Second Edition of Cat Con

23/03/2011

The second edition of my book Catechim in Conversation is now available both in paperback and ipad version. It’s definitely an improvement over the first edition in terms of the content as well as overall presentation.

http://www.1888pressrelease.com/innovo-publishing-llc-releases-catechism-in-conversation-by-pr-285598.html

Consequences of Atheism

02/12/2009

There are some atheists who do not think that their atheism has much impact on their lives as a whole. To them, atheism (or the lack of belief in God or the Supernatural) is but a small part of their lives. They might even compare a lack of belief in God to a lack of belief in Santa Claus or unicorns. But is it really true that atheism has little impact on one’s life? Definitely not! Let me briefly trace the consequences of atheism, and particularly of denying the God of the Bible, in three areas.

First, atheism has an impact on one’s view of reality. Most atheists would say that reality is composed of the material and physical, and that nothing beyond space and time exist, and even if it does exist, it has no impact on his life. As such, everything that the Bible says about the origin and purpose of this universe, of life, man, angels, heaven, hell etc can be discarded.

Second, atheism has an impact on one’s view of knowledge. If, as most atheists would say, reality is simply what can be experienced by the senses and nothing else, then they have determined the only method of knowing, namely, through observation. Revelation from God, i.e. the Bible, is ruled out, a priori, as a valid source of knowledge and truth.

Third, atheism has an impact on morality, i.e. it has implications for how a person lives and how he will determine right and wrong. If God does not exist, then everything that the Bible says about what God requires of man can be discarded. The atheist is essentially saying that he is his own “God” and that he will determine for himself what is right and wrong, and what the course of his life ought to be. He will use his own common sense or any other ethical theory devised by man to judge good and evil, right and wrong.

It’s clear that all atheists have a philosophy of life that is radically affected by their rejection of the supernatural. It’s true that there is no common philosophy among all atheists but one thing is sure, they have all rejected the Biblical philosophy of life and substituted something else for it.

The Bible has this to say about atheists: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalm 14:1)” And again: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are no convenient…(Rom. 1:28)”

Possessing the Enemies’ Gate

15/07/2009

In Genesis 22:17, God said to Abraham, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.”

What does it mean to possess the gate of the enemy? Now the gate of a city was the only way in and out of the city. To control the gate was to hold the key to life and death to those inside. If the city could not defend its gates, the city was doomed. The person or army who controlled the gate had the privilege of determining the religion, the commerce, the legal system, and every aspect of the life of the city. In short, the whole structure of the society was dominated by the possessor of the gate.

God’s promise to Abraham was that his descendants would some day possess the gates of the enemy, i.e. they would dominate and control all aspects of the enemies’ society. As the word of God is preached and believed and implemented in society, the nations of the world would begin to experience the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant as they are brought into that covenant. And so Christ gives His Church the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and He promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church (Matt 16:18).

Putting all this together, it seems to me that it is God’s plan and purpose to fill this whole world with the descendents of Abraham, i.e. true believers, who will then take control of every area of life and bring all things under the rule and dominion of Christ. Today, it seems that true believers are the minority and the wicked are the majority. But I believe that as time progresses, that will change. We have the assurance that “He (Christ) shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.” (Psalm 72:8-9) Meanwhile, we must continue to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And we must continue to work for the propagation of God’s word into all the earth and the discipling of all nations.

The teacher as a student

08/07/2009

I was reading a chapter in RJ Rushdoony’s book on education entitled, “The teacher as student.” Was reminded that a good teacher must first be a good student. The best teacher is not one who has a PhD but one who is constantly learning and growing in his knowledge and who imparts this passion of learning to his students.

Rushdoony wrote, “Learning involves, among other things, discipline, a desire to learn, and communication. We cannot give others a desire to learn if we do not have it. Most good teachers enjoying studying. A teacher can teach pupils how to read, but a love of reading comes in part from a teacher who shares it.” Again he says, “The teacher who does not grow in his knowledge of his subject, in methodology and content, is a very limited teacher, and his pupils are “under-privileged” learners.”

Finally he concludes with these very sound words, “Our growth in teaching requires our growth through and under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. We must become good learners as a step towards becoming good teachers. Our profession is a very great one in Scripture: our Lord was a Teacher, and the Holy Spirit is our continuing Teacher. We cannot treat our calling lightly, nor grieve the Spirit by abusing our calling.”

Higher & Lower Criticism

06/07/2009

I spoke recently with a Pastor who may be classified as a mild King James Only Advocate. He told me that Lower or Textual Criticism is a stepping stone to Higher Criticism, and that we should not be engaged in it. I would respectively disagree. But first, let me define what is “Lower” and what is “Higher” Criticism.

Lower or textual criticism seeks to ascertain the true and original form of a text based on things like copies of the manuscripts, translations of the text, quotations of the text in other writings etc. The need for such a science or discipline arises because the original manuscripts are no longer available today and the surviving copies of the manuscripts differ from one another at various points. Based on the text that Lower criticism has produced, Higher Criticism then seeks to ascertain whether the claims which are made regarding it, by the document itself or by other evidence, are true, whether its alleged authorship and date are correct ,and whether its statements are trustworthy and credible.

The difference between the two forms of criticism is this: in the case of lower criticism, the textual critic seeks to simply determine what the original text says and he does not pass judgment on the value or truthfulness or origin of the text. The higher critic on the other hand undertakes to decide whether the claims of the text are true or false.

It’s clear that there is a great difference between these two disciplines and while it is true that higher criticism  begins its work where lower criticism ends, it is not true that the two always go together. A conservative evangelical, who believes the Bible to be God’s inerrant word, can be involved in lower criticism but he does not have to (and indeed he will never) become a higher critic. No true Christian will ever stand in criticism of the Bible and try to determine for himself which part of the Bible is true and which is false. He believes and accepts the whole because it is all God’s word and cannot be in error at any single point.

Besides the fact that lower criticism does not necessarily lead to higher criticism, we need to also remember that those who produced the Textus Receptus and the King James Version were all lower or textual critics themselves! The first printed edition of the Greek New Testament was produced by Erasmus and Erasmus was a first class textual critic in his day, and the methods of criticism he used are not very different to what modern textual critics use. One of the main differences of course is that Erasmus did not have as many manuscripts and material to work with compared to what the modern critic has.

We should not arbitrarily fix a particular edition of the Greek text, say Erasmus’ third edition or the so called “TR” underlying the KJV, as the only text we should use or worse still, to say that that text is 100% accurate and a perfect replica of the original manuscript.

Textual Criticism is not something that evangelicals need to be afraid of or to avoid as long as we take note of two things. Firstly, the Bible, in its original manuscript, is inspired and without error, and secondly, God has indeed providentially preserved His Word through the years.

Blessed Enmity

20/06/2009

In Genesis 3:15, God said to Satan, represented by the serpent, that He would put enmity between him and the woman and between their seeds. Most Christians recognize this verse to contains the most ancient promise and prophesy concerning the coming Messiah.

In this short post, I’ll like to share something about the word enmity. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve were close friends of God and God would come each day to the Garden to have communion and fellowship with them. But that friendship ended when they entered into an unholy alliance with the devil against God by taking of the forbidden fruit. Satan had now become their friend and father (John 8:44, 1 John 3). God had become their enemy, not just outwardly, but inwardly as well. The moment they sinned against God, their natures became totally depraved and their hearts wicked and evil. Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

The only hope for Adam and Eve was for God to save them and a necessary part of that salvation was for their hearts to be changed and transformed. The Lord Jesus calls that the second or new birth (John 3:3). Another term for being born again is regeneration. And this concept of regeneration is included in the term enmity. In order for man to stop being a friend of Satan and to become a friend of God, something has to be done to his sinful nature. By injecting enmity against the serpent into the heart of a man, God essentially breaks up this unholy alliance that a man previously had with the devil and He brings that man once again into a relationship of friendship and communion with Him. What a blessed enmity that is! Enmity with the devil but friendship and peace with God! And so not only does this enmity involve regeneration or a change of heart, it also involves justification as Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we are at enmity with God or at enmity with the devil. There is no middle ground. Either a person belongs to God or he belongs to Satan. May God grant us His grace in order to make us enemies of the devil and children of His!

Excerpt from “The Great Debate” on the laws of logic

13/06/2009
The following is an excerpt from “The Great Debate: Does God Exist?,” a formal debate between Dr Greg L. Bahnsen (a Christian apologist) and Dr Gordon S. Stein (an atheist) that was held at the University of California (Irvine) on February 11, 1985. This is the last part of Dr Bahnsen’s cross examination of Dr Stein and then they switch over.

You can listen to this segment of the debate here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cSA8ezkmR4&feature=related

I would encourage you to listen to the whole debate which is also available on youtube.

As Dr Bahnsen once said, if you give let the unbeliever talk long enough, he’ll give you the “rope” by which you can “hang” him.

——————————————————————————————-
Bahnsen: I heard you mention “logical binds” and “logical self-contradiction” in your speech .
You did say that?

Stein: I used that phrase, yes.

Bahnsen: Do you believe there are laws of logic then?

Stein: Absolutely.

Bahnsen: Are they universal?

Stein: They are agreed upon by human beings. They aren’t laws that exist out in nature. They’re consenual.

Bahnsen: Are they simply conventions then?

Stein: They are conventions, but they are conventions that are self-verifying.

Bahnsen: Are they sociological laws or laws of thought?

Stein: They are laws of thought which are interpreted by men and promulgated by men.

Bahnsen: Are they material in nature?

Stein: How can a law be material in nature?

Bahnsen: That’s a question I’m going to ask you.

Laughter…

Stein: I would say no.

Moderator: Dr Stein, you now have an opportunity to cross-examine Dr Bahnsen.

Stein: Dr. Bahnsen, would you call God material or immaterial?

Bahnsen: Immaterial.

Stein: What is something that’s immaterial?

Bahnsen: Something not extended in space.

Stein: Can you give me an example of anything other than God that is immaterial?

Bahnsen: The laws of logic.

Much laughter….

Moderator: Can I ask you to hold that down please…

Acknowledge the source, please!

06/06/2009

John Calvin, writing almost 500 years ago, describes today’s educational system very well, “To be so occupied in the investigation of the secrets of nature, as never to turn the eyes to its Author, is a most perverted study; and to enjoy everything in nature without acknowledging the Author of the benefit, is the basest ingratitude.”

The great problem in education today is that students, even Christian students, are not being taught that God is the source of all knowledge and truth, and that He must be acknowledged as the source in all our studies, be it in science, history, geography, medicine, engineering, art, music, economics etc. If we fail to acknowledge Him, we are guilty of gross ingratitude and perverted study. Let’s constantly remind ourselves and our children.

All Areas of Life

06/06/2009
Greg L. Bahnsen wrote in his book Pushing the Antithesis, “Too many believers are “Sunday only” Christians who quarantine religious faith from the “real,” everyday life issues. Since Christianity is a world-and-life view, it has a distinctive approach to reasoning, human nature, social relations, education, recreation, politics, economics, art, industry, medicine, and every other aspect of human experience. To be truly commited to Christ for salvation is to be committed to Christ in all of life.”
 
How true this is! And how we need to stop quarantining or sidelining our Christian faith to one small area of life and start thinking and acting like Christians in all areas.

But we do it privately and do not harm anyone…

12/05/2009

One of the arguments that homosexuals often use to justify their behaviour is that what they do is consensual, private and does not harm anyone. How do we respond to such an argument? Well, I would say that these three things are by no means unique to homosexuality. Let’s talk about two examples. The first is self-mutilation. Cutting off my own arm or ear does no harm to anyone. Does that make it right? If you saw your son doing injury to himself and taking pleasure in it, would you stop him or would you say, “Son, you do what you like since it’s your own body, but just make sure you don’t harm anyone”? Or how about suicide? Is it wrong to take one’s own life? After all, it can be done in private without any harm to anyone. The second example is consensual and private cannibalism. What if a cannibal manages to get a willing victim to kill and eat? Has he committed a crime? Remember that he did it privately with the consent of the victim and did not harm anyone. This actually took place in Germany in 2001. The cannibal Armin Meiwes was initially tried for manslaughter but eventually, he was found guilty of murder and is now serving a life sentence. But based on the argument used by homosexuals, Meiwes had done nothing wrong and should not have been tried in the first place.

God tells us in His word that homosexuality is a sin and that should settle the issue. The reason why I discussed the examples of self-mutilation and consensual cannibalism is to show the ridiculousness of the argument used by homosexuals in defending their activities.