yesterday on CD. What a blessing! Each message fit right into the theme and continued in this wonderful conference of solid, biblical preaching.

Bill Poss, an elder at the host church, kicked it off with the topic, “God’s Sovereign Choice of the Younger Son.” His sermon was very exegetical, drawing from the text the only conclusion that can be consistently made: God will mercy whom He will and harden whom He will. Consequently, the message focused on Romans 9 and God’s unconditional election based on His purpose.

Eric Redmond followed him and spoke on “God’s Sovereignty and the Call of the Pastor.” He had us open to 2 Timothy, and I smugly thought I knew where he was going, but I was surprised. I figured he would preach on Paul’s charge to Timothy, or the qualifications of a pastor, or something to that extent. He did touch on those things, but the thrust of his message actually dealt with Paul’s terrible conditions in chapter 4:9-22 and how Timothy was called to be by his side. The point was clear: the call of God on one’s life is more important than the place in which he serves. Coming from a leader familiar with the tough, transient, often unrecognized nature of urban ministry, this message was profound. For me, it hit home, for I’ve been involved in urban ministry myself and feel that is where God will be using me for the rest of my life.

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The Sovereignty of God Conference (with amazing cell phone pics), Day 1

sovGodconfToday, the Sovereignty of God conference, put on by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, hosted by Bread of Life Fellowship in Haledon, NJ, came to a conclusion. The speakers included pastors from New Jersey as well as James White and Eric Redmond.

Well, I’m no Tim Challies, and I didn’t live-blog it, but I’m going to give a quick recap because this conference was a tremendous blessing to me.

How refreshing it was to attend a conference that had little to do with ourselves, our circle, convention, or denomination, or that promoted anyone’s agenda. The only agenda was the promotion of God’s sovereignty – a true conference on doctrine about God. And I say that it hit the nail on the head.

This conference was much more than expounding on a particular theological position, namely Calvinism. Despite the fact that there’s so much controversy and so many pot-shots going back and forth, the purpose wasn’t to arm us Calvinists with better arguments and more proof texts. Sure, some of the debate points were mentioned, but the emphasis was on the truth of God’s sovereignty as revealed in His word and the implications thereof. Instead of leaving me with ammunition to propagate the agenda of spreading 16th century soteriological nuances, I was left with a sense of awe about our mighty God. I was also given a humility about how I go about thinking about our sovereign God, communicating our sovereign God to others, and serving our sovereign God each day.

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Taking a Stand: A Rant

standPlease excuse the incoherency and lack of flow in this post, but I’ve got a few things to say.

I’ve been slacking a bit in blogging, but I think that’s ok. In the meantime, I have posted a few things on the King James Only blog, and, as a result, posts about that topic will be exclusive to that website, for the most part. This will allow me to focus on other topics. I’ve also been lurking around other blogs recently, and a few things have come to my attention. So I’ll make some comments. After all, small-fry bloggers like me have opinions that really matter, right?

The concern over the “YF Reformation” (if I can coin the term) is not diminishing at all. The demographic of 18-35 year old Christians who are tied to fundamentalism in some way (the Young Fundamentalists, “YFs”) is undergoing a major facelift in recent years.

And we YFs haven’t been silent about it. Those who are against the shift haven’t been either. The blogosphere has added significant volume to all our insignificant voices, as well as popularized diatribes and analyses by influential leaders of both camps. Currently, there’s much ado over Dan Sweatt and the FBFI. John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll. Peter Masters’ assessment of this movement. Colin Hansen’s Young, Restless, and Reformed is still being discussed. And of course, commentary on all of these issues abound from pastors and lay leaders alike.

Certainly, a reformation of sorts is underway. It’s both a privilege and a scary thing to be living in these times. I don’t know how this all will conclude, but God does. He is still in control. And we must remember, reformation is never easy.

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Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar: Conclusion

I stopped taking notes at around slide #150. I did note some of the Q&A time, but I addressed much of that in previous posts. Plus, I see this series has run its course. So I want wrap to this up with a few concluding thoughts.

The good

1. Dr. Waite’s gentlemanly demeanor. It’s unfortunate that Dr. Waite has to share a position with Texe Marrs, Peter Ruckman, Gail Riplinger, and Samp Gipp. Though he does generalize more than necessary and oddly singles out John MacArthur, Waite comes off as a sincere Christian man who is defending a view he really believes in. 

2. Non-ruckmanism. Dr. Waite did all he could to avoid Ruckmanism in his presentation and Q&A. He even went further than most non-Ruckmanite KJVO would go, in saying that the King James Version is not “inspired.” In fact, at one point he said he would hesitate to call anything man-made as “perfect”, and cited the fact that the original 1611 contained the Apocrypha as proof of its imperfection. I was both surprised and in agreement. I doubt Jeff Fugate would be.

3. Decent presentation of typical KJVO arguments. Overall, his 4-point outline is a decent presentation of what the more typical arguments for moderate KJVO are: 1. Text 2. Translators 3. Technique 4. Theology. I would be more than happy to stick with those four headings to counter his claims.

The bad

1. Overstating his case. Interestingly, the first time I attended, a man began to proclaim, a little more loudly than was necessary during the Q&A, “you’re overstating your case!” He said he was a Bob Jones grad who actually agreed with Dr. Waite, but wanted to say he overstated his case. I was a bit caught off guard at the time, but now, I couldn’t agree more. To relate textual variation in transmission to the serpent’s questioning in the garden; to make it seem like all modern versions depend on dynamic equivalence and the King James only uses formal/verbal equivalence; to make a long list of terrible synonyms for dynamic equivalence (ignoring the fact that the KJV uses it at times); to include different Bibles which varied one with another in the list of “good” Bibles; and to use the word “deny” as if modern versions actually reject certain doctrines of the Faith are all outstanding examples of how Dr. Waite indeed overstated his case.

2. The scholarship. Dr. Waite presents this to laymen in churches, not scholars in ivory towers. However, that doesn’t mean his claims shouldn’t be backed by good scholarship. Judging by his credentials (and the fact that his works all list those credentials), he should be able to provide a scholarly basis for his claims. But things like claiming the Septuagint was created by Origen “because it is found in his Hexapla” or using the Peshitta (which did not contain 2 Peter, I John 5:7, II John, III John, Jude or Revelation as part of its canon) as part of the good line of “received kind” Bibles lacks that basis. In addition, his out-of-context, tailor-made Westcott and Hort quotes reveal a failure in accuracy, whether oversight or willful deception (I believe the former).

3. Double standards. The argumentation was full of double standards. It’s ok for the KJVO to include different Bibles in his line of pre-1611 “types” of KJVs, but anything different today is not the Word of God. Dynamic equivalence is seen as evil, yet the KJV uses it. Talk of scholarship in the non-KJVO realm is seen as arrogant and man-centered, yet an entire section is given on the great scholarship of the King James translators. The fact that the Nestle-Aland text has reached 27 editions shows it’s “unsettled”, yet the TR itself has gone under multiple editions (roughly 30 according to Art Farstad). The science of textual criticism is man-made and wrong, yet Waite cites Burgon’s reasoning behind the inclusion of variants like Mark 16. Why should that even matter? If we were to employ the same argumentation Burgon did for Mark 16 to the whole New Testament, the King James would not be the result.

4. Lack of counter-argumentation. I realize this wasn’t a debate, but it would have been nice to offer some of what non-KJVO say on this issue. A lot has been written for the other side, but Waite hardly mentions it. The only time he did, he used multiple slides to show how many fundamentalists believe no doctrine is affected by the changes in the modern versions. People like James White, D.A. Carson, and others were dismissed as though they didn’t believe biblically. The audience is left thinking that anyone who is not King James Only is just plain ignorant.

Final thoughts: I attended Dr. Waite’s seminar the first time as a Byzantine/Majority text-type preferred Christian questioning whether or not I made a mistake dropping my King James Onlyism. Afterwards, I was convinced that it was not a mistake. The second time I attended, I had been persuaded by critical text arguments. Though I wasn’t necessarily committed to the critical text at that time, I recognized it as my default position and went into the seminar with an open heart for the King James Only side one more time. At the end, I was even more convinced that King James Onlyism was fundamentally flawed.

Dr. Waite’s seminar will only work for those who are already convinced of the King James Only position, or for those who do not bother to check what is being said. After examination of his points, however, I have hoped to prove in this series that when one does his homework, he will remain unconvinced of the KJVO view.

From now on, I will be writing on the King James issue on the King James Only blog, and will switch to new topics on this blog.

An Analysis of Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar, Slides #109-153: Translation Technique

vintagepenPart VII – Translation Technique (Slides #109-153)

The final section that I have noted deals with the supposedly superior translation techniques employed by the King James translators. One must note that this particular issue is an entirely different one (together with the superiority of the translators) in the stream of elemental KJVO argumentation. This deals with the actual King James Version of 1611, whereas other arguments are more biblical, historical, and doctrinal. Here is where a true King James Onlyist may differ from a Majority/Byzantine preferred, though both may have used similar arguments prior to this. It is also where the moderate King James Onlyist finds little to differ with Ruckman, for the two will always say that the King James rendering is the best, and consequently, only acceptable rendering in every single case.

It is rather interesting to note this, for those in Waite’s camp, who would at least acknowledge the existence of errors in textual transmission (they would say the church recognized and corrected them through the ages), avoid at all costs acknowledging the existence of translational errors in the Bibles of today. How this differs from Ruckmanism is hard to tell – the Ruckmanite believes God did something akin to inspiration during the Hampton Court conference. Those who distance themselves from such a position still give to the King James Version the result of said position.

If everything the KJVO argued for until now were true – that is, God did indeed promise “verbal, plenary preservation”, that there has always been an availability of God’s words “intact”, and that represented by different Bibles at different times leading up until now –  I don’t know how a translational deficiency would affect the rest of the position. Yet, that is how King James Onlyism seems to work. It’s zero tolerance. One strike and you’re out. It’s all or nothing, and remember “things that are different are not the same.” 

So Waite is, in essence, defending two positions: verbal, plenary preservation and the perfection of the KJV as a translation. 

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An Analysis of Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar, Slides #66-83: “Things that are different are. . .?”

 

2-biblesPart V: The Differences Between the Texts (Slides #67-83)

Slide #67, titled “the Battleground”,  introduces the next part in the seminar: the differences between the texts. Waite repeats the statistic of difference also used by the Trinitarian Bible society, a 7% difference. This stands in contrast to the more common statistic of a 2% difference given by most textual scholars. But Waite does support this in slide #68 with the numbers of changes in the Westcott/Hort text. It seems possible that any little change in a word, such as spelling, was considered to be a “change”, thereby producing a larger number than is more commonly given. He also cites Jack Moorman’s count of 2,886 words “missing” in the Nestle Aland text. The problem here is that he didn’t prove that they were “missing” anymore than he can prove whether they should have been there in the first place. The credible theories of harmonization, homoioteleuton (similar endings omitted), and fuller readings due to the expansion of piety (“The Lord Jesus Christ” rather than just “Jesus”) are not even mentioned or refuted. The topic of the percentage of differences between the texts will be addressed later. But it’s obvious that the slides in Waite’s seminar do not tell the whole story. Rather, they leave the audience with an emotional sense of being robbed.

Slide #72, in speaking of the differences between Aleph and B, accuses Westcott and Hort of worshiping Vaticanus (B). That’s rather slanderous. Sure, they may have leaned on it more heavily, because they were sincerely convinced of its superiority, but is that a basis for that kind of accusation? With all the books, seminars, and sentiments for the King James Version, wouldn’t it be more appropriate, following Waite’s reasoning, to charge him and his followers with worshiping the King James? 

But what of these differences between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus? Do they not matter?

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An Analysis of Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar, Slides #48-66: More Guilt by Association and Double Standards, too

Section IV (con’t.) – Slides #48-66

Waite points out Westcott and Hort’s reliance on Codex Vaticanus (B) scrap-paperin guiding their textual choices. Therefore, he tries to slander this manuscript as untrustworthy, heretical, and corrupt. It is true that the two clergymen did hold B in very high esteem, but as I noted before, most modern textual scholars and editors find that the theories of Westcott and Hort are outdated. They have been updated and tweaked to the point that what the two Englishmen believed is almost irrelevant (though their theories do provide the basic foundation for modern textual theory). Since Westcott and Hort’s time, more evidence has been discovered to add credibility to the older manuscripts.

Of course, Waite doesn’t mention that. Rather, he repeats some of the tired arguments against B that contribute little to the debate. In speaking of the age of B (4th century), he said, “its words are early, but the material is not.” Honestly, and this is probably just ignorance on my part, I have no clue as to what that was supposed to mean. He then said, “it was preserved because it was in a library in Rome.” True, the Vatican library where it was housed is the reason behind its name. But scholars disagree as to it origin. It wasn’t discovered in the Vatican library until about the 15th century, and Rome, Caesarea, and Alexandria have all been proposed as its original source. But this all leads to Waite’s continued use of guilt-by-association. Slides #49-51 all have the title, “The ‘Deviant’ Origin of Westcott & Hort’s ‘B’ Text.”

Why is it called “Wetcott & Hort’s”? They obviously didn’t create the text. They consulted it. And if consulting Vaticanus is wrong, then the Textus Receptus can’t be trusted. Erasmus consulted B when considering the Comma Johannuem by way of a letter to his friend Paulus Bombasius in Rome. Of course, that wasn’t mentioned, either.

Furthermore, Dr. Waite, a scholarly gentleman with credentials that would suggest he knows much better, repeats the same old “garbage can” lie about the origins of Sinaiticus. It’s one thing for overzealous and undereducated pastors to stand up and say “that Bible was found in a trash can!” but when a man with the academic credibility of Waite repeats it, it’s a shame. And it also reveals the brains behind all the falsehood that is so flippantly proclaimed from pulpits in recent years. 

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Good Friday

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Job 9:30 If I wash myself with snow
and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 yet you will plunge me into a pit,
and my own clothes will abhor me.
32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
that we should come to trial together.
33 There is no arbiter between us,
who might lay his hand on us both. (ESV)

Because of the wretched sinfulness of man, Job knew that there was no bargaining with God. Man is so rebellious and tainted by sin that he cannot even argue with God. God is so holy and removed from sin that He will not come into contact with sin and compromise His holy majesty. So Job cried for an arbiter. Someone Who can lay hands on both God and man. Someone Who is holy like God yet lowly like man. Someone who can represent man without sinning, because sin would cancel any opportunity to reason with God. Truly, only a God-Man with sinless record can accomplish this task.

I Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (ESV)

On the cross of Calvary, Friday night, 2,000+ years ago, Jesus of Nazareth became the arbiter for which Job longed. He, being literally an incarnate man, paid for the sins of sinful human beings in His own body. He, being literally God Himself, satisfied the wrath of God for our sins. Though it took a brutal death and humiliation, for us, this truly was a “Good Friday.” May everyone have a blessed Good Friday.

 Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)

Dr. James D. Price on Providential Preservation

dr-priceIt is a privilege to be able to post, with his permission, an essay on the topic of the preservation of scripture by Dr. James D. Price. I’ve been helped by some of his articles on the Internet and most recently by his book, King James Onlyism: A New Sect. The 600+ page book serves as a tremendous resource for the issue at hand. It is a textbook I consult often from a trustworthy source.

James D. Price was Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Temple Baptist Seminary in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 1972 to 2005, and Academic Dean from 2000 to 2005. He has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, with 25 years experience in that profession, serving as a senior research engineer for Franklin Institute Research Laboratories in Philadelphia before moving to Temple Baptist Seminary. He has an M.Div. from Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Tacoma, Washington and a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Biblical Literature from Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Languages in Philadelphia. He has traveled on teaching missions to Germany and the Ukraine. He had been involved in various lay-ministries for over 60 years. He is a member of several professional organizations and the author of numerous journal articles.

He was the Old Testament Executive Editor and Chairman of the Executive Review Committee of the New King James Version of the Bible and a translator and section editor for the Holman Christian Standard Bible. He is the author of several books including God’s Wisdom for Daily Living, Complete Equivalence in Bible Translation, The Syntax of Masoretic Accents in the Hebrew Bible, and A Concordance of the Accents in the Hebrew Bible.

My generation is often accussed of carelessness when it comes to tweaking our doctrine. When we leave one theological position for another, we are treated as if we have not consulted our God in prayer, consulted His Word, or consulted sources of input equally credible to those we are forsaking. Though I’m sure there are many exceptions, this is not the case for me and my peers. In particular, I have spent much time in prayer, Bible study, and deep meditation going over the issue of King James Onlyism. Because of the emotion tied to the position, it is not an easy thing to leave behind. For those who read my blog and disagree with me, I ask you to at least give me the benefit of the doubt. You may believe I am sincerely wrong, but at least agree that I’m sincere.

As I analyze things said by men such as D.A. Waite, I get asked, “so you think you know more than Dr. Waite?” No. Basically, I’m just an observer. I observe the ongoing debate between men much more capable than I. Dr. Price is one of those men. I don’t cling to him as an end-all. But he is certainly one that has given at least as much time to this issue as men on the KJVO side. And his arguments resonate with me more than the others. Here is his article:

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Christ and the Scriptures, Part III: Jesus’ Bibliology

biblecross31In the final post in this series, I want to consider what Jesus Christ personally taught about the scriptures. What our Lord said about and did with the scriptures are of utmost importance to all matters of bibliology because of the following argument, which I have tried to articulate in this series thus far:

1. The Christian faith is primarily and initially spiritual, not intellectual. The Christian is a believer because of a work that God has supernaturally performed in his heart, not because he intellectually “figured it out.”

2. Working in the person’s heart, the Holy Spirit testifies to Christ, while Christ draws men to Himself, given by the Father. This trinitarian phenomenon results in the believer’s first and foundational affirmation: that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God.

3. Since believers come to Christ first spiritually, they should come to Christ first theologically. That is, a Christocentric model logically follows the believer’s own conversion and spiritual growth.

4. To begin with the Bible, as noble as it seems, is backwards, because no one can hold the Bible in the esteem of a Christian without first being a Christian. We do not believe in Jesus because we first accept biblical authority, we accept biblical authority because we first believe in Jesus. The danger of reversing this causes us to try to squeeze Jesus into our pre-made biblical constructs. Rather, Jesus should have preeminence in our theology to the extent that, if Jesus said or did something contrary to our understanding or theological framework, we should abandon that framework to follow Christ.

So what exactly did Jesus teach about the scriptures?

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Christ and the Scriptures, Part II: Christology and Bibliology

biblecross41In my initial post on this subject, I took a step back from the answer, “The Bible tells me so” to “how do you know the Bible is the Word of God?” I hope to answer that question in this post. I also seek to expound on the relationship between Bibliology and Christology and how that relationship pertains to the Bible version debate.

We do not arrive at truth ourselves. No amount of intellect or scholarship can uncover the deep things of God. Truth must be revealed. It is revealed only by God. In order for a man, dead in his sins, to be awakened to truth, he must undergo a supernatural experience in which God quickens him to receive that truth. The prime thing to which he is awakened is the truth that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Only those with the Spirit of God can truly say Jesus is Lord (I Corinthians 12:3). If the basis of knowledge for embracing Christ is God Himself, then the basis of knowledge for learning about Christ must be God Himself.

Therefore, before issues of eschatology, before one understands the nature of the church, before one can engage in the Bible version debate, and even before one understands his role as a Christian, the regenerated one submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has done a work in his heart, and the Holy Spirit’s role is to testify of Christ (John 15:26). The Christian starts with Christ.

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Christ and the Scriptures, Part I: the Basis of Knowledge

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“Because God told me so!” 

In contrast to a contemplative analysis of philosophical systems and the epistemic weighing of evidence, the above statement seems way too elementary to provide a basis for knowledge. However, I think it’s more accurate.

God is Truth. Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ is Truth. All Truth comes from Him. The basis of knowledge is God. That means truth exists outside of ourselves. It is not something we can conjure up from within, nor is it something we can attain by taking matters into our own hands. Only God can reveal truth to us.

Since man by nature is alienated from God, it is impossible that he can find truth apart from God. I think that’s pretty much Theology 101, yet sometimes we forget that when it comes to apologetics and our approach to doctrine in general.

In this next series of posts, I will attempt to highlight the relationship between Christology and Bibliology and how that relationship pertains to all other doctrine. I do not expect it to be a perfect foundation that provides the solution to every doctrinal problem. I do, however, think that having the right order in this regard will be pivotal in understanding some current issues. In particular, this will play out significantly in how I approach the Bible version issue.

I want to be very clear at the onset: this is my thinking. That should be obvious seeing how this is my personal blog. But I know the tendency for some is to look at what’s being said and declare, “well, that doesn’t represent  my perspective.” I know that. I’m using this to explain what constituted a shift in my thinking. I do believe that some out there can relate. I hope it is a benefit.

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God is Beautiful!

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Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple. (ESV)

I think all of us who profess faith in Christ would agree that beauty is an attribute of God. But do we know what that even means?

The Meriam-Webster dictionary defines it like this:

the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit

The Hebrew word from which it is translated, including similar words, indicate pleasantness, loveliness, and delight. I tend to miss all of that. Typically, I think the beauty of the Lord is some elusive thing that I can’t ever really know. Sometimes I think it’s not even worth finding out. Maybe we just don’t talk about enough. But in this Psalm, David says that he’d like to gaze upon it for ever. Wow!
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About that Bridge to Nowhere. . .

bridgeUnlike Sarah Palin, I won’t deny that I indeed supported a bridge before I decided against it (oops, now I sound like John Kerry). But I’m not talking about politics or transportation routes that apparently lead to nowhere. I’m talking about my original intentions for this blog.

When I first desired to express my views publicly, I was still enrolled in an Independent, Fundamental Baptist Bible college. A few of my friends were concerned about fundamentalism’s direction and we decided that we’d start a website that would be dedicated to what we believed was true fundamentalism. So we began the Contend For Truth website with hopes that we can defend the Christian faith from an articulate, fundamentalist perspective. And that was the problem.

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Keep Staying Tuned

Boy, time surely does fly! It’s almost February and I’m still not ready for the re-launch. But I’m close. So, in the meantime, I’ve got a semi-re-launch here, with a a bit of a new look and the riddance of some dead weight (TJ). Don’t worry, TJ and I are still friends! This was a mutual agreement and he’ll be back periodically as a contributor. 

Here’s a video that’s probably already made its rounds in the blogosphere, but provides some strong commentary by John Piper:

Encouraging Holiday Video, Christmas 2008

The Real Meaning of Christmas by John MacArhur

Encouraging Sunday Video, 12.21.08

A friend of mine gave me the book, Crazy Love, by Francis Chan and it was a tremendous exhortation that I desperately needed. I see the hand of God as He is raising servants in this day for His glory. Pastor Chan is one of those whom God has gifted to speak a specific message to the church in America. His message of avoiding a lukewarm Christian life and being totally wrapped up in love for God is backed by his sacrificial life and the sacrifices to which he calls his church.

The Significance of Hanukkah

chanukiah

John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 

December 21, 2008 marks the start of Hanukkah this year. The Jewish people will be celebrating what many non Jews consider to be their version of Christmas. After all, you’ve got beautiful lights, gift giving, singing, and religious significance. It’s interesting to note, however, that while the holiday known as Christmas doesn’t appear in the Bible, Hanukkah does.

Where? Not the Old Testament, but the New. Hanukkah was instituted between the Testaments, during the time of the Maccabees. So the only time Hanukkah appears in the Bible is found in the Christian part of it, specifically in John 10.

The One about Whom Christmas is about celebrated Hanukkah. John 10:22 says there was a feast of dedication during the winter. This was about the 15th day of December (or 25th day of Chisleu). The word for dedication used here literally means “renewal”, or “re-dedication”. The Hebrew word for rededication is “hanaka”. Interestingly, the Greek word is “anakaino”, which sounds like Hanukkah if you think about it. Anyway, John 10:22 is the only time is appears in the scriptures, and the Lord Christ was involved.

The meaning of Hanukkah is something we all can apply to our lives.

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