Archive for July, 2014

It is unfortunate that Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Iraq has achieved great strides pushing forth an imperalistic Islam upon other Muslims and Christians.  Its also unfortunate that many in the West don’t understand much of these two organizations, Al Nusra and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or better known as ISIS).  Apparently these two organizations aren’t getting along.

Here are two documentaries from earlier this year that gives a bit of perspective of  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The first is an incredible documentary by Vice who embedded with Al Nusra.

The second is the perspective of some who have quit the Free Syria Army and their encounter with ISIS.

It is frightening.  We need to be praying.

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Killing Jesus A History

This is my first book by Bill O’Reilly and only after starting this book did I realized that he has written a series of book on the assassination of famous men, with his previous works on Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.  Early in the introduction of the book Bill O’Riley’s reveal his methodological assumption of how faith (myth) and fact must be distinguished concerning the person Jesus, and that he and his co-author was interested only in the fact.  I think this reveal quite a lot the direction the book takes.  Surprisingly the book does include a lot of account of Jesus’ miracles.  The journalistic prose of his writing gives one a fresh look at familiar Gospel stories and O’Riley does a good job of giving a lot of the political and historical setting that the life of Jesus was situated in.  His discussion about the Herods and the various Caesars is narrated like juicy gossip though.  I was disappointed with how the end of the book the authors did not seem to come out strongly with their conclusion of whether or not Jesus was resurrected which is disappointing given how much of the guild of Christian apologetics has focused on this crucial point of Christianity.  The book was also disappointing in that both writers never expounded on the greater context of Jesus’ death as penal substitutionary atonement for our sins, justification, etc.  One might say that’s due to O’Reilly being a Roman Catholic, but I think there are also theologically liberal assumption involved (appeasing to Naturalism, faith vs facts, etc).  I suppose my final evaluation of this book parallel how I feel about his show: sometimes its interesting but sometime I wonder about his matter with things.

To purchase the book on Amazon, Click HERE

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It’s my goal that in the next nine years I would read at least one commentary for every book in the Bible–so I can recommend a good commentary for the books in the Bible.

It is partly as my own devotional reading through the Scriptures and partly because of being asked what good commentaries I’ve read that I would recommend for certain books.  Since I realized I need to read more Bible commentaries, I thought this might be a good project on Veritas Domain.

Sometime this week I’ll post up a page that list out what has already been done.  I will be reviewing expository and exegetical commentaries.

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The Gospel According to Daniel Chapell

To purchase the book on Amazon, Click HERE

The introduction to this commentary makes it clear that the author is not trying to give an exegetically detailed commentary on the book of Daniel; rather the purpose of the book is to show how the book of Daniel points us to the Gospel and then to apply Gospel truths that is found in Daniel to our lives.  To this end, I think the author accomplished his stated purpose.

My first knowledge of the author Byran Chapell was from his book on preaching that was the textbook for an introductory course to preaching when I began seminary; that particular work helped me a lot in laying the foundation to become an expository preacher.  It was with great expectation that I picked up this book wanting to learn and see how Bryan Chapell would preach through the book of Daniel.

I appreciated the many stories that the author shared throughout the book; they were wonderful examples of how preachers should “illustrate to apply” to the listeners’ lives.  I appreciated seeing how Chapell avoided making Daniel the object of our hero worship but instead points us towards God, Jesus and the Gospel.  One highlight reading this commentary is the discussion on Daniel chapter three about what true faith means.  Here Chapell also points out to the reader that just because one has faith does not mean that everything will go all well in life without trials and tribulation.  This directly contradicts the “health and wealth” gospel and similar beliefs popular in some Christian circles.  At the same time, for those who are in biblical churches the discussion would nevertheless be quite encouraging since it put our suffering in perspective.

There were times I wished that the author could have gone more in-depth with the exposition of the passage especially with the latter part of the book of Daniel.  I must add that this is a gentle criticism because one must applaud the author for his honesty in admitting what he does not know or don’t want to be dogmatic with.

Both exegetes and lay readers will benefit from this commentary; this book serves as a great devotional read while for expository preachers this commentary will balance out some of the more technical commentaries to help the preacher thinking about how to deliver and apply the text.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Baker Books and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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We have been posting daily quotes from John Frame’s Doctrine of the Christian Life on our facebook and twitter account.  This morning I want to share an extended lengthy quote from John Frame on the relationship of the intellect, will and emotions.  John Frame is at his best when he explores the inter-relationships and/or inter-dependence of things and here is no exception.  People often have a wrong conception of the relationship between will and the intellect so the following is helpful.

Traditionally, will is contrasted with intellect (reason) and emotions.  In some accounts, it almost seems as though will, intellect, and emotions are little beings up in our heads who vie for supremacy.  Arguments have been made both about which of these three faculties is superior to the others and about which one ought to be superior.  Philosophical movements have been identified by views on this alleged conflict: Aquinaas has been called an intellectualist, Scotus a voluntarist, and Kierkegaard an emotionalist.

My own view, however, is that we make decisions as whole persons, and that intellect, will and emotions are perspectives on the whole persons, not subsistent entities.  The intellect is the person’s ability to think, the will his his capacity to decide, and the emotionsa re his capacity to feel.  We are talking about three abilities that people have, not three independent entities within them.  That I think is a more biblical perspective, for Scripture never distinguishes these three capacities or make any general statements about the superiority of one or the other.

In my view, the three abilities are interdependent.  You cannot make a decision (will) unless you judge (intellect) that it is the right thing to do.  On the other hand, you cannot make the right judgment (intellect) unless you choose (will) to make it.  The will is certainly involved in our intellectual judgments.  As Paul teaches in Romans 1, certain people choose to disbelieve in God, despite the sufficiency of the evidence of his existence.  Other people choose otherwise.  In both cases, belief is a choice.  The intellectual judgment is a decision of the will.  That is one reason why I have emphasized that the intellectual realm has a moral dimension, that there is an ethics of knowledge.

So will and intellect are dependent upon one another, and so are choice and reason.  They are not independent entities, but perspectives on the mental acts of human beings.  In everything we do, there is thought and choice.  And we think about what to choose, and we choose what to think.  And we choose what to think about what to choose.  We accept reasons because we choose them, and we choose them because we find them reasonable.

(John Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 368).

I find the above helpful.  I would add that not one of the above faculty is morally superior to another.  Our sinfulness has corrupted all our faculty.  So we sin with our mind, our choices, and have sinful emotions, etc.  This has implication for apologetics that we have unpacked on our blog elsewhere; certainly the most obvious is that our mind is not a neutral arbiter of facts, nor does appealing to our intellect alone would necessarily lead someone to Christ if the sinful will chooses not to do so.   How much more do we need the grace of God.

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For the earlier posts related to this series, please navigate to this link:

Index to Christology Series: Deity and Eternality

In our last series on “Deity and Eternality” concerning the study of Christology, we covered four main passages often used to defend Christ’s deity and eternality and also passages that are often twisted and maligned by cults: John 1:1; John 8:58 (cf. Exodus 3:14), Hebrews 1:8; Colossians 1:17.

After wrapping up a major milestone on this series, I was not yet satisfied in moving into another area in Christology.  I wanted to provide other proofs for the deity and eternality of Christ because it is such a foundational doctrine concerning our Lord and Savior.  As a result, this post will be added as an appendix to this series.

The other main areas that I would like to address for the deity and eternality of Christ that you may find helpful are:

  • Christ’s heavenly origin (John 3:13; John 6:38)
    • The verses listed above indicates that Jesus came from Heaven.  Jesus dwelt in Heaven before coming to earth.  Therefore, He has no beginning nor no end.  He is eternal.
  • Christ’s preincarnate work (John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6)
    • His preincarnate works also proves His eternal existence.  Rather everything starts and ends with Him.
  • Christ’s titles (John 12:41 [Isaiah saw His glory; cf. Is. 6:3,5]; Matthew 22:44 [Psalm 110:1])
    • In John 12:41, which is a reference Isaiah 6:1, the Apostle John indicates that Isaiah saw God’s glory.  And John 12:40 is a direct quotation from Isaiah 6:10, which is in reference  to God or Yahweh (cf. 6:3, 5).  Contextually, it appears that John 12:41 makes not only the connection that Jesus is portrayed as the object of Isaiah’s vision, but also the one who hardens the hearts of Israel as explained in John 12:40.
  • Christ’s theophanies (Genesis 18; Judges 6:11, 14; Zech. 1:11; 3:1-2; cf. Gen. 24:7)
    • Theophanies also proves His eternal existence.  According to Paul Enns, a theophany can be defined in this manner: “It is the Second Person of the Trinity who appears thus in human form…The One of the three who is called LORD, or Jahweh, in the incident recorded in Genesis 18, is to be taken to be the Second Person of the Trinity.”  I would also add that He, meaning the Trinity, also appeared in other forms too in the OT (i.e. visions, dreams, auditory).
    • Whenever God revealed Himself in a human form, it was not the Father nor the Holy Spirit, because according to John 6:46, no one can see God.  God is a Spirit (Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Luke 24:39; John 1:18; John 4:24; Acts 17:29).
    • God the Father and God the Spirit will never manifest themselves in a human form like Christ.
    • Since God the Father (John 1:18; John 6:46; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 John 4:12) and God the Spirit (Matt. 3:16; Revelation 22:17) are incorporeal,  it is safe to say that they did appear in other non-human ways like visions (Numbers 12:6-8), clouds, fire, etc.
    • Here are some other appearances of God as seen in Scripture.
      • Gen. 12:7-9 – The appearance of the Lord to Abraham
      • Gen. 18:1-33 – Two angels and God Himself.  God here reveals Himself in a human form.  Since God the Father and God the Spirit (Holy Spirit) do not take on a human form because they are a Spirit, this is none other than the second person of the Trinity.
      • Acts 9:1-16 – The voice that Paul heard on the road to Damascus
      • Genesis 32:22-30 – Jacob wrestles with God
      • Exodus 33:20 – Moses sees a manifestation of God’s back
      • Exodus 3:2 – The burning bush
      • Exodus 13:21-22 – Pillar of cloud by day and fire by night revealed to the people of Israel
      • Exodus 24:9-19 – The appearance of the glory of God was seen
      • Exodus 33:9 – Pillar of cloud revealed to Moses
      • Deuteronomy 31:14-15 – Pillar of cloud
      • Job 38–42 – God speaks
      • Genesis 11:5 – The Lord descended
      • Exodus 34:5 – The Lord passed in front of Moses
      • Numbers 12:5 – Pillar of cloud
    • Angel of the Lord (Genesis 16:7-14; Genesis 22:11-18; Judges 5:23; 2 Kings 19:35; Exodus 3:2):
      • The passages here reveal God taking on the form of man.  Every time God takes on the form of a man, it seems to be the preincarnate Christ.  Here in these passages, the Angel of the Lord is the preincarnate Christ who is a foreshadow of the future incarnation; whereby He will literally dwell with man (John 1:14).
      • Based off of other passages in the OT (Zech. 1:11; 3:1-2; cf. Gen. 24:7) we see that the Angel of the Lord speaks to Yahweh (Enns, 230).  Another fascinating point to note is that after the incarnation, the Angel of the Lord is no longer mentioned and ceases to appear (Enns, 230).
      • The ultimate theophany is the incarnation of the Son of God.  He is a gift to the world from God the Father.  As His Son, Jesus Christ makes the Father known because no one has ever seen the Father (John 14:9).  Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15) and the “bright radiance of the glory of God” and “the exact presentation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).  Saints in the Old Testament never experienced the incarnation of the Son of God.  They never experienced the God-man dwelling on earth (John 1:14).  What they experienced were temporary appearances of His Son.
      • One day we will see Him.  He will grant us perfect joy and delight when we meet Him face to face in Heaven. We will not be limited to just seeing His back.
  • Christ shares the honors due to God
    • Honor:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 20:2-3; 34:14; Deut. 5:6-7
      • Lord Jesus: John 5:23; Heb. 3:3-4
    • Glorify:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 15:2; Ps. 29:1-3; cf. Matt. 5:16; Rom. 15:6-9
      • Lord Jesus: 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18; cf. Rom. 16:27; Jude 25; Rev. 5:12-13
    • Worship (proskuneō):
      • LORD GOD: Deut. 6:13; cf. Matt. 4:9-10; Ps. 97:7; Isa. 45:23; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 2:2, 11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9, 17; Phil. 2:10-11; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 1:17; 5:14
    • Prayer:
      • LORD GOD: Gen. 4:26; 1 Chron. 16:8; Ps. 65:2; Isa. 44:17; 45:20-22; Joel 2:32
      • Lord Jesus: John 14:14; Acts 1:24-25; 7:59-60; 9:14; 22:16; Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 1:2; 16:22; 2 Cor. 12:8-9; Rev. 22:20-21
    • Song:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 15:21; Judg. 5:3; 1 Chron. 16:23; Pss. 7:17; 9:11; 92:1; 95:1; 96:2; 104:33; Isa. 42:10
      • Lord Jesus: Eph. 5:19; Rev. 5:9-10; cf. Phil. 2:6-11
    • Faith:
      • LORD GOD: Gen. 15:6; Isa. 28:16; 43:10; Mark 11:22; Heb. 6:1; 11:6; cf. Exod. 14:31 with Num. 20:8-13; 27:12-14
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 9:28; John 1:12; 3:15-18, 36; 6:35, 40; 7:37-39; 8:24; 11:25-26; 14:1; 20:31; Acts 3:16; 10:43; 16:31; 20:21; 22:19; 24:24; 26:18; Rom. 9:33; 10:11; Gal. 3:26; 1 Peter 2:6; 1 John 3:23; 5:1, 10, 13
    • Fear:
      • LORD GOD: Deut. 6:13; 10:20; Prov. 1:7; 2:5; 9:10; etc.; Isa. 8:12-13  
      • Lord Jesus: 2 Cor. 5:10-11; Eph. 5:21; 6:7-8; Col. 3:22-25; 1 Peter 3:14-16
    • Serve (religious devotion; latreuō):
      • LORD GOD: Deut. 6:13; cf. Matt. 4:10
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 26:2, 18, 26-29; Mark 14:12-16, 22-25; Luke 22:8-20; Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 1 Cor. 10:16-22; 11:20, 27; and see Dan. 7:14; cf. 3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 4:2-3, 35; 6:16, 20, 26; see also Rev. 22:3
    • Love:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 20:6; Deut. 5:10; 6:4-5; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:6-11; 19:9; 30:6-8, 16, 20; 33:9; Josh. 22:5; Neh. 1:5; Dan. 9:4; Matt. 22:37
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 10:37; Luke 14:26; John 14:15, 21; 15:10; Eph. 6:24
    • All:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; 1 Chron. 17:20; Ps. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25; 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Mic. 7:18
      • Lord Jesus: John 12:45; 14:7-10; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:13, 15, 19 (cf. Ps. 68:16); 2:9; Heb. 1:3

For our next post, I will try to cover other categories in relation to His deity and eternality.  That will be part two of our appendix.



Works Cited

Bowman, Robert M., and J. Ed Komoszewski.    Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2007.

Enns, Paul.  The Moddy Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded.  Chicago Ill: Moody Publishers, 2014.

Grudem, Wayne A. 1994. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.

Miethe, Terry L.  The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words.  Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1988.


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What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter Bauchman

To purchase the book on Amazon, Click HERE

Among the many Christian books on family, courtship and fatherhood that I have read, I think this book has become one of my top five.  While the book was intended to address fathers to encourage them to think biblically of what to look for in a man who wants to marry their daughter, nevertheless I think others can benefit from reading this book too such as single mothers evaluating those interested in their daughters, or the young man who want to become a godly husband in the future.  A young woman who wants to understand her father’s responsibility in the area of courtship and Pastors who wishes to teach a biblical view of courtship to their church will also benefit from reading this work.

The author Voddie Bauchman is a big advocate of a biblical view of family and has previously authored Family Driven Faith.  I find the emphasis in the book on the role of parents and especially that of fathers in the courtship of young Christian couples to be refreshing since it seems as if many contemporary Christian books on courtship hasn’t explain as clearly as this one did of the role of fathers in their child’s courtship.  Bauchman packs many practical advice and exhortation in this book that is biblical and wise.  As a father of two young daughters both of whom are under three years old at the of this review, this book made me realized that I can’t be too early in thinking about and preparing my daughter for marriage (let me add the caveat that preparing and training them for marriage now doesn’t mean I’m gong to have them marry at this moment!  I do think we must do so in a way that is age appropriate).  I appreciate the opening chapter on the multigenerational vision in the Bible that goes beyond the topic of courtship and about the family, church and society.  Bauchman uses his own background of broken family in the book to point to us the importance of doing family God’s way rather than what our society says.  I also appreciated how the author skillfully went through some of the passages from the Bible that I have not thought of in connection to fathers and daughter’s relationship and the broader topic of courtship—he even navigated exceptionally well through Old Testament passages in which he acknowledges the original recipients were Jews while maintaining that there are some wise principles to gain from looking at them even when the civil force of these laws are currently not enforced.  I also appreciate how Bauchman is realistic to realize the pool of godly candidates to marry our daughters are probably small and in chapter ten he gives us instruction of how, by the grace of God, we can go “build” godly men ourselves in the local church.  Here we see the importance of making disciples of younger men by older men does have some earthly blessing.

I won’t want to give away the whole book in this review.  Looking at my book and seeing all the highlights reminds me there is many things I could have talked about.  Go and get this book.

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The incredible blogger Jeff Downs has shared with us several weeks ago of a resource regarding a Biblical Worldview.  Reverend Christian McShaffrey of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) has preached a series titled “A Psalm 2 Worldview.”

The description of this series is given below:

A “worldview” is a philosophy of life which determines how a person sees the world. Everyone has a worldview, but most people simply “catch” their worldview and assume that it is correct.

As Christians, we simply cannot afford to be thoughtless when it comes to understanding the world around us and interpreting the events which occur in it. Rather, we need to allow the light of scripture to illuminate and interpret reality. It is only in this that we will find hope and peace in this world.

Pastor McShaffrey presented the basic principles of a Christian Worldview by explaining and applying Psalm Two during the Fall of 2013.

Here are the audios:

10/20/13  –  The Raging of the Heathen (Psalm 2:1-3)

10/27/13  –  The Disposition of God (Psalm 2:4-6)

11/03/13  –  The Inheritance of Christ (Psalm 2:7-9)

11/10/13  –  The Invitation to Nations (Psalm 2:10-12a)

11/17/13  –  The Blessedness of Christians (Psalm 2:12b)  


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Here are some links on Presuppositional apologetics gathered between July 15th-21st, 2014!

1.) Biblical Apologetics: Practical and Workable

2.) Book Recommendation: Inerrancy and Worldview by Vern Poythress

3.) Atheist Peter Boghossian Loathes Christians: “Reprogram Them!”

4.) Proving God’s Existence: Would You Believe If He Showed Up at Your Door?


6.) Is the mind an emergent property of the physical brain?

7.) Last installment of Presuppositional apologetics’ links


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Why Does God Allow Disasters and Calamities?[1]


When the water came, I was frightened,” recalled Sanga, 12 of the tsunamis that struck in late December.  “We ran, and our home is gone.”

“From Thailand to Somalia, more than 150,000 people died in the tsunamis.  The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) first estimated children made up one third of the death toll.  But…that percentage, if anything, might be too low.  Children are much less able to run away, fight the water, hold onto or climb a tree…the youngest were simply unable to.  While some children scaled a mango tree, evading the torrent, half the group [from an orphanage]—mostly babies and toddlers—did not make it.~ “The Most Vunerable Victims.”  January 12, 2005, CNN.com. 

When this event occurred, many questions transpired

  • Why did this happened?
  • Why so much destruction?
  • Why is there so much suffering?
  • Why were thousands of people affected?
  • Why were children and babies swept away from the arms of their mother?
  • Was Satan involved?
    • In the Book of Job, we learn that Job’s children were killed by a wind that collapsed the roof of the house & fire from heaven came down and killed Job’s servants and sheep.
      • Scripture states that Satan was involved (Job 1:6-12; 13-22)


  • We will cover the wrong views given from non-Christians, the wrong views given by Christians, the biblical response, and the big Why question people have.
  • I am going over the topic concerning natural disaster so that you know the Bible’s explanation concerning it.

Point 1: Wrong Views Given from Non-Christians

  • Atheist—God does not exist.  Therefore disasters in this earth are just forces of nature.
  • Agnostic—This person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God will indicate that the supernatural had nothing to do with this tragedy.
  • Polytheist—Many gods, but one of the gods was involved in this disaster.
  • Scientology—Disaster, evil, and sin are not realities, but illusions.
  • Unitarianism (One who asserts the unity of God, but rejects the trinity).
  • Unbiblical Monotheism—Islam, Judaism.

Point 2: Wrong Answers Often Given by Christians

  • All Calamities are a Complete Mystery
    • Of course there are some things that are mysterious, but I am afraid saying that “all” calamities are a complete mystery is the wrong answer.
    • God has given us answers.  He knows we are beings with a intellect and a conscience.
  • All Good Comes Out of It.  The Bad Justifies the Good
    • We need to be nuanced when explaining this.  Why?
      • For example, after the tsunami, much evil occurred.  Some sold their children for money.
        • Murders were prevalent.
        • The disaster created a breeding ground for religious unity.  Buddhist monk, Hindu priest, and  professing Christians were singing songs of praise together.  The world loves to see this.  This is an appeal to selfish human thinking in the name of co-existence.  You have probably seen some of those bumper stickers too.
          • People saw religious unity as being good and virtuous.
      • I have no doubt at all, that there is some good that comes out from natural disasters, but there is still a problem because those who think they are doing good are saying what God did is bad.  They think they are morally good people in their behavior.  That is wrong thinking.  We need to see it from God’s standards.  Please see Romans 3:23.  Every person is a transgressor before God.  There are no exceptions.
        • Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”[2]
  • God is Not All Powerful (some professing Christians who subscribe to this would embrace onto Open Theism and Deism)
    • Deism:
      • This camp believes in God, but believes He is not involved.  This is the opposite of theism. Theism believes God supernaturally interferes due to His providence.
    • Open Theism:
      • God does not know everything about the future.

Point 3: Biblical Response

  • Major Bible passages to consider:
    • Job 9:5-6, “He who removes mountains, and they know it  not, when he overturns them in his anger, who shakes the  earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble.”
    • Psalm 135:6-7, “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.  7He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
    • Isaiah 45:7, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.
    • Amos 3:6, “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?”
  • Implications of the passages covered:
    • It defeats some of these unbiblical statements:
      • “Although I believe in God, the supernatural had nothing to do with this tragedy.”
      • “God doesn’t exist; disasters like this are just forces of nature.”
      • “The earthquake and tsunami were sent by God, and there is no the purpose behind it.”
    • Some of the most popular responses that is disconcerting [atheism is small] are this:
      • “Although I believe in God, the supernatural had nothing to do with this tragedy.”
      • “The earthquake and tsunami were sent by God, and there is no purpose behind it.”
        • Isaiah 45:7, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.
        • Amos 3:6, “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?”
    • God is not surprised by natural disasters.  He is sovereign.
    • Even if Satan had an involvement in some natural disaster like he did with Job—Satan acted with God’s permission and under His sovereign rule.
  • Another Major Bible passage to consider:
    • Daniel 4:35: “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?”
      • Major points of this verse:
        • Nothing happens apart from God’s will.
        • Question: What does it mean that, “None can stay God’s hand?”  ANSWER: Nothing can stop Him from doing what He wants or wills.
          • Moreover, even that question alone reveals something unsettling about man. Beneath the tone of that question in Daniel 4:35, man accuses God of doing something wrong.
      • Daniel 4:35 corrects many ignorant and sinful thinking such as:
        • “What have you done God?”
        • “How could you have allowed so much destruction?”
        • “What gives you the right to do this?”
        • “Why did you unfairly target the poor and young?”

Stay tuned for the second part of this series as I plan on covering the big WHY question.





[1]Some notes are adapted from David Pawson’s Lecture and from Desiring God Ministries, Your Word is Truth, “Human Suffering—Disasters and Calamities.”

[2]All Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), unless otherwise noted.



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Russ Last Friday, I announced at the men’s study that we will take a brief break from our usual study in order to go evangelizing to the masses.  Taking a brief break from our study will give us an opportunity to apply what we learn about Christ by sharing Him with lost sinners.  Living for Jesus is not only learning about Him, but serving as an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  When I think about living for my Lord and Savior, I am reminded of a particular portion of prayer from the Valley of Vision, entitled, “Living for Jesus.”  This is what the prayer states:


Thy name is excellent,

thy glory high,

thy compassions unfailing,

thy condescension wonderful,

thy mercy tender.

I bless thee for the discoveries, invitations,

promises of the gospel

for in them is pardon for rebels,

liberty for captives,

health for the sick,

salvation for the lost.

I come to thee in thy beloved name of Jesus;

re-impress thy image upon my soul;

Raise me above the smiles and frowns of the world,

regarding it as a light thing to be judged by men;

May thy approbation be my only aim,

thy Word my one rule.

Make me to abhor that which grieves thy

Holy Spirit,

to suspect consolations of a worldly nature,

to shun a careless way of life,

to reprove evil,

to instruct with meekness those who oppose me,

to be gentle and patient towards all men,

to be not only a professor but an example

of the gospel,

displaying in every relation, office, and condition

its excellency, loveliness and advantages.

How little have I illustrated my principles

and improved my privileges!

How seldom I served my generation!

How often have I injured and not recommended

my Redeemer!

How few are those blessed through me!

In many things I have offended,

in all come short of thy glory;

Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

This prayer has many wonderful facets for the Christian life.  It basks in a combination of learning and living for Him.  It is a great reminder of the Gospel being preached and how we are to conduct our life before our holy God.  That is what we did this past Friday evening.  Before we evangelized, a few men and myself got together and discussed some important notions concerning man.  I echoed that we are in an environment that is perhaps filled with different sinners that may consist of murderers, rapist, gangsters, etc.  That is where the beauty of open-air preaching comes into play.  It provides the channel or instrument that can cover a vast landscape.  It means that a multitude of people will be exposed to the Gospel quickly.  After we finished praying, we made our way to the pier and set-up our things near the entrance of the walkway of the pier that is shaped as a circle, where many people congregate in order to fish and hangout.  To be honest,  I felt a little rusty because I have not done open-air preaching for a long time.  I really needed to depend upon God for wisdom.  As I looked  and scanned at the multitude of people before me, a great compassion for them resided in my heart.  I understood that to glorify God in this moment, I must be a broken hearted evangelist.  I must love them by speaking the truth with conviction and truth.

There was no turning away.  As I stepped on the foot stool and prepared my PA and headset, I knew that I was about to enter into spiritual warfare.  As a result, I needed to, by God’s grace, devote myself wholly to Him.

There I was.  I opened my mouth by first introducing myself.  And here are a few important truths I shared to the masses: “What is God?” and the “sayings of Jesus.”  Those points are great and sobering truths that man must hear.  I wanted the Son of God to be uneclipsed so they can savor Him.

  • What is God?: God is a Spirit (Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Luke 24:39; John 1:18; John 4:24; Acts 17:29), eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; Psalm 102:12, 24-27, Revelation 1:4, 8),  holy (Hebrews 1:13; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 3:3, 5; Revelation 15:4), just (Genesis 18:25; Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 96:13; Romans 3:5, 26),  loving (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-9).
  • The sayings of Christ: John 4:25-26 (the Messiah), John 17:5; John 8:58-59 (eternal), John 6:38 (from Heaven), Matthew 11:27 (possessed knowledge of God), John 10:27-28; Luke 23:43 (power to grant eternal life), John 6:35; John 8:12; John 11:25 (the answer to man’s souls), Matthew 10:37 (demands to be worshipped).

While open-air preaching, it appeared that there were  those who listened attentively and some who mocked the Gospel and committed some unwholesome and unholy acts next to me; and there were those who expressed their anger and hatred towards the Gospel of God because the message was preventing them from generating a profit from their musical performances.  But even in the midst of hostility, there were some who thanked us for the message and seemed to be in hearty agreement.  I was also thankful that I did not preach alone, because another brother from my church preached alongside me.  It was a tremendous blessing.  A blessing not only because we get the privilege to be His ambassadors, but also a blessing because we do not have the power to save people.  Thus, salvation is not in our strength, but salvation is founded in God’s Gospel.  We rely upon the sovereign God.

This event was also a great reminder to us concerning the heart of man: he is depraved and only the sovereign  God can awaken him from his stupor!  You can not manipulate people into the kingdom of salvation.  You must be faithful and not succumb to pragmatism.  To be faithful is to be sensitive to God.  And being sensitive to God is understanding the true spiritual condition of man, as documented in Scripture.    

Please pray for those who heard the message.  Pray that they will come into saving knowledge of Christ and then be plugged into a biblical local church.

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Note: I’m in a church retreat this weekend and will be delayed in responding.

We have spent several months going through an exposition of the book of Jonah.  Last week we finally finished our ten part series of outlines!  My prayers are that they edify God’s people and evangelize the Lost.

Here’s the table of content to the series:

Introduction to Book of Jonah

Part 1: Do you think you can run away from God?

Part 2: Are You running from God and Evangelism?

Part 3: Don’t Just Say You Believe

Part 4: A prayer responding to God’s Grace Part 1

Part 5: A prayer responding to God’s Grace Part 2

Part 6: Did Jonah Repented?

Part 7: Parallel of Jonah and Peter

Part 8: How do you respond to God’s mercy?

Part 9: Compassion in Evangelism

Part 10: Jonah and the Rest of the Bible


Jonah and the Whale Carlo Antonio Tavella

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Over the last few weeks I have been focusing on the deity and eternality of Christ.  I went over four main verses: John 1:1; John 8:58; Hebrews 1:8; and Colossians 1:17.  Here is an index of all the posts I made concerning this series on the deity and eternality of Christ:

  1. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 1
    • John 1:1, ““In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with   God, and the Word was God.”
  2. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 2
    • John 1:1, ““In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with   God, and the Word was God.”
      • Discussion concerning NWT (JW) interpretation of John 1:1, etc.
  3. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 3
    • John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
  4. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 4
    • John 8:58
      • YHWH; Tetragrammaton
  5. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 5
  6. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 6
      • Textual, syntactical, contextual, and apologetical areas.
  7. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 7
    • Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
  8. Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 8
    • Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
      • Providence of God: preservation, concurrence, government, and revelation.

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Earlier this year Crossway published a 368 page book by Dr. Vern Poythress titled Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probabiliy and Random Events.  I appreciate how Dr. Poythress has made many of his books  available to the public for free as a PDF.  This new book is now among them!

You can download the PDF by clicking HERE.

The description of the book on the publisher Crossway’s website is as follows:

What if all events—big and small, good and bad—are governed by more than just blind chance? What if they are governed by God?

In this theologically informed and philosophically nuanced introduction to the study of probability and chance, Vern Poythress argues that all events—including the seemingly random or accidental—fall under God’s watchful gaze as part of his eternal plan. Comprehensive in its scope, this book lays the theistic foundation for our scientific assumptions about the world while addressing personal questions about the meaning and significance of everyday events.

Here’s the table of content:

Table of Contents

Introduction: Experiences with Unpredictable Events
Part 1: The Sovereignty of God
1.  The Bible as a Source for Knowledge
2.  God’s Sovereignty
3.  Unpredictable Events
4.  Disasters and Suffering
5.  Human Choice
6.  Small Random Events
7.  Reflecting on Creation and Providence
8.  God’s Sovereignty and Modern Physics
9.  What Is Chance?
Part 2: God as the Foundation for Chance
10. Regularities and Unpredictabilities
11. Trinitarian Foundations for Chance
12. Responding to Chance
13. Chance in Evolutionary Naturalism
14. Chance and Idolatry
Part 3: Probability
15. What is Probability?
16. Predictions and Outcomes
17. Theistic Foundations for Probability
18. Views of Probability
19. Subjectivity and Probability
20. Entanglement of Probabilities
21. Probabilistic Independence
22. Independence and Human Nature
23. Is God Probable?
Part 4: Probability and Mathematics
24. Pictures of Probability
25. Mathematical Postulates for Probability
26. Theistic Foundations for Some Properties of Probability
27. Limitations in Human Thinking about Events and Probabilities
28. Conclusion
Appendix A: Why Gambling Systems Fail
Appendix B: The Real Problem with Gambling
Appendix C: A Puzzle in Probability
Appendix D: Interacting with Secular Philosophical Views of Probability
Appendix E: Permutations and Combinations
Appendix F: The Birthday Problem
Appendix G: Diseases and Other Causes
Appendix H: Proofs for Probability
Appendix I: Statistics
Appendix J: The Law of Large Numbers versus Gamblers


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In my book Tony Miano is one of the better Open Air Preachers out there.  In some ways, he is refreshing to hear especially with his desire to be Biblical and his love for the local church.  Apparently a few days ago while he was in Canada he was physically assaulted during one of his open air preaching campaign as the picture indicate (Source of photo).

His facebook page has many comments with some supporting Miano while some were critical of Tony Miano’s method of evangelism.  While I think there is room for one to ask how one might engage differently in Tony’s situation, it is hard not to notice a much larger theological problem among some criticizing Miano.  I spent a significant amount of time yesterday responding to some of these comments.

Some objections seem to forget who is the victim and who is the one who inflicted harm; my response to such comments was the following:

Don’t you think there’s a certain level of irony in which the man who sinned was a victim and the victim who was physically attacked is the one you put blame on? What makes your kind of logic different from those physically abuse their victims and blame it on them?  That is frightening!

Some of the guys who were complaining needed to study the way Jeremiah and Jesus preached in their ministry.  Some thought it was wrong to say to someone that they were murderers at heart.  But we must remember the Word of Jesus:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-22 )

To those who think it is never right to say someone is a murderer in their hearts, we must ask the question: Are you better than your Savior?

We must remember:  “Name calling is a horrible display of Christianity” –Things Jesus never said (John 8:44, Matthew 12:34, 23:34)

In general I thought there were comments that were frightening spiritually to read as a Pastor: there were people with an attitude of self-righteousness almost if they were saying, “God, I thank you that you did not make me like that open air preacher! I love so much more than he, and speak more gently and graciously than he did to those who are angry with me.”

The one person I had the longest exchange with is a guy name Sean Gates.  The dialogue went as follows:

Sean Gates Way to go!?!? You pushed that person completely away from Christ. He may never give his heart to the Lord bc you preahing out out hate. Wake people. Ministry is to be done with love.

My Response: Sean you are pushing Tony Miano away when you approach Tony Miano like that by preaching against him so hatefully. Ministry is to be done with love and because of your tone and what you said I’m afriad now Tony will completely be pushed away from the softer, kinder, gentler, New Evangelicalism Politically Correct, Wierd Animal loving-VBS kind of Christianity.

Sean Gates And then you boast about your “injury” which you could have avoided by not being a moron.

My Response:I imagine you are responding to Tony Miano’s “name-calling,” among other things; don’t you think it’s kind of ironic that you called him a Moron?

Sean Gates You’re right I am. In the same since doing exactly what he did to that guy that decked him.
Like · Reply · 11 mins
My Response:Let’s repent of hypocrisy first brother Sean Gates; I think you should study how Jesus preached it might be edifying and change your perspective on open air preaching and preachers
Sean Gates But answer me this how many people came to Christ that day?

My Response:How many came to Christ when Jesus preached Matthew 23?

Sean Gates You never answered my question tho. This day this event how many people were led to the Lord!? I’m starting to think none. So that must mean this style of evangelism doesn’t work and maybe offends people who aren’t saved and getting called a murderer on the street. So maybe this pastor had what was coming him. Bc he is publicly judging people he doesn’t know. So for all this effort was for nothing. But he great news article pastor. Glad you are getting attention

My Response:In logic a question that’s a complex fallacy can’t be answered before the faulty presuppositions are addressed (see Jesus in action in Luke 20:1-8); My question to you that addresses your question still stand: how many came to Christ when Jesus preached at Matthew 23? Or how many came to repentance in Jeremiah’s ministry?

My Response: I also think it’s incredibly ironic Sean Gates that you charge Tony for judging people he doesn’t know; you called Tony a pastor more than once when he’s not one which reveal you don’t know him; yet you judge him for getting attention (something you don’t know from his heart); I’m using your own reasoning here to point out that you’re doing the same thing you are charging Tony of doing.

Sean Gates Look here is my point. Non saved people aren’t getting reached effectively by methods like this. This comes across as aggressive and they won’t even give you time of day. Evangelism its kinda like chess. You have to be strategic and spend time doing it. It’s not just something you stand out in public and yell at people through a mega phone. It’s not just something you check of your daily to do box and day well I told them about the Lord. People don’t trust any more. Spend the time and get to know the people who you are ministering too

My Response: What is “effective”? Before I came to Christ I reacted violently towards His message; but it got to me deep and later I repented; true effective evangelism is FAITHFUL to the Bible’s way of doing evangelism. again, your criticism is problematic when it goes against the ministry that Scripture commend of God’s men such as Jesus, Jeremiah and Noah.

But why would out concern? Question the methods of how you are witnessing! You need to know if you are being effective or not.  It concerns me that you guys are ok with this guy who may now never come to the Lord and in his mind this will be something that pushed him further away.

My Response: Again, read my words carefully; I think you are getting so worked up that you are slipping with self-refuting statements and other fallacies (complex questions, ad hominems, etc); I never said I didn’t care about being “effective;” note my comment earlier: ” true effective evangelism is FAITHFUL to the Bible’s way of doing evangelism.” I care about being faithful to the Way God wants us to evangelize; my dispute with you is that your criticism of Tony Miano is Biblically off the mark

Sean Gates You’re right I don’t know him. Neither does he know this murderer. Dude can keep doing this, but you can’t tell me this was effective and that he was right.

Jesus called people murderers in John 8:44 and Matthew 5:21-22; are you going to be Jesus’ evangelism consultant and tell Him it’s not effective or right? I trust you don’t have that much pride and self-righteousness; again, read your Bible.

Sean Gates Not saying God isn’t sovereign. I’m saying you’re method didn’t work. Think about what happened logically. Took called him a murderer trying to minister to him he got offended and hit you bc of what you said. God can change his heart even tho our the events that happened for sure. But you didn’t help him. You did nothing for him

Again, Jesus’ method didn’t work right? He too got rejected after His confrontational preaching in John 6, after Matthew 23 and after Luke 20. This is a great hubris if we are to evaluate evangelism by pragmatism rather than faithfulness to the Bible and the content of the Gospel and confronting sin.


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