Thanksgiving Perspectives

This Thanksgiving Day, we are providing a post written by the Pilgrim from Thanksgiving 2009. So much has happened and changed in the world in the last 4 years, but there are also many things that have not. This is a reminder we should have in front of us every year.

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As we in America celebrate Thanksgiving, and all the great freedoms, advancements, and benefits that the exporting of Christianity to this land brought with it, let us not forget about those millions of other people who are trapped in the bondage of their nations who are held captive to false religions and the human wreckage that those false religions bring.

Becoming Last had a post containing some pictures which reminded me exactly how thankful we should be, and exactly how starkly different the continent of North America may have turned out had the light of Christianity not pierced the darkness that covered this land.

The pictures in the post came from a piece in the Sacramento Bee. I’ve included some of these sobering but needful reminders below.


Let us not go to our graves having done nothing to see the advancement of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world, where the worship of idols and demons keeps millions, if not billions, of souls in bondage.

Why God Won’t Go Away

Why God Won’t Go Away by Alister McGrath

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 In his book, Why God Won’t Go Away, Alister McGrath acquaints his reader with “new atheism”, a term apparently coined in 2006. He identifies four well-known atheists (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens) with this philosophy, telling us how it got started, what’s new about it, what characterizes it, and how we as Christians should respond to it. As we read through this book, we find that there’s about as much “new” in new atheism as there is in new age – it’s an age-old false view of creation that unrighteous men use to suppress the knowledge of Truth that our Creator has put into His creation (Romans 1:18). The common element in this view, advocated by these high profile professing atheists, is a condescending attitude toward Christianity. Much ink has been spilled by these men trying to dissuade people from believing in the One Who created all things and people. Books such as The God Delusion and The End of Faith, as if there could be a human that could live on this earth without having faith in something – even if only that the chair would hold up when sat upon. These men tend to lump all professed religions together in an effort to “prove” God cannot exist because He is full of contradictions. No matter that the Word of God reveals that man creates and worships and serves all sorts of false gods and calls some of by the name of the one true God.

Hitchens admits he is not merely unconvinced of God’s existence, but that he is more an anti-theist than an atheist. McGrath quotes a humanist chaplain from Harvard, who defines anti-theism this way: “While atheism is the lack of belief in any god, anti-theism means actively seeking out the worst aspects of faith in god and portraying them as representative of all religion. Anti-theism seeks to shame and embarrass people away from religion, browbeating them about the stupidity of belief in a bellicose god.” People whose focus is on tearing down their enemies tend to lose all sense of perspective and end up redefining who they are by their irrational inability to allow Christians to believe what they want to.

Chapter 3 is a provoking look at a history full of violence committed by professing Christians, which gives a high road of condescension to the anti-atheists. Ah, but we also get a look at the history of bloodshed at the hands of atheists – this proving what Christians know to be biblical truth: all men are capable of hideous acts. The Lord God of Heaven restrains sinful men so that very few are as bad as they might be and His Spirit leads the redeemed to desire holiness rather than the sinful desires of the flesh.

Next up, the enlightenment is still going strong, as our anti-atheists worship at the altar of human wisdom. We learn here why it is hopeless to try and argue an anti-atheist into the kingdom of God – it’s hopeless to try and argue anyone into the Kingdom of God. Men are born again, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. We should not be tempted to argue with lost people over facts related to the gospel – they are at war with God and He alone can give a man with a heart of stone understanding and love for Him. The intellect of the anti-atheists blinds them to the Truth, and only the Author of Truth can give him sight.

Where McGrath departs from his call as a gospel minister is in the last chapter. He heralds Mother Teresa and declares his desire to emulate her. This woman is held up by many as a model Christian, but she made it clear many times that she did not even try to convert anyone to Christ; she thought God would be pleased and save as many as tried to be good Hindus, Buddhists, or whatever false religion one was following. This is not the model for any Christian. McGrath talks around the gospel and then states that he “cannot pursue this matter further here.” He does, however, make note that “Christian beliefs, like those of the New Atheism or any other worldview, ultimately lie beyond final rational proof.” Amen! And this is why worldly wisdom is foolishness and why we must trust God and be unashamed of His gospel and willing to be thought of as fools for Christ because we will not retreat from His Word. This book would have ended much better if McGrath would have spent three pages explaining the biblical answer to the anti-atheists – those enemies of God have no other place to go if they want truthful answers to their questions.

The Necessity and Sufficiency of Scripture

Scripture: Necessity and Sufficiency 

Last week, we studied the authority and clarity of Scripture. Anyone recall anything about those subjects and why they’re important?  images

Today, we examine the necessity and sufficiency of Scripture. Again, two tightly connected attributes of God’s Word that are closely tied to the two we looked at last week. If any of these 4 attributes were to be determined false, it would call into question the entire cannon of Scripture. We study these attributes because they are important reminders of the character of our God and because it will equip us to stand against the wily schemes of Satan and countless minions.

Listen to this message here.

Science is Always False

If the title sparked your attention, good.

That was the point. The phrase first uttered by apologetic giant, Gordon H. Clark, and resounds louder today than ever. If you are unfamiliar with Clark’s apologetic on this topic I would recommend you examine the lecture as it will provide context for this post. If you have time, I recommend the audio as well as the written explanation.

I deeply enjoy science. Prior to finally going after philosophy as a major, physics and chemistry were strong choices for how I would spend my days. I don’t think that scientists are more evil than the rest of humanity. I think that they are people who look at what is in front of them to come to their conclusions, and trust in the “scientific method,” as a way of finding both facts and truth.

Getting to the Point

I am a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). I think that you should be too.

I am not a scientist. I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t come to my conclusion about the age of the earth because of science.

I am a Theologian. I don’t play one of TV, but radio, the internet and in person are fair game. I can define the Protoevangelium and many other theological terms without a second thought. I listen to worship songs before singing them, and can think of no better way to past the time than with a cigar, a beer and a group of men who want to talk theology.

I came to my conclusion about the age of the earth theologically. I came to my conclusion about the age of the earth without the input of things outside of the scriptures and I did so for several reasons.

  1. Science is always False. The Scientific Method is void of a solid philosophical defense when dealing with non-repeatable events like abiogenesis, and other such origin based questions. 
  2. The assumption of uniformity is bunk.  (I will leave an expanded explanation of this for a later time.)
  3. I actually believe in Sola Scriptura.
  4. I think that the best person to tell us how we got here, is the person who got us here. ( A bit circular, I know… I am a presuppositional apologetist what do you expect? )

The question I have for you, dear reader, is what caused you to come to the conclusion about the age of the earth that you did?

What was Mohler Thinking?

Nearly 4 years ago, Albert Mohler and Danny Akins co-authored an article that never should have 1614332826_Do_Babies_go_to_Heaven_300x245_xlargebeen written. The Bible does not give enough information to be dogmatic about the eternal destiny of infants. It’s bad enough that Doug Wilson (of Federal Vision infamy) believes that a trinitarian baptism make babies (including Roman Catholic babies) Christian, we have otherwise sober Calvinist Baptists telling us ALL babies are saved – if they die before they sin. The hinge pin of Scripture they base this upon is 2 Cor 5:10, which, if taken as a solitary proof text, says one is judged for the deeds he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Their argument is that a baby is unable to do any evil deeds – yet they do not tell concerned parents at what age a baby is able to sin.

God chose before the foundation of the world those whom He would save. It is possible that omniscient God knew/ordained the early death of each infant who dies and sovereignly elected each one. But the Bible must be tortured to pull this doctrine out of it.

Mohler and Akins admit that every infant has the stain of original sin. They spend a few short paragraphs explaining the wretched state of unredeemed humanity – which includes infants. Then they have this:

What, then is our basis for claiming that all those who die in infancy are among the elect? First, the Bible teaches that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed “in the body.”(2) That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of original sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer “according to what he has done,”(3) and not for the sin of Adam. The imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam’s sin. We will answer for our own. But what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body? We believe not.

They claim that since the children of the Exodus were not killed, but allowed to go into the promised land – babies go to heaven. This interpretation is not found anywhere the Bible that I am aware of. They claim that since Jesus said “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these” that actual children go to heaven. Child-like faith is what the Lord was talking about – not having any guile. Yet though Mohler and Akins repeatedly state that infants go to heaven they do not address the question of age of accountability. For IF one teaches the salvation of infants who die, one MUST be able to tell parents how old the baby must be in order to be accountable – how else can this false comfort be provided? It is reasonable that man wants to comfort fellow man. Christian man must not make up doctrines to provide false comfort. The entire Bible tells us Christ is our refuge and in Him alone we are safe. He is our protector, provider, and shepherd. Tenuous “promises” taken from muddied waters into which Scripture was stirred is not how we are to seek understanding or comfort.

We must be content to trust God, rather than make up doctrines that our natural minds embrace. It is reasonable to infer than God puts children in Christian homes because children are a blessing from God and Christians will be able to train the children as God commands. It is a stretch beyond the snapping point to say that children of Christians are New Covenant members – yet this is what Mohler and Akins are saying, for none outside the New Covenant can be saved. But the authors go beyond that and claim that ALL infants who die as such (again – with no line drawn as to how old one can be and claim this promise) were elect.

I am not going to recap the entire article – please read it and decide for yourself. But it is not helpful at all, consisting of man’s reason in an area God has not spoken clearly on.

Unity in Truth

A dear friend and brother in Christ, who used to host a Christian talk show on radio many years ago handed this me during the growing conflict I was experiencing in the seeker sensitive church we were in at the time. While it is likely this counsel could be improved upon (as is the case with all works of man), I think it good and godly counsel.

Having Harmony in Your Church Through Humility in Handling Doctrine

Discord in most churches is caused primarily by the straining out of gnats and swallowing of camels, If a church does not have agreement on the essentials, it is not a church of Jesus Christ, On the other hand, members of the church who think that every little pet opinion or “favorite” emphasis is worthy of debate (and the risk of unity), dishonor Christ also, Too few Christians can distinguish and discern which doctrines have what degree of gravity, Thus, we end up with either large congregations that ignore doctrine for the sake of gladhanded surface hospitality or small fortresses of “defenders of the only way” where you feel like you’re on trial whenever you speak!

Here are four broad areas of doctrine. If you will attempt to distinguish which area a given issue belongs to, you will have an easier time dealing with that issue. Thus, less chance of getting personally uptight and less chance of offending another. This material will help when used correctly, Two cautions before we start:

1.Truth offends. The assumption in this material is that we are dealing to some degree with lovers of truth. Unfortunately, our churches are not full of such people, You will encounter that problem.

2.Some doctrines overlap. This material and chart are convenient general categories, not rigid compartmentalizations, There is especially some blurry areas between II and 111 and between 111 and IV, Not only that, but when you are in a lively discussion of some issue, other issues come up which could put you in several categories at once.

You might be talking about some doctrine where you are aware that you are building a case from a very thorough connection of Scripture. The person you are trying to convince may refuse to yield to a passage of God’s Word.

All of a sudden, you are into the IMPERATIVE of the authority of Scripture as well as an open discussion of your original issue. These situations will require more wisdom yet.

Nonetheless, despite these two cautions, working with this material can revolutionize your spiritual walk with regard to harmony, discernment, unity and pride,

EXPLANATION OF CHART COLUMN 1

The first column is the type of truth you are dealing with, A BIBLICAL IMPERATIVE, BIBLICAL IMPLICATION or BIBICAL INTERPRETATION, Notice the first three deal with items directly from Scripture, but Item IV concerns things created in you by the Holy Spirit through your own context, your own understanding of principles and your own application to various areas of life,

COLUMN 2,

The second column explains how to recognize these areas, This column gives the definition of the first column, BIBLICAL IMPERATIVES are the foundational truths such as the Deity of Christ, the Authority of Scripture, the Trinity and the Substitutionary Atonement. People who deny these truths are not Christians.

A BIBLICAL IMPLICATION also has no room for denial because it is an area where the Bible cannot teach but one thing. However, misunderstanding is possible because the truth is not stated in so many words. Rather it is woven through the fabric of Scripture. Even if you have a few passages where you are thoroughly convinced that your conclusion is obvious, you are humble enough to admit not only that a different view could be held by true Christians, but lo and behold, great people of God through the centuries have not been as certain as you are.

Thus, you become willing to patiently learn how to present your case and give folks lots of room to discover the conviction you have. For example, should Christians send their kids to government schools? For example, how fallen is man’s will? For example, Covenant vs Believers Baptism,

I believe firmly and staunchly in what I’ve concluded the Bible teaches on each of these. But, 1 view you as a Christian, and will not doubt the genuineness of your salvation for having not yet come to the same conclusions.

A BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION hinges on one passage or the interpretation techniques used for several passages, For example, Daniel 9,..where does the countdown of the 490 years start? Your answer from Isaiah and Ezra will influence your entire view of eschatology. So why should we argue about the interpretation of Revelation 5 if we already know our impasse is in the middle of Isaiah? Or perhaps the interpretation of the words °a cause” in the sin of being angry at a brother without cause! It comes down to an understanding of a particular, If we view it differently—and we both honestly can view it differently—that’s it! Fortunately, God has seen to it that no essential matter of faith or life is in this category,

Finally the DAILY WALK INDIVIDUALIZATION, Friends, if we haven’t got chapter and verse—even if we believe we have the mind of Christ on the matter—we must humbly avoid playing God over another conscience, Does Walt Disney promote the occult in Fantasia? Are certain beats of music admissable? Should you pray before, or after, your morning shower? Come on, folks! Romans 14 insists that we acknowledge liberty and conscience in these areas,

COLUMN 3 & 4

Columns 3 and 4 prescribe the limits of what we do with these doctrines. This will be as helpful as the recognition,

A BIBLICAL IMPERATIVE is not compromised or glossed over with anyone. Earnestly contend!! Don’t get off on blood transfusions, time travel and other things with cults and secularists, The only questions between you and them are: Who is God? Who is man? Who is Christ? What is truth? Stay on the subject with them,

BIBLICAL IMPLICATIONS are to be worked out carefully among believers, You have an obligation to the brethren on both sides. Be able to articulate what you believe and love them in what you consider their “future maturity”,

BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION makes for “iron sharpens iron” discussions with friends, but the church today should not be divided on predictive prophecy,

On DAILY WALK INDIVIDUALIZATION you may set an example, if you wish, but you are confusing your own authority with the Bibles if you command something that it doesn’t.

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The Dogma of Papal Infallibility

What Roman Catholics refer to as “the Dogma of Papal Infallibility” is one of the most  Papalstunning of all of RCC doctrine. According to this dogma, the Pope-when he speaks on matters concerning the church-is protected from the possibility­ of error. Note that it is not that what he says is always true, but something more radical is claimed: there is not even the possibility of him speaking something untrue.

When this dogma was first codified (the first Vatican Council in 1870) they obviously defined it in more constrained terms than it had been practiced through history. Now, it only applies to matters concerning “faith and morals,” and when the Pope binds “the whole Church” to the declaration. While it was codified by the First Vatican Council, it in effect has been practiced throughout much of Roman Catholic Church history.

In fact much of RCC doctrine rests on nothing other than this authority. For one clear example, in 1950 Pope Pious XII declared that Mary did not die a physical death, but was “assumed” (assunta) up to heaven. This is a teaching with no biblical evidence (although Pope John Paul II did allege that it was the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in John 14:3), and even less credible historical evidence. Actually, no one in the first 300 years of church history had even claimed such a thing had happened.

Because it is such an important part of what separates the RCC from Protestants, an obvious question to ask is, “are there times when the Popes have contradicted each other?” If so, that would be a glaring piece of evidence that the RCC’s claims to authority and doctrine are indeed fallible.

First, let me explain why this is important to me. Discussing theology with a Catholic can be frustrating, and usually goes in one of two ways. Either they claim to believe everything I believe, but they just also claim to have an unbroken tradition of history behind them. Or they respond to my biblical objections to RCC doctrine by saying Protestants are wrong because their interpretations contradict the interpretations of the RCC, which we know to be infallible.

Read the rest of this article here.