Archive for January, 2013


Here are some late January 2013 links related to Presuppositional apologetics.


2.) Debunking Bumper Stickers

3.) Prayer and the Apologist

4.) Rationality and Presuppositionalism


6.) Christianity and the Rules of Reason

7.) B.B. Warfield’s Scientifically Constructive Theological Scholarship

8.) Verificationism And Christianity

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This is a fascinating article by LGBT activist Shane Windmeyer who wrote of his new friendship with Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A. Shane is a gay activist and leader of Campus Pride who rallied against the chicken sandwich chain. He recently wrote a piece of praise to the man he previously called bigot, divisive and racist. Read HERE.

Read Ed Welch, “Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love” or read a sample of the booklet HERE.

Cathy and Shane

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Note for January 2013: Download this for a limited time free on Amazon Kindle before this week ends!

abortion sproul

I appreciated Sproul weighing in on this topic. Those who have read other works on pro-life works (see my review of Scott Klusendorf’s work) will not find anything dramatically new here. Yet it’s good to read and review the pro-life’s argument. One thing that stood out as unique in this book was actually George Grant’s preface. Grant summarized the current landscape in our society, political sphere and culture as the result of the abortion debate since Roe vs. Wade. This fascinating essay filled with footnotes by Grant puts into perspective for the Christian the extent of how much the abortion controversy has seeped into so many spheres of our lives today. The book is worth reading for the preface alone. Getting into Sproul’s actual work I do appreciate how the author does deal with various objections given against the prolife position. I was reminded that more women have been known to have been killed by abortion after Roe vs. Wade than before it which makes the back alley abortion argument for legalizing abortion kind of ironic. Concerning the argument that the fetus is part of the woman’s body, Sproul bring modern study of cells to bear, noting that babies have a different genetic fingerprint than the mother. The more interesting part of the book is the appendix that ended up being a rather lengthy testimony of a medical expert on the status of the embryo. Perhaps a little too lengthy. Sproul could have had his arguments tighter and I say this because I’ve seen other works that have made it air tight in their presentation. For those who might want to read an introductory work or to remind and refresh their prolife apologetics I can recommend this work.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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Battle of the MindThe Role of the Mind in Sanctification, Part 3

Erroneous Views of Sanctification

Unfortunately, there are many erroneous views of sanctification.  The Roman Catholic Church blurs the line between justification and sanctification.[1]  Instead of viewing both aspects of salvation biblically, they view justification as a process, but sanctification is a process (progressive sanctification is a process, not positional sanctification) not justification.[2]  They are both distinct from one another.

The other view would be the “let-go-and-let-God” theology, which perceives the Christian as being passive in his sanctification.[3]  That is in contradiction to God’s imperative to be holy.

Another dangerous view is perfectionalism, which believes that a Christian can become perfectly sanctified.[4]

There is also the “two-step approach” to sanctification.[5]  This view believes that one becomes sanctified after justification; and happens at the second act or occurs in what they call the second blessing.[6]  That is unbiblical.  Sanctification happens simultaneously at regeneration.  The moment one is changed, he is sanctified immediately. 

The Role of the Mind in Sanctification

Much background and other important peripheral details have been given concerning the mind and sanctification.  In light of much that has been revealed, we will move into the area concerning the role of mind in sanctification according to Romans 6:1-14. For the sake of this paper, I will not be giving a full-blown exegetical insight into every verse, but will make an attempt to explain the powerful implications of the hinge verse: Romans 6:11.

The first opening statements from Paul are clear concerning his denunciation and repudiation of a sinful lifestyle.  It is impossible to live a habitual and sinful lifestyle in order to receive more grace (6:1-2).  This is impossible because Paul affirms that we have “died to sin” (v. 2b); and we have been taken out of its tyranny in a manner that is radical; and it allows for a language of death and new life to be used as a paradigm for sanctification.[7]

In vv. 3-4, Paul shows how the transfer from the dominion of tyranny: we “died to sin” in baptism.[8]  Paul uses death to sin in relation to baptism to summarize our conversion to Christ and initiation or entrance into his body.[9]  In regards to the “conversion-initiation,” to join with Christ means to join with Christ’s death; and Paul shows this in vv. 9-10 by pointing out that Christ’s death was in of itself “death to sin.”[10]  The close association with Christ’s death seems to exhibit the reality being buried with Him.[11]  It is important for the believer to note that the concept of burial does two things in this context of Romans 6: sets the seal on death and prepares for what is to come: living a holy life that is patterned after the resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.[12]

In Romans 6:5, it is seems best to connect it with verse 4 since Paul makes the connection that we are in union with Christ’s death and our union with Him in life (4b).[13]

In Romans 6:6-7, Paul resumes and explains more concerning the “death” concept of the believer’s union with Christ (vv. 4a and 5a), while verses 8-10 focuses on the “life” concept of a believer’s union with Christ (vv. 4b and 5b).[14]

When you come across Romans 6:11, it becomes the hinge verse for Romans 6:1-10 because it is a clarion call to believers to “consider” themselves in the manner that Paul described in Romans 6:2-10 concerning the death-life paradox that is inseparable.[15]  By implication, Paul is exhorting them to use their minds (“consider”).  The use of the mind is the heartbeat of sanctification.[16]  Without a Christ-centered mind, there is no sanctification.  When Paul is exhorting the Christians to “consider”—he is not telling them to consider the Gospel one time, but he is telling them to consider the Gospel habitually.  The implications of the Gospel must be on their mind habitually in order to mortify sin effectively.  What is interesting to note is that Paul’s implementation of the forms of “know” and “believe,” is used around four times (vv. 3, 6, 8, 9).[17]  Spiritual exhortation is always built upon knowledge of a doctrine or revelation given.[18]

Those who do not have the mind of Christ or who are unable to consider the blessings of the Gospel is described by Pastor MacArthur in this manner, “By engaging the inner faculties—mind, emotions, desire, memory, and imagination—thought-sins work directly on the soul to bias it toward evil.[19]  Based on Pastor MacArthur’s thoughts, no one falls into sins such as adulteries, lies, etc., but the person who sins has a heart that has been shaped and nourished by lustful thoughts before the deed was conceived.[20]  Another highlight of verse 11 is the use of the word “consider” (λογίζομαι).  He tells them to consider themselves being dead to sin and alive to God (vv. 2-10).  The consideration is made even more clear in  vv. 12-14.

In verse 11, the phrase ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (in Christ Jesus) means the believer’s union in Christ.[21]  The believer’s reality of being dead to sin and alive in Christ is grounded in Christ’s death and resurrection.[22]  A believer’s death to sin does not mean that a Christian is unable to sin, but it means that the mastery and dominion of sin being the master and ruler of one’s life  has ended for those in Christ.[23]  The word ζῶντας (zōntas, alive) does mean that believers are already resurrected (cf. vv. 5, 8), but it means that the power of Christ’s resurrection affects the believer’s life at present (cf. v. 4).[24]

Verses 12-13 resumes the notion by further drawing out the implications of Christ death and resurrection.[25]  In verse 12, Paul gives a prohibition by saying, “…do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.”  Paul is not saying that sin is reigning in their life (cf. 15:14-15).  The word “body” (σῶμα) is limited not only to the physical body, but also refers to whole person, which includes the body and desires such as envy, jealousy, rage, anger, etc.[26]

In verse 13 when Paul says, “body to sin,” he is not saying that the body is sinful or evil, which is an ancient heresy that can be reached back to Gnosticism, but what Paul is saying is that sin’s pleasure operates in the body because without the body, sin can’t corrupt the mind.[27]  Sin uses the body as the vehicle to bring about transgression in one’s life.  That happens when one caves into temptations.

In verse 14, as Paul continues his discussion of sin not being our masters no longer.  Paul then dives into the discussion of the law by saying, “…for you are not under the law but under grace.”  First of all, I do not think that Paul is saying that the moral law is no longer applicable or no longer to be obeyed, because the problem is not with living under the moral law that is a problem, because the commands are good and holy (Rom. 7:12).[28]  Instead, what it means is that we are no longer under its condemnation; nor does it mean that we use the law to work for our salvation, for salvation is by grace alone (Eph. 2:8).  Instead, the moral law is a moral compass for sanctification and for ethics in society, but it could only be kept by the Holy Spirit’s power.[29]  Also the law, which is impossible to be kept perfectly, is designed to show man’s sinfulness, futility, and his helpless state.[30]

[1]Michael A. Vlach, “Theology III” (Unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2012), 220.

[2]Ibid., 220.

[3]Ibid., 221.

[4]Ibid., 221.

[5]Ibid., 221.

[6]Ibid., 221.

[7]Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary of the New Testament, eds. Ned B. Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 354; Anthony A. Hoekema, Five Views on Sanctification, ed. Stanley N. Grundry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 73.  Romans 6, gives the clearest expression of the conclusive aspect of expression of sanctification that is expressed (ibid., 72).  For example, in Romans 6:2, Paul says, “We died to sin,” which is an expression of an unambiguous language concerning the truth, that the Christian has made a radical and “irreversible breach” in the domain and realm where sin reigns (Ibid., 73).  Hoekema underscores the decisive and irreversible breach from the enslavement to sin by indicating that believers who are in Christ, reveals that their old self has been crucified with God in v. 6 (Ibid., 73).  What is fascinating is Paul’s usage of the aorist tense which suggests the definitive action in tbe sense that sin is no longer lord or master over them because believers are under rule of grace (v. 14) (Ibid., 73).  Not only does Paul underscores the essential truth of Christians dying to sin, which is tied to Jesus’ baptism unto death, but Paul underscores that believers have been decisively raised with Christ which is tied to Jesus resurrection (ibid., 73).

[8]Ibid., 354; C.E.B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1975), 304.  Cranfield points out this concerning baptism into Christ’s death, “Not that it actually relates the person concerned to Christ’s death, since this relationship is already an objective reality before baptism takes place, having been brought into being by God’s gracious decision, which is implied by…in 5:8, but that it points to, and is a pledge of, that death which the person concerned has already died—in God’s sight” (Ibid., 303).

[9]Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 354.

[10]Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 354.

[11]Ibid., 354.

[12]Ibid., 354.

[13]Ibid., 354.

[14]Ibid., 354.

[15]Ibid., 354.

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

[17]John F. MacArthur, Romans 1-8, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 332.

[18]Ibid., 332.

[19]MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, 183.

[20]Ibid., 183; cf. also in James 1:15, which says, “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

[21]Thomas Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 322.

[22]Ibid., 322.

[23]Ibid., 322.

[24]Ibid., 322.

[25]Ibid., 322,

[26]Ibid., 383.

[27]Morris,  The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 257.

[28]Amatuccio, “The Role of of the Mind in Christian Sanctification According to Romans 6:1-14,” 128.

[29]Ibid., 132.

[30]Ibid., 132.

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update dispensationalism



The “Index to Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalism’s Marathon Series” post has been updated since it was posted October 2012.  I plan to add more materials to it in the next few months to come including book reviews, more interviews and a post or two of our own analysis.

I’ve marked it with “New” in red to distinguish it from the previous materials and resources.

To check it out, click here.

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MacArthur, John and the Master’s Seminary FacultyPreaching: How to Preach Biblically. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005.


This book did a wonderful job in presenting the concise definition of the term: expository preaching and the detail analysis regarding expository preaching.  While reading the processes of the exegetical method, hermeneutic methods, and guidelines in preaching different genres, I found it helpful when Pastor MacArthur open up the doors into his preparation before preaching on Sunday.  What was also helpful were the explanations on how one moves from exegesis to exposition and how one delivers his exposition.

Moving from exegesis to exposition is important because as preachers, we do not want to be a data dump or sound like a commentary when we are preaching.  We must be like Martin Luther who preached to the common man.  At times, this can be difficult for expositors because there is a big temptation to go too deep because of the power and depth of the biblical languages.

I am glad Pastor MacArthur touched upon the negativity of being a data dump.  If exposition is not present, then the listeners will have trouble understanding.

What was also refreshing are insights on how to develop a good introduction, illustrations, and conclusion.  These three components are essential in delivering a powerful, illustrative, and engaging exposition.

Another component that I think is critical for expositors to know and keep in mind is the chart on page 114 of the book.  The chart lists four levels concerning the “relationships between fields of theological study.”  The first level comprises of biblical introduction, biblical languages, and hermeneutics.  Biblical introduction has to do with understanding the historical background, author, etc.    Biblical languages are key because the Bible was written in the original, not English nor any other language. Having a firm grasp on the biblical languages brings one closer to God’s Word and brings others to God’s Word.  Hermeneutics (art and science of interpretation) on the other hand, is critical too because it provides rules to interpretation.  Without proper hermeneutics, you will not have accurate exegesis.

In level two, you have exegesis.  Exegesis does not rely on the English, but deals with the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic; and relies upon good hermeneutical principles (108).  The job of exegesis is to help bring about the meaning of the text.

The third level comprises of systematic theology, biblical theology, church history, philosophy of religion, apologetics, homiletics, counseling, Christian education, administration, missions, evangelism, contemporary society, ethics, etc. (114).

The last level is Bible exposition.  This is the level where preachers declare the Word of God to the people.  Dr. Richard L. Mayhue defines exposition in this manner,

At its best, expository preaching is ‘the presentation of biblical truth, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, Spirit-guided study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit applies first to the life of the preacher and then through him to his congregation’” (9).

This is a great quote and is convicting in many fronts.  It is a powerful reminder for me that I need to work hard at getting the interpretation right, I need to rely on the Holy Spirit; and that I need to apply God’s truth to myself first before telling others to apply them.


One weakness in this book is that it does not dive in depth about how to deal with New Testament narratives.  More attention was given to Old Testament narratives.  I think that speaking about the narratives in the New Testament (i.e. Gospels) would help much since many preachers will preach from the New Testament.  Also since context is important, a more detailed analysis in how to analyze a particular context of a passage would help the reader.


Below are lists of quotes that were insightful and had an impact on me.  I pray that I go back to these quotes as a reference.

James Rosscup—

“The young preacher has been taught to lay out all his strength on the form, taste, and beauty of his sermon as a mechanical and intellectual product.  We have thereby cultivated a vicious taste among the people and raised the clamor for talent instead of grace, eloquence instead of piety, rhetoric instead of revelation, reputation and brilliancy instead of holiness” (55).

Andrew Blackwood—

“For in his study the prophet can build his altar and on it lay the wood.  There he can lovingly place his sacrifice…sermon…but still he knows that the fire must come down from God.  Come it will, if he prays before he works, and if he works in the spirit of prayer” (59).

Richard Baxter—

“Many a tailer goes in rags, that maketh costly clothes for others; and many a cook scarcely licks his fingers, when he hath dressed for others the most costly dishes…It is a fearful thing to be an unsanctified professor, but much more to be an unsanctified preacher” (68).

John Flavel—

“Brethren, it is easier to declaim against a thousand sins of others, than to mortify one sin in ourselves” (69).

Charles Spurgeon—

“Let the minister take care that his personal character agrees in all respects with his ministry” (69).

John MacArthur—

“Illumination is the work of the Holy Spirit that opens one’s spiritual eyes to comprehend the meaning of the Word of God” (78).

“Revelation refers to the act by which God makes known what is otherwise unknowable.  Theologians sometimes call it ‘special revelation”(79).

Charles Spurgeon—

“A house must not have thick walls without openings, neither must a discourse be all made up of solid slabs of doctrine without a window of comparison or a lattice of poetry; if so, our hearers will gradually forsake us, and prefer to stay at home and read their favourite authors whose lively tropes and vivid images afford more pleasure to their minds” (240).

John MacArthur—

“Faithful expository preaching demands great effort.  Since nothing is as important as the Word, no energy expended by anyone in any other field should even equal the effort of an expositor seeking to ‘rightly divide the Word’” (171).

Richard L. Mayhue—

“The element of ethos, that is, the preacher’s perceived credibility in the mind of his audience, can be markedly influenced by the kind and quality of his introduction.  This is especially true in cases where listeners have no previous acquaintance with their preacher.  As the adage goes, ‘First impressions are lasting impressions” (201).

John MacArthur—

“Preaching is expository in purpose.  It explains the text.  Preaching is logical in flow.  It persuades the mind.  Preaching is doctrinal in content.  It obligates the will.  Preaching is pastoral in concern.  It feeds the soul.  Preaching is imaginative in pattern.  It excites the emotion.  Preaching is relevant in application.  It touches the life” (236-237).

John MacArthur—

“Proper communication in preaching involves taking people through a logical, systematic, and compelling process” (237).

In regards to how long a sermon should be, he states, “As long as it takes to cover the passage adequately!  I do not think the length of the sermon is as important as its content.  At times I have preached fifty minutes and it has been ten minutes too long.  Other times, I have preached an hour and twenty-five minutes and it has been just right.  The important thing is to cover the main point so that people are convinced of its truth and comprehend its requirements.  If you have nothing worthwhile to say, even twenty minutes will seem like an eternity to your people.  If you are interesting, they will stay with you.  Do not mistake persuasion for long-windedness, however.  If you preach longer than you should, you will sacrifice persuasiveness” (277).


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10 Books Every Conservative

 Available on Amazon

Originally I was a little reluctant to read it, afraid it was parroting Republican party one-liners but it turns out to be better than expected and the author had a broader focus and was trying to get at something deeper with a “conservative worldview” (though my Van Tillian framework would say he needs to go further in the development of a worldview to be thoroughly Christian and Reformed). Thus, the lists of books he covered are not necessarily political books as some may think of it, but more broader and basic such as literary fictions (Lord of the Rings, Sense and Sensibilities) economic works and theological classics (Chesterton, C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man and the Bible!). The author, a Catholic professor at Marquette is known for his previous book, “10 Books That Screwed Up the World.” is driven to see books with the question of what does it say about human nature which I would agree with is a good test question in terms of discernment of what a book means and it’s significance. It seems that he tried real hard to be broadly Christian without having much of Roman Catholicism that is contrary to Protestantism showing. His chapter on Lewis’ work, The Abolition of Man, and Orthodoxy by Chesterton has motifs in their critique of the materialistic and atheistic worldview that the Presuppositional apologist would appreciate (though they are not fully Presuppositional in the Van Tillian sense of the word). The book covers more than 10 books as the subtitle goes on to say: there’s four other works “not to miss,” and one imposter, with the imposter being Ayn Rand’s work. I think the author makes a strong conclusive case that Ayn Rand’s work ought not to be considered conservative, with the premise that conservatism is not about narcissism. I’ve read a previous work that went over Rand’s biography and her cultic narcissistic ideology is not pretty. Objectivism is in essence an atheist cult built upon the persona that Rand paints of her characters in her books. This book is definitely illuminating and makes me want to read for myself the books he suggested. In terms of disagreements I have with this work, I would dispute Aristotle’s work as being one of the canons of Conservative works though certainly there’s insight he had that will help it along the way. Throughout the book he talks about free will, and I sense he means libertarian free will, but it’s not the main point of his work. In the end, I would say this book is worth reading.

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Gun Control Irony

Point: A distinctive of the school of apologetics known as Presuppositional apologetics as taught by Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen and John Frame is their use of a kind of argument stating that  in order for an unbeliever to hold a certain view, one need to presuppose certain truths of Christianity in the first place in order for it to be intelligible and meaningful.  That concept might be hard to communicate, thus the need and  importance of explaining this line of argumentation and also illustrating it.

Illustration: After the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school last December, the Journal News decided to publish an interactive map placing a dot on the address of every permit holder in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York complete with names and street address. Why?  In their own word, giving “as much information as possible provides our readers with the ability to contribute to the discussion, in any way they wish, on how to make their communities safer.”   There is a general trajectory that the Journal has that is critical of private rights to arm.  Yet ironically, we read of this news story that while they are critical of private rights to bear arm, they hired a private security firm with citizens that exercises that same right to private arms in order to ensure their safety while they continue being critical of it.

Guns are good for the goose but NOT for the gander.

A Clarkstown police report issued on December 28, 2012, confirmed that The Journal News has hired armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations and that they are manning the newspaper’s Rockland County headquarters at 1 Crosfield Ave., West Nyack, through at least tomorrow, Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

[Update 1/4/13-the guards will now be present indefinitely]

According to police reports on public record, Journal News Rockland Editor Caryn A. McBride was alarmed by the volume of “negative correspondence,” namely an avalanche of phone calls and emails to the Journal News office, following the newspaper’s publishing of a map of all pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester.

Due to apparent safety concerns, the newspaper then decided to hire RGA Investigations to provide armed personnel to man the location.

Private investigator Richard Ayoob is the administrator of RGA. He told the Clarkstown Police on Friday, December 28 that there had been no problems on site at the Journal News headquarters despite the massive influx of phone calls and emails.

McBride had filed at least two reports with the Clarkstown Police Department due to perceived threats. However, the police did not find the communications in question actually threatening. Incident-Report 2012-00033099 describes McBride telling police she was worried because an email writer wondered “what McBride would get in her mail now.”

Police said the email “did not constitute an offense” and did not contain an actual threat.

The Journal News caused an international stir when they released aninteractive map of pistol permit holders names and addresses in Rockland and Westchester counties last Sunday, December 23. The editors have said they believe knowing where guns are is in the public’s interest. The newspaper has also taken a strident editorial position in favor of strict gun control.


Irony abounds.  If the purpose of the map was to reveal guns around their readers neighborhood, it’s ironic that they didn’t publish for their readers to know that their office also has private guards who exercise their average citizens right of having hand guns and power of citizen arrests.  It’s unfortunate they didn’t publish this information, failing to live up to their purpose that they stated in their own words of allowing “as much information as possible provides our readers with the ability to contribute to the discussion, in any way they wish, on how to make their communities safer.”  No doubt if the armed guards are local to the county, they would be among those listed in their interactive maps.  More could be said about the hypocrisy of the Journal.  But one must not missed the point I am trying to make here:  That the staff at the journal are critical of the benefit that the law gives concerning hand gun while at the same time they enjoy the very benefits that the laws gives concerning hand guns.  This is analogous to those critical of the Christian worldview that God gave us while enjoying the very benefits of the very Christian worldview they question.


CHRISTIAN: Let me explain how I’m trying to make my argument work.  Did you hear about the one newspaper in New York that had an interactive map of those who had hand gun permits?  Do you think they question the benefits of the rights to hand guns?

<Insert information about New Journal’s interactive maps, their editorials, etc>

OPPONENT: I suppose so to some extent they are critical.

CHRISTIAN: Now what are your reaction to this news story?

<Insert the above news article about the Journal hiring guards exercising their rights to hand guns as private citizens>

OPPONENT: Interesting.  I think….<their thoughts>.

CHRISTIAN: Are you aware that security guards are not peace officers and are exercising the same rights of any private citizens to bear arm, own hand guns and make citizens arrest?


CHRISTIAN: Would you say they enjoy the benefits of the lawful rights to hand guns?

OPPONENT: But they didn’t go out and get hand guns themselves.  They hired guards.

CHRISTIAN: But they directly wanted and directly contacted a security company to provide this services right?  While they didn’t carry a hand gun themselves, wouldn’t you have to agree that they nevertheless practiced and enjoyed the benefit of the lawful rights of private citizen to hand guns for their protection?


CHRISTIAN: That’s analogous to our situation here in this debate.  You might be critical of the Christian worldview, but it’s the same Christian worldview that you enjoyed and benefit from that makes your objection to the Christian worldview be intelligible and meaningful.



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Westcott, Brooke Foss. The Epistles of St. John, The Greek Text with Notes. 3rd ed. 1892. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950 (reprint).

There have been many great books written on the epistles of the Apostle John, but Westcott’s is a classic.

After reading many of the important facets covered in this book, the crux or the heartbeat of the book is centered on the test of eternal life (1 John), truth, which is the ultimate basis of worship (2 John), and loyalty to the truth (3 John).

What makes the book fascinating is the author’s interaction with the exegetical insights, which results in accurate theology.  You cannot have theology first then exegesis second.  What I appreciate much about this critical commentary is that from the first pages of Scripture, is Westcott’s elevation of the role of exegesis.  It was self-evident that the rest of the pages of this book would focus heavily on the exegesis of the text.

For the purpose of this book analysis, concerted efforts will not be focused on the summary of the content, but will involve brief critical interactions from the book in order to discover the weaknesses and strengths.  It is my hope that by doing that,  you will be encouraged to dig deeper in the areas you think you are lacking in; and also to encourage you with the wonderful resources documented and written by this fine author.  I will not focus so much on the weaknesses because there are very few.

Since I mentioned that I would point out briefly concerning the weaknesses, I will bring out some of it to surface.  I think it would be helpful if the author would emphasize more towards the reader of how this phrase, clause, statement, or verse, applies timeless truths.  As great as the exegetical materials are, I think a commentary that draws out practical implications for the reader in how to apply the timeless principles would help tremendously.  Timeless truths are king and are crucial to the sanctification of the reader.  For example, even just posing a question such as, “How do we apply the revelation of God or what the revelation of God’s love do to us? would help.”  To not emphasize or point out timeless truths may cause the reader to have a difficult time understanding or in how to apply the exegetical insights of the phrase, clause, statement, or verse to one’s life.

In regards to strengths, I appreciate how the author’s interaction was not limited only to the various use of verb tense in the epistles of John, but also his interaction with the other parts of speech.  What I also appreciate is the author’s discussion of the Greek text manuscripts such as Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandra, Latin Vulgate and other Greek manuscripts. In regards to the  different manuscripts, he also discusses the superiority of the ancient text, the titles in the MSS., the forms of the writing, authorship, date, place of writing, the destination the letter was sent to, the character of the letter, the object of the letters/epistles, the style and language of the letter, the relationship of the epistles to the Gospel of John, outline of the epistles, to name but a few.  Another strength is the book’s discussion concerning the dangers of higher-criticism when embarking into the world of textual criticism.

When journeying into this book, there was also an appreciation of  its appendix.  The appendix is so significant that a separate paragraph needs to set aside for it.  The appendixes were additional notes given after each chapter.  The additional notes would focus on the fatherhood of God, the idea of Christ’s blood in the New Testament, the idea of sin in the epistle, the use of ἱλασμός (propitiation), John’s view of the state of man, the powers of evil, John’s teaching on creation (1 Jn1-5), antichrist, children of God, aspects of the incarnation, the titles of believers, John’s notion of love, the nature of man, the names of the Lord, the revelation of God, the use of the term μονογενής (begotten), the use of θεός and ὁ θεὸς, divine fellowship, the use of the term: “the Christ,” references to the facts of the Gospel, additional readings of 1 John 5:6-8, the concept of “sin unto death,” the concept of life, and the concept of the true God.  And in 3 John, there is an additional note on the divine name.

The additional notes section of the book was one of the major components that provided many insightful details concerning critical terms in the epistles because it provided deeper notes that lead to clarity.  Clarity is key because it allows one to interpret and explain the terms to others who do not understand them well.  If one can understand the concept well, then evangelism and counseling will empowered because God’s Word is exposed correctly, purely, and clearly.

This book maybe a slow read for some because it is not a normal commentary.  It is a critical commentary that deals heavily with the Greek text.  For those who have not taken Koine Greek, you may have trouble with some of the terms.  But overall, Westcott gets the message across.  After reading over 200 pages of this book, I think I will go back and read the book again because there is much nuance and exegetical insights from the author.


The epistles of Apostle John is a critical book that all Christians need to read because it deals with the tests of assurance, truth, and the loyalty to truth.  Since those three categories are essential, it is imperative that Christians, preachers, missionaries, and pastors have a good grasp on the epistles.  Hence, I believe that Brooke Foss Westcott’s book on the Epistles of St. John will be extremely helpful.  It is extremely helpful because he deals heavily with the Greek text.  Many commentaries fail to deal carefully with the Greek text, but Westcott’s book is a classic.  He deals verse by verse of the epistles exegetically and deals with various topics.  What is amazing about this book is that Westcott deals with the minutest detail of the order, syntax, lexical meanings, and implications of each verse.

I believe that this is book is a must read for expositors of the Word of God.  It will help them and assist them in accurately interpreting the text.

For a free digital copy of this classic and bona fide commentary, please go to this link: The Epistles of St. John.

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Killer Angel

This book was written by George Grant, a Christian author who has also written on other works dealing with abortion and the history of abortion. This particular work focuses on the biography of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood which today is one of the largest provider of abortion. It’s not just a biography–it goes into the ideology that drove Sanger, and readers would be shock by her eugenics and social Darwinian worldview. Her worldview also shows itself also in her personal life. I appreciated Grant’s research into Sanger’s own writings and the writings of her friends and associates who worked with her. This book documents Sanger’s racist view and agenda in population control.

You can access the book for Free as a PDF here.

Or if you want to purchase a physical copy get it on Amazon.

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In light of the 40th year anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we thought it would be appropriate to share some thoughts on abortion/murdering of human life.

1) After I watched this heart-rending documentary, I was not surprised at the spiritual condition of the United States.  As I said many times to others, this country can be described as a culture of death.  Although abortion is practiced by many people from many races, this video points out that abortion is the number one killer of African Americans.  The abortion takes place in a Women’s Medical Society center at 3801 Lancaster, Philadelphia, PA.  Disclaimer: This video reveals some graphic images.  Here is the video: 3801 Lancaster

2) In this article from Desiring God, David Mathis talks about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the night of Black genocide.  Just as a footnote, I am not wholly aware about everything concerning Martin Luther King’s view of life, ethics, and the Bible, but my understanding is that he has been labeled as a heretic because of his very dangerous views against the Bible.  Please see this link concerning Martin Luther King’s views on the Bible: The Troubling Aspects of the Manhattan Declaration.  I would also encourage the readers, if time permits, to read some of his theological works.  As a result, I cannot give my full endorsement to him, but I can endorse what he stood up against such as racism.

It should also be noted that Martin Luther King Jr. was not the only man who fought against racism and segregation, but there were many godly men and woman of God who strongly voiced their repudiation against racism and segregation.  At any rate, in this article,  Mathis links abortion to racism.  This is a interesting read.  Here is the link: MLK’s Dream and the Nightmare of Black Genocide.  Since Margaret Sanger is mentioned in this article from Desiring God, I would also encourage readers to read into Margaret Sanger’s racist views towards African Americans and other races and groups.  Abortionists will tell you that she was not a racist, but do your research and you will find out her true colors.

3) Randy Alcorn contributes an article on abortion and covers the doctor accused of murdering many lives at Women’s Medical Society center at 3801 Lancaster, Philadelphia.  Please see this link: It’s Time to Stop Pretending Abortion Is Anything Other Than the Ruthless Killing of an Innocent Human Being

4) For a book documenting Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist; and the founder of Planned Parenthood (started around the 1930s), get your hands on this free PDF book: Killer Angel.  Here are some excerpts from the book,

As her organization grew in power and prestige, she began to target several other ‘ill-favored’ and ‘dysgenic races,’ including ‘Blacks, Hispanics, Amerinds, Fundamentalists, and Catholics'” (73).

I ‘wonder if Southern Darkies can ever be entrusted with … a clinic. Our experience causes us to doubt their ability to work except under White supervision” (74).

5) For Margaret Sanger’s book, please see this link: Pivot of Civilization.  Here is one excerpt from her book that reveals her view on other races as being inferior,

The emergency problem of segregation and sterilization must be faced immediately.  Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period.  Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear imbecile children, who in turn are just as certain to breed other defectives.  The male defectives are no less dangerous.  Segregation carried out for one or two generations would give us only partial control of the problem” (101).

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After last year’s marathon series on Dispensational Presuppositionalists, I discovered that there were additional items that could be added to that series including interviews.  Here is one of several more interviews I want to have featured here on Veritas Domain.  Today’s interview is with Fred Butler which some of you will know as the blogger behind the blog Hip and Thigh.

Fred Butler


1.) Describe to us your ministry with Grace To You, the church, etc.

I’ve been given the privilege of overseeing the volunteer ministry of
Grace to You. Every month we offer a free resource to our supporters
and when they respond, it is my job to pull together the material they
requested and prepare it to be mailed.  We have about 125 volunteers
who come twice a week, spread out between Tuesdays and Thursday. They
are mostly retired members of Grace Church who wanted to spend their
new found free time serving the Lord.

Additionally, they allow me to preach at them during our lunch break,
so that keeps me in the Word and my sermon prep. skills sharpened.
Typically, I do a 20-30 minute devotional style message.  A lot of
those sermons/lectures have been recorded and are available for free
download at http://www.fredsbibletalk.com, a website a friend put together
for me. It also hosts a lot of my articles and essays on various

At Grace, my wife and I are involved with Doulos, a fellowship group
aimed at young singles and married folks.

2.) How did you first become a Presuppositionalist?

I became a presuppositionalist in an unusual, round-about fashion.
God saved me the last week of my freshman year of college, so going
into the summer as a new believer was really exciting for me.  I read
the NT through for the first time ever, I was introduced to solid
writers like A.W. Pink and John MacArthur, in fact, I was introduced
to John’s preaching ministry via cassette tape by a former member of
Grace Church who was then living in my college town in Arkansas.

When I returned to college in the fall for my sophomore year, I was
“on fire” for the Lord to say the least. I thought I could personally
take on all challengers to my faith.  I was ready to scuffle with
Mormons, the JWs, and any other pseudo-Christian cult and I was cocky
enough to think I had the ability to convince them of their error and
covert them to Christ.

But God has his ways of sanctifying us.  I became friends with a woman
who was a hard-core atheist. She was a non-traditional student, maybe
10 years older than most of her classmates, married and with a kid,
who had returned to school to finish up her degree.  She was also the
first real atheist I had ever encountered. She was a lot like many of
the on-line atheists today, skeptical about everything.  As we talked,
I would challenge her atheism with various Christian “evidences” I had
picked up in my reading or at my college youth group. Somehow I came
across a copy of Josh McDowell’s classic book, “Evidence that Demands
a Verdict.” I loaned it to her thinking she would be unable to refute
his material. She gave it back in a week. She told me she had read the
first three chapters or so and just couldn’t believe it. She then
offered up her spin on why McDowell was wrong and all the mistakes he

The time I knew this woman really shook me. I didn’t have a “crisis of
faith” or anything like that where I doubted Christianity or thought I
had been lied to or whatnot which is often reported these days among
many apostate young people leaving church.  It was more like God
helped me to realize that bringing people to Christ is more than
having the right arguments or the most compelling evidences. Also, as
I matured in my own personal faith and I came to be convinced of the
doctrines of Grace, or Calvinism, I began to see that man’s problem is
not intellectual, but moral. He is blinded in his sin and is
suppressing what truth he has in unrighteousness as Romans 1:18ff
tells us. I began to fit together the “presuppositional” pieces, as it
were, because I started to understand that we engage worldviews, not
just specific lines of evidence.

When I came to The Master Seminary, I was formally introduced to
presuppositionalism, along with the other various kinds of apologetic
theologies and that is when the light came on for me.  What I was
learning about presuppositional apologetics was what I was already
formulating in my heart and now I had some anchors I could use to
shore up my thinking.

3.) Knowing that you work with Grace To You, do you know what is John
MacArthur’s perspective on apologetics?

Those who know John know he shuns the idea of labels. Primarily
because labels will often come with baggage.  For instance, John
probably would hesitate calling himself a “Calvinist,” but I know he
holds to Calvinism because he has preached messages on the Doctrines
of Grace.  He would point out that the title “Calvinism” comes with
superfluous baggage like infant baptism and Covenant Theology that
only gets in the way of any meaningful discussion about what the Bible
tells us regarding God’s grace and election, so he just avoids the

That said, John would certainly consider himself a
presuppositoinalist, because the methodology reflects solid exegesis
and theology.  He hasn’t, at least to my knowledge, preached
specifically on the subject of presuppositionalism, but he does model
the methodology in his preaching and various media interviews when he
is asked to give his opinion concerning some cultural issue.

For example, after 9/11 throughout the 2000s, John appeared
occasionally as a panelist on Larry King’s old CNN show. (You can
watch some of those interviews at GTY’s website here,
http://www.gty.org/video/Category/Interviews) From what I understand,
there were a few guys on King’s immediate personal staff who were
Christians and loved John. So when the opportunity came about back in
the fall of 2001 to address “Where was God on September 11th” those
guys suggested asking John to be a panelist.  He agreed, and he was on
King’s show with some liberal Muslim guy, a Catholic priest, a Jewish
guy, Deep-pockets Chopra, and Kid Rock (I’m just kidding about the Kid
Rock part. LK always had oddball choices for these kinds of
discussions).  Anyhow, during that show, John consistently brought his
convictions back to the Word of God. He challenged the other men who
claimed to speak for God yet misquoted the Bible and flat out spoke

In all of those interviews, John consistently brought everyone back to
the true foundation of our living Sovereign Creator and His written
Word.  Surprisingly, Larry King liked John for it and got to where it
was he who wanted John to come back for these kind of “philosophical”
programs.  That was because he knew what he would say and realized
John was the real deal, not some smarmy, wishy-washy celebrity
preacher who bounces around hard and difficult issues because he wants
to please a broad audience.  Deep-pockets Chopra hated John for his
rock solid convictions and where as John would chat with the other
guys at the table during commercial breaks, Chopra refused to speak
with him, because John was a narrow-minded Bible thumper.

4.) Some see Presuppositional apologetics as being the apologetics
method of Covenantal theology only.  Do you think Presuppositional
apologetics is compatible with Calvinistic Dispensationalism, and if
so, explain.

Before I answer, it may be helpful to provide other readers with a bit
of background to your question. There is a group of on-line bloggers
who are attempting to rename presuppositional apologetics as
“covenant” apologetics.  They get this from  K. Scott Oliphint who is
the professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster
Theological Seminary.  He has argued that presuppositionalism is too
broad a description for the overall apologetic system and so there is
a need to change the terminology for the purpose of bringing our
apologetics into line with fundamentals of Reformed theology.

He has a book coming called “Covenant Apologetics” that will explain
in more detail for his redefinition, but in short, he builds his case
for the name change upon the 7th chapter of the Westminister
Confession that goes into describing God’s covenants with men,
particularly the “covenant of works.” The covenant of works, argues
Oliphint, establishes a relationship between God and all men, and the
obligations of obedience do not cease even after man fell. So, when we
engage unbelievers with “apologetics” we are confronting the fact they
are covenant breakers who need to come into a right covenant
relationship with God through what Jesus Christ did on the cross to
reconcile covenant breakers with their Covenant Creator.

As much as I have benefited from Dr. Oliphint’s other material in the
past, I think his novel redefinition is problematic.  Primarily
because he has to “presupposes” that Covenant Theology truly reflects
biblical Christianity and systematic theology. Even more problematic
is the whole notion of all men being “covenant breakers” and building
his premise upon the concept of a  “covenant of works.”  That is
because the idea of a “covenant of works” is contrived, being read
into the Scripture.  I realize reformed guys point to Genesis 1 and 2
when God commanded Adam not to eat from the tree in the garden, but
there is no covenant language noted in God’s command there. This is
especially clear in light of certain passages where covenant language
is used, like in Genesis 9 with Noah and Genesis 12, 15, 17 with
Abraham and his descendants. Thus, any attempts to sharpen our
apologetic theology must be done along biblical grounds utilizing
clear, biblical terminology.

Now, some may be asking, “But isn’t it true men are obligated to obey
God, their Creator?” Why of course; but not because of some covenant
of works.  Our obligation has to do with the fact we are God’s
creatures and what He, our sovereign, has demanded from us in return.
All men are obligated to worship and glorify Him in righteousness. But
of course, no man desires to obey God because all men are sinners.
The Gospel is the message of good news that God has dealt with sin and
made a way for men to obey God and be in a relationship with Him on
account of Jesus Christ.

As one who understands that God’s purposes in Redemption unfold
through a series of eras, or Dispensations throughout Scripture, that
are defined through various covenants that build upon themselves
culminating in the New Covenant, I am entirely aware of God’s
Sovereignty overall the earth as well as Christ’s Lordship. I am also
fully aware that humanity is in rebellion against God’s authority as
sovereign. It is that truth of God’s Sovereignty all men know and
suppress in unrighteousness that I use as a weapon when engaging in
the warfare against the strongholds men have created with their
arguments and exalted philosophy lifted up against their Creator (2

5.) What would you caution and exhort to a young man interested in apologetics?

I think the primary thing I would remind folks is that our goal with
apologetics is not to merely win arguments, but to win souls. I see a
lot of young guys, bloggers in particular, in both classic
evidentialist camps, as well as presuppositional camps, approach
apologetics as a means to shut-up atheists and other skeptics.
Granted, there are times when such individuals need to have their
mouths stopped, but we must not lose our true focus, and that is
presenting the Gospel of salvation to a lost and dying world. When we
argue with cranks on the internet, we need to remember they are human
souls.  I can be equally guilty with forgetting that objective, so it
is a mind-set I always wish to cultivate.

6.) Would there be any other Dispensationalists who are
Presuppositional that you recommend us to interview in the future?

I’d recommend Dan Phillips of Team Pyro fame as well as pastor of
Copperfield Bible Church in Houston, TX. Also Don Green who is
currently the pastor of Truth Community Fellowship Church.  Michael
Vlach of TMS is a prof who teaches both Dispensationalism and
Apologetics at Master’s.  I understand Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of
Creation Ministries is a presuppositionalist with Dispensational

And since you originally asked me to supply any other questions that
may be useful, I’ll throw out one extra,

7) What are some good introductory resources to the subject of
presuppositional apologetics?

I’m glad you asked! There are a number of good works available, but
right now, the best book anyone can get that will provide a tremendous
overview of apologetic theology is Clifford McManis’s “Biblical
Apologetics: Advancing and Defending the Gospel of Christ.”  I
reviewed the book here if anyone is interested,
http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/book-review-9/.  Cliff’s
book has been getting panned among a few Reformed reviewers because
they are annoyed he is a non-Covenant Reformed, Dispensational
oriented Calvinists. They also don’t care for his occasional
criticisms of Van Til and Bahnsen. It is almost like those two are
untouchable and any mention of them must be uncritical reverence. If
folks can ignore those reviews and get the book anyways, they will
have a work that I believe will provide them with a solid theological
foundation in apologetics.  If you start with any book, I’d start with

I would also suggest Greg Bahnsen’s collection of articles under the
title “Always Ready.” It too is a solid read and one that will serve a
student well.

A third one I would recommend is John Byl’s “The Divine Challenge.” It
isn’t so much a “how to” apologetic book as it is an overview of
worldviews and how the top three worldviews in the world line-up with
telling us the truth to reality, particularly with how they explain
mind, math, matter, and meaning.  It is a great philosophical read and
it’s lay friendly as well. That is always welcome in my book.

Lastly, both Bahnsen’s and John Frame’s biographies and analyses of
Van Til. Both men were students of Van Til and both men evaluate his
work from a slightly different perspective.  Bahnsen’s analysis is
suppose to be the closest one that fairly represents Van Til’s life
work, and Frame’s as I understand it, deviates from what Van Til truly
taught, but I benefited from both of them greatly.

Then, seeing that I have this opportunity to plug my own work. Not
that I am a big shot like Bahnsen, Van Til, and even Oliphint, but I
have written on various facets of apologetic methodology and theology.
You can find past articles here:

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Battle of the MindThe Role of the Mind in Sanctification, Part 2

Definition of Sanctification

Sanctification is the concept that there is a progressive work of God; along with man’s cooperation that makes him more and more like Christ in their lives; and more and more freed from sin.[1]

Theologian, Anthony A. Hoekema defines it clearly in this manner, “We may define sanctification as that gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, involving our responsible participation, by which He delivers us as justified sinners from the pollution of sin, renews our entire nature according to the image of God, and enables us to live lives that are pleasing to Him.”[2]

It would also be beneficial to see the Old Testament revelation concerning what we called sanctification.  It must be noted that the Old Testament and New Testament are inseparable of each other and one should never be considered as inferior to the other.[3] But since the New Testament is built upon the foundation of the Old Testament, it would be vital to see how the concept of sanctification is defined.[4]  But let’s first start with the Old Testament since it is the foundation for the New Testament.  The Old Testament uses the word קֹדֶשׁ (“holiness,” “apartness”); and the Theological Word Dictionary of the Old Testament defines it in this manner, “The noun qōdeš connotes the concept of “holiness,” (i.e. the essential nature of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred and which is thus distinct from the common or profane). This distinction is evident in Lev 10:10 and Ezk. 22:26 where qōdeš occurs as the antithesis of ḥôl (“profane,” “common”).[5]

The New Testament word for sanctification in the Greek is ἁγιασμός (hagiasmos).  That term means consecration and holiness.[6]

Description of Sanctification

The doctrine of sanctification is a vast subject and filled with many resources from church history and now.  In terms of its vastness, there are a couple of things to consider regarding sanctification in terms of its stage.[7]  Sanctification has a definite beginning at regeneration, increases throughout one’s life, is completed at death; and until the Lord returns, it is never completed at this lifetime on earth.

In terms of how sanctification has a definite beginning at regeneration, please see Titus 3:5 which states “…washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”  The renewing denotes a moral change.  That renewing is a sanctifying term that happens in the context of sanctification.  Another good verse would be 1 Corinthians 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”  From this passage, what we can glean from is that there is some overlap between regeneration and sanctification.  The moral change is part of regeneration.[8]  It appears that sanctification and justification are two sides of the same coin because they occur simultaneously, but the two terms are different.  And just for the sake of clarity, let’s compare the two.

Justification is a legal standing given to those who place their faith in Christ.  The legal standing is once and for all and it is entirely God’s work that cannot be done by believers.  Every believer who is justified has a perfect standing in this life and all Christians who are justified are at the same level.  In terms of sanctification, it deals with an internal condition.  A person’s sanctification is continuous throughout one’s life and believers are expected to cooperate.  In terms of a continuous nature of sanctification, please see Hebrews 10:10.  In that verse, there is a key statement that conveys, “…we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  The Greek construction reveals a periphrastic perfect passive participle, which indicates that sanctification is a continuing present situation that resulted from a completed past action done for us by Christ.[9]   However, a person who is sanctified will never be perfect in this life (1 John 1:8-9). Moreover, unlike justification where we are on the same level positionally, sanctification on the other hand, reveals that some will be at different levels than others in their walk with God.  In terms of our sanctification being completed at death or when the Lord returns, the author of the book of Hebrews indicates that when we come into the presence of God to worship Him, we will come “to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23).[10]  In 1 Cor. 15:50:58, Apostle Paul states that some will be raptured before they die (v. 52).[11]  In other words, what we learn from both these passages is that sanctification will never be completed during our time on earth.  It is evident, that the Bible does not teach perfectionism or sinlessness.  For example, in 1 John 3:6, the present-tense Greek verbs indicates continual or habitual activity in terms of holiness and sanctification.[12]  Clearly, the concept of perfectionism is thrown out the window.

Besides the stages of sanctification, we will examine God’s role in sanctification and man’s role in sanctification. In this area, two aspects of sanctification are taken into account: positional and progressive sanctification.  Although the Bible speaks much about progressive sanctification as a continual process where God and man cooperate so that the believer may conform to Jesus more and more (Hebrews 12:14 [“pursue peach with all men”]; 1 Thess. 4:3 [“abstain from sexual immorality”]; 1 Thess. 4:4 [“possess your vessel in sanctification and honor”]; 1 Thess. 4:7 [“not called us for the purpose of impurity”]; Rom. 6:19b [“present your members as slaves to righteousness”]; Phil. 2:12-13 [“work out your salvation in fear and trembling”]), there is, the aspect of definitive/positional sanctification which represents the Christian as being set-aside for God’s own possession; and is declared by His God as holy because of one’s faith in His Son (Acts 20:32 [“give you inheritance”]; Acts 20:32 [“inheritance” given to those who are sanctified]; 1 Cor. 1:2 [“ to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus”]; 1 Cor. 6:11 [“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified”]; Eph. 5:26 [“so that He might sanctify her”]).[13]  For other verses concerning definitive/positional sanctification, please see Rom. 6:2, 6, 18; 7:4-6; 1 Peter 2:24; and 1 Peter 4:1-2.

We will also look at the effects of sanctification upon Christians.  Sanctification affects the intellect, emotion, and will.[14] In terms of intellect, Colossians 3:10 states that we have put on the new nature: “which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (cf. Phil. 1:9; Rom. 12:2; Col. 1:10; 2 Cor. 10:5).[15]  Some see two natures in the believer.  The old nature (“the flesh”) represents the believer’s capacity to serve self, sin, and Satan; the new nature (“the spirit”) signifies the capacity to serve others, righteousness, and God.  I believe Christians have one nature: the new man.  But what brings about the struggle in one’s life is attributed to the unredeemed flesh that he occupies.  In other words, sin uses the body as a vehicle to bring about transgression.  The believer must mortify it so that he could use His body as an instrument of righteousness.  In regards to his emotions, Paul indicates in Gal. 5:22 that we experience “love, joy, peace.”[16]  Peter commands believers in 1 Peter 2:11 “to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul.”[17]  In regards to our “will,” Paul addresses it when he was writing to the church in Philippi in Phil. 2:13.  Concerning God being at work in us, he said, “to will and to work for his good pleasure.”[18]

Another facet of sanctification are the motives towards God in one’s life.  There are many motives for obedience or the desire to be sanctified in the Christian life.  Motives for obedience can be seen in this manner: sanctification is the instrument that reveals the result of our vital union with Christ Jesus (John 15:5), is the outcome or consequence inseparable from regeneration (Rom. 8:9; Titus 3:5), is the evidence that the Holy Spirit dwells with His people (Gal. 5:25), is the only sure mark of God’s elect (1 Peter 1:2), is transparent means before others (Lk 6:44), is the call that every believer is responsible (Matt. 16:26), is the instrument that reveals progress or not (John 17:17; 1 Thess. 4:3), is the instrument that depends greatly on a diligent use of the Word of God (Psalm 119), is the instrument that does not prevent a man from having discomfort with his war between the old man and new man, is the instrument which cannot justify a man, but pleases God (1 John 3:22), is the instrument that gives witness or authenticates our character when God judges our life used in this world; and is the instrument used  in order to train and prepare His children for Heaven.[19]

The last section we will journey into is the beauty and joy of sanctification.  The more we grow in Christ, the more we will experience the “joy” and “peace” that are part of bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit given to us (Gal. 5:22).  Paul realizes that his true joy is found in God.[20]  He understands that when he is born-again in Christ, justified in Christ, which results in sanctification, he will receive eternal life (Rom. 6:22).  The person who delights in God, delights in His Word; and he will be blessed (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:2).

[1]Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 746.

[2]Anthony A. Hoekema, “The Reformed Perspective,” in Five Views on Sanctification (Zondervan, 1987), 61.

[3]Kenneth Arnold Lesta, “The Nature of Sanctification”  (Doctor of Philosophy, Bob Jones University, Greenvile, SC, 1979), 25.

[4]Ibid., 25.

[5]Thomas E. Mccomiskey, “1990 קָדַשׁ” In , in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 787.

[6]Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1950), 5.

[7]Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 747-750.

[8]Ibid., 747.

[9]Ibid.,746; Dana and Mantey, A Manual of the Greek New Testament, (New York: NY, 1955), 232.  They speak of the periphrastic perfect in this manner: “The perfect participle and the present tense of εἰμί are used in this construction.  In function the periphrastic perfect is usually intensive, but there are several clear instances of a consummative force.”

[10]Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 749.  Sanctification will include new bodies (1 Cor. 15:50-58; 2 Cor. 7:1; and 1 Thess. 5:23) (ibid., 749).

[11]New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 1 Co 15:52, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

[12]Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 751.

[13]Michael A. Vlach, “Theology III” (Unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2012), 210; Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 756.  The three verses: Acts 20:32; 26:18; and 1 Cor. 1:2 uses the perfect tense of hagiazō; and 1 Cor. 6:11 and Eph. 5:26 uses the aorist tense (ibid., 756).

[14]Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 756.

[15]Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 756; Bruce A. Demarest, The Cross and Salvation (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill 2006), 378.  Demarest notes that the Reformed tradition generally believes and identifies the Christian of having two natures.  The old nature is called the “flesh” sometimes and has the capacity to serve sin and Satan (ibid., 378).  The new nature is sometimes called “the spirit” which has the capacity to serve God, others, and righteousness (ibid., 378).  As a result, Christians are exhorted to implement Christ-likeness through the effort (1 Cor. 9:24; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 12:1), struggle (Rom. 7:15-23; Gal. 5:17), warfare (Eph. 6:10-18; 1 Tim. 6:12), suffering (Rom. 5:3; Heb. 10:32-34), and chastening by God (Ps. 119:71; Heb. 12:5-11) via the power of the Holy Spirit who empowers Christians to be freed from the power of sin; and helps Christians mortify sinful impulses and wicked deeds of the flesh (ibid., 378).  At the end of the day, Romans 6 shows that there is a decisive, clear, and committed breach concerning the power and service to sin (ibid., 73).

[16]Ibid., 756.

[17]Ibid., 756.

[18]Ibid., 756.

[19]J.C. Ryle, Holiness (Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ, 1970), 17-24.

[20]Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 758.

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crazy love

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

A good book that challenges the American church that’s deep in the American Dream (well, at least the Christian suburban version). Perhaps its due to the negative reviews I’ve read, but the book turned out better than I expected. It’s true–it might not be a theologically driven or as “deep” exegetically as some might want it–but it presents simple Biblical truths for the goal of application and this I appreciated. I appreciate Francis Chan’s call for Christians not to live lukewarm lives and the work did challenge me spiritually to evaluate my life and also why I do what I do. His chapter on the characteristic of the lukewarm Christian is a good list for a believer’s spiritual inventory. What I appreciate the most about Francis Chan, something I as a preacher want to work on, is his ability to illustrate Christian truths. These are always helpful to get the preacher’s mind churning to keep an eye out for one’s own original illustrations. The author hammers home that the Christian life is about God and not us by comparing us to a movie extra for a film waiting for that two-fifths of a second you can see the back of your head and getting so excited about it when no one else care–or really notice. He compares our love for God’s blessing over our love for God as a child who only wants what his or her parents can give–but not loving the parents. He even talks about wanting to join the Marines and saying how it would be irrational to join and not say you want to run when they own you–yet for us as Christians, we don’t understand the Lordship of Christ when we are saved. I do recommend this book as a devotional.

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Here are some links from the World Wide Web.  If you know more, please do share!

1.) Presuppositions and the Lack of Agreement between Atheists and Christians

2.) Anderson on Frame, Van Til and Plantinga

3.) The Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency of Scripture

4.) If I could prove that God did not exist would you want to see the proof?

5.) Epistemology and Quasi-Gettier Considerations

6.) Life is nowhere near as meaningful

7.) Responding to Scott Alt Regarding Sola Scriptura

8.) Reasons for Faith–An interview with Scott Oliphint.

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