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Earnestly Contend for the Faith

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints(Jude 1:3).  Why do we defend the institute of marriage?  We defend because it is an institute, anchored in the creation ordinance.  A creation ordinance that prescribes only a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.  We defend it also because for Christians marriage is a sacred institute that was considered a mystery and was later revealed in the NT as a reflection or living drama of the Gospel.  Paul states his reason concerning his discourse on the relationship between the husband and the wife.  He refers to it as a mystery.  A mystery because it is in reference to Christ.  In other words, this mystery is in reference to the Gospel.  Paul did not use the relationship of a husband and wife so he can make his illustration look good.  No he used marriage because it is a living and real drama of the Gospel being lived out between a husband and wife.  The husband loves his wife because Christ loved the church.  The wife loving submits to her husband because the church submits to Christ.  That is the mystery that Paul was trying to unfold concerning his living drama of marriage, which points to Christ.  Hence, we can safely say to the world: to attack marriage is to attack the Gospel and to attack the Gospel is to attack God.  And to assault God means to mark yourself out as an enemy of Him.  They are playing with fire and gasoline.

Satan has His eyes on marriage because He knows marriage is a powerful institute that reflects the Gospel.   He wants to marginalize this sin concerning this institute because he knows the more and more its twisted lifestyle and anti-Christ beliefs pervades one’s life negatively, the more and more we take the Gospel lightly.  He attacks and attacks anything that helps us look to the Gospel.  He was unsuccessful in his attempt killing God’s Son while as a baby.  Why?  Because He knows the active and passive obedience of Christ to the call of sacrifice for Hell-deserving sinners makes up the contents of the Gospel.

And since He was unsuccessful, he attacks this institute because it is the source that causes His people to reflect His Son’s relationship to the church.  He knows the Gospel is important for Christians because it teaches us how to live with our spouses and teaches us the role of biblical manhood and womanhood.  When the enemy attacks, he attacks, by operating in subterfuge.  He has a game plan before he comes for the neck.  He loves to blur the line.  He does not come to the table and draw all his cards.  He hides, prowls, and then attacks.

One of Satan’s weapon is the idolatry of pleasing men.  He loves to tempt believers to elevate relationships above God’s glory.  He does it by influencing the church to consider celebrating gay wedding and causes one to manipulate the commandment to love your neighbor by substituting the joy and respect for the voting in place of the protest against the 5-4 ruling.

He attacks this institute because homosexuality can’t propagate babies.  For every human born into this world, he or she is a potential saint of God that is to spend eternity with Christ.  We defend it because we do not rejoice in unrighteousness (1 Cor. 13:6, “does not rejoice in unrighteousness”).  We defend because Jesus is King and is to be exalted before the nations.  We defend because the King determines the terms and conditions for how man must live.  We defend the truth so that sinners will have their sins forgiven and be spared from the impending wrath of God.  We defend because this abominable lifestyle opens up a can of worms.  What’s next? Humans marrying animals? Pederastic homosexuals getting married, etc.?  We defend it because it mars the image of God.

It must be noted that we are dealing with two battle fronts: homosexuals and the LGBT movement.  The LGBT movement is a 1,000 pound silverback gorilla that has a significant aim.  Its aim is to destroy the church; run them out of their buildings, shut off their lights, deplete their finances, and extinguish their presence.  To do that means we have a lesser presence in the world.  But here is the news flash saints:

  • Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
  • 2 Tim. 2:9, “For which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the Word of God is not imprisonment.”
  • Revelation 14:6: “And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.”

Again the LGBT movement operates in subterfuge.  Many in past decades would not dare to surmount a huge presence to debate against Scripture because of its clarity of prohibitions against sexual sins such as homosexuality.  But now times have changed and they operate as wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They do it by using homosexual so-called academic scholarship.  And their means: the Bible.  They ultimately fail because you can’t destroy the doctrines of God.  They are supernatural.  Hence, it can’t lie, contradict itself, or be inconsistent.

Before we address their unbiblical notions, I would like to first remind ourselves that this issue can be a catch-22 for Christians. What I mean is that one can fall into one of these errors: apathy for the truth and fanatical hatred for homosexuals.  Because this is a hot issue, we need to exalt the cross because it reminds us of who we were once was before salvation.  Paul reminded this sobering truth to the Corinthian church.  He states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

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Jesus-Only1

There is a Southern California conference that is a gathering of the young (High school through Young adults), Calvinistic and of the Christian Missionary Alliance Churches that you should know about.  They have just finished their second year and are planning things for the third year with invitation to more churches to join them.  If you are around the area, you should consider attending next July.

While it’s not an apologetics conference, nevertheless they do have apologetics Break-Out Session that is Presuppositional in their method!  I’ve added a seminar on hermeneutics since apologetics is broader than dealing with atheism, but also with the cults which involve properly interpreting the Bible with an historical and grammatical hermeneutics.  Enjoy!

For the brochure with the handouts to the 2013 sesssions, click HERE.

Introduction to Presuppositional Apologetics/Perspectivalism
Speaker: Jimmy Li
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How to Study Your Bible
Speaker: Mark Pakingan
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Foundations of Science

Speaker: Zach Holter
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Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses
Speaker: Jimmy Li
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Transgender matthew 18
From the news this morning I read this on BBC:

A Colorado primary school discriminated against a six-year-old transgender girl by barring her from using the girls’ toilets, a civil rights panel has said.
The panel in the US state of Colorado said Coy Mathis’ school ignored her gender identity and created an environment “rife with harassment”.
Her family had removed her from the school in response.
The case comes as schools and governments across the US grapple with the emergence of transgender people

I wondered how this boy was diagnosed as being a “girl” and another news article said

The Mathises said Coy, a triplet, showed an early preference for things associated with girls.
At 5 months, she took a pink blanket meant for her sister Lily. Later, she showed little interest in toy cars and boy clothes with pictures of sports, monsters and dinosaurs on them. She refused to leave the house if she had to wear boy clothes.

Seriously?

This makes me remember the Words of Jesus in Matthew 18:6

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea

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Politically Incorrect guide to Darwinism

Purchase: Amazon 

Though Intelligent Design is not my cup of tea when it comes to apologetics argument for the Christian faith nevertheless I read this book in order to stay abreast with contemporary non-Presuppositionalist’s apologetics. The beginning of the book defined the term evolution, Darwinism, Creationism and intelligent design which is helpful so that readers can be more precise in their own use of the term. This section made me realize that I need to ask those I’m interacting with to define what they mean when they use those terms instead of assuming I know what they mean or giving them a free pass for any potential misunderstanding or error. The book noted rightly that evolution as a definition is too broad if it only refer to change, since everyone believes in some kind of change or another over time. Most people mean Darwinism when they talk about evolution and Darwinism is defined as the descent of organism with biological modification into other species. From time to time I hear atheists complain that Christians invented the term “Darwinism” as a prejorative for evolution but this is simply not true: The book traces the term “Darwinism” being first used by Darwinists themselves. Similarly, the term micro and macro evolution was also not a Creationist invention since the term was first used by Darwinists. Half of the book was focused on the problems of Darwinism while the second half focused on intelligent design. Those familiar with the problems of evolution and it’s evidences will see them rehearsed in this book. The author also noted an interesting dilemma concerning Darwinists who assert that something scientific must be falsifiable and then say they dismiss intelligent design since it’s not falsifiable but then these same critics write in peer review journal articles that “refute” intelligent design; yet how could they refute it if it is not something falsifiable to begin with? As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. As a presuppositionalists reading this book, I can’t help but to see the scary documented stories of Darwinist’ campaign of misinformation and persecution of non-Darwinists confirms the point that true religious neutrality is an impossibility. These stories are down right frightening for those who want to pursue a career in academia and happen to have even the slightest reservation concerning Darwinism. There’s the quote from Paul Z. Myers who talked about bringing out brass knuckles against those expounding intelligent design, and the campaign to harass and oust the Smithsonian’s editor who agreed to publish an ID paper. Readers must not forget the assorted danger of government enforced Darwinism. The book was not heavy on the philosophical side but I was pleasantly surprised with the author’s familiarity with Thomas Khun’s discussion about scientific revolution which is the source of the author’s optimism about the future of Intelligent Design.

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The Gospel according to the Simpsons

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This work should probably be titled “Spirituality According to the Simpsons,” though it will not have the same ring to it as the chosen title, “The Gospel According to the Simpsons.” The reason why I think there should be a rewording of the title is because the book is not so much about the Simpsons and the Christian Gospel but rather it’s an analysis of the Simpsons’ outlook on religion and spirituality in general. The author is an Evangelical Christian which leaves me wondering about his ability to evaluate the Simpsons or any shows on the basis of the Gospel. I suppose one must be realistic and not expect the Simpsons to be an overt Christian TV show with an Evangelistic agenda but given the title I was somewhat hoping that Mark Pinsky would have pointed out bits and pieces of the Gospel hinted in Simpsons episode. Instead, the nearest it got to that was more of analysis of various character’s religiosity–a long shot from the Gospel which is even more troubling with very clear snippets in the Simpsons of a theology of works driving certain character’s behavior. The goal of this work seems to more modest: Pinsky’s overall thesis is that Christians should have a more careful analysis of this TV show than what meets the eye at first, going on to argue that the Simpsons is not entirely as anti-religion as it seems and at times the TV show can portray accurately the American suburban religious landscape. Here I must acknowledge that Pinsky is onto something, with his observation that the Simpsons have characters that portray Christianity more favorably than other network shows and also how over the years various religious characters have been explored with full episode coverage. I did enjoy the author’s analysis of Ned Flanders, probably the best in the book. Pinsky also pointed out something that I never thought of before–of how Marge has a spiritual side to her that trusts in God–but not necessarily organize religion, though she does insists her family goes to church. The moment I understood that this book addresses the Simpson’s outlook on religion and spirituality in general rather than Christianity in particular (the book discusses Catholics, and the Hindu faith of Abu), I think I was able to enjoy it as a work that engages in a cultural analysis of the Simpsons–that becomes a narrative of our contemporary religious sociology. I enjoyed his analysis of how the Simpsons in some ironic backhanded way, is pro-family, evaluating several episodes in which Homer or Marge faces temptation of infidelity to their marriages. That portion of the book makes me realize the phenomenon that the reasons why the Simpsons have continued to be successful over all these years is the fact that as an animated show it surprisingly can mirror reality and the human condition accurately with all it’s flaws and inclination for sin; yet, I am glad to see (well, more like read) how it paints temptation so real and how one ought to resist it. Towards the end of the book, I enjoyed his chapter that talked about the writers behind the Simpsons including their religious and nonreligious outlook. I also enjoyed the book’s indictment of Mainline denominationalism’s out of touch with reality “spirituality” and what I call the Liberal feel goody gospel of fluff as seen in Springfield Community Church and incarnate in Reverend Lovejoy. Reverend Lovejoy is a sad picture to me of a pastor with poor theology, who had great aspiration that has been burned out with the reality of weekly ministry, poor exegesis that does not preach from the text (who often misquote and even makes things up) and is well, boring and looks forward to retreating to his home with his model train set. While I enjoyed the analysis of this book concerning the Simpson take on faith and spirituality (because it is so spot on with conditions today), at the end of the day it’s incredibly sad to think that the Gospel–the essence of the Christian message, in which people are sinners that can be made right with God through God’s grace alone, by faith alone in Christ alone is not something that the Simpsons episode was ever grasped; I’m not saying it has to be believed, but for it to be grasped like how it can be seen as understood in older movies or shows–which is a sad indication I believe of biblical illiteracy today. While I do agree with Pinsky that the Simpsons does paint faith, God and religiosity in a favorable light (while also admitting the quirkiness of people at the same time), a Christian must not forget the Gospel–according to the Bible.

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Purchase: Amazon

The author Brian Godawa is a prolific Christian movie maker, reviewer, screen writer and author. If one would expect someone to have the situational background to write on a Christian worldview analysis of films, then Godawa would be it. Making this even better is the fact that Godawa has good theology driving his worldview. He’s also influenced by Van Til’s Presuppositional apologetics (another major plus!). I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and was glad that I was finally able to order it and sit down and read it. The book defends the idea that film in of itself is not sinful–and that is just the preface. Conscious of the fact that film consists of visual imagery, the dramatic and a story, the author demonstrates that Scripture uses or record people using imagery, the dramatic and stories properly. The rest of the book is divided into three parts, or more appropriately as Godawa calls it, “act.” In Act 1, Godawa focuses on story telling, which consists of three chapters. The first chapter is about the issue of sex, violence and profanity. This chapter is one that a Christian might want to read carefully and perhaps revisit even after a first reading of the book. It is something to chew on even if not every Christian will find themselves in agreement with the author. Chapter three focuses on movies with redemption which obviously is a big theological Christian motif since God has established the greatest act of redemption. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Act 2 of the book, which focuses on three worldviews that’s the undercurrent of many contemporary movies: existentialism, postmodernism and other worldviews, including Eastern mysticism. Act 3 focuses on movies protrayal of the spiritual with a chapter each on Jesus, Christianity, faith and spiritual warfare. What I like alot about this book is that many movies are brought up as examples of the worldviews subtle message in films. There are many insights, analysis and observations from various movies throughout the book. You will find yourself seeing movies you seen before in new light and also be curious about the story lines of other movies you have not seen before (and of course, some movies which I will not see as a result of this book’s analysis). All in all, these example should stir a Christian to be careful with discerning and watching movies with Godly wisdom–and while watching out for swearing, needless violence and sexual sins are important, we as believers must also watch out for the IDEAS that film impart to us. I highly recommend this book as a great introduction.

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