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Archive for April, 2012

Since this is election year, I thought this free short Kindle book for a limited time by Wayne Grudem might be a good work for readers to know about.

You can download it by clicking HERE.

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Open Theism: Foreknowledge and Divine Decree

Open Theism’s Definition of Decree and Foreknowledge

Since this paper speaks much about foreknowledge and decree, let’s first define foreknowledge according to the open theist.  Gregory Boyd who is big a open theist proponent states,

“…while the Bible certainly celebrates God’s foreknowledge and control of the future, it does not warrant the conclusion that the future is exhaustively controlled or foreknown as settled by God.”[1]

In regards to decree, the openness view believes that there is no official declaration or proclamation set in stone.  No divine blue print or decree can determine human actions beforehand because at the heart of the openness view, God desires to uphold real relationships.[2]

It must be noted that open theism is a branch of Arminianism.  However, open theism and Arminianism do have points of agreements and disagreements.  What makes open theism and Arminianism sync to some degree, are the two major cardinal points they believe: the impartial universal love that God has for all humanity and His true desire that all be saved; and God’s giving of genuine or significant freedom of the will (i.e., libertarian freedom) to His creatures.[3]  But one major area of disagreement that open theism has with Arminianism is God’s omniscience.  The openness view does not believe that God has comprehensive knowledge of the future, but has comprehensive knowledge of the past and present only.[4]   According to Dr. Bruce A. Ware, the stark contrast between Arminians and open theism is this,

While embracing wholly these Arminian commitments, open theists are also disturbed with other aspects of the Arminian theological tradition.  Particularly they object to the notion that the divine omniscience includes comprehensive knowledge of the future.  Omniscience (i.e., in its most general sense, the doctrine that God knows all that can be known or is knowable) must be defined, they say, as God’s comprehensive knowledge of the past and present only.  All of the future that is undetermined by God (which includes all future free choices and actions), since it has not happened and hence is not real, cannot be an object of knowledge.  This future, they say, is logically unknowable, and as such not even God can rightly be said to know what cannot in principle be known” [5].

In nutshell, what changes the tide between these two is that open theist do not believe God has comprehensive knowledge of the future, while Arminians do.

Open Theism Description of Divine Decree and Foreknowledge

Since open theism has redefined God’s omniscience and foreknowledge, there are implications concerning God’s divine decrees.  The implication is that God’s divine decrees means that His decrees are subject to mutability.  They are mutable because moral creatures can frustrate God’s plan or change His plans because of their libertarian free will.  Some will ask, “What are the differences between the open theist and the Arminian regarding God’s Decrees?”  The Arminian believes that God changed (adapted) them once before the foundation of the world, while the open theist believes that God’s divine decrees cannot change before the foundation of the world, but changes when things are real (real actions take place).[6]  In other words, God decrees are dependent on our real actions that take place.  This makes sense to the open theist because in their mind, God is not omniscient or immutable.

When it comes to the similarities, open theist and Arminians believe that God has predetermined the decree, but He predetermined it under the umbrella of the “means” not the ends.[7]  But the difference between this concept of the means versus the ends is that Arminians believe God has at least foreknown the ends, which is certain, while the open theist, on the other hand, rejects this notion because the end is uncertain and undetermined because God does not know the future, because He can only know what exists or existed[8].

Please stay tune for the next installment.  For part one, please see this link:

Part 1


[1]  Gregory A. Boyd, Dave Hunt, William Lane Craig, and Paul Helm, Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 14.

[2] Ware, God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism, 43.

[3] Ware, God’s lesser Glory, 32.

[4] Ibid, 32.

[5] Ware, God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism, 32.

[6] Prokopenko, “The Relationship Between the Divine Decree and the Human Will in Exodus 1-14.”

[7] Prokopenko, “The Relationship Between the Divine Decree and the Human Will in Exodus 1-14.”

[8] Ibid, 57.


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Purchase:  Amazon

Best summary of the defense of the Premillennial view of Revelation 20 that I have read thus far. Worthwhile read. The work was originally a syllabus that the author had for a Bible institute. Currently, the author is an adjunct professor. Waymeyer makes it clear that the work was not intended to give new arguments in support of Premillennialism, but more towards a summary and the gathering of the arguments for a Premillennial interpretation of Revelation 20. However, I did learn several new things from this work. Some of the issues that Waymeyer tackles that I enjoyed includes whether or not there is recapitulation going on in Revelation 20, the issue of a biblical demonology in interpreting when Satan is bound, etc. I think if there is ever another edition of this book, perhaps my compliant is thatsome of the lengthy endnotes can be moved into the main portion of the book since some of the discussion there was worth the attention of the readers. The book can also cite works with a footnote rather than a parenthesis with the author’s name, year of publication and page number, since the serious reader will end up having to have his hands in three different places in the book (one hand on the body, one hand on the footnote page, then still yet another hand on the bibliography). This seems to discourage most readers from thoroughly following the additional supplemental arguments (at times, it seems important enough not to be just left as an endnote!) or track the sources of the citation. The format would not encourage readers to use the endnotes and follow the sources, and defeats the purpose of why citing them in the first place.

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GO TO PART XII

I. Identifying Apocalyptic Genre

a. Definition

i.      The word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apocalypses, which means an “uncovering, disclosure, revelation”[1]

ii.      According to Gordon Fee, it is Hebrew prophecy which “looked exclusively forward to the time when God would bring a violent, radical end to history, an end that would mean the triumph of right and the final judgment of evil.”[2]

iii.      It is the prophetic literary form that “proclaims that God has not turned his back on the world but will radically and unexpectedly intervene and introduce a universal solution that will solve all problems.”[3]

iv.      Apocalyptic genre is a prophetic literary form which seeks to comfort the faithful, and warn those who are worldly, in light of upcoming future end.

b. Further identifying aspects

i.      Apocalyptic has only one final solution: Total destruction.[4]

ii.      Apocalyptic announces that God will intervene supernaturally to bring the end of man’s sinfulness.[5]

c. Apocalypse as a composition of other genres

i.      As it is evident in our course on prophetic genres, prophetic genre is a more complex literary form, and it is in some sense a blend of other literary genre.

ii.      “Apocalyptic is a hybrid genre, partaking of narrative, poetry, and prophecy.”[6]

1. Narrative: Apocalyptic literature has plot, character, setting and point of view.[7]

2. Poetry: It is highly symbolic with vivid illustrations, and it’s style can be filled with Hebrew parallelism.[8]

3. Prophecy: It has two genre of prophecy, announcement of judgment and oracle of salvation.

A case can be made that Apocalyptic is really a combination of announcement of judgment, with an announcement of salvation concerning the final end.

d. Elements

i.      As a hybrid genre, it has elements of these genres

1. Plot

2. Character

3. Setting

4. Point of view

5. Hebrew parallelism

6. Accusation

7. Announcement

8. Reference to the future

9. Mention of radical change

10. Mention of blessing

ii.      Unique elements

1. Dualism[9]

a. Good verses evil

b. Unlike pagan dualism, the good and God is greater than the evil side.

2. (Extensive) Symbolism

e. Some place in Scripture where can Apocalypse be found[10]

i.      Daniel 7-12

ii.      Isaiah 24-27

iii.      Ezekiel 38-39

iv.      Joel

v.      Zechariah 1-6

vi.      Matthew 24-25

vii.      Mark 13

viii.      Luke 21

ix.      Revelation

II. Is Apocalyptic Genre important for the Christian?

a. First and most important: It is in the Bible!

b. Jeffrey Arthurs has noted that this genre makes up more than the genre of proverb or parable.[11]

Since these genre and subgenre are important enough to learn to interpret it accurately, how much more should a genre which appears more often and require more skill in interpreting!

c. The Bible itself says the one who reads one of its Books that is largely apocalyptic will be blessed

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy , and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)

III. Principles in interpretation

a. Identify the unique elements and the composite elements

i.      As stated previously in other lessons, consciously identifying elements help strengthen one’s interpretation by bringing to awareness what is in the text.

ii.      However, identifying elements is even more important as the difficulty of the genre require more skill and consciousness to the text’s literary elements.

iii.      Therefore, since Apocalyptic is a hybrid genre of narrative, poetry and other prophetic genres, and hermeneutical principles for poetry, narrative and prophetic genres apply here as well.

All the principles from Session Three to Four, Sessions Six through Eleven applies here as well.

b. Read apocalyptic in view of a context of crisis.[12]

i.      Most of the time apocalyptic was written during persecution or a crisis.

ii.      This is an important background information to keep in the back of the interpreter’s mind.

c. Approach Apocalyptic imagery by starting with the images that is already interpreted.[13]

i.      Sometimes, the text itself reveals what the images mean and symbolize.

ii.      These images, which have been explained, it can throw light to what other images meant!

d. Have previously revealed Scriptural ideas and images brought to bear in interpreting Apocalyptic imagery

i.      Bruce Metzger “has figured that of the 404 verses in Revelation, 278 contain one or more allusions to the Old Testament[14]

ii.      Let Scripture interpret Scripture through antecedent theology![15]

e. Do not attempt to identify the significance of every detail.[16]

i.      “One must see the visions as wholes and not allegorically press all the details”[17]

ii.      In other words, don’t forget the bigger picture!

f. “Keep all options open for how apocalyptic predictions will be fulfilled”[18]

i.      We do not know everything about the future, so we can not say we know for sure.

ii.      Isaiah 55:8 reveals that man’s thought is different than God’s thought, and apocalyptic genre is indicative of this truth.


[1] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 179.

[2]Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 233.

[3] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 186.

[4] Ibid, 179.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 180.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 185.

[10] Sources: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 232; Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 180; D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 184-185.

[11] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 179.

[12] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 188.

[13] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 237.

[14] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 186.

[15] This is the valuable insight of Old Testament professor Walter Kaiser.

[16] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 189.

[17] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 237.

[18] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 189.

 

GO TO PART XIV

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I wrote a rather long response to a comment concerning Irenaeus’ work Adversus Haereses being cited in the course of a debate about Sola Scriptura.  Since I spent an unusually long time interacting with Irenaeus in my reply, I thought it might be good to make a post out of it so that at least I myself can have an easy access to my notes for the future.  What follows below also contain further notes than my original comment.

A Roman Catholic wrote,

“Also, in Book 3 Chapters 2-4 Irenaeus shows the necessity of the Church and Her Traditions.”

My Response: Irenaeus’ Adversus Haereses Book 3 Chapter 2-4 does show the importance of the church and tradition. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think a contextual reading of these three beautiful chapters necessarily rule out Sola Scriptura, while it does pose dilemmas for those who are against Sola Scriptura from a Roman Catholic position:

(a.) In the opening lines of Paragraph 1 of Book 3 chapter 1 (contextually before chapters 2-4), Irenaeus gave this fascinating statement: “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103301.htm). Note how Irenaeus made a statement about the Scripture being handed down by the Apostles. It is the Scriptures that is “to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

(b) Continuing in the same flow of Irenaeus’ view of Scripture as the ground and pillar of our faith, he then gives a description of the Gnostics in the very first lines in chapter two, which ironically fit the descriptions of Roman Catholics who argue that the Scripture is ambiguous or lacking full authority when it is interpreted in ignorance of “traditions”: “When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103302.htm). To assert that the Scripture is ambiguous (as oppose to the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, which Sola Scriptura rests upon) is not something Irenaeus favored, and those who hold this position in order to argue against Sola Scriptura will have some problem with citing Irenaeus as a friend to their cause.

(c) Irenaeus’ talk about tradition in chapters 2-4 in no way threaten Sola Scriptura, since nowhere does Irenaeus state that Scripture must be interpreted by traditions.

(d) Remembering the point made in (c), we can further evaluate traditions discussed in chapters 2-4. Roman Catholics invoking the discussion in chapters 2-4 to support the idea that the Apostles handed down traditions down to the modern Roman Catholic Church makes an interesting leap of logic: The traditions might have been handed down to the church in Irenaeus’ day, but it’s another thing to claim that it has been handed down to the modern 21st Roman Catholic Church.

(e) Per (d), a Roman Catholic might argue from Book III, Chapter three, paragraph 2 that Irenaeus pointed to the church in Rome as the standard of measuring orthodoxy, as the last lines states, “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm). Sola Scriptura does not mean that it is forbidden to have as a general rule of thumb of seeing how others are doing in the issue of faith and practice (though Scripture is the ultimate authority), just in case one may stray, which was a good point that Irenaeus made. However, nowhere did Irenaeus say that the church in Rome can never err, since he does qualify his statement with the following conditional, “inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

(f) Building upon (e), Roman Catholics cannot cite Book III Chapter three to substantiate that the church physically situated in Rome can never err, since in the fourth paragraph Irenaeus describe the church in Ephesus having the same status of bearing witness to the truth according to the Apostolic tradition handed down to it: “Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm). If Ephesus has the same status as Rome, and if one were to apply the same form of argumentation Roman Catholics used on others, why then does the Roman Catholic not accept the Second Council of Ephesus on the basis of this kind of argument?

(g) After discussing about traditions in chapters 2-4, notice that Irenaeus goes on to say the following in the opening lines of chapter five, “Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, John 14:6 and that no lie is in Him” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103305.htm).  Note that Irenaeus was not going to carry out a refutation of the Gnostics by simply appealing to traditions as his authority.  Instead, he says “let us revert to the Scriptural proof…,” that is, he wishes to appeal to Scripture to refute someone.

(h) In light of Irenaeus’ view of Scripture, one might ask why is it then that Irenaeus even discussed about traditions in chapters 2-4?  I think the answer lies in the first line in chapter 2, when Irenaeus referring to the Gnostics, said “When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103302.htm).  It seems that Irenaeus brought tradition to counter the Gnostics’ claim that those who are orthodox operating with a clear (as oppose to the Gnostics charge of “ambiguous”) interpretation of the Scripture in of itself has the problem of being “ignorant of tradition,” As the same sentence shows, while Irenaeus disapproved of their accusation that Scripture is ambiguous, Irenaeus then dealt with the Gnostic objection that they were ignorant of “tradition,” by showing that by their own game those who were orthodox were the recipients of the Apostolic faith since they were taught by the Apostles directly (which explains the very personal nature of Irenaeus claim that he saw the Apostle John teaching as a youth in chapter 3 paragraph four.

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Strengths

This book is not filled with boredom.  Almost every page is filled with insights and excitement.  Every category that Dr. Montoya covered is significant to expository preaching.   His figure of speeches used to convey his message, make it easy to follow.  This really added color to the material, which makes it easy for me to retain the information.

A big area that I felt was important was his explanation of body gestures.  This is an important area in preaching.  He explained it well.  This will help me much in preaching.  I highly recommend this book for those interested to learn about passionate preaching.  Whether you are a beginner or seasonal preacher, this book is a must have.

Weaknesses

I think that having a couple of questions at the end of every chapter for reflection would help challenge the reader’s thoughts concerning passionate, expository preaching.

With that said, here are some good quotes that ministered to me.

Dr. Montoya—

Preaching is passionate because it deals with the very nature of God and the expression of His love for humanity.  The attitude in the study and the attitude in the pulpit are similar yet different.  The study is the discovery of the truth, and the pulpit is the sharing of this truth.  The simmering of the week boils over in the pulpit on Sunday.  How can we preach such magnificent truths as though they were common and mundane (13)?

Charles Spurgeon—

We must regard the people as the wood and the sacrifice, well wetted a second and a third time by the cares of the week, upon which, like the prophet, we must pray down the fire from heaven.  A dull minister creates a dull audience.  You cannot expect the office-bearers and members of the church to travel by steam if their own chosen pastor still drives the old broad-wheeled wagon (14).

Dr. Montoya—

As a minister matures, his passion should increase.  Have you ever noticed why older preachers command such attention?  It is because they have lived the truth (16)!

Dr. Montoya—

My own experience bears this out.  I am by nature shy and inhibited, and during my early years I possessed a high degree of stage fright.  Yet God has allowed me to go beyond this weakness and to develop a degree of passion in my preaching.  If there was hope for me, there is hope for other timid souls (17).

Dr. Montoya—

Artificial elements do not give life to a dead sermon offered by a preacher devoid of the Spirit (23).

Dr. Montoya—

Spiritual power comes when we realize our utter unworthiness to preach and our total dependence on God for everything.  God despises a proud heart and opposes the proud.  Instead, He chooses to honor those who honor Him (1 Sam. 2:30).  We experience our driest and deepest valleys when we rely upon our own strength (24).

Dr. Montoya—

We should look to the prophet Isaiah to seek a similar vision of the exalted and holy God (24).

Dr. Montoya—

A story is told of a young preacher who proudly went up to preach and soon after made a mess of his delivery (24).

Dr. Montoya—

We must take care take care of how we ascend to the pulpit if we desire God’s power in our preaching.  As the Holy of Holies was not available to all—unless they were qualified and entered in purity and reverence—so should it be with the pulpit.  We dare not assume the role, treat it as profane, and expect God to bless.  He will not!  The psalmist in Psalm 24:3-6 lays down the qualifications needed for an ascent to the holy hill of the Lord: clean hands, a pure heat; a true soul (25).

Dr. Montoya—

Psalm 15 states the same requirements.  Here the psalmist qualifies the one who may “abide in God’s tent” and who may “dwell on His holy hill” as one who walks with integrity and works righteousness, speaks truth in his heart, does not slander with his tongue, does no evil to his neighbor, does not take up a reproach against his friend, despises a reprobate, and honors those who fear the Lord (25).

Dr. Montoya—

The key to spiritual power is to keep short accounts with God (26).

Dr. Montoya—

The pulpit can be a great help in keeping us from habitual sin if we acknowledge its sanctity and the need for personal holiness as a requirement for our entrance into it to declare God’s Word (27).

Dr. Montoya—

Men of God sin, and men of God must confess their sins (27).

Let me add that the pulpit is no place for the confession of our personal sins to God.  We should do that in our study or in our closets.  Such show of hypocrisy—that we would use the sacred desk as a pretense for humility and holiness—must be sorrowfully loathsome to God.  We must be personally well acquainted with the cross of Christ—the fount of cleansing is for us first.  Alexander Maclaren has rightly written, ‘It takes a crucified man to preach a crucified Savior'” (27).

Dr. Montoya—

Holiness must also be maintained through a constant and living communion with God.  If we are to be leaders of worship, then we must be true worshipers as well.  If we are to speak for God, then we must be those who speak with God.  If we are to lead souls to heaven, then we must be those who descend from heaven with God’s Shekinah around us” (27).

Dr. Montoya—

Here is where so many of us fail.  We do not practice what we preach.  Yet we wonder why the power has departed from our preaching  (27).

Dr. Montoya—

The key to spiritual power is to keep short accounts with God (26).

George Mueller—

I saw more clearly than ever that the first and great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord,…but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner [life] might be nourished (27).

Dr. Montoya—

A sermon is not an exercise in exegesis, but a declaration of a truth to move us to moral action (46).

Dr. Montoya—

Every preacher should be a theologian.  He should know his doctrine because every sermon is a doctrinal sermon—an unfolding of some divine truth revealed in the Scriptures (47).

Dr. Montoya—

It is our burden for others that creates passion in our preaching (56).

Dr. Montoya—

When were you last so overwhelmed by your love for your congregation that your words went forth mixed with tears (62).

Dr. Montoya—

Teaching with authority is learned from Christ—not from the scribes (74).

Bibliography

Montoya, Alex D., and MacArthur, John. Preaching With Passion. Kregel Pubns, 2007.

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GO TO PART 6

I saw this news and I thought it was too good to ignore and not use as an apologetics sermon illustration.

Point: As Van Til and Greg Bahnsen points out, sin is by nature irrational.  There are people out there who think that they can be an enemy of God and yet expect God to reward them whether in this life, or even in the afterlife with eternal life.  Yet the irrationality of it is ironic.  It’s as ironic as…

Picture:

Taliban commander turns self in… for reward on ‘Wanted’ poster

By Kevin Sieff

Sometimes, capturing a Taliban commander requires vast resources and complex operations. Last week in eastern Afghanistan, it required neither.

Mohammad Ashan, a mid-level Taliban commander in Paktika province, strolled toward a police checkpoint in the district of Sar Howza with a wanted poster bearing his own face. He demanded the finder’s fee referenced on the poster: $100.

Afghan officials, perplexed by the man’s misguided motives, arrested him on the spot. Ashan is suspected of plotting at least two attacks on Afghan security forces. His misdeeds prompted officials to plaster the district with hundreds of so-called “Be on the Lookout” posters emblazoned with his name and likeness.

When U.S. troops went to confirm that Ashan had in fact come forward to claim the finder’s fee, they were initially incredulous.

“We asked him, ‘Is this you?’ Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, ‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’” recalled SPC Matthew Baker.

A biometric scan confirmed that the man in Afghan custody was the insurgent they had been looking for.

“This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” one U.S. official said.

Wanted posters are often distributed by NATO forces, but rarely have such a direct impact on the apprehension of an insurgent. In restive Paktika province, civilians are typically afraid to pass on intelligence that might lead to an arrest. And insurgents tend to shy away from the urban centers where they’re being hunted, particularly while carrying evidence of their own transgressions.

Source: WASHINGTON POST

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

OPPONENT: I believe God should bless me….<INSERT HERE: (e.g., in my life, by going to heaven, etc)>

CHRISTIAN: Okay, but remember that it’s not rational for God to be obligated to bless His enemies.  Do you think you are an enemy of God?

<If there was a previous apologetics dialogue where the opponent attack Christianity, cite this as an example of the opponent being at war against God>

<Or show the person’s sin and enmity against God by the Law, Way of the Master, Roman’s Road, etc>

CHRISTIAN: If you are an enemy of God, you do not have any rational basis to demand God having to bless you.  In fact, that reminds me of a newstory I read <SHARE THE ILLUSTRATION>.  Would you not say that the Taliban man is wanted as an enemy against the US and current Afghan government?

OPPONENT: Of course!

CHRISTIAN: In some sense, we in our sins are like that Taliban!  We plan in our minds attacks against God, we even carry it out in our behavior.  Then not understanding the penalty against us, we mistaken a penalty for a reward!  Perhaps we might have of have even read His Word out of context, with our greed our self-righteousness making us think it teaches us being rewarded when there’s a penalty.  We need Jesus all the more as a Savior from our selfish sinful deception.

 

GO TO PART 8

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