Saturday, March 16, 2013
That is, to say the least, not even close to always true.
A humble and hungry disciple is a wonderful thing in God’s kingdom…But these same qualities can also make them a target for demonic deception. Satan is a master manipulator, and as natural children are easy to manipulate in their innocence and ignorance, so are spiritual children. Zeal can make them hasty, and humility can make them naïve.
The hungry disciple believes that God loves everyone and wants all people to come to repentance.
So a teaching that says God does not want everyone to be saved makes no sense to them.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life (Rom 5:6-10.
They have hope for people and sincerely believe that if they labor and pray for souls to come into the kingdom, they will. So the doctrine that says God has already determined how many will be saved and absolutely nothing can change that number, seems unbelievable to them.
But sooner or later they read a passage in the Bible that shocks and confuses them. They read something like, “Before the twins were born, God loved Jacob and hated Esau” (Rom. 9:13). Then their heads begin to spin. They can’t make heads or tails of it.
At this point they usually ask their mentor what it means and accept whatever explanation that is given, whether it makes sense or not.
One of the common defenses of Calvinism’s converts goes something like this, “I didn’t accept Calvinist theology because I wanted to. In fact, I hoped that it wasn’t true. I only accepted it because I couldn’t ignore what the Bible plainly teaches.”
This confession carries with it a subtle accusation, whether the Calvinist brother is aware of it or not. It says, “You don’t follow the Bible, but your desires. You want the Bible to teach that God loves everyone equally, so you refuse to submit to the truth of God’s word.” This accusation often has its intended affect on the sensitive conscience of the humble follower of Christ.This accusation brings the disciple into self-doubt and prepares his heart for the errors of Calvinism. By accepting the subtle accusation that his Spirit renewed conscience is actually just human reasoning, he is stepping into dangerous territory.
He hastily accepts the apparent meaning of certain verses, not because it is confirmed by the rest of scripture, but because it is the quickest means of proving his devotion to God’s word and silencing the accusations assailing his heart.
He is afraid to allow his conscience to influence him. He forgets that when he repented of his sins and became a Christian his conscience had been molded by the testimony of the Gospel message.
The Calvinist’s confession also carries with it a strange assumption, again, usually without his awareness. The assumption is, “If something is hard to accept, accepting it must prove a sincere devotion to God.” This reasoning is similar to that of the Catholic monks of the middle ages who believed fasting almost continually, taking vows of poverty and even beating themselves with whips, somehow revealed the depth of their devotion to God’s glory. Calvinism’s convert makes a similar error. By submitting to a view of God that is distasteful to his understanding of justice and mercy he feels reassured that he is devoted to God’s word.
The disciple is now eager to prove his devotion to God’s truth. In this state of mind he turns to Romans 9:20 and reads, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’”
The Calvinist’s testimony, whether he knows it or not, has been used to accuse and manipulate his brother in Christ…With this sincere commitment his fate is sealed. The error of Calvinism has taken hold of his conscience, and it will not easily loosen its grip.
Calvinism comes to deceive and manipulate the sincere devotion of the spiritual children in God’s kingdom.
Calvinism is like a manipulative elder brother influencing his little brother into a sinful action. The elder brother doesn’t have to say, “Steal that CD or I will hit you.” He has a more foolproof way of getting his little brother to do his dirty work. Instead of direct intimidation he uses simple psychology. He says, “You are too little to be here with us big boys. Go home!” To this the younger brother predictably replies, “I am big!” “Ok,” the elder brother continues, “then steal that CD to prove it. But I know you will not do it. You’re a chicken! You’re too small to do it!” It is not hard to guess what happens next. The little brother promptly steals the CD…This is the strategy of Calvinism’s irresistible error.
Calvinism boasts that it has a monopoly on devotion, just as the monks of the Middle Ages did.
It is the hardest philosophy to swallow, so it must be the most God-glorifying theology on the market. After all, it says that God is everything and that Man is nothing?
God is the only participant in salvation and mankind does nothing to “help” God save him.
Calvinist leader Justin Taylor has published on his blog a great post that really captures the attitude and approach of the Society of Evangelical Arminians (SEA) regarding Calvinists and Arminians receiving one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and treating one another with love and respect despite our sharp disagreements.
A humble and hungry disciple is a wonderful thing in God’s kingdom…But these same qualities can also make them a target for demonic deception. Satan is a master manipulator, and as natural children are easy to manipulate in their innocence and ignorance, so are spiritual children. Zeal can make them hasty, and humility can make them naïve.The Calvinist’s testimony, whether he knows it or not, has been used to accuse and manipulate his brother in Christ…With this sincere commitment his fate is sealed. The error of Calvinism has taken hold of his conscience, and it will not easily loosen its grip.Calvinism comes to deceive and manipulate the sincere devotion of the spiritual children in God’s kingdom…Calvinism is like a manipulative elder brother influencing his little brother into a sinful action. The elder brother doesn’t have to say, “Steal that CD or I will hit you.” He has a more foolproof way of getting his little brother to do his dirty work. Instead of direct intimidation he uses simple psychology. He says, “You are too little to be here with us big boys. Go home!” To this the younger brother predictably replies, “I am big!” “Ok,” the elder brother continues, “then steal that CD to prove it. But I know you will not do it. You’re a chicken! You’re too small to do it!” It is not hard to guess what happens next. The little brother promptly steals the CD…This is the strategy of Calvinism’s irresistible error.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said Saturday he wanted "a poor church for the poor" in his first remarks to the media since he was elected leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Wearing simple white robes and plain black shoes, he explained how he decided to name himself after St. Francis of Assisi: When he reached two-thirds of the vote in the conclave, a fellow cardinal embraced him and said, "Don't forget the poor."
"That's when I thought of Francis of Assisi," he said. "And that is how the name came to me: Francis of Assisi, the man of poverty, of peace."
He added: "This is what I want, a poor church for the poor."
That brought to mind for me one of the writings of another Pope, “John Paul the Great”, whose encyclical letter, Veritatis Splendor, relates and expounds this passage:
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The question is, just how much does Pope Francis I now want “a poor church”? How much interest does he have in selling all the Roman Catholic Church’s possessions, and giving the money to the poor?
One of the most famous moments in St. Francis's life is the day he was passing by the church of St. Damiano. It was old and near collapse. From St. Bonaventure's "Life of Francis of Assisi": "Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray. Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and consolation. . . . While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord's cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, telling him three times: 'Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.'" Francis was amazed "at the sound of this astonishing voice, since he was alone in the church." He set himself to obeying the command.
Go and repair my house, which is falling into ruin. Could the new pope's intentions be any clearer?
But after the great hopefulness of Vatican II, and the long and “great” papacies of JPII (with Ratzinger as the “doctrinal watchdog”) and then Ratzinger the great theologian, how in the world is “my house” [in this metaphor, the “One True Church”] falling into ruin?
Ruin is a very strong word. In this way, the convert-hopefulness of John Richard Neuhaus, exemplified in his work “The Catholic Moment” and the very founding of the journal “First Things”, is in “ruin”. But never mind that.
The Catholic Church in 2013 is falling into ruin. The church has been damaged by scandal and the scandals arose from arrogance, conceit, clubbiness and an assumption that the special can act in particular ways, that they may make mistakes but it's understandable, and if it causes problems the church will take care of it.
What were JPII and Ratzinger doing for the last 35 years? Who were the “arrogant”, “conceited” “clubby” “insiders” who, while promising such hope, in the meanwhile, “shepherded” Christ’s “one true church” into ruin? Where is the “true church” if not in this “visible hierarchy” that was so promised to give the kind of “epistemological certainty” that Roman Catholic converts know to rely on?
It’s not “the liberals” who ruined things. It was the last two popes, the last two “shepherds”.
Friday, March 15, 2013
At least three women were in tears as they went in or came out, but they would not come talk to us. One had to be carried out by the man with her.
A man escorted a woman in, came out and drove away, came back, came out to smoke (and I preached the law and Gospel to him while he was there though he never responded), came out and drove away, then came back and went in, then came out with his girl. He heard a lot of law and Gospel. He also accepted a New Testament but didn't seem very affected by anything.
A family went in with two young children, toddler and preschooler. This was heartbreaking.
Also heartbreaking was the young woman who was very visibly pregnant and yet flipped us off as she entered.
One young man escorted a girl inside and dialogued with me a bit about abortion and how he was an atheist.
One young lady was going in for a diagnostic procedure and she was not pregnant. We asked her to go to another doctor from now on. She said it's a woman's choice to abort. We spent some time breaking down that view. She accepted a NT with some material in it as she was leaving.
Another couple went in, cussing me out, and later emerged. Shane said something about how she was a mother and she responded with a sneer, "Not anymore."
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Mt 6:1-4).
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I've written about some of the inconsistencies between First Clement and Catholicism in the past. See here regarding the papacy, for example. On justification, see here. Or here on Purgatory. Other examples can be found in my collection of articles on Catholicism here or by searching the Triablogue archives in general.
"Some scholars anachronistically saw in the epistle [First Clement] an assertion of Roman primacy, but nowadays a hermeneutic of collegiality is more widely accepted." (Thomas Halton, Encyclopedia Of Early Christianity, Everett Ferguson, ed. [New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1999], 253)
"This [the literary genre of First Clement] is a form of address that is identified in rhetorical handbooks and found in other texts that are contemporary with 1 Clement. It is used by those who wish to persuade others to reach for themselves a successful resolution to difficulties that they face, not to force them to submit to those who offer them this counsel….He [Clement] hopes to persuade because he cannot compel or command, and he knows that he cannot take it for granted that those whom he addresses will welcome and act on the counsel that he gives. He avoids the use of the imperative, and speaks instead in the second person plural….The second corollary is confirmation that this letter [First Clement] offers no evidence for the primacy of Rome at the time of its composition. The church at Rome writes to the church at Corinth of its own free will, but the form in which it does so makes clear that it could not take for granted that its counsel would be either welcome or in any way binding at Corinth. Nowhere does the Roman church demand obedience to its own authority, but only to that of God, as revealed in the Greek Bible and in certain Christian texts and traditions." (Andrew Gregory, in Paul Foster, ed., The Writings Of The Apostolic Fathers [New York, New York: T&T Clark, 2007], 26-28)
It is not entirely clear how it is that positing unseen and undefined entities that infect human minds by unassessed processes involving the entities’ own quest for transmission and that cause people to do things that transcend their genetic imperatives is fundamentally different from medieval demonology or, in any case, qualifies as an empirically grounded explanation in terms of natural causes.
After the passing of Kim Jong-Il, Calvinist leader Justin Taylor did a brief post highlighting how diabolical he was.It is simply baffling that Calvinists can decry the diabolical, heinous actions of Kim Jong-Il (and others like him), and yet they hold that God first conceived in his own divine heart every one of the man’s wicked actions, thought them up without any influence outside of himself, and unconditionally and irresistibly decreed them without any influence outside of himself, resulting in the man doing them all without any chance, power, or ability to do anything else. It’s madness I tell you! Madness!!
They hold that God first conceived in his own divine heart every one of the man’s wicked actions, thought them up without any influence outside of himself…
The roman curia got some concession, [given that the new pope’s] father was an Italian immigrant to Argentina. There was no way the curia was gonna get their guy with Ratzinger still in the city and having copy of the dossier. He’s supposedly not as liberal as most Jesuits in Latin America (liberation theology) but he did modernize the perception of the church down there. He advocates for the poor and is very pointed in his criticisms of economic inequalities. He’s a half-measure with the demands of modernity.The new pope is a “half-measure”. That’s a label that has some bite to it.
With the election of “Good Pope Francis”, it seems clear that the powers that be are merely biding their time, “killing time”, until they can figure out what comes next. They clearly don’t know. A vote like this one makes one think “the Church” wants to put the papacy on hold for a few years, while the Italians try to regroup.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all (Act 19:18-19).
Here’s the familiar scenario. The “best and brightest” students in Evangelical seminaries work hard and are encouraged and aided by their professors to pursue doctoral work. Many wind up going to some of the best research universities in the world.
This is a feather in everyone’s cap, and often they are hired back by their Evangelical school or elsewhere in the Evangelical system.Sooner or later, these professors find out that their degree may be valued but their education is not.Either that or they bury their academic and spiritual instincts for fear of losing their jobs.This is what happens to the “best and brightest” Evangelicals.In one seminary I know a former student, now professor, felt ill-prepared by his seminary at the initial stages of his doctoral work. He had gotten straight As in seminary and done stellar work in his language classes.It is, rather, an indication of the inadequacy of the Evangelical system, where the best Evangelical minds trained in the best research institutions have to make believe they don’t know what they know.
Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people (Deut 9:6).
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:26-29).
“When you have a kid with substantial disabilities [Down Syndrome] you have to think a lot about their future,” his father, Keith Harris, told ABC News. “We were very motivated for Tim to have as normal as life as possible. Our philosophy as a family was to push the envelope as much as we could toward independence, so that one day when my wife and I are no longer in the picture, Tim will be settled and have his own life.”From the start, it was clear that Tim’s Place was something special. In addition to standard American and Mexican breakfasts and lunches, Harris serves hugs, and lots of them. So far, he’s doled out up to 32,4750, according to a “hug counter” on the eatery’s website.Giving hugs “is my favorite part of the day,” said Harris, who arrives at work every morning between 7 and 7:30 and leaves around 2 pm every day except Tuesdays, his day off. “I come to work and I have my shirt untucked. I get my breakfast, and when I’m done, I’ll tuck in my shirt and get into work mode.”
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction (Rev 17:8).
The second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama was held in Washington DC on Monday, January 21, 2013. A week of festivities included the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and numerous inaugural balls and galas honoring the elected President of the United States.
A relaxing day on the golf course went south when Mark Mihal a mortgage broker from the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur, found himself 18 feet underground on the 14th hole.Mihal, 43, and his friends were golfing at the Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill., a course that Mihal had played several dozen times over the past 10 years, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.“I was standing in the middle of the fairway,” Mihal told the Post-Dispatch Monday. “Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground.”Russ Nobbe, the general manager of Annbriar, told ABC News he was standing right outside the pro shop when the golf pro came running outside to tell him that a player had fallen into a 10-foot-wide sinkhole.
“Hopes for the rescue of a man sucked into a sinkhole were dimming Friday as authorities tried to determine whether the ground nearby was stable enough for a rescue operation,” the Tampa Bay Times writes.The Times also has a harrowing account from Jeremy Bush, who survived, of his brother Jeffrey's disappearance into the sinkhole:"Jeremy said he had just gone to bed when he heard a loud noise coming from this brother's room.“Jeremy opened the door and saw that Jeffrey's bed and dresser had been sucked into the hole.”“A sheriff's deputy plucked a man from an expanding sinkhole Thursday night, but neither was able to save the man's brother from being sucked into the rubble, authorities said,” the Tampa Bay Times writes.As the Times writes, “although it has proven somewhat common for sinkholes to open in Central Florida and swallow cars and houses, it is not at all common for people to become trapped in them.”
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The following is from Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (pp 36-37):
[L]et's consider a statement made by Dawkins in his first work, The Selfish Gene.[Genes] swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence.
We see here a powerful and influential interpretation of a basic scientific concept. But are these strongly interpretative statements themselves actually scientific?
To appreciate the issue, consider the following rewriting of this paragraph by the celebrated Oxford physiologist and systems biologist Denis Noble. What is proven empirical fact is retained; what is interpretative has been changed, this time offering a somewhat different reading of things.[Genes] are trapped in huge colonies, locked inside highly intelligent beings, moulded by the outside world, communicating with it by complex processes, through which, blindly as if by magic, function emerges. They are in you and me; we are the system that allows their code to be read; and their preservation is totally dependent on the joy that we experience in reproducing ourselves. We are the ultimate rationale for their existence.
Dawkins and Noble see things in completely different ways...They simply cannot both be right. Both smuggle in a series of quite different value judgments and metaphysical statements. Yet their statements are "empirically equivalent." In other words, they both have equally good grounding in observation and experimental evidence. So which is right? Which is more scientific? How could we decide which is to be preferred on scientific grounds? As Noble observes — and Dawkins concurs — "no-one seems to be able to think of an experiment that would detect an empirical difference between them."
By repeatable, I mean another scientist can either recreate the experiment OR can examine the data him/herself and come to the same conclusion given what we know. You are slow to catch on, man, and I tire of this one-upmanship game of winning some random online argument.
No, but another researcher can follow the same line of reasoning another researcher uses, examine the same relevant evidence, and see if his conclusion matches the other researchers. Someone who experiences a miracle can't have someone else follow their chain of reasoning in this way. Isn't that obvious?
Physicists around the world need not be at the Large Hadron Collider to conduct the experiment again. They can review the data collected and verify the findings of the scientists who originally made the claim. The Higgs Boson event was a Sigma five event, which means the probability that it was due to chance is extraordinarily small. But you knew that, right, with all your non-scientific, keyboard warrior activities that you engage in?
You asked the following: if only a select few witnesses observed a meteorite impact, would it be scientific to identify the cause as a meteor? I responded by reminding you that science isn't just based on first-hand eyewitness testimony, but on uncovering patterns of causation. We know what meteorite impact sites look like, how fast they travel, what sort of blast radius they leave (like you mentioned). So, the failure on your part was your inability to recognize that it doesn't matter how many people observe an event. What matters is if large numbers of scientists can reliably - and in ways that can be repeated by other researchers - establish a causal pattern based on what we know.
So, a methodological naturalist could witness a supernatural event, and identify the supernatural as the cause. Nonetheless, he couldn't use the cause to inform our scientific body of knowledge. The cause would have to be repeatable, observable to more than just a select few…
It would. But when I mentioned observed by only a select few, I mean we can only rely on those few individuals and just take their word for it.
We can't replicate the conditions that produced the cause, or verify it ourselves. Is that clear now?
We'd still die in our thirties or forties if you had things you're way and we based action on reason alone and not on experience.
What if the gravitational acceleration constant changed suddenly tomorrow? What if mathematical laws changed tomorrow? It could happen, so if you try to establish criteria for determining mathematical or physical laws, I can rightly say that your criteria is false because of some imaginary scenario I dreamed up that could possibly happen? Give me a break. You sound like a lunatic.
Not the kind of wild, implausible thought experiments that say: What if all natural laws changed tomorrow??
What then? What if God really exists and turned water to wine, told Abraham to kill his son…
…crammed Noah and his family and all animals on earth into a large ark while the earth was flooded.
Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth (Gen 41:57).
…let a talking snake seduce Eve into eating the apple.
None of this sounds like myth. None of this is the sort of thing anthropology can better explain than just taking the writings at face value.
Of course we can never know if the supernatural exists. But we shouldn't have anything to say about it, because it's above nature, it's beyond our power to observe closely and scrutinize.
No. You should have quoted my entire comment, Fox News. I said it would probably or at least could have a natural mechanism behind it. If it didn't, then it couldn't be used in science. Why? Because it's effect would be different every time, and thus unpredictable. What would science say? When witchcraft happens, anything happens?
And who are you to know the mind of God…