Is Hell Eternal?

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.

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Battling With the Closed Mind of an Atheist

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.

Here is a bit of how it got started:  Atheists 001

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.

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Leaders of Other Religions Need Christ for Salvation Just as Much as We Do

In a post I wrote several years ago called Ten Reasons Christianity is Superior to Other Religions, I noted that Christianity was superior because the leaders of other religions needed Christ for their salvation as well. Understanding this truth helps us dispel the notion that, somehow, leaders of other religions have found favor with the God who is, and therefore should be held on a reverent level.

For instance, the Dali Lama came to Dallas a few years back and I was surprised at the number of Christians who went to see him. Members of my family stood in line so they could listen to this supposedly spiritual guru give his wisdom about life. These people ended up pouring out praise and adoration on the man; they assumed that since he is the leader of another religion, he must be holy and must have found favor with God.

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Do You Have “Itching Ears?”

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.

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In Ephesus

Taken from a sermon that I preached at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lufkin, TX on November 30, 2014.

When people find out that I’m a Presbyterian pastor, I get asked if I believe in predestination. On one such incident, I told the man that asked me the question that I did believe in predestination and election. He then asked me for my support of such a belief.

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In the Beginning, God!

I really do like the way that the Bible starts out in Genesis 1:1. Moses writes the first few words of the Bible as a stated fact. He doesn’t ask if we think there was a god, or there might have been a god, but “In the beginning God…” He writes as if he were telling a story about something that happened just that morning.

“This morning, I got up out of bed…” A simple statement about my day and when I make it, no one assumes it’s not true. In fact, if we were to ask the same questions of the atheist when they make an obvious statement like the one found in Genesis 1:1, we might just frustrate them a bit. “Really, how do we know you even exist to get up out of bed?” “What scientific evidence do you have for your rising up out of bed, and for your existence at all?” “How can you prove you got up out of bed this morning, and how do we know you won’t skew the results of this proof?” Or worse, “Sorry, but you don’t exist, therefore you did not get out of bed at all.”

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“But The Bible Was Written By Men!”

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.

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From the Department of “Let’s Just Love Jesus and Ignore Theology” Comes This…

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. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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, 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.

Judge Not

A great explanation of the “judge not” passage that liberals and atheists love to twist out of context.

Tides and Turning

I envision a lost man standing before Jesus Christ at the final judgment, having a strong sense of the fate that awaits. He cries out, ‘Judge not Jesus! You said it yourself! I read it in red!’

I then imagine that Jesus goes on to explain to the man that he has misinterpreted Jesus’ words: ‘Did you not also read that you are to remove the log from your own eye so that you can see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s? I have no log in my eye. My eye is clear, and I see you as you are. I judge accordingly, and my judgment is true and right.’

In my imagination, Jesus continues, ‘Did you not read that I told my disciples not to cast pearls before the swine? Did I not mean that they had to be able to judge a swine when they…

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Putting Asunder What God Has Joined

Bill Smith, a fellow teaching elder in the PCA, has put together a great piece on divorce over at his blog The Christian Curmudgeon. The Westminster Confession of Faith has given two reasons for divorce. The first is that of adultery, in which the offending party has had actual physical relations with someone other than their spouse, thereby breaking the one-flesh union of the couple. The other is desertion, in which one spouse leaves the other.

He discusses both positions and shows that the two reasons are biblical. He also gives us a good section on the church’s responsibility in the matter:

What is the responsibility of the church? The church’s responsibility is (1) to train its youth according to the Biblical teaching regarding sexuality and marriage; (2) to do everything possible to strengthen the marriages of its members; (3) to uphold Biblical standards regarding the grounds for divorce; (4) to approach every troubled couple with love, understanding, and help with the goal of restoring the relationship; (5) to support the party who does not cause the divorce*; (6) to minister to the needs of children for whom divorce is almost always destructive; (7) to seek pastorally, with humility and showing grace, to help the erring party to repent and find forgiveness, according to his/her profession; and (8) as a last resort to use the Bible’s disciplinary process (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1) to uphold the honor of Christ, to protect the purity of the church, and to reclaim the person who (it is be hoped) had temporarily gone astray.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

“Gay Marriage” Shows Us Why Theology Matters

StraightPrideOver the weekend I came across an article by Dr. Peter Jones who pointed out that the recent shift by supposed “conservative” pastors on the issue of homosexual marriage, is due to the fact that they are theologically illiterate. Jones was commenting on the recent article by Dave Thompson of BlueHead Publishing who rips Genesis 2:18 to shreds when he admits that man should not be alone and concludes that gay people should be able to be with other gay people.

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For Phoebe & Joseph: RCC Cult or Not?

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.

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Jesus Defines Marriage For Us: We Don’t Need the Supreme Court’s Definition

I know that many people are waiting with baited and stinky breath on the United States Supreme Court to tell us what the definition of marriage is according to the Constitution, but the Supreme Being of all eternity has already defined it for the Christian. In other words, it matters not what the Supreme Court says, as Christians, Jesus has done so for us.

Matthew 19:4-6 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

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We Did NOT Just Vote for a New Pope

I guess I do need to write this post, given the fact that so many of my friends and acquaintances on Facebook had to rush and tell everyone that “we have a new pope.” I immediately responded with this:

BTW, “WE” did not just choose a new pope. Remember brothers and sisters in the LORD, “We” are not Catholic. We are protestants. The pope is AN anti-christ and is seated as the head of the church, whereas we believe that only Christ is the head of the church (Read Colossians). So please, fellow protestants and Christians, quit lauding this as something special. It’s just another move of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.

Let the Timothy bashing begin. How dare I say anything against our newest celebrity, or should I say, our celebrity du jour? How dare I infer that there might be some truth that is actually confrontational? How dare I stand on some convictions?

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Top 5 Abused Bible Verses

In working on my sermon this week, I’ve come across one of the most abused verses in Scripture. It’s not as abused today as it was some 70 years ago, but it is still one of the most abused passages of Scripture. The passage is John 8:31-32  “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Only in it’s abuse, those using it only quote verse 32, without the first part of the conditional clause.

A conditional clause means that there is a condition to knowing the truth. Knowing the truth means that we are His disciples. Being His disciples mean that we follow Him and His word. Yet countless people use the old King James Version, Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, in a manner to indicate that the truth is just floating about for anyone to find it. It is not, for truth to be know, we must know it in the light of Christ.

I’m reminded of my childhood growing up in the cult of Christian Science and see that portion of the passage on the inside cover to Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Please note: she has no keys to Scripture. Her book is filled with senseless drivel. She doesn’t know Christ, God or the truth). The passage is used in such a way that it suggests that objective truth is just floating about and all we need to do is look for it. It’s not. The only true way to know real Truth is to know Christ and be known by Him (Matthew 7:21ff). Truth is not disconnected from Christ.

We also see this passage on the building of countless universities across the land. There too, it’s put forth as if truth is out there for anyone looking for it apart from Christ. I know the arch-rival of my own university, texas university, has the scripture emblazoned on one of the buildings. However I don’t think that school, or any other state-run school that has the passage emblazoned on campus is advocating their students become disciples and followers of Christ.

The point is that when Christ uttered those words, He was in a heated debate with the Jews about His identity and their need to be freed from sin. He wasn’t throwing up the idea that truth was to be known apart from Him. Knowing the truth means we must be “in Christ,” and by being “in Christ” we will know truth about who He is and who we are. We are sinners in need of a Savior, and the Truth is that He is that Savior. Being in Him means we are freed from one of our greatest foes: sin. We cannot be truly free unless sin is dealt with, and only through Christ is that sin dealt with. Otherwise we will die in our sins, as Jesus warned the Jews (John 8:21).

This is why this verse makes my Top 5 list of the most abused passages in history. People have abused it in an attempt to make themselves seem erudite in the pursuit of truth. Yet, truth pursued apart from Christ does us no good at all.

4. Number 4 on the list is Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. The reason this one makes the list is that far too many people use it as a quick fix to someone else’s problems. Your cousin just died in a car wreck? Romans 8:28. You have cancer? Romans 8:28. You just lost your home to foreclosure? Romans 8:28. Your cat had puppies? Romans 8:28.

It is abused because of the way that it is used in Christian circles. People use it in an attempt to belittle the struggles of others and this is unconscionable. It is thoughtless, and mean. Paul writes that we are to weep with those who weep in Romans 12:15, not throw Romans 8:28 in their faces.

To abuse this passage is to ignore the fact that Christians have been called to suffer just as Christ suffered. I know, suffering is one of those things that polite Christians do not talk about. But it is a reality of the Christian life. To deny it, is to deny the calling every Christian has in life. So when someone suffers, don’t throw up a quick passage so you can sooth your conscience and be on your way. Sit down with them, and be with them and weep with them.

3. Number 3 on the list is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This verse is abused because it is ripped out of context. The context is that Paul is saying he has learned to be content whether he has plenty or he is abased, both to abound and suffer need. He does not say that he can conquer the world because he has Philippians 4:13.

This verse should not be the foundation of every motivational speaker to come down the pike. That is not what Paul is saying. In fact, he would probably be aghast at the idea that so many are using this passage in such a manner, given that Jesus Christ conquers the world and our worlds, we do not. We are mere servants, not tiny gods out to conquer all that is before us.

2. Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This passage is abused among the haters of Christianity. It’s not used to teach us to guard against being hypocritical, as Jesus intended it to be used, but used to silence anyone who would espouse any godly standard above that of being a dog. Jesus isn’t giving a blanket statement for not judging, but given a lesson on how to judge rightly.

I like what Paul Washer is reported to have said concerning this verse: “People always tell me, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ I reply, ‘Twist not Scripture, lest ye be like Satan.'”

1. John 3:16 For God so loved the world… You know my hatred of the abuse of this passage. Far too many use it to justify their ungodly behavior and lack of holiness because of God’s love. In other words, “For God so love the world, I can live and believe as I please, and Jesus is there to take care of everything for me.”

This passage is also the foundation of so much bad theology that I think we should stop quoting it, and quote all of John 3 to bring it back into light. Anything less than this is to abuse the fulness of what Christ was saying in John 3.

There you have it, my Top-5 abused passages of Scripture. What are yours?

Top 10 Posts of 2012

It is that time again, the time that we look back and reflect upon our accomplishments. It’s a time when we go the stats page and see what people have been reading. It’s a time to think about how I’m making an impact for the Kingdom of God. So, without further wordiness, here are the Top 10 Posts of 2012. Please note, some of these posts may not have been posted in 2012, but were the most read in 2012.

Number One — Blue Bell Ice Cream: Top 10 Flavors — Yes, coming in at number one, making an impact for the Kingdom of God, is this little ditty that I posted back on July 5, 2011, and comes it an number one with 9,394 hits. Apparently the post got snatched up by Google and every time someone Googles Blue Bell Ice Cream, my post come up. It’s amazing how many people are interested in Blue Bell Ice Cream. This is a good way to increase stats. Take something very popular, and write about it. I did the same thing with Oreo Cookies, but it didn’t make the Top 10 list for the year.

Number Two — Mike Sherman Shows His True Character — This one was simply a repost of Mike Sherman’s letter to high school coaches in several newspapers across the state of Texas. It comes in at number two with with 6,352 hits, but is remarkable because it holds the number one post of all time hits in a single day. I got 2,610 hits the day I posted it, showing that what he wrote at the time was really of interest to people. I posted it because it showed that Sherman truly is a man of character. I was completely surprised by how many read it.

Number Three — The Dreaded Brown Recluse Widow Tarantula — A humorous piece that pokes fun and our fear of spiders, this one actually started gaining traction long after I posted it on April 29, 2011. It falls into this position with 1,119 hits for the year.

Number Four — Cremation or Burial: A Biblical Perspective — Finally, we get to something of significance, something that deals with our views of life, something that has eternal ramifications. However… this is one of the pieces that I wish were NOT in the Top 10. After reading it over and giving it some thought, I feel the piece is full of holes and leaps in logic and therefore, really not well argued. So please, don’t read it.

Number Five — Top 10 Most Noble Jobs in the World — The premise is that since these are jobs that no one longs to do, they are noble because they are so necessary to our lives. It comes in at number five with 995 hits, and is the first one that drops below 1,000 hits.

Number Six — Top 10 Reasons I Love Christmas — This one came on with a surge as the year came to a close and finished with 978 hits.

Number Seven — Neil Boortz: Excellent Commencement Speech — This is a speech that was never given, but what Neil would say if given the opportunity. This post received 909 hits.

Number Eight — We Cry Abba/Father, Not Daddy — Finally, one that is theological that I actually like. I’m making the point that Abba does not equate to Daddy as some have tried to say. It makes the list with 873 hits.

Number Nine — Top 10 Reasons Christianity is Far Superior to Any Other Religion — This one is getting a lot of play because of those opposed to the faith more than those who are for it. Those of us “in Christ” know the real reason Christianity is superior is because of Christ and all that comes with being “in Christ.”

Number Ten — The About Page — guess people were trying to figure out who I am. The next was the page on Calvinism, followed by Against the Cults page.

BTW, the overall readership of my page is up over the past year. For instance, the number one post for 2011 was The Godfather which had 4,292 hits for 2011, while this year’s number one post more than doubles that hit count. This shows that if you just stay at it, you will build up readership.

King James Only?

Another round of arguments is being made for the King James version of the Bible by a man named Sam Gipps. I won’t post his message here, but give you Dr. James White’s response to the claims of Gipps.

The King James only people are quite interesting. What they are trying to claim is that the 1611 King James version of the Bible is the only “true” Bible we have left. What they mean to say is that the only true Bible is this particular translation into English. It’s not the Greek text that the translation was based upon, but the translation itself. This means that the only people who have the true Bible are English-speaking fundamentalist. I’m sure the appeal is made within these circles that the only true Christians left on the entire planet earth are those who have the King James Bible. In a sense, it makes these people almost cult like in their beliefs. I’ve also written about KJV only people here.

Here is Dr. White’s first response:

Here is Part 2:

Also Part 3:

14 Accusations Against Christianity

The following accusations come from Sasha, who was commenting on my Top Reasons Christianity Is Superior to Any other Religion post.  I wondered if she was hurt by a church in my comments there, and here is her response:

No, I wasn’t hurt by a church. I went to a Christian school until 5th grade and loved it. The people are amazing. Just because someone finds illogic in your faith, doesn’t mean they’ve been “hurt.” I’ve been hurt more trying to discover the religion I have now but through an intellectual approach and sincerity, I saw the beauty of it. Christianity doesn’t make sense whatsoever.

I appreciate your kindness and I really wish more Christians were like you. Take care.

So my prayers are that the Spirit will move in her life and she will see the sense of true Christianity over her current religions, which I wonder if she is not a Jehovah’s Witness given her propensity for logic and her copy of the “true word.”

For apologetic purposes, here are my response to her 14 claims (her claims are in bold):

1. Christianity is the only religion where 1=3 and 3=1. Logic? Don’t think so.

This attack is often used by the skeptics of the faith and shows a misunderstanding of what we are saying about the Trinity. It also exalts human reason above the authority of Scripture as the final authority about what is true and not true. When we do this, we are making ourselves out to be gods and sitting in judgment of His word and revelation to us. This is a danger we all fall into when we come to Scripture and assume that something is true or not true based upon our own understanding of that truth.

Is God three in One? Yes, but let’s clarify what we mean by that. The Trinity is God in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but One God. He is One is His essence, in that all three persons of the Godhead are equal in nature, and deity, yet separate in their personhood. Therefore we know that the Father is fully God, the Son is fully God and the Holy Spirit is fully God, but all three are individual in their personhood. All three share in the same attributes but differ in their roles.

Just because we cannot get our minds around this truth does not nullify the truth itself. God is beyond logic and beyond our comprehension. So to say that Christianity is wrong because we cannot understand the God who reveals Himself in Scripture is arrogant on our part. We need to come to Scripture, and God, with a sense of humility admitting that we will never understand that which is beyond our comprehension. Since He has revealed Himself to us as a Triune God, we must accept these truths even though we cannot fathom them. Some might say that this makes God illogical. I’m not saying that at all. He is completely logical, but our minds are unable to grasp Him in this way.

For clarity, let me quote the WCF Larger Catechism on the Trinity:

Q. 7. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible,  every where present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

 

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?

A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?

A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?

A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

2. Christianity is the only religion where their (G)od can be killed by human hands. 

This is true. The Second Person of the Trinity came and dwelt among us as our representative, In order for our debts to be paid, we needed someone who represented us, therefore the One to die on the cross had to be fully human in order to pay that debt for us. Under the Old Testament system the goats and bulls that were sacrificed could not represent us, since they were not human. They merely pointed to the coming of One who would do so.

Another way to understand this is that since we are the sinners, the ones made in the image of God, then the One making that sacrifice would also have to be made in the image of God. By being human, Jesus fully represented us on the cross.

He was also fully God as well. This was so that He could fully bear up under the wrath of God, and more importantly, pay the eternal debt that we owe to God for our sin. We owe an eternal debt to God because we have sinned against One who is an eternal being. This is why no mortal man can pay off that debt with enough good works. How does one pay an eternal debt? We can either pay that debt by serving out our sentence in eternal hell, or we can have an eternal being pay it for us. This is why Jesus was fully God, and fully man. He represented us as the Son of Man, and satisfied the wrath of the eternal Father by being the Son of God.

He graciously chose to lay down His life on our behalf.  The beauty is that He was raised from the dead on the third day as He told us He would be. This shows God’s good pleasure in His Son. In doing so, we know that we have a true and real Savior that can truly save us from our sins.

However Sasha’s statement is also false. While Christ laid down His life on our behalf, the Father did not lay down His life, nor did the Holy Spirit. Did the God-Man die on the cross? Yes He did. Did God die that day? No He did not. We put to death the Savior, but killing the Triune God is an impossibility since we cannot kill that which is eternal.

3. Christianity is the only religion where your sin is automatically forgiven without effort.

Absolutely! We are saved by faith in Christ’s atoning works and not in ourselves, so that we cannot boast, even our faith is a gift from Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The problem with the assumption behind Sasha’s statement is that anyone can be forgiven for their sins with effort. This is what sets true Christianity apart from the rest of the religions of the world. All those in other religions are trying to “save” themselves through their own efforts. But our works are considered as filthy rags before the Father because they are tainted with our sin. This is why the unbeliever’s works are unacceptable.

In the Old Testament, the Jews had to offer up sacrifices that were unblemished and perfect. This wasn’t so they could be forgiven. Their sacrifices did not save them, but the sacrifices did point to the One who would save them, and was offered on their behalf without spot or blemish. The requirement that the sacrifice be without spot or blemish was to show the Israelites the necessity of a sinless sacrifice. The sacrifices had to be perfect in order to be acceptable to God. They were intended to paint a picture for the Jews so they could see the sinfulness of sin. Just one spot, or one tiny blemished, rendered the lamb unacceptable.

If our works, given to God, are tainted by sin in the least, they are unacceptable. Since we are all sinful and fallen, we have no works in and of ourselves to give to God to pay the eternal debt of sin we owe to Him.

This is why the Scriptures make it clear that Jesus was without sin. He is the acceptable sacrifice for those who would be saved.

By putting our faith in Him for salvation and forgiveness, His works and righteousness are imputed to us, and our sins are imputed to Him. He pays for our sins, and gives us His righteous works.

No other religion can compare because those in the other religions are sinful and fallen. Every so called “good work” they perform are done in sin, apart from Christ and are unacceptable to the Father. They cannot pay the eternal debt that they owe.

4.Christianity is the only religion where another person (oops sorry. GOD) takes the blame for everyone else’s sins. 

True, but not worded the way I would word it. Christ takes the wrath of God on for the sins of His children. He pays the debt for our sins because He is the only that can do so. (See question 2 above).

No other religion can satisfy God’s wrath. This is why the gospel is the love of God before mankind. He shows us that we are helpless, and then His Son voluntarily comes to earth to do what we cannot do. No other religion can come close to dealing with our sins, or reflecting God’s rich love toward His people.

5. Christianity is the only religion where their prophets were drunkards, adulterous, and incestuous (Noah, David, Lot, respectively).

Yup! The Bible is full of sinners, of which, Jesus came to save. As I like to point out, a majority of the Bible has been written by murderers (Moses, David and Paul). We fully admit that all those in the Scripture are sinful, fallen humans in need of a Savior.

The premise behind Sasha’s statement is wrong. She is presupposing that other religions have sinless leaders, therefore, they are authentic leaders and their religions are more pure. This is a false assumption because no one is sinless, except Christ alone. The men she mentions, Noah, David and Lot, are not in the Bible for us to follow. They were there pointing us to the sinless One to come.

Moses looked forward to Christ’s day, because he knew he needed a Savior. David wrote about THE LORD speaking to HIS LORD and setting up HIS LORD on the throne (Psalm 110). Paul called himself the chief among sinners, and counted all his life as dung, except the reality of knowing Jesus Christ.

Why does the Bible do this? It does this to show that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All are in need of a Savior. All fail to measure up to God’s holy standards, except Jesus HIMSELF, and He willingly laid down His life on the believer’s behalf. He said so Himself. He came to save sinners, not those who thought themselves well.

We do not look to the men of the Bible to be our guide. We look to Christ alone. Only He can save. Only He is worthy of worship. Only Christ is worthy of praise. The men of the Bible, just like we are, have feet of clay, are fallen, and in need of the perfect Savior.

6. Christianity is a religion where the people don’t even know their own scripture because it’s been altered thousands of times to fit their needs.

TRUE and FALSE.

Actually there are two accusations in this one. The first is that Christians don’t know their own Bible. There is truth to that on one hand. Many church goers do not know Scripture. However, those who are truly saved, truly trust in Christ, know God’s word because we know it leads to our spiritual well being. We cannot survive without God’s word…

As for the Bible being altered, this is a false charge. See this post here with Dan Wallace clarifying that the more ancient Greek manuscripts we find, the more certainty we have in the Bible given to us through history. Or as Bruce Metzger puts it, there are some 20,000 lines in the New Testament, and considering all the manuscripts we have, only 40 of those lines are up for debate as to their meaning. Of those 40 lines, none of them affect any major doctrine of Christianity. No other ancient manuscript has such an accuracy rating.

7. Christianity is a religion where the people cherry-pick the parts they want to follow and conveniently disregard the rest. (Did you know that pork, wine, and wearing white for men are prohibited in the Bible? Oh and women have to cover their heads or else shave off their hair.) 

This is one of those charges that not only Sasha makes, but those in the Gay community make as well. Please Sasha, stop making this claim. You are siding with company I don’t think you want to side with.

There are several charges. First, pork was forbidden under the Mosaic Covenant so that the Israelites were never to eat it nor keep pigs. They were seen as unclean animals. This is the same argument as the shellfish argument that many make. The problem is that the Mosaic Covenant has been set aside because is was the lesser covenant and replaced by the New Covenant (see the book of Hebrews). The dietary and ceremonial laws were all set aside with the coming of Christ and the institution of the New Covenant. Those who still hold to them are legalistic in their nature. This does not mean we are laying aside the moral laws found in the Ten Commandments. Those are still binding today, but the ceremonial and dietary laws have been laid aside.

As for wine, not sure what Sasha is referring to since our LORD instituted the LORD’s Supper using wine and Paul even recommends it for Timothy. I know in the Old Testament in Isaiah, that those who set their hearts on it for their being (making it idolatry) are condemned by the prophet for drunkenness, but no where is the use of wine forbidden.

As for the hair, it is true that if a woman has shaved her head, as the temple prostitutes of Paul’s day were known for doing, then they were to cover their heads. Otherwise, they were to grow their hair long for their covering.

8. Christianity is a religion where their god has to come in HUMAN FORM to mediate. Like he can’t do it from the heavens.

He could have done it from heaven, but chose to do otherwise in His wise and holy counsel. Jesus is our Mediator and was qualified to be so because of His earthly ministry and death on the cross. In fact, that was part of His mediation and the reason we have access to the Father. This charge is really against God’s plan for salvation. I agree that God could have done it in some other manner, but He chose to do it this way because it brings Him the most glory. This is really a charge against the mind of God and His decisions and we should not go there. Our ways are not His ways, and our thoughts are not His thoughts. To try and peer into the mind of God is exceedingly arrogant.

But also see above. Christ came in human form to represent us and fulfill all the Old Testament Law, as well as the whole of Scripture. He was the Second Adam. Whereby the first Adam brought sin into the world, thereby death, Christ is the Second Adam bringing righteousness and life.

Whereby Adam was given the charge to subdue the world, and failed, Jesus came to subdue it, the spiritual world, and the devil. This is why we have the miracles, showing Christ’s dominion over sickness, death, evil spirits, and Satan. He truly does what Adam was charged to do, but failed in his sinfulness.

9. Christianity is the only religion where there are two testaments that completely contradict each other.

To the untrained mind, I can see why this charge is made. But the two testaments affirm one another, especially in the prophecies given about Christ, the types of Christ’s portrayed there and fulfillment of all the promises in Christ.

The Bible is one plan of redemption from beginning to end, which is depicted in man’s fall, and God’s promise to redeem His people. You see the beginning of that in Genesis 3, the development of that covenant of grace through the people of God and it’s fulfillment in Christ. So to say that there is complete contradiction is a misunderstanding of God’s purposes, His covenants and His plan of redemption.

10. Christianity is a religion used to justify imperialism in the past.

Yes, this charge can be true. But so is every other religion if given the power, including atheism. Just because the adherents of a faith do not act in accordance to that faith does not negate the faith. We fully admit that the church is a mixed bag of both believers and non-believers (see wheat and tares/sheep and goat examples in the gospels). The more non-believers in the church lead to periods of unholiness and wickedness. The more true believers lead to more grace and liberty.

While this charge is true, it also must be pointed out that Sasha has freedom of religion because of Christianity and the liberties found in our religion. We have charitable organizations because of Christianity. We have freedom to worship whom we please because of Christianity and the liberty found there.

So while you may make this charge, remember the freedom you do have because of Christianity. Islam, as we are seeing, offers no such liberty.

11. Christianity is a religion where women are property.

This is false. Women were liberated because of Christianity. Jesus brought worth, value and dignity to women through His ministry and women are seen as having souls in Christianity. I would have to have more clarity to answer more fully. What do you mean by this?

12. Christianity is the only religion where unbaptized babies go to hell.

Several issues are wrapped up in this charge. First, being baptized does not guarantee someone entrance into heaven. We are saved by faith and faith alone in Christ alone for salvation.

Secondly, only God’s elect will go to heaven. This means only those who believe in Christ for salvation will be saved by Him. This includes those dying in infancy who are of the elect, will be saved. Baptism is not the saving mechanism. Faith is the saving mechanism and the Spirit moves when and where and how He pleases in a person’s life.

We know that the Spirit can move in an infant’s life at an early age because John the Baptist knew when His Savior entered the room even though both were still in the womb. The knowledge was based upon what the Spirit was doing in John, not in John’s ability to understand or reason out the truth. This is an example of God’s grace and what it takes to be saved. The Spirit must move in a person in order to change their hearts from one of stone to flesh in order for them to believe and be saved. It is all God’s grace, not our ability to reason or logically discern something. Even the most intelligent people in the world cannot save themselves through logic and reasoning. Salvation is all be God’s grace. Therefore if He chooses to save the elect who die in infancy, that is HIS choice, not ours.

Baptism has nothing to do with our election or faith. It is a sign that points to the greater reality of salvation in our lives. A sign merely points to something greater. It doesn’t do the saving itself.

13. Christianity is the only religion where they fool their children into being faithful through games, dancing, camps, and never actually really reading the scripture or letting them think for themselves. No intellectual approach whatsoever.

Depending on the church itself, this could be true. But the “no intellectual approach whatsoever” is a straw man. We are to love the LORD our God with our heart, soul, strength and minds, and we do when we teach the truths of Scripture to our children. This is why we catechize our children, so that they grow up knowing the truths of God’s word.

I would also ask that you spend some time reading the great minds of the faith, like Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, and a host of others, including John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Some of the greatest thinkers in Western Civilization have been Christians. It is sad that you are too closed minded and ignorant of their works to know this.

14. And last but not least, Christianity is a flawed religion that is “perfected by faith.

Not sure what she means by this one. We are perfected by faith, but I see no flaws in our religion. I see flaws in Christians, myself included. All that does is drive me back to my Savior, in whom there are no flaws.

I believe in the original words of the one true God and his book, not the current Bible that was written by man.

This statement leads me to believe that Sasha is a Jehovah Witness, but I could be wrong.

I hope the Spirit moves in her as she reads this to help her see the truthfulness of Christ and His religion for His people. But I know from experience that when a JW or Mormon come to your door, they are not truly open for debate. They seek merely to persuade and get you to sign their dotted lines. As Christians, we truly must wait on the Holy Spirit to move in the life of a person for them to be saved. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. It’s a disadvantage because we can only present the truth and trust in the Spirit to convince the lost of their need of Christ. If a person is truly to be saved, we must wait on the Spirit.

But it is an advantage because when the Spirit moves, the person in question truly is saved for all eternity. It is through God’s work and not ours that they are saved. May the Holy Spirit move in Sasha’s life and others who read this article.

The Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism

Sometimes the best way to learn is to read what we don’t believe the Bible is saying. The following is a parody of what a Semi-Pelagian would state in their catechism if they believed in using a catechism at all. It’s meant to be humorous, so please take it with a grain of salt.

Hattip: Kenneth

1. Q: What is the chief end of each individual Christian?
A: Each individual Christian’s chief end is to get saved. This is the first and great commandment.

2. Q: And what is the second great commandment?
A: The second, which is like unto it, is to get as many others saved as he can.

3. Q: What one work is required of thee for thy salvation?
A: It is required of me for my salvation that I make a Decision for Christ, which meaneth to accept Him into my heart to be my personal lord and saviour

4. Q: At what time must thou perform this work?
A: I must perform this work at such time as I have reached the Age of Accountability.

5. Q: At what time wilt thou have reached this Age?
A: That is a trick question. In order to determine this time, my mind must needs be sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce even to the division of bone and marrow; for, alas, the Age of Accountability is different for each individual, and is thus unknowable.

6. Q: By what means is a Decision for Christ made?
A: A Decision for Christ is made, not according to His own purpose and grace which was given to me in Christ Jesus before the world began, but according to the exercise of my own Free Will in saying the Sinner’s Prayer in my own words.

7. Q: If it be true then that man is responsible for this Decision, how then can God be sovereign?
A: He cannot be. God sovereignly chose not to be sovereign, and is therefore dependent upon me to come to Him for salvation. He standeth outside the door of my heart, forlornly knocking, until such time as I Decide to let Him in.

8. Q: How then can we make such a Decision, seeing that the Scripture saith, we are dead in our trespasses and sins?
A: By this the Scripture meaneth, not that we are dead, but only that we are sick or injured in them.

9. Q: What is the assurance of thy salvation?
A: The assurance of thy salvation is, that I know the date on which I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, and have duly written this date on an official Decision card.

10. Q: What is thy story? What is thy song?
A: Praising my Savior all the day long.

11. Q: You ask me how I know he lives?
A: He lives within my heart.

12. Q: And what else hast thou got in thine heart?
A: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.

13. Q: Where??
A: Down in my heart!

14. Q: Where???
A: Down in my heart!!

15. Q: What witness aid hath been given us as a technique by which we may win souls?
A: The tract known commonly as the Four Spiritual Laws, is the chief aid whereby we may win souls.

16. Q: What doth this tract principally teach?
A: The Four Spiritual Laws principally teach, that God’s entire plan for history and the universe centereth on me, and that I am powerful enough to thwart His divine purpose if I refuse to let Him pursue His Wonderful Plan for my life.

17. Q: What supplementary technique is given by which we may win souls?
A: The technique of giving our own Personal Testimony, in the which we must always be ready to give an answer concerning the years we spent in vanity and pride, and the wretched vices in which we wallowed all our lives until the day we got saved.

18. Q: I’m so happy, what’s the reason why?
A: Jesus took my burden all away!

19. Q: What are the means given whereby we may large crowds of souls in a spectacular manner?
A: Such a spectacle is accomplished by means of well-publicized Crusades and Revivals which (in order that none may be loath to attend) are best conducted anywhere else but in a Church.

20. Q: Am I a soldier of the Cross?
A: I am a soldier of the Cross if I join Campus Crusade, Boys’ Brigade, the Salvation Army, or the Wheaton Crusaders; of if I put on the helmet of Dispensationalism, the breastplate of Pietism, the shield of Tribulationism, and the sword of Zionism, having my feet shod with the gospel of Arminianism.

21. Q: Who is your boss?
A: My boss is a Jewish carpenter.

22. Q: Hath God predestined vessels of wrath to Hell?
A: God hath never performed such an omnipotent act, for any such thing would not reflect His primary attribute, which is Niceness.

23. Q: What is sanctification?
A: Sanctification is the work of my free Will, whereby I am renewed by having my Daily Quiet Time.

24. Q: What rule hath God for our direction in prayer?
A: The rule that we must bow our hands, close our heads, and fold our eyes.

25. Q: What doth the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A: The Lord’s Prayer teacheth us that we must never memorize a prayer, or use one that hath been written down.

26. Q: What’s the book for thee?
A: The B-I-B-L-E.

27. Q: Which are among the first books which a Christian should read to his soul’s health?
A: Among the first books which a Christian should read are the books of Daniel and Revelation, and The Late Great Planet Earth.

28. Q: Who is on the Lord’s side?
A: He who doth support whatsoever is done by the nation of Israel, and who doth renounce the world, the flesh, and the Catholic Church.

29. Q: What are the seven deadly sins?
A: The seven deadly sins are smoking, drinking, dancing, card-playing, movie-going, baptizing babies, and having any creed but Christ.

30. Q: What is a sacrament?
A: A sacrament is an insidious invention devised by the Catholic Church whereby men are drawn into idolatry.

31. Q: What is the Lord’s Supper?
A: The Lord’s Supper is a dispensing of saltines and grape juice, in the which we remember Christ’s command to pretend that they are His body and
blood.

32. Q: What is baptism?
A: Baptism is the act whereby, by the performance of something that seems quite silly in front of everyone, I prove that I really, really mean it.

33. Q: What is the Church?
A: The Church is the tiny minority of individuals living at this time who have Jesus in their hearts, and who come together once a week for a sermon, fellowship and donuts.

34. Q: What is the office of the keys?
A: The office of the keys is that office held by the custodian.

35. Q: What meaneth “The Priesthood Of All Believers”?
A: The Priesthood Of All Believers meaneth that there exists no authority in the Church, as that falsely thought to be held by elders, presbyters, deacons, and bishops, but that each individual Christian acts as his own authority in all matters pertaining to the faith.

36. Q: Who is the Holy Spirit?
A: The Holy Spirit is a gentleman Who would never barge in.

37. Q: How long hath the Holy Spirit been at work?
A: The Holy Spirit hath been at work for more than a century: expressly, since the nineteenth-century Revitalization brought about by traveling Evangelists carrying tents across America.

38. Q: When will be the “Last Days” of which the Bible speaketh?
A: The “Last Days” are these days in which we are now living, in which the Antichrist, the Beast, and the Thief in the Night shall most certainly appear.

39. Q: What is the name of the event by which Christians will escape these dreadful entities?
A: The event commonly known as the Rapture, in the which it is our Blessed Hope that all cars driven by Christians will suddenly have no drivers.

40. Q: When is Jesus coming again?
A: Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening, and maybe soon.

41. Q: When the roll, roll, roll, is called up yonder, where will you be?
A: There.

42. Q: Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!
A: Praise ye the Lord!

43. Q: Praise ye the Lord!
A: Hallelujah!

44. Q: Where will we meet again?
A: Here, there, or in the air.

45. Q: What can a pastor say while all heads are bowed?
A. Yes, I see that hand.

46. Q. How is a person saved?
A. If you walk this aisle…”

47. Q. And what requirement is there if you should fall into sin?
A. You just need to rededicate your life to God.

48. Q: Can I hear an Ay-men?
A: Ay-men.