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Archive for June, 2013

st-paul-conversion

Please see the last post on the series, “Doctrine of Salvation,” The Gospel/General Call and Effective Calling

Conversion is an important term and the exact naming convention does not always appear in other translations of the Bible.  In the OT, it is directly related to the Hebrew sub, which is a frequently used verb that conveys the idea of turning back, to go back, come back, or to return.  It is also related with the Hebrew niham, which means that a person is sorry or has regret.  In the NT, there are two principle words that must be considered.  The two key words or terms are: epistrepho (“to turn” ).  The other word is metaneo.   The cognate of metaneo indicates a change of mind, a renewal of mind, heart, and a heartfelt repentance.

The word conversion can be defined as the willingness of a sinner to respond to the gospel call, in which he genuinely repents of his sins and places faith in Christ for salvation.

Examples of conversion can be found in various passages of Scripture (see Acts 15:3; 1 Thess. 1:9).  One particular passage that needs some attention is Luke 15:11-32 (Prodigal Son).  In that passage, there is an awareness of sin, a lost condition, a confession of sin, and an acknowledgement or unworthiness of oneself, and a desire to return home to his father.  That is how sinners should respond.  The prodigal son is a good example of what conversion looks like.  This is a great story to share when evangelizing or counseling a professing Christian.

Faith and repentance must be addressed too because they are often confused.  Before we get into the details concerning the relationship of faith and repentance, let us first cover the definition of repentance.  Repentance is the negative aspect of salvation because it refers to one hating, despising, and abandoning his or her once enslavement relationship to sin.

In the OT, the verb repent (niham) that occurs about thirty-five times is usually used to signify a contemplated change in God’s dealings with men for good or bad according to his judgment (1 Sam. 15:11, 35; Jonah 3:9-10); and it also is used to signify that God will not swerve from his announced purpose (1 Sam. 15:15:29; Ps. 110:4; Jer. 4:28).  In the NT, the word for repentance is metanoia which means “a change of mind.”  That word metanoia appears around twenty-three times in the NT.  What is unique about the word metanoia is that it goes beyond the meaning of having an inner change, but it also involves a turn in direction in one’s life.  In other words, it involves a 360-turn in one’s life.  You turn because your mind has turned.  Grudem defines repentance as follows, “Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ” (Systematic Theology, 713).  In other words, genuine repentance will result in a changed life.

What also must be understood what repentance is not.  Repentance is not just feeling bad or sorrowful for the sin one commits, but a sorrow that is according to the will of God that leads to repentance.  In other words, when one understands that his sin is against God, he will repent.  But one who has the sorrow of the world may feel bad for the mistakes he made in life, but he will not feel bad that he sinned against a holy God.  And a person who has the sorrow according to the will of God does not regret the sin he has left.  A person who has regret about leaving his sin, shows that the reigning idol in his heart is pleasure.  The idol to exalt one’s pleasure and to satisfy one’s pleasure has prevented many from repenting from his or her sins.  If a person sees God as his greatest joy, he will have godly sorrow and will truly repent.  Please see 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 for more details concerning sorrow of the world and the godly sorrow that is according to God’s will that leads to repentance.

What must be noted; and may be self-explanatory to you, is whether repentance is part of saving faith.  Scripture puts repentance and faith together as different aspects of the one act of coming to Christ for salvation or what some call: two sides of the same coin.  In other words, the two sides are different, but belong to the same coin and same act.  So it is not about whether one person repents then turns in faith to God, but repentance and faith occur at the same time.  So when a person turns to Christ for salvation, he is simultaneously repenting and placing his faith in God.  In other words, he is turning from his or her sin and is turning to Christ for the forgiveness of sins because the sinner trusts that God will forgive.  Scripture gives abundant proof concerning repentance.

John the Baptist preached repentance (Matt. 3:2; 4:17), Jesus came to call sinners to repent from their sins (Luke 5:32), and God commands sinners to repent (Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30; Acts 26:20).  Also for scriptural proof of repentance and faith being used simultaneously, please see these following passages: 1 Thess. 1:9 (turning to God is faith and turning away from idols is repentance); Mark 1:15 (“repent and believe the good news”), etc.

Moreover, repentance is a gift from God (Acts 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25).  Let us now move briefly through the topic of faith.  We already have a good understanding that faith and repentance occur simultaneously when one comes to God for salvation.

Faith is defined as the positive aspect of conversion in which one believes and trusts in the promises of God and the work of Christ.

In terms of the language of faith, there are two key terms that must be understood: pistis and pisteuo.  Let’s first deal with the verbal usage of pistis and pisteuo.  Pistis means “faith,” “trust,” and “belief.”  Pisteuo means to “believe in” and to “have faith in,” and “entrust.”  As for the noun pistis and the verb pisteuo are used around 240 times in the New Testament.  If we are to summarize faith, we could see it in three elements.  Just like repentance, faith too, affects the intellect, emotion, and will.  It must also be mentioned that faith does rest in blind faith, but involves the belief in something true and also includes the idea of personal trust.  We place faith in truth (Hebrews 11:1).  The atheist, on the other hand, who says we believe in blind faith, is contradicting himself because he is the one that has blind faith.  What he believes in is a figure of his imagination.  In his world, he tries to deny God which is impossible (Psalm 14:1).  His denial of God is as if he was denying the law of gravity.  He has no proof to deny God’s existence.  The methods of his attack could be compared to as a vapor.  Going back to the three elements that faith affects – I will just piggy-back off of that and also give you the reformer’s terminology of faith: notitia, assensus, and fiducia.  Nottia signifies an awareness of the facts of the Gospel; assensus signifies the belief that the facts were true; and fiducia signifies a personal confidence and trust.  The first two conveys the idea of facts being true and the last term emphasizes faith in God personally.  Also, just like repentance, faith is also a gift (Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Tim. 1:14; Heb. 12:2).

Also we must address the the non-lordship camp that believes: to include repentance in the Gospel message, is adding works.  This issue is not something new and was advocated men like Zane Hodges and Charles Ryrie.  In response to their claim that including repentance is adding works, we must go to Scripture (Matt. 7:21; 21:29ff.; Luke 6:46).  Doing the will of God is a result of repentance.  They also need to go to the passage concerning the Rich Young Ruler.  Jesus used the concept of repentance by indicating that he needs to have a willingness to lay aside what he loves much that stands in the way of his relationship with Christ.  I would love to discuss this topic in more detail, but I will reserve that for our future post.

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Been busy the last few days outside of blogging.  So this is a short post.

Seeing that there is a new wave of visitors to our blog I wanted to bring to your attention that we have a facebook page and Twitter account if you haven’t known about it already.

For fun we make apologetics and hermeneutics memes on our facebook like the one below:

I Don't always presuppositional apologetics

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Sye Ten Bruggencate

It seems with each passing day there are more and more resources on Presuppositional apologetics made available online.  In God’s providence, it’s as if its a treasure hunt sometime to stumble upon them.

Open Air Preacher Sye Ten Bruggencate, who’s new documentary no doubt has been used by the LORD to share with many the method of Presuppositional apologetics.  He has recently given several teachings at Westminster Presbyterian Church during a conference earlier this month between June 4-6th 2013.

Here are the MP3s:

  1. The Greatness of God
  2. Apologetics – You’re Doing It Wrong
  3. Biblical Apologetics
  4. Taking it to the Streets
  5. Objections Answered

I appreciate Brother Sye making Cornelius Van Til’s apologetics practical and applying it in evangelism.

You can access the original page for this conference and download the messages by other speakers by clicking HERE.

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Escape from Camp 14 Shin

(Purchase: Amazon)

This book will make you appreciate the freedom that you have.

With so much of North Korea on the news it’s amazing to consider that we know so little of what’s going on within North Korea itself. Before reading this book I have heard mentions of North Korea having political concentration camps but didn’t know any details of it until now with Blaine Harden’s “Escape from Camp 14.” The book was written by a Western journalist about a man name Shin who was a political prisoner of Camp 14, one of the notorious among the camps that North Korea run. Shin is the only prisoner to have escape Camp 14 that is alive today. This is a harrowing story of a boy who was born in the camp and have never known anything of the outside world. What gripped me about this book is the Marxist doctrine of being anti-family is lived out consistently here in these camps and the sight is not pretty: Shin would eventually betray his own mother and brother who tried to escape. It’s a story of every man for himself–of beatings, and turning one another in for a little bit of rice and a mother versus child for food. At first I had reservation that this book was written by a Western journalist rather than it being an autobiography but the author’s ability to weave information from other escapees from other camps, data from satellite images and other report helps to make this story more objective. A very emotional read; I can’t help but to think about God’s hand and Providence in saving Shin’s life multiple times and guiding him eventually to America. I also appreciated the book not ending with the escape but also the difficult adjustment of Shin and other North Koreans in South Korea and the West. I highly recommend this book and I believe it is up there with Diary of Anne Frank, Night, etc.

You can see a talk Shin gave to Google about his story below:

You might wonder why would a Christian worldview/theology/apologetics blog review this book?  I think part of being a Christian and a disciple of Jesus is to know about what’s going on in the World–and to be concern with injustice and to pray, voice out concerns or do other things about it.

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The Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought Van Til

In 1971 a book by Cornelius Van Til was published titled The Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought.  It’s not as well known as his other works such as Defense of the Faith, Christian Apologetics and Why I believe.  I first heard of it being quoted and referenced by Greg Bahnsen in his huge work Van Til’s Apologetics and years later stumbled upon this work at a used book store which I bought for five bucks.

Now thanks to Presupp101, this work is available for free online as a PDF if you click HERE.

The preface describes the book well:

“This little volume is designed to aid the Reformed pastor in his work of helping high school and college students face the challenge to their faith presented in their classes on science, philosophy, and religion.

To be able to help his young people the Reformed pastor must himself have some acquaintance with modern science, modern philosophy, and modern religion. But, more than that, he must see clearly for himself that unless science, philosophy, and religion frankly build upon the authority of Christ, speaking his Word in Scripture, they can offer no coherent interpretation of life. Modern thought has repeatedly, in attempting to explain reality, shown its own incoherence.

Enjoy!

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bassano_jacopo_garden_of_eden

The topic of the historicity of Adam as the first man is a hot topic today in theology since some Evangelicals have come out to deny the historicity of Adam. The following is an outline from a bigger series I have going through a Biblical view of man.  I hope the following is helpful to think about how various genre that is unquestionably literal found in the Bible interprets the meaning and genre of Genesis 1-3 literally.

Purpose: To consider the arguments for the historical Adam as the first man God created.

I. Special Creation of Adam and Eve according to Genesis 1-2

a. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-31)

i.      This is the more general account of the creation of man, Genesis 2 will be more specific.

ii.      “Man” here is literally “Adam” in the Hebrew.

iii.      Notice here the plurality within God creating man

1. “Let Us make

2. “in Our image

3. “according to Our likeness

iv.      Notice the role of man in God’s creation in this verse.

b. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

 i.      This account is more specific than Genesis 1.

 ii.      Again, “man” here is literally “Adam” in the Hebrew.

iii.      Two details of Adam’s creation

1. Formed from the ground

2. God breathed into his nostril

c. “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:22)

i.      This account is the creation of the first woman, later named Eve in Genesis 3:20.

ii.      Note Eve was made from Adam’s rib.

II.  There have been those who have questioned the historicity of the Bible’s account of the creation of man with Adam being the firstMan.  For example:

a. Tremper Longman III[1]

b. Bruce Waltke: From a headline of the news, “OT Professor Bruce Waltke resigns from RTS Orlando Faculty amid historical Adam and Eve controversy”[2]

c. Peter Enns: “Likewise, Israel’s story was written to say something about their place in the world and the God they worshiped. To think that the Israelites, alone among all other ancient peoples, were interested in (or capable of) giving some definitive, quasi-scientific, account of human origins is an absurd logic. And to read the story of Adam and Eve as if it were set up to so such a thing is simply wrongheaded.”[3]

III. Objections comes down to an issue of hermeneutics

a. In his book against the historical Adam, Peter Enns writes, “One cannot read Genesis literally—meaning as a literally accurate description of physical, historical reality—in view of the state of scientific knowledge today and our knowledge of ancient Near Eastern stories of origin.”[4]

b. The role of presupposing evolution in shaping interpretation of Genesis 1-3: “If evolution is true, one can no longer accept, in any true sense of the word ‘historical,’ the instantaneous and special creation of humanity described in Genesis, specifically 1:26-31 and 2:7, 22.”[5]

IV. Why we should interpret Genesis 1-2 and Adam literally and historically

a. Genre of Genesis 1-2 is narrative and hence it should be treated as revealing literal information.

i.      The essential elements of Hebrew narratives include[6]:

1. Scene

a. This is probably the most important element.

b. Scene involves sequence of event in the narrative.

c. In the Hebrew text, the component of scene can be established by the pattern of wayyiqtol.[7]

i.      Wayyiqtol is a syntactical construct of a conjunction (wow consecutive) + prefixed form/preterite/imperfect verb.

ii.      Wayyiqtol is often used to establish temporal or logical sequence.

2. Plot

This concerns the beginning, middle and ending of the development of the narrative.

3. Character

Who is involved in the narrative?

4. Setting

Where in space/time does this narrative takes place?

5. Point of view

ii.      Genesis 1-2 has the element of the literary form of narrative

1. Scene:

a. Sequences of days (Genesis 1), Creation of AdamàGod’s dialogueàCreation of Eve (Genesis 2)

b. Genesis 1-2 has many Wayyiqtol is a syntactical construct of a conjunction (wow consecutive) + prefixed form/preterite/imperfect verb.

2. Plot: Five days of creation then the creation of man on the sixth day and then rest (Genesis 1); Lonliness of Adam then creation of Eve (Genesis 2)

3. Character: God, Adam and Eve.

4. Setting: The newly created world (Genesis 1), Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14)

5. Point of view: God’s point of view of creation chronologically (Genesis 1), God’s point of view of creation of man specifically (Genesis 2)

b. How does the rest of the Bible interpret Genesis 1-2?

i.      Methodological consideration

1. Since some say that Genesis 1-2 was originally not intended to be interpreted literally, that it’s meant to be understood as symbolic, so we have to ask the question of how the rest of the Bible interpret Genesis 1-2.

2. If the rest of the Bible as God’s infallible Word interpret Genesis 1-2 literally such as believing in a literal Adam and Eve, then we ought to see this data as God’s perspective on Genesis 1-2 and purpose of writing it is literal.

 ii.      Within Genesis

1. Note: Adam and Evil is presuppose as historical lest the rest of Genesis becomes nonsensical.

2. Narrative of the fall in Genesis 3 presupposes a literal Adam and Eve.

3. Those that have children are real, historically existent people.  Adam and Eve had children and therefore historically existed.

a. Adam and Eve is described as having children such as Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-2).

b. Adam described in a genealogy (Genesis 4:25, 5:1)

iii.      Book of Job: “Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,” (Job 31:33)

At a minimum, this presupposes the story of Genesis 3 and a reference to Adam.

 iv.      Book of Hosea: “But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.” (Hosea 6:7)

1. Here the sin of God’s people are compared to Adam’s sin.

2. Only a real person can transgress a covenant.

v.      Genealogies: 1 Chronicles 1:1, Luke 3:38.

1. Genealogy as a literally form is meant to refer to real people.

2. Adam is referred to in genealogies and therefore God’s Word is here attesting to the fact that Adam was historical.

vi.      Reinforcing the historicity of genealogies, Jude 14 as a straight forward epistle indicating God’s own Word interpreted genealogies literally.

vii.      Both Adam and Eve are presupposed as real in 1 Timothy 2:13-14.

1. Paul could have just invoked his apostolic authority concerning how women ought to behave.

2. The event of the fall of Adam and Eve is invoked here as the basis for Paul’s admonition.

viii.      Paul’s preaching of the Gospel to Athenian philosophers presupposes Adam as the father of all: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,” (Acts17:26)

1. Note that the Greeks did not believe God made all man from one person.

2. They believe that their own race (Greeks) had nothing to do with others since they were far more superior.

3. Yet Acts 17 is Paul’s sermon that lays the foundation to make the Gospel intelligible and he found it important to bring up Adam as the first man of all.

 ix.      Adam is presuppose as historical figure in the underpinning of the Gospel.

1. Just as Christ was historical and imputed righteousness for justification so too was Adam presupposed as historical imputing sin (Romans 5:12-21).

2. Just as Christ was historical and gave us life so too was Adam presupposed as historical giving us death (1 Corinthians 15:20-58).


[4] Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012), 137.

[5] Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012), xiv.

[6] The following essential elements are found in Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “Narrative”, Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1995), 69-76.

[7] The discussion about the wayyiqtol is from Robert B. Chisholm Jr., From Exegesis to Exposition, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 119-120.

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The Masculine Mandate

I don’t know anything about the author Rick Phillips but I do know the Publishers, Reformation Trust, is a trusted name.

I also don’t know how long it will be for but you can get a free copy of this book for your Kindle App.

Download yours today by clicking HERE.

Great for Father’s Day.

We need the men of the church today to live out their calling to be men of God.

Thanks to Truth2Freedom for letting me know about this.

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