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Archive for August, 2011

GO TO SESSION ELEVEN

I.                    Hermeneutics in Apologetics

a.       Apologetics is the art and science of defending the Christian faith.

i.      This involves a positive case for Christianity (1Peter 3:15)

ii.      This also involves a negative case in refuting falsehood (2Corinthians 10:5)

b.      Relationship of false teaching to bad hermeneutics

i.      Speaking about Paul’s Epistles, Peter wrote “His letters contain some things hard to understand which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2Peter 3:16b)

1.      Notice there is sin involved

2.      Notice that there is distorting of Scripture involved also

c.       In order to refute false theology, good interpretation of the Bible is needed

i.      Thus the right way to interpreting a passage must be defended on sound hermeneutical principles.

d.      Christians must demolish bad hermeneutical systems

i.      “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2Corinthians 10:5)

1.      Bad hermeneutical arguments ought to be demolished

ii.      It can be demolished in various ways

1.      Internal critique

a.       Is this hermeneutic system inconsistent?

b.      Are there informal logical fallacies or does it violate any other laws of logic internally?

2.      Take it to its undesired logical conclusion

a.       If we use the method of the bad system, would it lead to any conclusion by its very own method that its adherents would not desire?

3.      Contrast that with good hermeneutic

a.       Present the Biblical case for the Historical Grammatical Hermeneutic and what the Bible really says about the false teaching at hand.

II.                 Apologetics in Hermeneutic

a.       The very nature of studying proper hermeneutics presupposes the existence of bad interpretations and false teachings.

i.      Yet, there is a biblical mandate to refute error.

1.      This is even one of the requirements of an Elder: “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

b.      Presenting the argument for a good interpretation of a passage, is in its essence engaging in apologetics

i.      You are marshalling forth a positive case for the correct biblical interpretation of Scripture.

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Are you a fan of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Praise the Lord television show, Benny Hinn, the Crouch, and Todd Bentley?

One of the best sermon I’ve ever heard from John MacArthur was this message during the Shepherd’s Conference 2008 conference titled, “Abusive Religion.”

For the video, check out Eric Young’s page (since I can’t load up the video here).

It is one of the best example of doing the hard exegetical work in the Word of God, bringing out the insight and seeing what the message means for today.

You will never see the story of the widow giving the two coins the same ever again.

And you will understand where Jesus stand when it comes to the health and wealth gospel…

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Flash mobs use to be fun and innocent but apparently it has taken a darken turn. And at Philadelphia this has become a problem where violence have been introduced.
I was surprise to read this article today: http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/8/mayor-talks-tough-to-black-teens-after-flash-mobs/

Philadelphia’s major Michael Nutter was really tough talking on this issue.

Note the following:

“If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ‘cause you look like you’re crazy,” the mayor said. “You have damaged your own race.”

I was taken aback and my first thought was how this was like Bill Cosby talking…only it wasn’t. It was so politically incorrect and if a white person were to say it, someone would bound to cry “Racist!” Moreover, you should read the article and see what the NAACP and ACLU thinks about it, they are surprisingly not seeing this response as a bad thing.

While I am sure the mayor as a democrat would have policies I disagree with, may I add that the most surprising thing about Mayor Nutter’s response is the fact that he understands addressing the problem was going to take more than just the city government being the solution. Too often today in the community of minorities (I speak as one myself), the State is for all practical purposes the substitute for God. That is, it is trusted upon to be able to solve everything and assumed to be all powerful and all knowing. Which is why I think statists are going to be disappointed…since there is one God. Moreover, God has establish not only the state in governing but also two other institutions in their respective sphere: the family and the church.

In that respect, Nutter is to be commended for taking to the public his Role in protecting the public. He is pursuing heavily a policy holding families responsible, in particular the parents. He’s also taking this message to the church as well…the church needs to address sin, God’s holiness and Jesus redeeming Sinners, with the Spirit sanctifying them.

While nothing is perfect, I say good for Mayor Nutter for realizing and taking into account the churches’ and family role in addressing this problem.

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Each year, The Master’s Seminary (TMS) allow it’s graduating seniors to share their testimony during chapel.

Here are just some (not all) the testimonies:

Kai Akagi
Loveland, Colorado
Audio: Play   Download
Adam Ashoff
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Audio: Play   Download
Christopher Bogstad
Walnut Creek, California
Audio: Play   Download
Andrew Brown
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Audio: Play   Download
Daniel Chan
Los Angeles, California
Audio: Play   Download
William Chan
Monterey Park, California
Audio: Play   Download
Luke Clubb
Sterling, Kansas
Audio: Play   Download
Andrew Craig
Cazenovia, New York
Audio: Play   Download
Philip Fernandez
KabanKalan City, Philipppines
Audio: Play   Download
Jason Gillespie
Tupelo, Mississippi
Audio: Play   Download
David Golden
Danbury, Connecticut
Audio: Play   Download
Rich Gregory
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Audio: Play   Download
Dennis Griffin
San Diego, California
Audio: Play   Download
Glenn Hicks
Bangor, Maine
Audio: Play   Download
Scott Jackson
Lakewood, Washington
Audio: Play   Download
Kyle Jenison
Lancaster, California
Audio: Play   Download

You can access the rest here.

Listen to it and be blessed.

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In Rousas Rushdoony’s work, The Biblical Philosophy of History, he makes an interesting observation and argument that is a great application of Presuppositional Apologetics. I thought it was so good that I have to share it, and is a good example of the interplay between theology, philosophy, history and the doctrine of man, God and nature.

Rushdoony notes the predominate non-Christian position concerning man and nature:

If man is the creature of nature, then, however much you may hope to dominate and control nature, he still basically its creature, condition by nature and subordinate to it. It is significant that, despite the dreams of total control, the psychologies formulated by non-Christian man are passive psychologies. Man is made a product of his heredity and environment. His mind is passive and malleable. The mind of man has been compared to a blank sheet of white paper, and his net nature seen as neutral. This neutral, bland man receives sense impressions from the world and responds to them and is conditioned by them [Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History, (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 12-13].

Then Rushdoony contrast this with the Biblical perspective:

Man is not passive in his relationship to nature; rather, nature is passive in relationship to man. Nature was passive in receiving the consequences of man’s fall, and nature is passive today as man’s sin lays nature waste. Nature will be passive again in receiving her sabbath rests from man’s hands, and it will be finally shared passively in man’s glorification (Rom. 8:19-22). Man is passive in relationship to God, and man’s sin and ruin are due to his attempt to free himself from this passivity and to become independent and autonomously active and creative. The non-Christian doctrine places man under nature and seeks to place him over God; the Biblical doctrine places man under God, and over nature in Him. Thus, the consequences of every philosophy of history which denies the God of Scripture, HIs infllible word and His creative act, is to open the way for the terror of man under nature and under the divine and messianic state. [Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History, (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 14].

Rushdoony then takes the nonbeliever’s presuppositions to it’s logical conclusion:

The factuality of non-Christian philosophy is impersonal factuality at best and basically meaningless brute factuality. Thus, the best interpretation of reality which evolutionary philsophers of history can give man reduces history to sub-personal and sub-human forces. For the Darwinist, history is the product of impersonal biological forces; for the Marxist, the forcees are economic, for the Freudian, psychological and unconscious. Not only is the meaning of history de-personalized, but man is de-personalized as well. Man begins by asserting the supremacy of his autonomous mind and reason and ends in total irrationalism. As Van Til has often stated the fate of rationalism is total irrationalism, and irrationalism.

Every non-biblical philosophy of history ends by destorying both man and history. It begins by striving to give a better meaning to history than the one eternity provides, and it ends by robbing history of any human meaning and man of his manhood. In taking counsel against God and HIs decree, man effectually hurt only himself, not God. In rebelling against the kingship of Christ over history and in seeking to establish his own autonomous kingship, man reduces himself to the state of a slave. [Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History, (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 14-15].

Wow.

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Over at Teampyro, Phil Johnson has posted two great blogposts that’s actually from the past.  Having read both of them this week, I thought they were great…among the best posts I’ve read from Teampyro.  Especially the second post about how Charismatic doctrines itself poses risks of Christian gullibility and downgrade Christian discernment.

Here they are:

1.) If you can’t say something nice…

2.) Should Type-R Charismatics Get a Free Pass?

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GO TO SESSION TEN

THE AID OF NATURAL REVELATION AS TOOLS IN HERMENEUTICS

I.                    Natural Revelation

a.       Besides special revelation (Scripture), there are other ways God revealed himself. For example:

i.      Nature

ii.      History

iii.      Biblical Languages

iv.      Archaeology

b.      These things in their own ways, affirm the truthfulness of Christianity when it is properly used.

This should not be a surprise, as God created them for His glory.

II.                 The Limit of natural revelation as hermeneutical tools

a.       The Bible, and not natural revelation is the ultimate authority[1]

i.      Natural revelation by nature needs to be interpreted.

ii.      Experiences with natural revelation need Special Revelation to properly interpret it, not vice versa.

1.      This can be something Scripture explicitly states.

2.      Or it can be the broad principles and Biblical categories applied to one’s worldview lens.

b.      Thus, if natural revelation seemingly contradict Scripture, Scripture could not be rejected

i.      Again, Scripture is one’s ultimate authority.

ii.      Sometimes the information of natural revelation is incomplete

In contrast to the complete totality of Scripture

III.               The usefulness of Natural revelation as Hermeneutical Tools

a.       Natural revelation could provide deeper insight into the Text of Scripture

Each areas of natural revelation has a unique aspect and value in hermeneutics

b.      Biblical Languages

i.      Knowing the Biblical languages allows one to be closer to the Original text.

ii.      There are times when aspects of passages that are translated get lost in translation.

iii.      It help clarify the grammar of the original language.

This is important because it is a tool for the grammatical aspect in the Historical-Grammatical Hermeneutic.

c.       History

 i.      History can provide social and cultural details and make sense of the practices of Biblical times.

ii.      It can fill in more information where the Scripture did not have as much details.

iii.      It is especially useful in studies of the meaning of the original words of Scripture during Biblical times.

This is important because it is a tool for the historical aspect in the Historical-Grammatical Hermeneutic.

d.      Archaeology

i.      This helps provide readers of the Scriptures with more historical details.

ii.      It can also assist in areas such as geographical and topological understanding of the context of Biblical events.

IV.              Final Warning

a.       Be cautious that nothing ever takes the place of Biblical Authority

b.      Scripture (in its context) should be the ultimate appeal when one wants to accept or reject an interpretation, not things from General revelation.


[1] See Session Four for the discussion about Biblical Authority.

GO TO SESSION TWELVE

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It is unfortunate that many Christians have a short memory (actually people in general do).  Among some circles of Christianity, prophecies are given on a regular basis of spectacular things.  People get excited or even scared.  Then, before you know it, another wave of prophecies are made revealing allegedly new and fresh revelation from God, and people move on with the next wave while forgetting about the former prophecies and whether or not they have been fulfilled.

This trend among some charistmatic and Pentecostal circle can be analogous with fashion:  People go from one thing to the other, forgetting about what was the trend a few months or a year ago.  However, it’s only when Yahoo Front page or TV reflect back on the 90s (or 80s, etc) do people suddenly realize, “Oh yeah, I remember those days, that fashion , that trend…wow! I almost forgot about it!”  What was hip at one time becomes yesterday’s news and forgotten–almost.  God has an usual way of revealing things, and I am not talking about prophecies, but our sins and errors in a manner and time we least suspect.  Sobering thought.

Fortunately the internet is a great tool for our memory: What is written is not done in a corner but in the public if it’s online.  It leaves a digital footprint that allow God’s people to test an alleged prophet’s track record.  And God’s Word is clear that even if one detail of prophecy fails, that person is not a prophet of God:

You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the things does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken.  The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

I have previously blogged about Jaeson Ma’s prophecy about a Tsunami hitting Los Angeles here.  I thought I take up another subject on Jaeson Ma again, since he made another prophetic statement in a blog post on July 12, 2011 about what he learned when he spent 40 days in an Evangelical Monastery in South Korea.  The entry was titled, “My Strength, My Song, My Salvation–40 Days in Jesus Abbey.”  It’s a very long post, as Jaeson Ma share many things that God has been teaching him.  Some of the things I read made me rejoice as what God has taught him–but other things, especially when it comes to the prophetic and claim that God is speaking outside the Word of God made me cautious and concern for him and his followers.

Many people commented on this long post of his, but when I checked his website today, this popular post was not featured.  I thought perhaps it was deleted but it was not.  Readers can access it here: http://jaesonma.com/my-strength-my-song-my-salvation-40-days-in-jesus-abbey/ (I provided the whole link written out so that readers can google for the cache of it, in case it is removed in the future).

He makes a prophecy concerning Korea in the next ten years in that blog post, that I thought it was good to post it here so that in the future people can remember and keep prophets like him accountable.  Here it is unedited in his own words:

I could feel and recognize the Holy Spirit’s momentum. A great work of the Spirit was being prepared. An spiritual army is being raised up.

Prophecy for Korean Student Revival

I believe in the next 10 years, there will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in South Korea and North Korea unprecedented to anything experienced in the past 100 years of Christianity in Korea. The glory of the latter will be greater than the glory of the former. The Pyongyang revival in 1907 that birthed the Korean Pentecost and widespread movement of the Gospel will happen again in a powerful way among specifically the university students. There will be prayer meetings established all on every major university campus that will not stop, day or night, it will be a network of prayer furnaces that will create a massive ring of fire of God’s holiness, God’s power and God’s presence that will over turn the effects of sin in the nation. Sex trafficking business will be overturned, abortion will be overturned and made illegal, the suicide rate will decrease dramatically, and families will be restored because of this student revival movement. Students will hold signs of peace; proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom and there will be radical reforms made at every level of society. The mountains of government, business, education, media, arts, family and religion will come under the submission of Jesus Christ and His commandments. Witchcraft and Shamanism with all it’s power will be broken, many families and youth will renounce these demonic practices, and the Spirit of prophecy will be poured out in a new and dramatic measure as the Holy Spirit visits the nation and the young people with increasing dreams and visions, no longer will there be only a few who are moving in the power of the Spirit, but God will pour out His Spirit upon all sons and daughters. This is who they are, “sons and daughters of God” the orphan spirit, the spirit that needs to strive and perform for approval and acceptance will be done away with, God will be a Father to the fatherless, He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. There will be a new worship, music and praise movement that will bring shock and awe, the shekinah glory of the Lord into the church and then out into society, it will be a new worship movement that will shock and transform the nation of Korea. It will be invisible, yet visible. The glory of God will be seen and felt. Young people will not just gather in the tens of thousands, but I saw hundreds of thousands gathering in massive worship crusades, new songs never sung, new lyrics yet to be written, new sounds never heard or played, it will be a worshipping army that will take over the nation of South Korea and then North Korea, then all over Asia and the nations. There will be a mountain of glory, in this mountain young people will stream in from all over South Korea, Asia and all over the world to seek the Lord while He may be found. It will be a tabernacle of David, 24/7 Prayer and Worship preparing the hearts of a new generation to enter into and take back the promise land of North Korea, then China, then all of Asia, Middle East and finally back to Jerusalem. These will be radical, relentless and in hot pursuit of their Lord and their Father’s glory. The kingdom of God will advance, the Spirit of the Lord will not hold back but be poured out in abundance, this will happen in the next decade, a great move of the Holy Spirit that will sweep the nation, it will begin again with the confession of sins in the Church, it will spread from church to church, fellowship to fellowship, home to home, confession of sins until the temple is washed clean and the Spirit can invade, then nothing will be able to stop this student mission movement, watch it will happen, Korea will arise as one nation, North Korea will become the kingdom not of man, but the kingdom of our God, it will happen soon, it will happen quickly, only pray and obey, for the time of the harvest is at hand. In Jesus name I pray name amen.

Note his first statement that he “could feel and recognize the Holy Spirit’s momentum” before preceeding with his prophecy.  Recall that Deuteronomy’s test of a prophet include whether or not it will be fulfilled.  The time limit in Ma’s prophecy is ten years from now (that’s 2021).

According to the above prophetic words from Jaeson Ma, if they are from God, within 10 years we should see:

1.) a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in South Korea and North Korea

2.) This outpouring in South Korea and North Korea will be unprecedented to anything experienced in the past 100 years of Christianity in Korea.

3.) The glory of this revival will be greater than “the glory of the former.”

4.) It will be a revival that is specifically among university students.

5.) There will be 24 hour prayer meetings on every major university campus

6.) This revival will create massive holiness in people’s lives.

7.) Sex trafficking business in Korea will cease.

8.) Abortions in Korea will be made illegal.

9.) Korean suicide rate will decrease dramatically.

10.) The student revival will be restored families.

11.) Korean Students will hold signs of peace.

12.) Korean students will evangelize.

13.) Korean students will bring about  radical reforms made at the level of government.

14.) Korean students will bring about  radical reforms made at the level of business.

15.) Korean students will bring about  radical reforms made at the level of education.

16.) Korean students will bring about  radical reforms made at the level of media.

17.) Korean students will bring about  radical reforms made at the level of arts.

18.) Korean students will bring about  radical reforms made at the level of family.

19.) Korean religion will come under the submission of Jesus Christ and His commandments.

20.) Witchcraft and Shamanism in Korea will be renounce as demonic practices.

21.) Young Koreans will increae dreams and visions, and not just a few.

22.) Young Koreans  will not just gather in the tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands  in massive worship crusades.

23.) This revival will pour forth  all over South Korea,  North Korea, then China, then all of Asia, Middle East and finally back to Jerusalem and finally all over the world.

24.) Nothing will be able to stop this Korean student mission movement.

And while 10 years from now is far ways off , I hope this post on Veritas Domain will be leave a digital footprint as a reminder for people of whether or not prophecies made by Jaeson Ma will come true.  I have seen in my young Christian days very specific prophecies being made about this or that happening in one, two or three years, and it didn’t come to pass.  Audios from Conferences were conveniently removed from the internet, people quickly forget…but God does not forget those who claim to speak on behalf of Him when it wasn’t so, and one day they will be called into account for it.

My biggest worries are the many Christians who never ground themselves in the Word of God Biblically but are driven from one fad to another, with their feelings telling them what to do and believe rather than the Word.  My fear is with how many so-call Christians think they are Christians with all the sensationalism instead of the Word of God changing them with the Gospel itself–only to “fall away” and think they have tasted Biblical faith when they only got a subjective emotional high on human made prophecies that does not proceed from the Word of God.

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I don’t read the New Yorker, but I’ve been shared this by someone.  It is one of the most detailed account of the raid that killed Bin Laden.  As with all things, initial reports are not necessarily accurate and things get clearer as times go on.

Here’s the link:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_schmidle

Here’s an excerpt from the point of the SEALs landing:

Minutes after hitting the ground, Mark and the other team members began streaming out the side doors of helo one. Mud sucked at their boots as they ran alongside a ten-foot-high wall that enclosed the animal pen. A three-man demolition unit hustled ahead to the pen’s closed metal gate, reached into bags containing explosives, and placed C-4 charges on the hinges. After a loud bang, the door fell open. The nine other SEALs rushed forward, ending up in an alleylike driveway with their backs to the house’s main entrance. They moved down the alley, silenced rifles pressed against their shoulders. Mark hung toward the rear as he established radio communications with the other team. At the end of the driveway, the Americans blew through yet another locked gate and stepped into a courtyard facing the guesthouse, where Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, bin Laden’s courier, lived with his wife and four children.

Three SEALs in front broke off to clear the guesthouse as the remaining nine blasted through another gate and entered an inner courtyard, which faced the main house. When the smaller unit rounded the corner to face the doors of the guesthouse, they spotted Kuwaiti running inside to warn his wife and children. The Americans’ night-vision goggles cast the scene in pixellated shades of emerald green. Kuwaiti, wearing a white shalwar kameez, had grabbed a weapon and was coming back outside when the SEALs opened fire and killed him.

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I must be the last guy in the Reformed Blogosphere to post this up.

Paul Manata, a very capable Christian thinker, has written a piece that would be a helpful concerning free will and human responsibility in light of Reformed Theology.

Here’s his introduction to the PDF from his blog:

In this paper, I introduce the philosophical discussion on free will and moral responsibility and some of the concerns and worries that arise in the subject. I then take note of where the Reformed tradition stands. Next, I offer an introduction to some popular ways Reformed theology can understand free will and moral responsibility in light of God’s decrees, providence, and omniscience. I then introduce the most popular Christian view of the will today: libertarian free will. After this, I take an excursus and discuss the recent popularity among some Reformed theologians of a view I call “Reformed libertarianism (or something near enough).” This view claims that Reformed scholastics appropriated the thought of Duns Scotus (or others in his line of descent), forging a via media between determinism and indeterminism, making use of the concept of “synchronic contingency.” After this I present some objections to libertarian free will that Reformed may employ. I close the paper and end with short “further reading” list. My hope is that this will prove beneficial for Reformed Christians, especially, though not exclusively, layman churchmen.

The PDF can be read directly here

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