Archive for December, 2012

Explosive Christmas

Here are some Presuppositional apologetics’ links wrapping up from this year around the world wide web:

1.) Defending the Content of the Faith We Are Defending— Review of Cornelius Van Til’s classic, The Defense of the Faith.

2.) Humanism and human worth— Steve Hays on a quote by Dawkins that undermine human worth according to “Humanists.”

3.) Atheism, Subjectivism, and Meaning— Chris Bolt takes on an atheist.

4.) Baxter vs Hume— Holloway’s take on the debate between David Hume and Andrew Baxter.

5.) A Review of Erring: A Post Modern A/Theology–A book review by Forrest W. Schultz of an anti-theistic book that confirms Van Til’s motif that man’s rebellion against God has implications against man.

6.) A Friendly Question about God and Logic–By James Anderson.

7.) Book Review: How Do We Know the Bible is True?–A book review that’s really grateful for the book’s Presuppositional approach.

8.) How Man Finds Himself: Rationalism vs. Revelation— Mark Rushdoony’s take on the question, “What is Man?” in light of the battle between rationalists and God’s revelation.

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Spencer Islam Unveiled

 Purchase: Amazon

This is no doubt a controversial book. The history of oppression by Islam and the author bringing up of Islamic terror from recent headlines is sobering. Maybe because it was all the negative reviews and attacks on the author might have influenced me, but this book was more balanced than I expected. Those who have spent some time studying Islam critically might find things covered elsewhere questioning whether Islam really is a religion of peace. I thought the author was nuanced enough in the work to make it clear this is not an attack on Muslims as it is a critique of Islam itself. Since much of Islamic apologetics has to attack Judism, Christianity and Catholicism, the author does have to compare these faiths with Islam and show their objection does not stand. Here is probably the weakness of the author, who is not really as strong in the Bible as he is with the Quran. The author from what I understand is Catholic, though from the feel of the book his influence also include Western classical liberalism and a product of Modern Enlightment. As a result of his influence, the chapters in his book addresses the concern of Secular Western democracy such as whether Islam is compatiable with Liberal Democracy (chapter 5), whether it is compatible with Western pluralistic framework (chapter 6) and respect human rights (chapter 3), all three which the author answer in the negative. Most fascinating for me was his chapter dealing with whether Science can florish under Islam, in which he dealt with the history of Islam’s golden period of scholars such as Avicenna (known best among Christians probably for the Kalam Cosmological Argument) were really those who sought learning and synthesizing knowledge from non-Muslims such as Classical Greek sources. However, eventually strong dogmatism with the Quran crushed scientific endeavors and brought about the end of the “Golden Age” of Islam. It makes me want to learn more about these Muslims scholars and their Muslim opponents. The work also put historical perspective of the Crusades (which the author does not endorse) and also pointed out that if Muslims were to argue against the Crusades they also have to argue against Islamic Imperialism as well. Perhaps the saddest part of the book is the chapter on Islam and woman, in which the charge of rape and honor killing was incredibly sad.

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Battle of the Mind


For the purpose of this paper, I will attempt to cover the problem, importance of the study, scope of the study, context of the study, and the plan of the study concerning the role of the mind in sanctification.[1]

The problem has to do with unbiblical interpretations and hostile attacks from unbelievers and words and deeds against sanctification.  A mind that accepts the wrong view of sanctification can leave disastrous results for a Christian.

The utilization of the mind is expressed in various passages of Scripture.  The mind is mentioned in Luke 24:45 (use of the mind in understanding the Scriptures), Revelation 13:18; 17:9 (use of the mind in eschatological events), Romans 1:28 (the mind of the unregenerate), Romans 11:34 (the mind of the LORD), etc.  If the role of the mind is critical to the myriad of areas such as understanding Scripture, eschatological events, the mind of the unregenerate, then how critical is the role of the mind in sanctification (Romans 6:11; 7:14; 12:2; 14:5)?

Jesus Christ died and purchased His elect not only for our justification, but He died and purchased His elect for our sanctification.[2]  Our personal holiness is a serious demand from God because it reflects God’s nature that is required by God’s commandments.  It is also required by the mediation of His Son; and is required by God in order to glorify Him.[3]  John Calvin said this regarding those who just cared about justification, but not sanctification: “shamefully render Christ asunder.”[4]  People misrepresent Christ when they only care about justification.  Justification and sanctification are both important.  You can’t have one without the other.

Hence, due to the many erroneous views out there, it is imperative and important to study the role of the mind in sanctification.  We will cover the different dangerous views later, but just to satisfy some courtesy right now, it must be pointed out that there are people out there who substitute their fear of man for God.[5]  Instead of a biblically guided fear to use their minds for the glory of God, we fear others.[6]  And when we fear others, we ignore God’s Words.  The truth concerning the role of the mind in sanctification is at stake.  We cannot be tossed to and fro by the man-centered theologies of man.

The scope of the study will be centered on three facts and two commands that stem from the three facts.  The three facts are: the believer’s death (6:2b [permanence of death], 6:3b [spiritual act of death], 6:4a [union in death], 6:5a [picture of death], 6:6a [payment of death], 6:8a [companion of death]), the believer’s freedom (6:2c [freedom from duplicity], 6:6b [freedom from slavery], 6:7b [freedom from sin], 6:10a [freedom from bondage]), and the believer’s life in Christ (6:4b [new life], 6:5a [resurrection life], 6:8b [eternal life], 6:9 [victorious life], 6:10 [obedient life]).[7]  The two commands are these: believers are to remember their position (6:11) and to live out their position (6:12-14).[8]

The context of the study concerning the role of the mind in sanctification will be based on a foundational passage written by Apostle Paul from Romans 6:1-14.  The book of Romans was written sometime towards the end of Paul’s third missionary journey (A.D. 56).[9]  The theme of Romans deals with the righteousness of God, salvation, and the Gospel of Paul.[10]  The outline of the book is as follows: salvation (1-8), sovereignty (9-11), and service (12-16).[11]  To narrow in the context for the purpose of Romans 6:1-14, the first five chapters deals with justification by faith and chapter 6 deals with the Christian’s sanctification that is connected to His faith in Christ.[12]  Romans 6:1 is connected to Romans 5:20-21 (“The more sin, the more grace”).[13] The basis for holy living is connected with the Christian’s union with Christ death and life (Rom. 6:1-14) and also the believer’s slavery to God (Rom.  6:15-23).[14] Chapter 7 and eight deals with the believer’s life under grace; chapters 9 through 11 deals with Israel’s unbelief; and finally chapters twelve through sixteen deals with specific areas concerning the believer’s life/walk in this world.[15]  Since we are dealing mainly with Romans 6, it important to keep in mind that the first imperative for sanctification is located in Romans 6:11.  Romans 6:11 says, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”[16] There will also be a few interactions with some minor cross-references for the purpose of illustrating a point.

The plan of this essay is to provide much detail as possible concerning the role of the mind in sanctification from Romans 6:1-14 so that the believer will be able to best use his mind as a means in sanctification. [17]   In order to do that, I believe it would be effective to first cover the definition of the mind, description of the mind, definition of sanctification, description of sanctification, the role of the mind according to Romans 6:1-14, and erroneous views concerning sanctification.

I pray that this study will be edifying to you.  The mind is an important study.  As you all may know, the mind can either be used for the glory of God, the glory of Satan, the world, or our own personal, hedonistic autonomy.  I pray that you will choose the first choice: the mind utilized for the glory of God.

Please stay tune for the next installment.

[1]Nicholas John Amatuccio, “The Role of the Mind in Christian Sanctification According to Romans 6:1-14” (Th.M.Thesis, The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, CA, 2003), Table of Contents.

[2]Arthur W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification (Swengel, PA, Bible Truth Depot), 30.

[3]Ibid., 32-38.

[4]Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, ed. D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988), 243.

[5]Edward T. Welch, When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 1997), 14.

[6]Ibid., 14.

[7]Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification, 8.

[8]Ibid., 8.

[9]John MacArthur, The Macarthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 1655.

[10]Bob White, “Ordination Preparation” (unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2011), 46.

[11]Ibid., 46.

[12]Amatuccio, “The Role of the Mind in Christian Sanctification According to Romans 6:1-14,” 9.

[13]Ibid., 9.

[14]Ibid., 9.

[15]Ibid., 8-9.

[16]All Scripture is quoted from New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update unless otherwise noted.

[17]Amatuccio, “The Role of the Mind in Christian Sanctification According to Romans 6:1-14,” 10.

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Yesterday I reviewed Luther’s classic commentary on Galatians.  After a reader’s comment, I found several media format one can enjoy this classic!

Martin Luther Galatians

You can download it for free onto Kindle if you click HERE.

If you want to download it to your Apple IBook click HERE.

If you want an Adobe PDF copy click HERE.

If you want to read it online in Html Format, click here for the table of Content.

If you want to hear it courtesy of LibriVox, click here.


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Martin Luther Galatians

After reading the Bible, every Christian should at least one time in their life read something by Martin Luther to understand the man who has been responsible for the Protestant Reformation and the issue of justification that was at stake. Luther’s commentary of Galatians was a delightful read. I was surprised that there was not a strong polemical taste to this work but instead one feels the pastoral heartbeat of Luther as he expounds the meaning of the text and often showing how a promise in Galatians should be applied to combating wrong thoughts and demonic discouragement. Again, a delightful read, but more than reading the words of Martin Luther this commentary made me read more carefully on my own the book of Galatians itself.


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He Came

As many are celebrating Christmas today, may we as Christians, not forget the importance of the incarnation, which is the heartbeat of Christmas; and for everyday living.  Please check out the links below for your edification.

  1. Bob Kauflin, “Sentimentalizing, Sanitizing, and Spiritualizing Christmas.  This post speaks about some of the dangers of how people approach Christmas.  The incarnation of Christ must be the apex of our worship when celebrating Christmas.
  2. Erwin Lutzer, “Why Is It Important To Affirm The Incarnation Of Jesus Christ In Real Space And Real Time?.  Erwin Lutzer gets into a theological discussion of the incarnation of Christ.
  3. Odd Thomas, “The Incarnation.”   Christian rapper that goes by the name Odd Thomas, throws down an artistic piece of the incarnation from the medium, called Spoken Word.  The words are lyrically sound and edifying.  This is a great brother who I knew from an apologetic class/service, I once attended many years ago.  I am blessed by how the Lord is using him.  I have not seen him for years, but it is great how the Lord is using him.

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We will look today at Luke 1:5-7:

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

I enjoy Luke 1:5-7 and in a way it stands out from the rest of Luke chapter 1.  The lack of the miraculous in this passage makes it easier to relate to for today than what follows in the rest of the chapter and beyond.  For the careful reader, one would note that this passage affirms the reality of suffering in this world.  No doubt since suffering is a reality in this life various forms of the problem of evil have been brought up even among Christians.  And yet this passage reveal two individuals who are faithful to God even as things don’t go their way–and the presence of evil that surrounds them.

Note the following:

1.) Zechariah and Elizabeth lived in a time where the wicked reign (v.5a)

2.) Zechariah and Elizabeth own life was far from being ideal (v. 7a)

3.) Zechariah and Elizabeth lived and know the experience of being elderly (v. 7b)

1.) Zechariah and Elizabeth lived in a time where the wicked reign (v.5a)

PASSAGE:In the days of Herod, king of Judea,”

Who was King Herod?

He was a very cruel man .  Extraordinary brutal.  Even within his own family, he executed several of his own sons whom he suspected of plotting against him, along with his favorite wife, the Hasmonean Mariamne (or Miriam).  The Roman emperor Augustus said of him: “It is better to be Herod’s pig than his son.”  AND HERE WAS THIS EVIL MAN RULING–EVEN OVER THOSE WHO WERE GODLY.

How long did he reign wickedly for?

The “days of Herod” would have spanned from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C. (Fitzmyer, 322).

2.) Zechariah and Elizabeth own life was far from being ideal (v. 7a)

PASSAGE: But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren,” 

But they had no child

Culture had a higher premium of having kids back then than today.  Biblically children was a blessing from the Lord and yet they did not have any.

“…because Elizabeth was barren,

Reason why they were childless is given here.  Being “barren” must be understood in their Old Testament background of what it means, in which it can be seen as the worst thing to happen to a married woman.   One can think of Genesis 30:1 of Rachel two choices to Jacob of having children or she will die and 1 Samuel 1:6 of Hannah being maligned (Hendriksen, 67).

One can imagine people using Psalm 113:9 to judge someone who is barren (Hendriksen, 67).  Yet is there legitimate grounds to say this?

In the Greek, “Elizabeth” has an article before it and thus “the Elizabeth “This verse echoes other godly women in the Bible who were barren such as Sarah (16:1), Rebecca (Genesis 25:21), Rachel (Genesis 30:1), Samson’s mother (Judges 13:2), Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2).  The significance of the article is that it points to the fact that this is the same Elizabeth previously mentioned in verse 6 as being Godly who is also the same one here that is sterile.  The significance here is that sometimes even godly people have things happen to them that we might say, “Is it fair?”

3.) Zechariah and Elizabeth lived and know the experience of being elderly (v. 7b)

Passage: and they were both advanced in[j]years” 

Old age is a cruel affliction to humanity.  Think of frail human bodies.  Frail human spirits.  Nursing homes.  Think of cruel, mean, sad looking faces of those who are pass their primes.  Think of accomplished men and women, whose days and glory have been long past and significance have been forgotten or no longer appreciated–who are viewed by others and their own adult childrens as, well children–or worst, they have deterioted to being ACTUALLY acting and talking like children.  In more words that the existentialists and Nhilists can poetically describe, old age can be a cruel lot to afflict those who haven’t been taken away yet.

And yet surprisingly, this couple, with much afflictions and suffering were described by Luke as being godly (v.5b-6)

there was a priest named [g]Zacharias, of the division of[h]Abijah; and he had a wife [i]from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

What gives?

Why didn’t Zecharias gave up, submit his ex-Christian testimony and sell books with titles like “Diaries of an Ex-Minister”?  I’m embellishing here-but you should get the point: this couple was old, faithful to God and yet suffering was very real to them.  What was it that gave them the hope within them to go on?  What reason could they give?

What is the reason for their hope?

1.)  Their hope is based upon the fact that God does focus upon the Godly

One must not miss the point that Luke 1:5-7 is about the godly.  The implication of this is huge: There is a big contrast between the terrible king and this pious priest, and I think it shows that God’s view of history is not just only upon famous people who are recognized by the world as movers and shakers but instead upon those who are faithful to Him.  For those of us who are His people, He cares and watches out for us.  King Herod is only mentioned incidentally here.  Their relationship with God along with God’s focus upon them must have been a sweet and powerful comfort, in which despite years of ongoing violence around them and affecting them as well, Zecharias and Elizabeth still followed God; and followed God through their old age and having no children.

2.) Their hope is based upon the fact that God Kept His Word

They lived with the motivation that God kept His promises.

It seems this old couple focused on God’s promises in their lives by the significance of their names

Zecharias means “God Remembers”

Elizabeth means “God is an Oath” that is, with the idea of God being absolutely reliable (Hendriksen, 65).

God’s promise can be seen in history and providence: “Zacharias, of the division of[h]Abijah;

It is some kind of division of priests in which there were 24 division with each serving at the temple for a one week duration twice a year (Hendriksen, 65).

Translated as “Abijah,” it refers to the eighth division out of the 24 division of priests serving the temple.

The fact that there were still priests in Israel was because of the faithfulness of God to His promises to bring back Israel from the Babylonian captivity.

The Christian apologist must not downplay or forget the importance of God’s Word being fulfiled in the role of encouraging believers for the hope that they have within them whether it’s the study of Messianic prophecies, other historical prophecies being fulfilled and the study of the doctrine of God’s providence and role in History.  Of course, the framework for the study of historical apologetics must be thoroughly biblical.


Most Christian apologist can recite 1 Peter 3:15, the apologist’s “Constitution:”

 but [c]sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being readyto make a [d]defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and [e]reverence;

But the apologist must not forget contextually the verse before it,

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you [a]are blessed. And do not fear their[b]intimidation, and do not be troubled

1 Peter 3:15 is situated in the context of believers suffering and persecuted.  How appropriate would it be that Zecharias and Elizabeth be a model for the Christian apologist to own up to the hope that we have, live it out and bear witness God’s testimony and power in the midst of evil around them, suffering, and things not going our way.

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Here is a poem that I wrote many years ago about the importance of Gospel proclamation.  With Christmas and New Year’s Day right around the corner, I pray that the Lord will open up many doors for you to proclaim the majesty of God’s Son in a dark, twisted, and confused world.  May the light of Christ’s Word shine through dark hearts.  Soli deo gloria.

Superiority of the Gospel

The Gospel brings about worship.

Adversity comes when there is an absence of worship.

Proclaiming the Gospel is temporary,

But the worship of God is eternal.

Sing to the God who is eternal.

Superiority of Gospel starts and ends in worship.

The Gospel fuels worship.

However, the Devil’s spell of damnation,

Comes to many who enjoy the greatness of sin’s facade.


Evangelize the lost,

So they may enjoy the greatness of God—

Found at the cross.

At the cross,

There was a great cost.

His substitution will never be at lost.

For that, our voices rejoice

Psalm 97:1”

“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;

let the many islands be glad!”

Without worship,

Sin reigns in the unbeliever.

Because of sin,

The earth groans with one voice.

Because of sin,

The coast-lands are unable to rejoice.

One day,

Sin will be outlawed with God’s hot lightening rod.

Sin will be outlawed by the supreme act of God.

For that,

We praise and obey You.

Psalm 67:3-4,

“Let the peoples praise you,

O God; Let all the people praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;

For You judge the peoples with uprightness

And guide the nations on the earth.”  Selah

But all unbelievers,

Continually disobey You rather than praise You.

They will be squashed like mayonnaise before You.

Outside of Christianity,

Judgement comes upon all cities.

God will judge all with equity.

He will judge all in the inner city;

In the political committee,

Or in the nitty-gritty.

Most people want no guide.

Their hearts and minds are filled with their undignified, sinful joy-rides.

They keep sinning with huge strides.


Gospel proclamation starts and ends in worship.  There will be tunnel vision with no precision in your Gospel proclamation if it does not begin and end in worship.  But your soul will sink like the Titanic ship that wasn’t equipped.

Many nations give world-wide,

Far and wide;

And eagle-eyed attention to celebrities like the King of Pop—

Rather than Jesus Christ who reigns nonstop.

He bought us with a price.

What other knowledge can suffice?

All other knowledge fleas away and decays away like lice.

So if you enjoy God and want others to enjoy Him—

Proclaim Him,

Like the great hymns.


No passion for God in worship,

Equals a facade in your walk with God.

Don’t be like others who superficially applaud for God,

But are nothing but frauds that belong to the wicked squad.


So if you enjoy God,

Commend your friends, their boy friends, and their girl friends about God.

Let them taste and see that God is good.

May the Kings of kings not be misunderstood.

Tell them to listen,


And apprehend,

Jesus Christ who is better than their best friend.


Gospel proclamation starts and ends in worship.  There will be tunnel vision with no precision in your Gospel proclamation if it does not begin and end in worship.  But your soul will sink like the Titanic ship that wasn’t equipped.


We worship an infinite great God.

Don’t worship him alone in the backseat,

Or only in church retreats,

Or sing to Him like you do with Sesame Street.

Our worship of God is not a fallacious book like Live Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen.

Who give messages that are obscene,

That taste bad like rotten sardine.

The Bible is not psychotherapy,

But spiritual therapy.


We worship God with overwhelming greatness;

Who provides spiritual therapy—

To those who suffer from spiritual leprosy.

The cosmos and life are held within His decree.

Isaiah 40:25-26, “

25″To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? Says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.”


We worship the great God because no one can be compared to Him.


We sing hymns to Him.

We worship Him,

Because He saved us from sin’s grim.

The Holy One—

No one is like Him.

The Seraphims cry out:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”~Isaiah 6:3

The Holy One:

Jesus Christ,

Paid the ultimate price for sin,

Made a sacrifice for sin;

And He gave His life at any price for sin.

Lift up your eyes!

God is great with might and is always right.

He is also reachable and not out of sight.


God is great!

With His promises,

He is never late;

Nor does He procrastinate.


Gospel proclamation starts and ends in worship.  There will be tunnel vision with no precision in your Gospel proclamation if it does not begin and end in worship.  But your soul will sink like the Titanic ship that wasn’t equipped.

God is the absolute that everyone must come to terms with.

Everything depends entirely in His will.

May the nations know how good our God is.

Tell them who our great God is.

Tell them God called Israel for His glory (Is. 49:3).

Tell them that God rescued Israel from Egypt for His glory (Psalm 106:7-8).

Tell them that God defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea to show His glory (Exodus 14:4).

Tell them that God gave Israel victory in Canaan for His glory (2 Samuel 7:23).

Tell the nations God chose His people for His glory (Ephesians 1:4-6, 12, 14).

Tell them that God created us for His glory (Is. 43:6-7).

Tell them all are under judgment for dishonoring God’s glory.

Tell them that God struck Herod down dead because he did not give God glory.

Tell them that their ultimate aim should be to taste and see God’s good glory.

Tell them that God did not cast away His people because of His glory.

Tell them that Jesus endured His final hours of suffering for God’s glory (Jn. 12:27-28).

Tell them that God suffered and died for those who would believe and repent for His glory.

Poem was adapted and inspired by John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 17-44.

Unpublished Work © 2012 EvangelZ

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Been pretty busy the last few days so there’s not much comment on each article this time.  These were some links I didn’t get around to put up the last time I had Presuppositional apologetics links.  Enjoy!

1.) Reason Requires God: Kant’s Transcendental Program Fails.

2.) Test of Faith.

3.) The Robbery of Neutrality.

4.) Linus or Manmas?

5.) Are We Creating a Culture of Moral Misfits?

6.) The Flat Earth Myth: The Greatest Urban Legend of History

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Her Hands in Marriage Doug Wilson

Once again Doug Wilson hits a home run with this book. Here is a work that addresses Biblical courtship in the Modern world. The book is filled with Wilson’s insight from Scripture, practical wisdom and instructional humor, and applicable for all who read this whether you are the guy, the girl or the parents involved with Christian courtship. I appreciated Wilson pointing out that courtship takes place with the authority of the daughter’s parents which is the subject of the first chapter. As I have a young daughter at this time, it’s a sobering admonition for my wife and I to consider in our daughter’s future. Here in chapter one Wilson brings some relevant Biblical passages including those from the Old Testament that I’ve never thought about it before. Chapter one alone is worth the price of the book. In the second chapter Wilson addresses the topic of preparing sons for courtship in which the big points I took away from it was to prepare sons by modeling it in the family by the father, teaching on sexual purity and being a gentleman. A plus for his insight on young men and the issue of self-control. The third chapter then focus on preparing daughters for courtship including the discussion of modesty, biblical femininity and parental protection. This is followed by two other chapters on courtship itself and a beautiful allegorical story as an appendix that hallmarks Wilson’s desire to communicate Christian truth through great literature and other literary forms. There is too many good things I’ve learned from this book to share in this review (I’ve read this work together a devotional with my wife and we highlighted so many parts of the book) but he takes the topic of courtship beyond just the guy asking the father’s permission to court his daughter. If more Christians were to read and apply this book, we would see a dramatic turn for the better of Christians and sanctification when it comes to the family and purity rather than the current recreational dating patterned after the World. Excellent work, I highly recommend it and give a five star. It’s a work I plan to re-read in the future or at least thumb through the highlighted portion.

Get this on Amazon!

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Below, are a few good links surrounding a biblical worldview of psychology and mental illness.  It is vital that Christians are eqipped in this area.  In light of all the massacres during the last couple of years such as the Virginia Tech shooting and the Newtown shooting, some are trying to substitute mental illness for man’s responsibility concerning the murder of countless people.

  • Voddie Baucham, “Nebuchadnezzar Loses His Mind.”  Disclaimer: With all due respect to what Pastor Baucham stands for concerning the family and the Gospel, there is a bit of a possible disagreement.  As another brother-in-Christ named Mike mentioned concerning the earlier part of this message – it is hard to tell whether Pastor Baucham is stating that Jesus had depression at the Garden of Gethsemane or whether he was pointing out that the people who work in the mental health community would diagnose or see Jesus’ condition as being anxious in Gethsemane, depressed at Lazarus’s tomb; and then being bipolar after He raised him from the dead.  It is hard to tell if Pastor Baucham believed Jesus was depressed, but I will leave that to your discretion.  I sent the church an e-mail requesting clarification.  Until then, I will wait for a response.  But at the end of the day, I identify Jesus’ experience at the garden as suffering and grief, not depression.  Grief and depression are two separate notions.  God permits grief, but depression is a different animal and is associated with anxiety.  Depression would undermine God’s perfection and holiness.  Overall, the message was good and Pastor Baucham does a candor job in explaining the confusion amongst Christians concerning the issue of mental illness.
  • John F. MacArthur, Jr., “The Psychology Epidemic and its Cure.”  In this journal article, Pastor MacArthur discusses many important points.  One of the major concerns has to do with the Christian Church implementing psychology in order to deal with spiritual issues.  Pastor MacArthur says,

The church’s right to counsel from the Bible has been reconfirmed in court rulings of recent times. Yet in many instances the church has surrendered that right and responsibility because of the ‘professionalization’ of the counseling ministry among Christians. This is tragic because the behavioral sciences are not, as is commonly believed, scientific. Neither have they proven effective in changing the human heart. ‘Christian psychology,’ with its claim of a secret knowledge about dealing with people, has made deep inroads into the church, but it is no more than a duplication of its secular counterpart with Scripture references occasionally interspersed. A reliance on Christ, the ‘Wonderful Counsellor,’ and God’s sufficient Word as dispensed by spiritually gifted Christians to one another is the church’s only solution in meeting the spiritual needs of its people.”

  • Dr. Trevor Craigen does a book review of Dr. Ed Bulkley called, “Why Christians Can’s Trust Psychology.”  Dr. Craigen reviews this book that addresses the danger of people pursuing recovering programs such as the twelve-steps programs, self-help books, integrative practices (hybrid and Christian truth and Psychology), etc.  Dr. Craigen gives an in-dept analysis of the book.

“The highly subjective social sciences want to blame anything and everything outside of the foundational biblical truth that man’s heart is sinful. This article is God’s common grace to society that there are some who still recognize the dangerous capability of a sinful heart.” – Pastor Pakingan.

Good thing there is still some sense in the world were people are willing to call it out like it is.  Call it what it is folks! This is what Jesus said about the heart, “”For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19). We cannot circumvent God’s Word that authenticates to us what is right and wrong.

  • Here is a good video that discuss Psychiatrists On Psychiatry.  Interesting and important concepts such as mental illness and chemical imbalance are mentioned and whether there is proof of it existing.  Here is the link, Psychiatrists On Psychiatry.

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Equilibrist businessman

Many of us would object to having a non-medical personnel perform surgery on us.  We would object because that person is not a doctor.  That person does not have a comprehensive knowledge or the expertise concerning the human body and how to operate on a human body.   We would cry “foul” if a non-medical personnel was to operate on our body.

If one would object or discriminate against a non-medical personnel performing surgery on someone, how much more should we object to a watered-down Gospel presentation?  As Christians, we are to be like spiritual surgeons who operate carefully upon the soul of a unbeliever.  The lost are made in the “image and likeness” of God (Gen. 1:26).  Hence, as human beings and subjects created in God’s image, we should be motivated to be benevolent.  To be benevolent in this context is to provide the biblical Gospel and to proclaim the Gospel presentation holistically.  We must stray away from the false Gospel messages that are preached (Gal. 1:6-9).  To do so would not be an act of benevolence, but an act of malevolence. We need to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim. 2:15).

Beloved, as Christians, when it comes to the Gospel, we must also not bar the Gospel because there are many lost souls that are inches away from being abandoned by God in Hell for all eternity.  At this moment, they are walking in a rotten covering or on a thin rope that will one day collapse or rip.  They are in a state of stupor and we are to be their sirens that God will use to awaken them from their sin and sentence of condemnation.

Some of you may ask, “How do I share the Gospel biblically, holistically, and effectively to these spiritually dead people.  Before I do that, I would like to first belabor the point that there are many methods on how to share, but the content of the Gospel truths are inherently the same.  For example, the death, burial, and resurrection, must be included, but most importantly, the penal substitution which is the heart of the Gospel must be catapulted.

Penal substitution is a serious doctrine that must be exalted amongst all Christians.   Penal substitution can be defined in this manner,

That the Lord Jesus Christ died for us—a shameful death, bearing our curse, enduring our pain, suffering the wrath of his own Father in our place—has been the wellspring of the hope of countless Christians throughout the ages.”[1]

This statement is referred to as “penal substitution,” “substitutionary atonement,” or “vicarious atonement.”

To separate oneself from this doctrine of penal substitution is to sever oneself from orthodoxy.  To substitute rationalism for penal substitution is to make oneself hostile before a Holy God.  Since this doctrine is the heartbeat of the Gospel, which is linked to salvation, one must preach this truth with passion and integrity.  One must not substitute rationalism, lies, or inaccuracies for the sacred and biblical understanding of penal substitution.  The cross was bloody and costly.  We must not cheapen it in order to satisfy the masses.  Without penal substitution, repentance, faith, and the submission to Christ’s Lordship would bring no hope or joy for the unbeliever.  Without penal substitution,  man is utterly hopeless.

In order to have an effective  and non-esoteric Gospel message that people would appreciate, here is what a  good Gospel presentation implements.  Some of the concepts can also be used for counseling.  Let us also remember that only the Holy Spirit can change a dead person.  We could preach clearly and skillfully, but without the Holy Spirit, that person will not change (John 3:8; Titus 3:5).

  1. The Character of God
    • Holiness:
      • Hab. 1:13-16, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?”
      • Isa. 59:2, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
        • Ps. 11:7, “For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.”
        • Is. 5:16, “But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.’
        • Ps. 7:11-12, “God is a righteous judge,/And a God who has indignation every day./If a man does not repent,/ He will sharpen His sword; /He has bent His bow and made it ready.
  2. The Depravity and Condemnation of Man
    • Falls short of God’s glory
      • Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
    • Man is unclean
      • Isa. 64:6, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
  3. The Perfect Logic of God
    • The wicked and righteous in God’s eyes.
      • Proverbs 17:15, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous,/Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.”
      • Gen 18:25, “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”
  4. God’s Action:  Much has been said regarding man’s condition before God’s holiness and justice.  We will now transition to the hope for mankind: God’s love.
    • God’s love
      • 1 John 4:8-10, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
      • Rom. 3:23-26, “For allhave sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
    • The resurrection of Christ
      • Rom. 4:25, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
      • 1 Cor. 15:1-8, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”
  5. Man Needs to Respond
    • Repentance
      • Man needs to recognize and confess his sins and submit to the Lordship of Christ
        • Psalm 51:3-4, “For I know my transgressions,/ And my sin is ever before me./Against You, You only, I have sinned/And done what is evil in Your sight,/So that You are justified when You speak/And blameless when You judge.”
      • Recognition of sin leads to a hatred of sin
        • 2 Cor. 7:10-11, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.”
      • Recognition and confession of sin is not the primary evidence, but one must turn from sin
        • Matthew 3:10, “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
        • Gal. 5:24, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (cf. vv. 19-23).
    • Faith
      • Faith is to trust and rely upon the promises, works of Christ, and Lordship of Christ.
        • Rom. 4:21, “And being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”
        • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
        • Rom. 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Now to make this evangelism discussion somewhat applicable, three days ago, on a Sunday morning, a stranger from Florida sat in the foyer of the church.  He was asking for resources that will help him get back home to Florida.  I also asked him a few questions about his background.  I learned that the young man appeared to have a difficult life.  Apparently, he was adopted and was in and out from incarceration, had a baby out of wedlock; and made some poor decisions in life.  As I was listening to him, I couldn’t help but to continue the discussion while service was still live.  He reminded me of some of the Christian rappers like Lecrae and others who had a similar life like he did.  By God’s grace, God transferred Lecrae and some of the other Christian rappers from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light (Col. 1:13-14).

To cut the story short, I swung the pendulum from the natural and into the spiritual.  I was now engaging spiritual warfare by discussion spiritual issues.  By God’s grace,  I was able to share the gospel message that exhibited candor.  I shared the law, the holiness of God, justice of God, and many of the other facets I mentioned earlier.

The young man was receptive the whole time.  And as the conversation continued, he told me that he is concerned about the direction of his life.  I asked him, “Will you please think about what I said today when you leave this church, and he responded by saying, “I am thinking about it right now.”  It appears that the Lord was convicting him.  He further noted that no one never shared the Gospel to him the way I did.  This is not to boast or to get glory for myself, but what I believe he was referring to was the biblical Gospel that was presented to him that Sunday morning in its fullness; and along with its sobering and solemn implications concerning man’s eternity.

At the end of the conversation, I handed the young man a Bible and invited him to our church’s Christmas services.  I am not sure if I will ever see him again or whether he plans to go back to Florida soon, but I am sure glad that God used me to share the Gospel to him that morning.  It was an evangelism encounter that I did not expect that day, but it is a reminder that I need to be ready in season and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2).  I definetey could sleep well tonight knowing that I did not preach a perverted Gospel message.  I know the Lord is faithful and His Word will not return back void (Is. 55:11).  Please keep him in prayer.  It is my prayer that the Lord will convert him from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light.  Soli deo gloria.

Appendix of Important Terms and Concepts for Evangelism and Counseling

  1. Repentance
    • In the OT, the verb repent (niham) occurs about thirty-five times; and is usually used to signify a contemplated change in God’s dealings with men for good or bad according to his judgment (1 Sam. 15:11, 35; Jonah 3:9-10).  It is also is used to signify that God will not swerve from his announced purpose (1 Sam. 15:15:29; Ps. 110:4; Jer. 4:28). In the NT, the word for repentance is metanoia which means “a change of mind.”  That word metanoia appears twenty-three times in the NT.  What is unique about the word metanoia is that it goes beyond the meaning of having an inner change, but it also involves a turn in direction in one’s life.  In other words, it involves a 360-turn in one’s life.  Grudem defines repentance as follows, “Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ” (Systematic Theology, 713). “Genuine repentance will result in a changed life” (Ibid.).
    • What also must consider what repentance is not.  Repentance is not just feeling bad or sorrowful for the sin one commits, but a sorrow that is according to the will of God that leads to repentance.  In other words, when one understands that his sin is against God, he will repent.  But one who has the sorrow of the world may feel bad for the mistakes he made in life, but he will not feel bad that he sinned against a holy God.  And a person who has the sorrow according to the will of God does not regret the sin he has left.  A person who has regret about leaving his sin shows the reigning idol in his heart still remains.  The idol to exalt one’s pleasure and to satisfy one’s pleasure has prevented many from repenting from his or her sins.  If a person sees God as his greatest joy, he will have godly sorrow and will truly repent.  Please see 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 for more details concerning sorrow of the world and the godly sorrow that is according to God’s will that leads to repentance.
  2. Faith
    • Faith is trusting and relying on God’s promises, the work of Christ; and believing in Christ as Savior and Lord.
    • In terms of the language of faith, there are two key terms that must be understood: pistis and pisteuo.  Let’s first deal with the verbal usage of pistis and pisteuo.  Pistis means “faith,” “trust,” and “belief.”  Pisteuo means to “believe in” and to “have faith in,” and “entrust.”  As for the noun pistis and the verb pisteuo – they are used around 240 times in the New Testament.  If we are to summarize faith, we could see it in three elements.  Just like repentance, faith as well, affects the intellect, emotion, and volition.  It must also be mentioned that faith is not a blind faith in Christianity, but involves the belief in something true; and also includes the idea of personal trust in Christ rather than our self-righteousness.
    • Going back to the three elements, I will just piggy-back off of that and also give you the reformer’s terminology of faith: notitia, assensus, and fiducia.  Nottia signifies an awareness of the facts of the Gospel; assensus signifies the belief that the facts were true; and fiducia signifies a personal confidence and trust.  The first two conveys the idea of facts being true and the last term emphasizes faith in God personally.  Also, just like repentance, faith is also a gift (Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Tim. 1:14; Heb. 12:2).
    • Scriptural references for faith:
      • Rom. 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
      • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
  3. Repentance and Faith Affects the Mind
    • Intellect
      • The sinner should realize that he is sinning before a holy and just God.
    • Emotion
      • There needs to be a zealous hatred for sin and a zealous love for Christ (Jn 4:24).
    • Voliton
      • There needs to be willing desire to fight-off sin and a willing desire to cling to Christ and His Word.
  4. Tests of Assurance Concerning Salvation
    • Walking in the light (1 Jn 1:5-7)
    • Confession of sin (1 Jn 1:8-10)
    • Obedience (1 John 2:3-4)
    • Hatred for the sinful things of the world (1 Jn 2:15-17)
    • Perseverance in right doctrine (1 Jn 2:24-25)
    • Righteousness (1 Jn 3:10)
    • Spirit’s testimony (1 Jn 4:13)
    • Love for the brethren (1 Jn 2:9-11)
    • Discipline (Heb. 12:5-8)
  5. The Way of the Transgressor is Hard
    • Proverbs 13:15, “Good understanding produces favor,/But the way of the treacherous is hard.”
  6. You cannot be forgiven by God unless you are a child of God
    • Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”
  7. Double-Minded Man is Unstable
    • James 1:8, “Being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
  8. There is Only One Way to Live
    • Psalm 1, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
      Nor stand in the path of sinners,
      Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
      But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
      And in His law he meditates day and night.
      He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
      Which yields its fruit in its season
      And its leaf does not wither;
      And in whatever he does, he prospers.

      The wicked are not so,
      But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
      Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
      Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
      For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
      But the way of the wicked will perish.

  9. True Discipleship Tested
    • Luke 14:25-27, “Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

[1] Steve Jeffrey, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach, Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2007), 21.

*All Scripture is quoted from New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995); unless otherwise noted.

*Some concepts were adapted from Michael A. Vlach, “Theology III” (Unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2012) and “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” http://www.heartcrymissionary.com/resources/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ (accessed December 18, 2012).

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The list is from Gospel Living of biblical commentary on the Sandy Cook Elementary massacre:

I’ve also thought these two links are also insightful:

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If you bite and Devour

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Certainly a Christian apologist should be contending for the faith–but that does not mean they have to be contentious.  And being contentious is a pitfall that the Christian apologist might be more tempted with than others brothers in Christ and and this is a good book addressing this sin. The author Alexander Strauch is able to write this book with a pastoral heart. Addresses the issue of Christian and conflict. Admonishes the believers to act in the Spirit, love and humility, while controlling anger, tongue and criticism and pursing reconciliation and peace. A good work for the pastor to use for counseling with a believer on addressing conflicts biblically. Also has two chapters on facing false teachers and controversy respectively, which balances the book lest one thinks that a Christian should avoid conflict at all costs, even at the expense of the Gospel. Balance book, and convicting. Don’t forget to also read the appendix–which I appreciated and wish he would develop it into a chapter length, focusing on how sanctification occurs with our union with Christ. Recommended!

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shotgun shell lights

Once again there’s way too many good Presuppositional apologetics links being put out.  Here are only a few that I thought were good highlights.  Since there are so many good things being pumped out online, next week I will have another “second helping” of Mid-December links around the web.  Enjoy!

1.) The Problem of Reincarnation–Mike Robinson sees Hinduism’s doctrine of Maya undermine the doctrine of Reincarnation.

2.) Delineating Disciplines–Ben Holloway talks about interdisciplines between Philosophy of Religion, Philosophical theology and Apologetics.  On a tangent, I’ve seen this to be a beautiful implication of Van Til’s thought of the inter-connectedness of disciplines that John Frame really expounds on with Perspectivalism.

3.) And Slew The Little Childer— Doug Wilson has some comment related to the tragic shooting and also to Herod’s crime.

4.) Where is God?  Steve Hays has a short remark about an atheist objection and uses the analogy of DaVinci.

5.) Response to “The Problem with Presuppositionalism”– Chris Bolt demonstrates how to have a brief and concise response to another internet attack against Presuppositionalism.

6.) A Worldview on the Brink–Ben Holloway comments about how atheist Thomas Nagel’s latest work has unintentional apologetics value for the Christian apologist concerning consciousness and an evolutionary paradigm.

7.) Atheist West Point Cadet Can’t Take the ‘Persecution”–Gary DeMar has his take on the atheist cadet that resigned and protested against West Point.

8.) Why Do So Few Atheists Take Their Faith Seriously?–Justin Taylor’s quote of Carl Trueman’s take on leading atheism to it’s logical conclusion.


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