When contending for the faith, it is important to understand that there are various ways people interpret Scripture. The correct method, called the grammatical-historical approach, seeks to use the grammar of the text to indicate what the original author intended for us to know. In other words, the author used actual words with meaning to indicate a message to us. The authors didn’t write the words of Scripture simply to put ideas on paper, but they were trying to tell us about God.
Professor Stephen Hawking is telling us his world view in this meme: “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win. Because it works.” Hawking is a theoretical physicist and known to be an atheist. He has declared that God does not exist, nor does the afterlife, and that those who believe in a heaven are “afraid of the dark.” (We are. But that is another post).
What I would like to do is to think through his quote above. Since this meme floats around Twitter and Facebook, it deserves a tad bit of attention. The first thing that we must recognize is that Professor Hawking is right on the basis of religion, all religions are based upon authority of some nature. Now, we as Christians know, that there is only one religion that is based on the Triune God’s authority, and that is Christianity. The rest of the religions of the world, are based upon authority, but not the authority of the Triune God.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a short skirmish with an atheist on Twitter concerning my post: Ten Reasons Christianity is Far Superior to Other Religions. You can’t really debate on Twitter since you are limited to 140 characters. This leads to short attacks, without any reasoning, proof, or clarification.
The first observation is that Critical Thinker, isn’t. He states that Christianity has no proof, and comes from the imagination of the writers of the New Testament. This leads to Atheistic Assumption Number 1. Atheists always assume that they have the intellectual upper hand when it comes to Christianity because THEY don’t believe the claims made by Christians. Christianity has multitudes of great intellectual thinkers, men like John Calvin, Augustine, Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and Cornelius Van Til, just to name a few. The religion’s simplicity does not mean that it is only for the simple-minded.
When it comes to debating with atheists, we must recognize that for atheists, their arguments against God are of the upmost of importance. Their entire lives and eternal future (or lack thereof) depend upon them being right. It is vital for mankind to be nothing more than a globule of chemical reactions. It is absolutely essential that Christians are wrong in their worldview and declaration of a holy God.
Originally published November 21, 2010.
No, I’m not asking you if you have some sort of parasite in your ears, but do you have ears that “itch” to be affirmed in your sin? This was the warning that the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about what would take place in the Last Days (we are in the Last Days). Men would set up for themselves preachers that would affirm them in their sin instead of preaching the truth of the gospel showing the need for repentance from sin.
Here are the Apostle’s words:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Paul is telling us that men will turn away from the soundness and truth of the gospel.
Often times we hear objections from non-believers that we cannot trust the Bible because it was written by men. The implication is that the Bible is fallible because men wrote it, men who were simply giving their opinion, or worse, conspiring to say something that God never said. It is the quickest way to stifle conversation or thought among non-believers. Never mind the fact that men are making this judgment that we cannot trust the Bible. Which means if men are so fallible that we cannot trust the Bible, then how can we trust their opinion that we cannot trust the Bible because men made it, and they are men, and men are making opinion statements… wow, that was confusing. But you get the idea.
Yes, Fred Luter, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, made an impassioned plea at the recent convention to quit arguing over theology and seek the lost, showing his hand and laziness.
“Because of our love for the Scripture we’ve had some differences of opinion, but the problem is that while we are arguing about these topics, lost men, women, boys, and girls are dying and going to hell every single day,” said Luter on the first night of the denomination’s 2013 annual meeting.
“While we are arguing about these topics and debating about these topics, America is going to hell every day,” he continued. “Time is running out. We do not have time for debate. We do not have time for arguing. The world needs to know that Jesus saves … for the sake of those who are lost.”
Read more here.
His comments are supposed to be the ultimate trump card in any argument. The problem is that it shows his hand. Luter doesn’t believe in God’s election, God’s sovereignty, God’s greater purpose of His glory. This shows us that Luter thinks he is the one that will be saving people. He is straight from the Charles G. Finney school of manipulation, which has done more to damage to the church than anything the government could do.
This is the same as the pastor I had a dialog who recently made the claim:
I will readily admit, even after graduating from Dallas, that I am a theological novice in many arenas, including John Calvin and Calvinism. I simply love Jesus, desire to be in His presence and am trying to bring as many people as I can one step closer to Him.
There is no excuse for this kind of laziness in the pastorate. For one, the man is not being honest. He says he wants to bring them closer to Jesus, but how is he to do this if He is not willing to dive deeper in the word and grow in his Christology (a branch of theology that focuses on the person and work of Christ). What does he intend to do, give them fuzzy feelings so that they too have fuzzy feeling about Jesus? The Bible never calls us to such slop. (Calvinism is at the heart of the SBC’s arguing by the way.)
The real problem behind both pastor’s is that they fostering anti-intellectualism under the guise of loving Jesus. This really is part of Satan’s attack on the church. He doesn’t want us growing in our understanding but resting in our feelings.
The Bible stands against this false philosophy in several places. The first is found in 2 Corinthians 10:2-6 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
In their noble attempts to “love Jesus” and “win the lost,” the two men are fighting Satan’s battle for him, instead of bring every thought into captivity and being willing to give an answer when ready to do so. Paul doesn’t want us to play stupid, but study in order to present ourselves approved and to be able to take on every stronghold that exalts itself against the word of God. This means we have to think and use our brains. We are never to stop studying God’s word in order to take on the spiritual battle we face. We must constantly be refining our beliefs and arguments so as to be used by God.
If you want a better exposition of this thought here, listen to Simon Brace on the following mp3. He is using 2 Corinthians 10:6ff to really drive home the point that we must be ready to argue for the faith. He shows that we are to argue, defend, embrace it, understand it and use it to advance the kingdom. There is no room for anti-intellectualism or sloppy Jesus love in the body of Christ. To make those things out as somehow noble, is truly deceptive, which comes from the great deceiver.
Plus, Wintery Knight has some on it as well.
The point is that we are never to stop diving into the word. We always need to be growing in our understanding and, as the above passage shows us, make arguments for the faith, taking every thought captive. We are to be ready to fight for what the Scriptures say and defend the faith on every front.
Both pastors above, who seem to be so noble in their sloppy doctrine, are actually doing more damage than good. Hopefully, they will repent of such laziness.
A friend wrote me this past week and asked me to listen to a recent sermon by her pastor. I typically only go to one place to listen to sermons, SermonAudio.com* because most sermons today are more inspirational chats from a qualified life coach and rarely resemble the preaching of God’s word. (Just the fact that pastors are referred to as life coaches and team members at all, shows us the desperate state of the church).
The reason my friend wanted me to listen is because at about minute 43, the man complained about suffering from making the Bible an idol. I know what he meant, but it really disturbed my friend. There are some times when we revere the Bible so much that we exalt it above the God it exalts. I have no reason to believe that this is a major sin in the church, given that most don’t even open their Bibles. But that is another post.
For Phoebe and Joseph.
Phoebe has made the claim that the RCC is a cult. Joseph responded that it was not. Phoebe’s response is below. So that both don’t take over the comments section of the Top 10 Hymns, I’m posting Phoebe’s comments here, so they can respond on this post.
I welcome both of their input to the topic. However, I don’t wish to engage right now. This is not my battle.
Here recently in the gay union debate, those who have held to God’s word in this debate have been labelled Bible Thumpers by those… actually on the right. It was started on Bill O’Reilly’s show with one of his guest and even Rush Limbaugh picked up on it. It shows again why I can’t stand Bill O’Reilly. He is conservative on about three percent on all things that are important to conservative Christians, and then he is moderate on everything else, yet so many treat him as if he is holding the flag for us. He is not. He is not one of us. He never was.