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Archive for July, 2013

I first heard of Joe Boot from his book “Why I Still Believe” which is a play on the title of Van Til’s booklet, “Why I Believe.”

Ravi Zacharias has recommended his work in private conversation with my brother in law.

Here is an audio of Joe Boot teaching on the apologetics of Cornelius Van Til:

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Catholic

Please see the last post on the series, “Doctrine of Salvation,” Doctrine of Salvation: Conversion.

As more and more confusion arises concerning the beliefs Roman Catholicism during these dark times, I think that it is important that I interact with Roman Catholicism’s view on salvation.  Christianity and Catholicism are not the same and those in the evangelical world that consider the Roman Catholic Church to be a Christian church should be ashamed of themselves. Basically they are undermining the Reformation and ultimately the authority of the Bible.

Roman Catholicism is a religion that is significantly different from Christianity because they do not believe in salvation as the Bible states.  But because there are so many differences in regards to Roman Catholicism, we will cover only a few areas that I think has major implications.  In order to effectively deal with it, I will cover their view concerning sola Scriptura and sola ecclesia/magisterium. With that said, let’s first cover the Roman Catholic definition of the magisterium.

The Latin word magister for the English word magisterium means, “master.”  The meaning master is not only in the sense of “teacher” but it also means in the broader sense, someone who possesses authority or mastery in a particular field.  In the contemporary Roman Catholic usage, this term basically means that the teaching is reserved exclusively for the office of the pope and bishops.  It is important that we consider the topic of the magisterium, because without it, we would not be debating the subject of tradition versus Scripture in the first place.  In regards to the magisterium, the Catholic Church considers themselves the master or the entity that possesses the authority—whether it be the written Word of God or in the form of tradition.  The concept of the Roman Catholic Church being the master dates back to the fourth session of the Council of Trent in 1546 A.D.  For example, in the first decree of the Council of Trent, it states that the Old and New Testament were not the only inspired source, but the traditions concerning faith and morals are also inspired because the Roman Catholic Church believes it came from the mouth of God; and it believes that it is preserved by the Holy Spirit in continuous succession in the Catholic Church.

When defining their source of authority, the Roman Catholic Church continues by saying, “The totality of the Bishops is infallible, when they, either assembled in general council or scattered (has to be unanimously agreed by the bishops) over the earth, purpose a teaching on morals as one to be held by all the faithful.”  That is a dangerous teaching because only God and the Bible is infallible.

Moreover, the pope, who is part of the magisterium and who is the icon of the magisterium is believed to be infallible when he defines doctrines concerning faith and morals.  To question the pope in matters of infallibility is to second-guess him.  The so-called divine promise given to him through the succession of Apostle Peter, concerning the pope’s definition of doctrine concerning faith and morals cannot be revised or altered.  For example, papal infallibility in the area of making saints is final and irrevocable.  The pope who is the iconic leader of the magisterium can speak ex-cathedra, which means, that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the Pope speaks without error.  Next we will cover the Roman Catholic Church so-called proof that the Magisterium has divine authority.

For the Roman Catholic Church, this is more than apostolic succession, but it is the gift of inspiration itself.  Here is what the Roman Catholic Church says concerning the very gift of inspiration itself being passed down to them, “But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, ‘handling over’ to them ‘the authority to teach in their own place.’”  Dei Verbum 8 says, “This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything…”

Because apostolic succession is key to this belief of authority, let’s take a look at how the Roman Catholic Church validates this claim.  For example, they try validating their claim by using the apostles as an example to validate apostolic succession.  They claim that all of the activities such as delegating authority (2 Cor. 3:5-6; 5:18-6:1; Eph. 6:28) in matters such as the proper interpretation of the Gospel (2 Peter 2:20-21), the norm of sound teaching (2 Tim. 1:13) that is to be found with the apostles, the eye-witnesses of Christ and His resurrection (Luke 24:47-48; Acts 1:8-9; Jn 20:31; 1 John 1:3; 4:16), delegated authority to others within the church of God.  The leaders appointed by the apostles within the church, that received delegated authority from the apostles (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:22; cf. Titus 1:6-9) would assume the tasks such as teaching and government duties in the church of God.  This thinking results in the logic that the Catholic Church too received delegated authority that was passed down to the bishops of the church.  The biggest proof they have in order to validate the infallibility of the magisterium is Apostle Peter.  They believe that their apostolic succession came from the line of Apostle Peter.  Because Christ promised that Hades will not prevail against the church that is founded on the faith of Peter (Matthew 16:18); and that God will remain with the successors of the apostles to the end of time (Matthew 28:20), then the magisterium can be reliable and will never lead the church into doctrinal error.  Another major issue is their view of tradition.

The Roman Catholic Church believes that tradition is everything that contributes to the holiness of life and the increase of faith of the people of God.  Tradition is key to Catholics because the Bible would not be understood rightly if we limit it to sola Scriptura.  They will go on to say that the church’s history and experience cannot be excluded if the Bible is to be rightly understood.  According to Vatican II Council, the Catholic Church believes in the unity and consistency of Scripture because tradition and Scripture are closely connected.  Scripture and tradition are illustrated as the two streams flowing from the same divine well-spring; and they actually merge together.  They say the apostles handed down the traditions to them.

Another category that is important when it comes to the Vatican view of tradition is the context of locations or loci of tradition.  There are four loci of tradition: rite of baptisms accompanied with prayers, repetition of the Eucharist, the writings of the church fathers, and the life of the church.

The loci of tradition in the area of liturgy for example such as baptism, imparts a sense of the universal need for redemption and the removal of sin by grace; and the Eucharist, together with the elevation of the consecrated elements impresses a realization of the real presence of God.  Church Fathers are also important sources of tradition, because they are believed to be the one’s who established the canon of Scripture, articles of the creed, the basic dogmas of the faith, the basic structures of the church, and also the essential forms of the liturgy.  The last location of tradition, which is the life of the church, is key, because the Roman Catholic Church believes that the Holy Spirit gives inspiration to the church in producing faithful members a sense of what is agreeable and disagreeable when it comes to salvation.  Vatican II says this about the faithful members of the church, “The sense of the faithful is not a totally autonomous source of doctrine, since it depends in part on the other bearers of tradition and overlaps with them, but it can often help identify the true content and meaning of tradition, especially when it confirms what is also attested by other sources.”

The Roman Catholic Church also contests that traditions are important.  For example, they believe that Paul spoke about tradition when he wrote to the Corinthian Church (1 Cor. 11:2).  However, they Roman Catholic Church misinterpreted that passage.  The Catholic Church traditions are unbiblical and different from what Paul is referring to.

It is clear that the Roman Catholic Church sees that tradition, the magisterium, and Scripture cannot be without the other.  They have a problem with the idea of sola Scripture.  They are three reasons why the Catholic Church rejects the doctrine of sola Scriptura: the Bible does not argue for the doctrine, the Bible teaches the authority of tradition, and the Bible cannot be interpreted correctly without tradition.  In light of their unbiblical foundation, there are negative implications on salvation.  Salvation can only be rightly understood through sola Scriptura.

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Blown away argument

Been very busy with ministry and speaking.  Here’s the latest round up of Presuppositional apologetics links!

1.) God, Objective Moral Values, and Personal Preference–Mike Robinson’s piece.

2.) Can Life Have Meaning Without God?–James Anderson writes a piece for the Gospel Coalition.

3.) 

4.) Chart on Post-modern objections

5.) Greg Bahnsen on the Problem of Universals

6.) Born to fail–Steve Hays on Matt Slick’s Daughter’s apostasy.

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preacher-at-pulpit-copy

Here’s a link from Christianity Astray that announced “Barely Half of Weekly Churchgoers Think Pastors Contribute “A Lot” to Society.”

I went to read more from the Pew Forum themselves at this link http://www.pewforum.org/Other-Demographics/Public-Esteem-for-Military-Still-High.aspx#middling

I was asked on facebook of my thoughts on the study, specifically concerning people’s perception of the Clergy/Pastors.

First of, I think it’s important that how we evaluate ministry must be by the Word of God rather than what “works” in getting people to have more of a favorable view of the clergy, the church, etc.  We must never forget that faithfulness to God’s Word is the goal and not points of popularity.

Secondly, to be honest, I am surprise that it’s that high still. I think its more interesting seeing the further breakdown between the perception of the clergy by religious affiliation and how in particular White Mainline Protestants and Black Protestants who historically have clergy intensely involved with political activism has lower rating that White Evangelicals today. I wished the Pew Study could have explored more the correlation of clergy’s activity (social justice, Bible focus only churches, conservative or liberal political activism, etc) with the lay people’s perception of clergy’s contribution to society.

Thirdly, people themselves don’t judge their pastor’s contribution to society in a vacuum.  I know this might go beyond a poll survey, and maybe more of ethnography, but I wonder what people mean by contribution towards society, and how that expectation would shape the way they evaluate that of their minister.

Fourthly, I think one assessment that Evangelicals must make in light of this study is to ponder why do we go to church in the first place: If we view the clergy, leaders of our faith, as contributing little to society, what does that say about our faith and living out the implication of our faith? Now I think it’s problematic when we become so ingrained with contributing to society that we miss the Gospel or when it’s not Gospel focus and Gospel motivated; but the Gospel has implications and radical ramifications in every sphere of our life. Perhaps (a big perhaps) the reason why some people can still regularly attend church and yet have a low preception of their minister’s contribution and still be going week after week is because they see faith as a private subjective experience and not something that really makes any difference. Now THAT is truly frightening. And let’s hope Evangelical Gospel preachers aren’t reinforcing that.

Let’s pray Pastors are preaching the Gospel and drawing out the implication of the Gospel to bear to real life.  Let’s pray that the church become evangelistic to a lost and dying world!

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Hebrew Israelite

Yesterday I posted on here a dialogue a Christian (host of Back Pack Radio Show) had with the racist Black Hebrew Israelites, who thinks Jews are the true Hebrews.  

There has not been a lot of Christian resources and apologetics dealing with this movement, which has various subgroups with different beliefs.

The following is my notes: First, I have practical apologetics pointers and secondly are some of my thoughts on what the Black Hebrew Israelites were saying.

APOLOGETICS TO THE STREETS PRACTICAL POINTERS:

-Remember to be gentle and respectable even when they are not.

– Talk to the less dogmatic member of the group when they are dominating loudly in the conversation.

– Use advantage of having other believers and the crowd to control the conversation

– Press them on the goal post for their exegesis:  It is not enough to show verses that the faith/salvation is for Israel; they have to show it’s only for Israel with no inclusion of Gentiles to prove their view

-Ask them a lot of questions if you are not sure what they believe ask them so you can accurately understand them

– Have the burden of proof on them by asking them questions; some helpful questions:

  • Does the Bible show that no one outside of Israel will ever be saved, not even one?
  • Show me where in the Bible that “Ethnos” ever refer to land and not people?

-Verses to keep in mind: Galatians 3:28 (“no Jews or Greeks”) and Revelation 21:24-27 (nations and their kings being cleaned, in heaven)

METHODOLOGICAL CONCERNS:

“ Line by Line” they say, but they haven’t done a good job of dealing with the verse within context.

 

EXAMINING VOCAB MALONE’S INTERACTION

CLIP 1

1.)    Objection: They use Acts 17:24 to go against Malone going to a building to worship God on the basis of this verse

RESPONSE:

  • But in of itself worshipping in a building is not wrong, because at one time God instituted the Temple in the OT
  • John 4:24 is true, but don’t forget that Paul still went to the Temple in Acts 21:26-28

2.)    Objection: Response to Acts 17:26 by quoting from 2 Ezdras 6:54-56

54 And after these, Adam also, whom thou madest lord of all thy creatures: of him come we all, and the people also whom thou hast chosen.

55 All this have I spoken before thee, O Lord, because thou madest the world for our sakes

56 As for the other people, which also come of Adam, thou hast said that they are nothing, but be like unto spittle: and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop that falleth from a vessel.

57 And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us.

58 But we thy people, whom thou hast called thy firstborn, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover, are given into their hands.

59 If the world now be made for our sakes, why do we not possess an inheritance with the world? how long shall this endure?

RESPONSE:

  • Apocrypha, not Bible

CLIP 2

3.)    Objection: Gentiles are the Jews

RESPONSE:

  • Makes Romans 1:16 unintelligible

4.)    Objection: Deuteronomy 7:6, that the BHI are a special people

RESPONSE:

  • Being a special people does not mean that others are not beneficiaries of God’s blessing
  1.                                                                i.      The reason the Hebrews were free from Egpytian slavery is because of the Abrahamic Covenants (Exodus 3:6, 16)  and don’t forget the content of the Abrahamic covenant is to bless others (Genesis 12:3)
  2.                                                              ii.      Even more so in light of the NT and the New Covenant
  • But is it BHI? How do they respond to other enthno-centric cults who claim this applies to them such as the British Israelites movement?

CLIP 3

5.)    Objection: The New Testament was written in Latin based upon John 19:20

RESPONSE:

  • Here this passage mentioned that the writing, “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews” was written on the inscription of the cross that Jesus was being crucified in.
  • These BHI makes the mistake of assuming that just because there were people in Jerusalem during the death of Jesus that knew how to read Latin does not mean the New Testament itself was in Latin

6.)    Objection: The Dead Sea Scroll does not have the Old Testament, it has the New Testament, it has the Gospel of Thomas

RESPONSE:

  • DSS does have OT passages (think of the Isaiah Scroll!)
  • Gospel of Thomas is not part of the New Testament!

 

CLIP 4

7.)    Objection: Salvation is only for Israel according to Acts 7:31

RESPONSE:

  • Acts 7:31 does not say only for Israel
  • Later the Gospel went to others as well as the book of Acts unfold especially with Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, which he described in his own word in Romans 11:13.
  • Turning to Romans 11, we read about Israel being darkened (v.7-10) and then how salvation has come to the Gentiles (v.11-12);
  • Looking closely at Romans 11:15 means reconciliation of the world!
  • John 12:32
  • Goes contrary to the example of Cornelius in Acts 10 and the conclusion Peter reached in Acts 10:34-35, and the Spirit’s miraculous confirmation of tongues in Acts 10:44-45.

8.)    Objection: Matthew 28:19-20 reference to nations means Jews in those physical location of other nations

RESPONSE:

  • The passage makes no reference to Jews only in those physical location of nations.
  • Term “nations” never refer to physical locations in the New Testament, but only to people.  Burden of proof is on them to prove otherwise.

CLIP 6

9.)    Objection: Beat up other nations is premittable.

RESPONSE:

  • Contrary to the Bible’s teaching such as 1 Peter 2:12, 2:17, 2:20.

10.)                        Objection: Revelation 1:13-15 shows Jesus is black

RESPONSE:

  • Text never said that the skin of Jesus was black.
  • Symbolic language, do we expect Him to be Asian since it’s burning bright in verse 15 and therefore represent the “Yellow man”?
  • With this kind of hermeneutics, do we expect Psalm 45:2-3 and Matthew 17:2 to prove that Jesus is white?

CLIP 8

11.)                        Objection: You can’t be saved you don’t know your nationality.

RESPONSE:

  • Where does the Bible teaches that?

12.)                        Objection: The world cannot sin, only Israelite can sin.

RESPONSE:

  • “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–” (Romans 5:12)

CLIP 9

13.)                        Objection: Galatians 3:28, the “Greeks” refer to Hellenized Jews not Gentiles

RESPONSE:

  • The burden of proof is on them to demonstrate that ελλην refers to Jews that were Hellenized.
  • The Greek word used to describe a Hellenized, that is, a Grecian Jew is ελληνιστης such as found in Acts 6:1.
  • The context, it is unlikely to refer to Hellenized Greek because of the opposing contrasts such as the opposites of “free” vs. “slave, Male and female.

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Vocab Malone

 

Have you ever heard of the Black Hebrew Israelites movement?

Vocab Malone of Back Pack Radio has witnessed to them and has recorded his dialogues with them.  He has divided the audios into 13 parts:


BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 1: ACTS 17 and ALL MEN 
Here is the beginning of our “dialogue” …

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 2: WHO IS A SAINT?

According to BHI, only the BHI are saints … !!!

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 3: WHO COMMANDED YOU?
Enjoy this … the third part of a convo w/some local BHI guys. Since they had a bunch of signs out and were yeling loudly at everyone within earshot and then some, I asked what their biblical basis was; as in, who gave them the authority to preach their message?

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 4: HOW IS SIN FORGIVEN?
Here is part 4 of the recent BHI run-in I had by the light rail here in Phoenix. In this section, I try to get to the heart of the matter by asking these young men, “how are your sins forgiven”?
The answers may surprise you!

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 5: JEWS ARE ALL OVER
In this part, the BHI talk about one of their favorite subjects. By the way, I don’t think I have mentioned it yet, but all of the BHI audio has a lot of profanity in it. These young men do not have clean mouths and it shows. So be warned about that … in fact, in some of the upcoming posts, it is going to get much worse!

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 6: WHAT COLOR ARE THE JEWS?
BHI is very concerned with ethnicity and skin tone. In this clip from my talk with them, this concern comes out loud and clear.

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 7: HOW DOES JESUS SAVE?
Here I try to get into some salvation related issues w/the BHI. Hear for yourself how it turned out

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 8: WHAT IS LOVE?
How does a hate-group like the BHI define love?

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 09: GENTILE MEANS JEW?
In the words of one of my friends: “I know I shouldn’t laugh but these guys are a trip. Pray for them. They are angry and lost.”

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 10: WE ARE SCHOLARS!
The BHI – humble, they are not!

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 11: A BYSTANDER CHIMES IN
This clip …
– is mainly a bystander interacting w/the BHI
– does not include much of my dialogue
– is filled with all kinds of crazy profanity
– is absolutely hilarious in a tragic kinda way

I debated about including but in the end thought it could serve a purpose.
Be warned – it is not rated G or PG, to say the least!

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 12: APOCRYPHA NOT CANONICAL
The BHI loves to utilize the Apocrypha for its proof texts – but should it be in the Bible?

BLACK HEBREW ISRAELITES audio part 13: BOASTING IN LINEAGE
This is the last clip in the series. I hope these were helpful for you to understand their mentality a bit so you can better share the gospel with them.

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photo (5)

 

The great Christian apologist Greg Bahnsen died very early in life but did a lot during those 47 years.  He is buried at Rose Hill Cemetary in Southern California.

I could not get a clearer picture because it was in the middle of the day and this was the best picture I could get.  The sun was shining very bright.

Next to his grave is that of his father and mother.  His mother Virigina has been a source of some Bahnsen’s private collection.

Check out some of the resources we have on Greg Bahnsen here on Veritas Domain by clicking HERE.

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