Apr 11, 2017

Is Calvinism The Pearl Of Great Price?

Years ago, I asked my dear friend, Bob Ross of Pilgrim Publications, about his seeming softness on Calvinism. His reply to me has echoed in my ears many times over the years. He said, in so many words, that he just could not understand the enthusiasm of some who promote Calvinism (or "doctrines of grace"). He said some think that in finding Calvinism and grace theology they had found the "pearl of great price." Well, after all these years of thinking about this, I have to say "amen." I hope you know what I mean and do not need to explain it.

Mar 29, 2017

A Couple Things That Irk Me

One of those things is my leaving comments on a few web pages and have the blog author or administrator not post my comments. This is not because I say something that should be banned, but is due to some other reason. One such blog I quit following because of this. Why do brethren do this? This leads me to the second thing that irks me.

Some strict brethren just are too overly careful about not wanting to give the impression that they are the least bit associated with someone not in their particular circle of fellowship. One blog never cites another blog or web page without saying "this does not constitute an endorsement." Brethren, I am so glad I don't have to worry about such things! I am glad to truly be an independent. There are far too many cliques in the body of Christ. People are also far too touchy about things.

Well, that's my gripe for the day.

Mar 27, 2017

If God Gets The Credit, Does He Get The Blame Too?

I have been interested in the philosophical and theological question regarding giving God credit or praise for all the good. It is argued that if God gets all the credit, and man none, then God must also get the blame. This difficulty has led some to affirm that God does not get all the credit. Man deserves some credit also, it is argued. If that is not so, then the dilemma is to explain how giving God all the credit doesn't necessitate that we also give him the blame. In looking over some Internet articles on this subject, I submit these comments as an example of the kind of discussion that is prevalent on this important subject.

In "If God Gets the Glory, Does He Also Get the Blame?" by Mac McCann (SEE HERE) it is stated:

"The doctors who survived Ebola thanked God for their recovery. Whom do we blame for those who don’t recover?"

"...that God deserves “all the credit and all the glory for what’s happened” — deserves more scrutiny."

"If we truly believe that God deserves “all the glory” of saving a few individuals, why don’t we also hold God accountable for the thousands of infections and deaths?"

Well, those are good questions! And, though I do not have time to write upon the subject now, I will perhaps have time to do so later.

In another Internet article, "Giving God the Credit" (SEE HERE) it is asked: "How people and society give god credit for all the good but none of the blame for everything that is bad."

"Who would not like a system in which they got all the credit when things go right and none of the blame when things go wrong? Since nobody would think this is fair if applied to an individual, company or government, it seems odd that a being with infinite power to change everything would be given such a break."

Being a believer in predestination, and in the proposition that nothing occurs but what God willingly allows to occur, I immediately think of many scripture passages in addressing these questions and this topic. First notice these words of God to Moses.

"And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?" (Exodus 4: 11)

Here God plainly says that he gets the credit for a man having the ability to speak, hear, or see. Also, he does not shy away from taking the blame (if we can call it that) or responsibility for some not having those abilities. In another Internet article "How do you respond to Exodus 4:11?" by Gregory A. Boyd (SEE HERE) the author writes:

"According to some compatibilists, this passage teaches that all infirmities are willed by God. This interpretation is not required, however."

"Throughout his ministry Jesus came against all infirmities and diseases as things that God does not will. Never once did he ascribe these things to his Father’s will. Never once did he encourage people to find comfort in the notion that these things were part of God’s plan."

I must take issue with Boyd on his assertion. Notice this passage. It seems to overthrow his assertion.

"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:1-3)

Further, here is another instance that should be considered in a discussion of this topic.

"But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong." (Luke 4: 25-29)

As I said, I would love to deal with this in depth but do not have time to do so now. Perhaps in the future.

Mar 17, 2017

"Vast Array of Verbal Behavior" in Scripture

I agree with Douglas Wilson who wrote (emphasis mine):

"Instead of seeking to learn our paradigms of behavior from the Scriptures, we tend to bring our assumptions, learned elsewhere and from others, and view the Scriptures through those assumptions. This is not a superficial problem; it goes down to the bone. The prophets, the apostles and our Lord Jesus all exhibit a vast array of verbal behavior, including tenderness, love, insults, jokes, anger and more. What standard do we use to sort this material out?" (page 17 of "The Serrated Edge" by Douglas Wilson - SEE HERE)

Many Bible students and teachers often fail to properly interpret certain portions of Scripture because they have not fully discerned its genre, use of idioms and metaphors, and context.

Mar 11, 2017

Warning! Attending Church May Be Dangerous To Your Health

"ye come together not for the better but for the worse." (I Cor. 11:17)

Can people really be worse off for attending and supporting apostate churches? Paul thought so!

Mar 6, 2017

Advanced Composition

One of the hardest classes for me in college was my senior level "Advanced Composition" class. Perhaps it was due to a heavy load of other classes at the time, or to my topic (free will vs. determinism), or to my Roman Catholic professor (who was out of place in a Baptist/Presbyterian college, and who passionately opposed my belief in predestination and determinism), but whatever the reason, it is one of the classes where I learned much about writing professionally.

One of the lessons I learned in that class concerned the fact that most writings are not perfect upon "first draft" (unlike the inspired men who wrote perfectly on first draft). The best of writings, whether of poets, philosophers, or theologians, were not the products of a first draft, but generally the result of several revisions. Even when the writing (thesis, book, paper, etc.) is completed, most authors would admit that what was published or otherwise completed could still be improved, either by additional information, or by better rhetoric, or improved argumentation, etc.

With this in mind I thought I would announce that I plan to spend most of my time in the future to revise many of my works and publish them. In other words, I will be involved in "advanced composition." This will take a tremendous amount of time and will leave little time to post extended works in my blogs. I will only be able to make short posts from time to time.

If you are led to do so, please remember me in your prayers.

Mar 5, 2017

"Ancient Astronaut Theory" is Neo Paganism

Over the years I have spent much time researching "ancient history" in addition to other areas of historical studies. I have always love history. I love the social sciences in general. In those years I have increasingly come to see that there is much "fake science," or as the apostle Paul said, "science falsely so called." (I Tim. 6: 20) "Darwinism" is one such "fake science," and is in fact a religion in disguise.

Each day there are numerous archaeological discoveries that overthrow it; And it is becoming harder for those "scientists" who are wedded to Darwinism's theory (as to man's origin and history) to cover up that evidence (as they have since Darwin first published his "origin of the species"). Each day there is more and more evidence that proves that a civilization once existed on this earth that was more technologically advanced than at present. This fact destroys "evolution" with its "ascent of man" and strictly linear view of history.

Of course, the existence of such an advanced civilization, though destroying evolution theory, does not prove that such an advanced civilization was the result of alien interference. Nor does it prove that man was the creation of aliens, rather than of God.

When I was a young Christian I became aware of "New Age" doctrine and teaching. It did not take long to see how its quasi religious/metaphysical teachings were evidence that it was basically polytheistic. It was a way to believe in many gods and goddesses, in spirits of various kinds, "ascended masters," etc., and a way to communicate with them. Well, the same thing can be said about the "ancient astronaut theory" where the "aliens" become the "gods" of the bible and other ancient texts.

Jason Colavito wrote:

"I would like to seriously propose that the “ancient astronaut theory” as presented on Ancient Aliens has become a revised Theosophy, a neo-pagan religion—a type of polytheism where every religion is right because all gods are real...the ancient astronaut theory collapses in on itself, and the old stories become literally true as reports of actual gods! Polytheism!" ("Review of Ancient Aliens S05E07 "Prophets and Prophecy" - SEE HERE)

Well, amen to that!

He wrote also:

"David Childress (an archaeologist who is often seen on the history channel, and is a leading proponent of ancient aliens having visited earth from another world - SG) agrees that the aliens warned ancient people of natural disasters by pretending to be gods."

Both New Age and Ancient Alien ideas are nothing but polytheism arrayed in better attire.

Feb 12, 2017

For Me To Live

I don't know how many years I have left to live. I can say, however, like David - "I once was young but now am old." Likewise, I can speak, as he did, about what I have "seen" and "not seen" in life. (Psalm 37:25) Also, like him, I have often queried this question in my mind and to the Lord - "How many are the days of thy servant?" (119:84) As I have become somewhat elderly and weak, no longer having the strength and vigor of youth and middle age, I have asked this question even more in my mind.

If God grant me either a very short or extra long time, from this point forward, to what purpose? Simply to exist and do little other than struggle to stay alive? Or, to "enjoy" retirement years in the sense of indulging the flesh? To watch TV? To play games? To eat, drink, and be merry? Or, to find a way to more deeply draw near to the Lord and walk with him? To enjoy his peace and presence? To find a way to do more to serve the Lord with the additional free time that comes with old age and retirement?

If I live one more week or twenty more years, let

1. the inward man in me be renewed day by day as the body deteriorates and weakens

2. me finish the apologetic works I have spent my life constructing and be of use to others

3. me more fully work out my own salvation with fear and trembling

In a word, to keep the resolve of the Apostle Paul when he said:

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21)

Feb 2, 2017

Fake News

There is much talk today about "fake news." Though some try to define "fake news" in unusual ways, it is generally conceded that "fake" news is simply "false" or incorrect news. Something is put out as fact which in fact (pun intended) is not fact. I would just like to add these thoughts to the subject.

Can we agree that there is "fake gospel"? Gospel is news, good news, factual news. But, have not many perverted the Gospel and turned it into fake Gospel?

Can we agree that "Evolution" is "fake science" or "science falsely so called"? (I Tim. 6: 20 kjv) Does the Bible not teach Devolution rather than Evolution? Are archaeologists not uncovering new evidences today, in addition to megalithic structures like the Great Pyramid, that show that the world in the distant past had as great, or greater, scientific and technical knowledge as it does today?

Can we agree that history books are filled with "fake history"? "Revisionist histories"?

Jan 22, 2017

World Prosperity or Economic Collapse?

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (I Thess. 5:1-3 kjv)

Many prophets of the Apocalypse and Parousia of Christ often speak of "the coming economic collapse" as the impetus for the rise of antichrist and the judgments of the Book of Revelation. However, instead of first seeing worldwide economic collapse and civil war, as preludes to antichrist and the apocalypse, we should rather see worldwide economic prosperity, as well as peace and safety, just prior to and during the first part of the career of antichrist, and just prior to the seals, trumpets, and viols of the Apocalypse, or "the great tribulation." In a nutshell, these are the reasons.

1. In the Bible and in history the fall and destruction of the greatest civilizations were always preceded by their having reached their zenith in wealth and luxurious living while at the same time reaching their greatest depth in iniquity. Think of ancient Egypt, Babylon, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, etc.

2. The "signs" or omens of the impending judgment of God as given in Scripture all show that the world will be greatly prospering and in peace and general safety when the judgment of God begins to fall upon it.

The opening verses certainly teach the fact that the world will be safe and prosperous immediately prior to the commencement of the judgment of God upon it. Other verses indicate the same.

The conclusion of the matter? If we are indeed within years of the commencement of the Apocalypse, then we will see the world continue to prosper and enjoy relative, yet fragile, peace. I believe that the next few years, leading up to "the time of the end," will be prosperous indeed. Technology will be one of the ways and means that it will be brought about.