These are the links between May 1st-8th, 2014 related to Presuppositional apologetics. There are some good ones this time around!
1.) God’s Standard
4.) Sorry Matt
The name Vladimir Putin comes up again and again in news headlines with his confrontation of Obama over Syria and now with the ongoing Ukranian crisis. Yet how much does the average American (or Westerner) know about this Russian President? This book is a biography about Putin written by a Russian female journalist who worked for US News and World Report. She has lost colleagues and friends involved in investigative journalism in Russia which faded her early optimism for Russia. Readers should appreciate what the author is up against when she wrote this book.
The book covers Putin’s early years growing up in St. Petersburg and his youthful infatuation with the KGB. It also discusses how Putin portrays himself including the stories he like to tell of him fighting people as a youth. Putin’s desire to enter the KGB made him desire to go to college to the surprise of some. Surprisingly this fighter went on to complete a doctoral degree later in life but according to the author much of Putin’s thesis was plagiarized.
The author’s coverage of Putin in the KGB is quite informative especially his days working in East Germany. Although the author insists that Putin was merely a low level KGB officer, I think one must not forget that he rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel. He resigned from the KGB in 1991 during the KGB’s failed coup.
The most intriguing part of the book was on Putin’s rise to power, beginning with Putin’s entry as a low level official in the city of St. Petersburg and moving upward towards Moscow. The book discusses about how some wanted to take credit for Putin’s rise to power but we must not miss how Putin is an ambitious man and not just a crony to be manipulated by others. Yet it is this perception of Putin as a yes man with no personality that led Boris Yeltsin to appoint Putin to become the acting president of Russia when he stepped down.
The book also talks about plots, corruption and killing by those around Putin. Most heart breaking was the book’s discussion of the disaster of the Russian submarine Kursk and how he handled it poorly. Specifically, Putin would rather let those men die than allow other nations to help rescue those men for the sake of national honor. The hostage situation in a school in Belsan was also covered, with Putin’s disregard for the lives of the hostages.
This book is an important read because it gives a little window into the life and thinking of Putin. I hope there will be more works like this in order for the West to understand more accurately who this man really is in light of current affairs.
This is a fifteen minute clip by James White on the topic of Ergun Caner, Liberty University and Glenn Beck.
As Christians we must not compromise truth and holiness.
Establish the need: If you say you believe in God, does your attitude, action and words show this to be true?
Purpose: Don’t just fool yourself in saying everything is okay since you believe in God, but see that you have the attitude of fearing God, action of sacrifice and commitment to your words to Him.
Today’s three points:
Don’t just say you believe in God, do you fear Him? (v.16a)
Don’t just say you believe in God, do you offer sacrifice to Him? (v.16b)
Don’t just say you believe in God, do you keep your words to Him? (v.16c)
16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
Jews as light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6)
Jews did not do a good job of being a good testimony to the nations
Same with Jonah
Ironically, Gentiles were coming to faith here!
I. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you fear Him? (v.16a)
Note: This will have the biggest focus in today’s sermon because it’s the least taught concept in the churches today in general, because it’s often misunderstood and because a proper understanding of it leads to the other point.
Point: If you your belief in God mean anything, you should have the proper attitude of fear for Him.
Passage: “Then the men feared the Lord greatly,”
a. Fear is a running theme in Chapters 1.
i. The men feared the storm in verse 5.
ii. The phrase, “The men greatly feared” is repeated twice in chapter 1, once in verse 10 and again here in verse 16 to show their fear of Yahweh.
b. The center of the narrative focuses on the fear of God
i. Chiastic Structure of Jonah 1:4-16 [SEE POWER POINT].
ii. Beginning in 1:4, there are 94 words before the beginning of the speech in 1:9 (“I am a Hebrew”) and 94 words in 1:10-15 (Limburg, 48).
iii. Q: What did Jonah say in v. 9?
A: ““He said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’””
iv. What verse 9 reveals about God
1. Focuses on the God of the Hebrews (Bible).
2. The name of God: Yahweh.
3. Yahweh is the Creator of the sea and dry land.
4. Verse 9 emphasizes Yahweh as Creator of the Sea (Irony).
Picture: (The different kind of fear distinguished: That of terror of a lion, that of a loving father).
i. Ask yourself Do you fear God like the way you fear your father?
1. If not, turn to Him for salvation!
2. If so, continue to do so!
ii. Cultivate fear of God in your life
II. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you offer sacrifice to Him? (v.16b)
Point: If you your belief in God mean anything, you should follow through with actions that honors Him.
Passage: “and they offered a sacrifice”
1. My translation: “and they offered an offering”
2. Again, twice the word “offering” shows up
a. Once as a verb.
b. Once as a noun.
3. Q: Why twice mention of offering?
A: To intensify the action.
4. The verb “offer” is literally sacrifice. In the Qal stem in the Hebrew, it always refer to real animal sacrifice (Sasson, 139).
5. Therefore, it involves real action, works and costs!
6. What God wants is more than sacrifice: He wants obedience (Psalm 50:7-16)!
7. The principle of having faith so called without works is also addressed in the New Testament in James 2:19-20.
Picture: (Limbo; if you really believe it would make you respond)
i. The New Testament does teach the importance of sacrifices, though in a different form: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that [a]give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). Do you see your worship on Sunday morning as a sacrifice offered to God?
ii. Sacrifice involves cost. In what you have done in serving God, what have it costs you?
iii. Do you spend money sacrificially for the cause of Christ?
iv. Count the costs of what God has done for you, then go do the hard things!
v. Cultivate fear of God in your life
III. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you keep your words to Him? (v.16c)
Point: You will keep your word with God.
Passage: “and made vows.”
Note they “made vows.”
This followed their action of making a sacrifice.
i. Have your faith in such a way that it leads you follow God with your action. This is possible by the grace of God.
We must not forget Jesus in all of this. He also taught the concept of fearing God, but in the context of God, hell and us: Luke 12:4-5.
We are made to fear things by God. If we don’t fear God, and become His slave the sad thing is, we will fear and become enslave everything else. Turn to Jesus. Sailors are great analogy for our condition.
I love apologetics. But I love that we defend the faith gracefully, respectfully, truthfully and Biblically.
I think coarse speech, vulgarity and inaccuracies in one’s apologetics does not glorify God. Being a celebrity in Pop apologetics circle does not mean one gets a free pass with God.
It is with a heavy heart that I blog about Ergun Caner, who at one time work at Liberty University and is currently the president of Brewton-Parker College. The blogger TurretinFan has done us an excellent job documenting his constant exaggeration of his past, outright lies and misrepresentation against Islam and other Christians.
I understand Christian can sin; but a true Christian’s response to sin is repentance. A mark of repentance is confession of sins. It is not a reaction that is characterized by more lies and a cover-up. A spirit of repentance means one is humbled rather than going after people exposing your sins.
Last year Ergun Caner sued the blogger behind the blog “Witness Unto Me” for “copyright infringement” since they loaded up a video of Caner lecturing the US Marines on Islam. Legally any talks given to the military that is recorded is now government property and one can not claim it as their own under the basis for a copy right. It is also legally available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The courts recently threw out Caner lawsuit since he lack any standing for his case.
Now both videos of Caner’s talks to the Marines are available online.
The video snippet of one of them is pretty sad:
I’m a Marine Combat Veteran myself and I don’t appreciate his vulgarity and lack of professionalism. When he jokes profanely and say “Did you think I would talk like a professor?” a courageous Marine said outloud “Yes.” If his speech is even too much for Marines and cussing sailors (Marine’s “medics” are from the Navy, and are not Marines) you know there’s a problem.
Everything he is recorded as saying is not helpful for Marines in Combat Zone, playing on Muslim and Middle Eastern sterotypes. His prejudice does not help Marines in real world, real time operations in this age of modern warfare’s complexities with Civil affairs, hearts-and-minds operation and the “Three Block War.”
I also think his ignorance of Islam is shown with his discussion of the Hadiths in minute 3:15 onwards. There are no such thing as “Hadiths volume 9” or “Hadiths Book 52.”
He claims all these debates with Muslim apologists that are non-existent.
He even claim to have debated Michael Moore. Google reveals nothing except for Caner claiming this.
He goes around in this video calling people names and other personal attacks such as calling people “fat,” and making fun of liberals, Canadians and Muslims.
There are no notes, he’s just giving a cheerleading speech that’s misinformed with lies of how he was going to be a terrorists even though his biography researched by others show otherwise.
Muslims are using this to give Christians a bad name.
And he continues with these lies. His followers have said he has repented but I’m afraid they might not remember what repentance is.
As I have posted four years ago, I will post again my call for Ergun Caner to repent:
One shocking news from last week was of a junior in high school name Chris Plaskon who stabbed a fellow student name Maren Sanchez. It happened on Friday morning in a hallway at Jonathan Law High School in the state of Connecticut. Apparently Plaskon had a crush on the girl and he stabbed her since she did not want to go to prom with him.
I do not want to focus my post on this story as much as a piece over at the New York Times about this unfortunate event. The article can be accessed by clicking HERE. Its title is quite indicative of what I’m trying to critique: “Suspect in Stabbing at Connecticut School Is Described as Popular.”
From a Christian worldview one can’t help it at times to see the folly of what the media spew out which reflect their inability to grasp a deeper understanding of what is going on or what’s really the issue (see for instance my post “Miley Cyrus, Twerking and Yahoo’s Adventure in Missing the Point“). Theology does matter: A wrong view of morality and ethics (depending on whether it’s source is from God or not) along with a wrong view of man (is he basically good or sinful) will shape how interpret the new story at hand. I think this NY Times piece is a good case in point.
With pun intended, the writers and editors for this news article aren’t very sharp.
Let us begin with the title: “Suspect in Stabbing at Connecticut School Is Described as Popular.” So a guy stabs a girl to death for not going to prom and the headlines for national news is that this guy is popular? I’m surprise the two journalists in the article didn’t gives us the friends count of Plaskon’s Facebook account or the stats of how many people followed him on twitter. I think it is unfortunate that the title for the article concentrated on something superficial. As the maxim goes, one ought not to major on the minors and minor on the majors.
In the writers’ defense, I acknowledge that sometimes its the editors who can manipulate a news article’s title in order to get attention for people to read the news piece. It’s unfortunate today that people in the media who aren’t witty compensate by being sleazy. We may fault the editors, but is it justified that I fault the writers? To answer that, we must look at the content of the article itself.
The article reported an ignorant coach saying the following:
But a day after authorities say Mr. Plaskon, 16 and a junior, fatally stabbed a classmate in a school hallway, teachers and students were struggling to make sense of the incomprehensible: how a student whom many described as funny and popular could suddenly be accused of killing Maren Sanchez, 16, a well-liked honor student and his longtime friend.
“They’re looking for the kid in the black cape and the fangs and the black fingernails, but there was no sign,” said Mark Robinson, 38, who was Mr. Plaskon’s football coach before retiring last season. “He wasn’t a kid who was in the shadows. He was a well-liked kid. He was funnier than hell. That’s what makes it really strange.”
Note how this coach was quoted as saying they expected the suspect to fit a certain mold: it must be someone who enjoy wearing black apparel. “In the Shadows.” Not liked. Of all the people interviewed and all the things people say, one have to wonder why these two writers have to put into the news article an unhelpful stereotype? Now don’t get me wrong I’m not “emo,” but just because someone’s gothic or anti-social or an awkward weirdo don’t mean they are the suspect you know. Seriously how low (superficial) can the mainstream media go? Black fingernails doesn’t determine guilt.
Lastly I want to note what this coach Mark Robinson said in the end of his quote: “He wasn’t a kid who was in the shadows. He was a well-liked kid. He was funnier than hell. That’s what makes it really strange.” This is a good example of how Christian theology is relevant. Note that Robinson assumes that because a kid is not in the shadows, he’s not going to be one who commit such an atrocious sin. He says the same thing for the “well-liked kid.” And the kid who is funnier than Hades. What makes it strange for Robinson is that Plaskon were all these things and yet he turned out to be the suspect. But should a Christian be surprised that a well-liked funny kid is able to commit such heinous acts?
A Christian wouldn’t be totally caught surprised if he or she believes in the sinfulness of man as it is taught in the Bible.
This sinfulness of man began at birth. Note the words of the Psalmist David: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
Biblically, the sinfulness of man is universal in scope. That is, the state of man’s sinfulness is is true of everyone as Romans 3:23 states: “for all [a]have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Psalms 14:2-3 also testify:
The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who [a]understand,
Who seek after God.
3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one.
The Bible also teaches that man’s sinfulness ultimately is not the result of his environment or outward appearances but the inward self, what the Bible calls the heart. Note Jesus’ words: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, [a]fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” (Matthew 15:19). Jeremiah even cried: ““The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” ( Jeremiah 17:9) Apparently Jeremiah tells us that our sinfulness in our hearts tells us constant lies. Fortunately God understands this and tells us in His Word.
The above is bad news to an already bad news.
But the Good News is that God has a plan to save us from our sinfulness and the eternal consequences of our sins. To play on what the coach Robinson joked about earlier, you can’t “be funnier than hell” as a well of escape. Instead our guilt before God is dealt with through the person and work of Jesus Christ: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This is indeed a free gift to those who trust in Him as their Lord and Savior. It is not something earned but given by God as Ephesians 2:8-9 testify:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [a]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The Bible helps lay the foundation for us to properly assess the human condition and therefore what’s important and what’s trivial when it comes to current events. But ultimately it is for us to properly assess ourselves and therefore come to understand and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.