The Origin of Sin – briefly stated

August 17th, 2014; By: Paul Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Apologetics, Doctrinal, Thought of the Day | Comments Off
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While doing research on what various Christian denominations and groups believe about the origin of sin, I ran across the following article “Where Did Sin Come From?” which explored the question of the origin of sin. The summation of the article did not answer the question at all, but left the reader with the following questions:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions:

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin.
2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God.
3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is.
4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could.

I could not bear it, and emailed the webmaster with the following question:

Who wrote this nonsense? Give me a name please.

And listed the questions above. I then finished with the following statement:

This evidences a complete and total lack of understanding. Whoever wrote this, missed the mark.

The gentleman who wrote it answered back, and was gracious (considering my initial contact email) and stated that I had contested, but gave no reasons for disagreement. Moreover, he would be glad to address my concerns.

Fair enough. After all, had he been less than gracious, I would have deserved it. I thanked him for being gracious, and sent the following reply:


Sin has a cause, and that is transgression, which is brought about because of iniquity:

And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 33:8)

Iniquity leads to transgression, which immediately results in sin.

Iniquity is the property of being unequal in any of one’s ways:

Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  (Ezekiel 18:29-31)

When the LORD states that the ways of the people of Israel are unequal, and He then calls them to turn so iniquity will not be their ruin, He is defining what iniquity is. To help in our understanding, we can use the analogy of a math equation (which is an equality):

In thinking about equations: If we introduce into it any element that makes it unequal, what are our chances of making it equal if we don’t realize what we did? What are our chances of actually realizing we introduced an inequality? Moreover, if our understanding is not accurate because we perceive the equation wrongly (unequally — that is, not as it actually is), what are our chances of self-correction?

When a mistake is made working an equation, generally the person does not realize they erred, else they stop immediately and correct the error. However, the divergence with righteousness and iniquity here is that once a thought exists, it cannot be unthought or taken back. Since it is that the LORD judges the thoughts of the heart, once Lucifer had that one thought of being more glorious that the LORD on the throne, he committed an iniquity. Due to the very nature of inequality, he could not go back, nor find his way back.Because of this iniquity, pride arose, and Satan viewed himself to be better than the LORD God in numerous ways. Hence, he rebelled.

Now to look at righteousness: Being righteous is being equal in all one’s ways (which only the LORD God is):

Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.  (Psalms 98:9)

Here, like in Ezekiel, the LORD defines another term. Only in this case, it is righteousness. Putting the two together: Righteousness is the property of being equal in ALL one’s ways, and iniquity is the property of being unequal in ANY of one’s ways. It is of necessity true that if righteousness requires for all ways to be equal, that being (or becoming) unequal in any of one’s ways, means that one has iniquity. Moreover, like the math equation, being unequal in one part, spreads to every other part — and it grows.

Once one cannot perceive correctly because of being unequal (iniquity), the determination of what is the right thing to do is clouded and misperceived. It is easy to see then how we can transgress the bounds if we have difficulty perceiving where the bounds are. As soon as we transgress, we have missed the mark (sinned).

Briefly, to answer the final points you put forth in the article:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions: [My answers are in square brackets — italics for the web]

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin. [There is no "concept of sin." Sin is not a concept. Rather, is a direct result of transgression (which is exceeding the bounds - thus missing the mark), which is brought about because of iniquity. Satan exercised iniquity because he thought in his heart that he was better than the LORD sitting on the throne he was covering (the descriptions of both the LORD and Satan are in the Scriptures, and that difference is significant). The "problem" is that the LORD gave both angels and men freewill and the ability to judge, but they were not given omniscience. Hence, perception and understanding were limited. Satan lost sight of who created him and gave him all that he had. To man, Satan is beyond genius. But he lost sight of the fact that he was GIVEN that. Just like his beauty and musical ability, his intelligence was given him by the LORD God. However, once he lost sight of that, it was a mere thought of the heart to become unequal - which slipped him into iniquity. Now Satan can never return from that, but only gets more and more unequal over time.]

2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God. [No, the fact that creatures with free-will and the ability to judge, yet not having omniscience would have the potential to slip into iniquity, was known to the LORD God. Nevertheless, He chose to create them that way, and would deal with the consequences. The LORD God already knew what those consequences were, but He desired to create beings that would love Him of their own volition. The very nature of free-will, combined with the ability to judge, creates a situation in which the potential for iniquity exists. However, for love to be genuine, the will must be free, and to actually choose freely, one must be able to judge independently - that is, of oneself, given the facts to make a determination.]

3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is. [This is a false choice. We are to choose between the LORD God being the ultimate author of sin, or the core of Taoism? This is expressly man's view, which lacks understanding of iniquity and righteousness.]

4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could. [Here you are closest to being right, but answer no questions. You would have to explain what you mean by "He made creatures who could." How, and in what way?]

You are getting the essence of the doctrine. This is by no means extensive in addressing the ramifications of iniquity. But, it should briefly explain where sin came from. Of course, if you are of Calvinist or Reformed persuasion, you will likely reject everything I say.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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A Question for Calvinists

August 11th, 2014; By: Paul Tags: , , ,
Posted in Apologetics, Thought of the Day | Comments Off
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In the Scripture the following account is given of an interaction between the Lord Jesus Christ and a young man:

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:16-21)

In light of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, please answer the following questions:

  1. If Calvinism is true, why did the Lord Jesus Christ lie to the young man?
  2. Why did he not tell him that he was not ordained to eternal life, and there was no point in trying?
  3. Surely Jesus knew the young man would not believe. Why did he string him along with a promise he had no intention of fulfilling?
  4. In fact, what he told the young man couldn’t be fulfilled as the man was obviously not ordained to life. Why did Jesus do this?

Why did the Calvinist Jesus deceive the man (and everyone else who has knowledge of this incident) and lie to him? How is this righteous?

Here’s the short answer: It isn’t.

Moreover, no amount of logic twisting and distorting the words of Scripture are going to make it so. How can it be acceptable for the Lord Jesus to not tell the man the truth of his predicament? After all, in Matthew 23, he told the Pharisees the truth of their predicament? What would be the difference here?

If you tell one, you have to tell the other. That is the only righteous way to deal with both situations. That is the only way that is equal.

Don’t be like the Catholics and tell me “It’s a mystery.” That is a cop out and a dodge. Besides, it is obvious that there can only be one answer under Calvinist doctrine:

This ‘Jesus’ committed iniquity.

And, since the Calvinist Jesus committed iniquity, how does he pay for the sins of anyone else? How is he that “perfect sacrifice” which is necessary for the payment of the sins of those he ‘saves?’

I would like an honest answer. Unfortunately, based upon all my interaction with those holding Calvinist/Reformed doctrine, I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it. I have yet to meet one that is intellectually honest.

Still, it would be good to see the explanation.

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Why and How is the LORD God Able to Maintain His Righteousness

July 20th, 2014; By: Paul Tags: , , ,
Posted in Apologetics, Doctrinal | Comments Off
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Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:29-30)

Why is it that the LORD God is able to maintain His righteousness, or the equality of all His ways in and of Himself.

To begin with, the LORD God is omniscient, that is, He knows all things. This is not merely having all knowledge, (which we typically think of as mere information) but includes all understanding of that information, and all wisdom to properly apply that information.

We must understand that having knowledge, which is information, is not merely enough, but one must know the significance of that information, which is understanding. One must also know how to apply the information to everything that concerns them. The ability to properly apply the information and understanding one has, is called wisdom. The Scripture is express that the LORD God’s understanding is infinite, which of necessity, means that His knowledge is infinite, or omniscient.

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5)

Understanding in itself is a kind of knowledge. It does not simply deal with information, but deals with the significance of that information: that is what that information means and how it relates to everything else. Understanding is essential to wisdom, for without understanding, there is simply no way to determine the weight, or significance of one thing versus another: whether something is to be of concern, or whether it can be ignored, or is of lesser significance.

Hence, we are led to wisdom, which is essential for the construct of things. Wisdom in itself is a kind of knowledge. It is the knowledge of how information is to be applied and how it will work out as things interact. Without it, it would have been impossible for the LORD God to create anything that worked. And yet, so wise is the LORD in His creation that even in a corrupted state, it still is a wonder to behold and works quite well.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 136:5)

The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. (Proverbs 3:19)

Thus, when we say the LORD God is omniscient, it, in practical terms, means that the LORD God knows all that exists, and knows all the significance of everything, and is able to properly weight that information and thus apply it properly and correctly to every situation that exists or could exist, for all eternity.

In sum, the LORD God knows all things, and all out-workings that are and can be of those things and their interaction with all other things, for all time and eternity. Moreover, He knows that He knows all things which are, and knows that He knows all out-workings that are and will be. Additionally, the LORD God knows there is nothing else to know that can be known.

Without this knowledge and understanding, maintaining His righteousness would be impossible as He must know the end, and possible ends of everything that is or could be. Else, there exists the possibility of any action made by the LORD God that would be unequal in its end. This would yield unrighteousness, which is impossible with the LORD God.

But ominscience is not enough to maintain righteousness. It is not sufficient to merely have all knowledge so that in all workings accomplished, the end of all is known. Rather, one must also love equity or equality:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. (Psalm 11:4-7)

(Here I speak as a man, from man’s perspective): Without a love for righteousness, there is no motivator to be righteous, though one may know all things which are, or could be, and the outworking of them all,

The LORD God delights in equity in all things, and in all His ways. It is His greatest pleasure to see things which are equal, balanced and true. Whether that equity, which is righteousness, is from the things He makes directly, or from His creatures, it is a delight to His soul to behold them.

Without this love for equity, righteousness and truth, which is in and of Himself, coupled with His omniscience, which is in and of Himself, righteousness would not be maintained.

This post updated and expanded — 07/21/2014

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How Very Rich, How Very Ignorant

April 16th, 2014; By: Paul Tags: , , ,
Posted in Doctrinal, Society, Thought of the Day | Comments Off
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Today, the New York Times ran an article about one Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and a very wealthy man. Unfortunately, Mr. Bloomberg has decided that he can play nanny to everyone and decide for them what is best for them. To that end, Mr. Bloomberg opposes firearms ownership, the use of tobacco, and the consumption of certain foods, holding that all are bad for the rest of us.

In the final paragraph of this puff piece, Mr. Bloomberg had this to say about the end of his efforts:

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Let it never be said that Michael Bloomberg runs short on pride. However that may be, Mr. Bloomberg missed the standard by which one gains entrance into heaven:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

The reason it is by the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone, is because He, and He alone meets the standard of righteousness the Father demands. Hence, through the Lord Jesus Christ and His work of redemption, salvation is, always has been, and ever will be by grace, and grace alone:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And again:

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Romans 11:5-6)

Thus, the Scripture is quite plain that you will do it by grace and grace alone, as works and grace are mutually exclusive. But, it is quite evident Mr. Bloomberg has chosen works for his justification before the LORD God, which is to his condemnation:

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Moreover, poor Michael misses the boat altogether in that he thinks being wealthy and powerful are what might qualify him in the first place. However, had he read the following, he would have known the LORD God has no use for him in his present state:

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. (I Corinthians 1:26-29)

And he compounds his error in that he stated “I am telling you if there is a God,…” which is a blatant insult to the LORD God, and shows how very far away Mr. Bloomberg is from ever pleasing the LORD:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Pray for the poor man. He needs all the help he can get. He is wretched, naked, poor and blind, and doesn’t even realize it.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)

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The Most Important Thing

December 24th, 2013; By: Paul Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Ministry, Thought of the Day | Comments Off
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In a rather contentious Bible study, I was asked what I thought the most important thing to tell someone was.

If I were going to give them one thing out of the Bible, what would that one thing be?

After a brief pause, (because that was all that was allowed) I turned to Jeremiah and read to those in the study, the following:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

At which point I was promptly argued with, and told that the most important thing was to tell them that Jesus died for their sins.

I was not surprised. I knew before I read Jeremiah that I would be set upon because I was not “telling them about Jesus” and “giving them the gospel.”

However, the accusation results from a failure to understand some basic facts about the passage above, and the logic of it. It has very much to do with understanding how the LORD God works and how human nature works. The passage above addresses both those issues in a very powerful way, that will, if the person has any love of the truth at all, lead them straight to the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, it will lead them there, not in ignorance, but in understanding, and enable them to trust the Lord Jesus fully.

To begin with, it is the LORD who seeks us, it is not we who seek Him:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)

Moreover, it is the word, the Scripture, in which the LORD has invested the power to work in the heart and lives of men:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)

And so it is that all men can ever be, are mere messengers – ambassadors of the LORD and His word. The one simple duty of those who have been born again is to faithfully deliver that word of truth to everyone around them. It is the LORD and His word that will do the heavy lifting of working in the heart and soul of man. And ultimately, through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, reconcile man to Himself.

This also, Scripture confirms:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5:17-21)

Seeing then that we are merely messengers, what message does the passage from Jeremiah bring that would be more important than “telling them about Jesus?”

To begin to understand this, we must understand that man has two significant problems in his nature that stand in the way of him ever coming to Christ. Those two things are addressed in the passage above in the following ways:

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:”

And:

“let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

The first, which is addressed as glorying in oneself and what one has done, is pride. Pride is devastating to anyone’s ability to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Pride is what destroyed Lucifer and caused his fall. Pride will cause the LORD to turn away from an individual and never offer them salvation:

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)

And:

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)

And yet again:

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (I Peter 5:5)

Hence, one of the most important messages that we, as individuals, must understand, is the fact that the LORD will not regard us, nor hear us if we are bound up in pride. Pride is insidious and perverse and will cause us even to be proud of being “humble” and “spiritual.” We must truly humble ourselves before we can even consider coming to Christ for salvation.

How critical is this? Consider the following illustration by the Lord Jesus Christ:

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14)

The Pharisee demonstrated rank pride, and was rejected. The Pharisee believed he was justified before the LORD, and was deceived of himself. Because the Pharisee did not know and understand the LORD God, he failed to realize that the LORD God had rejected him — because of his pride. The publican on the other hand, knew he had no place to stand, and in all contriteness, humility and sincerity of heart, pleaded for mercy.

To the publican, the LORD God looked, regarded, and accepted. This is because the publican did not come to the LORD demanding to be accepted. Neither came he expecting that the LORD should accept him. Rather, he came knowing that he was not qualified to even ask of the LORD anything, but placing his trust in the LORD’s mercy, knowing the LORD God to be a merciful and just Lord and God. In this, the knowledge of Jonah is illustrative:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. (Jonah 4:1-2)

This leads us into the second trait of man’s nature, which is intertwined with a very critical issue: The ability to trust, and have that trust based on sure knowledge, rather than ignorant superstition. If we recall the Pharisee in the illustration from Luke, he thought he knew God, and was accepted of the LORD. However, he only thought he knew, but did not actually know the truth of the LORD God. Hence, for lack of knowledge and understanding, he trusted in error, and it failed him. In sum, he believed being ignorant of reality.

This in not an uncommon problem. Most fail in understanding Who the LORD God is, and what He will accept and what He will reject. It is plain the LORD rejects superstition, which is believing something in ignorance or without concrete evidence in fact. To this, the apostle Paul spoke in Athens at Mars Hill:

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (Acts 17:16-23)

Though Paul had preached the gospel to many in Athens, it bore little fruit as it seemed to the Athenians to be just another god, somewhat different from the gods they already had. But having no understanding or knowledge of what the God Paul preached was about, they were unable to come to any conclusion, and hence brought Paul to a place where they could hear more. Thus, the problem they had, Paul addressed directly on Mars Hill — declaring unto them that they worshiped without knowledge and understanding, a God they, in their present state, could not perceive. Hence, the apostle Paul set about to declare the LORD God, and Who He is to the Athenians, to the end they would  come to the knowledge of the truth and trust the LORD in truth, and not in ignorance and superstition.

Which is exactly what the LORD requires:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Hence, they that come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, must also come in spirit and in truth:

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

Plainly and clearly, the Lord Jesus told the woman at the well at Sychar, if you know what the gift of God is, and you know who is offering it, then you will ask, and He will give.

Which brings us to the issue of trust.

It is the inherent tendency of every person to trust themselves before they will trust anyone else. In fact, we learn at an early age to not depend upon someone we do not know and do not trust. Hence, to place our eternal destiny in the hands of someone of whom we know little to nothing, is ignorance and foolishness. If we are honest with ourselves at all, we will admit that we have difficulty trusting even those we do know. How then can we trust someone we cannot see, and have never met, and do not know? The short answer is: We don’t. However much outwardly we may say differently to placate those around us, and not hurt their feelings, we reserve judgment and withhold trust.  Since no one can see our heart, we “get away with it” and no one is the wiser. However, the LORD God knows different:

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

Hence, we will not fool the LORD God. If we choose to believe, deciding to “trust,” yet not fully, we are reserving part of ourselves from the LORD and not allowing Him liberty in our hearts. To do so, is to say that we hold the LORD no differently than anyone else. This the LORD God will not abide, and will reject as it is inasmuch to say that He is not totally and completely worthy of our trust. In short, it is an insult and an offense.

Additionally, if we do choose to trust in ignorance, thinking it is the Lord Jesus we are trusting in, what is to insure that it is actually the Lord Jesus Christ in whom we are trusting? After all, the Scripture is express that Satan has insured there is a false Christ, a false gospel, and a false spirit that he uses to snare men with:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Corinthians 11:3-4)

And:

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (II Corinthians 11:12-15)

There is but one way to prevent such deception from occurring: To learn, from the Scripture, the person of the LORD God — before you decide to “trust and believe.”

This is not to learn about Him, but through seeing how He deals with individuals and nations, particularly throughout the Old Testament, learn His character, His nature, His Person — those things which are essential for trust. It is to see in the Gospels, how the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the “fullness of the Godhead bodily,” dealt with individuals from all social and economic strata, and from all walks of life, and perceive how His Person is. Then, and only then, can one trust truly and completely.

Can this be done by one who is lost, and not saved — not born again?

Absolutely. The instrument of faith, which the LORD has promised to grant to anyone who will truly hear His word is an instrument well able to reveal the truth and make the Person of the LORD God perceivable and understandable.

However, hearing does not mean one merely listened and it went in one ear and out the other. Rather, it is that one heard, and considered in the heart, the word of God, the Scripture. Upon this, faith, that instrument whereby anyone can clearly and accurately perceive the truth of things, especially those of the LORD, will be granted. This is His promise:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

But be forewarned:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Hence, it cannot be that false faith which one gins up within themselves, making themselves see something which they do not actually see. It is not the “faith” which is born of pride that states “If others are able to perceive and know, I can to.” No. It is that faith that reveals in surety of knowledge and understanding: “This is the truth. I see this truth.” It is very much like getting proper eyeglasses to see with when your vision is bad. That is why the Lord in the Book of Revelation, calls it “eyesalve.”

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:17-18)

This now brings us right back to the question:

How then can we trust someone we cannot see, and have never met, and do not know?

The answer is obvious.

Therefore, when the Lord Jesus Christ gave the commission to the apostles, He stated it thus:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Teach — Teach them Who the LORD God is, and what He has done for them in and through Jesus Christ. Teach them to the point where they can know Him and trust Him in truth and honesty. That point is different for every person, including some who will never come to the point of being able to trust. For them, there is no hope. Nonetheless, those who are in covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ are duty bound to teach all who will receive it.

Baptize — Upon belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and desire to follow Him as His disciple.

Teach — The doctrines of the LORD God so that they may grow in grace and be conformed to the image of Christ in all they are and do.

Unfortunately, one of greatest barriers to someone coming to the LORD actually comes from a number of those who profess Christ. They will tell you that you cannot understand the LORD God. After all, they reason that the LORD is infinite and we are finite — we cannot possibly understand Him.

The LORD says different:

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:24)

I hold that when the LORD says that I can understand Him, and someone else tells me I cannot, the LORD’s argument wins every time. Quite obviously, those who would contend, do not know and understand the LORD God. But their lack of understanding should not be allowed to preclude anyone else from knowing and understanding Him.

Hence, the most important thing that I can say to someone from the Scripture, if I only have one thing I can say, and that limited, is this:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Come, put away your pride, humble yourselves and learn of LORD God. It will lead you to Christ, and you will find rest for your soul.

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When Ignorance Speaks

December 19th, 2013; By: Paul Tags: , ,
Posted in Apologetics, Society, Thought of the Day | Comments Off
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I do not watch, nor do I care about Duck Dynasty. I don’t have time for television, and I really don’t need to waste what time I have on a “reality show.” That stated, I do happen to know a bit about Duck Dynasty as there are those I work with who do watch it, and news about it is all over the internet.

So, when the elder of the family that the program is about makes comments that get him fired from the show, it makes news. It is the comments that interest me. More precisely, it is the reaction to the comments that I am interested in. Comments such as this one:

“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe,” GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said. “He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.1

Now, I happen to know that the family that the show is built around is Church of Christ. I take issue with the perversion of the Gospel of Christ that the Church of Christ puts forth as the “truth.” I can legitimately do this as I do know something about the Scripture and the doctrine of Christ, specifically the Gospel. However, I just don’t think Wilson Cruz does.

I don’t think Wilson Cruz is anywhere near qualified to state what Christians believe, or to make comment about anything relating to the Scripture.

Why?

Let’s try the following passages of Scripture, and keep firmly in mind that the LORD in the Old Testament that came to man and dealt directly with man, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Yes, bear that in mind that the one who died on the cross is also the one that spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, and spoke to Job and his friends out of the whirlwind.

The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. (Genesis 19:23-29)

This same LORD had eaten a meal with Abraham the previous day, and Abraham had interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, that the LORD should not destroy them should at least ten (10) righteous men be found in them. By the way, what was Sodom and Gomorrah’s wickedness that warranted destruction?

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. (Leviticus 18:22-23)

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)

Just who was it that gave the Levitical Law to Moses to give to the children of Israel? Who was it that met with Moses on Mount Sinai?

Well, that would be the Word, who would take the office of Christ and die to reconcile man to the LORD God.

This also belongs to Christ Jesus:

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:7-13)

Hence, when the apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans, he penned chapter one by the Holy Ghost, who instructed him in accordance with what the Lord Jesus Christ wanted conveyed. And what does chapter one convey to everyone?

The descent into destruction:

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:22-32)

Why does the LORD God call homosexuality an abomination?

Answer a couple of simple questions:

  1. What if everyone engaged in same gender relationships only?
  2. What would happen to the human race?

Suicide. Self-murder.

Homosexuality is against the very design of man. This kind of activity is destructive to the entire human race.

There is only one creature, one man that would delight in seeing the race of man engage in self-destructive behavior.

Satan.

Why? Because man is made in the similitude of God, and Satan hates the LORD God.

However, man does not need any help in engaging in self-destructive beliefs and behavior. Our own iniquity is plenty sufficient a generator of bad doctrine and the resultant behavior.

It won’t be any comfort to Wilson Cruz, but Phil of Duck Dynasty has his own set of problems to resolve before the LORD — his corrupt understanding of the Gospel:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

You see, Church of Christ doctrine demands that you be baptized for salvation. Hence, they hold that one is not saved unless one is baptized. However, the Scripture states otherwise:

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (I Corinthians 1:17)

And:

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Romans 11:6)

Quite obviously water baptism is a work, and it is not part of the Gospel. Which means Church of Christ salvation is of works, and thus under a curse.

Being right about the wickedness of homosexuality is cold comfort when the most important knowledge to obtain is a true Gospel. Whether one is an abomination, or simply accursed, wrong is still wrong. Both individuals fall short of the truth — and it is going to cost them in the end.

Ignorance, it seems, has a rather loud voice.

  1. ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks, The Hollywood Reporter
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When Ignorance Rules

October 2nd, 2013; By: Paul Posted in Apologetics, Thought of the Day | Comments Off
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The following was posted on Facebook by someone who will remain nameless:

I think man wants to believe in god because believing in our ourselves would require taking responsibility for the horrible things we have done, it’s much easier to lay the blame for that on our “nature” and pray to an imagined construct for salvation than to take responsibility for ourselves.

Christianity, why are you so fallacious?

***sigh***
Either it is ignorance of history, particularly recent (last 200 years or so) history, or the individual posting this just wanted to say something, anything to strike back. The reason I state that is because of the unmitigated slaughter which has taken place in the last 200 years by governments and organizations which, as a tenet of their philosophy, expressly deny the existence of God.

Let’s look at the numbers1:

20th Century democide

20th Century democide

And the numbers of dead are from those humanists who (according to the poster on Facebook) have no problem taking responsibility for what they have done. Of course, that is a lie as the regimes attempted to hide what they were doing as long as they could. Moreover, to the victims of such regimes, I really don’t think it makes any difference — dead is still dead. We must also remember that the God-rejecting communists did all this in the name of making man “better,” of creating the “new communist man” devoid of any “superstition.”2

In the following chart (also taken from the Democide site), the numbers above are narrowed to include only communist regimes:

COM.TAB1

It is the 259,432,000 persons that is utterly staggering to consider. At this time (10/2013) there are approximately 300,000,000 individuals in the United States. If the number of dead, killed by the humanist-driven communists, where to be subtracted from our present population, the United States would be left with barely over 40,000,000 individuals. That is just a tad over 86.4 percent of the population of the United States.

The following is from the page “HOW MANY DID COMMUNIST REGIMES MURDER?” By R.J. Rummel, in which he explains the motivation of the communists:

How can we understand all this killing by communists? It is the marriage of an absolutist ideology with the absolute power. Communists believed that they knew the truth, absolutely. They believed that they knew through Marxism what would bring about the greatest human welfare and happiness. And they believed that power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, must be used to tear down the old feudal or capitalist order and rebuild society and culture to realize this utopia. Nothing must stand in the way of its achievement. Government–the Communist Party–was thus above any law. All institutions, cultural norms, traditions, and sentiments were expendable. And the people were as though lumber and bricks, to be used in building the new world.

Constructing this utopia was seen as though a war on poverty, exploitation, imperialism, and inequality. And for the greater good, as in a real war, people are killed. And thus this war for the communist utopia had its necessary enemy casualties, the clergy, bourgeoisie, capitalists, wreckers, counterrevolutionaries, rightists, tyrants, rich, landlords, and noncombatants that unfortunately got caught in the battle. In a war millions may die, but the cause may be well justified, as in the defeat of Hitler and an utterly racist Nazism. And to many communists, the cause of a communist utopia was such as to justify all the deaths. The irony of this is that communism in practice, even after decades of total control, did not improve the lot of the average person, but usually made their living conditions worse than before the revolution. It is not by chance that the greatest famines have occurred within the Soviet Union (about 5,000,000 dead during 1921-23 and 7,000,000 from 1932-3) and communist China (about 27,000,000 dead from 1959-61). In total almost 55,000,000 people died in various communist famines and associated diseases, a little over 10,000,000 of them from democidal famine. This is as though the total population of Turkey, Iran, or Thailand had been completely wiped out. And that something like 35,000,000 people fled communist countries as refugees, as though the countries of Argentina or Columbia had been totally emptied of all their people, was an unparalleled vote against the utopian pretensions of Marxism-Leninism.

But communists could not be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific, based on historical materialism, an understanding of the dialectical process in nature and human society, and a materialist (and thus realistic) view of nature. Marx has shown empirically where society has been and why, and he and his interpreters proved that it was destined for a communist end. No one could prevent this, but only stand in the way and delay it at the cost of more human misery. Those who disagreed with this world view and even with some of the proper interpretations of Marx and Lenin were, without a scintilla of doubt, wrong. After all, did not Marx or Lenin or Stalin or Mao say that. . . . In other words, communism was like a fanatical religion. It had its revealed text and chief interpreters. It had its priests and their ritualistic prose with all the answers. It had a heaven, and the proper behavior to reach it. It had its appeal to faith. And it had its crusade against nonbelievers.3

No, the poster on Facebook is quite incorrect. When the humanist considers in his heart that there is nothing he will have to pay for when he leaves this earth, then he is free to do whatever he wants when he is in power. Conversely, rather than God being a crutch and excuse, one who is truly saved understands that they are accountable for every thought, every word, every action. Moreover, they understand that they are no better than their fellow man and that everyone is judged by the LORD, who uses the same standard for all.

The poster of the comment on Facebook also does not understand that one of the great shortcomings of communism is that it does not allow for a diversity of opinion. Not one single tenet of its doctrine allows for liberty of the conscience. In fact, this shortcoming is found in virtually every false system of belief. There are those who claim that Biblical Christianity doesn’t either. But, I will submit to them that they never truly read the Scripture:

Of Liberty of the Conscience
I believe that liberty of the conscience, which is the liberty of the soul to freely choose what one will believe and accept, is essential for the individual to be accountable before God for the choices that are made and actions that are taken. I believe that the LORD God, in creating men and angels with a free will, bestowed upon us liberty of the conscience, and it is His desire that it be no other way. Howsoever, it is also the LORD’s express will that all men be reconciled to Him through Christ Jesus so that the original design of man is fulfilled, in that man is able to freely fellowship with the LORD God, which is not possible in man’s unregenerate state. In making the capacity to freely choose possible, the LORD God has provided in His word both the commandments He has given as our Creator, and explanation of the consequences of the choices we, as individuals, may make.

As such, it is not proper or permissible that anyone coerce, force, or attempt to force another to believe anything. This is particularly true concerning the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. A person must freely choose, being fully persuaded in their heart and soul, to repent and believe the Gospel. This freedom to choose holds true in all service to the LORD. One must freely choose to serve the LORD, just as one must freely choose to bring tithes and offerings. Anything less than this free choice will not be, and is not accepted of the LORD, as it comes of a heart improperly motivated. Thus, it is required in all a person may do pertaining to the LORD, from salvation and throughout all service, that it be done of a genuine and sincere love for the LORD God for it to be accepted.

In all cases, the individual must and will bear the express consequences for the choices made, as all choices the individual may make are solely the responsibility of that person, even if it appears the choice were made under duress.

Scripture References
Isaiah 1:18; Proverbs 3:31-32; Leviticus 1:1-3; II Corinthians 9:7; Genesis 4:6-7; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Joshua 24:15; Romans 4:16-21; II Kings 17:13-15; Proverbs 1:20-30; Jeremiah 6:16; Ezekiel 33:10-11; II Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:1-4; Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 23:37-38; Acts 7:51-53; Hebrews 9:27; Galatians 5:13-14; I Peter 5:5-7; Isaiah 56:1-7; Revelation 22:12-17.

Hence, I could ask: Humanist, why are you in denial of the truth about man? Do you not know that makes you full of fallacy and doomed to fail?

  1. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM
  2. ibid
  3. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.ART.HTM
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Changes

September 28th, 2013; By: Paul Tags: , , ,
Posted in Apologetics, Doctrinal | Comments Off
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Back in 2003-4 time frame, I penned a statement of faith that was based upon the statement of faith of the first true New Testament church I was in. What I did was essentially corrected and amended their statement as there were (and to this day still are) typographical errors, citation errors, and statements which were either nonsense, or were arcane enough so the average person could not actually understand what was expressed. Primarily, I did this to more fully express what I believed, and to solidify in my own mind how best to do that. Nothing accomplishes those purposes quite like writing.

In 2009, Ebenezer Baptist mission undertook the task of writing its statement of faith, which resulted in some changes to my statement, as I am under the authority of the mission. Most of the changes were not significant or substantial, but clarifying of held doctrines. A couple of articles were split for clarification, and one new was added (Of Liberty of the Conscience). With those basic changes the statement of faith was pretty much complete.

However, that was four years ago, and much teaching has gone on since then. There is a far better understanding of certain doctrines, and for the first time, an valid, defined, testable understanding of iniquity, transgression and sin. There is also a far better understanding of how man is made in the image of God. These things and others warranted looking again at the statement of faith to see what needed to be changed and/or clarified. This time, there are significant changes.

Do these changes alter the doctrine? Actually, no, they do not. What they do is clarify the foundations of the belief and add significant information to the doctrine, which strengthens the doctrine. Additionally, gaps and ambiguities are removed so there is no misunderstanding as to what is believed. To illustrate what I mean, article six (VI) is set forth below. First is the statement from 2009, and below it is the newly agreed to statement.

VI. Of The Creation (5/31/09)
I believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after his own likeness. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” Moreover, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old, and that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.

Some things to note in the original statement from 2009 are a lack of specificity as to where everything came from, and whether the twin errors of the Gap theory and day/age theory are allowed. Moreover, only the minimum is mentioned about the creation of man. Since the majority of the rest of the statement of faith deals with man and the LORD’s provision of salvation in Christ, it is rather odd that so little is mentioned about man and how he was created, and why he is accountable.

You are free to judge, but I believe that is fixed with the following statement:

VI. Of The Creation (9/25/13)
I believe in the Genesis account of the creation of the physical universe; that it is to be accepted as factually and literally true: That all things which are, were created ex nihlo, or out of nothing, by the infinite knowledge and power of the LORD God. I reject any assertion that the account is allegorical or figurative as pertaining to the events of creation and their sequence. I reject as spurious both the “Gap” theory and “Day/Age” theory of the creation account. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not, a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms. I believe, as Scripture plainly expresses, that all animal and plant life was made directly, and God’s established law was, and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” I believe that all of creation was formed fully functional, or “in-process,” as if it had always existed; that all life was created in a mature state. I hold, in accordance with the Biblical timeline, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old; that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.

I hold as true, that man was created directly by the LORD God, and in the similitude of God. That this likeness is found in five distinct aspects: That man is a tri-unity of parts: soul, spirit, and body; That man has the innate ability to judge; That man has free-will within the parameters of his given existence; That man is creative, being able to bring forth out of that which exists; That man has the moral imperatives of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, grace, and love. Accordingly, man is the pinnacle of the LORD’s creation. I believe that the LORD God, having bestowed upon man such attributes, holds every individual accountable for the conduct of his existence.

It is my prayer that the updated articles in the statement of faith are a benefit and a blessing as they are intended to clarify and answer why certain things are as they are. Additionally, there are three (3) new articles which are identified as necessary:

Of Righteousness and Iniquity
Of the Penalty for Sin
Of the Father

Two have already been added, and the third will be shortly. These articles are necessary as these subjects are prone to error and very little is taught and/or understood about them.

May you be blessed,

Paul W. Davis

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Mindless Drivel

September 11th, 2013; By: Paul Tags: ,
Posted in Apologetics, Religious Nonsense | Comments Off
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So the new Pope wrote a letter. And what did he write? Well, it sounds sort of nice. Indeed, it probably will play well in some progressive circles, but for the hardened atheist, the following by Pope Francis is, well… drivel:

In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”1

Uh-huh. However, last time I checked, the Catechism said no such thing, and, as far as I can tell, the Pope is NOT greater than the Catechism. In fact, the Pope can be fired, but if you did away with the Catechism there would be NO Catholic Church.

It seems to me, that the Catechism trumps the Pope whenever there is any conflict — and there certainly is conflict here.

II. HANDING ON THE FAITH: CATECHESIS
4 Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ.2

PART TWO — THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO — THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE — THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION
ARTICLE 1 — THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”5

I. WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”6

1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.3

Perhaps if the “vicar of Christ” had bothered to read his own church’s documentation, he might not have engaged in mindless drivel…

  1. Pope Francis assures sceptics: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven, The Independent, 9/11/2013
  2. CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
  3. CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
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When We Reference Verses. . .

September 8th, 2013; By: Paul Tags: , ,
Posted in Doctrinal | Comments Off
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One of the problems I see among those who decide to adopt Statements of Faith, or write articles in which Scripture is referenced and quoted, is a decided lack of care about who said what in Scripture. What I mean by this, is when a verse is needed to support a point, frequently little care is taken about which verse is used, so long as it supports the point the author or church wants supported.

For instance, my personal Statement of Faith, and consequently Ebenezer Baptist’s Statement of Faith were adopted, corrected (duplicate and obviously incorrect verse references) and then modified to accurately reflect what is believed. However, at the time this was done, there was not extensive study done about what certain books of the Bible were about (specifically Job and Ecclesiastics) other than what was immediately obvious.

Hence, verse references were retained from those two books in the Statements of Faith, and not properly vetted as to applicability. The verses seemed to make the point that was desired to make, and that was the “end” of it, so to speak.

But, it is not the end of it. Rather, it is entirely unsuitable to reference someone in Scripture who said something that was correct, but nonetheless had wrong doctrine, to support a point of right doctrine. You are, or will be, shooting yourself in the proverbial foot.

For instance, in making the point about Justification in Christ, the very first passage referenced came from the book of Job and stated this:

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places. Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise? How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:1-6)

Because the passage speaks of man’s justification (or lack thereof) before the LORD God, it was used in the original Statement of Faith to support the point that man cannot justify himself before the LORD by his own power. Seems fair enough, and was retained as scriptural support. However, as we read further on in Job, perhaps that is not the wisest position to take:

And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. (Job 42:7)

As the LORD God makes clear here, Bildad the Shuhite did not speak the things that were proper doctrine concerning the LORD, as Job had. Specifically, the LORD is here referring to the salvation that is in Christ. Job argued for justification by faith in the Redeemer to come — which is Jesus Christ. Eliphaz and his friends, one of which is Bildad the Shuhite, did not. Rather, they argued for quid pro quo with the LORD, or what is better known as the “Prosperity Gospel.”

Not exactly a sterling reference. Also, not someone I would want to lean on to prove my point about a doctrine that he, Bildad, obviously rejected.

Suffice to say, when the article on Justification was updated, that verse reference was removed.

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