Respectful response to John Piper’s article on voting by Wayne Grudem

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/a-response-to-my-friend-john-piper-about-voting-for-trump.html

Posted in moral corruption of culture, Morality and Ethics in Government, Politics | Leave a comment

Response to Sam Shamoun on “reconciliation” in Colossians 1:20

Recently Sam Shamoun and Matt Slick had a debate on Limited Atonement. Otherwise known as Particular Redemption or Definite Atonement, in the Reformed / Calvinistic system. You can watch the entire debate if you want on You Tube. (Just google Matt Slick vs. Sam Shamoun, Limited Atonement, etc.) I wanted to highlight James White’s response with the 3rd one first because it explains the passage in Colossians 1:16-20 best in light of Ephesians 2:11-22 and Dr. White pointed out that in Colossians 4:16, “read the letter from the Laodiceans” is probably the letter to the Ephesians, as it was a circular letter to be read, copied, and passed on to other churches. Dr. White provides an excellent response to Sam Shamoun. The other 2 responses are Dr. White’s initial responses. I am grateful for whoever it is that does the “Dividing Line Highlights” and breaks the programs up into smaller sections on each topic. Very helpful

Posted in Atonement for sin, God's Sovereignty, Particular Atonement in Calvinism, Sam Shamoun | 4 Comments

Huxley admitted his motive for anti-Christian bias and wanting Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to be true

https://creation.com/aldous-huxley-admits-motive-for-anti-theistic-bias

Aldous Huxley:
Admits motive for anti-Christian bias

Aldous Huxley was a British novelist who wrote Brave New World (1932), and was a grandson of ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’, T.H. Huxley. He was also the brother of the leading atheistic evolutionist Sir Julian Huxley (see quotes: Humanism as religion and Human soul and religion are just the product of religion), and died the same day as Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (see his quotes Materialistic Thoughts and Science began with belief in a Lawmaker), and the assassination of JFK (22 Nov. 1963). He is infamous for his advocacy of a drug-fueled utopia. In his mid-life he got involved in eastern mysticism. Aldous Huxley made this frank admission about his anti-Christian motivation:

‘I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.’

Reference

Huxley, A., Ends and Means, 1937, pp. 270 ff.

Posted in Apologetics, atheism, Evolution and Creation, moral corruption of culture | Leave a comment

A Brief Rebuttal of Baptismal Regeneration

by James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries

Posted in Baptismal Regeneration, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholicism | 3 Comments

External forms in true religion can be abused

A guy named David made a good point over at Allan Ruhl’s web-blog:

So it would appear that one’s heresy *can* in fact invalidate a sacrament if that heresy is sufficiently grave. Is it that Arianism isn’t as grave a heresy as Mormonism?

Good point David!

It shows that the bare form is wrong. The bare form without repentance and faith does nothing!!

This goes well with my previous article on “Acts 2:38 and the Early Church”

The prophets constantly rebuked the Jews in the OT for just going through the bare forms of sacrifices and yet, the sacrifices were important to teach something about atonement and God’s wrath vs. sin and entering into His presence; yet the rituals can be abused without heart conversion and internal reality. (repentance and faith)

Isaiah 1:11-15
Hosea 6:6 (Jesus quotes this in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7)
Amos 4:4-5; 5:21-25
Jeremiah 7:21-24

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 51:16

Psalm 40:6-8

The external form can be abused into something that corrupts the whole purpose of the form. So the bare forms of the rituals (especially infant baptism – makes people think they are “saved”) along with the other external rituals of the historical churches – EO, RCC, OO, Assyrian Church of the East.

This is what the RC and historical churches did from the State Church period onward, combined with looking to the rituals – water baptism, infant baptism, Eucharist, priestly words and forms, penances of ascetic works of satisfaction, etc. – from the 500s and 600s onward with hideous doctrine of Purgatory and treasury of merit and trafficking in relics and praying to statues and icons – these forms and rituals are empty and vain, as Jesus says in Matthew 15 and Mark 7 – “the traditions of man”.

“By this time [Council of Orange, 529] infant baptism was universal, so the teaching of grace is pushed back to a forgotten infancy.” Tony Lane, page 31, Exploring Christian Thought

Posted in Apologetics, Baptism, Baptismal Regeneration, church history, early church history, Purgatory, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism | 3 Comments

Acts 2:38 and the Early church

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 2:38-42

Some people are struggling with an interpretation of Acts 2:38 and an argument from church history that asserts that since non-Protestant historical churches (early catholic first 500 years, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox (Coptic Church, Miaphysites), and the Assyrian Church of the East (known as the “Nestorian Church” by many in history) – the argument that all of those churches believed that water baptism actually causes regeneration and causes the forgiveness of sins – that they are right about that.  It is actually not that clear that that was the dogmatic belief before 325 AD or 381 AD or even 451 AD.  (see below)    Sam Shamoun recently has been struggling with this issue and now claims he is open to the non-Protestant historical churches.   

He has had many other podcasts / videos recently where he has Roman Catholics on his online shows, and they present their apologetic against Protestant / Evangelical principles and doctrines.

Acts 2:38 and the early church

It is one thing to understand water baptism and church membership as part of discipleship and church planting (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38-46; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 3:27) -a natural result of true faith and evidence of true faith and the pattern of NT discipleship, but it is quite another thing to claim that water baptism causes regeneration and forgiveness to actually take place. (ex opere operato = “from the working of the act, it works” – means that the bare motions of the ceremony in the right form actually cause grace, forgiveness, and regeneration to take place. – An unBiblical notion.)

For a bunch of articles on the early church and baptismal regeneration, by Timothy Kauffman, see here. 

At the same time, someone who says, “I believe in Jesus, I realize I am a sinner, I repent and trust Christ to save me, but I refuse to get baptized and join a church” – that communicates that that kind of confession is not true faith.  We Bible believing Protestants would agree with that – you must follow the Lord in baptism and local church membership in order to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.   Just as true faith in Christ results in good works (James 2:14-26; Ephesians 2:10 is the result of 2:8-9), so also true faith in Christ will result in a desire to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to join that church that does the baptizing.  This is what Acts 2:38 points to – baptism is the result of repentance and faith, which brings forgiveness, but baptism is the not the act that actually causes forgiveness of sins.

Recently I had discussion/debate with Allan Ruhl at his blog.

Allan is a traditional Roman Catholic from Canada.

What follows is an edited version of most of my comments there.  For Allan’s comments, see his blog and the comboxes.

Nicene Creed – the original creed in 325 AD did not have “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”, rather that part was added later in either 381 AD – the Nicene – Constantinopolitan Creed, or more likely, 451 AD.  The part about the Deity of the Holy Spirit seems to have been added in 381 AD, but the rest about “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” is not in the records of history until 451 AD at the Council of Chalcedon.  J. N. D. Kelly points this out in his book, “Early Christian Creeds”.

J. N. D. Kelly points out in his book, “Early Christian Creeds”, chapter 10, pages 296-331 that the part about “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” is absent from 381 AD to 451 AD (Chalcedon) records; and that only in a letter of Gregory Nazianzus (Epistle 102), he mentions that the Council of 381 supplemented the part about the Holy Spirit to the original Nicene Creed of 325 AD, but as far as we know, the other additions to the original Nicene Creed were absent from recorded history from 381-451 AD. The first place we get the records of the 381 AD creed are not until 451 AD.


“The third and most impression objection is the seemingly absolute silence regarding a Constantinopolitan Creed which apparently reigned from 381 to 451.” (Kelly, ibid, page 307)


See also the info on the letter of Gregory of Nazianzus on page 307.
“the silence about C [the Constantinopolitan Creed] between 381 to 451 is a puzzling problem . . . ” (ibid, Kelly, p. 322)

Allan Ruhl is a student of church history, and knows the primary sources of the early histories of Eusebius, Sozomen, Socrates of Constantinople, Venerable Bede, etc. and he did not offer any refutation of J. N. D. Kelly’s point and apparently agreed with this, even writing, 

“Okay, I’ll agree with you that at the time, the council of 381 had little impact. It wasn’t given near the attention that Nicaea had. It only became authoritative at Chalcedon.” Allan Ruhl (see in the combox at the link above.)


Me:  Even so, getting that phrase (“one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”) wrong in meaning does not mean that the entire church became apostate at the time. ( 381 or 451 AD) The phrase seems to come from Acts 2:38, but there are various good ways to understand that, in harmony with the many passages that teach that forgiveness of sins is on the basis of faith in Christ, true faith meaning that it includes conversion- repentance, turning from sin and one’s own pride and ability to save themself. (Acts 13:38-39; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 15:8-9; Acts 16:31; Acts 17:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 1:9)


Based on exegesis and the uncertainty of formal condemnation of Sola Fide between 381 to Trent (1545-1563), it seems to me to be too hasty to claim that we Protestants would agree that the whole church completely and formally apostatized in 381 AD. (As Allan Ruhl claims)  It still stands that that did not happen until Trent in 1545-1563.

Other articles on baptismal regeneration and sacramentalism are linked to within my article “Between Orange and Trent”,

but here is the one by Sam Storms on Acts 2:38.
https://www.samstorms.org/all-articles/post/acts-2:38/


There are also articles on John 3:5 and Titus 3:5. This one is especially good.

“forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38)
“everyone who believes is justified / freed from everything which you could not be justified / freed by the law of Moses ” (Acts 13:39)
“cleansing their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9)


From the time of Theodosius the Great, 380-392 AD (Sacral State-Church) to the Council of Orange 529 AD, there are other issues that come together in the greater church world in the west – the Sacral church, infant baptism becoming the norm, ex opere operato sacerdotal priestly powers to confer grace, and especially, combined with the debate on free will, Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism (Augustine vs. those southern French monks who objected to his doctrine of the bondage of the will and predestination – one of them, namely John Cassian, and others.
see canon 13 of the Council of Orange that claims that baptism frees / heals the recipient of the bondage of the will to sin.
This also the time of the beginnings of the state church (sacralism) and also ex opere operato (that by doing the work of the ceremony, the “sacrament” has inherent power to confer / cause grace, if the form is done properly.The Council of Orange in 529 AD says that the sinful will that is in bondage to sin is freed by baptism, so that the person can then be able to chose rightly. This is clearly false. This combined with infant baptism, sets up an entire culture of external religion and thinking that doing the motions of religion brings grace (baptism, penance, Eucharist, etc.) (see my article below with the quotes)
I need to update some of the links, but I wrote on “Between Orange and Trent” several years ago.
As 2 Protestant historical theologians demonstrated (see in my article below), Semi-Pelagianism was condemned at Orange, but came back around “in a roundabout way” by the time of Trent.
In chapter 7, entitled “Merit and Grace”, R. C. Sproul discusses the issues of merit and grace, Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, the Council of Orange in 529 AD and the council of Trent (1545-1463), which seems to affirm semi-Pelagianism.
“Rome has repeatedly been accused of condemning semi-Pelagianism at Orange [in 529 AD] but embracing it anew at Trent. Herman Bavinck held that “although semi-Pelagianism had been condemned by Rome, it reappeared in a ‘roundabout way’”. G. C. Berkouwer observed:
“Between Orange and Trent lies a long process of development, namely, scholasticism, with its elaboration of the doctrine of the meritoriousness of good works, and the Roman system of penitence . . . “
Bavinck and Berkouwer are cited by Sproul in Faith Alone, pages 140-141.
http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/06/between-orange-and-trent.html

Danta and Mantey, Greek Grammar, page 103-104, on causal eis / εις = “for”, “into”, can also mean “because of” or “at”:

Matthew 12:41 and Luke 11:32 – “they repented at / because of the preaching of Jonah”.  This demonstrates that the meaning of Acts 2:38 “for the forgiveness of sins” means, “because of” the forgiveness of sins, and is tied more to repentance than the actual getting wet in water.  The water is a symbol of cleansing that pictures the reality of internal faith, just as 1 Peter 3:21 tells us. “not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience” (repentance)

Even if the early church in the 2nd century onward believed that water baptism causes regeneration and forgiveness of sins, this still does not mean that the church went completely off the rails – they can be wrong about something, but not that caused the whole church to become a false church, that did not happen until the Council of Trent, (1545-1563) when they formally condemned the doctrine of justification by faith alone.


So, from 381-451 AD and to 529 AD (Orange) was not a formal apostasy in the same way that 1545-1563 was.  Pelagianism was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, but Semi-Pelagianism was still being debated, in some areas, even though the Council of Orange condemned it.
But baptismal regeneration along with ex opere operato priestly powers, with the sacral State-church and infant baptism all hang together in a nexus of problems that eclipsed the heart of the gospel.
The Council of Orange in 529 AD officially condemned semi-Pelagianism, (but claimed that baptism frees the bondage of the will – it does not) and furthermore, from 529 to the Reformation, it entered back in through the state church, infant baptism, baptism regeneration, and ex opere operato sacramentalism. The development of Purgatory from 600s onward and Transubstantiation (1215 – Trent) also contributed to this – so at Trent, the RC became a false church formally.

Again, that era (381 to 451 and onto to Orange in 529 AD) is not a formal heresy and there is not such thing as “no gospel” when the Scriptures were there and God’s Spirit can convert people who read or hear at least the fundamental truths, say of 1 Corinthians 15:1-9; Romans chapters 3-5, etc.
confusion over Acts 2:38 and its meaning and the development of it at 451 to 529 AD does not make for a total apostasy. That still does not happen until Trent, 1545-1563)
But it is the forms, ceremonies, statues, icons, buildings, external trappings that hide or eclipse the gospel, for thinking that doing the form is what saves, rather than internal heart repentance and faith in Christ (Mark 1:15) – but those things do nothing to hurt Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18.
Matthew 16:13-18 has nothing to do with a bishop in Rome or ex opere operato powers, etc.
Jesus is saying that the “gates of Hades” (death) will not overpower “the Church” = (true believers that Christ purchased with His blood – Rev. 5:9; 7:9; Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
True believers are protected by the power of God so that the second death (hell) does not overpower them.
Revelation 20:6, 15
“the second death (hades, then thrown into hell, the lake of fire) has no power over them”
We all die physically, but the second death is judgement into hades and then into hell, the lake of fire.
Matthew 16:18 is only saying that spiritual death / second death / hades / hell, will not overpower true believers.
Protestants have more foundation in Peter’s confession because we go back to actual content of his faith and confession (and it’s harmony with the rest of the NT writings), rather than centuries later developed ideas that then anachronistically claim that the dogmas that were proclaimed in history, whether “529 or 553 (PVM) or “1215, or 1302, or 1545-1563 or 1870 or 1950” – those things are in seed form inside of Peter’s faith – a ridiculous claim.

Alan Ruhl wrote:

If you want to debate, stick to one topic at a time. If you throw out a cluster I’m going to stop responding. It’s up to you.


Dave Armstrong made that same argument with me for years at his blog, but they are a cluster that hangs together; they all hang together like Spaghetti and meal balls with all the ingredients and spices into one “thing” / entity.
This shows that we can be “deep in history”, better than RCs and John Henry Newman’s assertion / claim / “dictum” that Rome C. apologists use, is proven false.

Newman’s false dictum:  “To be deep in history is to be cease to be Protestant.”

No; we Protestants can also be deep in church history.
Of course you (Allan Ruhl) want to separate them out and take one at a time, because a Roman Catholic apologetic cannot deal with the “cluster” of issues that Protestants have with a fallible historical church that caused confusion from 451 AD (not the Christology of 2 natures of Christ, but other things – that infant baptism done in the right form actually causes grace and regeneration to happen) and 529 AD (Council of Orange) to the Council of Trent, etc.

Cluster of many Issues with the Roman Catholic Church:
*Denial of the heart of the gospel at the Council of Trent  (anathematizing the doctrine of Sola Fide)


* priests  (all believers are priests – 1 Peter 2:4-10)
* ex opere operato
* baptismal regeneration
* thinking that doing a form of eternal physical piety somehow brings grace down from heaven
*Purgatory
*Infant baptism combined with baptismal regeneration and combined with State church / church roles / citizenship
*Marian piety, doctrines, dogma
* Transubstantiation  (developed from 800s to 1215, only became a dogma in 1215)
* Papal authority developed over centuries, then claims of infallibility in 1870 and then reading that back into Matthew 16:18

There were many true believers in Christ in the first 500 years; and Protestants who know church history do not condemn the early church or fathers and we have great respect for:

Clement of Rome

Polycarp

Justin Martyr
Ignatius
Irenaeus
Tertullian
Athanasius
Cyprian
Augustine
Jerome,
the Cappadocian fathers

I believe Anselm of Canterbury was a true believer.  (1033-1109)

I believe Johan Von Staupitz (Luther’s father confessor), was a true believer.


Perfection of doctrine does not save. No, the early fathers are not in hell; as some RCs accuse Protestant’s understanding of church history to imply.
True Faith in Christ saves completely.
“cleansing their hearts by faith” – Acts 15:9
Baptism and church membership and continuing in discipleship is the RESULT of true conversion, not the cause or condition of salvation.
So, no they are not in hell.
We can take them “as is” (warts and all; history is history, that is, what happened) and realize they were great in many ways and they are not infallible and may be wrong in some areas.

about Acts 2:38
Verse 41 is the key – water baptism & being connected to other believers in a local church is the result of true faith & repentance,
“received his word” = faith and repentance
“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls”  Acts 2:41


There are too many other verses that say that forgiveness is on the basis of faith in Christ and repentance.
Luke 24:46-47
John 5:24
Acts 13:38-39
Acts 16:31
Since we have no clear record of that phrase “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” that demonstrates it was there in 381 AD, it seems it was added in 451 AD.
It is just a matter of choosing the wrong proof-text for the creed, a wrong interpretation of all the Biblical data. Putting all the relevant verses together, repentance and faith in Christ alone brings forgiveness / justification (Romans 4:5; 5:1) and baptism and church membership are results of that, not pre-conditions or causes.
From 451 Ad, Chalcedon, to 529, the Council of Orange – the debate was over semi-Pelagianism vs. Augustine’s doctrine of Grace. (which the Reformation recovered)
Other issues such as 1. state church and 2. infant baptism and 3. ex opere operato priestly powers were soldified during this era. They all came together to form a 4 knotted entity. 4. water baptism causing forgiveness of sins and causing regeneration
The all hang together in church history and related to one another.

It was Augustine’s writings on grace and predestination, along with returning to the Greek NT, prepared by Erasmus and encouraged by Luther’s superior Johan Von Staupitz, that revealed or caused them to rediscover the truth that was there in the NT, but was eclipsed over by the traditions of man (Matthew 15; Mark 7) – the heart of the gospel to the Reformers. (Galatians 1:6-9; chapters 2, 3, 4; 5; Romans 1, 3, 4, 5, Philippians 3:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 13:38-39; 16:31; John 5:24; 3:16-18; 11:25; 6:37-45; 20:30-31, etc.)  See Nick Needham’s book, “The Triumph of Grace:  Augustine’s Writings on Salvation”.  


B. B. Warfield was right:
“For the Reformation, inwardly considered, was just the ultimate triumph of Augustine’s doctrine of grace over Augustine’s doctrine of the Church. (Warfield, Calvin and Augustine, p. 322)
by “doctrine of the Church” = ceremonies, sacraments, bishops, buildings, external rites, bishops, ex opere operato thinking – what the RC emphasizes for centuries over the reality of heart faith in Christ alone and the invisible grace of God working in the heart.

“Putting all the relevant verses together, repentance and faith in Christ alone brings forgiveness / justification (Romans 4:5; 5:1) and baptism and church membership are results of that, not pre-conditions or causes.”

 It is there in Scripture clearly. See all the verses I put up in earlier post.
The NT never teaches that words confessed over a baby and water getting them wet CAUSES them to get forgiveness of sins, or causes regeneration. Nor an adult – baptism and church membership naturally follow repentance and faith as results and proof that one has true faith in the first place. The forgiveness comes at the moment of conversion / faith & repentance; but someone who claims to have faith, and then says, “But I refuse to be baptised or join a Biblical church” – that indicates that the faith is not real or it is a temporary attitude of pride – a true believer will seek to follow the Lord in baptism – Matthew 28:19 and Matthew 3:13-17, etc.
This is the root of the problem.
Even Justin Martyr (in that famous passage in his First Apology 61, On Baptism) is clear that only after a person believes in Christ, do they then get baptized. There has to be adult understanding that they are a sinner so that they can repent and believe.
There are no babies there getting wet or having magic words said over them.
Colossians 2:11-12 clearly says that we get baptized when there is faith. “faith in the working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead”.

Canon 5 and canon 13 of the Council of Orange is wrong and unBiblical.
see my article, “Between Orange and Trent” (see above for the link)
The Council of Orange in 529 AD
Against Semi-Pelagianism
(but canon 13 and subsequent centuries from Orange to Trent made another form of semi-Pelagianism in the outward performance of sacramentalism, the main thing about Roman Catholicism; even to this day.


CANON 13. Concerning the restoration of free will. The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it. Hence the Truth itself declares: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

(Notice the verse they cite says nothing about water baptism setting the will free)
Correction: According to the Scriptures, getting wet and having works said over you does not free the bondage of the will in sin; rather it, the freedom of the will, can be only restored by the grace of God that He gives in repentance and faith in Christ. Acts 16:14; John 6:37-45, 65; Romans 6:22; Ezekiel 36:26-27; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 2 Corinthians 4:5-6; Ephesians 2:1-10.

1 Corinthians 12:13 – we are baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ – water baptism is the outward symbol of the internal repentance and trust in Christ.

Some of Canon 5 of the Council of Orange was wrong also.  the bolded phrase is wrong. I had to go back and re-read that. It is amazing that the claim is made that water baptism causes regeneration, and yet the verses they quote say nothing about water baptism, but only about grace and faith. But Canon 5 is correct about faith and repentance – it does not belong to us by nature – the desire to repent and believe in Christ comes from the gift of God’s grace. (Ephesians 2:4-5; 2 Cor. 4:6; Acts 16:14; John 6:37-45; 2 Timothy 2:24-26)


CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.  (Canon 5 from the Council of Orange of 529 AD)

For an article I wrote in 2012 on Baptismal Regeneration, at James Swan’s blog, see here.

Posted in Allan Ruhl, Apologetics, Baptism, Baptismal Regeneration, church history, early church history, History, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism, Sam Shamoun | 1 Comment

Prayer in song from Psalm 20

Psalm 20

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

20 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!
May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering [a]acceptable! [b]Selah.

May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your [c]counsel!
[d]We will sing for joy over your [e]victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the [f]saving strength of His right hand.
Some [g]boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we [h]will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.
They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.
[i]Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call.

Posted in Music, Prayer, Psalms, Spiritual growth, Spiritual songs, Thanksgiving, worship | 3 Comments

True Worship

“Worship is not only doing what pleases God, but also being pleased with what God does.”  (Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, cited by William Barcley, “Ungratefulness as the Root of Sin” in Tabletalk Magazine, p. 6, November, 2019, Ligonier Ministries.)

Barcley (Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church) goes on:  “Worship includes taking delight in and giving thanks for all that God brings into our lives – in all circumstances.  The thankful heart is a worshipful heart.  The thankless heart is incapable of worshiping God.”  (ibid, Tabletalk, p. 6-7)

At the time I write this article, it is August 8, 2020 and I have been chewing and meditating on this article ever since I first read it in November of 2019, during my devotions.

Barcley also points out Romans 1:18-3:20 and focuses in on Romans 1:21:

“At the root of it all, however, is humanity’s failure to honor God as God and give Him thanks (Romans 1:21).  In its essence, ingratitude is a rejection of God.  It is a rejection of Hm as Creator and Ruler of all things.”  (ibid, p. 7)

and

“Ungratefulness and pride go hand in hand.” (ibid, p. 7)

The statement by Burroughs seems to be derived from the Scripture in Job 1:20-22

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

This is a massive lesson that rebukes all tendencies to anger at God for what He allows (sufferings, sickness, disease, trials), the resulting self-pity, melancholy, depression, discouragement, crankiness, complaining, bitterness, negative outlook at life – if it comes from not being thankful to God and focusing on one’s self and circumstances – this lesson seems to be a constant need of reminder every day.  Some of these things like depression and melancholy are also influenced by genetics, personality, physical pain, aging, etc. but my focus here is on the complaining that arrises out of lack of thankfulness, worship, and focus on God and who He is, as revealed in Scripture.

Jesus said that those who worship must worship in Spirit and Truth:  John 4:23-24

All of John chapter 4 is important for the context, so please note the entire chapter.  For my article here, I am focusing on John 4:16-26.  In the future, I want to write on the context of evangelism and outreach that Jesus made into the Samaritan territory (John 4:1-15), but for now, the purpose of this article is on John 4:16-26.

  1.  Sin 

True worship cannot take place without a recognition that one is a sinner.  Jesus gently exposed the Samaritan’s woman’s sinful lifestyle.  (John 4:16-19)

2.  Place

True worship also is not limited to a specific place.  (John 4:21)

3.  OT revelation of who God is

and true worship comes to us by first understanding the Jewish Scriptures and revelation of who God is.  (John 4:22) “salvation is from the Jews” = means that the knowledge or revelation of who God is, and His redemptive plan of salvation begins with the Old Testament Scriptures.  We are not Marcionites.  (Marcion was a 2nd century heretic who championed the rejection of the Old Testament or that the God of the OT is some other deity than the Father of Jesus Christ in the NT.)

4.  Spirit and Truth (4:23-24) –

Mediate on these verses from the videos below from the Greek Text. We must worship “in Spirit” = one must be born again by the Spirit of God. (John 3:1-10)  “Truth” = “Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17) – we must fill our minds and hearts with God’s word.  We must worship sincerely and truly.  Internal reality by heart repentance and faith.

5.  Jesus as Messiah (4:25-26)

True Worship also includes recognizing that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of the OT Scriptures, (John 4:25-26), and all that the NT reveals about Jesus. (eternal, Word, Son, Deity, incarnation, 2 natures, etc.)  (John 1:1-5; 14-18; 5:17-18; 8:24; 8:56-58; 10:30; 17:5; 20:28; Hebrews 1:3, 6, 8, 10-12; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:15-20; Mark 2:28; Mark 14:60-64; Matthew 14:33, Matthew 22:41-46 / Mark 12:35-37; Luke 1:34-35, etc.)  No one can come to God the Father except through Jesus Christ.  (John 14:6)  So it is not enough to claim, as Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Muslims do, that true worship is plain “Monotheism”.

In the future, I hope to write more on this subject, as it is a great and profound issue, and causes me to stop and think and pray and meditate on more and more these days.

Posted in Sanctification/Holy living, Spiritual growth, Thanksgiving, Truth, worship

Context of Surah 2:79 is 2:78 and 2:75

The Qur’an never says the text of the Previous Scriptures (OT & NT) fell into wholesale corruption.

Apologetics and Agape

Muslims charge the Christians and Jews with altering, changing, corrupting the text of the previous Scriptures.  (previous to the Qur’an)  Yet the Qur’an teaches that the previous Scriptures are not corrupted or changed.  (Surah 10:94; 5:46-48; 5:68) See here

One of the main verses Muslims use is Surah 2:79

So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.  Surah 2:79

But they usually fail to note what verses 75 to 78 say, especially verse 75 and 78.

Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of themused to hear the words of Allah and then distort the Torah after they had understood it while they were…

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Posted in Bible is not corrupted, Islam, Muslims, Truth | 100 Comments

The cultural tendency of the Muslim world to cover up their sins

Islam talks about internal sins a little bit but not very much ; it is not an emphasis in Islam to deal with the roots of internal sins; and there is no solution in Islam  to arrogance and pride and lust and jealousy and rancor and hatred and spite in the heart. Mark 7:20-23; Matthew 5:21-30; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9

The emphasis in Islam is the rituals (and external societal behavior) – the five pillars of Islam and they are mostly about saying the right words . 1.  (The confession of the shahada – the Islamic confession that “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet”) and doing the right ritual deeds – 2. The ritual prayers five times a day 3. fasting during the month of Ramadan, 4. giving alms to the poor called  Zakat, 5. And going on pilgrimage to Mecca once in your lifetime. 6. Some Muslim scholars say Jihad is the sixth pillar of action .  There is also in Islam what is called the five pillars of belief, actually six, and that is 1. monotheism about God or Towheed  2.  the prophets of God 3. the books of God 4. angels and demons 5. heaven and hell and 6. predestination.
These are the two categories – the two groups of pillars that people are talking about when they are talking about what Islam is.  This demonstrates there is no emphasis on understanding that a person is a sinner and lost and on his way to hell and has no hope of salvation – there is no forgiveness without the cross of Jesus the Messiah and his powerful resurrection from the dead and all that the New Testament teaches about who he is.

Apologetics and Agape

Paul Williams wrote: (at his old blog, no longer available)  (quoting Hamza Yusuf)
“We must remember that if a person has done wrong his spiritual path is not severed. There is recourse. One seeks repentance with God. One should not confess or broadcast what one has done. If God has veiled one’s wrongdoing, do not tear the veil down.
There is a hadith in which a man came to the Prophet (upon whom be peace) and said “I committed a sin,” and he meant adultery. “So punish me.” But the Prophet (pbuh) turned and walked away. The man pursued the Prophet (pbuh) and told him again that he wanted to be punished for his sin. The Prophet (pbuh) finally looked at him and asked him if he made ablution and prayed. He was telling him that Islam purifies. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever does indecency, let him veil his acts with the…

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Posted in Islam, Muslims, Salvation, Sin in Islam | 77 Comments