Wednesday, November 30, 2005

C. H. Spurgeon on Calvinism (2)

You may be an Arminian in summer, but you must be a Calvinist in the roaring winds of winter. Arminianism is a very pretty sort of theology for a painted boat upon a glassy lake, but they that do business on deep waters, and weather the storms and hurricanes, must have a good substantial bark of everlasting immutable love; otherwise, if the vessel be not staunchly and well built, their tacklings are loose, they cannot well strengthen their mast, and the vessel drives upon the quicksands. Beloved, in my spiritual building I want to get more and more on to the rock, immediately on the rock. I know I am told that the rock does not yield a harvest, that election is not a practical truth; but after all, if I want a house built, let me have it on the rock, for if it does not yield me any present practical results, yet I must have some comfort, I must have some place to dwell in the storm. I can go out to other fields to sow my corn and reap my harvest, but for my everlasting confidence I want a rock.

Rest assured that the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic are the only doctrines that can shut the mouths of devils, and fill the mouths of saints in the day of famine and in the time of extremity. “The Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.” When I am bowed down under sin, next to my Bible I love such books as “Elisha Coles on Divine Sovereignty,” or “Dr. Crisp’s Sermons.” Albeit that they do not contain all the truth, yet they teach very clearly that part of it which a troubled spirit needs. Does eternal love ordain sinners to eternal life irrespective of their works? Does the Lord absolutely, out of sovereign mercy, make men to be his children? Did God choose the chief of sinners, and does he never cast them away? Does he say, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy?” Does he declare that he is absolutely justified in doing whatever he wills with his own? Does he on such terms as that choose me? Then blessed be his name, such an election as this just suits my case; and I find that believing the doctrine in that light, I can say to all my doubts and fears “Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.”
- C. H. Spurgeon, Zechariah’s Vision of Joshua The High Priest, January 22, 1865


Monday, November 28, 2005

You may be a fundamentalist atheist if....

(I have discovered this parody list at Tekton Apologetics Ministries. At last count, there were 276 points. Quite good for laughs.)
  1. You became an atheist when you were 10 years old, based on ideas of God that you learned in Sunday School. Your ideas about God haven't changed since.
  2. You think that the primary aim of an omnibenevolent God is for people to have FUN.
  3. You believe that extra drippy ice-cream is a logical proof against the existence of God, because an omniscient God would know how to stop the ice-cream from being extra drippy, an omnipotent God would have the ability to stop the ice-cream from being extra drippy, and by golly, an omnibenevolent God wouldn't want your ice-cream to be extra drippy.
  4. Although you've memorized a half a dozen proofs that He doesn't exist, you still think you're God's gift to the ignorant masses.
  5. You believe the astronomical size of the universe somehow disproves God, as if God needed a tiny universe in order to exist.
  6. You think questions like, "Can God create a rock so big that He cannot lift it?" and, "Can God will Himself out of existence?" are perfect examples of how to disprove God's omnipotence and ultimately how to disprove God. When someone proves to you the false logic behind the questions (i.e. pitting God's omnipotence against itself), you desperately try to defend the questions, but then give up and go to a different Christian site to ask them.
  7. Related to the above, you spend a great deal of your spare time writing to Christian websites asking them these very questions.
  8. You declare on a public forum that you are "furious at God for not existing."
  9. You spend hours arguing that a-theism actually means "without a belief in God " and not just " belief that there is no god" as if this is a meaningful distinction in real life.
  10. You consistently deny the existence of God because you personally have never seen him but you reject out of hand personal testimony from theists who claim to have experienced God as a reality in their lives.
  11. You can make the existence of pink unicorns the center-piece of a philosophical critique.
  12. You insist that "the burden of proof is on he that alleges/accuses", and "it's impossible to prove a negative", then state "That's what Christians do. They lie. Their most common lie is that they were once atheists." When reminded about the burden of proof bit, you reply with, "Well, prove Christians don't lie!"
  13. You adamantly believe that the "God of the gaps" idea is an essential tenet of orthodox Christian faith espoused by all the great Christian thinkers throughout history.
  14. When you were a child, someone came down with a deadly disease and prayed and prayed for God to take it away. God did not remove the disease and your friend died. You ask other Christians why they had to die when they were such a nice person and never harmed anyone. Dissatisfied with their answers, you suddenly decide that there is no God and that all Christians are nothing but lying, conniving con artists and hypocrites....all that is except for your friend who died.
  15. You call a view held by less than ten percent of the American public "common sense".
  16. You're a spoiled fifteen year old boy who lives in the suburbs and you go into a chat room to declare that, "I know there is no God because no loving God would allow anyone to suffer as much as I...hold on. My cell phone's ringing."
  17. You attack your fellow atheists, who hold the "belief that there is no god", calling them "liars," and state that, "I do not deny the existence of any god. I just don't believe in any." Then you tell someone that their God is "made up." When someone calls you on this, you state, "I never made such a claim."
  18. Going with the definition of "without a belief in God", you insist that all people are born atheists, and that dogs, cats, rocks, and trees are as well. You make statements like, "My dog is an atheist. Ask him about his lack of belief."
  19. You believe that if something cannot be touched, seen, heard, or measured in some way, then it must not exist, yet you fail to see the irony of your calling Christians "narrow-minded".
  20. You say that there is no God and that those who believe in God do so in blind faith, yet your claim that there is no God also rests on blind faith.
  21. While you don't believe in God, you feel justified on bashing God or attacking those who believe in something that you KNOW doesn't exist, fighting against or even discussing about a non-existent being are the symptoms of mental illness!
  22. You complain when Christians appeal to their emotions when justifying their belief in God yet you feel justified on appealing to your emotions for lack of belief in God.
You may be a fundamentalist atheist if...., Tekton Apologetics Ministries

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Alleged "Contradictions" in the Bible

There is an article called Biblical Inconsistencies by Donald Morgan that poorly attempts to identify "contradictions" in the Bible. A quick Google search led me to Dave Woetzel who has helpfully written a couple of articles, which refute the points that are raised. is a website whose purpose is to promote an atheistic worldview, and as we see from Donald Morgan's article, attacks Christianity.

If you are debating with critics of Christianity, the issue of Bible interpretations will invariably surface when they fail to attack the inerrancy of the Bible. "How do you know your interpretation is correct?" the critic would switch tactics and ask. Well, the article by Apologetics Index explained there are actually eight rules of intepretation that are not only used by Christians, but also "used by legal experts for more than 2500 years."

Eight Rules of Interpretation
  1. Rule of Definition.
    Define the term or words being considered and then adhere to the defined meanings.
  2. Rule of Usage.
    Don't add meaning to established words and terms. What was the common usage in the cultural and time period when the passage was written?
  3. Rule of Context.
    Avoid using words out of context. Context must define terms and how words are used.
  4. Rule of Historical background.
    Don't separate interpretation and historical investigation.
  5. Rule of Logic.
    Be certain that words as interpreted agree with the overall premise.
  6. Rule of Precedent.
    Use the known and commonly accepted meanings of words, not obscure meanings for which their is no precedent.
  7. Rule of Unity.
    Even though many documents may be used there must be a general unity among them.
  8. Rule of Inference.
    Base conclusions on what is already known and proven or can be reasonably implied from all known facts.
Another tactic critics used is to bring up the various theological differences among Christian denominations. Joe Mizzi of Just for Catholics provides an explanation:
So, what is the cause of the differences among Christians? First of all, Christians are disciples (students); we are still learning and we have not yet arrived to a full and mature understanding of the Scriptures (see Ephesians 4:13). Therefore one expects to find differences among God's children. Secondly, Christians are not immune to error or the the deceptions introduced by false teachers. The apostle Paul had to correct the believers in Corinth, Galatia and Colosse for various errors. It is not any different today. Thirdly, and most importantly, the sin remaining in the Christian heart opposes the plain teaching of God's Word. Sometimes we find it hard to accept the teaching of the Bible because of practical implications we don't like or simply because it humiliates our natural pride. Many people did not receive the words of Jesus because of fear of the Jewish leaders and social isolation. Sometimes we do not receive the teaching of the Bible, not because we don't understand it, but because we are not willing to do so. There are differences because our beliefs and practices are not always consistent with our basic presupposition, namely, Sola Scriptura. We assert that the Bible is our only infallible rule of faith, and yet we sometimes misunderstand the Bible, or add, or take away, from the teaching of Scripture.
Here are some Christian apologetics websites that are dedicated to enabling Christians to defend their faith and the Word of God from attacks.
  1. Answering Islam
  2. Answers in Genesis
  3. by the C.S. Lewis Society
  4. Apologetics Index
  5. Apologetics Press
  6. ChristianAnswers.Net
  7. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry by Matthew J. Slick
  8. Creation Research Society
  9. Creation Science Evangelism by Dr. Kent Hovind
  10. Come Reason Ministries
  11. Institute for Creation Research
  12. Islamic Studies in Christian Perspective
  13. Just for Catholics by Joe Mizzi
  14. Tekton Apologetics Ministries

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

At the Third Beating the Women Wept

(This is a true story of a Masai Warrior named Joseph. I have discovered this account through the book "Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions" by John Piper. This is an excerpt from the chapter "The Supremacy of God in Missions through Suffering.")

One day Joseph, who was walking along one of these hot, dirty African roads, met someone who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. Then and there he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The power of the Spirit began transforming his life; he was filled with such excitement and joy that the first thing he wanted to do was return to his own village and share that same Good News with the members of his local tribe.

Joseph began going from door-to-door, telling everyone he met about the Cross of Jesus and the salvation it offered, expecting to see their faces light up the way his had. To his amazement the villagers not only didn't care, they became violent. The men of the village seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. He was dragged from the village and left to die alone in the bush.

Joseph somehow managed to crawl to a waterhole, and there, after days of passing in and out of consciousness, found the strength to get up. He wondered about the hostile reception he had received from people he had known all his life. He decided he must have left something out or told the story of Jesus incorrectly. After rehearsing the message he had first heard, he decided to go back and share his faith once more.

Joseph limped into the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus. "He died for you, so that you might find forgiveness and come to know the living God," he pleaded. Again he was grabbed by the men of the village and held while the women beat him, reopening wounds that had just begun to heal. Once more they dragged him unconscious from the village and left him to die.

To have survived the first beating was truly remarkable. To live through the second was a miracle. Again, days later, Joseph awoke in the wilderness, bruised, scarred---and determined to go back.

He returned to the small village and this time, they attacked him before he had a chance to open his mouth. As they flogged him for the third and probably the last time, he again spoke to them of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Before he passed out, the last thing he saw was that the women who were beating him began to weep.

This time he awoke in his own bed. The ones who had so severely beaten him were now trying to save his life and nurse him back to health. The entire village had come to Christ.

Original source:
Michael Card, "Wounded in the House of Friends," Virtue (March/April 1991): 28-29, 69

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On Pat Robertson, disasters and Christian theme parks

There was a recent report (10 Nov 2005) by the Christian Science Monitor that several Christian organizations are partnering with the Israeli ministry of tourism to build the Holy Land Christian Center, a Christian theme park and visitors' center that promotes the places where Jesus Christ walked.

According to the report, "one of the key figures at the heart of the project would be Pat Robertson, the prominent televangelist and founder of The 700 Club."

Now, I have nothing against any Christian visiting historical sites of the Bible. However there is this one particular paragraph that sets off alarm bells ringing in my head.
And bowing to protests from Orthodox Jewish groups, the Christian partners will have to agree not to go out and proselytize to local Jewish Israelis.
As any true Christian would know, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is of utmost importance. What use is the theme park if the unsaved Jews do not hear the gospel? Is the theme park so essential that it must be built at the expense of the gospel?

I have also noticed another report (10 Nov 2005) by Reuters on Pat Robertson. Here is a short quote:
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.
Pat Robertson is basically "prophesising" that any disaster that befalls the city would be the result of the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania choosing the theory of evolution over intelligent design.

False prophet anyone?

Unless Pat Robertson actually receive a direct revelation from God, this statement from him is most ridiculous. So hey Pat, here is a newsflash: you do not reject God by believing in evolution. You reject God because you are born a sinner. You reject God by rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pat Robertson is trying to add works, that is support for intelligent design, to the gospel. According to Pat, if we do not support intelligent design, "don't ask for His help because (God) might not be there." You can interpret his statement this way: if God is not with us, it means that God has rejected us. If God has rejected us, it means that we are not saved.

In fact, the gospel Pat Robertson preached in his recent statement is similar to the false gospel found in the epistle to the Galatians. Like some of the Galatians who thought that circumcision is needed for salvation, Pat is saying a vote for intelligent design is needed for our salvation.

A word of advice to the non-Christians: please do not listen to Pat Robertson. He does not represent us Bible-believing Christians. His previous call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is in direct opposition of the Word of God. We are called to preach the gospel, not to murder politicians, give false prophecies or build theme parks. It is people like him who gives Christianity a bad name.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Every church does a liturgy

(I have discovered an interesting post by The Presbyteer through this blog. The typical non-liturgical church does indeed look quite shallow in comparison.)

Every church does a liturgy. The only question is, what kind will you do?

Dis church: Dat church:
Minister: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Minister: Good morning.
People: Amen People: (mumble)
Minister: I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the LORD. Minister: (smiling) Oh, let's try that again. I said, "Good Morning!"

People: Good morning.
Minister: Let us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God. Minister: That's better. Well, God has given us such a beautiful day,

(or: It's great to see so many of you here in spite of the (cold, heat, rain, snow))

... and we just want to worship him together. So just forget about that Husker game for a while and let's just worship the Lord together.

Charlie, what do you have for us this morning?

People: ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
Minister: ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live, hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins. He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Charlie: Well this is a new chorus the Lord gave me while I was (name of activity). Just listen the first time through.

I just hope Paul doesn't screw up the PowerPoint slides...

People: (laughter)
Charlie: Listen to the words ...

You just make me feel so wonderful
You just make me feel so wonderful
You just make me feel so wonderful
You're Awesome.

Oh yeah


Friday, November 04, 2005

At the Reformation Day Conference 2005

I was attending the Reformation Day Conference 2005 yesterday. Being a first-timer to the event organized by the Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore, I was curious to see what it is all about.

The Tulip Reformed Book Centre has also set up tables selling a couple of Christian books.

Books that I have bought:
  1. Christ's spiritual kingdom: A defense of Reformed amillennialism by David Engelsma
  2. The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism by Gregg Strawbridge (Editor)
I have also took a couple of free booklets:
  1. Psalm Singing: A Reformed Heritage by Rev. Jason L. Kortering
  2. Without Christ by J C Ryle
  3. The Cross: The Vindication of God by D. M. Lloyd-Jones

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Sale of Indulgences in the Medieval Church

A scandal of the medieval (Roman Catholic) church was the selling of indulgences. Clergymen and bankers' agents collect money in return for absolving the purchaser of his sins. The banner is a symbol of the pope's authorization.1
Listen to the voices of your dear dead relatives and friends, beseeching you and saying, "Pity us, pity us. We are in dire torment from which you can redeem us for a pittance." Do you not wish to? Open your ears. Hear the father saying to his son, the mother to her daughter, "We bore you, nourished you, brought you up, left you our fortunes, and you are so cruel and hard that now you are not willing for so little to set us free. Will you let us lie here in flames? Will you delay our promised glory?" Remember that you are able to release them, for "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,/ The soul from purgatory springs."

- Johann Tetzel, famous indulgence salesman
1. A Lion Handbook: the History of Christianity, p.366

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Homosexuality and the Law of Moses

(This is a slightly edited response to a comment that I wrote at

The Bible clearly states that we are saved by grace alone, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The question is, after the Holy Spirit regenerated our hearts, will we still sin? Of course we will. We will still struggle with sin in our lives. However, the Holy Spirit will continue to work within us, transforming us to be more like Christ (Titus 3:5).

It is written in the Word of God that "it is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law." (Luke 16:17) Unless the New Testament explicitly states that homosexuality is no longer a sin, we should still follow the definition of sin as written in the Old Testament. The reason why we do not follow the Levitical dietary laws is because in the New Testament, God declared all food "clean" (Acts 10:15).

Take for instance, Leviticus 18:23, "Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it." If the Levitical laws are abolished, does it mean that bestiality is okay now? Or how about Leviticus 19:14, " Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD." Would making fun of the disabled be permissible too?

One must be careful in understanding the substitutionary atonement performed at the cross. Jesus Christ came to die for the elect. For it is written, "I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:15) Jesus came to pay the penalty for the sins of the elect, not to remove the definition of sin itself.

Compare Christ’s atonement with the Levitical atonement that is performed every year in Leviticus 16. The Levitical atonement offering does not remove the definition of sin, but rather atone for the sins of the Israelites. In the same way, Jesus Christ’s death on the cross atones for the sins of the elect. The substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ replaces the priestly offerings of the Old Testament (Hebrews 10:11-14).

Let’s look at the character of the Apostle Paul. He described his former self as “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” (Philippians 3:5-6)

As a former Pharisee, the Apostle Paul would have possess an excellent understanding of the Levitical laws. By comparing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 with the book of Leviticus and the book of Deuteronomy, I could not help but notice the following:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)
  1. Sexually immoral (pornos)
    “Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.” (Leviticus 19:29)

  2. Idolaters (eidololatres)
    “Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:4)

  3. Adulterers (moichos)
    “Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her.” (Leviticus 18:20)

  4. Male prostitutes (malakos)
    “No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18)

  5. Homosexual offenders (arsenokoites)
    “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” (Leviticus 18:22)

  6. Thieves (kleptes)
    “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.” (Leviticus 19:11)

  7. Greedy (pleonektes)
    “You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 5:21)

  8. Drunkards (methusos)
    “They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.” (Deuternomy 21:20-21)

  9. Slanderers (loidoros)
    “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:16)

  10. Swindlers (harpax)
    “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:36-37)
Now, every single one of the sins mentioned by the Apostle Paul is found in the Old Testament. The argument given by those in the pro-homosexual camp is that the Greek word arsenokoites is obscure and uncertain, and could refer to a male prostitute.

According to the Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, the Greek word malakos could be defined as “a catamite, a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness, or a male prostitute.” If the Apostle Paul used malakos to mean a male prostitute, then it would be illogical to use another Greek word to refer to a male prostitute. Therefore, the Greek word arsenokoites should be referring to something else.

Exploring deeper into the Greek word arsenokoites, the Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon shows us that the word is made up of two Greek words, which are arrhen / arsen and koite.
  1. arrhen / arsen – a male.
  2. koite - a place for laying down, resting, sleeping in (a bed, couch), the marriage bed (of adultery), cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful (sexual intercourse)
Since the Apostle Paul gave a broad sweeping description of most of the Old Testament sins, which includes sexual sins like sexual immorality, adultery and prostitution, it does make sense to render the Greek word arsenokoites as homosexual offenders to be consistent with the rest of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.