Daily Archives: October 15, 2013

First Principles and God’s Existence

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

This argument has been put forth by Norman L. Geisler, a classical apologist and one of the few Protestant scholars who specializes in Thomistic thought. By the way, I don’t think God expects people to master this argument in order to find Him. I know the average person does not have the time to think through such a sophisticated apologetic.

Anyway, let’s move forward. First principles are the foundation of knowledge. Without them nothing could be known. Even coherentism uses the first principle of noncontradiction to test the coherence of its system. Realism affirms that first principles apply to the real world. First principles undeniably apply to reality. The very denial that first principles apply to reality uses first principles in the denial.  Without basic first principles of reality, nothing can be known. Everything we know about reality is known by them. Twelve basic first principles can be set forth…

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New Post: John MacArthur on the True Legacy of the Charismatic Movement

Strange Fire starts tomorrow. Throughout the last several months building up to the conference, we’ve heard critics saying that we don’t understand the true nature of the charismatic movement—that we’ve chosen too broad a brush to paint with. Defenders are quick to point out that any negative elements only represent the outer edges of an otherwise healthy Christian movement.

But is that an honest assessment? Is it true that the loudest, most notable charismatic voices only represent a rogue, fringe element? Is the heart of the movement truly committed to the sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture? And is the genuine work of the Holy Spirit identifiable amidst manifestations of bizarre signs and wonders?

In the following video, John MacArthur gives his assessment of the charismatic legacy:

We understand that not every charismatic preaches heresy, perverts Scripture, contrives miracles, or fleeces his flock. But the overwhelming tide of the movement drags people away from biblical literacy, spiritual discernment, and disciplined maturity.

From the beginning of our conference promotion, we have worked to encourage faithful charismatics to be vocal critics of the abuses they see within the charismatic movement. We will continue to give that encouragement throughout the conference as our speakers lift up the sufficiency of Scripture and the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.

We hope you’ll join us for rich exhortation and encouragement from the Word of God. Please be sure to watch via the free live stream at tmstrangefire.org.

GTY Staff


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131015     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

New Post: When Sexuality Goes Feral

The sexual revolution is in full flight, and has been so for some decades now. Voices of sanity back in the 60s warned that this would not be good – and they sure were right. The disastrous consequences of the sexual revolution continue to unfold and be fully displayed to a world losing the ability to even be shocked anymore.

Every day we learn of more cases of sexual moonbattery, sexual perversion, and sexual idiocy. Everyone is harmed by this massive social experiment, but it is often our children who are the biggest losers. The destruction of this sexual tsunami shows no signs of abating, and it will only likely get much worse in days ahead.

Of course much of this is driven by the militant homosexual lobby and their efforts to destroy marriage and family and even the very idea of biological sexuality. For them one’s sex is purely a matter of social construction, and biology has nothing to do with who we are as sexual beings.

Thus the whole push for all things transgender is all the rage at the moment. And it is costing us all big time. Let me look at a few recent examples of this. In the US transgender students are making life hellish for other students. California recently passed a law allowing transgender folks to do their thing, and everyone else must simply acquiesce to this.

Read More Here: http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2013/10/15/when-sexuality-goes-feral/

New Article: Postmodernism Series

Postmoderism

We live in a society dominated by a philosophy of change, a departure from human values, and the rise of anti-authoritarianism. We hear “post” frequently in terms such as post-Christian, post-liberal, and post-conservative; this is also a time of globalism and neo-paganism. Philosophers call the philosophy of this age Postmodernism. Before we look at just […]

Postmodernism 2

Characteristics of Postmodernism There are several characteristics of postmodernism that lie at the foundation of this worldview. Just as in the previous two meta-worldviews (premodernism and modernism), not everyone accepts all of these. Nevertheless, we can see some similarities among the postmoderns and draw at least some general conclusions. Gene Veith has identified five key […]

Postmodernism 3 – Characteristics

Gene Veith identifies a series of characteristics held by most postmodernism. Social Constructivism. Meaning, morality and truth do not exist objectively. This is at the heart of the postmodernist worldview. Truth, with its attendant concepts of meaning and morality, are “constructed” by society. Everything centers around the story that the community has created to establish […]

Postmodernism 4 – Art

Art brings philosophy down to earth. While this writer is not artistic, he does understand to a limited extent the philosophy of art. Modern art believes in several concepts. First, modern art believes in the uniqueness of the artist. The artist is the creator. Because of the emphasis on the individual, the modern artists are […]

Postmodernism 5 – Society

How does a postmodern mindset affect the way we live? Its effects upon art, literature, and architecture are, to a great extent, merely “interesting.”  We can ignore the postmodernism in these areas without it affecting how we live. When postmodernism begins to change the society in which we live, however, we will take notice. There […]

Postmodernism 6 – Politics

Constitution Day seems an appropriate time to discuss postmodern politics. While postmodern thinking has been around for a number of years, we have now in the White House America’s first postmodern president. America was founded by people deeply engrained in the modern mindset. Individualism, with both the protection and encouragement of the individual, is at […]

 

New Article: Evangelical Scholar Norman Geisler: Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Evangelical scholar and Southern Evangelical Seminary co-founder Norman Geisler spoke on the pluralistic aspect of Christianity at the school’s 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference last weekend and answered the question of whether there are several ways to God.

Here are videos of all the messages delivered at “The People, The Land & The Future of Israel” conference.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

CPMconf-2013-videosIf you missed the recent conference in Manhattan that focused on “The People, The Land & The Future of Israel,” I’m glad to announce that all of the messages are now posted online.

You can watch them free of charge by clicking here.

It was absolutely fascinating conference and the messages are rich in Biblical content and quite thought-provoking.

Here is a list of the speakers and the messages they presented, and a link to the specific video of their presentations:

  • Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries,giving the conference introduction. WATCH THE VIDEO.
  • Panel discussion on the current dynamics in the Middle East. WATCH THE VIDEO.
  • Pastor David Epstein, senior pastor of the historic Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan, giving a powerful and moving presentation on “The People, the Land and the Future of Israel and the Local Pastor.” WATCH THE VIDEO.

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Will there ever be peace for Israel & her neighbors? Video of my address in NYC.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Joel-CPMconfOn Saturday, October 5, 2013, I delivered the closing address to a conference in New York City on “The People, The Land, and the Future of Israel.” The following night, I delivered a variation of this address at a conference of Korean Christians in New Jersey.

It was an honor to hear the messages of some of the world’s leading Biblical scholars and experts on what the Scriptures teach about Israel and the Jewish people, and I’m grateful to have been invited to participate.

My remarks focused on the question, “Will There Ever Be Peace For Israel & Her Neighbors?”

To watch this message — which runs about 48 minutes — please click here.

To read the text of this message, as originally prepared for delivery, please click here.

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New Post: Seven Reasons Your Church Needs to Go on a Diet –

Most churches—more than eight out of ten—are busy. Too busy. These churches need to slim down their plethora of programs, activities, and ministries. They need to go a busyness diet.

Unfortunately, many church leaders equate activities with godliness or ministry fruitfulness. For certain, churches must have some clear plan of discipleship for their members. Sadly, some of the busiest churches actually diminish discipleship fruitfulness. And ceasing certain activities in the church can be extremely hard. You can run into sacred cows and favored ministries. Still, most churches should pursue a busyness diet for at least seven reasons.

Read More Here: http://thomrainer.com/2013/10/14/seven-reasons-your-church-needs-to-go-on-a-diet/

New Post: Should Type-R Charismatics Get a Free Pass?

(The following blog post was first published by Phil Johnson in November of 2007. Phil is one of the featured speakers at Strange Fire, and we wanted to share this article with you in advance of his teaching later this week. Remember, you don’t need to miss a minute of Strange Fire—we’re live streaming the entire conference at tmstrangefire.org. We hope you’ll tune in. –GTY Staff)

by Phil Johnson

A prodigious wacko fringe has always been one of the charismatic movement’s most prominent features. In little more than a century, the Pentecostal and charismatic movements have spun off so many bad doctrines and bizarre characters that I have a thick dictionary in my office just to help me keep track of them all.

Furthermore, I’m convinced it’s not just some kind of fantastic cosmic coincidence that has loaded the movement with an unusually high number of charlatans and heretics. I’ve suggested on more than one occasion that a major reason the charismatic movement has produced more than its fair share of aberrant behavior is because the distinctive doctrines of charismatic belief foster gullibility while constantly seeding the movement with all kinds of whimsy. Specifically, the charismatic belief that it’s normative for Spirit-filled Christians to receive extrabiblical divine revelation through various mystical means has opened the door for all kinds of mischief.

I would not for a moment deny that there are some relatively sane and sensible charismatics who love Scripture and generally teach sound doctrine while avoiding most of their movement’s worst errors. I think they represent a fairly small minority of the worldwide charismatic community, but they do exist. A few of them are good friends—even longtime friends—of mine. I have friends (for example) in the Calvary Chapel movement, which is mildly charismatic in doctrine but whose worship is generally more Bible centered than even the typical non-Charismatic seeker-sensitive church. As a matter of fact, my chief concern about the Calvary Chapel movement would not even be its advocacy of charismatic views, but its increasingly aggressive campaign against Calvinism.

That’s not all. I have warm affection and heartfelt respect for most of the best-known Reformed charismatic leaders, including C.J. Mahaney, Wayne Grudem, and Sam Storms. [Let’s call them “Type-R charismatics.”] I’ve greatly benefited from major aspects of their ministries, and I regularly recommend resources from them that I have found helpful. I’ve corresponded with the world-famous Brit-blogger Adrian Warnock for at least fifteen years now and had breakfast with him on two occasions, and I like him very much. I’m sure we agree on far more things than we disagree about. And I’m also certain the matters we agree on—starting with the meaning of the cross—are a lot more important than the issues we disagree on, which are all secondary matters.

But that is not to suggest that the things we disagree on are nonissues.

Candor, and not a lack of charity, requires me to state this conviction plainly: The belief that extrabiblical revelation is normative does indeed “regularly and systematically breed willful gullibility, not discernment.” Even the more sane and sober [Type-R] charismatics are not totally exempt from the tendency.

Remember that Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets found an amazing amount of support from Reformed charismatics on both sides of the Atlantic, even after it was clear to more objective minds that the “prophets” were regularly and systematically issuing false prophecies.

And that fact ought to have been clear very early. In 1989, the senior Kansas City Prophet, Bob Jones, acknowledged that he could claim an accuracy rate of no higher than two-thirds. By 1991, Jones was utterly discredited because of his own sexual misconduct with women who came to him seeking prophetic counseling.

Shortly after that (in early 1992), John MacArthur, Lance Quinn, and I met with Paul Cain and Jack Deere in John MacArthur’s office at Jack Deere’s request. Deere wanted to try to convince John MacArthur that the charismatic movement—especially the Vineyard branch—was on a trajectory to make doctrinal soundness and biblical integrity the hallmarks of Third Wave charismatic practice. He brought Cain along, ostensibly so that we could see for ourselves that Cain was a legitimate prophet with a profound gifting.

But Cain was virtually incoherent that day. Lance Quinn remarked to me immediately afterward that it seemed as if Cain had been drinking heavily. (In retrospect it seems a fair assumption that this may indeed have been the case.) Even Deere apologized for Cain’s strange behavior that day, but Deere seemed to want us to assume it was because the Spirit was upon Cain in some unusual way. They both admitted to us that Cain’s “prophecies” were wrong at least as often as they were right. When we cited that as sufficient reason not to accept any of their prophecies, they cited Wayne Grudem’s views on New Testament prophecy as justification for ignoring the errors of prophecies already proven false, while giving credence to still more questionable pronouncements.

That meeting was extremely eye-opening for me. Deere was unable to answer basic questions about certain practices that Lance and I had personally observed him participating in at the Anaheim Vineyard just a few weeks before. Specifically, we asked him about two “prophets” whose public words of knowledge in the morning service were flatly contradictory. (The dueling prophets were apparently using their “gifts” to air out a dispute over some decision the church’s leaders had recently made.) Deere acknowledged that the prophecies that morning were contradictory. And he could not explain why John Wimber let both prophecies stand without a word of explanation or clarification. (He seemed to shrug off our concern by speculating that perhaps even Wimber wasn’t sure which prophecy, if either, was the true one.) Again, he appealed to Grudem, perhaps the most theologically sound of all charismatics, as justification for accepting the two prophets’ gifting as legitimate anyway.

I left that meeting amazed that anyone would give credence to such “prophets.” But several of the best Reformed charismatic leaders—all citing Grudem for authority—continued to give credence to Cain, the Kansas City Prophets, and others like them for a long, long time. Some of the Reformed Charismatics who lent Paul Cain undue credibility did not really renounce him as a prophet until about twelve years later, when his personal sins finally came to light.

(And it may be stretching things to say that everyone concerned actually “renounced” Cain’s supposed prophetic gifting even then. He has lately made something of a comeback. [Jack Deere’s book still touts Cain as a superprophet, and the book was recently released in Romania, where it has left a massive amount of confusion in its wake. Wayne Grudem’s endorsement of the book remains unaltered. I recently wrote him to ask if Cain’s moral failure would spur him to modify or remove his endorsement of Deere’s paean to Cain, and Grudem wrote to asssure me that his endorsement of the book still stands.])

As long as Reformed charismatics justify the practice of encouraging people to proclaim “prophecies” that are unverified and unverifiable—and which frequently prove to be wrong—I’ll stand by the concern I expressed: Even the very best of charismatics sometimes foster unwarranted and unreasonable gullibility.

And gullibility about whether God has really spoken or not is seriously dangerous.

When a false belief is truly dangerous and comes replete with the kind of long and dismal track record that extrabiblical revelation brings with it, it’s not “uncharitable” for those who see the danger and are truly concerned about it to sound a shrill warning rather than humming a gentle lullaby.

My charismatic friend Dr. Warnock insists that I have been uncharitable because I have stated my opinion about the dangers of charismatic doctrine without explicitly exempting him and others whom he likes from my warning against gullibility. It makes him “uncomfortable” to read such things on our blog as often as we post them (even though the vast majority of our [2007] posts on the charismatic issue were in fact made at his behest).

I have to say in reply that his appeal to how our posts make him feel, while he declines to give any rational or reasonable explanation for why he thinks our candor must be motivated by a lack of charity, is an echo of the very tendency that I think is so dangerous in the charismatic mindset.

I do realize some people are uncomfortable with such a firm stance against the charismatic position. I’m equally uncomfortable with the charismatic position itself. Let’s both remember that our respective comfort levels are not reliable gauges of our brothers’ charity (or lack thereof), and let’s try to focus on the actual issue under discussion.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131014     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You