Friday, May 25, 2007

Apologetics Part 7

Problem with the Supernatural and Miracles listen here

Definition: Unable to be explicated by natural factors or produced by the will of man

Christianity is by some perceived to be irrational because it’s supernatural element. i.e. Miracles signs and wonders. The modern notion is these things are mythological, and part of an unenlightened culture. This is misrepresentation of the past; the anti-supernaturalist has slandered the past. There were many in Christ’s day that denied supernatural, i.e. The Sadducees Acts 23:5-8, did not believe in Angels or spirit, or the resurrection. The Epicureans of Athens also denied the resurrection of the dead and the miraculous. In short there was as much unbelief in the 1st century as there is today.

The Christian miracle compared to the pagan miracle
Another error of the materialist is to view biblical miracles on the same level of the “miracles” of pagan culture. i.e. Greek mythology, where you have demi-gods behaving as a celestial pranksters, doing all types of irrational entertaining “miracles”. These claims are completely contrary to the nature and purpose of the biblical miracle. The biblical miracle was always a reaffirmation of what was already intended for creation i.e. glory happing before its time Heb 6:4.

For the Christian the supernatural is not a problem nor an irrational position to hold to since there is enough evidence in creation itself to point to the Supernatural creator Rom 1:20. If one can believe Gen 1:1 then there is no difficulty whatsoever in acknowledging the reality of the supernatural. And since Gen 1:1 (i.e. the TAG) is necessary precondition for any knowledge then the unbelievers has no rational reason to reject the supernatural element of Christianity.

Everyone has a metaphysic
The materialist/Atheist fails to realize to recognize that he too has a supernatural belief in that he has a metaphysical presupposition on how the world must be. He dogmatically asserts that the supernatural is impossible while all the while holding universal characterization of existence, a metaphysic in it self. This-worldly outlook of the unbeliever is just as much a metaphysical opinion as the "other-worldly" viewpoint he attributes to the Christian.

Cessationism is often overlooked
Miracles, Signs and Wonders are limited to special moments of redemptive history when God was giving new revelation to His people 1 King 17:21, Heb 2:3, Matt 11:2-5, Acts 2:22. Since we have the full revelation of God’s will for the church the Signs and Wonders have ceased Jude 3. So we should not expect to see miracles in the same way the first century church did when New Testament revelation was being inscripturated.

However that does not mean the supernatural does not still take place in the church age. God by the Spirit continues to save His people through the gospel and to do the extraordinary in His church . Deism should always be rejected as heretical view of God.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Apologetics Part 6

Problem of faith listen here

Christianity is often perceived as fideism; that is belief in something despite its irrationality or absurdity. Contrary to this the bible calls us to reason (Isa 1:18), to love God with all our mind (Matt 22:37), to know things with certainty (Luke 1:3-4)
The bible also says that we have not followed cunningly devised fables, but have heard from God, who cannot lie (Heb 6:18), with a sure word of prophesy (2 Pet 1:21).
Biblical faith is not irrational. God never demands us to believe in something illogical (1 John 1:1-3), but to believe in the coherent propositions of the scripture (Rom 10:9-13). This is the true challenge to unbelief; to believe that Christ is only unique savior of mankind (Act 4:12). The unbeliever’s unbelief is not rooted in an intellectual difficulty with Christian Theism, but rather it is a moral failure to repent and believe the *truth*(John 3:19).

Friday, May 11, 2007

Apologetics Part 5

Problem of evil (Theodicy) Listen Here

The reality of evil is often perceived as a reason to doubt the existence of a good God. The argument is normally two-fold. First it is moral complaint against God: How can God be good if He allows evil. Second it is argument for the non-existence of a good God. The argument is as follows:
1. The Christian God is all good
2. The Christian God is all powerful,
3.But evil exists
4.Therefore the all good God of Christianity must not exist since if He did He would but an end to evil.

The argument is flawed in many ways, beginning from the premise. The God of the bible is by definition good (Nah 1:7, Psa 25:8) and all that He does is good (Psa 145:9-10), but that does not mean that goodness is limited to the eradication of evil (Rom 11:22) i.e. It is good for God to judge sin (Deu 28:63). That is, the all good God of the bible has a moral sufficient good reason for evil, known at least Him. For example God means for good what man means for evil. (Gen 50:20, Acts 4:27-28)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Apologetics Part 4

Objections to the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God listen here

The TAG is just a form of traditional arguments i.e. indirect arguments.
Not so. The TAG does glean from traditional arguments, in particular an indirect argument. But it is much more than that because it seeks to give the preconditions for any possible intelligibility, not just proving Christianity by employing certain rational arguments.

The TAG can’t refute all possible worldviews.
Not relevant since there are only real two worldviews in question; the Christian worldview and the non-Christian worldview. Plus a worldview needs be objective in nature with an objective source i.e. you can’t just make up worldview because it’s completely subjective. We are dealing with what actually is, not hypotheses.

The TAG does not establish Christianity as the necessary precondition for intelligibility but only a sufficient precondition.
Does not allow for just sufficiency, since in the nature of the case there can only be one transcendental for meaningfulness i.e. only one ultimate authority, and that ultimate authority by nature necessitates complete submission to its claims IOW we can justifiably fall back on the claims of the Christian world. i.e. no sense can be made of such an alternative sufficient worldview, such as a quadrinity, since you first would have to analyze its claims by standing/relying on the Christian worldview.

The TAG only proves the Christianity is only conceptually necessary not ontologically necessary. i.e. Christianity has perfect compatibility with reality but doesn’t necessarily prove that Christianity actually is true.
This assumes that the TAG is only a conceptual scheme with no binding authoritative revelation from the One who is the precondition for intelligibility. The Christian worldview has divine revelation from the Triune God who created everything and He has told us how creation is, and since this objective revelation gives us the necessary precondition for intelligibility for man’s experience, it demonstrates it self to be true!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Apologetics Part 3

Worldviews Listen Here

What is a Worldview?
A worldview is outlook or perspective of what the world is. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. The qualification for having a worldview is having a mind.

Christian Worldview is: the Triune Sovereign God of scripture created the world and is now saving His people from this present fallen world through the prefect savior Jesus Christ.

Non-Christian Worldview is: (a) man is an autonomous and free creature who must (b) merit life or his destiny. The unbeliever has his presuppositions also. i.e. Atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam (may not hold to (a)) etc.

There is no neutrality
All the treasure of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ (Col 2:3)
We are have sole alliance to Christ in everything we do (Col 3:17), including our reasoning (John 17:17) whoever is not for Christ is against Christ (Matt 12:30)

Christian worldview alone gives the necessary preconditions for intelligibility:

"Thus the Christian apologist may boldly assert that without an absolute personal being as the foundation of all things, there is no possibility of ethics. Without the ontological Trinity as the fount of all being, there is no possibility of unifying the particulars of human experience. Without the combined doctrines of the Trinity and man being God's image bearer there is no possibility of predication and thus language. Without the doctrine of God's sovereignty and providence there is not ground for inductive logic and science. Without a good and all-powerful God that creates both man and the natural realm there is not reason to believe that our senses are reliable. From these considerations it is clear why TAG is often described as an argument that proves the impossibility of the contrary. There is, at bottom, one non-Christian worldview and this worldview is easily reduced to absurdity." Taken from

Show the absurdity of the non-Christian worldview:
1.Show that all people have a worldview i.e. we all have value systems and judgments about the world.
2. Show the unbeliever that he/she can’t account for reality as he/she knows it
3. Show that unbeliever worldview is internally inconsistent, that their worldview has contradictions.
4. Prove that everyone has a metaphysic i.e. even a materialist secretly believes in metaphysical realities i.e. laws of logic, laws of morality.
5. In case of world religions show that may claim to have morality, logic etc, but they don’t have concrete worldview that can unify all these particulars.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Apologetics Part 2

Schools of epistemology listen here

What is epistemology?
the branch of philosophy that is directed toward theories of the sources, nature, and limits of knowledge.

Schools of epistemology

*Rationalism (Continental rationalism)
in philosophy, a theory that holds that reason alone, unaided by experience, can arrive at basic truth regarding the world. Associated with rationalism is the doctrine of innate ideas and the method of logically deducing truths about the world from "self-evident" premises. Rationalism is opposed to empiricism on the question of the source of knowledge and the techniques for verification of knowledge.
Baruch Spinoza monist
René Descartes dualist
G. W. von Leibniz pluralist

*Empiricism (British Empiricism)
philosophical doctrine that all knowledge is derived from experience. For most empiricists, experience includes inner experience—reflection upon the mind and its operations—as well as sense perception. This position is opposed to rationalism in that it denies the existence of innate ideas. According to the empiricist, all ideas are derived from experience. Only particular exist.
David Hume (Scottish) (no sensation of causation and substance) only habit of the mind.
John Locke (English) The mind is a tabula rasa a blank slate
George Berkeley (Irish) subjective idealism (Only sense perceptions are true, God is the all perceiver)

method of philosophy in which the truth of a proposition is measured by its correspondence with experimental results and by its practical outcome. Thought is considered as simply an instrument for supporting the life aims of the human organism and has no real metaphysical significance. Pragmatism stands opposed to doctrines that hold that truth can be reached through deductive reasoning from a priori grounds and insists on the need for inductive investigation and constant empirical verification of hypotheses.

philosophic position holding that the possibility of knowledge is limited either because of the limitations of the mind or because of the inaccessibility of its object. It is more loosely used to denote any questioning attitude. Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible, but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

What is a transcendental argument? (Critical philosophy)

In modern philosophy, Kant gave transcendental a new, third meaning in his theory of knowledge, concerned with the conditions of possibility of knowledge itself. For him it meant knowledge about our cognitive faculty with regard to how objects are possible a priori. "I call all knowledge transcendental if it is occupied, not with objects, but with the way that we can possibly know objects even before we experience them." (Critique of Pure Reason, A12) IOW An argument that seeks to find the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of man’s experience.

Cornelius Vantil said in defense of Christian epistemology “that we are to think God’s thoughts after Him” The infinite God is the eternal knower and we as His finite creatures can come to know facts that God already knows by way of general and special revelation.
Vantil utilized the transcendental argument of Kantian philosophy for proving the existence of the Christian God; stating that the Christian worldview is the only transcendental that can give an account for meaningfulness of man’s experience. Therefore Christian is necessarily true because of the impossibility of the contrary.

*excerpts from

Friday, April 13, 2007

Apologetics part 1

Methods of Apologetics listen here

Classic Apologetics: Natural Theology and Christian evidence
Proponents: RC Sproul, Norman Geisler.
Strengths: Strengthens faith of believers
Weaknesses: Presupposes the rationality of reasoning; makes man the ultimate standard of truth; undermines the authority of God Word.

Evidentialism: Christian evidence i.e. archeological, historical
Proponents: Josh McDowell, Hank Hanegraaff.
Strengths: proves the historicity of events, places, and people of the Scriptures
Weaknesses: presupposes the reliability of empirical studies, makes man the ultimate standard of truth; undermines the authority of God Word.

Presuppostionalism: Christian worldview is presupposed to be true.
Proponents: Cornelius Vantil, Greg Bahnsen (transcendental presuppostionalism), Gordon Clark (rationalistic presuppostionalism, scriptualism) Francis Schaeffer (practical presuppostionalism)
Strengths: Presents God and His Word as the ultimate authority; denies man his so called autonomy. Brings people immediately to the Triune God of Scripture.
Weakens: rational presuppostionalism; is axiomatic and presupposes the authority of logic and reasoning. Experiential presuppostionalism is axiomatic in that it presupposes the reliability of our senses and experience. Transcendental presuppostionalism can be difficult to explain to people who are not used thinking transcendentally.

Reformed epistemology: Basic belief in God is justified until proven otherwise.
Proponents: Alvin Plantinga, Michael Sudduth.
Strengths: can save time and effort in both evangelism and apologetics.
Weaknesses: Only gives negative apologetics; is dogmatic; does not answer the skeptic; is too vague and puts itself in the same category as other mono-theistic religions i.e. Islam; can comes across as fideism

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Covenant Theology Part 8 misc.

The Lord's day – Eschatological sign of the covenant listen here

What is the Lord’s day?
The day when believers gather to commemorate Christ’s resurrection, which occurred on the first day of the week (Acts 2:42). Every day to the believer is one of Sabbath rest, since we have ceased from our spiritual labor and are resting in the salvation of the Lord (Hebrews 4:9-11).

Reasons for the observance of the Lord’s day:

1. The Sabbath is fulfilled and abrogated through by the finished work of Christ (The covenant works fulfilled, including the Decalogue) ( Col 2:16, Rom 10:4)
2. Christ rises from the dead on the first day of the week (Matt 28:1)
3. The disciples were together on the first day of the week (John 20:26)
4. The New Testament church was born on the first day of the week (Act 2:1-4)
5. The church in Acts came together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7)
6. The church in Corinthians came together on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-2)
7. The John was in the Spirit on the Lords day, the first day of the week(Rev 1:8)

We therefore follow this approved example/pattern of coming together as the church on the first day of the week as the new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). This is eschatological sign of the covenant, in that it reminds us of our guaranteed future sabbath rest in Glory/Heaven (Heb 4:9-11)

Sundays After Passover

1st 1 (= Easter Sunday) To 10 disciples John 20:19f
2nd 8 (= 7 + 1st) To 11 disciples John 20:26
3rd? 15 (7 X 2 + 1st) To 7 disciples John 21:1-14
4th? 22 (7 X 2 + 1st) To 500 disciplesI Cor. 15:6
5th? 29 (7 X 4 + 1st) To all the apostles I Cor. 15:7
6th? 36 (7 X 5 + 1st) To the 11 disciples Matt. 28:16 40Ascension Acts 1:2-9
7th 43 (7 X 6 + 1st) None. Yet Sunday worship! Acts 1:14-15
8th 50 (7 X 7 + 1st) Pneumatophany Acts 2:1f
(Taken from "The Covenantal Sabbath" - Dr. Francis Nigel Lee [Book])

Theonomy Pros and Cons listen here

What is Theonomy?
The school of thought that believes scriptures teaches that the Law of God is two fold; moral/ceremonial, and that all moral aspects of the law are binding upon all societies today; including the judicial laws of the Old Testament with their penal sanctions.

Pros of Theonomy
Promotes the doctrine of Christ’s Ascension.
Seeks to see Christ’s Lordship over every sphere and activity of life.
Seek to have all human institutions governed by special revelation.
Has an optimistic view of the future.

Cons of Theonomy:
Fails to see the unity of the Law (holy theocracy) (Heb 8:13-9:6).
Fails to see Christ as the end of the Law of righteousness, including sanctification (Rom 10:4, Gal 3:24-25, Rom 7:1-6).
Fails to see the typological nature of the Old Testament Kingdom, i.e. judicial law of Israel are theocratic in nature and foreshadows judgment day. (Heb 2:1-3, Heb 10:26-29).
Fails to see the dissolving of the Old Covenant in AD70 through the finished work of Christ (Heb 8:13).
Fails to distinguish between crimes and sins. All crime is sin but not all sin is crime.

Society is still obligated to govern itself according to special revelation (2 Tim 3:16). But that special revelation concerning ethical conduct is a confirmation of the works of law already written already on the hearts men (Rom 2:14) Therefore the state must have laws that punish crimes. (Rom 13:1-5) Crimes are law-breaking deeds against society. Punishment must therefore be commensurate to the crime. (Exodus 21:22-27)

Examples of punishment for crimes:
Murder is a capital offence because it’s the unlawful taking of someone’s life; therefore your debt to society is your own life. (Gen 9:6)
Rape is to be treated as murder and is therefore a capital offense.(Deut 22:26)
Theft is taken someone’s property or goods by force or without permission; therefore you pay back the sum total of what was stolen before re-entry into society (Matt 5:26)

Examples of sins that are not crimes:
Teaching false doctrine is a sin but not a crime, therefore direct punishment is delayed until judgment day. (Jude 10-13)
Private or consenting sexual sins of adults are sins but not direct crimes against society and therefore direct punishment is delayed until judgment day. (Rom 1:32)
Worship of idols is grievous sin but not a direct crime against society and therefore direct punishment is delayed until judgment day. (Rom 2:4-5)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Covenant Theology Part 7

Of the Sacraments/ordinances of the New Covenant listen here

1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. ( Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2;12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4 )
2. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance. ( Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8 )
3 The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. ( Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38 )
4 Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. ( Matthew 3:16; John 3:23 ) London Baptist confession 1689

1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17,21 )
2. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ's own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. ( Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28; 1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26, 27 )
3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )
4. The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ. ( Matthew 26:26-28; Matthew 15:9; Exodus 20:4, 5 )
5. The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before. ( 1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 )
6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. ( Acts 3:21; Luke 14:6, 39; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25 )
7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. ( 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 )
8. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves. ( 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6 ) London Baptist confession 1689
Of the Law of Christ listen here

I. How de we define Law biblically.
The Law is not the timeless moral will of God (whatever God demands of us)
Rather, the Law is the Sinai covenant, given in the form of a typological republication of the Adamic covenant of works.

Christ, as the Second Adam and the promise seed, fulfilled both the Covenant of Works and the Covenants of Promise (2 Cor 1:20, Eph 2:12, Gal 3:16,29)
Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness. The end of the Law means fulfillment that abrogates. (Rom 10:4)

Believers have been set free from the Law by means of their union with Christ in his death. The Law has jurisdiction over a person only as long as he is alive (Rom. 7:1; Gal. 2:19).
Because we have died with Christ, we are "not under law" (Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6; 1 Cor. 9:20; Gal. 3:23-25; 4:4-5, 21; 5:18). This means we are free from its condemnation and from its commanding authority

This freedom from the Law does not mean that believers have been set free from all ethical standards. We are not anomos but ennomos Christou, "under the Law of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2). Having died to the Law, we have been married to another (Rom. 7:4).
This law is called also the New commandment (John 13:34), The royal law (James 2:8) charity (2 Peter 1:7) The great commandment (Matt 22:36)

The Law of Christ is not vague or nebulous. It has been revealed in the indicative and the imperative, which is given concrete expression in the ethical teaching of Jesus (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount) and in the apostolic exhortations to live in accordance with our union with Christ (e.g., Eph. 4-6; Col. 3, etc.).
Although the Law of Christ is not identical with the Law of Moses, it does reach back to the Law of Moses in order to bring over those aspects of its teaching that are rooted in God's righteous nature and man's creation in God's image.

It’s the only way to walk in true victory and holiness (Rom 7:1-6)
For further study read Lee Irons paper here

Covenant Theology Part 6

Davidic Covenant Summary listen here

1. Interenational Reputation “I will make you a great name” 2 Sam 7:9b
2. Land Inheritance “I will also appoint a place for my people” 2 Sam 7:10a
3. Descendants “I will raise up your descendants after you” 2 Sam 7:12b
4. Sonship “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me” 7:14a
5. Intimate Relationship “My people” 7:7-8,10-11

Of the New Covenant listen here

The New Covenant is in Christ blood and is the final administration of the Covenant of Grace. The establishing the New Covenant abrogated the old and ushered in the age of the Spirit which began at Pentecost and will continue to the end of the age. Consequently the Covenant of Grace only now consists of elect person with the arrival of the eschatological Spirit promised in Joel. The Spirit now abides with God’s people to empower them to fulfill the great commission and the Law of Christ.