Archive for April, 2013

coat hanger argument

On the one hand, a favorite argument for abortion goes something  like this:

History shows that women have always tried to terminate unwanted pregnancies. When safe medical procedures are banned by law, they have resorted to dangerous–sometimes deadly–“back-alley” abortions.



Those who push for more restrictions on abortion access – really, those who push for abortion to be made illegal – seem unwilling to acknowledge the disastrous alternatives.

Women would be left injured, ill, sterile, or dead.

Then on the other hand there’s the horrific news about the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s horrific murder of babies and mothers.

Kermit Gosnell abortion

For those who can stomach it, you can read the 281 page Grand Jury report in PDF form HERE and it literally comes with this warning: “Warning: This Grand Jury Report is very explicit. Read at your own risk.”  One thing is clear: Readers will notice that Kermit Gosnell’s abortion business is the epitome of the back alley styled dangerous abortionists that advocates of legalized abortion like to invoke to defend their position.

Pro-abortionists talk about how legalized abortion means safer abortion.  Yet their response to regulations is not often favorable, since advocates commit the slippery slope fallacious argument that regulations would infringe on the rights to abortion when clinics are shut down for failing health and sanitary standards by officials.  But is abortion to be allowed and legalized…at any cost?  Would we legalized coat hanger back alley abortions?  Should regulators do their job?  And where’s the officials regulating Kermit Gosnell?

According to the Washington Post,

This nightmare facility had not been inspected in 17 years – other than by someone from the National Abortion Federation, whom he actually invited there. For whatever reason, Gosnell applied for NAF membership two days after the death of the 41-year-old Nepalese woman, Karnamaya Mongar. Even on a day when the place had been scrubbed and spiffed up for the visit, the NAF investigator found it disgusting and rejected Gosnell’s application for membership. But despite noting many outright illegalities, including a padlocked emergency exit in a part of the clinic where women were left alone overnight, the grand jury report notes that the NAF inspector did not report any of these violations to authorities.”


The irony of all of this is that in order to make sure women do not resort to dangerous “unsanitary,” back alley coat hanger style abortions, authorities and medical officials have to look the other way so as not to close down abortion clinics with the result that this unregulated medical environment foster the very thing the pro-abortionist say we need to prevent: dangerous unsanitary shady and murderous abortion centers.

History tells us that any time any industry or line of work that foster a culture of looking the other way, it only makes things worst:  Crooked cops now become the gangsters, soldiers now become the terrorists and the abortionists becomes…well, still the abortionists.  But now as one who operates in an unsanitary murderous house of horror.

Kermit Gosnell is the coat hanger argument against the rhetorics of current pro-abortion advocates, the abortion industry, their governmental regulators looking the other way, our Federal government and the nation as a whole.

I pray the Lord has mercy, for our nation as a whole to repent, turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviorf, and end this abortion holocaust.

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Live Action Lila Rose

When I was in college, people started talking about this incoming freshman that was going to change the pro-life club on campus.  Little did I know that semester that Lila Rose would go on that year to be threatened by Planned Parenthood with a lawsuit (I don’t think it happened) and rise to be an important figure in the pro-life movement by challenging Planned Parenthood.

Today her organization, Live Action, has released another undercover video.

May the Lord wake up our national conscience to this terrible wickedness.

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Please see this free ebook concerning the reasons why Jesus came to die.  May this book be useful for your preaching of God’s Word.

“Fifty Reasons” eBook – Free in Eight Languages

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Do you sense that your preaching has no depth, light, heat, fire, or glow that is being emitted from the pulpit?  Are you boring your audience to death?  You may present a well-intended and accurate exposition, which is the light, but is passion, which is the heat, missing?  If so, it maybe wise to take heed to Professor John Murray’s statement, “To me, preaching without passion is not preaching at all.”  J.W. Alexander statement is of help too.  Here is what he says, “The whole mass of truth, by the sudden passion of the speaker, is made red-hot and burns its way.  Passion is eloquence.”  If these statements are germane to your current situation in the area of preaching, I recommend that you read this book.  And if you are not experiencing a lack of light and heat, I still recommend this book because it is wonderfully refreshing to the soul of a preacher.

The author’s main theme in this book is in regards to “The Immediate Agency and Operations of the Holy Spirit in and on the Preacher in the Act of Preaching.”  It seems to be a long title and theme that Pastor Martin refers to often in this book.  For example, he stated: “I will seek to demonstrate that His agency (His active power) and His operations (the effects of that power) are direct and immediate in and on the preacher in the act of preaching, in contrast to those operations that come through intervening agencies.”  What he has just described is what he calls the bull’s eye topic that he seeks to unravel for the readers.

Before he gets into the details of explaining the theme or the bull’s-eye topic, Pastor Martin provides some helpful presuppositions to consider in regards to the Holy Spirit.  First the Holy Spirit is a person.  Whether it be His gifts or functions, we must always remember that they are operations of a person, not a force.   Second, the Holy Spirit is a divine person.  As the pastor so clearly states, “All that constitutes the essence of the Father’s deity and the Son’s deity can and must be equally attributed to the person of the Holy Spirit.  Hence, all the reverence, all the submission, and all the love that flows out of Spirit-renewed hearts to the Father and to the Son must also constantly flow out to this glorious divine person called the Holy Spirit.”  Third, the Holy Spirit is not only a divine person, but He is sovereign.  He possesses supreme and ultimate authority when it comes to regeneration and the dispensing of spiritual gifts.

In light of the presuppositions concerning the Holy Spirit, the writer devotes much of his material under three main headings: “1) its indispensable necessity, 2) its specific manifestations, and 3) its restrained or diminished measure.”

I will not go into details concerning the book’s details regarding this topic, but what I can tell you is that in his first main heading: “its indispensable necessity,” the writer argues that Spirit’s role is an indispensable necessity in preaching because just as how He was involved in Christ’s ministry (Luke 2:52; Isa. 61:1; Luke 3:21-22; Luke 4:1-2; Luke 4:14; Heb. 9:14), the apostles’ ministry (Acts 1:3; Luke 24:45-48; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:7-8; 1 Thess. 1:5), and the New Covenant ministry (2 Corinthians 2:14-4:18; 3:1-8; 3:5-6; Romans 8:26), He too is involved in our preaching.

Much more can be said about this book, but I will quote an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s book, Lectures to My Students, and a few exhortations from Pastor Martin in terms of what they have to say concerning the indispensability of the Spirit’s agency and operations that is in connection to the preaching ministry invested to the preacher by God.  Here are the wise sayings from a godly experienced pastor:

To us, as ministers, the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.  Without him our office is a mere name.  We claim no priesthood over and above that which belongs to every child of God; but we are the successors of those who, in olden times, were moved of God to declare his word, to testify against transgression, and to plead his cause.  Unless we have the spirit of the prophets resting upon us, the mantle which we wear is nothing but a rough garment to deceive.  We ought  to be driven forth with abhorrence from the society of honest men for daring to speak in the name of the Lord if the Spirit of God rests not upon us.  We believe ourselves to be spokesmen for Jesus Christ, appointed to continue his witness upon earth; but upon him and his testimony of the Spirit of God always rested, and if it does not rest upon us, we are evidently not sent forth into the world as he was.  At Pentecost the commencement of the great work of converting the world was with flaming tongues and a rushing mighty wind, symbols of the presence of the Spirit; if, therefore, we think to succeed without the Spirit, we are not after the Pentecostal order.  If we have not the Spirit which Jesus promised, we cannot perform the commission which Jesus gave.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2008), 255.

Now a word of discernment must be made.  In light of this quote, I believe what Spurgeon said about the flaming tongues should be perceived as an element that is giving the presentation of what took place and how the Spirit operated, not a model to follow because flaming tongues have ceased for today.  But that is beyond the scope for this post and that is a topic for another day. But what we can extract from Spurgeon’s statement  is that the indispensable necessity of the Holy Spirit’s operation back then in the lives of believers also operate in preaching for the sake of God’s glory and one’s edification.  Without Him, preaching will have no life.

As for Pastor Martin soul-stirring exhortations concerning the immediate agency and operation of the Holy Spirit in our preaching that gives a heightened sense of the spiritual realities, please take note of them below.  I pray that they will be helpful to you:

  • “But in the act of preaching it is as though you are given the ability to smell the brimstone and to hear the hopeless cry of the damned, and your soul feels the horrors of the pit that awaits the impenitent.  You preach the truth of hell as one who senses and feels the reality of what you are preaching.  What are these experiences?  They are nothing other and nothing less than the blessed reality of the immediate agency and operation of the Holy Spirit in our preaching, giving us a heightened sense of the spiritual realities in which we are trafficking as we preach” (20).
  • “One of the results of this blessed experience is that at times it will give an involuntary glow to the very countenance of the preacher.  No actor can produce it.  There is nothing in your notes that says ‘glow here.’  You cannot anticipate it; you cannot force or imitate it.  It may evoke an unplanned and unforced tear in the eye.  At other times it will inject an element of pathos and pleading power into the vocal cords and in many ways take a preacher totally out of himself.  My dear reader, if you are a preacher and do not find these things resonating with you in terms of things you have experienced, both you and your hearers are to be pitted.  This is why George Whitefield said, ‘I would not for one thousand worlds preach an unfelt Christ.’  This is what Whitefield was talking about” (21).

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American Gospel by Jon Meacham

This is an interesting book on the relationship and influence of religion upon the founding fathers in the political sphere. It is written by a capable author on American history. The author’s thesis is contrary to the opinions of twentieth first century secular humanists and atheists, since he argues that historically there has been a place for religion in the public square. He also balances this view by challenging the views adopted by some Conservative Christians that the United States’ founding fathers were thoroughly Christian or sectarian as it is expressed in the political realm. His view is approximately that of my current stance: No doubt Christianity has been influential in the lives of individuals who were involved with the American independence and the new United States government but there were other ideological influences as well such as the Enlightenment, rational theism, etc. I was eager to read this book to learn more about the non-Christians among our Founding Fathers and to see where they stood theologically. Since my undergraduate studies I have concluded that Benjamin Franklin was not quite the ideal Deists as some propagandists makes him out to be especially concerning the issue of God’s providence. The book reinforces my view when it quoted Franklin saying, “I have lived sir a long time, the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affair of men.” Though he was not a Christian, Franklin was far from being the modern militant secularist today since he wrote, “He that spit against the wind, spit in his own face” against someone who was going to publish a tract against Christianity. Concerning Thomas Jefferson I thought it was ironic that as he was approaching his death Jefferson would comfort himself with the portion of the Gospel of Luke that he edited out of his own Bible version from the Song of Simeon. I also found it intriguing that the No Establishment Clause in the Constitution, seemed to be interpreted contrary to the current interpretation today when we read of instances such as the case of a Jew name Jacob Henry whose attempt to enter into state political office was challenged, indicating that the First Amendment was not invoked or understood historically as implying that there must be a ban against religious test for office at the state level. I also enjoyed reading in the book John Jay boldly stating he believed in Jesus Christ at a party in France before philosophers mocking the faith. Over all a good, informative and captivating read. The title was a bit misleading since it went beyond the founding fathers to talk about the role of public religion in the lives of later presidents such as Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, Nixon and Ronald Regan. I was surprised to read that Eisenhower would pray in every cabinet meeting. One criticism I did have was the author’s wrongful assumption that the Bible teaches Earth was the center of the universe. While one gets the sense that the author leans more left especially with his treatment of Christian conservatives, nevertheless I think discerning readers who are Christian conservative can learn from this book that yes, there is an influence of Christian heritage among America’s founding fathers. There’s plenty of ammo here against the New Atheists types and Brights concerning the nature of America’s public religion. However, the book rightly points out that the public religion in America’s political landscape is not thoroughly Christian and is quite ecumenical. I believe Christians ought to be careful of ecumenicalism lest it changes and compromises the Christian faith and the Gospel message with this Americanized public religion.

Purchase: Amazon

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For the first post of this Doctrine of Salvation series, please see the first post: Summary of the Doctrine of Salvation

A good definition can be as follows: God’s sovereign selection of certain sinners for salvation before the foundation of the world that is not based on any human merit.

Before we get into the details concerning the doctrine of election, it is important for us to define some important terms that come up in many discussions concerning this topic. The first word is foreknowledge (prognosis).  Foreknowledge is in regards to a predetermined relationship of certain people before the foundation of the world; and is distinct from mere knowledge and facts.  In Romans 8:29 the use of foreknowledge is linked to predestination and in 1 Peter 1:2, foreknowledge is linked to election.  What is important to note that only twice does the term of foreknowledge in the New Testament is referring to knowledge and facts beforehand (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 3:17).  The other references to the word foreknowledge signify foreordination and predetermination (Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2, 20).

Another important term is “predestine” (proorizo).  This term means to determine things beforehand (Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:5, 11). According to Reformed theology, the term “predestination” a term that is related to election is not only a term included for believers, but also unbelievers (reprobation).

The next term is election.  The Hebrew term for election is bahar (“elect” or “choose”) and its derivatives occur 198 times in the Old Testament.  With this term, God chooses a people for Himself (Psalm 135:4), certain tribes (Psalm 78:68), specific individuals (1 Kings 8:16; 1 Chron. 28:5).  In the New Testament, the Greek verb  “to elect” is eklegomai and the Greek noun for election is  eklektos, which is found around 22 times.  The primary meanings of those two words refer to salvation, not service.  Let us now move into the categories of election.

The first category is election to service.  Concerning election to service, God chose Moses for leadership (Num. 16:5-7), Eli’s father for priestly functions (1 Sam. 2:28), David’s appointment to be Israel’s king (1 Sam. 10:24), Solomon appointed to be king and to build the temple (1 Chron. 28:4-6; 29:1), Jeremiah appointed for prophetic ministry (Jer. 1:10), Zerubbabel for leadership (Haggai 2:23), the Levitical priesthood for ministry (Deut. 18:5; 21:5); and He chose kings to govern (Deut. 17:15).  Moreover, Jesus chose his apostles and followers to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 3:13-15; John 15:16).  Next category is corporate election.

For corporate election, we can refer to Israel as a primary example.  Deut. 7:6 says, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”   What is interesting is that Israel was chosen and given the privilege to serve God (1 Kings 3:8; Psalm 132:13); and were chosen not based on their merits, but solely on God’s sovereignty and love (Exod. 32:9; Deut. 4:37; 9:6; 10:15; Psalm 47:4).  On another note, God’s election of the Israel is also irrevocable (Rom. 11:28-29).  Corporate election is not only seen with Israel (not all Israel is saved), but with the church too.  The church is the community that is sovereignly chosen by God to serve Him.  They are called out from the power of sin and called to worship Him.  In 1 Peter 2:9-10, the church is mentioned and the church is described with language language that was used in the Old Testament.  For example, Peter uses, “chosen generation,” “a royal priesthood,” “an holy nation,” “a peculiar people,” and “a people of God” in juxtaposition to the church.  When the church is used in the New Testament regarding election of the church, it is referring to salvation, but when election is used to refer to Israel in the Old Testament, it emphasizes the difference concerning the nation Israel as “chosen, blessed, and commissioned” from the pagan nations that surround Israel.

Besides the corporate election of Israel and the church, there is also personal election that is mentioned in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God is seen as seeking Adam and Eve after their sin.  He did not destroy them, but he covered them with animal skins (Gen. 3:21).  God also sought Noah because “Noah found favors in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).  God’s personal election is clearly seen with Abraham.  God chose Abraham to be the father of Israel so that he would bring blessings to all the nations of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3).  In Gen. 18:19, Moses the write notes that Abraham is chosen also so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD; and they are to do that by doing righteousness and justice.  What is fascinating about the word “chosen” (ידע; yada) means “to know.”  So in this context, it paints the picture that God sovereignly chose Abraham for salvation.  Yada is also used in Exodus 33:17 to refer to God knowing Moses.  Yada is used in Isaac Gen. 17:19-21 to refer to God choosing Isaac rather than Ishmael.  It is also used in Psalm 65:4 concerning God to bring people near to Him and is used in Jeremiah 1:5 to refer God’s election of Jeremiah before He was formed.  The idea of personal election is clear in Jeremiah.  God chose Him and knew Him personally and lovingly.

For verses in the New Testament concerning election, please see Matthew 11:25-27; John 5:21; John 6:44; John 13:18; John 15:16a; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:11-13; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2a; and Revelation 13:8.

Another category that needs to be pursued is the concept called “foreknowledge.”  Understanding this term will help one see clearly the doctrine of election.  When it comes to this view, some believe that the word “foreknowledge” means foresight.  Hence, God looks through the corridors of heaven and down into the tunnel of time to see who will believe in His Son.  As a result, it perceives God’s election being conditioned upon whether a person believes or not.  Others see the concept as referring to a predetermined love relationship that has nothing to do whether man believes or not.  Thus, I believe foreknowing means foreloving in this context.

In conclusion, although there are passages where there are occurrences of the word foreknowledge referring to foresight and not forelove, but each verse must be examine the context of each verse and passage to determine what it means.  For example, the use of the word “foreknew” in Romans 11:2 means a predetermined love relationship.  God has not rejected the people whom He chose.  It would be odd if the word foreknew means foresight.  In Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:2, the word “foresight” is best understood in the sense of “forelove.”  Another example would be Romans 8:29, which states an important phrase: “those whom He foreknew.

The word “foreknew” is not a reference simply to foreknowledge.  Hence, it cannot simply be tied directly to God’s omniscience in the sense that from eternity past, He chose some because He knew who would place their faith in Him.  According to Granville Sharp Rule, the word “forelove” equates with predeterminism.  Hence, God, set His love on His people and established an intimate relationship with His elect.

Another thing to take into consideration are the perspectives on the doctrine of election.  Besides the notion that Christ chose His people before the foundation of the world without being condition upon man’s choice, it is important to remember that election in Christ (Eph. 1:3-7), is presented as a comfort (Rom. 8:28-30), is a reason to praise God (Eph. 1:5-6, 12), is an encouragement for evangelism (2 Tim. 2:10); and election is a reason for us to not take it too hard on ourselves when people consistently refuse the Gospel.

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Carrie L. Lukas Politically Incorrect guide

Purchase: Amazon

This is a good book written by a woman who has concerns with contemporary feminism. No doubt this book’s stance would be controversial. After I finished the book I read some reviews online and I thought some of the critics were rather unfair. For instance, one review I read accused the author of saying women should earn less money then men, that a working woman would be a horrible mom, etc., which reveals more about the lack of attention of detail of the reviewer than the book itself. The author is nuance enough in the book to say that polls and studies show that women sometimes pursue occupational choices based on flexibility over the concern of salary and no where does she say women should earn less money than that of the work of man. A careful reading of the book would indicate that the author realizes that sometimes moms have to work and she gently presses that the public should know about concerns of the correlation of leaving a child in day care with problems. She’s even nuance enough to say that this does not mean day care itself is the root of all children’s problem. Contrary to some feminists whom she quotes that has a hatred for marriage, the author defends that marriage is not necessarily always a bad thing for woman (though of course there can be such a thing as a bad marriage, but it’s not marriage per se that’s bad). Statistics and studies show that married adults are healthier, financially better of, have more emotional satisfying sex and live more satisfying life than those not married. She also debunks popular urban legend that marriage tend to foster domestic abuse on women, since the data indicate most abuse occur in a non-married situation where couples are shacking up. I’m glad that the book argue that divorce should not be taken lightly as some feminists make it to be. I wish the chapter on abortion could have been better written since this chapter’s main focus was for women to have access to information from both camp rather be one-sided in being pro-choice. Worthwhile read.

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I’ve been caught up with the week long series on Biblical counseling and concern for psychology so I didn’t have the chance to put up our regular round up of Presuppositional apologetics links until now.  These are links from April 8th-21st 2013.  Enjoy and share with others!  What other links have you read that we should know about?

1.) God: The Ground and Source of Knowledge

2.) Audio Lecture on Cornelius Van Til by Geoff Thomas

3.) Are You an Evangelical Apologist?

4.) Repent so you can understand

William Edgar’s Thoughts on Gay Rights

5.) Interviewing James White: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

5.) Misframing Adam and Evolution

6.) Answers in Genesis Research Journal: A Response to Peter Enns’s Attack on Biblical Creationism

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Head psychology logo

We have completed our week long Marathon series on Biblical counseling and concern for Psychology.  Here is the compilation of our posts related to this topic from this week and also from the past.  Book mark this as a resource–and also to visit in the future as we will add more links and resources to equip God’s people to think Biblically and apply a Christian worldview in the areas of helping people with their problems.

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The following are lists of ways apologetics in general and Presuppositional apologetics in particular has helped me in becoming a better Biblical counselor (not that I’ve arrived, but I push forward…).

1.) Apologetics in general has made me think more clearly and logically.  This has helped me become more clear and nuance in how I counsel others.

2.) Apologetics in general has made me listen to others more carefully and ask questions to clarify what they mean and why they think what they think and do what they do.

3.) Apologetics in general has led me to see an additional tool in my counseling:  sometimes in addressing troubling statements a counselee make, I write several of the important ones down and then assigned them to think it through what might be problematic and unbiblical with their statements.  Then when we meet we see what they come up with on their own, praising God what they themselves identify while also gently pointing out things they might have missed or need further elaboration on.  This exercise is often logically rigorous and I find the application of apologetics to be a helpful training for this.

4.) Presuppositional apologetics in particular has made me more conscious that people often do things because of their worldview.  Hence, in counseling I’m now more conscious of identifying unbiblical presuppositions that people embrace that might be driving their problems.

5.) Presuppositional apologetics in particular has made me more conscious about the issue of authority and Van Tillian’s emphasis on Scripture reinforces the importance of using Scripture to skillfully apply it to my life and the life of others concerning our problems.  It makes me resolve to study the Scripture and see it’s implication in addressing practical issues.

6.) Per point 5, Presuppositional apologetics in particular has also been helpful for me to realize that often sins and destructive behaviors that is irrational according to Christian thought would seem “rational” if its the outworking that follows from their own worldview.  Hence, it’s important to see that the issue of their idolatry (the root of the problem) be addressed (be it the desire for pleasure at any cost, pride, etc), since it is driving everything.

7.) Presuppositional apologetics in particular reminds of the Nouetic effect of sin and that appealing to what is rational and reasonable is not enough if one’s will is already set.   This leads me to see the importance of prayer, using the Law of God to appeal to the conscience and drawing out the Gospel so as to affect an individual’s affection.

8.) Presuppositional apologetics in particular with their emphasis on the effect of sin upon our all faculty has also humbled me greatly and guard me against self-righteousness when I counsel others.  I realize I am a sinner in need of Grace: that as the counselor, I can make mistake and therefore I need to ask a lot of questions so that I know what’s really is going on rather than assume; it has also made me realize my own sin and need to apply the same medicine I’m giving; it has also made me realize that if I am wrong with how I counsel, I must also confess it to my counselee.

9.) Presuppositional apologetics made me realize that at the root of all our problems we need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

10.) Presuppositional apologetics makes me realize that at the core of many problems, such as sexual sins, drugs, etc, it is an issue of worship.  The truth of God makes me want to worship God even more for His greatness.  Presuppositional apologetics and John Frame’s Perspectivalism makes me worship God to see the beauty of God’s truth as a coherent whole, complementing and having implications for other spheres.  The inter-relationship of apologetics and Biblical counseling is beautiful.  We need to have doxological apologetics.

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eternal security pink

Note: I am reviewing this book as part of our biblical counseling and concern for psychology series on our blog.  EvangelZ previously wrote a good summary of Christian counseling is to glorify God as opposed to other man based system of “fixing” man which ranges from happiness to feeling better, etc.  The goal for Christians in counseling is to glorify God and ultimately we need to understand man’s problem in theological and biblical categories.  I find it quite fruitful in dealing with problems in the Christian life to discuss about the assurance of salvation and this book would be a great resource for you for that.


A book that has a doctrinal devotional flavor. Arthur Pink in this book talks about the doctrine of a believer’s security in their salvation. He gives particular care in his treatment so as to avoid the antinominan version of “once saved always saved” in which sanctification and holiness doesn’t even matter, while also avoiding the pitfalls of Arminianism that assumes we can lose our salvation. Antinomianism would lead one to become a libertine while Arminianism has the tendency of assuming legalism. The Biblical balance teaches that God not only ordained the eternal life of the elect but He has also ordained the means of a believer’s eternal security by persevering in the faith. Though the book is not as exegeticaly based as I would like, nevertheless Pink does give a good amount of verses for readers to look up and study further on. I appreciated that the doctrine of eternal security was not only discussed here in terms of it’s nature and importance, but also its’ benefits and marvel. Pink demonstrates in this book how this doctrine would motivate believers to holiness. A Practical book and was a great spiritual refreshment to read.


You can access a free copy of this book in PDF form by clicking HERE.

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If you have questions about whether there are negative implications of uniting psychology with the Bible, you will want to read this journal article by Dr. Robert L. Thomas.  He is a very prolific Bible scholar in his own right.

In this article, Dr. Thomas will address general revelation and its implications on hermeneutics.  Consequently in this context, one’s understanding of general revelation will affect one’s hermeneutic and one’s hermeneutic will affect one in pastoral counseling positively or negatively.

Just to wet your appetite, here is Dr. Robert L. Thomas’ summary on general revelation:

General revelation’s noticeable impact on biblical interpretation has resulted from applying a broader definition of general revelation than is justifiable.  Reasons why general revelation should not include such matters as science, mathematics, literature, and music are the following.  First, “general” cannot refer to the content of the revelation.  Second, biblical references to general revelation limit it to information about God.  Third, sin distorts human discoveries of the non-Christian world in secular fields.  Fourth, general revelation is readily accessible to all, not just to specialists in certain fields.  Hermeneutics deals with the principles of biblical interpretation.  Unwarranted definitions of general revelation have led to widespread attempts to integrate general with special revelation.  This step is unwarranted because truth exists in varying degrees of certitude, all truth does not possess the same authority, all truth does not fall on receptive ears, and general revelation does not include the fields of secular study.  The emergence of integrative efforts has coincided with a growing tentativeness in biblical hermeneutics because of the influence of secular disciplines on biblical hermeneutics.  Psychology’s promotion of self-love provides a good example of the adverse effects of general revelation and integration on biblical hermeneutics.[1]

To access the journal article, please click on this link: General Revelation.  You could also access the journal article from the TMS website: General Revelation.

[1]Robert L. Thomas, Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2002), 113.

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Goal of Counseling

The goal or end (τέλος) of counseling is to glorify God (Col. 3:23).  Whatever we do in this life given to us from our Creator must be done for the glory of God, not man.  As a result, we must filter out sin and mortify sin in our words and deeds so that we may glorify God.  Sin done by humans do not glorify God.  Since we are dealing with counseling, it is imperative for counselors to understand that counseling a counselee is a serious task. In order to glorify God in counseling, we need to have a desire to restore the brother or sister from sin in a spirit of meekness (James 5:19-20; Gal. 6:1).

To desire one to be restored, it would be wise that the counselor’s thoughts, models after Paul’s heart.  Paul glorified God.  His goal or end (τέλος) in terms of glorifying God when writing to young Timothy was for the Christian’s instruction to be in “love from a pure heart,” “good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).  Paul is clear when he uses the word goal (τέλος).  Paul underscores the notion that there is only one appropriate goal for a teaching ministry.[1]  True doctrine and genuine ministry find their satisfaction on love, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.[2]  Love is important to Paul, which is why he uses the word ten times in the pastoral epistles; and nine of the ten times, love is used with faith (πίστις) (1 Tim. 1:5, 14; 2:15; 4:12; 6:11; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:22; 3:10; Titus 2:2).[3]

Out of love springs forth some powerful components that are essential to counseling.[4]  The components are: pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith.  Heart is the wellspring of the human life.  It is the seat of the human knowledge (2 Cor. 4:6), emotions (Eph. 6:22), and volition (2 Cor. 9:7).  It’s important for the counselor to examine his knowledge of God, emotions, and volition.

The word conscience (1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3) is a compound word that is combined with the word “with” and “knowledge.”[5]  This speaks of a joint-knowledge one shares with oneself.[6]  In other words, it speaks of self-awareness.[7]  The conscience is a gift from God that can be defiled by sin (Titus 1:15) and seared to the point of desensitization if rebellion is habitual (1 Tim. 4:2).[8]  If the counselor does not have a good conscience, he can’t share biblical truths with conviction and genuine passion.

Since faith speaks of a faith that is not filled with hypocrisy, the counselor needs to examine himself before judging others (Matthew 7:5).[9]

On another note, I believe that if the counselor implements 1 Timothy 1:5, then God has been glorified, which is the ultimate goal of counseling.  Last but not least, in order to maximize the goal of biblical counseling, we need to believe in the sufficiency of Scripture, especially when it pertains to spiritual matters.  What the disciples and believers used in ancient times to counsel individuals is the same for us today: the Word of God (Psalm 19:7-14).

I will leave you with this last note: the aim of biblical counseling is to glorify God.  The manner  we must do it in is to “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).


[1] John Kitchen, “The Pastoral Epistles for Pastors”: (Woodland Hills, TX: Kress Christian Publications, 2009), 47.

[2] Ibid., 47.

[3] Ibid., 47.

[4] Ibid., 47.

[5] Ibid., 47.

[6] Ibid., 47.

[7] Ibid., 47.

[8] Ibid., 48.

[9] Ibid., 48.

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I thank God for The Master’s Seminary putting things up online for free for God’s people!  That include this helpful counseling course on Counseling Marriage and Family on Youtube for free!

My wife and I are watching through this slowly every night on Tuesday.  It would be helpful for Pastors and non-Pastors, husbands and wives to watch this so that you can help counsel others with marriage and family problem.  Of course, like with all biblical counseling it ends up sanctifying and changing more the Christian counselors than even the counselee.

Enjoy and share with others!



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Please see part 1 of this series:Choose Biblical Counseling Not Psychology: Part 1

The Doctrine of Man

Before discussing why the doctrine of sin is important, I will first discuss the importance of the doctrine of man.  There are four major reasons why the doctrine of man is important: man is the pinnacle of creation, man’s relation to his Creator, negative implications of the false views of man, and the importance of applying biblical truths of man to contemporary issues.

Man is the Pinnacle of Creation

Man is the high point of God’s creation.  He was the only created being of God that was made in His “image” and “likeness” (Gen. 1:27).  For more information on humans being made in God’s image and likeness, please see this link: Created in God’s Image.

From the creation account, not only was man made in His image and likeness, but man was given authority by God to have dominion over the earth and man was given the authority to give names to all the creatures God created (Genesis 1:26).  No other created entity was given this kind of authority.

If man does not understand this creation account of his authority coming from God, negative implications for society will be generated dramatically.  He does not rule in his own autonomy, but rules under the sovereignty of God.  He must do only what God tells him.  To do the contrary, would be to sin before Him.  Sadly, our nation at this point and moment of time has deviated further and further from God’s rule (Psalm 24:1).

Relation to the Creator

In terms of man’s relation to God, the Bible helps us understand who we are before our Creator.  The Bible alone dictates our relationship before Him.  The Bible is the only standard.  The individual must come to a realization that he is small and God is bigger than His life.  He was created from dust, but God was never created because He is eternal.  And this eternal Creator that reveals Himself in nature (Psalm 19:1-7; Romans 1:18-20), Scripture, and via His very Son, is authoritative; and His revelation does not rest upon any relativistic human opinion or unreliable and tentative sources.[1]   There is nothing more epistemologically authoritative  that can hold stand the test of time, apart from what He has disclosed via His revelation.[2]

If the Bible is not accepted as the only standard, epistemology authoritative or morally ultimate from what God disclosed to humans, then humans will use their own standards to dictate how their relationship should be before their Creator.[3]  That approach is untenable because that means everyone’s standards will be relative.  And if it is relative, no one has a right to say their standard in terms of defining their relationship before their Creator, is better than the standard of another person.  They have no authority to authenticate their own standards.  That is why we need God in order to avoid these relativistic implications.  Because of the inconsistency of man’s standards, man does a disservice not only to God, but also to his fellow man.  But with God’s standard, there is absolute truth and consistency.  Since that is so, it is wise to look to the Bible to determine our relationship before God.  Every minutiae and every fact we come across must be understood in light of Christ (Colossians 1:16).[4]

Negative Implications of the False Views of Man

Studying the doctrine of man is imperative when it comes to refuting false views of man.  If you just take a look at the world, there are countless differing views of man.  For example, Freud sees man as an instinctual animal that has a conflict between the Id, Superego, and Ego.  Adler sees man as being born weak and small and needs to control his or her fate at an early age in order to survive.  Other psychologists like Skinner believes that man’s problem are a result of his environment.  And because of the environment’s influence on man, he says that man may keep practicing the behavior with the proper incentives until the person does not feel guilty anymore.  In other words, repeated behaviors are like allergy shots; and the effects will still be there until you are immune from it.  The differing views I stated earlier concerning man are just examples from hedonists who have their own standards of man outside of God’s words.  But what you could see already is that when you go outside the Bible, man has distorted views of man.  Once, I get into the doctrine of sin, you will see the correct view of man in accordance with Scripture.

Biblical Truths and its Connection to Contemporary Issues

In lieu of all the other three points I mentioned: man being the pinnacle of creation, man’s relation to his Creator; and refutation of false views of man, we should also study the doctrine of man so that as Christians we maybe able to apply biblical truths in regards to modern issues that are facing us today such as: abortion, euthanasia, and other pertinent modern issues facing us.  But before we do that, we need to touch upon the doctrine of sin.

If you study church history, before the Modern and the Enlightenment Era, there was a large consensus that man was born with a depraved nature.  This concept was ushered in with popularity not only by John Calvin, but also by Martin Luther who testified in disgust over his sinfulness.  But when the Enlightenment came into the scene, the traditional view of the sinfulness of man began to lose its effect.  People started to view man in general as being good.

If you study the history carefully, the traditional view of man’s sinfulness probably waned due to the rise of man’s education, technological advancement, science, health, etc.  As you know, the advancement of human knowledge continues to persist today.  But even with man’s advancement, man can not be good because if you take a look at the twentieth century, it shows that humanity witnessed the most bloodshed and evil when compared to any century.  Well, I have said much regarding the background to this discussion.  I will now transition to reasons why the doctrine of sin should be studied.

First reason why the doctrine of sin should be studied is due to its link and relation to God.  This truth is important and sobering because before one is regenerated, he or she was enslaved to sin prior to his or her regeneration (Ephesians 1:1-3).

What is sin?  The Westminster Catechism, which is not infallible, but is a biblical statement nonetheless, says this about sin, “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”  In other words, to sin is to conform to our sinful ways and to transgress against His ordained laws (Psalm 119:4).  When we sin against a Holy God, we need to exemplify David’s heart when he sinned.  He understood the reality of sin and he understood that sin was an attack against God (Psalm 51:4).

The second reason why I study the doctrine of sin is because sin directly affects who we are as humans.  Sin is a destructive force that not only brings about death, but it affects our thoughts, which influences our deeds.  If one understands the doctrine of sin well, I believe that the Christian will be able to explain the problem of evil against an opponent of the Gospel; and one will be better prepared to counsel one who has just lost a loved one.

The problem of sin is inseparably linked to the problem of evil.  How one responds to a unbeliever or a love one in Christ will be dictated on how one understands the problem of evil.  People need to understand that sin was brought into this world by Adam who rebelled against God when God prohibited him (Gen. 2:16-17).  Man is to be blamed for the sin that was brought into this world.  In the beginning, God gave our parents volition and free will before the Fall.  In his original state, he had the ability to choose between good and evil.  Since then, he is enslaved to sin; and is in desperate need of the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit to synergistically open his eyes to the truth.

Man ultimately chose evil and he paid the price.  For time’s sake, I cannot devote an entire paper regarding the problem of evil.  Basically, my intention was to give a snapshot of how the doctrine of sin is inseparably linked to helping one explaining the problem of evil.

Although sin is a horrendous enemy, it is also glorious.  It is glorious in the sense that it has some direct bearing to the doctrine of salvation.  This may be ironic to you, but it brings much glory to God.  For example, take a look at Acts 2:23.  In Peter’s sermon, he says, “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”  God predetermined Jesus’ death before the foundation of the world.  Why am I bringing up this verse?  Well,  what happened to Jesus was sinful and evil, but at the same token, His bloody sacrifice brought salvation!  So yes, the evil event that happened to Jesus was sinful (of course God did not sin by offering His Son), but it was a spectacular type of sin that brought hope to humanity.

Another major reason why I study the doctrine of sin is because it affects how I do ministry.  When I see humans sin before God and others—by the grace of God, it causes me to have patience with sinners because the goal is to bring reconciliation to them.  Only the transcendent Word of God can free man from his enslavement to sin, not psychology.


As many you know, this year has been a year of carnage.  We have witnessed the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing.  Whenever carnage is done in this soil, the media will often bring in psychologists or psychiatrists to explain why carnage exists in our world.  They will give you their explanation.  But it is superficial.  They will avoid human responsibility and will say that the person’s act was due to mental illness.  The Bible is clear about those behaviors.  For example, Matthew 15:19 says “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”[5]

[1]Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1998), 201.

[2]Ibid., 202.

[3]Ibid., 202.

[4]Ibid., 202.

[5]All Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible: Update.


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