The dying: Let them go gently into the night?

Christians, when last have you heard a sermon in your church about hell? If never, you have – although you might think not – been cheated, and your pastor will have much to answer for, even if at death he and you feel yourselves going gently into “that night.”

When I was living in England in a little hamlet, I attended briefly an Anglican church. After church, I was chatting with the priest who said he couldn’t talk long because he had to visit one of his dying parishioners. Being one daring you-know-what, I asked him what he was going to say to her. He replied “I meet her where she is at.” I asked whether he was going to find out if she was ready to die, that is, whether she was“in the faith.” He said, no, he tries to make them feel at peace. I ticked him off, and said, that a priest should do more than that. He scampered off. I am reminded of Mother Teresa who said that she helped her dying patients to reconcile with their gods, which any atheist would laud if not Lord.

In the biography Mother Teresa: Her People and Her Work, she is quoted by Desmond Doig as follows: “If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we are converting. We become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are. … What approach would I use? For me, naturally, it would be a Catholic one, for you it may be Hindu, for someone else, Buddhist, according to one’s conscience. What God is in your mind you must accept” (Doig, Mother Teresa, Harper & Row, 1976, p. 156). And in the April 7-13, 1990, issue of Radio Times tells the story of Mother Teresa sheltering an old Hindu priest.“She nursed him with her own hands and helped him to die and be reconciled with his own gods.”

And of Jesus Christ as the way the truth and the life; the saviour of the world? Not a word.

When Mother Teresa died, her long-time friend and biographer Naveen Chawla said that he once asked her bluntly, “Do you convert?” She replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him” (“Mother Teresa Touched Other Faiths,” Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997).

I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic” (Mother Teresa’s A Simple path, p. 31).

(See Mother Teresa: The missing peace of the puzzle).

My friend, who does not believe in Christ, is dying. With so much killing going on in this wicked world, I need to remind myself that most of the more than 150 000 deaths during the last 24 hours occurred in a bed of some sort.

Most people, whether they believe they are going to heaven or not, fear death. Many put it this way: “I don’t fear death; I fear dying (in pain).” Then there are those who have had near-death experiences, often on an operating table, where they saw “this beauiful light,” and, as a result no more fear of death or judgment. Thank you my Angel of Light (Lucifer).

How terrifying for someone to fall into the hands of God; and what unutterable sweetness to fall into His arms.

We must, says Charles Spurgeon, be very earnest with our own hearts this morning, to discover, if possible, whether we come under the number of those whose warfare is accomplished, and whose sin is pardoned; or whether, on the other hand, we abide with the multitude on whom resteth the curse of God, and whose sins shall be discovered and punished by the right-hand of the Most High.” (A message from God to thee – Charles Spurgeon).

(See also “Death-bed memoirs: The hands and the arms of God”).

The Bible says (frequently in the letters of Paul) that to be a Christian is to be “in Christ” and “Christ in you.” Christians are born of God (born again), which entails that Christ lives – through the Holy Spirit – in them. Once regenerated (quickened, raised to spiritual life), believers are enabled and therefore can choose the good things of God. If, though, believers don’t only want to be in Christ but also WITH Christ, this means they want seeking a better place and can’t wait to get there. Here is the Apostle Paul: Philippians 1:21-23 – “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” 

(See Jeremy Walker, in his “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ,” where he discusses the difference between being in Christ and with Christ, where “the anticipation of the dying saint” is to be with the Lord. See also “In Christ and with Christ: I wanna be with you-hoo-hoo.”).

We Christians should not fear suffering and death. Yet we do. But when we do,

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, For your sake we are being killed all the day long;  we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Another friend – contra Dylan Thomas, beseeched me to let my dying friend go gently into the night.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Arminianism: The submortuarian, relapsarian view of predestination/election

Definition: lapsus – (the) Fall (of man)

Here is an amusing, but pithy, answer to an Arminian objection to the Calvinist view of God’s decree.

“Objection 5. The predestinarians cannot agree about stating their decree; some stating it before the fall, as the supra-lapsarians ; and others after the fall, as the sub-lapsarians.

Answer 1. The Arminians, by the law of retaliation, may be called submortuarians, for their holding no full election till men die; and post-destinarians, for placing the eternal decree behind the race of man’s life. Surely when believers die, they are the subjects of glorification, not of election. Christ should have said (upon this hypothesis) to the penitent thief, this day thou shalt be Fully Elected, not, thou shalt 6e with me in paradise. And may they not also be stiled relapsarians, for saying that the elect may totally and finally fall away; and that he who is a child of God to day, may be a child of the devil to morrow?”

Excerpt From: Ness, Christopher. “An antidote against Arminianism: or A treatise to enervate and confute all the five points thereof.”

Why is Christianity so complicated! All you need is love. Hmmm.

Death-bed conversions: Lord, have mercy on my dying friend

Do the sick who are dying think more about their eternal destiny than do the healthy? Not at all. Death-bed conversions are as rare as hen’s teeth. “Rare” as hen’s teeth? Are there any hens with teeth. “If there are, you say, it must be a mutant.” True.

“If you thought hen’s teeth were the rarest thing in nature, think again: researchers from Britain and the US have succeeded in growing teeth in a chicken…And by studying a mutant chicken – which is too weak to hatch, explaining its rarity – the team has been able to stimulate “natural” tooth growth in chickens.”

A genetic mutation is “the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form which may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.”

The Bible says that “if you live according to the flesh (your human nature), you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). Everyone dies physically, but the death referred to here is an eternal death, an eternal living death.

Here is the context of this verse:

Romans 8
Life Through the Spirit

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die;but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

If you’ve never believed the above in the days of your health, it is unlikely that you will believe this on your death-bed. The only way anyone comes to believe in Christ is analogous to a genetic mutation – a rare bird indeed. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

If this is true, why does the Bible also say that there are at least 100 million people in heaven. Well, that’s not relatively many out of a population of many tens of billions that will have populated the earth by the time Jesus returns.

But to return to our (relatively) rare mutant hens:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:37).

Jesus is rebuking the Jewish leaders for preventing the people from coming to Him, but their efforts will be in vain. Those who come to (believe in) Jesus were given to Him by the Father before time began. And those who are given to Jesus will receive eternal life.

Matthew 23

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Do those whom Jesus saves cause this mutation within themselves? In other words did they decide to grow teeth, which enabled them to bite through their opposition to God-Christ? Of course not. It is Jesus who designs and engineers this spiritual mutation in human nature. It is He who enables those He saves to understand that “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 above).

“If your friend dies in her sins, you ask, why didn’t God show Himself to her?” Because, I answer, “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).

If my friend understood the Bible, and trusted Jesus, she would be saved. You may ask “if those that the Father gives to Jesus before they were even born are the only ones that Jesus will give the desire to come to him, how can Christ blame your dying friend if she was not given to Jesus before she was born?”

Does my friend want to trust Jesus as her saviour? If yes, then she was given to Jesus by the Father. Therefore, no person that wants to trust Jesus will ever be excluded.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on my dying friend.

Will my prayer induce God to save my friend? Perhaps. It’s God’s business what he does with the means he has chosen (for example, prayer and the Bible) to fulfil his ends (salvation). He has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy.

You want nothing to do with a God like that, you say? Let every mouth be mute.

To live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Related: The Only Way to Live and Die
Speaker: Dr. Joel Beeke
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=712151949551

“These horrific attacks must stop,” say Muslim scholars. Yeah, right

All three of my letters about Islam – in response to letters from Muslims – were published in my city’s newspaper. Here is the fourth I sent to the same newspaper for publication, this time in response to an editorial. Maybe, fourth time unlucky.

I cite from your editorial of Saturday, June 27, 2015, “Horrific attacks must be stopped.”

“This hatred and violence (of “hard-line Islamist terrorists”) has to be fought by all peace lovers… We should support the call by over 100 Muslim scholars and clergymen” that the Islamic State “through their acts of violence, violated fundamental principles of Islam.” They point out that such acts as “harming or mistreating believers of other religions of the Scripture… and ignoring the reality of ‘contemporary times’ are actually forbidden in Islam… Simply put, IS is a group of mass murderers masquerading as unbelievers.”

Should I insult the intelligence of these Muslim scholars by calling them stupid and ignorant? Or should I call them cunning deceivers? The violent and detestable actions of ISIS are right on the Qur’anic money. The Qur’an is a deluge of directives to subdue and kill non-Muslims and apostate Muslims, and contains commands that are, at best, out of kilter in “contemporary times.” Space does not allow me to cite the dozens of texts on violence against the “unbelievers.” It’s mostly useless telling non-Muslims to read the Qur’an. But if they do, they must not expect coherence: the Qur’an does not appear in the order that Allah is purported to have revealed it. For example, the final “revelations” – about Muslims forcing Jews and Christians to either 1. convert to Islam, 2. submit to paying a crippling tax and being subdued, or 3. being killed – were “revealed” in Surah 9, long before the end of the printed Qu’ran.

Please don’t fall for the knowledgeable, believing, obedient Muslims’ “friendliness.” If it were genuine they would end up – they know it well – in hell. Qur’an (5:80) – “You will see many of them (professing Muslims) befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their (professing Muslims) souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.” Muslims who befriend unbelievers will be thrust into everlasting torment.

A “worship” favourite. – “Now is the time to give your heart.” Better: Still! Cork up.

Here is another “worship” favourite.

“Come, Now Is The Time To Worship”

1.
Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are, to worship.
Come, just as you are, before your God.
Come.

2.
One day every tongue will confess
You are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.

Repeat 1 and 2.

Repeat 1.

End with:

Oh, come. Oh, come. Oh, come.
Worship the Lord. Oh, come.

Come, come, come…

(Philips, Craig and Dean)

Comment on “Now is the time to give your heart.”

How is a dead ossified heart able or desirous to open itself, circumcise itself, give itself to Christ, huh? Only God can and does do it:

Deuteronomy 30:6

And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Ezekiel 30
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Acts 16:14
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

(See The Jewish heart….)

Comment on “One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.”

Every knee will indeed bow to their Lord; the knee of the saved and the knee of the damned. If the greatest treasure remains for the saved (whose hearts God chooses to open before they die), what treasure remains for the majority of mankind who are forced to their knees on judgment day?

Another silly song with a nice tune.

Getting the wrong end of the stick: Who’s responsible

The evil powers is the only explanation of the world as it is today and has been through history. The greastest conflict in human history is the conflict between good and evil. The Bible is a record of that confict.

Ephesians 6

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Human history begins with the Fall of man. The world became the kingdom of satan, and satan became the god of this world. We are all born as children of wrath, slaves of the devil. Popular thinking ridicules this. The god of this world has increased the blindness. In this regard, I examine a few relevant biblical texts:

Matthew 13

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

Though seeing, they do not see;
 though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
 you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

I isolate the verses in italics – Matthew 13:12-13, 16-19, and focus on the underlined words related to “understanding (seeing, hearing).”

12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.

Commentary

Verse 12 – The one who has little understanding will have even less, and the one with much understanding will have more. Verse 16 – The disciples understood what the most exalted prophet or righteous person of the past had never understood. The disciples were “blessed” with this understanding, that is, it didn’t come from themselves but from God.

In Verse 18, “what was sown in the heart” the “evil one” snatches away? I understand this to mean that the devil steals what is little understood – “does not understand it” in verse 18. Recall verse 12 “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” The reason for this is that everyone born into this world is a child of God’s wrath; love it or hate it.

No one – who believes in the devil – will dispute the fact that his intention is to to steal and destroy “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). What might raise not a few hackles is that God (also) comes to kill and destroy. Our focus is on the destruction/obstruction of understanding. Here is Isaiah immediately after his devastating vision of the Lord:

Isaiah 6

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
 be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ (Matthew 13 above quoted Isaiah 6:9).

10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
 hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

Above, I bracketed “also”: “God (also) comes to kill and destroy,” because God decrees/ordains all that comes to pass. Understanding (God decrees and all things) is of the Lord. And misunderstanding? This is of Satan, under God’s decree. The understanding of God’s sovereignty over both good and evil comes from God.

Two good resources:

Genesis 3 and the entrance of evil
http://www.oddinthetruth.com/genesis-3-entrance-evil/

Genesis 3 and the author of evil

http://www.oddinthetruth.com/genesis-3-author-evil-god-blame/

Answering “I don’t believe in the Trinity because the Word Trinity is not in the Bible”

The author of this reblogged article writes:

“While teaching Christology overseas a student asked me how does one handle the following objection: ‘I don’t believe in the Trinity because the Word Trinity is not in the Bible.'”

I am reminded of James White in his debate “Sola Scriptura” minute 1h30 min http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=530151041410 The Jehovah’s witnesses say “show us the word ‘trinity’ in the Bible.” And I say, well, the Bible teaches that there is one true and God and three persons. “No, no, no, says the Jehovah’s witness, show me the word.” I am not saying that the word is in the Bible, but the Bible teaches us that there is one true…”No, no, no, show me where the word…”

The Domain for Truth

trinity

While teaching Christology overseas a student asked me how does one handle the following objection: “I don’t believe in the Trinity because the Word Trinity is not in the Bible.”

Here’s my take on the objection.

First, more important than the term is whether or not the concept of the Trinity is found in the Bible.  We must be more concern about the concept more than a specific theological terminology that Christians later use as a handle for the various truth claims about God.  If the concept of the Trinity is found in the Bible, it is enough to establish the doctrine of the Trinity.

I know my first point often don’t satisfy cultists and heretics. Hence the following points:

Secondly, just because you use biblical terminology doesn’t mean the concept behind the term you are using is faithful to the Bible.  I bring this point to illustrate that…

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Guest Post: Abortion – a Worldview Approach

The Domain for Truth

Note: I just got back from overseas.  This is a guest post that somehow got stuck on our WordPress.  It is by Nate Sonner  who is co-founder of Christian Worldview Discipleship. He and his wife live in Dumaguete City, Philippines.
His website can be found here and his Twitter account here

baby

Abortion is arguably the religious and social issue of our day. Since it became legal in the United States, around 56 million children have been killed. To ignore such an issue, as a Christian, would be unfaithful to God who made man in His image. We as believers must be equipped to discuss and offer a defense. Also, the devaluation of human beings in the womb is not a view held in isolation. Many fail to realize that the fundamental beliefs behind modern bioethics don’t merely affect the unborn, but human beings at all stages of life. If…

View original post 6,881 more words

The significance of being a prosperous vile worm: A preacher at Whitney Houston’s funeral service

One Methodist pastor told me that sermons on sin were the old days and people need to be encouraged rather than be condemned. Besides, he said, many of his congregation are either elderly, sick or hurting in one way or another. What they needed was a boost of their image (not his exact words). They need to be told that when God looks at them, he jumps with delight (his words). (See And he opened to them the scriptures: a harsh sermon).

At the beginning of the sermon at the funeral service of Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, Feb. 18, 2012, the “Prosperity Gospel” preacher started off by saying that he is going to preach the Gospel. Whoopee, that’s the stuff. Alas, he then said “Look at somebody and say ‘I’m significant.’” Yeah, you are so wonderful; that is why God saved you. Later on he said, “I don’t want anyone to leave here broke…You know there are lots of folks who say ‘I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel.’ I don’t know what other Gospel there is.” So God has a great plan for your life – to make it significantly prosperous – in the moola department – in front of Whitney’s coffin, who had it all. She got lost in the health and prosperity of it all. (See Wretched TV – With Todd Friel – Whitney Houston’s Funeral – Prosperity Gospel?

So, this asinine individual has told you that God has a great plan for your life. You poor sod. There was one “who was aroused to concern during his (Robert Murray M’Cheyne) sermon on “Unto whom coming as unto a living stone.” As he spoke of the Father taking the gem out of his bosom, and laying it down for a foundation-stone, she felt in her soul, “I know nothing of this precious stone; I am surely not converted.” This led her to come and speak with him. She was not under deep conviction; but before going away, he said, “You are a poor, vile worm; it is a wonder the earth does not open and swallow you up.”

If this wretched woman, who knew her spiritual poverty and thus nothing of this “precious stone,” is called “vile worm,” what shall we call this preacher for whom the Gospel was precious lolly. At best another “vile worm?”PREACHER WHITNEY HOUSTON FUNERAL

What happened after Robert Murray M’Cheyne called this woman a “vile worm?”

These words were blessed to produce a very awful sense of sin. She came a second time with the arrows of the Almighty drinking up her spirit. For three months she remained in this state, till having once more come to him for counsel, the living voice of Jesus gave life to her soul while he was speaking of Christ’s words, “If thou knewest the gift of God,” etc., and she went away rejoicing.” (The biography of Robert Murray M’Cheyne by Andrew Bonar).

What was it that Whitney Houston, that prosperity pastor and those he preached to needed to know? The true Gospel of Jesus Christ, where we must, says Paul Washer, not begin with man but with “the character of God. Who is He? He is righteous God. Man is the complete opposite of righteousness.” “The most horrifying news according to the scriptures,” says washer, is that “God is good” and “we are not.” “The problem is this: if God is righteous he cannot pardon. His righteousness must be satisfied. I hear these evangelists say, ‘instead of God being just with you, he is loving.'”

Washer continues:

“God cannot lay down one attribute in favor of another. And so for God to pardon a wicked people, he must firsts satisfy the demands of his own justice. He must be appeased…In pagan religions, the deity demands that re people appease his wrath; in Christianity, this righteous God becomes a man, walks on this earth, lives a perfect life, the sins of his people are imputed to Him, and He crushed under the justice the people deserves. Our God appeased Himself. Our God satisfied His own righteousness on that tree. And that is why the Gospel is so splendid… (Jesus) was crushed under the wrath of God.”

And William Symington:

The Lord our God is holy. He is free from every vestige of moral pollution ; he delights in whatever is pure ; he hates whatever is of an opposite character. Now, sin is opposed to the holiness of God ; it is essentially impure, filthy, abominable. It follows that it is the object of his supreme detestation ; he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. But how can this be made to appear, without the punishment of sin ? It is not enough that a penalty be annexed to transgressions, that a threat be appended to the violation of his law; if the penalty is not inflicted, if the threat is not executed, there is still room left to suppose that sin is not the abominable thing that was supposed; the blasphemous thought may nevertheless spring up in the bosom of moral creatures, that God, after all, approves of sin, and secretly connives at the commission of it. To vindicate the holiness of the divine character, the penalty annexed to disobedience must be executed. But its being executed on the transgressor is incompatible with the transgressor’s being forgiven. To the pardon of sin, then, consistently with the purity of God, the punishment must fall on the sinner’s substitute. In other words, the divine holiness proclaims the necessity of Christ’s atonement. Thus, and thus alone, can the sinner be saved without sin being palliated, or the perfect moral purity of the Holy One being sullied.”

Excerpt From: Symington, William, 1795-1862. “On the atonement and intercession of Jesus Christ.” New York : Robert Carter, 1847.

Only a remnant of modern professing Christians accept Washer’s and Symington’s words.

Related: Twisting God’s word: forgiveness and the sin nature Adrian Stanley, Helmut Thielicke, Joel Osteen and Rabbi Hirsch to the rescue.

Thoughts on Doctrine of Total Depravity and the Syrian War

The Domain for Truth

syria-ruins-depravity

We don’t touch on politics as much on our blog as much as we use back in the first few years here but I’ll venture on this topic just a little bit.

I deliberately titled the post the Syrian War instead of the Syrian Civil War.  It’s not a Civil War.  It might have started as one but it’s now quite international in character.  Just today the news mentioned Iran is sending 15,000 troops made up of Iranians, Iraqis and Afghanis to support Assad.  ISIS has many foreign fighters.  Foreign Fighters are also among the Coalition of Anti-Assad Forces that has recently been successful against Assad.  And we haven’t even describe other State players behind this proxy war.

This is the breakdown according to Wikipedia:

Main belligerents
Government

Allied militias

 Iran

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How long will South Africa last?

“THE short answer to the question that is the title of RW Johnson’s new book, How Long will South Africa Survive?, is roughly two years.
That is when, he suggests, given the increasingly dire state of the economy, the country, cap-in-hand, will approach the International Monetary Fund for a bail-out which, in turn, will result in a regime change of some kind.
It’s a scenario he unpacked at the Cape Town Press Club recently as part of the hurly burly of public engagements to promote the book. It will more or less be like this:
Unemployment would continue to soar. The budget and trade deficits would continue to rise. Foreign investment along with domestic capital would continue to leave the country. Downgrading by the ratings agencies would continue, resulting in the inevitable junk bond status. With that, the cost of our debt will sharply rise to a point where it may become impossible to service the debt at all.”

Read on http://www.politicsweb.co.za/news-and-analysis/south-africas-looming-crisis.

Fear of others’ opinions

Fear of Man’s Opinion
BY J. C RYLE

“The fear of man” will indeed “prove to be a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). It is terrible to observe the power which it has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, or to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide: what others think is right, they think is right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. Most men are like sheep, they follow a leader. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word, the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, and their God.

Read on http://www.monergism.com/blog/fear-mans-opinion.

Abraham, a Christian? I’ll be stoned!

As many who read Christian blogs know “Christ” is English for the Greek “Christos, which is Greek for the Hebrew “Mashiach” (Messiah).

Muslims say Abraham was a Muslim. If you mean he submitted (Arabic “Islam”) to God, yes, he was. Jews say he is the father of God’s chosen people – the Jews. Yes, he IS. Abraham, of course, wasn’t Jewish, but a “wandering” (Deuteronomy 26:5).

So, how can Abraham be Christian, a follower of the Messiah – who, two thousand years after Abraham, took on flesh in Jesus? Because Jesus said so, and called those who disbelieved him – members of God’s chosen people – children of the devil.

John 8:46-59
Which of convicts me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God hears God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeks and judges. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom make thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honourme; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Where did Abraham “rejoice to see my day, and saw it.” One place was:

11 And the ANGEL OF YAHWEH called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the boy; do not do anything to him. For now I know that you are one who fears God, since you have not withheld your son, your only child, from ME.”

John 8:51
Truly, truly, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Psalms 95:8-11
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation,

and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

9 When your fathers tempted me,

proved me, and saw my work.

10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation,

and said, It is a people that do err in their heart,

and they have not known my ways:

11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath

that they should not enter into my rest.

Are you for the most part in some misery?

The bruised reed is a person who for the most part is in some misery, just as those were who came to Christ for help, and by misery he is brought to see sin as its cause, for, whatever pretences sin makes, they come to an end when we are bruised and broken. He is sensible of his sin and misery, even to his bruising; and, seeing no help in himself, he is carried with restless desire to have supplies from another, with some hope, which raises him a little out of himself toward Christ, though he dare not claim to have gained any present interest of mercy. This spark of hope being opposed by doubts and fears rising from his corruption makes him like smoking flax; so that both these together, a bruised reed and smoking flax, make up the state of a poor distressed man. This is such a person as our Savior Christ terms “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), who sees his wants, and also sees himself indebted to divine justice. He has no means of supply from himself or the creature, and thereupon he mourns, and, upon some hope of mercy from the promise, and examples of those that have obtained mercy, he is stirred to hunger and thirst after it.

(Richard Sibbes, “The bruised reed”). Free PDF here http://www.onthewing.org/user/Sibbes%20-%20Bruised%20Reed%20-%20Updated.pdf

Joel Beeke: “What the Puritans Would Say to Theological Teachers and Pastors Today.”

Here is one of many wonderful messages by Joel Beeke: “What the Puritans Would Say to Theological Teachers and Pastors Today.” Date: 1/13/2014

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=3171558328

How different the “asperity” (asp – snake) pastors/theologians – prosperity ones are one kind – infesting the world.

The text of the lecture appears in the Puritan Reformed Journal, p. 183 ff.

Click to access PR-Journal-6.1-final1.pdf

Headings

1. Invest Precious Time in Prayer.
2. Depend Radically on the Holy Spirit.
3. Embrace the Thorns of affliction.
4. Cultivate Personal Holiness (Professionalism is resumé-driven).
5. Digest the Bible one verse at a Time.
6. Feel the momentous dignity of ministry.
7. Love the Triune God and His People.

The last two are not in the PDF.

8. Focus on Jesus Christ.
9. Love and romance your spouse.

This advice is also for all Christians.

Blessed is the man, O Virgin Mary, who loves thy name; thy grace will comfort his soul (Psalm 1): Blessed be the Name

Mariology & Mary Debate: James White vs. Robert Fastiggi.

“This, writes Drew Mery, is an excellent debate on a very serious matter. The thesis of the debate is basically this: Does the devotion given to Mary detract from the glory of Christ? Robert Fastiggi (Roman Catholic) says no. James White (Reformed Baptist) says yes. Call me bias, but Dr. White did a fabulous job in this debate, demonstrating from Catholic resources that the teaching of and devotion to Mary by Roman Catholics does indeed detract from the glory of Christ’s redeeming work. Dr. Fastiggi’s argument basically amounts to him quoting Catholic sources that say that devotion to Mary is not to detract from Christ; but simply saying this doesn’t make it so (a point James White repeatedly brings up). Actions do speak louder than words. Dr. Fastiggi also makes various attempts to support Catholic dogma on Mary by referencing passages of Mary in the Scriptures, but his points require a stretch of the imagination. Watch the debate yourself to find out what I mean.”

See https://reformedbaptistdaily.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/mariology-mary-debate-james-white-vs-robert-fastiggi/

Thank you, Drew, for this very useful synopsis. I watched the yesteryear YouTube debate yesterday. Yes, White did a masterful job. Thank our precious Lord for how He has used White through the years and hopefully will continue to do so. At first, I didn’t recognize the lanky hairy man until I heard his voice.

Fastiggi continually emphasised that Mary’s role was to point to Jesus. White cited several Roman Catholic sources that proved otherwise. Fastiggi’s reaction – all smiles. One RC source White didn’t quote was the “Seraphic doctor,” Saint Bonaventure’s “Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary” in which he substitutes Mary for her Creator and Lord.

Psalm 1:1

Bonaventure’s psalter – Blessed is the man, O Virgin Mary, who loves thy name; thy grace will comfort his soul.

Bible – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners,

Psalm 3:1a

Bonaventure (Mary replaces the Lord) – O Lady, why are they multiplied who afflict me?

Bible – O Lord, how many are my foes!

Psalm 4:1a

Bonaventure (Mary usurps God’s throne) – When I called upon thee, thou didst hear me, O Lady: and from thy throne on high thou hast deigned to be mindful of me.

Bible – Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress.

Psalm 25:1

Bonaventure (Mary as merciful Judge) – Judge me, O Lady, for I have departed from my innocence: but because I have hoped in thee I shall not become weak. Enkindle my heart with the fire of thy love: and with the girdle of chastity bind my reins. For thy mercy and thy clemency are before my eyes: and I was delighted in the voice of thy praise.

Bible – In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

Psalm 30

Bonaventure – In thee, O Lady, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: receive me in thy grace. Thou art my strength and my refuge: my consolation and my protection. To thee, O Lady, have I cried, when my heart was in anguish: and thou hast heard me from the heights of the eternal hills. Thou shalt draw me out of the snares which they hid for me: for thou art my helper. Into thy hands, O Lady, I commend my spirit: my whole life and my last day.

How much clearer can the blasphemy get! But Roman Catholics just smile; after all, the popes – God on earth – have spoken. Not to forget the Joshuaesque apparitions.

SEE “What have they done to the mother of my Lord?

https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/psalm-25-judge-me-o-lady-for-i-have-departed-from-my-innocence-what-have-they-done-to-the-mother-of-my-lord/

Brit Lesbian to American anti-LGBT, “I’ll pray for you.”

I’ve heard (North) Americans lamenting that Richard Dawkins can talk drivel but, with his posh Brit accent, melt any audience.

American monergist (Calvinist) James White and a British synergist (Arminian) church-planting “couple” (man and wife, for you moderns) were on either the “Unbelievable” show or the JanetMefford show, where the wife laced the conversation with mellifluous interjections “but James… (in a “my dear American boy, tone), which seemed, if not to deflate James, to unsettle him a tad. You know; it’s that colonial thing.

Then there was the encounter between American, Robert Gagnon and Brit, Jayne Ozanne, on a recent “Unbelievable” show (24 April, 2015). Blurb – “Prof Robert Gagnon has become a well-known voice advocating the traditional biblical view on sexuality. In a highly charged show he debates the scriptural issues on sexuality with Jayne Ozanne, the director of Accepting Evangelicals who came out as gay earlier this year.”

Indeed, a highly charged show. Ozanne said she would pray for Gagnon to see the light. The unbiblicality and effrontery of it all! But what made it worse – no, not a lesbian dressing down a man – was that stabbing colonial thing: “I’ll prrrray for you.”

Zorba the Greek goes to church: I have a right to be clean

When Zorba the Greek said: “Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble” I don’t think he meant the best way to deal with a preacher who says wrong things is to whack him. I am sure that after a church service, many a preacher, when accosted by the roaming critic who ticks him off about something he said in his sermon, also wants to take off his belt and whack him one; but immediately thinks “that is not the way for a Christian to manifest the fruits of the spirit.” Guides have been written for preachers on how to deal with the post-sermon pain in the kneck.

Let me tell of one of these nuisances who attended a Methodist Church in a city he was visiting, Johannesburg.

After the sermon he introduced himself to the preacher/pastor, and after the exchange of a few sweet nothings, asked him about the line in “Bind us together,” the final song of the service, namely,

Verse 2 third line

Made for the glory of God
Purchased by His precious Son
Born with the right to be clean
For Jesus the victory has won

Pain – Surely everybody born into this world has not been born with the right to be clean.
Preacher – Perhaps it should say those who have been born again have the right to be clean. Let me see. (The song appears on the printed sheet he is holding). No, it does mean everybody without exception is born with the right to be clean. Look at the context. (He reads):

“Made for the glory of God
Purchased by his precious son
Born with the right to be clean.”

Pain(ful) – But surely not every one born into the world has been/will be “purchased by his precious son” (thinking to himself – all those God knows from eternity whom he has condemned to hell), because if Christ purchases, that is, pays with his blood to release everyone from bondage to sin, this means that everyone born into this world certainly is washed clean of sin, and will, logically, end up in heaven, whether they are born again (through grace by faith), that is, born of God or whether they are born of a husband’s will.

Preacher – I disagree with you (pointing to other people who wanted to speak to him).

Pained, I said goodbye and retreated.

Accosting a preacher-pastor straight after a church service – who is usually exhausted and sometimes, hopefully, wondering whether his sermon failed – is not exactly the most tactful or considerate thing to do. But what was I to do? Calvinists can’t help getting into a scrap, especially when so much scrap is flying around.

Remember another nugget (that could’ve come from) Zorba: no pain, no gain.

My faith, works and perseverance will get me to heaven. Amazing (grace?)

The Calvinist says that man plays no cooperative or contributive role in coming to faith, while the Arminian says that man cooperates with God in that man turns his heart to God, that is, exercises his will to come to faith. In Calvinism, God first regenerates the sinner and then gives the sinner the gift of faith, while in Arminianism, regeneration follows the sinner’s acceptance of God’s offer of salvation. Faith, for the Arminian is something the believer does, not something God gives, as Calvinism understands it.

Arminians maintain that the “elect” are sinners that God selected on the basis of God foreseeing from eternity that they would decide to choose to permit God to raise them from (spiritual) death. They love singing the song “Amazing grace (that saved a wretch like me).”

Would it make sense to tell the Arminian that the ultimate reason why people are not saved is because there is something bad in them (in their wills) that causes them to reject the Gospel, and so deserve damnation? Of course it would make sense; it’s clear as day. What about people who are saved? What is the final clincher in God’s decision to save them. For the Arminian – there is no escaping the logic: the clincher is their decision – something in them, something good in them.

(See WHY DO MOST CHRISTIANS CALL GRACE (THAT SAVES) AMAZING? THEY CAN’T SEE THAT IT IS THEY WHO ARE).

John Girardeau (Arminianism and Evangelical Calvinism) explains Arminianism in a manner I wish I could:

“It is out of accord with Scripture in regard to the ultimate end of election. It admits that the proximate end is salvation; but it is logically bound to deny that the ultimate end is solely the praise of God’s grace. For, the praise is due to grace for the provision of the means of salvation, and it is due to the elect themselves for the free determination of their own wills to employ those means. God does not determine the sinner to use the means; the sinner determines himself. He may be grateful for the provision of the means, but gratitude for electing grace would have no ground. His faith, good works and perseverance bring him to heaven, but they are not grounded in or due to election: it is conditioned upon them. He could not sincerely praise the grace of God for bringing him to heaven: he could only praise it for affording him the means of getting there.”

Born foolish: A Hebraic view

I distinguish between the biblical (Hebraic) view and the rabbinical (Judaism) view. The rabbis do not accept that born foolish leads to the inability to please God, and to destruction. Now, to it.

We are born, we are fools, we are born fools.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Genesis 8:21 – … the inclination (yetser) of man’s heart is evil (ra) from his youth.

And if course, the famous Jeremiah 17:19 verse: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick: who can know it?

Sick = foolish, despising instruction, despising authority.

So, how can we then blame the child! I’m stumped; but if the perfect and just God said it, then it is so, and remains, at least while we’re in this world, his secret:

Deuteronomy 29:29 (29:28 Hebrew Bible) – The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 32:4-5 – The deeds of the [Mighty] Rock are perfect, for all His ways are just; a faithful God, without injustice He is righteous and upright. 5 Destruction (corruption) is not His; it is His children’s defect you crooked and twisted generation.

Rashi’s commentary of the above:

Destruction is not His: Heb. שִׁחֵת לוֹ לֹא, [to be understood] as the Targum renders it: חַבִּילוּ לְהוֹן לָא לֵהּ,“Destruction is theirs, not His!”

“Corruption” is perhaps more accurate than “destruction.” There is a sense in which destruction is rooted in man and thus is his responsibility; and a sense in which destruction is ordained by God:

Deut 6:14-15 – Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deut 7:2-4 – And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them. Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy THEE suddenly.

Deut 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation…Deut 32:25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.

Sometimes God gives up the disobedient to their own lusts:

Psalms 81 – 10 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

And sometimes God turns them away from their lusts towards Him, but only when they realize they are unable to turn to God because they are dead in their sins:

Psalms 80 – Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. 18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us (bring us life CHAYA), and we will call upon thy name. 19 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Impending: The Supreme Court’s decision on homosexual marriage, the persecution of faithful Christians, and the doom of their persecutors.

Rick Philips writes:

“As the Supreme Court deliberates on the question of homosexual marriage, American Christians are bracing for a level of government persecution yet unknown to us. The fear is that with homosexuality declared a constitutional right, opposition will officially be akin to racism. Under such a ruling, Christian institutions who refuse to grant homosexual rights may be subjected to official oppression and lose their tax exempt status as non-profit institutions. Even churches may lose their tax-free status if they refuse to permit marriages between two men or two women. This would deal a heavy financial blow and may be a precursor to the removal of our religious freedoms, so that public speech against moral perversion becomes a crime punishable by fine or imprisonment.

Christians who know the book of Revelation will notice a striking parallel between this potential situation and that which Jesus described to the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11. This ancient city was a jewel on the Aegean Sea, the chief city of the Roman province of Asia. With over 200,000 residents, it was noted for its historical loyalty to the Roman empire. In the year 26 a.d., the city even competed for and won the honor of erecting a temple to the emperor Tiberius and was famed for its commitment to the Roman imperial cult. As such, the church there was vulnerable to the persecutions that the emperor Domitian was about to unleash on those who would not bow to his supposed deity.”
– See more at: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/will-the-american-church-be-a.php#sthash.BafpJ18d.dpuf

John 6 and the Eucharist: The deception of perception

A Roman Catholic asks http://teilhard.com/about-me/comment-page-1/#comment-21641

“WHAT DOES JESUS DEMAND OF YOU TO FOLLOW HIM INTO THE KINGDOM? (hint – many were sickened in the stomach and turned away as this was more than they could handle).”

I ask: “What was it exactly that made them want to throw up and in the towel?

Here is the relevant passage.

John 6
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

The following verses are crucial in understanding the passage.

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

The last thing a person says in a conversation – that is how verbal communication works – has much bearing on understanding reactions. Jesus told them that no one can come to (believe in) Him unless the Father enables them to believe, frees them from their natural state of unbelief that Jesus is the Messiah. That was, if not the only straw, the final straw that made them sick to their stomach and walk with him no more.

Now if only God had enabled me to notice verse 65 much earlier in my life! But then that’s what God does; he has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy.

Verse 65 got swallowed up by the fleshy bits..

OneDaring Jew

 

Transubstantiation (the change from one substance to another) is the Roman Catholic observation that if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, indeed, tastes like a duck, this does not mean it is a duck, that is, is “substantially” a duck but simply that it is “accidentally” a duck. Roman Catholic theology (Thomas Aquinas) uses the Aristotelian concepts of “substance” (essence – independent of the senses) and “accidents” (how things appear physically – to the senses) to explain transubstantiation. So, to get back to our duck, say you transmute duck substance into human substance, the latter won’t taste, smell, feel human, but will still taste, smell, feel duck.

The distinction between “sensation” and “perception” is useful: the former relates to one or more of the fives senses, the latter to how the mind-brain processes this sensation to create understanding. For example, I’m typing this on my Ipad…

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Deathbed memoirs: the hands and the arms of God

With so much killing going on in this wicked world, I need to remind myself that most of the more than 150 000 deaths during the last 24 hours occurred in a bed of some sort.

“Few things are more interesting than deathbed memoirs. They interest every reader, because they speak of a period at which all must arrive, and afford solid ground of encouragement to survivors to expect the same or similar support and comfort when they come to die.” (William Cowper).

Read:http://www.swcs.com.au/uploads/Dying_Hours_of_Good_and_Bad_Men_Contrasted_by_D_P_Kidder.pdf

How terrifying for someone to fall into the hands of God; and what unutterable sweetness to fall into His arms.

“We must be very earnest with our own hearts this morning, to discover, if possible, whether we come under the number of those whose warfare is accomplished, and whose sin is pardoned; or whether, on the other hand, we abide with the multitude on whom resteth the curse of God, and whose sins shall be discovered and punished by the right-hand of the Most High.”

A message from God to thee – Charles Spurgeon

Here is an excerpt on Adoniram Judson, the missionary to the East:

Though he grew up in a pastor’s home, Judson walked away from the truth as a young man, only to be recovered in a dramatic fashion. John Piper details this part of Judson’s life in his book Don’t Waste Your Life:

What his godly parents did not know was that Adoniram was being lured away from the faith by a fellow student named Jacob Eames who was a Deist. By the time Judson’s college career was finished, he had no Christian faith. He kept this concealed from his parents until his twentieth birthday, August 9, 1808, when he broke their hearts with his announcement that he had no faith and that he wanted to write for the theater and intended to go to New York, which he did six days later on a horse his father gave him as part of his inheritance. . . .

[Some time later, Judson] stayed in a small village inn where he had never been before. The innkeeper apologized that his sleep might be interrupted because there was a man critically ill in the next room. Through the night Judson heard comings and goings and low voices and groans and gasps. It bothered him to think that the man next to him may not be prepared to die. He wondered about himself and had terrible thoughts of his own dying. He felt foolish because good Deists weren’t supposed to have these struggles.

When he was leaving in the morning he asked if the man next door was better. “He is dead,” said the innkeeper. Judson was struck with the finality of it all. On his way out he asked, “Do you know who he was?” “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames, Jacob Eames.”

Wives and mothers in Islam: Mother, why is your skin so green? “Ask your father.”

Son – Mother, why is your skin so green?
Mother – Ask your father.
Son – The Prophet of Allah said that  mother is three times more worthy than  father.
Mother – I’m YOUR mother, not your father’s.

From the Hadiths

The wife

Bukhari, vol. 7, # 715.

“Narrated Ikrima: ‘Rifaa divorced his wife whereupon Abdur-Rahman married her. Aisha said that the lady came wearing a green veil and complained to her (Aisha) and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating. It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s messenger came, Aisha said, “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes! When Abdur-Rahman heard that his wife had gone to the prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, “By Allah! I have done no wrong to him, but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this,” holding and showing the fringe of her garment. Abdur-Rahman said, “By Allah, O Allah’s messenger! She has told a lie. I am very strong and can satisfy her, but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifaa.” Allah’s messenger said to her, “If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifaa unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you.” The prophet saw two boys with Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), “Are these your sons?” On that Abdur-Rahman said, “Yes.” The prophet said, “You claim what you claim (that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow.””

Silas notes several items from this Hadith.

1) A woman was beaten by her husband because of marriage discord. The women did not commit any illegal sexual act. She was beaten and bruised because her husband said she was “disobedient” and he thought she wanted to go back to her former husband.

2) Aisha said, “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!

The woman was badly bruised. Her skin was green. Aisha acknowledged that the Muslim women were suffering (from being beaten) more than the non-Muslim women. Muslims today proclaim that Islam gave women rights but Aisha, the “mother of the believers” said otherwise! She said that the Pagan women were treated better!

3) Muhammad did not rebuke the man for beating his wife. In fact, he reproached the women for saying Rahman was impotent. Even though she was hurt Muhammad accepted her bruises and beating because to Muhammad it was not abuse. In Muhammad’s eyes she deserved the beating.

Mother

A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).

James White again: why are peaceful Muslims not speaking out against Boko Haram?

I hate being horrible to people, especially those whom other people hate so much, who happen also to be those to whom I am very grateful for shedding so much light on the beautiful truths of God’s sovereignty and his election of sinners to salvation. Such a man is James R. White of Alpha Omega ministries. I have no criticism of his teachings on Christianity – only delight. It’s what he says about Islam and Muslims – and only one thing – which makes me a smidgin mad.

In his most recent “Dividing Line” podcast (his podcasts don’t remain accessible gratis for long) of 9 April 2015, White says he is puzzled that peaceful Muslims don’t speak out about the atrocities committed by groups such as Boko Haram and Al Shabab. All White has to do is listen to his podcast of 1 November 2012, where he quotes several passages from the Qur’an, which promotes the torture and killing of non-Muslims.

I hope that now my relatives and friends will stop thinking I’m totally under the spell of that arch-Calvinist, James White. See, I can be impartial. I am determined to be so, as all good Calvinists are. And, dear James White, thank you for all you have taught me and others.

Also, there are no peaceful DEVOUT Muslims, unless they’re liars or ignorant of the Qur’an.

Related James White: It’s sad that most Muslims believe in violence and harshness against unbelievers. Sad yes, but is it true?

Predestination: Many Christians know what it means but can’t swallow it

Those who believe scripture is God-breathed (theo + pneustos – breathed out by God; divine “expiration”) also believe that there are no deeper meanings lurking below the surface text. So, if one differs in the interpretation of a text, the interpreter is at fault. I was visiting a Christian friend who loves God and talking Bible. She said we can discuss anything but not “predestination.” I started to sputter “But, but…” I said it’s mentioned several times in the Bible. She would have none of it. She said God foreknows whether people are going to believe and as a result predestines them. Perceiving her reluctance to engage further on the topic, I left it there.

What do Arminians make of the four occasions where the distasteful term appears? Romans 8:29-30 For him he did foreknow, he also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did PREDESTINATE, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 1 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having PREDESTINATED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.. 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. Arminians (you choose to be saved) says that “pre” (before) means that God can see before it happens who will believe and on that basis “destinates” (selects) believers for salvation.

My intention here is not to discuss why Arminians get it wrong (which I discuss elsewhere https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/?s=Foreknowledge), but to state that such a dim view of “predestination” is cockeyed. I suggest they do indeed understand “predestination” but can’t swallow it.

When did Eve sin in the Garden? When she swallowed the fruit? No, when she refused to swallow the command not to. Related: Did God really say. Divine clarity and the doctrine of inspiration.”David Klassen, Shepherd’s Conference, 2015 </a

I’m thinking: perhaps it’s not just a moral will problem but an intellectual one as well, because when Adam took his bite of the fruit, he also took a bite out of his loaf. So both his will and mind fell. So not only is there – sins the Fall – no neutral will, there is also no neutral neurons.

John Calvin and the execution of Servetus

John Calvin – we Jews know what we’re talking about – is the greatest theologian since Augustine. Much drivel has been written about Calvinism. Most people, including most Christians, have an abysmal knowledge or understanding of the profound biblical principle that God so loved the world, not Mars, that he elects to save only those on whom he has mercy.

Then there’s Servetus. Calvin, you murderer, you. Why did you chop off his head, or was it burn? If you want to understand the Servetus episode (who does?) you could benefit – if you put on, as Calvin would say about understanding scripture, the right specs – from these excerpts from the “Memoirs of the life and writings of John Calvin; compiled from the narrative of Theodore Beza, and other authentic documents. Accompanied with biographical sketches of the Reformation” by Mackenzie, John, of Huntingdon, 1809.

https://ia600508.us.archive.org/21/items/memoirsoflifewri00mackiala/memoirsoflifewri00mackiala.pdf

The history of Servetus, so often referred to, and so little understood, merits the minute attention of all who are sufficiently impartial to weigh the opposing interests and circumstances which mark this tragical transaction. The blemishes, real or pretended, of the reformer, having been maliciously employed to discredit the reformation itself, heit becomes of no small importance to elucidate this point of history, and to clear Calvin from the injurious imputations which have been falsely thrown upon him.
It has been confidently pretended, and boldly asserted, that Calvin had, through life, nourished an implacable hatred against Servetus, and that the Genevese theologian had employed all his efforts to satiate it in the blood of the unhappy Spaniard; that he denounced him to the magistrates of Vienna, and occasioned him to be arrested on the day after his arrival at Geneva. Things advanced with an air of confidence are readily believed, and it is scarcely suspected that they may be false. Bolzec, however, the mortal enemy of Calvin, who wrote the life of that illustrious man merely to blast his memory, and who was cotemporary with the facts which he relates; and Maimbourg, equally known by his partialities and his falsehoods, have never dared to advance those things which modern historians have not been ashamed to risk.

The principal accusations exhibited against Servetus were, First, his having asserted in his Ptolémée, that the Bible celebrated improperly the fertility of the land of Canaan, whilst it was unfruitful and barren. Secondly, his having called one God in three persons a Cerberus, a three-headed monster. LANE CRAIG. Thirdly, his having taught that God was all, and that all was God. Servetus did not deny the truth of the principal accusations, but
whilst in prison called the Trinity a Cerberus, a three-headed monster; he also grossly insulted Calvin, and was so fearful that death would be the punishment of heresy at Geneva, as well as at other places, that he presented a petition on the 22d of August, in which he defended the cause of ignorance, and urged the necessity of toleration: the procureur-general replied to him in about eight days, and no doubt did it very ill. Servetus was condemned upon extracts from his books, De Trinitatis Erroribus, and In Ptolemeum Commentarius; from the edition of the Bible which he had published in 1552; from his book Restitutio Christianismi; and from a letter which he had written to Abel Paupin, a minster of Geneva.*

* A copy of the sentence pronounced against Servetus will not be uninteresting to the reader. “We Syndics, judges of all criminal causes in this city, having witnessed the process made and instituted against you, on the part of our lieutenant in the aforesaid causes, instituted against you, Michel de Villeneuve, in the kingdom of Arragon, in Spain, in which your voluntary confessions in our hands, made and often reiterated, and the books before us produced, plainly shew that you, Servetus, have published false and heretical doctrines; and also despising all remonstrances and corrections, have, with a perverse inclination, sown and divulged them in a book published against God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; in sum against all the true foundations of the Christian Religion, and have thereby tried to introduce trouble and schism into the Church of God, by which many souls may have been ruined and lost, things horrible, frightful, scandalous, and infectious, and have not been ashamed to set yourself in array against the Divine Majesty and the Holy Trinity; but rather have obstinately employed yourself in infecting the world with your heresies and stinking heretical poison; a case and crime of heresy grievous and detestable, and deserving of corporal punishment. For these and other just reasons moving us, and being desirous to purge the Church of God from such infection, and to cut off from it so rotten a member, having had good participation of counsel with our citizens, and having invoked the name of God that we may make a right judgment, sitting upon the tribunal of our predecessors, having God and the Holy Scriptures before our eyes, saying in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, by that definitive sentence, which we here give by this writing, you, Michael Servetus, are condemned to be bound and led to Champel, and there fastened to a stake and burned alive with your book written with your hand, and printed, until your body shall be reduced to ashes, and your days thus finished as an example to others who might commit the same things; and we command you our lieutenant to put this our sentence into execution. Read by the seigneur syndic D’Arlord.”

It must be confessed, that the intolerant spirit of the age dictated the sentence of Servetus at Geneva; but, it is not equally evident that Calvin was the author of that atrocity, and that he laboured with ardour to accomplish it.

On the 27th of October, Servetus was condemned to be executed. It Hzhappened same day.

The civil and ecclesiastical jurisprudence of the tribunals with respect to heresy, was undoubtedly grossly inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity, and the principles of equity. But if we could transport ourselves into that age, and contemplate the circumstances in which Calvin was placed, divesting our minds of prejudice, we should no doubt perceive that the sentence was that of the civil judges, and that they strictly followed the ordinary course of the law; that Calvin followed the judgment of all the ecclesiastics of his time, and complied with the sanguinary laws of every country in Europe against heretics.
It cannot, however, be denied, that in this instance Calvin acted contrary to the benignant spirit of the gospel. It is better to drop a tear over the inconsistency of human nature, and to bewail those infirmities which cannot be justified. He declares that he acted conscientiously, and publicly justified the act. Cranmer acted the same part towards the poor Anabaptists in the reign of Edward VI. This doctrine they had learnt at Rome, and it is certain, that, with a very few exceptions, it was at this time the opinion of all parties.* The apostles John and James would have called down fire from heaven; Calvin and Cranmer kindled it on earth. This, however, is the only fault alledged against Calvin; but, “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.”
“It ought, however,” says a sensible writer, “to be acknowledged, that, persecution for religious principles was not at that time peculiar to any party of Christians, but common to all, whenever they were invested with civil power. It was a detestable error; but it was the error of the age. They looked upon heresy in the same light as we look upon those crimes
which are inimical to the peace of civil society; and, accordingly, proceed to punish heretics by the sword of the civil magistrate. If Socinians did not persecute their adversaries so much as Trinitarians, it was because they were not equally invested with the power of doing so.

It was the opinion that erroneous religious principles are punishable by the civil magistrate, that did the mischief, whether at Geneva, in Transylvania, or in Britain; and to this, rather than to Trinitarianism or to Unitarianism, it ought to be imputed.*

The killing of Christian students at Garissa university: did Shabab misunderstand the Qur’an?

Last week the Somali militant group Shabab attacked Garissa University College, and killed more than 100 Christian students. Did they misunderstand the “peaceful” teaching of the Qur’an that there is no compulsion in religion, and that, therefore, people are free to choose their poison? Not at all, for they know that the Qur’an, as it clearly says, is the clearest book on the planet, which is enough to make it the eternal word of Allah. This book contains no boobs, and thus perfectly describes the doctrine of abrogation, which states that where apparent contradictions exist, the older revelations are abrogated (cancelled and superceded) by later revelations. Hence the bit about no compulsion in religion, which “came down” when Muhammad had little power, was abrogated by the following verses when he had supreme power.

Fight Jews and Christians and subdue them:

Qur’an (9:29) – “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures (the Bible) were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.”

As for other religions or secularists, slay them:

Qur’an (9:5) – “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.”

So did Shabab misunderstand the Qur’an? Of course they did; If Christians (or Jews) don’t want to convert but are prepared to pay a tribute tax and feel humiliated – permanently, there lives are spared. The ones they should kill, if they don’t want to convert to Islam, is the rest – such as Western politicians and liberals with their icky “The Holy Qur’an says…”

Facebook and the resurrection

None of Christ’s disciples were expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. The Jewish leaders believed more in that possibility – what irony!; they had Roman soldiers guard the tomb. If there is anything on facebook that is crucial to your life – and death, it is the fact of the Resurrection.  At the end of your life you will be faced with two books – Facebook and the Book that will show the face beneath.  Here is Richard Ganz on the Resurrection.
http://richardganz.com/the-certainty-of-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ-from-the-dead/

Why should Christians follow Muhammad? the answer lies in the beard

The following advert appealing to Christians appeared in the Weekend Post, 28 March, 2015 of my city. It illustrates the Islamic doctrine of Takiyah (dissimulation.

The religion of Jesus

Followed law of Moses – fasting praying regularly, prostrate one’s face (like Muslims do).
Fought for justice and truth, using force when necessary (John 2:15).
Prayed to God directly without intermediary.
Greeted with peace (as Muslims do).
Wore a long beard and long robe (as Muslims do today).
Never ate Pork.
Never celebrated Christmas.
Called his people to one almighty God.

At the bottom of the advert in Capitals: “THIS IS THE TRUTH, FOR THOSE WHO SINCERELY SEEK THE RELIGION OF JESUS. SUBMIT TO ALLAH THE ONE ALMIGHTY GOD.”

The following advert directed at Christians appeared in the Weekend Post, 28 March, 2015.

 

To understand the dissimulation (taqiyah) of Islam, one needs to know about “Jihad” (Struggle). It consists of three stages:

First, non-violent “stealth” Jihad, where it pretends to accept all religions. In this first stage, Muslims are in the minority with no political or military power. This is the present situation in the West.

Second, “defensive” Jihad – violent or non-violent – which does not necessarily mean that Muslims are defending themselves against violent attack, but against verbal criticism (as I am doing which could get violent) or pictorial criticism (cartoons, always violent).

Third, “offensive” Jihad, where Muslims take control, as in the violent Muslim takeover many centuries ago of the Christian Middle East and Christian North Africa; and in modern times, in Syria and Iraq by ISIS, faithful followers of the Qur’an. Muslims in modern Western democracies don’t need to overturn governments by violence; their relatively large birthrate will do the trick, where the violence will – inevitably – begin once Islamic Sharia law rules.

The advert above belongs to “stealth” Jihad. All the things said in it about Jesus are true, but many true things – indeed the very heart of Christianity – have been stealthily omitted. Let us ignore three asinine ones on the advert’s list: yes, he never wore a cross around his neck, yep he never celebrated Christmas (don’t Jews celebrate birthdays?), and, for sure, he wore a beard and a dress.

What exactly does the advert omit? Here are a few: He is the Son of God, the second person of the triune Godhead, 2. He died – on a cross, 3. He shed his blood as a substitute for sinners. 4. He rose from the dead. 5. He said he is the mediator between his Father and man: “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” – including all Muslims. The Qur’an rejects all of these.

Here is a selection of mild verses from the friendly, peaceful Qur’an, which says what awaits Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims when Islam is a slam dunk.

Don’t befriend Jews and Christians:

Qur’an (5:51) – “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does bretenot guide the unjust people.”

Qur’an (5:80) – “You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.”

Qur’an (9:23) – “O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if the take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.”

Fight Jews and Christians and subdue them:

Qur’an (9:29) – “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures (the Bible) were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.”

As for other religions or secularists, slay them:

Qur’an (9:5) – “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.”

Lastly, the advert includes as one of Jesus’s good Muslim qualities the use of violence when necessary, and cites John 2:15, which says “He made a switch of cattle-fodder rushes, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables.”

Swish Swoosh. Clink, Clanck, Ba-a-a-a, Mooo, Ouch.

Enough already!

How a Jew makes it to heaven. Or anyone, for that matter

The history of Israel (God’s “first-born” and unique son) is something like this: He ( Israel) is self-willed and with a strong desire to be free to do as he pleases. As a result he nurtures and cherishes the desire to be his father’s enemy. The father desires to rebuke and correct his son. Alas, this affection angers the son and causes him to become more stiff-necked and distant. The son’s aversion grows so strong that he comes to see his father as a bully and a tyrant.

The son’s hatred grows so strong that the mere thought of his father makes him ill. His hatred is exacerbated by those of similar dispositions around him. No matter how much the father pleads and tries to show kindness, the son spurns this love. “Tonight, I’m going awhoring.” Suppose that this enmity continues for months, for years. Do you think the son is able, in a moment, or at any time of his choosing, to turn this ill-will into a godly sorrow and a desire to repent and be reconciled to his father? His father has been pleading with him. “Take out you heart of stone, and replace it with a heart of soft warm flesh.” Or to say it another way: “Circumcise your heart.” “After all, the father says, what I want you to do is not on Mars or under the sea; it’s as close to you as it can get.”

The son is do deep in the mire (“second nature”) of self-love and enmity towards his father that he is unable to change AND doesn’t want to change. Do we exonerate an inveterate criminal because he can’t help doing what he loves doing? No. A large part of the history of Israel is like that of an inveterate criminal. The father alternates between pleading “why won’t you turn?” and venting his hot anger by inflicting the ultimate punishment – mayhem and destruction. The son was unable to change yet was exceedingly culpable – to the point of near annihilation.

This is not the end. If it were, what a sorry tale that would be. The father decides to have mercy on a remnant, so that a stump of a stump of his son remained. And not because of anything good he saw in them.

Renewed Garden of Eden

Jossl – Issy, how did you manage to make it, you were such a schmoozer?

Issy – To you yes. But our father sees more than you can see, and so he saw that I was basically a good sort underneath.

Jossl – Shucks, you’re far better than I. I was the biggest ganef (thief) on earth, right down to my socks.

Issy – How can that be! How did you get in, then?

Jossl – Simple, for our father. He said he was going to circumcise my heart, and so here I am. You never believed the scriptures.

Issy – No, I do; you’ve got it all wrong; he said you must circumcise your own heart.

Jossl – But later father said, “I will circumcise your heart.”

Issy – Oh. So I suppose a bit of both. You circumcise a bit of your heart – the big bit? – and father will circumcise the other bit.

Jossl – Did you read that in the Talmud? The way I see it, now that father has opened my eyes, when he says he will do something he means HE will do it – ALL; especially when he goes on about it: ” I will…I will…I will…I will…” Amazing! Hey, you know what’s also amazing?

Issy – What?

Jossl – That He saved a chochem (wiseacre, idiot) like you.

Can you suffer for my sake?

Jason Helopoulis’s “Rejoice in suffering” contains much of value. There is, however, one thing he says that reminds me of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the “Treasury of Merit,” which teaches that the overflow of the sufferings of Mary and the “saints” are stored up and applied to “indulgences.” Helopoulis uses Colossians 1:24 as a key text. Later, we shall see how others interpret this text.

Here is Helopoulis: (I have italicised the salient portion).

Benefits Others

“We can also rejoice in suffering because of the benefit it has for others. One of the most curious texts in the Scriptures is Colossians 1:24 when Paul says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…” Paul is rejoicing in his suffering, because it is not only a benefit to himself, but also to others. Paul is alluding to the fact that the Church must endure a certain measure of suffering before the return of Christ. This suffering has been appointed by God and He has determined its breadth and depth. It appears to be a set and fixed amount and Paul is fulfilling some of this appointed suffering. And any suffering that he can endure lessens the amount left for the rest of the body of Christ. I have often found this truth to be comforting in the midst of trial. My suffering is not just for me, it is also for others. There is an unseen benefit that is accruing for the entire body of Christ. The rest of the Church will suffer less as I endure this trial for the glory of God.”

Here is the Roman Catholic view

The merits of Christ, since they are infinite, comprise most of those in the treasury of merits. By applying these to believers, the Church acts as Christ’s servant in the application of what he has done for us, and we know from Scripture that Christ’s work is applied to us over time and not in one big lump (Phil. 2:12, 1 Pet. 1:9).

“But what about the merits of the saints—by the doctrine of indulgences aren’t the saints made co-saviors with Christ?”

Not at all. At best they would only be saving us from temporal calamities, which any human may do (and should do!) for another without blaspheming Christ.[19] Besides, the saints have the ability to please God because the love of God has been put in their hearts (Rom. 5:5). It is God’s grace that enables them to please to him. His grace produces all their good actions, and his grace is given to them because of what Christ did. The good actions of the saints therefore are produced by Christ working through them, which means Christ is the ultimate cause of even this temporal “salvation.” “Should we be talking along these lines? Isn’t it better to put all of the emphasis on what Christ alone?”

No. If we ignore the fact of indulgences, we neglect what Christ does through us, and we fail to recognize the value of what he has done in us. Paul used this very sort of language: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col. 1:24).

(Jim Aiken “A Primer on Indulgences”).

And a Protestant view:

Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ (Colossians 1:24).

Paul does not here claim for himself extra merit, to be placed in the “Treasury of Merit” for the assistance of souls in purgatory. He was writing from prison, where he was suffering for preaching the Gospel which his Lord had provided at the cost of His sufferings on Calvary. The Lord Jesus had told His disciples that they would be hated of all men for His name’s sake, and so indeed it came to pass, with them and with Paul. (See II Corinthians 11:23-28 where Paul recalls the suffering he had already endured as a preacher of the Gospel).

(“Against indulgences: Roman Catholicism In the Light of Scripture,” Chapter 15, by F. C. H. Dreyer and E. Weller

I suggest John Gill says it best.

for his body’s sake, which is the church;

not in the room and stead of the church, and people of Christ, as were the sufferings of Christ personal; or to exempt them from sufferings who all have their share in this life; nor for their sins to make reconciliation for them, and procure the remission of them; nor to redeem them, or obtain salvation for them, all which is completed by Christ; but for their good and profit, that the Gospel might continue and be blessed to the conversion of many, for the increase of the church and additions to it, and for the furtherance of the Gospel, and that such who professed it might be established and confirmed in it, by the sufferings of the apostle for it: and such good effects did follow upon his sufferings and afflictions; they were for the consolation of many souls, the strengthening of weak believers, and causing even preachers of the Gospel to wax more confident, and more boldly preach the Gospel without fear of man.

The Torah and the Qur’an for preschoolers

I compare briefly the basic principles of  the Jewish Talmudic view of scripture, the Islamic view of the Qur’an, and the prevalent Western secular view of Islam.

The Torah

What is most important in textual interpretation should be context, that is, a single context – the grammatical-historical (surface) context. The surface text of scripture, namely, its normal linguistic and communicative properties, should be the best guide to its meaning. There are, of course, parts of scripture where the surface text is a hard nut to crack; for example, some of the visions of Ezekiel and parts of the book of Revelation. Those who believe scripture is God-breathed (theopneustos – breathed out by God; divine “expiration”) also believe that there are no deeper meanings lurking below the surface text. So, if one differs in the interpretation of a text, the interpreter is at fault.

In contrast, Rabbi Akiva Tatz  says in one of his lectures, “any six-year-old can understand” the Written Torah. Orthdox Judaism generally believes that one has to enter the pardes (the deeper levels) of Torah to derive any lasting good. These deeper levels are not found in the Written Torah, but in the Oral Torah, which for some Jewish movements is not found deep in the Written Torah but above and beyond it. For Tatz, Kabbalah (means “received”) is the apogee of Oral Torah. It is not always, or perhaps not even often, the case that the Oral Torah and the Written Torah complement each other. Often it is rather that the Written Torah implements what the Oral Torah dictates it to mean. For Tatz, it is the Kabbalah  that dictates the meaning of Oral Torah (See  Christian slave learns Midrash magic, The slaughter of scripture: Let his blood be on us and our children and The Written and Oral Torah: Which is Primary?

Islam and the Qur’an

Islamists (those who know and believe what is written in their texts) say, perhaps not in so many syllables, the Qur’an can be gobbledygook by itself – in Arabic and translation. Anyone who has read the Qur’an – in Arabic or translation – should agree with this view , if not heartlily. In contrast to the Torah or the Bible as a whole, there is no historical context in the Qur’an neither any meaningful connection between chapter and verse. Islam relies on the Hadiths to explain the Qur’an. The Hadiths are a vast collection of the purported deeds and sayings of Muhammad.

There are bits in the Qur’an – for example “kill” doesn’t mean “kiss” –   that any preschooler can understand. For example, after you explain what idolatory, beleagure, and Zakat, Surah 9:5 is a piece of cake- And when the forbidden months have passed, kill the idolaters wherever you find them and take them prisoners, and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent and observe Prayer and pay the Zakat, then leave their way free. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

Here is one Muslim’s “proof” that anti-Islamists use this verse to malign Islam: “The verse does not say infidels it says idolaters.” Duh. Merci beaucoup for nothing, says the Great Satan. Which takes us West.

Secular West and Islam

Western politicians and the intelligentsia, for example, in the land of free, are abysmally ignorant of the Qur’an; they swallow everything the Islamophiles feed them. For example, one of many lies is that Muslims don’t hate Jews; all they want is an equitable solution to the Israeli-Arab question. The truth is that Islam’s hatred of Zionism and the Jews are two edges of the same sword. The Imam of the Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayis, said in one of his sermons:

“Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil forefathers of the even more evil Jews of today: infidels, falsifiers of words, calf worshippers, prophet murderers, deniers of prophecies … the scum of the human race, accursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs … These are the Jews – an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption …”

The intense Islamic hatred of the Jew did not originate with the Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, but with “Allah.” In three places in the uncreated, eternal Qur’an, Allah calls Jews monkeys and/or pigs. For example: Surah 2:65 “And you know well the story of those among you who broke Sabbath. We said to them: “Be apes—despised and hated by all” (Trans. Maududi).”

(Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Qur’an).

When it comes to Islam, Western leaders and journalists are delusional. Here is another bit of hilarity from David Wood – “Pop Quiz for Potential World Leaders.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXGFQ8TKzZ8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Free will in salvation: a hot limp sermon

Joel Beeke in his lecture on Calvin’s preaching said:

“Powerful preaching, says Calvin has a two-fold effect. You never leave a church building the way come. Either the sermon will melt you down or touch you, move you, impact you, save you, or it will condemn you, harden you, make you colder or more distant, the savor of life to life or death to death. If it doesn’t issue in salvation it makes the ungodly more ungodly.”
http://www.rts.edu/Site/RTSNearYou/Jackson/Audio/09%20Fall%20Beeke%201.mp3.

What if the sermon is a weak one, a limp one, a frustrating one. Here is a preacher’s explanation of “not the will of man” in John 1:13.

John 1:11-13
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

One word has been changed, which, does not change the sense. It’s not difficult to guess the word. The “will of the flesh” means your father’s willy, and the “will of man” also means your Father’s willy.

It left this Calvinist both limp and hot – under the collar

Isaiah 53: The Suffering and Insufferable Servant

The insufferable servant revealed: Why did Moses yearn to enter the land of Israel? To bare the sins of many, says the Talmud

The Babylonian Talmud is regarded by religious Jews as “Oral Torah.” Here is the Tractate Sotah.

Folio 14a

“R. Simlai expounded: Why did Moses our teacher yearn to enter the land of Israel? Did he want to eat of its fruits or satisfy himself from its bounty? But thus spake Moses, ‘Many precepts were commanded to Israel which can only be fulfilled in the land of Israel. I wish to enter the land so that they may all be fulfilled by me’. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, ‘Is it only to receive the reward [for obeying the commandments] that thou seekest? I ascribe it to thee as if thou didst perform them’; as it is said: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.13  ‘Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great’ — it is possible [to think that his portion will be] with the [great of] later generations and not former generations; therefore there is a text to declare, ‘And he shall divide with the strong’, i.e., with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were strong in Torah and the commandments. ‘Because he poured out his soul unto death’ — because he surrendered himself to die, as it is said: And if not, blot me, I pray thee etc.14  ‘And was numbered with the transgressors’ — because he was numbered with them who were condemned to die in the wilderness. ‘Yet he bare the sins of many’ — because he secured atonement for the making of the Golden Calf. ‘And made intercession for the transgressors’ — because he begged for mercy on behalf of the sinners in Israel that they should turn in penitence.”

OneDaring Jew

In the book of Isaiah there are four “servant songs.” The exegetical problem is that sometimes the servant refers to Israel and other times not. The Jewish argument is that the servant always refers to Israel. There does, however, seem to be two servants, one of which is Israel. Consider the following passage (Isaiah 49:3-6):

[3] And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
[4] But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the LORD,
and my recompense with my God.”

It is clear, the servant is Israel. Now read on (Isaiah 49:5):

[5] And now the LORD says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am…

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The Arabic Issa (Jesus) in the Qur’an: Shouldn’t he be a woman, a Hebrew one?

Michael Heiser is a very good Hebrew scholar. I thank him for his profoundly interesting series on the “Two powers” in the Hebrew Bible (The LORD and THE ANGEL of the LORD). What I want to touch on briefly here is the origin of the Qur’anic name for the Hebrew “Yeshua” (Jesus) with a little (unwitting, if not witty) help from Heiser.

In one of his replies to questions on his blog, he corrects one person referring to Yeshua as Yahusha: “… there is no such word as “Yahusha” in Hebrew. Israel’s Messiah was named “Yeshua” – that is the Hebrew word, if you can read Hebrew; or better yet “Eshoa” if you want to get real technical, since the everyday language and therefore naming-process was in Aramaic.” http://michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/bible-versions/

In the Qur’an, Yeshua is called Issa. Critics have pointed out (for example, Sam Shamoun of answeringislam.org that he doesn’t know where Allah/Muhammad got Issa from, because, Shamoun says, the Hebrew is Yeshua; and the Arabic for Yeshua would be a close equivalent and not anything like Issa. For one thing Arabic would not drop the initial consonant. The Aramaic “Eshoa” set me thinking. Muhammad had contact with the Eastern Syrian church whose Bible translation was in Syriac, a language similar to the Aramaic of Palestine. Actually the more accurate Syriac pronunciation of the Hebrew equivalent Yeshua seems to be “Isho.”

Ergo Isho (Syriac) -> Issa (Qur’an).

Now for proof that the Qur’an is divinely inspired or that Muhammad had a hearing problem:

If it was revealed or if he had heard the name “isha” instead, which is much closer to Issa, it wouldn’t look good calling Yeshua a woman (“isha” in Hebrew). Besides, Arabic is the eternal language of Allah. Also, with a name like Isha, Issa would only be half the man the Qur’an describes, because in Islam the witness of one woman is worth half a man’s.

Can you see it: Isha – “Go into half the world and bear witness to half the good news.”

Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Qur’an

Robert Spencer on JihadWatch writes:

“Ace lawyer David Yerushalmi’s parting words below are worth setting in stone: “A word of advice to government bureaucrats doing the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding: we will sue you and you will lose. Act accordingly.”

(AFDI [American Freedom Defense Initiative] free Speech victory: Philadelphia must run ad against  Islamic antisemitism, March 12, 2015. Read here for complete article).

The occasion was the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations trying to stop the following Ad (appearing on buses):

Islamic-Jew-hatred new

“ADFI, why are you so anti-Islam, why do you hate us so?”

We don’t hate you, we hate what you  believe and promote

“We don’t know what you’re on about, you’re just, if we’ve said it thousand times, we’ve said it gazillions of  times, you’re a bunch of Islamophobes.”

On 7 March 2015, the local newspaper (Weekend Post) of my home town published my letter. It was a response to a Muslim cleric who lambasts a Christian Pastor for reminding (informing?) the cleric that Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews were the ones who brought the INJIL (Gospel) to the world. Here is my letter:

Sheikh Shamiel Panday (28 February) excoriates Rev Wilmot (21 February) for his support of “Zionists” (Panday). Rev Wilmot didn’t mention the word “Zionist”, he said “Jew.” My brief here is not Zionism but to show that in Islam the hatred of Zionism and the Jews are two sides of the same coin. The Imam of the Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayis, said in one of his sermons:

“Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil forefathers of the even more evil Jews of today: infidels, falsifiers of words, calf worshippers, prophet murderers, deniers of prophecies … the scum of the human race, accursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs … These are the Jews – an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption …”

The intense Islamic hatred of the Jew did not originate with the Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, but with “Allah.” In three places in the uncreated, eternal Qur’an, Allah calls Jews monkeys and/or pigs. For example: Surah 2:65 “And you know well the story of those among you who broke Sabbath. We said to them: “Be apes—despised and hated by all” (Trans. Maududi).”

Ibn Ishaq, an early and reliable biographer of Muhammad, writes that Muhammad called the Medinan Jewish clan, Qurayzah, “brothers of monkeys.” Did Muhammad mean this figuratively? The Iranian Medieval commentator Razi said the appearances of the Jews were changed, but they kept their human minds. Maududi says that in the original Arabic: “The words of the Qur’an … indicate that it was… a physical metamorphosis.” Whether literal or figurative, this does not affect the fact that Muhammad and company hated Jews. Jews thought he was a very confused Gentile; spinning for him bizarre yarns about Abraham and Solomon, which he (Allah?) incorporated into his Qur’an.

The Qur’an says: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Surah 9:29).

In sum, the Islamic hatred of the Jew didn’t originate with Zionism but with Allah/Muhammad. To be faithful to the Qur’an, a Muslim must believe and imitate – if not “ape” – every word of it; and, therefore, either kill or subjugate Jews and make them feel subdued – very subdued.


jew hatred letter new

Inerrancy Summit Mark Dever’s Session: Psalms 119

I think jay Smith very good on Islam. What he said, however in a debate with Shabir Ally on scripture I didn’t find that hot.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSj0sIr1OmY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

He said that the Bible is not the Word of God, Jesus is. Smith says that the Bible is the record of the person, the  Word of God. That is no way to defend scripture. Yes, there are textual variants and linguistic errors in the thousands of documents we have of the NT, but Smith’s way of brushing them off is not the way to go.

Here is Mark Dever on scripture.

The Domain for Truth

Note: The following are rough notes from the conference.

Mark Dever Shepherds conference

We sometime need to unpack what it means when we say that the bible is true?

Issue: translation, transmission, truth content (teaching)

We want to get to the issue of its teaching

4 questions to help understand God’s Word:

1.) What is God’s Word?

2.) What is God’s word like?

  • True (v.142)
    Good (v.68)
    Ancient (v.152)
    Unchanging (v.160)

Note God’s word is like this because He is like this

To attack the word of God is to attack God

3.) What does God’s word does?
Studying God’s word should not make us morally indifferent
Sir us to holiness? (V.102)
Note if Jesus use the Scripture in temptation why would we think we need it less than Jesus?
Rejoice (v.65)
Understanding (v.105)
Answering prayers (v.66)
Give life!

If God is speaking why would we not read it?

4.) How do we respond?

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All is grace: Now that I’m born again, I can and want to believe and repent. What a logical logos I serve!

What is the relationship between repentance and faith. Charles Stanley writes:

“When Peter preached the truth about Jesus Christ in Acts chapter two, he left thousands of listeners wondering what they should do next. 

The apostle’s response in verse 38 is simple. He says, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” As a result, 3,000 people were added to their numbers that day.

Is this the message of most churches today? Does it seem strange that Peter said “repent” instead of “believe”? Actually, Scripture often uses these concepts together. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Both are essential for salvation and each is dependent upon the other.

But, in terms of salvation, you can’t separate faith and repentance. To be saved, you must place faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. That decision requires a change of mind, or repentance, about your way of life. Both happen at the same time.

Yet, many people mistakenly believe they must repent before they can make a faith decision for Jesus. Repentance doesn’t mean we must completely change our ways and “clean ourselves up” so we can then receive Christ as Lord. There should actually be no delay or separation between repentance and faith.

If you’re holding off on a decision for Christ until you think you’re “ready” or “worthy,” then you’re waiting in vain. Jesus is ready to receive you right now. Only as a child of God will you find the power – His power – to truly become the person He created you to be.” Excerpted from “A Right View of Repentance.”  

Stanley has shown that repentance and faith occur simultaneously – chronologically together. What, though, is the logical sequence of repentance and faith? I examine that question.

 I heard this in a recent Arminian sermon:

There are three stages in the life of someone who really wants to experience coming to Jesus. Repent, next step believe the gospel. That’s what Jesus says repent and believe the Gospel.”

Jesus is not talking about which comes first (logically or chronologically) but that those are the two things you need to do. The order of the words (syntax) which Jesus uses is “repent and (plus) believe” it does not follow that he means “repent, then believe.” Jesus can’t mean that for this reason:

The preacher’s “the first step” can only mean that he thinks “repent” logically must come before “believe.” But how can you repent unless you first believe? Believe what? That you are sinner who is under the wrath of God and need to repent. The biblical (logical) sequence is believe → repent. Believe and repent occur at the same time. When Jesus said repent and believe instead of the logical sequence believe and repent, he did not mean believe then repent, because as I explained above that wold be cockeyed. Think of mommy saying to Jimmy in the bathroom, “wash your face and brush your teeth.” When Jimmy comes out of the bathroom, Mommy is not going to ask “Did you do what I said in the order in which I said it.” Unless she’s Nanny McPhee.

If we add grace and regeneration (born again) to the logical order of how we become a Christian, the Calvinist’s logical order is (effectual) grace –> regeneration (born again) –> belief –> repentance. They all occur simultaneously. The Arminian order is (prevenient) grace –> repent –> believe –> born again. Some Arminians may disagree with the preacher and agree with the Calvinist that believe comes logically before repent. When it comes to regeneration, however, the reason why the Arminian places regeneration (being raised from spiritual death) at the end of the process is because it is he who decides (with his “free will”) whether he wants to accept God’s offer to be born again. But surely, a person who goes through the first three stages (accepts God’s grace → believes → repents) cannot be spiritually dead, because unless God first regenerates him (raises him from spiritual death, from hatred of or indifference to God), he won’t be able or want to believe and repent. “Oh you Calvinists with your logic!” Yes. What a logical logos we serve. “In the beginning was the logos.” (John 1:1). And in the end.

John 1

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon writes:

“Surely the cross is that wonder-working rod which can bring water out of a rock. If you
understand the full meaning of the divine sacrifice of Jesus, you must repent of ever
having been opposed to One who is so full of love. It is written, “They shall look upon him
whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son,
and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Repentance
will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance. You may not make
a Christ out of your repentance, but you must look for repentance to Christ. The Holy
Ghost, by turning us to Christ, turns us from sin. Look away, then, from the effect to the
cause, from your own repenting to the Lord Jesus, who is exalted on high to give
repentance.”

(All is grace, Spurgeon Archive)

Isis has nothing on the Abortion mills of america

Open air preaching at the Auschwitz of New Jersey?

James White writes: Robert Parker and myself alternated open air preaching at Englewood’s “Women’s Center” (aka the Auschwitz of New Jersey). This mill kills more babies than any other abortion mill in New Jersey. Many women walked in with tears or they just had a somber face. And when they walked out of the mill most of them looked liked zombies. We know why. They know deep down they have committed an evil act against the holy One. God has given each one of them a conscience, though they try to suppress this knowledge. Incidentally, there were Roman Catholic women there who were an obstruction to our gospel proclamation, by handing out rosaries and telling people not to listen to us. Rome’s false gospel will also perish in the day of wrath, along with those who place their hope in its deception.”

The Roman Catholic talks to the security guard about a play she saw (about killing babies?).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v8kIOO2Mds&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Belief and reason: What has Athens (Plato) to do with Jerusalem (Isaiah)? Stacks

A Jew called Concerned Reader asked me on another blog: “Shouldn’t faith be reasoned, and based on a comprehension of the covenant G-d made with Israel? As opposed to just a belief?”

Let’s consider reason without bringing God or religion into it. It is not, logically, possible to use reason to prove that it is rational. Without faith/trust in your reason, you end up in an unreal, relative, random, nonsensical universe. Most human beings refuse to accept this logic. An illogical person will say he reasons well without having faith in his reason.

With regard to the relationship between reason and belief in the God of the Bible (Tanach and New Testament), this God chooses to reveal Himself to humanity. As with Abram, so with every one who accepts God. God of his good pleasure sovereignly, therefore, unilaterally, chose to reveal himself to Abram. No one knows why he revealed himself to Abram, to his progeny and later to the Israelites, or to any one else. “And the LORD said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion’” (Exodus 33:19).

In the scriptures, reason (thought) is the tool God gives us to understand WHO He is; not THAT he is (exists). The revelation at Sinai was a special gift of God’s generosity (mercy, grace) revealing what reason couldn’t discover. The first verse of Genesis says “In the beginning, God…” God’s existence in the Bible is a given (not a “taken”).

The following sounds crazy to most Jews. “I believe that I may understand” (Augustine of Hippo). The Hebrew prophets, indeed, all godly people in the Tanach, would agree with Augustine.

Jews have too much faith in their reason. Many of them believe that reason is all they need to find God. They want to be Jewish Platos (chollile), when in fact they are, as the Tanach emphasises play dough – not play things – in the hand of God.
Reply

Do Muslims hate only Zionists; or do they hate all Jews? Because they are commanded to imitate if not ape the Qur’an?

The Imam of the Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayis, said in one of his sermons:
Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil forefathers of the even more evil Jews of today: infidels, falsifiers of words, calf worshippers, prophet murderers, deniers of prophecies … the scum of the human race, accursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs… These are the Jews – an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption .
..” (Contemporary Islamist Ideology Authorizing Genocidal Murder).

The Muslim’s intense hatred of the Jew did not originate with the Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, but with Allah. In three places in the Qur’an, Allah refers to Jews as monkeys and/or pigs. For example: 2:65 And you know well the story of those among you who broke Sabbath. We said to them: “Be apes—despised and hated by all” (Trans. Maududi).

Ibn Ishaq, an early and reliable biographer of Muhammad, writes that Muhammad called the Medinan Jewish clan, Qurayzah, “brothers of monkeys.” Did Muhammad mean this figuratively? The Iranian Medieval commentator Razi said the appearances of the Jews were changed, but they kept their human minds. Maududi says that in the original Arabic: “The words of the Qur’an … indicate that it was… a physical metamorphosis.” Whether literal or figurative, this does not affect the fact that Muhammad and company hated Jews; they thought he was a very confused Gentile.

The Qur’an says: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Surah 9:29).

In sum, the Islamic hatred of the Jew did not originate with Zionism but with Allah/Muhammad. To be faithful to the Qur’an, a Muslim must believe and imitate – if not “ape” – every word of it: hate Jews.

James White: It’s sad that most Muslims believe in violence and harshness against unbelievers. Sad yes, but is it true?

It’s sad that most Muslims believe in violence and harshness against “unbelievers,” But is it true?

James White’s “Dividing line” podcast of 17 Feb 2015 was on the latest ISIS video wherein Coptic Christians were beheaded and criticisms of his article on the issue that he was “soft on Islam (minute 13).

Here are a few relevant excerpts from his article Breaking the Cross, Killing the Swine: Truly Thinking About ISIS and the Murder of 21 Copts:

“Oh sure, I know some of them are doing it just because they love murder and bloodshed and evil. But some of them do it because they really believe Muhammad was a prophet and that Muhammad showed them the way the day he and his cohorts did exactly what they did on that beach…not to 21 Christians but to between 400 and 900 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe. (See here for a more in-depth discussion of this event in Muhammad’s life). Now, I am well aware of the fact that Islamic apologists say this was a just act because the Jews had, allegedly, betrayed Muhammad in the Battle (or, non-battle, in a more realistic sense) of the Trench (AD 627). But the reality is that Muhammad was a man of war, not a man of peace. You are changed when you personally behead someone. The blood may wash off the hands, but it is not washed out of the mind. Muhammad died in 632, so this was done toward the end of his life. The progression of his life was from peaceful monotheistic prophet to warring leader and general, not the other way around. Add in the doctrine of abrogation and you can see why the scholars of Al Qaeda and ISIS and Boko Haram have plenty of material to draw from in forming their theology. They teach that the later revelations abrogate earlier ones (such as the later command not to consume alcohol abrogates the earlier commands which allowed it even though in moderation). Sadly, that means the later sections of the Qur’an, which contain the warfare passages, are considered by most (not all) Muslims in the world to be more authoritative than the peaceful passages that came earlier.”

One Muslim site says abrogation only refers to abrogation of scriptures previous to the Qur’an such as the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. On the contrary, the Qur’an says Muslims should accept the scriptures as divine revelation.

“And in their footsteps, We sent Issa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for Al-Muttaqun” (the pious – see V.2:2). S. 5:46 Al-Hilali & Khan; cf. S. 57:27.

“He [Jesus] said, “Lo, I am God’s servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet.” S. 19:30 Arberry.

“It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).” S. 3:3 Al-Hilali & Khan. (See more here).

Another problem with the Islamic idea of the eternality of the Qur’an is its doctrine of “abrogation,” which it says is not abrogation. What else can this verse mean?

Surah 2:106

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things? (“We” is the “royal we”).

The problem is that if the Qur’an has been residing in the bosom of the all-knowing, all-perfect, all-good Allah from all eternity, why would it contain a plethora of substitutions of something better, which implies change, becoming, time-bound. I am reminded of the open theist whose God is not totally free but merely reacts to human decisions, and arranges his thoughts and actions accordingly.

Examples from the Qur’an: 1. Allah decrees that Muslims are not allowed more than four wives. Later the revelation comes down of something better for Mohammed who ends up with 9 wives or more. 2. Mohammed desires his adopted son-in-law’s wife, but feels this desire wrong. Then something better comes down and says something better – not in the vein of the Joseph-Mary incident – when Allah reveals to Mohammed that it’s ok to take this woman to wife. (See Abrogadabra in the Qur’an: Abrogation and/or substituting something for something better).

There are many more “something betters” in the Qur’an, one of them being most relevant:

When Muhammad was in Mecca outnumbered by unbelievers, he following words “came down”: Say: ‘O unbelievers, I serve not what you serve and you are not serving what I serve, nor am I serving what you have served, neither are you serving what I serve To you your religion, and to me my religion!’ Surah 109 Al-Kafiroon “disbelievers.”).

When Muhammad’s followers were powerful enough to defeat those with a differenT religion, the following revelation came down:

O believers, the idolaters are indeed unclean; so let them not come near the Holy Mosque after this year of theirs. If you fear poverty, God shall surely enrich you of His bounty, if He will; God is All-knowing; All-wise. Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled. The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God, and the Messiah, Mary’s son — and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that which they associate with Him.” (Surah 9:28-31).

White said above: Sadly, (italics added) that means the later sections of the Qur’an, which contain the warfare passages, are considered by most (not all) Muslims in the world to be more authoritative than the peaceful passages that came earlier.”

Yes, it’s sad; indeed, frightening. But true.

White says “not all” Muslims agree that this surah is more authoritative than the peaceful passages. Two points: first Islamic law would consider these dissenters as apostates – they probably live in the West where they are safe from being killed; second, it’s not a question of which text is more authoritative, it’s a question of which one abrogrates the other. In Europe and the US, where Muslims are vastly outnumbered, they emphasise, according to the rules of their game, “to you your democracy.” If they are true to their Book, they look forward to the day when they will be powerful enough to replace democracy with autocracy, with Sharia law.

White says he is not soft on Islam, and refers to his many debates and books in which he demonstrates – admirably – the flaws in Qu’ranic theology. When, though, it comes to violence, there are, for White, “radical” Islam and (non-radical) Islam. Al Mohler makes the same distinction (see Al Mohler” Islamic theologies and extremism).

In his podcast (minute 21:30), White mentions the denunciation of Isis by Islamic scholars. It is true, as White says, that ISIS kills 10 Muslims for every one Muslim, therefore it is understandable that many Muslims denounce ISIS. This denunciation, however, does not prove who is more faithful to Qur’an and the Hadiths. And that should be the point when discussing the violence of ISIS. In this regard, White, in his article, says:

“The fact is that the sources from which Islam derives its theology and practice are radically incompetent to provide a means of self-correction and consistency. You can, by choosing your scholars and sources carefully, construct a peaceful construct in which to interpret the Qur’an and hadith. At the height of Islamic civilization, that is what was done.”

Surely, Allah was not that unclear. “In the Qur’an, writes David Wood, Allah claims to be perfectly clear in his commands (see 6:114; 11:1; 12:1; 15:1; 16:89; 22:72; 24:1, 34, 46; 26:2; 27:1; 28:2; 36:69; 41:3; 57:9; 65:11; etc.). Yet when critics quote the Qur’an, many Muslims insist that Allah means something very different from what he says. This should cause us to wonder: Is Allah’s speech clear, or is it horribly unclear? Could Allah be the the worst communicator ever? (See the video Is Allah the Worst Communicator Ever? (David Wood).

White says in his podcast (minute 27:30) it is time to distinguish between Muslims. Ok, let’s do it. There are Muslims who love Islam but hate all the horrible stuff in the Qur’an and Hadiths like killing unbelievers, chopping off feet and hands, beating wives (that is, “tapping them on the shoulder with a light toothbrush” – David Wood), prohibiting the odd tipple – Zuhdi Jasser says he doesn’t drink not because the Imams say so but because he wants to please Allah. There are a few Muslims who want democracy and a separation between religion and the state, for example, Zuhdi Jasser, who writes Islam needs to shuck off “the ossified precepts of salafism, Wahhabism, Islamism, and various pre-modern identifications of eastern Muslim culture. With that challenge we pray that an awakening – possibly very similar to the modernization of the West, which ushered in “enlightenment” – may occur within the consciousness of Muslims everywhere, forever separating spiritual Islam or the domain of God (faith) from the domain of government and the state (reason).” The War of Ideas”: Comment on the debate between Zuhdi JasJasser (American Islamic Forum for Democracy) and Imam Ahmad Shqeirat on “Does Islam need reform and if so, how?

White says in his podcast (minute 43) perhaps there are some Muslims who will be disgusted with ISIS killing the Copts and may decide to study Christianity. But he also said ISIS is “radical” Islam. So why would Muslims who are disgusted want to know what Christians really believe rather than what Muslims “really” believe?

In a debate between Zhudi Jasser and Robert Spencer, Jasser distinguishes betweeen Islam, which is good, and Isamism, which is bad. Spencer says, “Islamist” is an “artifical Western construct. We have to let the Qu’an and islamic jurisprudence say what it is; not moderates, nor Bin laden, nor ISIS. Wage war on unbelievers, subdue them etc . Here is a small sample of immodrate passages in the Qur’an.

Surah 2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”

4:34: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for Allah’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; Allah is All-high, All-great.”

4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”

5:38: “And the thief, male and female: cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned, and a punishment exemplary from Allah; Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.”

8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, “˜I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers” hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!–

8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”

8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”

9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”

9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”

9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”

9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”

47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”

Here is the son of a Hamas leader:

“Wherever I go in the world, people ask me about ISIS. And I advise them to ignore the endless debates about the peaceful versus violent nature of Islam and take a long, hard look at the Islamic State. ISIS is Islam, exposed in all its cruelty and ugliness, unchanged since Muhammad. The atrocities committed by ISIS are merely an extension of the atrocities committed by Islam’s prophet. The true Five Pillars of Islam are: Slaughter, Intolerance, Oppression, Hatred, and Global Dominion, because Muhammad was a slaughterer, intolerant, oppressive, hateful, and drove his armies to destroy everything and everyone that stood in the way of his establishment of a world caliphate. Muhammad said to the people of Mecca, “I have brought slaughter to you,” then he beheaded every male, young and old. ISIS immolated Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, because Muhammad burned people alive. When the leader of the Jewish Bani al-Nadir tribe refused to reveal the location of his tribe’s treasures, Muhammad ordered his soldiers to “Torture him until you extract what he has.” So a fire was built on the chest of Kinanah bin al-Rabi. Again, when some of his men resisted Muhammad’s planned attack against the Byzantines at Tabuk, the prophet commanded that they be burned alive in the house where they were meeting. ISIS enslaves and rapes women because Muhammad did, even when he took a six-year-old little girl as his wife and consummated their union when she turned nine. ISIS mutilates and crucifies men, women, and children because its prophet did. …The only difference between 1,400 years of slaughter by Muslims, who follow the practices of Muhammad, and the carnage carried out today by ISIS is that today’s atrocities are broadcast throughout the world by social media.”

Muslims are to be friendly to Jews and Christians when Muslims are outnumbered, as in Europe and the US. When, however, Muslims become uppermost, they bring Jews and Christians under their yoke. Their protection? Not on your nelly. They have to acknowledge their inferior status, pay a hefty tax and feel humiliated and subdued. Or be killed.

Here are some of Muhammad’s later teachings about Christians and Jews:

Qur’an 5:51—O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

Qur’an 9:30—And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!

Qur’an 98:6—Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures.

Sahih Muslim 4366—Muhammad said: “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.”

Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad 1103—Muhammad said: “Do not give the People of the Book the greeting first. Force them to the narrowest part of the road.”

Needless to say, these teachings can hardly be considered peaceful or tolerant.

In conclusion: If you want to be a Muslim but can’t swallow all t he ghastly things Muhammad and his companions did, amd more important, wah they commanded that all Muslims should do until the end of the world, if you want democracy, hate Sharia and its overkill of rules, making the 613 Jewish mitzvot (laws) a breeze, then why stay Muslim? You say because Islam is monotheistic. MonoGod. So, you think mono is the greatest thing since Swiss falafel. What’s the good of such a God if this one God is the being described in the Qur’an, who tells you to kill idolators (e.g. American atheists), and all the rest? There is one thing, however, Allah says you should heed: he tells you that no one can corrupt his revelation and so you should follow the Bible. (See Responding to the Muslim Objections of the Bible).

The Bible says that no one can understand the Bible because they are dead in sin. You need to be raised from the dead to see the truth. (Ephesians 2:1-10) The Qur’an doesn’t say that; it says do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. And if you don’t like it, you’re free to leave and ask Issa to bear your sins. Hmmm.

Why do most Christians call grace (that saves) amazing? They can’t see that it is they who are

 

When Calvinism is contrasted with Arminianism, what first comes to mind is God’s role and man’s role in coming to faith. The Calvinist says that man plays no cooperative or contributive role in coming to faith, while the Arminian says that man cooperates with God in that man turns his heart to God, that is, exercises his will to come to faith. In Calvinism, God first regenerates the sinner and then gives the sinner the gift of faith, while in Arminianism, regeneration follows the sinner’s acceptance of God’s offer of salvation. Faith, for the Arminian is something the believer does, not something God gives, as Calvinism understands it.

The good news of the Bible, writes Steve Lawson, is that God saves sinners, God the Father chose His elect, gave them to the Son, commissioned the Son to redeem them, and sends the Spirit to regenerate them, God the Son laid down His life for the sheep, securing their salvation, God the Spirit gives repentance, faith, and eternal life to these chosen ones. Salvation is a great Work of the triune God’s amazing grace.” (The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon (Long Line of Godly Men Profiles).

Calvinism and Arminianism both agree with all the points in the above paragraph, so what is the difference?

Arminians maintain that the “elect” are sinners that God selected on the basis of God foreseeing from eternity that they would decide to choose to permit God to raise them from (spiritual) death. They love singing the song “Amazing grace (that saved a wretch like me).”

Would it make sense to tell the Arminian that the ultimate reason why people are not saved is because there is something bad in them (in their wills) that causes them to reject the Gospel, and so deserve damnation? Of course it would make sense; it’s clear as day. What about people who are saved? What is the final clincher in God’s decision to save them. For the Arminian – there is no escaping it – the clincher is their decision, something in them, something good in them.

Most Arminians will vehemently deny that the reason why God saved them was because there was something good in them (a good will). In sum, those who say no to Christ deserve to go to hell, and those who say yes to Christ deserve to go to heaven. Rare is the Arminian who says he deserves to go to heaven. He knows deep down in his confused or stubborn soul that there would be nothing amazing about grace if the reason why he was ultimately saved (the final step in his salvation/justification/ reconciliation with God/regeneration) was something he did, not what grace did. I know of one Arminian who. I suggest, tried to wriggle out of the logical conclusion by stating that although he deserved to be saved/justified/made right(eous), this righteousness does not come from himself but from the imputed righteousness of Christ. He was probably thinking of 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The question, however, still remains: why did this person deserve that God impute Christ’s righteousness to him?

If only Arminians could understand or accept 1. the different contexts of “all” and “world” in the New Testament, 2. there is no contradiction between human responsibility and God’s decrees, and 3. God chooses the means as well as the ends of salvation.

Here is and example of each of the three:

  1. All” and “world.”

All

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

“Any” and “all” refer to any, all of “us” (believers). If God wills someone not to perish, he won’t perish. Yet many do perish.

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

Romans 9

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.

(See The Apostle Peter takes a leaf off Mr Bean: My bodee is my toooooool).

World

Here is the NIV translation of John 3:16  “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.”

Who(so)ever” (NIV) has the deceptive connotation of “whoever decides to believe in him.” The Greek says (Young’s Literal Translation – YLT) “every one who is believing in him may not perish.”

Contrast verse 16 (NIV) with verse 18 (NIV) “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” more correctly “he who is believing in him is not judged, but he who is not believing has been judged already, because he hathnot believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (YLT).

How to reconcile “God so loved the world” (verse 16) with “he who is not believing is judged already?” (YLT) This is where Arminianism splits and splutters. In Reformed theology (“Calvinist” if you like), it’s quite simple. “World” in verse 16 does not mean everyone in the world. There are several texts in the Bible that explain why it can’t mean everyone in the world. Verse 18 is one of them. I ask the Arminian: “Does Jesus love the unbelieving ones whom he is going to judge – send to hell, and whom he “knows from the beginning” (John 6:64) – from eternity?” Of course not; he hates them, as he hated all mankind before he chose to have mercy on some and save some as in Romans 9 above.

(See God loves you, he loves you, he loves you. “Since when?).

  1. There is no contradiction between human responsibility and God’s decrees.

Acts 2:23

“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

God foreknows because he decreed it. If he didn’t decree it then he was up in heaven saying – from eternity: “Look what those meany Romans AND Jews are going to do to my Son. Oh, well, I am not, as Clive Staples Lewis says, a God of risks for nothing”

Calvinists have no problem with this verse because they love divinely inspired scripture to bits. Of course, it is difficult to wrap this verse round your head. Don’t you know that you and I are and always will remain blockheads when it comes to understanding all the counsel of God. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29) – and all (without exception) the words of scripture.

  1. God chooses the means as well as the ends.

One of the silliest – we’re all blockheads, some more than others – utterances popular with many Arminian preachers is that if salvation is 100% of the Lord – God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy – then there is no point to evangelising. God choose the ends as well as the means.

The ends

38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day…44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.

The means

Romans 10

13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Logical Arminians say that you can lose your salvation: if you choose to follow Christ, then it follows, as in the blogosphere, that they can choose to unfollow Christ. You might as well be Mohammed whose followers, every time mention his name, has to say “Peace be upon him,” that is, “I pray that he is no in hell.” Or a Jew, who is never sure whether he has done enough to merit salvation. A bad death.

This evening, when I thought about it seriously, the tears came to my eyes. I imagined myself on that sick bed [of someone he knew] and I wondered how it would go with me if I were to be judged in this very moment. I should deserve to go to hell, but I hope I shall not be sent there. In any case I am sure I ought to be sent to purgatory. Yet the mere thought of purgatory makes me shudder. What then will become of me? Oh poor me, how wretched I am!” (See here).

When R. Yochanan ben Zakkai fell ill, his disciples came in to pay a call on him. When he saw them, he began to cry. His disciples said to him, “Light of Israel! Pillar at the right hand! Mighty hammer! On what account are you crying?” He said to them, “If I were going to be brought before a mortal king, who is here today and tomorrow gone to the grave, who, should he be angry with me, will not be angry forever; and if he should imprison me, will not imprison me forever, and if he should put me to death, whose sentence of death is not for eternity, and whom I can appease with the right words or bribe with money, even so, I should weep. “But now that I am being brought before the King of kings of kings [ben Zakkai says “kings” three times], the Holy One, blessed be He, who endures forever and ever, who, should he be angry with me, will be angry forever, and if he should imprison me, will imprison me forever, and if he should put me to death, whose sentence of death is for eternity, and whom I cannot appease with the right words or bribe with money, “1and not only so, but before me are two paths, one to the Garden of Eden and the other to Gehenna, and I do not know by which path I shall be brought, and should I not weep?” (See Ben Zakkai: Judaism, humilty and the good death).

To repeat Steve Lawson at the beginning of this article, this is what the Bible teaches:

God the Father chose His elect, gave them to the Son, commissioned the Son to redeem them, and sends the Spirit to regenerate them, God the Son laid down His life for the sheep, securing their salvation, God the Spirit gives repentance, faith, and eternal life to these chosen ones. Salvation is a great Work of the triune God’s amazing grace.”

The logical progression is: election (predestined to salvation; those the father gives to the Son from eternity, and for who Jesus prays in John 17) – regeneratIon (born again) – faith – repentance – eternal life. Regeneration, faith and repentance occur at the same time.

Amazing grace…that saved a wretch like me.”  Indeed. Christ’s deed – alone

Al Mohler: Islamic theologies and extremism

In his podcast “The briefing” of 18 February 2015, Albert Mohler Jr. discusses the topic “Atrocities of past week and year seem to lead to significant shift in Western view of ISIS.”

Quotes are from his “rush transcript” which do not differ from his podcast.

Mohler says, “the West (intellectual and political elite) is denying what is fundamentally true.” With regard to Islam and violence, Mohler says that Obama denies that the problem is theological, which Mohler says it is.

A crucial hinge” in the conversation is an article published by Daniel Burke, religious editor of CNN, entitled “Religion’s Week from Hell” in which he describes the last seven days of horrific violence where all of it except the murder of three Muslims in North Carolina, apparently by an atheist.” (Not “apparently;” and it was over a parking space).

Another important article is by Robert Cohen in the NY Times entitled “Is Islam and the West at war?” He begins the article relating the murders in Denmark at a Seminar on “on ‘Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression’ and a Danish Jew guarding a synagogue were shot dead in Copenhagen, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the prime minister of Denmark, uttered a familiar trope:” She said: “We are not in the middle of a battle between Islam and the West. It’s not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. It’s a battle between values based on the freedom of the individual and a dark ideology.”

Cohen, relates Mohler, then writes,

This statement — with its echoes of President Obama’s vague references to ‘violent extremists’ uncoupled from the fundamentalist Islam to which said throat-cutting extremists pledge allegiance — scarcely stands up to scrutiny. It is empty talk…“To call this movement, whose most potent recent manifestation is the Islamic State, a ‘dark ideology’ is like calling Nazism a reaction to German humiliation in World War I: true but wholly inadequate. There is little point in Western politicians rehearsing lines about there being no battle between Islam and the West, when in all the above-mentioned countries tens of millions of Muslims, with much carnage as evidence, believe the contrary.”

President Obama says that 99.9% of Muslims are not at war in the West. Mohler says that the truth is although “the vast majority of Muslims are not at war with the West, millions of others are.”

Mohler then discusses an article that “eclipses” the one in the NY Times. The very long article (about 30 pages) “What ISIS really wants” by Graeme Wood appeared in the Atlantic monthly, March 2015:

Graeme Wood explains that this wilful blindness on the part of the West to the theological challenge we face explains why President Obama just a matter of something like a year and a half ago, would refer to the Islamic state as not Islamic…[ISIS] It is growing, not receding, and it is inherently theological – abundantly so – and that’s the point Graeme Wood is now seeking to make…it’s a theology that will not accept peace as a matter of policy. It is a theology that understands world conquest, at least in terms of the dominance of Islam, to be absolutely necessary. It is a worldview, a theological worldview, that make it, says Wood, ‘…constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival;” And most hauntingly, remember those words, …it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.’”

[A]s Graeme Wood makes clear, continues Mohler, one of the reasons why the Islamic State is winning the argument is because they have a more ancient and enduring tradition in Islam to claim as their own and as their justification, at the expense – not to mention of the West, not to mention of more mainstream leaders in the Arab world – but even at the expense of al Qaeda.”

The reality, says Graeme Wood, is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combated, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

Mohler continues:

According to [Professor] Haykel, he [Graeme Wood] writes the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through wilful ignorance.”

There’s the rub: ISIS is not distorting the Koran/Qur’an and the Hadiths, and it would be, says Haykel, “preposterous” to say this was so. The question is: “Does Mohler believe that ISIS reflects authentic Islam. Does he have anything to say on the matter besides quoting Haykel? No. The next and final words on the topic are:

Now at this point I simply have to say that in terms of the article we’re only nine pages in of an almost 30 page article. That tells you just how important this long-form journalism really is. And just how historically important I believe this article will turn out to be.”

The impression I get in his other podcast discussions of Islam (“The Briefing”) is that for Mohler, the “radical Islam” of ISIS is a distortion of genuine Islam, which contrasts with Haykel – whom Mohler quotes approvingly – who says that ISIS is following the precepts of the Qur’an to the letter. ISIS is indeed very faithful to the words of Allah. Read the Qur’an and Hadiths!

What is the different between “radical Islam,” “Islam” and “Muslims.” All Islamists are Muslims, but not all Muslims are Islamists. Why is  this so? Because an Islamist is one who follows the letter and the spirit of the Qur’an to a Q, while many Muslims don’t. Who are the Islamists par excellence? ISIS, Al Qaeda and their ilk? The ignorant or pusillanimous refer to the latter as “radical.” In one sense, they are right – the etymological sense. “Radical” derives from the Latin root “root” (radix). Islamists dig deep into the roots of Islam, while many Muslims play in the branches, In sum, “Islam” in its unmutilated form is radical. That explains its mutilations, which embrace two kinds: verbal – chopping and changing Qur’anic revelations (for example, abrogation – see Abrogadabra in the Qur’an) and chopping off heads. Most of those in the branches either encourage the radicals – or remain mum, for fear of attacking the root from which they sprout and the certain repercussions coming down upon their heads.

Al Mohler seems either not to get it, or not want to say it (himself) – ever. Here is a hadith binding on all Muslims: “The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Seventy-two (of the 73 sects of the Muslim nation) will be in the fire, and only one will be in Paradise; it is the Jama’ah (i.e. Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah).” (Abi Dawud, Ad-Darimi, Ahmad).” Sects who cavort like ISIS believe they will end up as the Jama’ah, numero 73, and so does every other sect doing delish things like chopping off heads. (Jama’ah has several meanings. One meaning is “majority”).

I return to the beginning of Mohler’s podcast and of this article: Mohler says, “the West (intellectual and political elite) is denying what is fundamentally true.” With regard to Islam and violence, Mohler says that Obama denies that the problem is theological, which Mohler says it is. Mohler is, of course right. Mohler might have said elsewhere that “radical Islam” theology is in reality true Islam theology, but I would be surprised and stand corrected if he said that. Would it be correct to say that only “blindness and wilful ignorance” (Mohler, referring to the worldview of “modern secular materialism”) will cause someone to see it – namely, that the two theologies are in fact one – otherwise?

The burning of the Qur’an: Pastor Terry Jones and the Imam

I discuss the video of Pastor Terry Jones vs Muslim Cleric Imam Al-Qazwini regarding Jones’ burning of the Qur’an.The person who posted it on YouTube added the caption. Interesting clip, A must see for every person out there that has misconceptions about Islam.” The caption tells us, at the most, that the person who posted it likes Islam.

Here are few excepts (verbatim and summations) of the conversation. The context of the video was a TV discussion involving the presenter, the Imam and a Christian Pastor, Ed Rowe versus Terry Jones. My comments and clarifications within the conversation are in italics and square brackets.

Terry jones says that Muslims who come to the US willing to obey the US constitution are welcome, but if they come with the agenda of wanting to impose Sharia, they are not welcome. The Imam asks Jones what he means by Sharia. Jones says his knowledge of Sharia is “somewhat limited” but what he said about obeying the USA Constitution applies to any movement. He says the punishment in Sharia is brutal, “it involves stoning and other cruel forms of punishment. And one of the aspects of that [USA] constitution is freedom of speech.”

Presenter: I don’t think the Imam will disagree with you.

Imam: “No, definitely [that is, he doesn’t disagree]. So why all this commotion? People in this country have a right to burn the Qur’an if they want to. But for you [to burn the Qur’an] who call yourself a pastor.”

[That is the Imam’s first lie. That’ll be the day that Muslims believe or that Islam teachers that anyone has the right in any country to burn the Qur’an.

Jesus was a great messenger who asked his followers to embrace others., to love his enemies.”

[We shall have to see where the misconception (deception?) lies. Where did the Imam read that Jesus commands to love your enemies. Not in the Islamic literature, but in the Bible. So does the Imam, as Mohammad did, accept the Bible of his day as the uncorrupted Word of God?“5:46 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.” And: 57:27 We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy …”

These verses prove that Mohammad (Allah) did not believe the Bible was corrupt].

As a pastor I don’t think you have grounds to burn a divine book that respects and glorifies Jesus for whom you speak in his name.

[Jesus would never regard a book as divine that says he never did what he came to earth to do – to die for sinners. What does the Qur’an say about the death of Jesus? From surah 4:157. “That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

158. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

According to Jesus, Allah is at best certainly not exalted in power and wise. The Bible – “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” 1 Corinthians 2:8]

If you read the Qur’an that you burned three weeks ago, you will find out that almost on every page there is a verse in the Qur’an glorifying Jesus. “So, continues the Imam, what I think what you did three weeks ago was an insult against Jesus. Against your own faith because if you really believe in Jesus the the Qur’an glorifies Jesus. So when you burn the Qur’an you’re insulting Christianity.”

[The Imam said above that Jesus is on almost on every page of the Qur’an. Let’s see. In the Qur’an, there are 51 verses (ayahs) out of a total of 6236 about Jesus – .8%, in 12 of its 114 chapters (surahs). In 6 of these, Jesus is referred to as the messenger (of Allah). As far as the Qur’an glorifying Jesus, never. It is Allah whom the Qur’an glorifies, pointing out that he (Jesus) is no more than a messenger: 4:171 O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. See also 5:116 “He (Jesus) will say: ‘Glory to thee’.”

Jesus is given honor and considered righteous, but never glorified. He is, like Mohammed, a messenger, who is the final and most important of all the messengers].

5:75 Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food.

19:19 He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.”

And this one, where the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is replaced by “Achmad.”

61:6 And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Achmad.” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!”

[Achmad in 61:6! Muslims switch the biblical Greek word parakletos (one who comes alongside – the Holy Spirit for Christians with paraklutos (the praised one) because there is a reference to Achmad in surah 61:6. See more on this topic here].

I think, continues the Imam, Pastor Jones needs to get educated on the words he is talking about. He is well misinformed about things he has been talking about.”

[Jones is not misinformed but insufficiently informed. That was his great weakness. He couldn’t provide even one verse – there are many dozens – from the Qur’an. Terry, next time, take the miniscule trouble to provide at least one source from the Qur’an or Hadiths to back up your beef].

Jones: “I am warning against Sharia and Jihad.

Presenter: In so doing aren’t you labeling everyone who is in Islam?

[All TV presenters in the popular media, for example, CNN, Sky News, are sycophantic Islamophiles, not necessarily by nature, but by orders from upstairs. One thing we can congratulate them for is their crass ignorance of Islam].

Jones: “I have made that very very clear. There are probably millions of Muslims who are peaceful but there is a radical element that cannot be denied.. are burned a book and seven thousand miles away people were killed. Something is definitely wrong.”

[Why then does Jones burn the Qur’an if the issue is the “radical element.” Jones is mince meat!].

Presenter: “Don’t you think you have blood on your hands? Because of what you did here in the USA 12 innocent people were killed.”

Jones: “Oh absolutely not. What I do believe is that those people in those governments should be held accountable.”

Presenter – Reverend Roe [ who is involved in bringing Muslims and Christians closer together] let me bring you in here because there are zealots in every faith. He [Jones] calls himself a Christian so do you. You read the same Bible. Why the difference in attitude.

Reverend Roe: I’m not here to defend violence anywhere on the part of the Christian Taliban (directed at Jones, of course) – or anybody else. I’m here to say that what happened with burning the Qur’an didn’t just burn the Qur’an it burned the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5. They burned every statement that Jesus made about loving enemies… People might think that Christianity supports what you did. I’m here to say that there is nothing in the Gospel that supports the burning of the Qur’an. And if you knew what was going to happen – the violence – the blood that was spilled.. The violence is your violence. You burnt a whole lot more than the Qur’an. You burnt every statement from Jesus Christ about non-violence. The peaceful Jesus that I know would never have done what you did.

[Reverend, aren’t you going a tad over the top? Also, the Imam does not agree with you. Didn’t you hear him say “People in this country have a right to burn the Qur’an if they want to,” but Pastors shouldn’t do it? Let me also, like the Reverend, refer to Matthew: Muslims do not be afraid that Allah will be cross with you if you do not go on the rampage whenever Islam is attacked. You don’t have to go out and kill bodies. In any case, people whose bodies you kill should not be afraid: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 12:28). This is the Jesus Islam rejects].

[I now want to make what I consider the most important point in this saga. Terry Jones says that he is doing what the Bible directs him to do. The Bible is not clear on this. In contrast, the Qur’an says Christians are blasphemers destined for hell fire; they need to convert to Islam, or  be subdued and pay a large tax. And Jews are monkeys and pigs. Do we see any Christians killing Muslims who follow these teachings?  There are hate speech laws in the US. I ask Ed Rowe, wouldn’t he consider what the Qur’an says about Jews  and Christians more serious than a Christian, who does not represent most devout Christians, burning  a book that says, at best, such vile, insulting things to Christians? Furthermore, instead of fawning over the Imam, why don’t you tick him off?

Presenter (Deceived parrot): “Would Jesus have done what you did?

Jones: “Yes, I think he definitely would. In acts 19:19 “books worth great sums of money” were burned. In the Old Testament the godly kings burned the high places. But I think we are missing the point… We’re not here to discuss the burning o the Koran. We are here to send a very clear message to the radical elements in Islam.”

Presenter to Imam: “There are many Americans who fear Islam.

Imam: “They fear Islam because of people like Pastor Terry jones who are working on their paranoia, who are making a monster out of Islam. I would respectfully ask Terry Jones to go and read he Qur’an instead of burning the Qur’an and he will be amazed and surprised on the commonalities that exist between Islam and Christianity. The problem is that Pastor Jones has not read the Qur’an. He has no knowledge of the Qur’an Therefore, he is trying to make a monster out of the Qur’an. By that he is terrifying Americans against Islam and telling them Islam is the danger. Now, no one is denying that there are radicals in Islam. There are radicals in christianity.”

[Pastor Jones, it was indeed silly of you to come to such a debate with zilch knowledge of the Qur’an].

Islam, continues the Imam, is “the Divine faith that has so much to offer to this world and humanity. The divine faith that speaks highly of Christianity and Judaism. “Someone who does not believe in Jesus cannot claim to be a Muslim. In order to be a true Muslim you have to embrace Jesus and his message. It seems that pastor jones does not get that.”

[The Imam is either ignorant (if so, how did he get his job?) or a liar. 1. The “divine” faith does not speak highly of Christianity and Judaism at all. For one, Jews are described on several occasions in the Qur’an as monkeys and pigs. Another, Christians under Islamic rule are subjugated, treated like outcasts, and have to pay a huge tax. Why do you think Egypt is 90% Muslim today. Most Christians couldn’t bear the hardship and converted to Islam when the Muslims hordes took over their country in the 7th century. The Qur’an rejects the fundamental doctrines of Christianity such as the Trinity, the incarnation, vicarious atonement through the shedding of Jesus’ blood].