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Archive for April, 2012

Here are some links dealing with Presuppositional Apologetics that you might be interested in:

1.) Science– Worldview Neutral? by Dr. Georgia Purdom over at Answering Genesis.

2.) New Book on Presuppositional Apologetics by an alumni of The Master’s Seminary, Dr. Clifford B. McManis.

3.) An Atheist says no God is the best explanation for things is a dialogue transcript between Matt Slick of CARM with an atheist.

4.) Sermon on the Knowledge of God- Over at Choosing Hats, one of the contributors preached on this topic.

 

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What I’m about to write is rather controversial but let it be known that I’m not against any minority group (for I myself am a minority in the US), but this is to bring out the ugly side of this tragedy in U.S. history.

The last few days I’ve been reading different news story, op-ed pieces about the 20 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Riot in 1992.  A common theme among them is the racism with African Americans as the victims.  This infamous clip of Rodney King being beaten no doubt trigger undercurrents of things that were there:

It seems that the dominant narrative even twenty years after the riots is the victimization of African American as minorities–whether in terms of economics, discrimination or police brutality.  Tolerance, national apology and the cry for reform and a nation to do something on behalf African American captures the national dialogue.

However, I think this also takes away the forgotten side of racism that also took place during the riots, one that I believe is not mentioned much in media attention.  It disturbs me that it seems some people even glorify the L.A. riots as a way of speaking out to be heard.  The reason why it disturbs me is because the riot causes many lives to effected detrimentally–and some of these lives were killed or physically maimed for life.  Talking about it as if it’s a case of speech and expression don’t make any sense for me as a Christian.  While it seems that many writing online have the same trajectory of talking about the Rodney King beating, the acquittal of the officers, the riot itself and how things have changed/or not change, don’t forget the fact that racism did take place even during the riot itself.

And the saddest thing about it is the riots targeted other minorities–especially Asians.

I found this image to be a powerful portrayal of the attacks on Asians during the L.A. riots:

If you are like me, this is the first time I’ve seen this picture, and I wonder why is that.

In the beginning hours of the riot, an Asian man stepped off the bus, not knowing that he has entered in the hornet’s nest of a violent rioting mob.  He is seen by the mob, then attacked–on the basis of his skin color and shape of his eyes, etc.  If pictures speak a thousand words, then studying it carefully must be like reading.  My heart break when I see this picture–his clothes are torn, he is manhandled and other hands are attempting to grab a hold of him.  He is trying to escape with all his might–but is held by a smiling man, who found this funny.  Even Rodney King did not have smiling police officer during the event.  Questions flood through my head: What happened to the guy’s shoe?  Who’s money was it that the attacker was holding?  Is it a wallet belonging to the Asian man that is in the attacker’s hand?  It begs for an explanation of what events transpired before this.  And what ever happened to this man?

In the same way as the man’s face is covered in this picture, I think it symbolizes powerfully how so many of the victims of this riot are faceless to America; yet, there is no doubt that this man is truly one of us–flesh, blood and bone.

But I want to accurate–Asians are not the only victims during those early hours of the riot:

In terms of the dominant narrative of the L.A. riots, how Asians typically fit into the story is the imagery of Koreans armed to the teeth ready to shoot it out in defending their liquor store.

In the politics of editorial choice by the media, the dominant narrative often fail to capture fully that a lot of Asians were real victims of this riot–and talks about moving on, or the need of White people needing to reconcile with Blacks must not forget that if one were to use this framework in understanding the riot, there must also be the consistency of addressing the real flesh-and-blood-and-property racial victims of this riot too, instead of glossing over it and making the perpetrators who are nothing more than victims not responsible for their actions.

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GO TO PART XIII

I. Identifying New Testament Narrative and Gospels

a. Definitions

i.      Narratives is a literary form which gives historical details and it’s meaning found both in the Old and New Testament.

ii.      Gospels are a form of narrative found in the New Testament, which record the life and ministry of Jesus.

iii.      For the purpose of this outline, Gospels and New Testament narratives are considered together.

1. Principles for interpreting New Testament narratives are applicable to the Gospels.

2. Further principles for the Gospels will also be covered.

b. Where the genres can be found in the New Testament

i.      Gospels

1. Matthew

2. Mark

3. Luke

4. John

ii.      Non-Gospel Narrative

1. Acts

c. Elements[1]

i.      The essential elements include:

1. Scene

a. This is probably the most important element.

b. Scene involves sequence of event in the narrative.

2. Plot

This concerns the beginning, middle and ending of the development of the narrative.

3. Character

Who is involved in the narrative?

4. Setting

Where in space/time does this narrative takes place?

5. Point of view

ii.      Other elements:

1. Dialogues

2. Parables

3. Rhetorical devices[2]

II. General principles in interpretations

a. For New Testament Narratives and Gospel

i.      Consider how the text fits into the greater context of the section or book.

1. Each passage is part of a section that gives meaning to the greater whole.

2. The greater whole controls what each part means.

ii.      Considering the theology of the text

1. Make a distinction between descriptive and prescriptive passages.

2. Some of the accounts of events in narratives are not moral examples to emulate.

iii.      When possible, the proper interpretation of other portion of the Bible must be taken into account in interpreting particular narrative events.

1. Pay attention to antecedent theology.

a. What are prior revelation in the Bible that might shed some light on the historical narrative?

b. What theological theme previously revealed in the Old Testament is now being given fuller details in the passage under scrutiny?

2. Utilize the Epistles

Epistles can give fuller theological explanations of events recorded in the Gospel or Acts.

iv.      Asking theological questions of the text

1. What does this account tell us about God?

2. What does it tell us about the human condition?

3. What does it tell us of the world?

4. What does it tell us of the people of God and their relationship with Him?

5. What does it tell us of the individual believer’s life of faith?

v.      Watch the characters

1. Who are the main characters in the narrative?

Why are they important and what purpose do they serve in the text’s intention?

2. Who are the supporting characters in the narrative?

They are the foil for a reason, so why are they mentioned and how does this serve the text’s intention?

3. God is always in the narrative, even if He is not explicitly mentioned

This is why it is important to ask the theological questions of the text (see above).

vi.      Attention to the details of each scene

1. What has taken place previously in Biblical history at that location? Is there any significance of this?

2. What was the political and religious climate of the location?

vii.      Be conscious of the setting

There might be relevant background information that aid in interpretation.

viii.      Discern the point of view even within dialogues

1. Distinguish between dialogues and straight narrative.

2. Non-dialogues serve as the “Voice of God” about the event.

3. The words of Jesus or the prophets are authoritative!

4. The dialogue can portray the point of view of the speaker.

5. This is true unless the narrative makes it clear otherwise that the dialogue is a lie.

6. Point of view from human dialogue might not be truths from God.

ix.      Understand the plot

The plot is how each scene relates to each other!

b. For the Gospel

i.      Compare the parallel account in other Gospels

1. What are further facts given in the other Gospels about this event?

2. Why did the particular gospel made the editorial choice of what to include, and what not to include?

ii.      The teachings of Jesus must be read with care

1. What is He saying?

2. Why is He saying it?

3. How does this apply to me today?

iii.      The theological significance of Jesus miraculous works

1. It is important that these are not interpreted as prescriptive realities of the Christian life and ministry today per se.

2. It is important to understand the purpose of His miracle as testifying to the truth of Jesus as Messiah.

iv.      Implications of the Kingdom of God and the Covenants

1.      “One dare not think he or she can properly interpret the Gospels without a clear understanding of the kingdom of God in the ministry of Jesus.”[3]

2.      In light of Jewish eschatological anticipation of the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven), how do we understand the events in Jesus ministry?

3.      What aspects of the various biblical covenants point towards Jesus have been fulfilled in His first advent, and what aspects of biblical covenants remain to be fulfilled?

a.      Fulfilled aspects of the Covenant testify to Jesus as Lord!

b. Aspects of the Covenant that remain to be fulfilled will have implications for eschatology.[4]


[1] Many of these elements are found in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives as we-ll.  Much is borrowed from the previous session on Old Testament narratives in this outline.

[2] See my basic hermeneutic course for the fundamentals of the historical grammatical approach, in which items such as idioms, hyperbole, etc must be taken into account.

[3] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 131.

[4] This is a fascinating relationship between hermeneutics (principles in interpretation), genre (Gospels) the biblical covenants and systematic theology (specifically, eschatology)!

GO TO PART XV

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If you are interested in listening to some songs that are God glorifying and songs that do not beat around the bush when it comes to confronting false teachers such as the Word of Faith Movement, I encourage to check out my brother-in-Christ, Jovan Mackenzy.  I  have been following him for quite some time now and have been in contact with him.  What I can say is that I have been encouraged by his ministry.

In his latest album, Jovan Mackenzy, collaborated with apologist James White from Alpha and Omega Ministry and Phil Johnson, who is one of the pastors from Grace Community Church and the owner of  two prolific websites called Spurgeon Archive and Pyromaniacs.

If you want to know more about my brother-in-Christ, Jovan Mackenzy, I encourage you check out his biography.

Jovan’s Biography

I also encourage you to download his latest album called “Famine.”  I have listened to it and was highly edified.   This  man loves the Lord, His Word, the lost, and believers.

Famine Album

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I like the picture above.  It shows a Roman Catholic nun, throwing a snow ball at another Roman Catholic nun.  I think that pictures capture the idea I wish to convey of Roman Catholic’s argument being self-defeating (or self- “owning” if you will).

If you have been following Veritas Domain last week, you would notice that there has been comments made by various Roman Catholics against Sola Scriptura.  Some made the suggestion that one should embrace the Roman Catholic Church over Sola Scriptura, in order to preserve doctrinal and practical unity.  The fact that Protestants are not monolithic has been brought up as evidence of the failure of Sola Scriptura.  Assuming the Roman Catholic method for the sake of argument that if a theological method cannot keep unity of doctrines and practices ought to be rejected, what does this mean for Roman Catholicism in light of this recent news?

May this recent news put things in perspective of the Vatican cracking down on the biggest association of nuns in America.

The Vatican orthodoxy watchdog announced Wednesday a full-scale overhaul of the largest umbrella group for nuns in the United States, accusing the group of taking positions that undermine Roman Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

An American archbishop was appointed to oversee reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which will include rewriting the group’s statutes, reviewing all its plans and programs — including approving speakers — and ensuring the organization properly follows Catholic prayer and ritual.

The Leadership Conference, based in Silver Spring, Md,, represents about 57,000 religious sisters and offers programs ranging from leadership training for women’s religious orders to advocacy on social justice issues. Representatives of the Leadership Conference did not respond to requests for comment.

The report from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the organization faced a “grave” doctrinal crisis, in which issues of “crucial importance” to the church, such as abortion and euthanasia, have been ignored. Vatican officials also castigated the group for making some public statements that “disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops,” who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

Church officials did not cite a specific example of those public statements, but said the reform would include a review of ties between the Leadership Conference and NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby. NETWORK played a key role in supporting the Obama administration‘s health care overhaul despite the bishops’ objections that the bill would provide government funding for abortion. The Leadership Conference disagreed with the bishops’ analysis of the law and also supported President Barack Obama’s plan.

….CONTINUE HERE

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Presuppositional apologetics (as advocated by Cornelius Van Til) should make the Christian conscious of being biblically driven in developing a Christian worldview towards every subject; for if the tenet assumes that we ought not to be autonomous but submit to the Lordship of Christ in every sphere of our life, the political realm ought also to be thought through politically as well.

In developing a Christian worldview towards politics, I think it’s important that we do not reinvent the wheel but be in conversation with other believers.  To that end, Joel McDurmon of American Vision has worked on a project that Christians should be aware of.  It’s called “Restoring America One County at a Time,” and tackles subject such as a Christian view of education, the military, etc.  From what I understand a book and DVD teaching series is in the works to expand on what has been expounded.

 

Restoring America One County at a Time – Master Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Education

1.1  Freedom in education: how America once had it

1.2  Freedom in education: how it was lost

1.3  Freedom in education: how to get it back

2. Welfare

2.1  Welfare in a free society: the way it used to be

2.2  Freedom in welfare: how it was lost

2.3  Freedom in welfare: how to get it back

3. Localism

3.3  “County Rights” and the ideal of freedom

3.4  Local sovereignty: how freedom was lost

3.5  Local sovereignty: how to get it back

4. States’ Rights

4.1  States’ Rights: how States were once free

4.2  States’ Rights: how freedom was lost (in part)

a.    States’ Rights: George Washington and the loss of freedom

4.3  Restoring States’ Rights

5. Taxation

5.1  Taxation and a free society

5.2  Taxation: how freedom was lost

5.3  Slashing taxes by biblical proportions

6. Money

6.1  Freedom in money and banking

6.2  Freedom in money and banking: how it was lost

6.3  The Return to honest money

7. The Marketplace

7.1  Freedom in the marketplace

7.2  America and free markets: the startling truth

7.3  Putting the “free” back in free markets

8. Courts

8.1  Courts of law in a free society

8.2  Judicial tyranny in America

8.3  Restoring freedom in the Judiciary

9. War and the Military

9.1  The military and war in a free society

9.2  War and the military: how freedom was lost (beginnings)

a.    A tale of two rebellions

b.    Lincoln vs. Taney: a case of military tyranny

c.    Total war, the Pineapple Empire, and the Total State

d.    The Warfare-Welfare State: Hell on Earth

9.3  Restoring freedom in national defense

10. The Executive

10.1  Freedom and executive power

10.2  Executive tyranny: how freedom was lost

10.3  Restoring freedom from executive tyranny

Appendix:

A.    Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment

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The discussion of angels and demons has been an abused topic in this contemporary society.  Contemporary society has an interest in the discussion of angels and demons—so much so that it not only has become a household topic, but a topic that has permeated in a nationwide scale.  Since it has permeated nationally, it could be one of the main reasons why there has resulted in inaccurate information and heretical views concerning the study of angelology and demonology.  Many inaccurate and heretical views concerning angels and demons stems from one’s abdication from studying Scripture or one’s gross misinterpretation of the Scriptures concerning angelology and demonology.  Because of many troublesome views of angels and demons in this contemporary society, Fred C. Dickason does a good job in presenting angels and demons from a biblical perspective.  He provides transparency regarding roles, attributes, and functions to name but a few.

The structure of this book can be laid out into five categories.  Category one deals with the origin, and orientation of angels to name just a few (p. 17-60).  Category two deals with the description of angels (p. 61-94); category three deals with the angel’s role in ministry (p. 95-106); category four deals with the destiny of the angels (p. 107-112); and category five deals with the angel’s relationship with the human race (p. 113-120).  The structure of the book not only covers angels, but Satan and demons too.

The structure of Satan can be broken into three categories.  Category one deals with Satan’s name and personality (p. 121-127, 147-150); category two deals with Satan’s history (p. 135-146); category three deals with Satan’s orientation (p. 147-151).  Now we begin the structure of demons.

Structure for demons can be broken into four categories.  Category one is about who demons are; category 2 is about the endeavors of demons; category three is about the demons’ future demise; and category four is in regards to believers protection against Satan and demons.

The structure that the author provides in this book is a bit helpful.  The author did a good job in providing a clear understanding of the book because of his breakdown of the angels, Satan, and the demons’ origins, activities, relationship to believers, and their future.  The downside to the structure is that at times it can be repetitive.  For example, with only a few verses in the Bible concerning angels, Satan, and demons, the author tends to be repetitive when dealing with the characters of these creatures.  There is a tendency to use the same verses, but with some modifications or refinements—of course.  Another strength that the author could of contributed to the structure is by substituting a full chapter each, worth of exegetical observations, concerning interpretive issues that relates to angels, Satan, and demons.  Besides the structure of the book, there is another area that must be covered: the content of the book.

For the most part, there are very few areas of contention when examining the contents of this book. The major area of contention is concerning demon possession of believers.  In pg. 206 of Dickason’s book, he says this regarding demon possession,

Some modify the argument to say that there is not room for both the Spirit and a demon, appealing to spatial limitation.  Spatial considerations do not affect the matter.  The omnipresent Spirit can in His total person indwell each believer despite our limited bodies.  Furthermore, a legion of demons may dwell in one person (Mark 5:9).  Space would not crowd out the possibility of the Holy Spirit and a demon residing in the same body.”

Dickason confirms his view of Christians being demon possessed in pg. 212,

Certain case studies seem to indicate that they can, under unusual circumstances, become or remain possessed after conversion.”

This is a faulty view of demonization of a person or possession of a person.  Early in the book, the author is correct that demons can influence or harass a believer, but when it comes to possession of a believer or indwelling in a believer—this is where he goes off tangent.  A believer can not be possessed or indwelt by a demon (s) for a couple of reasons.  Reason one, a believer cannot be possessed because the Holy Spirit indwells a believer fully.  Since the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), a demon (s) cannot share in that space.  Another reason to not believe that a believer can be possessed by a demon is to examine these verses: Luke 4:33-35; 8:27-33; Matt 17:14-18.  Each episode in these verses indicates that the individuals possessed were unbelievers.  A third reason why a believer can’t be possessed is because a believer cannot be sober if he/she is control or possessed by a demon (s) of Satan (1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7). In addition, a believer cannot be demon possessed because there is nowhere in the Bible where Scripture points out that a believer is called to resist demon possession.  Rather he is to engage in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18).  Moreover, a believer cannot be possessed because he is a new creature in Christ.  For example, 1 Peter 1:18-19 and 2 Cor. 5:17.  1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  And 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  A last reason why Satan cannot possess us is because 1 John 4:4 indicates that we have overcome Satan.  Since we have overcome Satan, it is impossible for him to indwell in a body of ours that belongs to the temple of the Holy Spirit.

This book is an important book for any student of the Bible, pastor, evangelist, minister, or anyone who wants to get clarity on this topic concerning angels, Satan, and demons, from God’s Word.

Bibliography

Dickason, Fred C. Angels: Elect. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995.

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