Archive for February, 2013

Rick Kelly

I enjoy reading this blog by a guy who goes by the handle “Wintery Knight.”  A few days ago WinteryKnight posted a lecture by Jerry Walls rejecting Calvinism. That post produced many comments.  In the past our blog experienced similar dialogues concerning Calvinism though at a smaller scale (see for instance the comment section of this post).  Overall the comments at Wintery Knight were cordial.  From a quick scan, I thought the most problematic comment was by an individual who went by the name “TMD” which I produce in full below :

Calvinists delude themselves into thinking that they have Scripturally-derived beliefs, when in fact, they are guilty of the exact same type of atomistic prooftexting that is often used to show Jews that Jesus is Messiah.

One can use this method to prove almost anything. Open theism can be proven no less effectively through this method:http://openviewtheology.com/95_verses.html

Calvinists might respond that there are responses to these verses. Sure, but the Arminian, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox responses to Calvinist prooftexting are no worse. The different parties are in exactly the same boat, but the Calvinists are in denial of this.

Our interpretation of Scripture must be shaped by outside factors, such as archaeology. The population size of ancient Egypt, for example, was so small that we cannot rationally hold to a literal interpretation of the numbers of people in the book of Numbers. Archaeology MUST take precedence over philology.

As Angus Menuge has demonstrated (along with Richard Swinburne and Alvin Plantinga) it is logically impossible for any deterministic entity to reason. Therefore, any argument for determinism, including a Biblical argument, is self-refuting. The job of the exegete will then be to interpret Scripture in such a way that is consistent with the undeniability of libertarian free will. To do otherwise is like trying to prooftext that pi=3. It it futile to try.

I wish to offer some quick thoughts concerning the commentator’s reasoning rather than a defense of Calvinism per se.  In the past I have seen how some Calvinists are quick to offer a positive presentation of Calvinism but if the hearer’s hermeneutics and methodological commitments rule out the Calvinist’s Scriptural presentation ahead of time while remaining deeply flawed then it might be more fruitful to evaluate and tackle these pre-commitments head on first.  Have a metaphorical knock out.  Hopefully without the result of TMD (google it).

Let’s take a closer look at the comment.

“Calvinists delude themselves into thinking that they have Scripturally-derived beliefs, when in fact, they are guilty of the exact same type of atomistic prooftexting that is often used to show Jews that Jesus is Messiah.  One can use this method to prove almost anything.  Open theism can be proven no less effectively through this method:http://openviewtheology.com/95_verses.html  Calvinists might respond that there are responses to these verses. Sure, but the Arminian, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox responses to Calvinist prooftexting are no worse. The different parties are in exactly the same boat, but the Calvinists are in denial of this.”

Problem 1:  Note the first sentence makes claims that Calvinists “delude themselves,” and are guilty of “atomistic prooftexting.”  While he asserts this, he has not demonstrated that Calvinists have deluded themselves or are “atomistic” in their approach to Scripture.

Problem 2: To say that there are other interpretations besides the Calvinistic conclusion is no refutation of Calvinistic use of selected passages.

Problem 3: There is also the assertion that the Arminians, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox response to Calvinistic proof-texting are “in exactly the same boat” with the Calvinists.  This is also not demonstrated.

Problem 4: To just assert that Calvinists are in denial that they are proof texting neither prove Calvinists have committed proof texting nor does this refute Calvinism.

Our interpretation of Scripture must be shaped by outside factors, such as archaeology.The population size of ancient Egypt, for example, was so small that we cannot rationally hold to a literal interpretation of the numbers of people in the book of Numbers. Archaeology MUST take precedence over philology.

Problem 5: “Our interpretation of Scripture must be shaped by outside factors, such as archaeology…” but I would add that we must also take into account the degrees of certainty of each extra-biblical data being used.  The lower the certainty that the discovered data is true, the more cautious one should be in allowing these external data to shape our interpretation of Scripture.

Problem 6: While allowing room for archaeological contribution in our hermeneutics and exegesis, one must also realize the limitation of outside sources since things such as archaeological data are interpreted, partially complete and fallible.

Problem 7: Ironically, TMD’s previous rhetoric rejecting Calvinism on the basis that there’s “proof texting” being committed can be turned against his stance that archaeological data should drive one’s interpretation of Scripture:  Since all archaeological factoid is “decontextualized” to a certain degree despite the best effort of archaeologists, it is inevitable that archaeologists have a factoid that is isolated from it’s total context, and thus there is a level of proof text going on to a certain degree.

Problem 8: Per problem 7, wouldn’t Scripture being true also help situate archaeological finds and give them a “fuller” context?  Rather than it being a one way street, Scripture helps one from “proof texting” archaological data.  And since the nature of Scripture is both (1) propositional in form, that is revealing truth directly and (2) as God’s Word is always true, it seems the inter-relationship between archaeology and the Bible is not equal in their inter-dependence and authority.

Problem 9: Per Problem 7, it must be legitimately questioned whether “archaeology MUST take precedence over philology.”  Especially since philology involves language, being the actual medium directly used to convey information in the Scriptures, there must be a greater priority for philology and all things pertaining to languages in one’s heremeneutical hierarchy in order to establish authorial intent.

Problem 10: Per Problems 6, 7, 8 and 9, TMD’s example against “a literal interpretation of the numbers of people in the book of Numbers” does not follow.

As Angus Menuge has demonstrated (along with Richard Swinburne and Alvin Plantinga) it is logically impossible for any deterministic entity to reason. Therefore, any argument for determinism, including a Biblical argument, is self-refuting. The job of the exegete will then be to interpret Scripture in such a way that is consistent with the undeniability of libertarian free will. To do otherwise is like trying to prooftext that pi=3. It it futile to try.

Problem 11:  “The job of the exegete will then be to interpret Scripture in such a way that is consistent with the undeniability of libertarian free will.”  But I will contend that it still needs to be demonstrated that LFW exists rather than a given.

Problem 12: Per 11, to assume LFW as a hermeneutical priority in reading the text makes one suspectible to proof texting, especially if it’s not a given that Scripture teaches LFW.

Problem 13: No demonstration is given of how a Biblical argument against LFW is self-refuting.

Problem 14: Angus Menuge paper titled “Libertarian Free Will and the Argument from Reason” acknowledges, “However,being controlled isn’t the problem: what matter is what controls you: you are free so long as your will is governed by the right (rational) causes.”  Then he went on to argue against Compatibalism (a view many Calvinist hold) by refuting something that is not compatiablism (thus commiting a straw man fallacy) on the basis that reasoning presupposes responsibility and without coercion against their will.  Compatibalism holds to both tenets.

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Not too recently, a scandal concerning Tim Tebow who made arrangements to speak on April 28, 2013 at the big 11,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas (formerly pastored by the well-known expository preacher W.A. Criswell).  That church is now being pastored by Pastor Robert Jeffress (disclaimer: I do not know every thing about Pastor Jeffress’ view on Catholicism, but I just watched a video and heard him say that the “Pope is a Christian man.”  That is a big concern to me and seems like a compromise on his part.  Therefore I cannot give a public endorsement to him.  I wonder what W.A. Criswell would say if he heard that).  For some reason, the media found out about the church where Teabow will be speaking at.  They did their research and found out that the church is not suitable to their relativistic cultural taste.  And guess what? They did not like it because their cultural standards are being pricked on because Pastor Jeffress messages appear to be intolerant of others.  Gregg Doyel, a national columnist critisized Tebow by saying,

Agreeing to speak at intolerant church is Teabow’s greatest sin” (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/21726884/agreeing-to-speak-at-intolerant-church-is-tebows-greatest-sin).

While the criticism of Tebow continued, Tebow during that time, changed his mind about speaking at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas.  People are speculating that Tebow’s refusal to speak at the church is due to the media’s negative caricature of Pastor Jeffress’ message against sin (i.e. homosexuality, Islam, Mormonism, etc.).  Tebow also commented in his Twitter during this scandal by saying,

While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic… First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my …upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those…

By implication, “it appears” Tebow stepped down from the anticpated event to speak at the church because his PR or market value maybe marred.  It has also been said that Tebow may speak at the church in the future, but that is still yet to be revealed.  What do you guys think?  Is this Tebow’s greatest fumble, as Dr. Albert Mohler puts it?  May we pray for Tebow and may we learn from this scandal because soon, as Dr. Mohler said:

Soon, the ball will be thrown to each of us.”

If it is true that Tebow declined to speak at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas  because his image maybe tarred, then I do believe it will “probably” be Tebow’s “greatest fumble.”  But will depend on what his reasons are.  If I had the opportunity to speak to him, I would encourage this brother to not succumb to the pressure of the standards of the culture that are based on relativism.  I would exhort him to live all out for God’s glory and not worry about what the world says but worry about what God’s Word says.  Living a godly life will bring persecution.  1 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (NASB).

Until then, I will look forward to see whether Tim Tebow will bounce back from this issue and I hope that the perceived fumble will be recovered. Also, it is difficult to know what is going on in Tebow’s mind.  It could very well be that he decided not to go because this pastor “seemed” to compromise on the biblical view on Catholicism.  But that is my logical guess.  So perhaps the greatest fumble could be on Pastor Jeffress when he stated that the pope is a Christian man; and saying that “there will be millions of Catholics who are going to be in heaven because of their faith in Christ.”

Here are some good links to follow concerning this issue:

1) Dr. Jeffress Responds to Tebow Controversy.  Here are videos concerning Dr. Jeffress’ rebuttal against the media’s unbiblical views.

2) Message 2, Feet Firmly Planted in Midair. “Most students entering college today believe that truth is relative, that what is true for you may not be true for me. In this message, Dr. Steven Lawson looks at the influence relativism has had on our culture and explores the consequences. He will explain the absurd and self-defeating nature of relativism and remind us of God’s call to stand for the unchanging absolute truth of His Word.”

3) Tebow’s Big Fumble.  This is an article by Dr. Albert Mohler, from Christianity Today, concerning Tim Tebow’s refusal to speak at Pastor Jeffress’ church.

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Rosary and Bible

On February 14, my friend posted this on her Facebook wall.  Her purpose was not to pick a fight.  But here is the background- she is surrounded with many unbelievers during her weekdays most of time.  In her environment, she gets confronted with many different types of topics.  One of them had to do with Catholicism.   Because she is concerned for many who are lost in their sins, she wanted to voice her concerns about the lost.  Here is what she posted:

CATHOLICISM vs. CHRISTIANITY: To friends who has voiced their opinions about whether or not a true Catholics are “saved”. Here, I pulled out from the Catechism of the Catholic church. If you don’t believe in this, you’re not a Catholic. Here the link: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2E.HTM

Here is the explanation:

977: This teaches that water baptism by the Roman Catholic Church is necessary for forgiveness of sins.

978: This teaches that when one receives baptism, all their sins are removed – perfection is accomplished. It also teaches that the Catholic is now sinless and given the task to try to live a good enough life for God.

979: This teaches that not only baptism is necessary for salvation, but the Roman Catholic Church is necessary for the remission of sins committed after baptism.

980: This teaches that Penance – human works that supposedly offset your sins against God – is necessary for salvation.

Conclusion: So just from this section alone, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that for salvation a person must…

Believe in Jesus Christ + be baptized by the Roman Catholic Church + have the Roman Catholic declare that their sins are forgiven + the acts of penance

This is in no way salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. It is the work of Christ on the cross plus numerous, legalistic works imposed by the Roman Catholic Church. This is what the letter of Galatians warns against.”

It did not take to long to get responses back.  I had a few comments from my own end too.  I will not be quoting every comment for the sake of the length of this post.  And just as a footnote, whenever you see this: “[my friend]” that is a substitute for my friend’s real name out of respect.  But here are some of the comments from the responders who are either Catholics, professing Christians who think Catholics are Christians, and Christians who do not believe true Catholics are Christians:

Zach: [My friend] you are beating a dead horse.

EvangelZ: Do you subscribe that salvation is by Faith alone?

Matthew: Yes. But that’s beside the point.

Many Reformed people argue that Arminianism and Catholicism are essentially the same when it comes to salvation, because if faith is not gift of God’s grace, or is a gift that can be refused, then salvation does really come down to works in Arminian theology as well.

I would also like to note that Catholic theology strongly affirms that salvation and faith are gifts of God’s grace. The issue where we differ is how that gift of salvation is received; and honestly, when it comes down to it, the difference is more linguistic than many are willing to admit.

EvangelZ:  Please quote the source and please define your understanding of God’s grace from Scripture.

Matthew:  I’m not really interested in getting into an exegetical debate here. I’m simply challenging [my friend’s name will be unknown out of respect] consistency on this issue, so I’ll wait for her response.

*Matthew thinks my friend is inconsistent because Matthew thinks that if we label Catholics as not being Christians, then we must label Arminians as non-Christians too.  That is why he is challenging my friend’s consistency on this issue.  Clearly, Matthew has a distorted view because many Arminians believe in that salvation is by Faith alone, not faith + plus works, as the Catechism puts it.

Katie Hurd: Who are you to say who is and who is not a Christian? Isn’t “God” supposed to decide those things on “judgement day”?

Ellen: It’s good you are using the Vatican website but the “explanations” are not accurate. For example the very first doesn’t even mention water. We believe there is more than one kind of baptism. Again all of you who think you know our beliefs and you believe we are going against God talk to practicing Catholics in person.

EvangelZ: Matthew, what are your thoughts on the Catholic Church? Do you believe they are Christians? If so, please state your reason.

Matthew: They are Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ; that he is one person with two natures; that he is the second Person of the Trinity; that he lived, died, and rose for us and our salvation; that we can be saved only through faith in him; that he is coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

There are many things wrong with the Roman Catholic Church in my opinion; that doesn’t mean that it’s not a Christian church.

[My friend]: Just got home from the movies. Sorry for a late reply. Matthew, I do believe that bad theology can send you to Hell, especially the ones that involve salvation. I am going to trust what the Bible says about salvation, that is, repentance and faith in Christ alone.

You asked whether or not I believe Arminians are Christians. I have to tell you it is a case by case examination. In the case of the Catholics, I don’t understand why you are defending the validity of their faith. I presented to you the Vatican above showing their understanding of salvation- Saved, in part, by good works. It doesn’t match up with what the Bible say salvation is. And if you believe the Bible is THE Word of God and nothing else is, you have to take how the Bible qualifies as salvation, and not how you think salvation should be.

The Catholics tell about us who they are in black and white on paper. I am using that as my evidence against them.

I do have a couple questions for you: Do you have any case from the Bible that proves your point of salvation is saved in part and finished off by human works added on? What about the idea of being able to pay for your own sins by punishing yourself?

[My friend]: Ellen, a practicing Catholic must have read the Vatican, right? That is what they profess that they are. And if that is what they profess they are, then the Bible is clear that they are not saved. Not saying you aren’t. When I do the side-by-side comparison, the list of necessity of salvation clearly does not match. Penance, purgatory, and so forth..

Ellen: Again [my friend] the “summaries/explanations” you providers of the little paragraphs in the Vatican are not true. Just read it as it is and things like purgatory talk to a few well knowledgable practicing Catholics. These little explanations are mostly assumptions.

I alone am no going to be able to offend every attack you have on our Christian faith and I don’t want to keep trying forever. So you and you other guys need to go talk to at least a few different REAL Catholics in person. Attacking our religion by things you will not understand by Protestant biases will lead you and others no where. Talk to those in a local Catholic Church community before you carry on further.

[My friend]: Okay, Ellen. I am reading the Vatican by itself: “This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism,….”

Ellen:  Yes. Penance for us is usually prayer and reflection. From my understanding that is how we believe we can show remorse for our sins and to keep us sinning in the future. Jesus opened this possibility for us, but we must still be responsible for the times we have offended God. Once we confess to a priest by the power of the Holy Spirit (which was given to us by Christ) our sins are completely washed away. But like I said please talk to other practicing Catholics as well because I do not know everything.

Christine Rios: This is absurd. I’m catholic and proud. I’m sorry [my friend] I can’t support this and I’m going to have to remove you from my friends list.

EvangelZ: Matthew, if you read [my friend’s] earlier post of what Catholicism believes concerning salvation, it would be a categorical fallacy to say Catholics who believe in the teachings of Rome are Christians. You seem to subscribe to a theory of coherence concerning Catholics that does not correspond to divine revelation (66 books). Therefore, your statement that Catholics are Christians is not coherent. Please explain their teachings concerning salvation accurately. Otherwise, I will consider it as a sweeping generalization on your part.

Matthew Neal: Well I guess my definition of Christian and yours are clearly not the same. I stated above what I believe (and what historically has been defined) to be the core of the Christian faith; if you want to believe that no one before 1517 was a Christian then I have nothing else to say, other than to note the fact that both Luther and Calvin used the term “Christian” in reference to the Roman Catholic faithful.

Peace out.

[My friend]: But isn’t Luther the one that nailed the 95 thesis against the Roman Catholic Church?

EvangelZ: Matthew, please quote the source where Luther and Calvin would consider a Roman Catholic that subscribes to works righteousness and Tradition (as being over and equal to sola Scriptura), as being Christians.

Ellen Kemper: Seriously you guys are missing the big picture. Catholics believe in Christ and are Christians. ANYONE who believes in Christ and follows the commandments are Christians. Why try to pervert someone’s genuine belief and love for God by saying they are not truly loving and following Christ when they themself KNOW they are. So much time is wasted with argument of what someone THINKS when real focus should be on what someone DOES. If you could talk to Mother Teresa face to face right now would you really tell her to stop being Catholic because she is not following Christ? What are you trying to accomplish here?

The most important is that we LOVE God with everything and that we love our neighbors as ourself. This is exactly what Jesus taught us. Why not focus on this.. Looking at what we have in common rather than our differences in showing God our love for Him and His creation. It’s pointless to “predict” who is saved and who is not because that is God’s decision and God’s decision alone. We do not save others, God does. Our job is to love one another, and by our love we will glorify God. It doesn’t matter what language someone speaks, how much I.Q. they have, or even how many bible verses they can memorize. What matters is that they truly love God and others as them self. This is what Jesus Christ taught us, and this is what it means to be a Christian. Do not criticize what you do not understand.

Also I just want to say I was extremely blessed to be raised Catholic from birth. I grew up in traumatizing and confusing situations at home, more than anyone should have to go through.

But my religion saved me because at a young age it taught me about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It convinced me and still does that there is life after death. It gave me a mother (our blessed Mother) who was trustworthy and brought me peace when my mom in the world couldn’t. It taught me about other people in history (saints) who had been incredibly blessed with Gods strength in their own personal ways and gave me something to relate to. It gave me much needed faith in a guardian angel when I was young. It taught me that “Jesus is always with us”. I can honestly say it made me survive.. If I wasn’t raised with this I could have ended up a crazy homeless lady addicted to drugs. I am so grateful to my religious educators and my family. And I will forever defend my faith. So if you want to keep driving people away from the original and unified church of Christ be my guest, but you are sadly mistaken and doing more harm than good.

[My friend]

Ellen, we try because we know to path to Heaven is very narrow. We try because we love you. This sounds cheesy, but it is not. Satan is out there getting every soul he can to go down with him. I am not driving anyone away; they are already away. There is one road to Heaven, and that road is through the life, ALONE the death, and the resurrection of Christ ALONE.

Here is where you and I differ, Ellen: Where the Bible describes salvation begins and ends in Christ ALONE, you say salvation begins in Christ and ends with human righteousness.

You help me prove my own point. You said, “Once we confess to a priest by the power of the Holy Spirit (which was given to us by Christ) our sins are completely washed away.” What if I die on the way to church and haven’t gotten the chance to confess?

You religion pays for the sins PRIOR to conversion and leave YOU to pay for your own sins after conversion via penance and purgatory. My Jesus pays for my sins once and for all, before/during/after conversion. My record of sin is empty. It doesn’t mean I don’t fall short as a human, but it means that I am relaying on Him and not myself for my deliverance when I die.

I never once said that you have to have a great IQ to be a follower of Christ. But I did say that you have to rely on Christ and Christ alone for your salvation.

I am going to go video type a priest and let him tell you that the Catholic Church believes in the necessity of penance and purgatory for salvation. I don’t do this to spike you; I do this because I love you.

As you can see this debate will never end.  It has been going on for ages.  But what is sad is that many who profess to be part of the Protestant camp or profess to be Bible believers, are saying that Catholics are Christians.  But a true Catholic who subscribes to the teachings of the Catechism as mentioned above are not Christians because it is not a true salvation based through God’s grace through faith alone (Eph. 2:8).

Not too long ago, The Domain for Truth wrote some articles on Catholicism.  For more information, please see these links:

Observations from Irenaeus’ Against Heresy Book Three Chapters 2-4 in light of the argument that it is against Sola Scriptura

Sola Scriptura Versus Sola Ecclesia: Introduction

Sola Scriptura Versus Sola Ecclesia: Part II

Sola Scriptura Versus Sola Ecclesia: Part IIISola Scriptura Verses Sola Ecclesia: Part IV

For some other great articles on this subject, please see these links:

Can you be saved and still be Roman Catholic?

Catholic Christians – is this an oxymoron?

For those, reading this blog, please feel free to share your comments.

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These are tips on Open Air Preaching for Christian evangelism by Tony Miano.  Practical wisdom especially the ones concerning law enforcement.  Tony Miano should know–he’s a former Sheriff’s Deputy himself.


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Some more links on Presuppositional apologetics on the World Wide web.  Are there other links you can share?  I do want to know!

1.) Exchanging Truth for a Lie— Ben Holloway puts atheism in perspective in light of Romans 1.

2.) Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended – A Review— Fred Butler’s review of Greg Bahnsen’s book.

3.) Intellectual Sense,”Giving Reasons,” and the Christian Worldview— Joseph Torres quotes Van Til and cites Bahnsen’s explanation.

4.) Defining Skepticism— Ben Holloway looks at Shermer’s assumption in defining skepticism.


5.) Apologetics: The Fruit of Faith–An essay over at Reformed Forum explaining Bavinck’s theme that apologetics is the fruit and not the root of faith.  Good read.

6.) Proof and Presuasion— A Presuppositionalist’s look at Cold Case apologist J. Warner Wallace’s distinction between evidence and proofs.

7.) Van Tilian Old Calendarists— Steve Hays critiques of a previous article I shared last time by Nate Shannon, which critiques James Anderson and Greg Welty.

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Aquinas for Armchair

Purchase: Amazon

This is the second book I read from the series of books “for Armchair Theologians.” I’m beginning to doubt these books are for armchair theologians. For this series, the editors picked a professor of religion at Georgia State University. In the beginning of the book the author reveal his interests for Aquinas through his professors in his graduate studies at Princeton University. The first chapter was a good and concise biography of Aquinas, and I learned that Aquinas was actually a name of the city where Thomas was from. Good trivial fact I suppose. I also appreciated the author’s frankness that reading Aquinas at times could be a little dry which leads to his attempt to explain thing simply while also trying to make the book a fun read. However, at times I thought his humor was distracting, especially when it’s inappropriate such as sexual innuendos. Much of the book was a discussion of Aquinas’ ideas, and I really enjoyed the chapter on just wars and the ethical issues of double effects.  But I also wondered why the book’s chapter on the problem of evil and free will has no consideration of Aquinas’ view of predestination. I see this as a serious omission. The book does talk a lot about Aquinas’ contribution for our society today especially with Natural Law theory. Personally I am rather reluctant with the concept itself though I haven’t fully rule it out. My caution is because I believe God’s revealed Word is the foundation for ethics and morality, though I do believe non-Christians also knows what is right and wrong (though it can be suppressed). Natural law theology in history is often an appeal for the status quo for various things including injustices and evil. My concern for people’s appeal to ‘natural law’ for sins can be seen in this book itself: the author tries to present a case for homosexuality on the basis of natural law–though I think the project to defend homosexuality on Aquinas’ paradigm is doom from the start if Scripture itself goes contrary to it. Moreover, the author’s argument in favor of homosexuality (the premises being, the goal of sex is intent on reproduction, homosexual relations does not seem likely but they do it out of a faith of a miracle that it would happen, therefore homosexual relations is a good thing because it shows incredible faith) is quite problematic on it’s own ground if one realizes that one could use the same line of reasoning to defend underage sexual relationship, etc. I would not recommend this book.

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James White

Two days ago I analyzed a frequent Muslim apologist’s argument that the Bible predicted the coming of Muhammad.  I thought it was timely that James White, a Christian apologists who the last few years have spent a lot of time and effort in researching, lecturing and debating on Islam, recently delivered a talk at Reformed Theological Seminary on the topic of why Muslims reject the Gospel.  I am encouraged to see an apologist who has the combination of original language exegetical skills, Presuppositional apologetics and Reformed theology addressing the cults and now Islam.

His book on Islam is coming out sometime this year.

Yesterday, EvangelZ also posted a book review on Piper’s response to the New Perspective on Paul.  James White earlier this month has also debated N.T. Wright, the audio which is made available here.

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PiperPiper, John. The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007.

Before covering the positives of the book, I will first  cover a few negatives regarding this book.  Negatives of this book can be found in these areas: some unclear areas, defense of N.T. Wright, and perhaps the lack of exposure to the dangers of N.T. Wright’s clever perspectives regarding justification.  In light of the negatives, I will first tackle the issue of the book being unclear in some areas.

Although I appreciate John Piper’s attempt in trying to address this issue, I did find it hard at times reading his book.  Towards the latter part of his book, the issues started to make sense (i.e. covenant community, justification, etc.).  But I wish I did not have trouble understanding the concepts in the beginning chapters of his books.  Understanding it better at the beginning would of given a better flow of the reading.  If Piper would have provided a clear proposition regarding the crux of the matter, the reading would have been less convoluting and more fruitful to me as a reader.

I appreciate Piper’s graciousness towards others who are not in agreement because we are called to be gentle and gracious to those who are in opposition (1 Peter 3:15).  However, I think Pastor Piper maybe a bit too gracious to Wright.  Wright’s view of justification is really no different from Rome and hence is a works righteous understanding of justification.  Wright believes that one is declared righteous or justified at the eschaton.  Based on Wright’s understanding of justification, he is treading on dangerous ground and falls under the condemnation as described by Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-9.  I find it hard for me to see him as an evangelical.  Paul condemns the notion of works righteousness that was implemented by the Judaizers.  Here in this book, Wright is implementing the notion of works righteousness that is finally realized at the eschaton.  But justification is realized at the moment when one places his faith in Christ.

I think it would have been helpful if Piper uncovered Wright’s cleverness.  Wright does seem to be subtle in terms of how he teaches his view of justification.  As a result, it is hard for some who are not familiar with the terms he uses to be lost.  Hence, I think it would be helpful for Piper to uncover his dangerous subtleness.

In regards to the positives of the book, here are the areas I would like to cover: Piper’s familiarity with the topic, Piper’s exegesis, and Piper’s breakdown of the misinterpreted term of justification used by N.T. Wright.

In terms of Piper’s strengths, I really enjoyed his breakdown of the misinterpretation of justification.  For example, he clarified the mishandling of the term by explaining the relationship between covenant and law-court imagery, law-court dynamics of justification and the meaning of God’s righteousness, law-court dynamics of justification and the necessity of real moral righteousness, law-court dynamics of justification and the necessity of real moral righteousness, justification and the Gospel, the place of our works in justification, imputed righteousness, second-temple Judaism, etc. (Piper, Table of Contents).

Another strength by Piper is his familiarity with the topic. He understood Wright’s views and was able to define it well.  For that, I commend him.


The Gospel hinges on the doctrine of justification because the doctrine of justification hinges on penal substitution.  If one has a misunderstanding of justification, then it is safe to say that one has a misunderstanding of penal substitution.  For example, when one sees penal substitution in its biblical lens, one will believe that His sacrifice is enough to declare one right.

Justification happens and becomes a reality because of the sacrifice of Christ and is operated once one places his faith in Christ.  He is not justified at the eschaton as Wright suggests.  With that said, justification has nothing to do with one being part of the covenant community because one cannot be part of the covenant community unless one is justified by Christ (Theo. III notes; pg. 188).  As a result, justification has nothing to do with whether we are members of God’s covenant people.  To say that justification is related to members of the covenant people is to blur the line of justification and ecclesiology.  Justification is solely soteriological.

It must be understand by the people of God for the sake of assurance, that justification is a once in a lifetime transaction by God.  In other words, God justifies only once.  Not only is justification once in a lifetime, but justification has no degrees. Scripture is clear that positionally; we are justified at the same level.  No one is more justified than another person.  But to embrace Wright’s justification would imply a works righteousness process.  Justification has nothing to do with works.  Moreover, once one is justified, one cannot be unjustified.  But to pursue a works righteousness system would open up a Pandora box of one possibly being unjustified if one does not live a righteous life.

Because justification is an important topic, much has been said.  For me to worry about a system of works as Wright described is no different from Rome.  To believe in Wright’s view of justification would cause much worry and anxiety upon a believer.  But to believe in the biblical understanding of justification brings peace when we take our last breath here on earth because we know that God will forgive us for our imperfections.

For a free PDF book of Future Justification, please see this linkFuture Justification




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There is a popular colorful pamphlet arguing for Islam titled, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam.  Not too long ago I looked into one of the evidences it gave for Islam here, while for this post I want to consider another argument the booklet presents for Islam in which the author(s) claims that the Bible made a prophecy pointing to Muhammad.  At the outset, I want the readers to know that this discussion cannot be divorced from one’s methodology of apologetics and I think the best method of Christian apologetics interacting with Islam is to begin with the Bible as the authoritative and infallible Word of God.  No doubt Muslims will object, saying the Bible has been corrupted while some Christians will dismiss this strategy as ineffective in light of the predictable Muslim reaction to such an apologetic.  However, as I have argued here on this blog, the Muslim is not permitted to dismiss the Bible as corrupt and no longer authoritative because the Quran’s teaching is contrary to this, expounding explicitly the view and appealing directly to the Bible as authoritative and a reliable text.  Thus, the benefit of this methodology is three-fold: (1) it makes the Muslim conscious of the issue of authority, and allow the Christian to quickly press them on the internal tension within the Muslim’s own worldview concerning the Bible, (2) while the Christian continues to have the Word of God as his foundation even in his apologetic (3) and also exposes the Muslims to the Bible, God’s Word, which does it’s work among the hearers and readers. (Note: This approach would be consistent with the apologetic methodology of Presuppositional apologetics.)  Of course, when the Muslims read the Bible they will read it as a Muslim and might be inclined to see it pointing to and validating Islam which require a Christian to look more closely at their own Scriptures concerning these claims.


Such a claim for the Bible as evidence for Islam appears on page 33 of the booklet: “The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad  are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible.”  It then quoted Deuteronomy 18:18-19 as evidence.  Whereas Muslims believe Deuteronomy 18:18-19 predicts the coming of Muhammad, Christians believe that that this passage was fulfilled by Jesus.  Deuteronomy 18:18-19 as quoted from the New American Standard Bible states,

 I will raise up a prophet from among their [l]countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.

The book then tries to extrapolate from Deuteronomy 18 that this coming prophet

must have the following three characteristics:
1) That he will be like Moses.
2) That he will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the
3) That God will put His words into the mouth of this prophet
and that he will declare what God commands him.

Of these three characteristics, the second seems to be the most problematic: that the prophet must be an Ishmaelites (which Muslims believe Muhammad was a descendant of).  Ishmael was the son of Abraham through his wife’s slave Hagar, as the Bible in Genesis 16 records.  Since the nation of Israel was a descendant of Abraham through the line of Issac, one might say that Issac and Ishmael were “half-brothers.”  So the Muslim argument here is that Deuteronomy 18 teaches this “Prophet” will be coming from their “brothers,” that is from the Ishmaelites, and since they say Muhammad is a descendant of Ishamel, he must be the Prophet predicted.

The Muslim no doubt will object to the NASB translation of “countrymen” in verse 18 and prefer it to be translated “brothers” which they do have a point.  The Hebrew word that the NASB translated as “countrymen” is the Hebrew word אֲחֵיהֶם.  Literally, אֲחֵיהֶם is from the Hebrew word meaning “brother” in the plural form with a third person masculine plural suffix that’s functioning possessively  thus a woodenly literal translation would be “their brother.”  The NASB here interprets “their brother” to refer to fellow Israelites, hence the translation of “countrymen.”  Just because the Hebrew word translated literally would be “their brothers” does not necessarily entail this is a prophecy for Muhammad however, since “brothers” can possibly refer to Ishmaelites or the Israelites themselves.  Determining the referent must be done in light of the consideration of the context of Deuteronomy 18, which suggests that Moses here has in mind that the Prophet will be Jewish rather than an Ishmaelite.  There are three reasons that opposes the interpretation that Deuteronomy 18 is talking about an Ishmaelite.

The first reason against the Muslim interpretation is the fact that the context of Deuteronomy 18 has no reference to Ishmaelites.  There is nothing explicit (“Ishmaelites” or “Ishmael”) or implicit (“Hagar,” etc).  The Muslim then has no warrant to suddenly assume “their brothers” to refer to Ishmaelites.  No doubt the Muslim might say this is an argument from silence for the view that Deuteronomy 18 refers to a Jew, but here I am not using an argument for silence to prove that Deuteronomy 18 is referring to a Prophet of Jewish descendant  but I am only showing that the Muslim has no justification to read into the text that an Ishmaelite is the referent.  The other two points below is my basis for interpreting the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 must be a descendant of Israel.

The second reason against the Muslim “Ishmaelite” interpretation is within Deuteronomy 18:18 itself.  The Hebrew word following אֲחֵיהֶם (“their brothers”) is כָּמֹוךָ, which has a preposition of comparison (“like, as”) coupled with a second person plural suffix.  The second person plural refers to those whom Moses is addressing, which specifically were the second Generation Israelites that left Egypt and waiting to enter into the Promise Land.  This Prophet will be as an Israelite, a Jew, and not an Ishmaelite.

The third reason against the Muslim “Ishmaelite” interpretation is from the contextual flow leading up to Deuteronomy 18:18-19.  Deuteronomy 18:15 is similar to Deuteronomy 18:18-19:

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your [j]countrymen, you shall listen to him.

And like Deuteronomy 18:18, the NASB translation of “your countrymen” here is the same Hebrew word in verse 18 that refers to “brothers.”  Verse 15 narrows and specify whom Moses meant by “brothers” when he said “from among you.”  The phrase “from among you” in Hebrew is מִקִּרְבְּךָ, which is a construction of a preposition indicating source coupled with the noun קרב and second person plural suffix.  According to Holladay’s concise Hebrew lexicon, the noun קרב always refer to something internal as opposed to outside or external in all it’s lexical range of meaning whether it refers to the inward nonphysical parts of a person (compare Genesis 18:12, 1 Kings 17:21, Isaiah 19:3, Jeremiah 4:16), the inner physical body (compare Genesis 41:21), inner part of a city (Genesis 18:22), or sacrificial animal (Exodus 12:9).  This is also true when it is referring to people (for example, Exodus 34:12, 1 Samuel 16:13).  When the preposition מִ appears before the nounקרב, it has the idea of “from among” (for example, compare Numbers 14:13), that is, internal from within one’s group.  The source of the Prophet’s origin is indicated by the second person plural suffix, which again refers to the second generation Israelites that left Egypt waiting to enter into the Promise Land.  Thus, this Prophet can only be from among the Jews and not some external group of non-Jews.  Though it is not visible in our English translation, in Hebrew the construct מִקִּרְבְּךָ (“from among you”) is even nuanced, appearing before the phrase “like me,” or “from your countrymen.”  That is, the author Moses was emphasizing to his readers so that they won’t miss the truth that this Prophet will be from among their own kin, effectively ruling out Muhammad as a candidate for fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18.


As demonstrated above, Muhammad cannot be the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18 because he is not a Jew.  The other reason why Deuteronomy 18 cannot point to Muhammad is because Jesus fulfills the prophecy in Deuteronomy as “The Prophet.”  Of course, most Jews would disagree but Christians following the New Testament are obligated to believe this, since the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.  Likewise, Muslims are also obligated to believe this since the Quran teaches that the Bible  including the New Testament is authoritative and not corrupted (as it is established elsewhere in our blog).  Muslim however reject this conclusion, instead arguing against Jesus as the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18.  On page 34 of A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, the author (s) argued

If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.1  We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18.

The footnote in the book indicates that the source used for cross-referencing John 1:21 is from the NIV Study Bible.  Reading John 1:21, one wonders how the book can conclude from this passage that Jesus is not the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18.  For context, John 1:19-23 states:

19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not [q]the Christ.”21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

Note that this passage records the conversation John the Baptist had with the Jewish priests and Levites from Jerusalem (v.19).  From verses 19 to 23, the Jewish religious leaders were trying to figure out who John was, by first asking him “Who are you?” (v. 19), then specifically whether he was Elijah (v.21a), or the Prophet (v. 21b).  In both instances, John denies being Elijah and “the Prophet” (v.21), with the Prophet being an allusion to Deuteronomy 18.  Instead, John identifies himself as the one predicted in Isaiah 40:3 as preparing the way for the Messiah.  Yet how could the booklet then “conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18” when the passage record John the Baptist denial of himself being the Prophet?  John the Baptist’s denial of being the Prophet is not the same thing as him denying Jesus as the Prophet of Deuteronomy and neither is it the equivalent of Jesus denying Himself to be the prophet.  This is rather fuzzy thinking on the part of the author (s) of A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam where once again there is a confusion of referent nor does the conclusion follow from the text.


The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus is the one who fulfilled Deuteronomy 18.  If the New Testament does teach this, as re-iterated before, the Muslim is obligated to believe this because of the Quran’s bibliology.  Any Muslim who deny Jesus as the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 faces the internal tension between the Muslim’s interpretation of Deuteronomy 18 and the Quran’s teaching concerning the truth of the Bible.

In a sermon that Peter preached to the Jews during the early days of the church after Pentecost, Peter paraphrased Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 in Acts 3:22-23:

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet [k]like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23 And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

The contextual flow of Peter’s sermon is the preaching of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people (v. 12-21). For instance, right before verses 22-23, Peter states in verses 19-21:

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the [i]Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the [j]period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

For the Muslim critic, Peter’s inspired message from God cannot be taken to refer to Muhammad as the referent of the Prophet since verse 24 makes it clear the timing of everything he is talking about (the Suffering Servant, the Prophet to be listened to, etc) were taking place “these days” (that is during the time of Peter’s contemporary) rather than six hundred years later (Muhammad and Islam):

And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days.

What other event could be more central to Peter and the early believers than the suffering and death of Jesus Christ which Peter keeps on talking about in chapter 3?  It is important to remember that Peter’s citation of Deuteronomy 18 is situated in a context dominated by the centrality of Christ.  Note again how verse 24 mentioned that “all the prophets who have spoken…announced these days.”  This is similar to how Peter have said earlier in verse 18 that “all the prophets” were making prophecies in the Old Testament that Jesus has now fulfilled:

 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Because Jesus have fulfilled these Messianic prophecies, Peter assigns Messianic titles to Jesus such as “His Servants” (v.13 and 26, an allusion to Isaiah’s prophecies), “the Holy and Righteous One” (v. 14), “Prince of life” (v.15) and Christ (v.18 and 20).  In such a context the reference to “that Prophet” of Deuteronomy 18 is just one more Messianic Old Testament titles that Peter is saying Jesus fulfilled.

If Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18, verse 15 of that chapter makes it clear that He must be listened to, which Acts 3:23 paraphrases.  That’s exactly what God Himself announces during the Transfiguration.  The same author of Acts, the Physician Luke, also recorded in Luke 9:35 echoes of Deuteronomy 18:15, when God declared that Jesus is the one whom people must listen to:

Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”

Thus, Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 according to Acts 3.  Since Jesus is the referent in Deuteronomy 18, this does not give room for Muhammad to fulfill this prophecy especially since Muhammad is not Jewish, a criteria of Deuteronomy 18.  Muslims should read the Holy Bible (both Old and New Testament) and come to know Jesus as their Lord God, and Savior of their sins.  Have faith (trust) in Jesus and repent (turn away) from your sins.  Trust in Jesus as your Prophet, Priest and King.

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Should you believe in the Trinity JW

The last few weeks in the providence of God, I’ve been able to witness to various Jehovah’s Witnesses.  As some of you know, they are big on attacking the Trinity.  Each conversation ended with my inquiry for their famous “Should You believe in the Trinity?” pamphlet since my copy has not been readily available, being in storage at my parent’s place.  Each time the Jehovah’s Witnesses said they didn’t have a copy on them (though they had many of the other resources on them).  Each time they told me they will look for one to pass to me next time followed by a plug to visit the Watchtower society’s website.  I still haven’t gotten a physical copy and when I go online to their website, I could not find it and only get this.

Well I found online on Youtube that apparently I was not the only one who experienced a sudden disappearance of this infamous pamphlet.

As a young baby Christian this was the work that appeared to be the ultimate one stop shop with the summaries of the core arguments against the Trinity but as I grew older I discovered the many mistakes it made biblically, historically and poor use of quoting reference.  As the guy on the Youtube clip pointed out, a great resource that one can ask the JWs to look up to find that the Watchtower has lied to them in terms of their “scholarship” is no longer readily available.

The guy who made the video, “The Snarky Apologist” has loaded up online and made available the booklet online for the record if you wanted to see, click HERE.

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Augustine for Armchair theologianPurchase:  Amazon

The book is supposed to be an introduction to the great Church father Augustine. The author spent the bulk of the book on Augustine’s autobiography, The Confessions. It made me want to read The Confessions alongside this work either as a commentary or as a “cliff note.” However, with the book’s title, “Augustine for Armchair Theologians,” one would expect the book to be broad enough to cover Augustine’s life and theology rather than spending 175 pages out of 222 on the The Confession alone. It doesn’t do justice to Augustine, especially for a work that’s suppose to be a guide for “arm chair theologians,”since there is so much more to Augustine than just his conversion; he was also a prolific writer and thinker, and from what I understand, the man has written over ninety separate works. I would have loved for the book to have explore some of these lesser known writings by Augustine and also for the book to further explore Augustine’s view of the Trinity and his contribution to it’s theological development. Writings by Augustine that the author did explore was rather brief, such as The City of God. Having read portions of The City of God, I wished the author could have expounded more upon it as I found Augustine’s reasoning and argumentation in the beginning of this classic to be witty and insightful. At times I thought the author was too sympathetic with Augustine’s theological opponents. While recently I have had second thoughts and desire to revisit my understanding of the Donatists’ position for fear that others might have caricatured it, nevertheless I was somewhat taken aback with the author’s sympathies with Pelagius and his followers. Again, the strength of the book was really it’s extensive discussion of The Confession and according to statements in the book, the author taught courses on it and must have been his area of expertise.

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Christians must vote according to Biblical principles, not against it.  Here’s a voter’s guide for the local election guide from the great website, Election Forum, for the Los Angeles County.

March 5, 2013 Election Recommendations


Every candidate is considered after thorough research; we also have a questionnaire for candidates to complete.

  • thumb upthumb upthumb up : Strongest endorsement for values voters
  • thumb upthumb up : Above average
  • thumb up : Better than opponent, vote represents “lesser of two evils”
  • No Endorsement: We either oppose the candidates or have found no reason to support a candidate. If you don’t vote for a candidate or issue, all your other votes still count.

Los Angeles County


Council Member; City of Azusa (2 Elected)

  • Marc A. Caro thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Sandra Benavides
  • Robert Gonzales
  • Edward J. Alvarez thumb upthumb up
  • Jeri S. Vogel
  • Mercedes Castro

City Clerk; City of Azusa

  • Stephanie Carmona Mills
  • Russ Rentschler
  • Jorge V. Rosales
  • Jeffrey Lawrence Cornejo, Jr. thumb up

City Treasurer; City of Azusa

  • Arthur M. Vasquez, Jr.
  • Marcene Hamilton thumb up

Council Member; City of Bell (2 Elected)

  • Danny Harber
  • Ana Maria Quintana
  • Alicia Romero
  • Yamel “Jimmy” Mourad thumb up
  • Nora A. Saenz thumb up
  • Donna I. Gannon thumb up
  • Council Member; City

Council Member; City of Bellflower; 4 Year Term (2 Elected)

  • Dan L. Koops
  • Usbaldo B. “Wally” Munoz thumb up
  • Scott A. Larsen

Council Member; City of Bellflower; 2 Year Term

  • R. Yahye
  • Ron Schnablegger thumb up
  • Gloria Willingham
  • Luis Melliz

Council Member; City of Beverly Hills (3 Elected)

  • William Warren Brien
  • Katherine Cohan thumb up
  • Michael Talei thumb up
  • Brian Rosenstein
  • John A. Mirisch thumb up
  • Nancy H. Krasne

Council Member; City of Calabasas (3 Elected)

  • Mary Sue Maurer
  • James Bozajian thumb upthumb up
  • Jody Thomas thumb up
  • David Shapiro thumb up

Mayor; City of Carson

  • Jim Dear
  • Lula Davis-Holmes thumb up

Council Member; City of Carson (2 Elected)

  • Joseph Gordon
  • Timothy Muckey thumb up
  • Charlotte Brimmer
  • Rita R. Boggs
  • Mike Gipson
  • Albert Robles
  • Stephen Anyaka thumb up
  • Julie Ruiz-Raber

Council Member; City of Cerritos (2 Elected)

  • Carol Chen thumb upthumb up
  • Alejandro Estella
  • George Ray thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Frank Aurelio Yokoyama
  • K. Y. Ma
  • Gerad Valencia
  • James Kang

Council Member; City of Claremont (2 Elected)

  • Corey Calaycay thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Michael Keenan
  • Larry Schroeder thumb up

Council Member; City of Commerce (3 Elected)

  • Joanna E. Flores
  • Art A. Gonzalez
  • Lilia R. Leon thumb up
  • Jaime Valencia thumb up
  • Ivan Altamirano
  • Tina Baca Del Rio

Council Member; City of Covina (3 Elected)

  • Kevin Stapleton thumb upthumb up
  • Jorge A. Marquez
  • John C. King thumb up
  • Kay Manning thumb up

Council Member; City of Cudahy; 4 Year Term (2 Elected)

  • Martin Aguilera
  • Issac Delfino Velasquez
  • Chris Garcia
  • Richard Lara
  • Ruben Pivaral
  • Jack M. Guerrero thumb upthumb upthumb up

Council Member; City of Cudahy; 2 Year Term

  • Josue Barrios
  • Richard Iglesias thumb up
  • Baru A. Sanchez

Council Member; City of Gardena (2 Elected)

  • Mark E. Henderson
  • Terrence Terauchi
  • Rodney Tanaka thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Kathleen “Suzy” Evans thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Tasha Cerda

City Clerk; City of Gardena

  • Shannon Nichole Tsukiyama
  • Harout “Art” Kaskanian
  • Mina Semenza thumb up

Council Member; City of Huntington Park (2 Elected)

  • Elba Guerrero
  • Karina Macias
  • Andy Molina thumb up
  • Valentin Palos Amezquita thumb up

Council Member; City of La Habra Heights (3 Elected)

  • Brian S. Bergman thumb up
  • George Edwards
  • Kyle Miller
  • Chester Jeng
  • Michael Higgins

Council Member; City of La Canada Flintridge (2 Elected)

  • David A. Spence thumb upthumb up
  • Jon Curtis thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Joe Layton

Council Member; City of La Mirada (2 Elected)

  • Steve Keithly thumb upthumb up
  • Andrew Sarega thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Randy Gray
  • Pauline Deal
  • Gabriel Garcia

Mayor; City of Los Angeles

  • Emanuel Alberto Pleitez
  • Kevin James thumb upthumb up
  • Wendy J. Greuel
  • Norton Sandler
  • Eric Garcetti
  • Addie M. Miller
  • Jan Perry
  • Yehuda “Yj” Draiman thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Joseph “Joe” Gardner

City Attorney; Los Angeles

  • Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich thumb up
  • Mike Feuer
  • Greg Smith
  • Noel Wiess

City Controller; City of Los Angeles

  • David Manuel Gonzales (write in)
  • Analilia Joya
  • Ankur Patel
  • Cary Brazeman
  • Ron Galperin
  • Dennis Zine thumb up
  • Jeff Bornstein

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 1

  • Jose Gardea thumb up
  • Gilbert “Gil” Cedillo
  • Jesse Rosas

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 3

  • Scott Silverstein
  • Cary T. Iaccino thumb upthumb up
  • Bob Blumenfield
  • Joyce Pearson
  • Elizabeth Badger
  • Steven Presberg

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 5

  • Paul Koretz
  • Mark Matthew Herd thumb up

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 7

  • Krystee Clark
  • Felipe Fuentes
  • Jesse “David” Barron thumb upthumb up
  • Nicole Case

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 9

  • Manuel “Manny” Aldana thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • Curren D. Price Jr.
  • Ana Cubas
  • Ronald Gochez
  • Terry Hara
  • Mike Davis
  • David Anothny Roberts

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 11

  • Odysseus Bostick
  • Mike Bonin
  • Fredrick Sutton thumb upthumb up
  • Tina Hess

Council Member; City of Los Angeles, District 15

  • Joe Buscaino
  • Gina Hardin (write in) thumb upthumb upthumb up
  • James T. Law

Council Member; City of Manhattan Beach

  • Tony D’errico thumb upthumb up
  • Mitch Ward
  • Mark Burton thumb upthumb up
  • Mark Lipps
  • Wayne Powell thumb up
  • Viet Ngo

City Treasurer; City of Monterey Park

  • Stephen Lam thumb up
  • Joseph Leon

City Clerk; City of Monterey Park

  • Jeff Schwartz
  • Vincent Dionicia Chang
  • Neal Alvarez thumb up

Council Member; City of Norwalk

  • Mike Mendez
  • Cheri Kelley thumb up
  • Darryl Adams
  • Enrique Aranda
  • Candy Martinez thumb up

Council Member; City of Pasadena; District 3

  • John Kennedy
  • Ishmael Trone thumb up
  • Nicholas Benson

Council Member; City of Pasadena; District 5

  • Victor M. Gordo
  • Israel Estrada thumb up

Council Member; City of Redondo Beach, District 1

  • Kimberly Fine thumb upthumb up
  • James Anothny Light
  • Dianne Prado
  • Jeff Ginsburg

Mayor; City of Redondo Beach

  • Matthew “Matt” Kilroy thumb upthumb up
  • Eric Coleman
  • Steve Aspel
  • Pat Aust

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Kinda Christianity

A great satire on the Emergent church movement, with a title parodying McLaren’s “A New Kind of Christianity.”  The author are two Reformed Christians.  After going through primary sources of Emergent leaders to hear them speak for themselves as well as wading through refutations of them in the forms of presentations, papers, discussion, articles and blogs, I have to say that this satire would probably stick better for most people’s memory given how hilarious it is. Good use of humor and irony to expose a theological group that stresses so much that they can’t be sterotyped only to discover that they do present themselves with a certain persona and stereotypes. Think hipster coke bottle glasses and pseudo-intellectual stuffness. Or “a Coexist bumper sticker on your used Volvo.” Again, a witty book beginning with the cover (see Brian McLaren’s cover of”A New Kind of Christianity” to get it), the fake endorsements (the J.I Packer one got me laughing aloud), the preface by Frank Turk of PyroManiac, the meat of the book and the concluding appendix. For those who are familiar with the Emergent movement and knows it’s people, you will be smiling and laughing out loud (for real). Certainly would step on toes but no one could fault them that unlike the “real” Emergent (real and authentic as adjectives for Emergents?), at least the authors lived up to it’s parody of being”generous, fair organic free range guide” considering the fact that they are selling this for a buck for Kindle which I downloaded on my Iphone. As the book pointed out, “The Apple Store: If you’re not buying your technology here, you’re not emergent.

If you want it get it here on Amazon by clicking here.

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shark eating sardines

Here are some of the links on Presuppositional apologetics around the web this session.

1.) A Christian Argument for Purpose and Significance

2.) Chris Bolt’s Farewell to my Readers (Note to Readers: Chris Bolt has definitely been an encouragement in advocating and advancing Presuppositional apologetics).

3.) Calvin’s Sensus Divinitatis

4.) What Sinners Ought to Know from Natural Revelation

5.) A Rant Against the Postmodernization of Scripture


7.) Observation: Bitter atheism

8.) Secular terrorists

9.) Falsificationism And Christianity

10.) Did you know you’re related to a rat?

Are there any other links that you are aware of?

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It’s important as Christians to think about what’s on the news clearly.

For a whole week the news of former Los Angeles Police Department officer Chris Dorner going on a rampage has captured national attention, with the climatic ending yesterday up in Big Bear, California.

Some have elevated Chris Dorner up as a hero.  A hero for pointing out the sinful culture of the LAPD.  A hero and a martyr who held his ground to the very end.

For the Christians with the understanding of Romans 3:23, one would understand that even police officers and institution that’s meant to enforce justice and the good can also become bad.  As William Parker, a famous LAPD police chief once said, “We’ll always have cases like this because we have one big problem in selecting police officers … we have to recruit from the human race.”  Since Dorner’s manifesto was so exact as to the time and nature of certain events, there might be truths concerning the injustice he saw.

At the same time, that does not make Dorner a hero, especially with what he’s doing.  The end does not justify the means.  It’s also painfully ironic and hypocritical:

  • He’s protesting against the kicking of a mentally challenged innocent man…but then he himself resorts to holding Civilians hostage, tying them up and the murder of two citizens.
  • His manifesto’s “You are a high value target” line was directed basically towards all LAPD officers (black, white, Hispanic, Asian and Lesbians) since they are all bad…and yet his manifesto also had shout outs to good officers within the LAPD.
  • Seeing that defending a good name is important…when he gives a blanket condemnation against all LAPD officer, does that justify them going all out against him to defend their name?
  • His manifesto also promised “asymmetrical warfare” with LAPD…but ends up hurting more people outside of LAPD than within LAPD itself.

In the end it is tragic.  Reading his manifesto, it seems that Chris Dorner’s problem is bigger than just with the LAPD.  He talks about being picked on as a kid…he names principles from elementary school.  He has an issue of bitterness and it’s not just with LAPD.

I also don’t want to unnecessarily demonize Christopher Dorner to the point of a caricature: we all have something within us that can make us become a Chris Dorner.  And that is called sin.  I think for the Christian we do have to deal with bitterness before it hurts us or hurt someone.  For the Christian, this is possible through Jesus Christ.  If He has forgiven you for a debt that you could never pay, of an infinite worth, then forgiving others as motivated by the Gospel is a true possibility:  Jesus Christ is the reason why a believer can forgive people.  It’s not just possible, but a believer who truly reflect on God’s saving grace for their sins will want to forgive others, it would be a joy.  A closure.  A tragedy avoided.

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