Archive for November, 2013


These are links from November 16th-21st 2013 on Presuppositional apologetics.

What other links should we have included here?

1.) Numbers Need Worldviews

2.) Thoughts on Systematic Theology by John Frame

3.) Critical Evaluation of Tim Keller’s apologetical method By Wes Bredenhof

4.) Extracting Nectar From a Painted Rose

5.) On Sale for $0.99 – Pick up “Lying: The Case Against Deception” HERE

6.) Apologetic Evangelism 101: Evangelism’s Woes  JUST ADDED!


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Strange Fire 2

MacArthur, John. Strange Fire The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit With Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.

During and after the Strange Fire Conference, SLIIMJIM and I have been on an spiritual gift escapade.  We have been reading countless blogs and other resources that echoes the points and themes of the conference.  There is a myriad of resources out there.  If you have not read any, we encourage you to read them in order to be familiar with the subject matter.  Many of the web-related resources were birthed out of the conference.  Based on the Twitter feeds and social media outlets, there seemed to be more negative reviews than positive reviews.  Many of the negative reviews came from Charismatics.  Many voiced their outcry because they felt that the conference was misrepresenting them.  They believed that the speakers were using the broad brush.  For those who think that the speakers at the conference used a broad brush to paint every Charismatic as a heretic–you really need to listen to the entire messages of the conference and even read the book.  You can’t just take soundbites or selected exercpts from the book to argue your case against Pastor MacArthur.  Doing so would disconnect it from the context.  Pastor MacArthur was very nuanced in his approach and was very careful in terms of who are the counterfeits and who are not.  For example, in his book, he considers many of his evangelical and Reformed Continuationists as partners in the Gospel.

There was heavy and concentrated fuel that was pumped into the conference and this book because Pastor MacArthur believes–in his own words,

The New Testament calls us to guard carefully that which has been entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:14).  We must stand firm on the truth of the gospel–the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  Whoever compromises with the error and subjectivism of charismatic theology allows the enemy into the camp.  I am convinced that the broader Charismatic Movement opened the door to more theological error than perhaps any other doctrinal aberration in the twentieth century (including liberalism, psychology, and ecumenism).  That’s a bold statement, I know.  But the proof is all around us.  Once experientialism is allowed to gain a foothold, there is no brand of heresy or wickedness that will not ride it into the church.”


Part 1: This section advises how one is to confront a counterfeit revival and many of the  false Charismatic teachings.  Examples of counterfeit revivals and teachings can be seen through outrages charlatans such as Todd Bentley 2008 Lakeland revival, Benny Hinn’s healing crusades, Trinity Broadcasting Network Praise-a-Thons, etc.  Some of these outrages revivals and teachings are quite vulgar and violent.  For example, many of its leaders that specifically come out from the Word of Faith movement have been exposed by many illicit relationships.  As for violence, Todd Bentley, Kenneth Hagin, Rodney Browne have used physical violence in their crusades.  Punches, slaps, and kicks are implemented in the name of the Lord.  They do it in the name of the Holy Spirit, but in reality, this shenanigan is nothing but a mockery of the Holy Spirit.  In the words of Peter Masters who pastors London Metropolitan Tabernacle–a church that Charles Spurgeon once pastored, accurately describes this movement,

With the unbelievable rapidity charismatics have lurched from one excess to another, so that now we are confronted by a sense of utter confusion.  Many in the charismatic fraternity have gone over to ideas and practices which come straight from pagan religions, and large numbers of young and impressionable believers have been spiritually corrupted in the process.  Leading healers have arisen who unite the subtle tricks of the theatrical hypnotist with ancient occult techniques in their quest for results, and multitudes follow them” (12).

And in the words of John MacArthur, the majority of the Charismatic movement is nothing more than a “gospel of greed, materialism, and self-promotion” (11).  Much has been said, but how do believers combat this movement’s sacrilegious behavior? What are some of the tests that believers are to implement in order to combat false fire?  To answer that question the author references Jonathan Edwards.  In the need to defending the Great Awakening, Edwards gave an address in Yale College in 1741 concerning some of the emotional outbursts that was evident in the revival.  The message was entitled, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God.  Since true revival cannot be based or determined on emotion, Edwards lists a few fundamental points for application.  Pastor MacArthur refers to it as the fivefold test.  The fivefold test, which is based off of 1 John 4:1-8, consists of this: does it exalt the true Christ? Does it oppose worldliness?  Does it point people to the Scriptures?  Does it elevate truth?  Does it produce love for God and others?

Part 2: This part provides a great comprehensive treatment and disclosure of the counterfeit gifts.  The area he covers are the succession of the apostles, the folly of fallible prophets, twisting tongues, fake healings, and false hopes.  There is much to be said, but since it is a review, I am not going to plough through all the details.  But two of the hot areas are tongues and fallible prophets.  Majority of the evangelical world will not espouse the succession of the apostolic office; nor the fake healings and hopes.  But many of  the practices of tongues and prophecy is due to prominent evangelicals and Think Tanks such as Wayne Grudem, who espouses them.  In fact, some of these so-called sign gifts  are seeping rapidly in Reformed churches/New Calvinist movement.  One prominent Reformed charismatic pastor in Seattle,WA believed he received pornographic visions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVyFyauE4ig).  One of the topics that concerns me the most is the fallible prophecy section; whereby key leaders of the Reformed movement such as Wayne Grudem, espouses the notion of fallible prophecy. He believes that one can  prophesy in the name of the Lord and not be under the hammering weight of scrutiny/condemnation of Deuteronomy 13 and 18, when one prophesies  falsely.

Part 3: This section is great.  Due to Pastor MacArthur’s high view of the Holy Spirit, he ventures into the fieldwork of  rediscovering the Spirit’s true work.  The Charismatic movement in general, not all, are an anomaly to this  work of the Spirit.  His work is seen via  the Holy Spirit and salvation, the Spirit and sanctification, the Spirit and the Scriptures.  Although the author ploughs through the Charismatic movement, he is not done, but he expresses a heartfelt address, an open letter, to his Continuationist friends.  He believes that the advocacy of the continuation of the sign gifts is precarious because it holds no exegetical support from Scripture.  In his letter, he provides eight main points for his friends to consider.


Treatment of the “perfect” (1 Corinthians 13:10) was not detailed as I preferred, but it was still a good summary.  He lists the four main views from prominent scholors concerning the “perfect” (teleion): B.B. Warfield, Robert Thomas, Richard Gaffin, Thomas Edgar.  Because 1 Corinthians 13:10 is an important verse of greater significant concerning the sign gifts, the author should of devoted an entire chapter to it.  Instead, he only devoted a few pages.  For those who want more information on the perfect, I suggest that you go to the works of the men mentioned above.  They will provide a more lengthy treatment of the subject.  He also refers to his friends as closet Cessationists.  I am not sure that referring to them with that epithet is wise because many of these dear brethren have caused much damage concerning the worship of the Holy Spirit.  Many of the Charismatics continue to flourish and argue their case because many of them anchor their views from leading Continuationist scholars.


Overall, this book was exceptionable and I recommend it as a book to read. Unlike Strange Fire Conference, where at times, I thought Scripture was not interacted with as much as a whole due to the emphasis of history and tradition, here in the book,  Scripture was provided in a voluminous amount.  The conference was great, but this book puts all the details into perspective because it connects the dots with many of the prevalent and critical issues in the Charismatic movement.  I also appreciated the appendix who there is a myriad of quotes from church fathers, reformers, and other great men of the faith concerning their perspective on the sign gifts.

Another positive about this book was its documentation concerning the pervasive error within the Charismatic movement.  It is backed up with 49 pages of citations. Clearly the book was careful and meticulous with its research.


If we claim allegiance to the Reformers, we ought to conduct ourselves with their level of courage and conviction as we contend earnestly for the faith.  There must be a collective war against the pervasive abuses on the Spirit of God.  This book is a call to join the cause for His honor.  My prayer is that my continuationist friends (and all who are willing to join the cause) would see the dangers in the charismatic theology, that they would bodly reject that which the Bible condemns as error, and that together we would apply the mandate of Jude 23, rescuing souls from the strange fire of false spirituality” (248).

Amen to that Pastor MacArthur.  I pray that this topic that was addressed in the conference and in this book will have a colossal impact upon this generation.  Perhaps it may not be now, but I think it be colossal when he enters into glory.

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Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks

Don’t be fooled, this short little book surprisingly is a heavier weight of exegesis than what its size may look like.  After seeing this work cited in various footnotes in Dispensational books and journal articles, I thought I go to the source and read this book myself.  I was not disappointed.  The book focuses on the Prophet Daniel’s oracle of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel chapter nine.  In analyzing the passage the book is divided into three parts:  The first sixty nine weeks which predicts the coming Messianic Prince; then the gap between the sixty ninth and Seventieth week; and finally the seventieth week and the coming of the Roman Prince.  Daniel 9 has Messianic prophecies that have significance for apologetics which the introduction of the book rightly points out.  It is a testimony of the power of the Scriptures and also stirs confidence for the believer that the remaining prophecies of the Seventieth week will no doubt also be fulfilled.  I appreciate this book’s argument for why the “weeks” means groupings of seven years and also showing how prophecies up to the sixtieth ninth week have been fulfilled quite literally.  This of course strongly suggests that details of the future Seventieth week will be fulfilled literally as well.  I thought the author did a good job in carefully cross referencing other passages in order to illuminate Daniel 9 and he was able to do it such a way that one gets the sense he did justice to the text instead of merely “proof-texting” with disregard of the context and also lack of care in thinking through the passage’s inter-textuality.  Originally written in 1940 (before the 1948 formation of Israel) and having gone through multiple printing, I find this book to be a classic and a must read.


If you must really buy a hard copy of the book, get it over at AMAZON.

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“Pastor” Jaeson Ma of the New Apostolic Reformation movement has released a new music video called “Rise and Fall.”  At core it’s a Pelagian gospel instead of a Biblical gospel.

To begin with note what is omitted in the video:  The Gospel of how Jesus Christ actually saves us from our sins through Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection.

Now I realize that not every Christian song must be a three point sermon.  I’m not imposing a harsh standard that he has to use theological terminology like “Extra calvinisticum,”  “Supralapsarian” and “Asiety.”

The criticism here is more than nit-picking on what Jaeson Ma omitted; I don’t want to conclude that Jaeson Ma’s new song is heretical based merely on an argument from silence since that would be fallacious. We must also see what is in the content of the actual song: What is it’s message?

We must ask what is every song’s message or “gospel.”  Every song does reflect a worldview; the question is, which one does it reflect, the Christian worldview or a non-Christian worldview?

But how can we discern a song’s worldview?  Ask yourself, what does the song say about

  1. Man–Is he basically good or sinful (as Romans 3:10, 3:23 teaches)?
  2. God–Is He all Love without Holiness or is He Holy, and a God of Love and Wrath?
  3. The Problem–Is man’s basic problem with sin or something else?
  4. The Solution–Is Jesus the Savior or something else has become our functional gods and saviors?

Note what Jaeson Ma says between 3:16-26:

I know I made some mistakes in my life, No matter what you do right, no matter what you do wrong, you got to know you’re just human.”

Just “mistakes?”  God has revealed in the Bible that we have more than just mistakes–we have serious sins against Him.  It’s not picking on word choice–note also after pointing out how “no matter what you do wrong,” Jaeson Ma wants to comfort his hearers with the fact that “you got to know you’re just human.”  Does the Bible ever give that as a solution for man’s wrong doing and sin–to just know we are humans?  Is knowing we are humans then make everything wrong okay?

What a terrible means of justification; it’s fall short of being Biblical.

Note what  else is in minute 3:16.  The back ground lyrics between 3:16-24 says

You can knock me down I’ll get up standing tall, we rise and fall.”

Sounds like Moralistic Therapeutic Theism to me with its emphasis on one’s own effort.  The whole song has that theme but it’s at minute 3:16 that the content clearly is antithetical to gospel both with what Jaeson Ma has to say and the background chorus.  Come to think of it, it’s ironic that Jaeson Ma’s 3:16 is contrary to John 3:16, since one presuppose sin (John 3:17) while Ma present Moralistic Therapeutic Theism assurance that we’re just human.

That is not the Biblical Gospel since the Bible shares that the Gospel is about Jesus Christ who died and rise for our sins when Adam and all mankind has fallen.

The most disturbing part of the song that brings the brightest clarity that Jaeson Ma is preaching the Gospel of Pelagianism is towards the end of the song between 3:35-42:

Hold on to Hope.  Know that inside of you, there’s something good, so rise up.”

Jaeson Ma’s message is contrary to the biblical understanding of man’s total depravity.  Note how his lyrics contradict Romans 3:1-12:

as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”

No doubt some might object that Jaeson Ma’s song can’t be heretical because it has a picture of Jesus.  Merely having a picture of Jesus doesn’t make one song Christian.  The question is whether or not the song is faithful to Jesus’ message.

In conclusion, Jaeson Ma’s Pelagian gospel attempt to rise, but it fall because of his lack of depth in understanding about the Fall.

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Sometime last week I saw an article on my Facebook feed titled “5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials” by someone name ADDIE ZIERMAN.

5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials

The article should have been titled “5  or more Millennial spiritual criticisms that are scary and Biblically off-base.”  David Murray who blogs at “Head, Heart Hands” has written a balance and gracious response, that’s worth reading.  What follows is my additional thought of the original Washington Times piece, with the majority of my points focusing on the incoherence within Zierman’s essay:

1.) It is astounding that the article by Addie fail to address whether the phrases he complain about is Biblical or not; it’s like what the Bible has to say escapes his radar.  This is already a red flag concerning the epistemology behind his criticism.

2.) Readers familiar with Church history will find historical theology to be important here: you always have people pulling the alarm all the time of how the Church has scared off their generation, and yet the church has continued to grow and survived.  Think of Modernism.  Think of Harry Emerson Fosdick.  If you have to say Harry who, this proves the point:  These guys come and go but the Church somehow manage to outlive its naysayers.  Of course, this is not because of some kind of self-righteousness of the Church but it is by the grace and power of God  that people are still being saved through Christ Jesus and added to the Church.

3.) I’m also a Millennial his age (also born in 1983) and I think I’m done with all the readings over the years on Millennials.  The opening few paragraphs strike me as a bad example of millennials, with his preoccupation of, well, himself.  Go ahead, read the first five paragraphs again.  It’s time to go beyond talking about ourselves and focus on loving and caring for God’s people within and outside the church with the Truth of the Gospel regardless their age group.

4.) This Washington Post piece lacks the rigor of journalism since his five phrases ended up coming from that of his followers.  Note his own words: “Recently, I asked my followers online for the five church clichés that they tend to hate the most.”  It is definitely a telling phrase: “my followers.”  Very telling.  Still, the point is that the method behind how he arrive at his list of five phrases does not reflect an actual scientific statistical survey; it’s not good enough for a statistics class in a community college, let alone a piece in the Washington Times.  Again, I expect a better standard for something written for a newspaper!

5.) Since he arrived at his conclusion from asking his “followers,” doesn’t he see the danger that this ends up reinforcing his agenda than actually reflecting the true thoughts of Millennials?  To use his own words, this is “maddening and alienating.”

6.) He rags at the church at large for giving simplistic cliches instead of answer, yet by his own admission he’s left it and came back to the church looking for “community” and not answers per se.  It seems those who drink from the well of Postmodern spirituality often use the cliche that it’s about “community” and “conversation” that ends up avoiding the subject at hand.  This red herring fallacy can be rather frustrating!  It’s as if his Postmodernish buzz words in the essay don’t fall prey to the same criticism he has of church phrases!

7.) He ought to consider his own words that “things are almost always more complicated than that,” than just an appeal to a sense of “community,” “to be seen,” etc, as that which will not scare off Millennials.  The essay fail to account that the Bible teaches how people can suppress the truth (Romans 1:18ff) and can love the World and their sins more than “going to church” or coming to trust in Jesus Christ.

8.)  Our writer complains,

“We want to hear our pastors approach these words with humility and reverence. Saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than The Bible clearly says…

One should be more concern of the guy’s understanding of the perspicuity of Scripture.  There are times where the Bible is clear on something and one has to say ” The Bible clearly says…

9.) Zierman also doesn’t like “Black and white quantifiers of faith, such as “Believer, Unbeliever, Backsliding,” adding that “Millennials are sick of rhetoric that centers around who’s in and who’s out.”  Zierman perhaps might not like the following quotation, because it’s not very accepting and strongly black and white:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Since Zierman and his fellow Millennials “have at our fingertips hundreds of commentaries, sermons, ideas, and books,” a quick internet search will reveal that the above are the Word of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-33.

10.) It’s incredibly ironic that Zierman, who doesn’t like “black and white quanitifers of faith,” would three sentence later do the same thing when he writes, “Those of us who follow the Christian faith know that world around us feels truer than the invisible God who holds it together.”  Those of us who follow the Christian faith?  You mean not all of us are followers of the Christian faith according to his paradigm?  Isn’t ironic that Zierman is sick of “who’s in and who’s out” but the whole time in his essay he assumes that there are those who are in the church and those who left it, or are scared off away from it, etc?

Maddening.  In the end his essay becomes the very thing it’s suppose to rail against: simplistic, not well thought out articulation of issues regarding faith.  Much of this madness could have been avoided if the author is driven by Scripture first, the Wisdom of God.

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The Pursuit of Holiness book Jerry Bridges

The beauty of this book is its simplicity with how the author Jerry Bridges communicate the truth of the Christian need to pursue holiness. While the writing is simple that does not mean that the book is superficial. Far from it: the author truly understands our human nature and what we as sinners are really like. The biggest profit I got from the book was Bridges concern that today too many Christians are confused concerning God’s responsibility and man’s responsibility in the area of sanctification. Bridges’ big thesis is that God has called us to pursue holiness and the thought of “let go, and let God…” is not biblical. As I was reading this I thought about the classes I had and books I read in the area of biblical counseling and it’s no surprise later in the book I find him quoting Jay Adams. This is a Gospel driven book with practical, challenging look beyond the surface of our sins; there were times Bridges confesses to sins that seems almost trivial since they are “respectable” sins today, but Bridges goes to the heart of the matter to show how it was sinful before God’s presence. I enjoyed the reminder from this book that we are to pursue loving obedience to God rather than “victory” from a sin. Bridges argues that a “victory-defeat” paradigm towards sanctification doesn’t work because it still ends up being about us and our pride rather than God and the Spirit. Excellent work, I only wished I read this book when I was much younger in my faith. But I suppose it’s better late than never. More mature Christians will still benefit from this work.

Available on Amazon

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Rob Barkman, who runs Settled in Heaven ministries blog began a weekly video series on the topic of “Why Does Evil Exist?” back in early October.  It is an eight part video series and it has just been completed.  You can also download the PDF of the Study Guide by clicking HERE.

Rob’s emphasis is on what the Bible has to say.  Enjoy!

Part 1: The Biblical Definition Of Evil: Acts Of Sin and The Results Of Those Actions

Part 2: The Lord Is In Control Of All Things Including Evil.

Part 3: The Lord Is Perfectly Separated From Sin, Therefore He Cannot Be The Originator Of Sin

Part 4: An In-Depth Look At Isaiah 45:7 – The “Harmful Things” That God Creates

Part 5: The Lord Uses The Results Of Evil In This World To Reveal Himself

Part 6: Learning About The Purpose Of Evil From The Young Man Born Blind

Part 7: Learning About The Purpose Of Evil From The Resurrection Of Lazarus

Part 8: When Everything Is Said And Done We Know With Certainty, The Lord’s Usage Of Evil Is Beneficial To His People

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