Archive for June, 2014

facebook logo balloons

Its important to apply our Christian worldview in evaluating how we and others use technology.  While the Bible does not talk about facebook, twitter, IPAD and fast internet, the Bible does talk about the human condition and human condition has not changed: we are still sinners in need of God’s grace.

I saw this earlier this afternoon from Yahoo news of a Study that People Hate Happy Couples on Facebook.  Here’s excerpt from the piece:

On Facebook, the divide between happy couples and everyone else is more complicated than you may have thought.

People who post often about their fulfilling, committed relationships are the least liked on Facebook, according to a survey conducted for a new book titled The Science of Relationships.

In the study, researchers created fake Facebook profiles that included profile pictures with partners, public “in a relationship” statuses, and posts with varying levels of detail about how much they loved or lusted after their significant others. Other profiles offered no sign of a relationship at all.

Then 100 participants were asked to judge the fictional Facebook profiles — first on how committed the people seemed to be to their significant others and second how much they liked the people depicted in the profiles. Though participants overwhelmingly agreed that those who were very vocal about their relationships on Facebook were likely satisfied and committed, it was that same group of people — the relationship oversharers — who were the least liked.

As one of the authors of the study, Haverford Col/5*lege social psychologist Dr. Benjamin Le, put it: “When it comes to relationship disclosure on Facebook, there can be too much of a good thing.”

So, next time you feel the need to congratulate yourself on a 15-year anniversary, or post a relfie (yes, that’s short for “relationship selfie”; I know), consider the consequences. You may be unconditionally loved by your partner, but the digital masses might not share those tender feelings.

I think we can learn some lessons from the above.  I want to approach this issue biblically, theologically and pastorally.

First, we shouldn’t be surprised when people in relationship are happy.  Think of Song of Solomon in the Bible.

Secondly, there’s nothing wrong in of itself of being joyful in a relationship.  This is especially true of Christians equally yoke in a relationship and walking in the Lord.  I do think Christians in relationships that follow God’s principle will seem “happy” (joy in the Lord to be exact).

Thirdly, I think a couple’s “relationship” to their facebook account often reveal a couple’s heart motivation; there is nothing wrong in of itself declaring they are in a relationship or signs of affections between couples.  One should also be concern of the opposite extreme in which a married couple’s facebook does not indicate that they are married or in love with each other at all.  We must ask: what is a couple’s heart motivation in their statuses, pictures and updates?  Sometimes one can have an unhealthy need for attention: their joy, identity and essentially their functional god is their relationship or the guy or girl they are with.  In this situation, the Christian world view calls this idolatry and whatever is one’s functional god (besides the God of the Bible) is sin against God; it will also eventually disappoint the idolater since only the living God can truly satisfy us.

Fourthly, the line between the second point and the third point can be tricky.   The line in the sand might not be clear but that doesn’t mean one can’t spot obvious symptoms: the couples only post about the relationship, they posts things that are well, TMI (too much information), etc.  It is wise to practice routine spiritual introspection of one’s social media’s activity.  This also calls for charity and graciousness among those who have concerns.

Fifthly, I’m surprised at how the Yahoo article addressed ONLY those who are happy in a relationship.  (Who the “you” in the last paragraph is, is very telling).   I think there’s a big elephant in the room that the author forgotten: there’s people out there hating on the couple.  Biblically, what are we to make of people hating happy couples?  Can this hate be jealously?  After all, the people here don’t know who these couples are, but just from appearances they already hate them.  Is this hatred for something these people have?  If this is the case, this jealously is a sin.  It is a sin called coveteousness.  Note one of the Ten Commandments prohibit coveteousness:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17)

It’s not that facebook itself is sinful; it’s the heart that is.  Stumbling upon a happy couple on one’s facebook feed reveal what’s already in the heart: a desire to have something one doesn’t have.  It’s not just the desire to have something someone else have that’s a sin–after all, it is commendable when we see an example of moral virtue in someone and we work on emulating them in our own lives.  A desire becomes covetousness when we want to have what others have and are willing to sin in our desire to have it (hate, gossip, slander, etc) or we want to have what we are prohibited to have (say, lust over one of the couples).

It’s probably shameful and embarrassing to admit that one is jealous and being covetous.   But the Bible says its important to confess our sins and to confess it to God:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

This cleansing of our righteousness is possible because Jesus Christ died for our sins.  Repent from your sins and trust (have faith) in Him as your Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of your sins.

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It is a sobering question that many Christians dread to hear someone ask: How could a loving God condemn those who have had no opportunity to respond to Christ?  Any Christian who has seriously pondered about his or her faith will sooner or later ask this very question.  How does one reconcile the proclamation made in the Bible that God is love and square that with the reality that there are people who will not go to heaven that might not have had an opportunity to respond?  I think a helpful way to navigate through this difficult issue is to think clearly of the relationship of various doctrines in the Bible pertaining to this issue.

If we are going to reconcile God’s love with people condemned by God we have to begin with why people are condemned in the first place: Sin.  Sin is any violation of God’s laws.  Since God is the Creator, He has the prerogative to require of his creation and specifically Creatures what He wants from them just like a potter can shape a pot the way the potter sees fit.  However as moral creatures humanity as a whole has chosen the path of sin.  Everyone has sinned; the Apostle Paul makes that clear in his epistle to the Roman church said “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Unfortunately the consequences of sin are grave, we read of the condemnation in the first half of Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death,”

It might sound strange but I think it is important to realize that God is a loving God even when he shows judgment against sinners.  He never punishes people beyond what they deserve.  Part of God being a loving God means that He will never falsely accuse people and punish them for things they did not do.  We would not say a court judge is good if he was arbitrarily punishing those before him for things they didn’t do.  Likewise, as paradoxical as it might sound, God’s love even for those who are condemned ensure no injustice would ever occur in His own judgment against sinners.  This of course means that God will judge us according to what we do know and rejected instead of what we are truly ignorant of.  Robert McQuilkin’s comment is helpful for us here:

Judgment is against a person in proportion to his rejection of moral light.  All have sinned; no one is innocent.  Therefore, all stand condemned.  But not all have the same measure of condemnation, for not all have sinned against equal amounts of light” (McQuilkin, 173).

I think it is also helpful to think of the relationship of God’s general revelation of Himself outside of Scripture that is accessible to all.  Paul told the Athenians in Acts 17:27 what the purpose of God’s general revelation in nature and history is: “that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”  It is so that we can respond to it by reaching out to God.  There is in some sense in which General revelation is a “bridge” to special revelation which content is the Bible, Jesus and salvation.  But Romans 1 reveal that as fallen human beings, our sinful inclination is to suppress the truth of God that is revealed all around us, rather than travel the road to further truth: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).  Note Romans 1:20 mentioned that we ought to know God even to the extent of His divine nature and power.  It suggests that humanity’s ignorance of God is a culpable ignorance in the same way that we ought to know the speed limit of the road we are driving.  Unfortunately because man suppresses the truth of General revelation this doesn’t help man come to know Jesus as Savior (apart from the Grace of God).

In closing I think it’s important to think more clearly concerning the relation of Jesus as Savior (which is a clear and concrete example of God’s love) versus mankind getting into sin and thus standing condemned.  We must not think that the problem lies with God providing salvation.  Salvation is due to His mercy and grace in the first place.  The problem is with man’s sin.  If I could use the traffic violation analogy from above, we cannot be focused on why some did not have the opportunity for traffic school when it is our traffic violations that makes us stand condemned before the traffic court in the first place.


Mentioned: McQuilkin, Robertson. 2009. Lost. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., 170-17

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Are you looking for some memes when you teach to use in illustrating the method of Presuppositional apologetics?  Or just looking for something funny and you are into Reformed apologetics?

Over our facebook page we have an album dedicated to Presuppositional apologetics.  Check it out by clicking HERE.

And while you’re on facebook be sure to like it to keep up with our blog and have daily John Frame quotes on your newsfeed.

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Off to VBS


Another Saturday that I’m taking a break from the Jonah Series.  We have our annual VBS today.

I have to share this link from a comic strip on how to spot a VBS volunteer.

It is spot on!

Thanks goes to J.W. Wartick for this.

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For this post, we will be covering Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

  • He is before all things“:
    • Question: Is this statement referring to God’s supreme dignity or His pre-existence?
      • Answer: The author is referring not only to His dignity, but also to his pre-existence.  Since He is before all things, Jesus Christ is also before time.
    • “He” is in the emphatic position
      • Nothing is before all things, but God alone.  Only one who is eternal can be before all things.
      • John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
      • John 8:58-59, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.”
      • There is no way one can ignore the pre-existence of Christ.  You can’t just point to his pre-eminence and not include His pre-existence.
  • And in Him all things hold together“:
    • “In Him”:  This is conditional, meaning that life’s existence is dependent upon God.
    • According to the tense of the verb “together,” what He holds by His sustaining power, is still sustained by Christ now; and nothing can remove itself or act on its own will.
    • God is not only the Creator & Founder, but He is also the Preserver of all things.  If Christ, ceased to preserve you, your breathe would be sucked out from your soul and you would return back to the dust where you belong (Job 34:14-15; cf. Ps. 104:29).
    • Other verses to consider:
      • Isa 41:4, “Who has performed and accomplished it,
        Calling forth the generations from the beginning?
        ‘I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’”
      • Re 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
      • Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”
      • Hebrews 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
        • The word “upholds” is purposeful.  The verb “upholds” is in the present, active, participle.  That implies that God continues to uphold all things.
        • Implication: Give glory to Him because without Him you are nothing.  You are small before the eye of your Creator.  The fact that we live is a sign of God’s grace and mercy.
    • Colossians 1:17 points not only to the eternality of God, but also to the providence of our eternal God.  In His providence, we see His preservation, concurrence, and His government.  I like how Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology book defines all three words.  For example, for preservation, he says, “God keeps all created things existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them” (316).  For concurrence, he states, “God cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do” (317).  As for Government, He states, “God has a purpose in all that he does in the world and he providentially governs or directs all things in order that they accomplish his purposes” (331). For our next installment, my goal is to go into a little more into depth concerning how the eternal God functions in the area called providence.  I don’t mean to go beyond the scope of our series on Christology called, “Deity and Eternality,” but since notions of providence is attached to Colossians 1:17, I think it will be beneficial to tackle it.  This is a great verse to use in evangelism.  The sinner needs to know how small he is and how great God is in his little world.

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Christianity and the Role of Philosophy by K. Scott Oliphint

(NOTE: For videos and my reviews of other booklets in this series click HERE)

Like other books in this series (Christian Answers to Hard Questions) I look to this book as a resource for discipleship to introduce to a believer concerning the Christian worldview and apologetics.  This particular work is foundational to the other work since it touches on the relationship between Christianity and philosophy.  The author Scott Oliphint is more than capable to address this topic, having written on this topic and teaching it for several decades at Westminster Theological Seminary.  I appreciated that the author is coming from a Van Tillian approach towards apologetics.

The book begins with a brief discussion of what are the three broad categories of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology and ethics).  Readers familiar with philosophy wouldn’t find anything new in the introduction of the book but Oliphint later gave a good compact summary of a distinctively Christian view of these three branch of philosophy with the metaphysical question of what is the ultimate nature of reality being the Triune God, the epistemological question of how do we know is because God has revealed it and the ethical question of what is right and wrong being based upon what God says is right and wrong.

Oliphint gave a good analogy of the GPS as God’s revelation that tells where we are at, where we should be going, etc, and how without the “view from above” of where one is at we are lost.  This analogy is a helpful guide for later discussions in the book and makes his point easier to grasp.

I appreciated the book laying out the four possible ways people have seen the relationship of Christianity with philosophy.  Of course one’s view of the relationship between the two discipline will be shaped by one’s definition of the respective discipline which will set (or we can even say, “rig”) the answer already at the get go; yet Oliphint manages to push the discussion forward by asking the question of what is the foundation for theology and philosophy.  Oliphint then articulate the Reformed position and the reason for why Christians are obligated to believe theology govern philosophy if one holds to a high view of Scripture.  He concluded the book by sharing and expounding on Francis Turretin’s four good uses of philosophy by theology followed by four errors in the use of philosophy by theology.

In the end I would say this is a good book ideal for discipleship and also for a believer who have no idea what philosophy is to read on his own as a place to start.  It might be too basic for some though.  Like other books in the series there are “Before We Move On” questions for interactive conversations or personal reflection.

You can purchase the booklet at a discounted price from Westminster Bookstore by clicking HERE.


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Point: What do you do in a conversation when someone raise the objection that they find it repulsive that Christians believe Christianity is the Only Way?  What do you do when people don’t like how narrow it sounds when Jesus said ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6)?

Picture: Space does not permit me to deal with all the presuppositions behind the various form of objections against the exclusivity of Christianity but I do want to tackle one major undercurrent which asssumes that such an exclusiveness of Christianity is mean-spirited and not nice.  Think of the following scenario that puts the objection in perspective: A high rise apartment caught fire one night and a man living in one of the upper floor is stuck in his bedroom with no way out.  Fire is all around him and certain doom appears to be his fate.  But one courageous firefighter went up on a latter to rescue him.  No one would say the firefighter is mean to have provided only one way for the man to be rescued because there was no way out beforehand.  Furthermore the firefighter has put his life on the line to make sure there is at least one way out of the inferno.  As an analogy to spiritual truths, Jesus came on earth with the mission of saving sinners.  He didn’t just risked His life but GAVE HIS LIFE in order to save us by dying on the cross for our sins.


OPPONENT: I can’t believe in Christianity because of the fact that Christianity proclaim that there is only one way to heaven.

CHRISTIAN: I see.  Are you aware that this isn’t just mere Christian opinion but the teaching of the Bible itself?


CHRISTIAN: I just wanted you to be aware and realize that it’s not just Christians thinking they are right, just because they happen to believe in Christianity.  Have you heard of John 14:6 before?

OPPONENT: Not sure.

CHRISTIAN: It says “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

OPPONENT: Uh, okay…there you go…

CHRISTIAN: I brought that up so that you hear it from God’s Word itself.  Now…

OPPONENT: That is so mean!  Why only one way?  Why not many ways to God and heaven?

CHRISTIAN: I think we need to have a little perspective here.  Allow me to give the following illustration [Insert analogy].  Now then, imagine you are the person who is stuck in the room with the fire at this very moment.  Would you complain to the firefighter who reaches up to you in a latter that he’s only provided one way?

OPPONENT: Of course not.

CHRISTIAN: That’s what I figured.



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Meriam Ibrahim Prayer

The world has been hearing a lot of the Sudanese wife and mother Meriam Ibrahim who married an American Sudanese man and became a Christian.  The development in the news have been a roller coaster.

Because she became a Christian, the Sudanese government arrested her and found her guilty for her faith in Christ.  She was sentenced to be executed but since she was pregnant it was scheduled for a time after she gave birth.  Then there was the fake news that she was released followed by silence.  It turned out to be inaccurate.  It was then on the news that she was freed.  According to the BBC yesterday when Meriam and her family tried to escape to another country at the capital’s airport, her whole family was detained.

Let us pray for her and her family and also for the Persecuted Church in Sudan.

I think we should go beyond praying and action as well.  We need to get the pressure on the Sudanese Government to let them go, and also get others involved as well.

1.) Contacting the Sudanese Government

It is important to remember that Sudan is different than Southern Sudan (don’t make the confusion of finding contact for South Sudan, a separate government and country at this time).

I think in the great of the world wide web to contact the Sudanese Government globally multiple times even outside of the contact of the Sudanese Government in your country.  Let them know how you feel very strongly about it.

Regular Contacts

Here is the information to the Sudanese Embassy in the United States:

Embassy Of The Republic Of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave
Washington DC,20008,
Ph: 202.338.8565
Fax: 202.667.2406

You can contact them on their page via an electronic message HERE.

Here is the information to the Sudanese Embassy in the United Kingdom:

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan3 Cleveland RowSt. JamesSW1A 1DDLondon

Email: info@sudan-embassy.co.uk

Phone: 020 7839 8080

Fax: 020 7839 7560

You can contact them on their page via an electronic message HERE.

Social Media Contact

What happens in social media today can often spill into mainstream news; we must take advantage of it and our effort can often “snowball” when others see it and get involved.

Unfortunately the social media presence of the Sudanese Government are not confirmed but it doesn’t hurt to try.  Send them a tweet.

Here is the twitter account to the Sudanese Embassy in Bahrain.

Here is the twitter account to the Sudanese Embassy in the US.

Here is the twitter account to the Sudanese Embassy in the UK.

2.) Contacting Western Government

Maybe a bit more unconventional but it might be wise to contact western government’s embassy as well for their staff to directly know how we feel about this.

Here is the information to the US government in Sudan:

U.S. Embassy Khartoum
P.O. Box 699
Kilo 10, Soba
Khartoum, Sudan

Switch Board:

  • International: (249)(187)-0-(22000)
  • Within Sudan (187)-0-(22000)

Here is the twitter account to the US Embassy in Sudan.

Here is the information to the UK government in Sudan:

British Embassy
off Sharia Al Baladia
Khartoum East
(PO Box No 801)

Telephone+249 (0)156 775500

Fax+249 (0)156 775501

Here is the information to the Swedish government in Sudan:

House 70, Street 43,
Khartoum 2, Khartoum

Postal address

Embassy of Sweden
P.O. Box 2206

Phone, fax, email:

Tel: +249 187 188 700

Here is the twitter account to the Swedish Embassy in Sudan.

Here is the information to the Irish Consulate in Sudan:

c/o DAL Group HQ
No. 1, 5 East Khartoum II
P.O. Box: 1840

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Greatest Coach


Get The Greatest Coach Ever: Timeless Wisdom and Insights of John Wooden (The Heart of a Coach Series) over at Amazon

This is a book on John Wooden, the legendary coach for UCLA’s basketball team. The book centers on Wooden’s Christian faith and character.  It is written by various people who knew him and/or were influenced by him over the years.  The contributors vary from basket ball players, coaches, pastors, businessmen and athletes from other sports.  The book is set up with a devotional format in which writers share a lesson from their reflection on coach Wooden’s life followed by some questions to stir the readers to examine their own life and walk with God.  I am typically cautious of any discussion about faith and sports since at times it can seem quite cheesy and amount to nothing more than a social religion to provide a motivational positive-thinking speech in the locker room before a game.  Ironically sometimes such “sports religion” can be more man-centered in its outlook rather than being truly God-centered or biblical.  While there were times while I was reading the book that I felt some of the contributors’ points were forced or cheesy or even a bit prideful (“I did this, I did that”), nevertheless I thought this book manage to impart wisdom to the readers concerning character and leadership beyond the realm of sports.  I was happy to see the Gospel even shared in various moments in the book!  There were also good spiritual reflections too especially with Coach Wooden’s priorities of putting God first, then family and then his work.  I was to find the constant theme throughout the book that it’s not about winning—rather it is doing your best—which leads to the spiritual lesson that our life is about spiritual faithfulness to the Lord and not outward success.  Knowing people who personally knew coach Wooden’s life and faith kept me going with the book.  I’m not much of a sports guy myself and I managed to finish this—I imagine those who love sports and Christianity would appreciate this work more than I could have.  I deeply appreciated this book from Wooden’s life as an example of what faith looks like in the workplace.

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John Frame’s teaching has been important in my life, shaping my apologetics and theology especially with his observation of the inter-connection of various perspectives/disciplines/doctrines.  I think he’ definitely contributed in theology and apologetics by developing the ideas of Cornelius Van Til forward.

Ten days ago his Systematic Theology book has been nominated as the book of the Year by World Magazine.  I thought it was appropriate to share with you the full length video below from the President’s Forum Interview with the President of Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando concerning Frame’s Systematic Theology and his life time contribution:


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Here are links related to Presuppositional apologetics gathered from the World Wide Web between June 15th-21st, 2014.

1.)Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: Why Are Christians Always Arguing?

2.) Refuting Belligerent Atheist Peter Boghossian and Combative New Atheists: ‘A Manual for Converting Atheists’

3.) The Teaching of Christianity as a Challenge to Unbelief

4.) Dealing with An Atheist that Won’t Discuss Presuppositional Apologetics


6.) The Vantillian Cow

7.) Vern Poythress’ Rethinking Accommodation in Revelation

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I’m taking a break this Saturday from the series on Jonah in light of a busy week (preached from Wednesday to Sunday each day this week).  So I’m posting this book review of a work that I just finished. Ephesians Boice  

Get Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary over at Amazon

I read this commentary because of the author.  Previously I read James Montgomery Boice’s commentary on Phillippians which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I also enjoyed this commentary on Ephesians.  It is a good expositional commentary and ideal for devotions through the book of Ephesians.  I appreciated that it was practical.  I have seen other reviews saying that it’s not exegetically detailed but I think it is not fair to expect an exegetical commentary when the intent of the commentary is expositional.  While there are other commentaries on Ephesians that are more exegetical than this one (I think the best is still Harold W. Hoehner’s exegetical commentary) I think it is still worthwhile for the exegete to consult Boice’s work to help with thinking about the application and delivery of the content of Ephesians to God’s people.  Boice did bring out good lexical insight from the meaning of certain Greek terms in ways that are very insightful.  Read this to warm your hearts for God in light of what He has done for us in saving us.

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Hebrews 1:8

  • Last week I provided a brief introduction to Hebrews concerning the titles used for the second person of the Trinity.  For today’s post, I will attempt to interact more with Hebrews 1:8.
    • Scriptural statement: “But of the Son He says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM'”
      • Negatively stated: New World Translation has it differently from other biblical translations.  NWT says this for Hebrews 1:8, “But about the Son, he says: ‘God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.'”
        • Question: What is the difference between the prior and latter translation?
        • Answer: NWT treats the Father as the subject of the sentence (nominative) in order to avoid the association between the Father and the Son.  They do that so that they can safeguard their doctrine that Christ is not God, but a god.  Hence, to them, God the Father is the subject whereby He states that He is merely the source and throne of the Son.
          • To do so would make Jesus to be understood negatively in a ontological manner.  Meaning that Christ is not equal to the Father in His nature and essence.
      • Some technical background:  Technically both renderings (nominative and vocative) of Hebrews 1:8 are “grammatically feasible” (even though JW have a unbiblical view of Christ’s deity), because the Greek form of address (vocative [“Your throne O God is forever and ever”]) in Hebrews 1:8 is the identical form of the subject (subject nominative [“God is your throne forever and ever”]). In order to deal with this particular statement concerning the form of address between the Father and the Son, one must note that it was not originally in Greek, but in the OT.
        • What you have in Hebrews 1:8, is the Greek translation (LXX [Septuagint]) of Psalm 45:6, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”  Psalm 45:6 is applied to the Son and the Son is directly addressed as God in an ontological manner (Reymond, 273).
        • Quote: “The fact that the noun ὁ θεὸς ho theos, appears to be nominative in its inflected form means nothing.  The so-called articular nominative with vocative force is a well-established idiom in classical Greek, the Septuagint, and New Testament Greek.  So the case of the noun in Hebrews 1:8 must be established on other grounds than its case form, and that it is vocatival is apparent for the following reasons” (273-274).
        • Here are some of the following reasons why ὁ θεὸς should be taken as a vocatival (Reymond, 274).
          • First–If ὁ θεὸς was to be treated as a subject nominative (“God is your throne”), the ὁ θεὸς  would of  appeared before “your throne.”  But you do not see that.  Or if it is to be perceived as a predicate nominative then it wold be more conceivable that “God” would be written anarthrously (without the article); and appearing before  “your throne” or after “forever and ever.”  However, you do not have that.
          • Second–In the LXX of Psalm 45, the king is addressed in the vocative.
            • In verse 6, you see the nominative being employed.  But a few verses earlier, you see that Psalm 45:3, saying this, “Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty!”  Verse 3 is directly addressing the recipient (vocative being employed) who is Jesus Christ.  So grammatically we see two different cases being used: nominative and the vocative.  But to treat them separately as if not having any relationship is to do violence to the text. Contextually we see an interplay of the Father and the Son.  The Son is addressed as not being anything more or less than God the Father in deity.  They are equal.  To perceive it differently is to do violence to the context and to undermine Hebrew parallelism in poetic writing.  
            • Implication: So if verse three reads it as a vocative: “O mighty One,” it would be doctrinally and theologically inconsistent to approach Hebrews 1:8 as something different than “O God.”  Jesus is God.
            • Textual and syntactical features seem to be in favor of the vocative case.  As a result, the Father is not addressing the Son by implying that He is His throne and source, but He is addressing the Son as God. Like God the Father, Jesus is supremely powerful and above all creatures, including angels.  He is Yahweh of the OT (John 8:58; Exodus 3:14).
          • Third–Take Hebrews 1:7 into account because it is syntactically connected to verse 8.  In addition, the formula (1:13; 5:5; 7:21) used in the book of Hebrews concerning πρὸς (1:7) suggests that ὁ θεὸς would fit well in the vocatival manner.  In light of the Hebrew formula concerning πρὸς (“from,” “concerning,” “about”), it makes sense that Jesus is being addressed as God, which runs harmoniously with “ὁ θεὸς.”
          • Fourth–The quotation in Hebrews 1:10-12 (cf. Ps. 102:25-27) uses “καὶ” (“and”).  In other words vv. 10-12 is connected by the conjunction “and.”  Hebrews 1:8-9 is also connected with “καὶ.”  Hence, since we have already established that Jesus Christ is God, the καὶ only corroborates it more–giving more of a reason why Jesus is referred to as, “O Lord.”  God the Father is addressing the Son as God.
      • Exhortation: Although I believe the original languages are helpful and vital, you do not need to know Greek or Hebrew in order to be able to defend the faith. Understanding the context will provide you a well rounded arsenal to guide you in battle. Contextually the author of Hebrews is echoing the supremacy of Christ, not a ontological subordination of Christ. For the JW to argue merely that God is the source of Jesus fails to account for the explanation concerning Jesus’ supremacy.  Brethren, preach the Gospel.  Preach it with confidence, knowing that Christ is king and is the redeemer.




*Some concepts adapted from:

Murray J. Harris, “The Translation and Significance of Ὁ θεὸς in Hebrews 1:8-9,” Tyndale Bulletin 36 (1985) 129-162.

Mike Ricarddi, Behold, They Stand at the Door and Knock: a Presuppositional Refutation of the Worldviewof the Jehovah’s Witness (unpublished research paper, The Master’s Seminary, 2011), 1-18.

Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 272-274.


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A Call for Prayer…

Pray for Lyndon Unger

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...


For those of you who have followed this blog for longer than the previous year (namely since before March 2013), you may have noticed that I started writing a whole lot more seriously in the previous 16+ months.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and whatnot, but I’ve really ramped up the quantity and quality over the last while, mostly because I’ve been off work since June of 2013.  I’ve alluded to my illness from time to time but I haven’t given a whole lot of details because, well, my readers have more than enough things on their own plates.

Many of my readers aren’t from Canada, aren’t really in my social circle, or aren’t people that I personally know, hence I’ve kept my cards close to the chest.  The people in my church and those in my local circle of friends are “in the know,” but they’ve been keeping things on…

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GO TO PART 21Viatafa

Point: Sometimes during evangelism I would encounter individuals who bring up the fact that he or she has a hard time with an evil and/or undesirable event that occured in their life and therefore they can no longer believe in God.  Often the underlining assumption here is that the person does not deserve these circumstances in light of their moral status.

Picture: The following news story seems to be an appropriate analogy to present prayerfully in hopes that they reconsider their claim that they are a good person; brought before the Laws of God, one would discover their guilty before God.

It could be argued that when people Google themselves, they take pride in what they find, hence the term “egosurfing.”

Then there’s the case of Christopher Viatafa, who Googled his name, found a picture of himself on a “Most Wanted” website — and promptly surrendered to San Leandro police in connection with a shooting, authorities said.

Viatafa was being sought in connection with a shooting during a private party at the San Leandro Senior Center on East 14th Street on Aug. 8. Police said he got into an argument, pulled out a handgun and fired several rounds into the ground.

Viatafa was forced out of the area, police said, but not before he fired more rounds. No one was hit, but investigators sought him for allegedly discharging a firearm toward an inhabited dwelling.

Viatafa told police he had looked himself up online and found his mug on the “Northern California Most Wanted” website, maintained by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, a group of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“That is why he turned himself in,” police said.

By Friday, Viatafa was listed on the website as a “captured fugitive.”



NON-CHRISTIAN: I struggle with believing in God, because of certain experiences with evil in my life….<(Incident inserted here)>

CHRISTIAN: I’m sorry to hear that.  It sounds like it was definitely a difficult thing to go through.  Is it fair to say that you are presupposing you are a good person that doesn’t deserve anything bad from happening to you?

NON-CHRISTIAN: Yes, I don’t deserve it.

CHRISTIAN: Are you a good person before God?


CHRISTIAN: I think we all seem good if we are left with ourselves with our own subjective standards but I believe if we search God’s requirement it would be otherwise.  We need to go by some other objective standards outside of ourselves and it will reveal otherwise.  Let me tell you of this news-story <INSERT ILLUSTRATION>; could you imagine that the guy was probably surprised with what he found?


CHRISTIAN: We’re more like him than we think!  We can think with our egos that God would probably owe us something good but He who sees all things and know our hearts will reveal to us as guilty and a fugitive if we search His Word and His Laws…and though we might search initially God’s Word for something positive it will say about us, we will be shocked to find otherwise.  Which leads me to why Jesus is important, He’s our Savior…



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