Daily Archives: December 10, 2013

First Things: How Driscoll Has Handled His Plagiarism Fiasco Quite Poorly

Zwinglius Redivivus

Wise words:

I’ve been disappointed with how Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church have handled this issue. A few years back, Lisa B. Marshall wrote a helpful post about handling a media crisis. This affair could have been a non-issue if Driscoll had followed this common sense approach. Let’s look at this situation in light of her advice.

1. “Be first and fast.” When confronted with an awkward situation, you need to control the narrative. It’s been three weeks, and we’ve heard nothing from Driscoll on this matter.

2. “Be honest.” We haven’t heard from Driscoll yet, but the message posted on the Mars Hill website fails this test. They never admit the problem. They try to explain away the plagiarism. They try to mitigate its seriousness by claiming that the material was never sold, a claim that Jonathan Merritt notes is untrue. Let me add that lack of financial…

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Driscoll Didn’t Just Plagiarize: He Broke the Law

Zwinglius Redivivus

According to this chap, here’s why:

What Mr. Driscoll has done here is more than just hypocritical and dishonest. It’s illegal. He has violated the copyright of multiple authors who might be able to claim that his behavior has and will damage them commercially. If Driscoll gets the credit for teaching his pithy observations on relationships and forgiveness, he might deprive the ideas’ creators and copyright holders of book sales and other related rights like conference speaking. Considering the legal jeopardy that Driscoll may have exposed them to, it was a little surprising how quickly his publishers circled the wagons and directed their ire at Janet Mefferd, who had brought the problem to light. At least temporarily suspending the sales of the books while they negotiated rights settlements with the copyright holders might have been a prudent move.

There’s a bit more, worth reading (and posted earlier in the month-…

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The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)

We’ve been investigating the case for the reliability of the Old Testament by examining the process of transmission, the verification of archaeology and the appearance of fulfilled prophecy in the text. The ancient scribes employed a trustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies  (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament:

Read More Here: http://www.christianapologeticsalliance.com/2013/12/10/case-reliability-old-testament-bible-insert/

Getting Rid of Guilt

Guilt. When everything else is quiet, it’s the disquietness within you saying, “I wish I had never done that.” “I wish I could go back and do that differently.”

Older men may have guilt for failing to be present and intentional in their children’s lives when they were small. Women sometimes have it over their role in early pregnancies. Teammates have guilt for missing the winning catch or shot.

There’s no undo button in life, but we wish that our feelings of guilt could go away forever. And we need a better solution than just not talking about it, avoiding people and places that remind us of the guilt, suppressing our guilty feelings somehow, or busying ourselves to the point that we have no time to think guilt-ridden thoughts.

If we could remove the status of guilt—the objective part of being guilty, then we would go a long way in addressing the feelings—the subjective part—of being guilty. If we only address our feelings of guilt, the status of guilt still remains.

Read More Here: http://www.christianity.com/theology/sin/getting-rid-of-guilt.html

Free ebook-A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture

Reformedontheweb's Blog

A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture, A New Free eBook from Keith Mathison

In A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture, Dr. Mathison briefly introduces us to a topic that has long been a subject of debate, aiming to equip Christians with a clear foundation so that they may approach questions and discussions pertaining to science and Scripture with grace, humility, and patience.

Table of Contents

Foreword by R.C. Sproul

Introduction

1. All Truth Is God’s Truth

2. General and Special Revelation

3. Interpreting General and Special Revelation

4. Luther, Calvin, and Copernicus

5. Earthly Things and Heavenly Things

6. When Science and Scripture Conflict

7. The Age Of The Universe and Genesis 1

Endnotes

“Christians have absolutely nothing to fear ultimately from scientific research,” says Dr. Mathison. “If scientists discover something about God’s creation that is actually true, it will not and cannot ultimately contradict the Scriptures when…

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Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 3)

Gnostic Gospels

This is the third installment of a new series reviewing the History Channel series entitled Bible Secrets Revealed (for others, see here and here).  The newest episode is entitled, “The Forbidden Scriptures,” as is definitely one of the most provocative so far. It is designed to argue that certain books were “banned” or “forbidden” from the New Testament.

This episode makes numerous claims about the development of the New Testament that, once again, prove not to be the whole story.  Many such claims were made, but I will only mention a few of the key ones here.

Read More Here: http://michaeljkruger.com/bible-secrets-revealed-a-response-to-the-new-history-channel-series-part-3/

Questions about Angels and Demons: What Are Principalities and Powers?

The phrase “principalities and powers” occurs six times in the Bible, always in the King James Version and its derivatives (NKJV, MKJV). Other versions translate it variously as “rulers and authorities,” “forces and authorities,” and “rulers and powers.” In every place where the phrase appears, the contexts make it clear that it refers to the vast array of evil and malicious spirits who make war against the people of God. The principalities and powers of Satan are in view here, powers that wield power in the unseen realms to oppose everything and everyone that is of God.

The first mention of principalities and powers is in Romans 8:37–39: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” These verses are about the victory Christ has won over all the forces ranged against us. We are “more than conquerors” because no force—not life, not death, not angels, not demons, indeed nothing—can separate us from the love of God. The “powers” referred to here are those with miraculous powers, whether false teachers and prophets or the very demonic entities that empower them. What is clear is that, whoever they are, they cannot separate us from the love of God. Victory is assured. It would be unfortunate to dwell on identifying the powers and miss the main thrust of the verse which is assurance about what God has done to save us.

Another mention of principalities and powers is in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Here is the clear statement that God is the Creator and Ruler over all authorities, whether they submit to Him or rebel against Him. Whatever power the evil forces possess, they are not out of the ultimate control of our sovereign God, who uses even the wicked for bring about His perfect plan and purpose (Daniel 4:35; Isaiah 46:10–11).

In the next chapter of Colossians we read about Jesus’ ultimate power over all other powers: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). In keeping with all things, the powers are created by Christ and therefore under His control. They are not to be feared for they have been disarmed by the cross. The Saviour, by his death, took dominion from them, and took back what they had captured. Satan and his legions had invaded the earth and drawn mankind into captivity, subjecting them to their evil reign. But Christ, by His death, subdued the invaders and recaptured those who had been vanquished. Colossians 2:14 speaks of Jesus being nailed to the cross along with the written charges against us. The record of our wrongdoing, with which Satan accuses us before God, is nailed with Christ to the cross. It is thereby destroyed and the powers can no longer accuse us; we are innocent in the eyes of God. Hence they are disarmed.

Ephesians 3:10–11 presents different principalities and powers—those of the heavenly realms: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Here we see the angelic hosts being shown the wisdom and purpose of God in the plan of salvation through Christ. Angels, both holy and unholy, witness the glory of God and the preeminence of Christ above all creatures in the church, those who are saved and preserved by His power (Ephesians 1:20–21).

Ephesians 6:12 declares the warfare in which we are engaged as we battle throughout our lives “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” So having been saved we must continue to struggle to do good things in light of the sure victory promised in Romans 8. It is as though we are facing an army of dark powers who have been disarmed from real power and against whom we have been promised victory. It is our job to demonstrate and depend upon the wisdom and power of God in defeating them in our lives. We can do this by trusting in God’s victory.

The final reference to principalities and powers is Titus 3:1. Here they refer to those governmental authorities whom God has placed over us for our protection and welfare. They are God’s representatives on earth, and submission to Him involves submission to His duly constituted authorities. Those who rebel against earthly authorities are “rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:2).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: What Is Monism?

Monism is a philosophical worldview in which all of reality can be reduced to one “thing” or “substance.” This view is opposed to dualism (in which all of reality reducible to two substances, e.g., good and evil; light and darkness; form and matter; body and soul) and pluralism (all of reality is comprised of multiple substances). In all of these philosophical views, this article uses the word “substance” in a technical sense to mean essence, or its “thing-ishness;” in other words, something in which properties adhere.

Many of the early pre-Socratic philosophers tried to understand the underlying nature of the reality that surrounded them. They wanted to determine what everything could be reduced to. For Thales (624–546 BC), the first principle of everything—that from which everything is derived—was water. For Anaximenes (585–528 BC) it was air. Two more well known monists, Heraclitus (535–475 BC) and Parmenides (fl. early 5th century BC), attempted to ground reality in becoming (flux) and being (permanence) respectively. Heraclitus observed that all around him was in constant flux (or change); therefore, all reality was becoming—things changing from one form into another. His classic example was the observation that one can never step into the same river twice because the water is in constant motion. Parmenides, taking the opposite route of Heraclitus, said that ultimate reality can only reside in that which is unchanging; for him, that was absolute being.

Moving from a metaphysical analysis to a more spiritual outlook, monism is the underlying worldview of those who hold to a form of pantheism. Pantheism is the worldview that God (not necessarily the Christian God) is the ultimate source of being, and that all of reality is manifestations of this God. Pantheism sees no real distinction between God and the universe. Plotinus (204–270 AD), the father of Neo-Platonism, was a popular pantheist. His brand of metaphysics taught that ultimate being resided in the One. From a series of necessary emanations, out of the One, comes the Divine Mind (Nous). The next level of emanations results in the World Soul (Psyche), and finally the material world (Cosmos). Another famous philosophical pantheist was the 17th century rationalist philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

Monism can also be seen in scientific realm in those who subscribe to a naturalistic materialism. According to this view, all reality is limited to the material world. There is no such thing as spirit, soul, or God. Only those things which can be perceived by the five senses are real. This is the default position of many atheists (at least those who are consistent with their worldview). One can see what happens if one takes this view to its logical conclusion. If everything is essentially matter governed by physical laws, then such things as love, morality, justice, etc. go out the window. What do those things mean in a purely material world? They are basically feeble attempts to construct meaning in a universe that is cold and deterministic.

All of these philosophies—whether monistic, dualistic, or pluralistic—are attempting to deal with the problem of universals (or the problem of the one and the many). The problem of universals can be simply illustrated. Take the example of a chair. We can all conceptualize a chair in our minds and apply that concept to different instances of ‘chair.’ All of these particular instances of the concept ‘chair’ may differ—e.g., a simple wooden chair as compared to a fancy office chair with soft cushions and a lift mechanism—but they all share the essential characteristics of what constitutes ‘chair-ness.’ The question that arises is what is more real: The concept of ‘chair’ or the particular chairs we see in the world?

How do we solve this problem? The classic Christian response to this problem is to resolve it in the ontological Trinity. God is the ultimate existing One. He is the only being who is independent and self-existent (the technical term for this is “aseity”). All other existing things—the universe—derive their existence from God, who created all things ex nihilo (out of nothing). Hence reality is not monistic in a strict sense because after the act of creation, you have a Creator/creature distinction between God and the world He created. On the other hand, reality is not strictly dualistic (or pluralistic) because the universe is not an eternally self-existing reality like God; its existence is derivative. In other words, there is distinction, but not independence. Therefore, because God is a Trinity (one divine essence subsisting in three divine Persons), we see this unity in diversity trait all throughout creation. Reality reflects the essential nature of God, who himself is a unity in diversity.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Family / Parenting: How Should Christian Parents Handle a Teen Daughter Who Has Become Pregnant?

It seems that one of the hardest things for Christians to remember is that it is not a sin to be pregnant. It’s not a sin to be pregnant out of wedlock. And it’s not a sin to be born to unmarried parents. It is a sin to have sex outside the marriage relationship—and it is just as much a sin for the man as for the woman. But an unbiblical intimate relationship is a much easier thing to hide from critical eyes than a pregnancy and, sadly, less damaging to a family’s reputation in the Christian community.

As disappointing and overwhelming it may be to learn a teenage daughter is pregnant, it’s crucial to keep a kingdom perspective. The sin is done. Whatever influences the teens have been under to lead them to sin can’t be avoided now. This new situation is not about the morality of out-of-wedlock sex or the reputation of a family. It’s about the development of a child. All children are blessings from God and He has a plan for each one (Psalm 139:13–18). Even if the circumstances in which they come may be less than ideal, that child is as precious and loved by God as any other.

The pregnant daughter is also precious to God. The role of parents is to teach and guide their children to live godly lives in whatever they face. This is a prime opportunity to do just that. The girl may be scared, ashamed, and emotional, and it is her parents’ responsibility to help her push past emotion and turn to her Heavenly Father.

Some parents fear that giving their daughter the love and support she needs will encourage the behavior that led to the pregnancy. But, again, being pregnant and giving birth to a child is not a sin, and there are so many other benefits to actively and publicly standing with a pregnant teen. It fosters an environment in which the child is valued as a blessing. It encourages the father to take responsibility without fear. And it makes abortion look like a much less desirable option.

If a family abandons their pregnant teen—even emotionally—she will be much more likely to make harmful decisions. She may think marrying the baby’s father is the only option. She may not know how to take care of her health and that of the baby. Other pregnant teens may see the volatile relationship and keep their own condition secret.

Conversely, the girl will be able to make much wiser decisions about her and her baby’s future if she can rest in her parents’ acceptance and loving guidance. Making this journey more emotionally difficult for her will not encourage clear thinking. Wise parents will help their daughter walk through the options of keeping the child or adoption. It may also be beneficial to involve the father and his family; he needs to take as much ownership as the mother. After careful prayer, parents should be clear about the level of support they can give in raising the child. Make use of Christian crisis pregnancy centers.

Our God is a powerful God who can bring joy and blessing even out of our sin. There may be incredibly tough times ahead for the pregnant teen and her family, but our God is the God who redeems.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Christians Are Being Burned Alive Beheaded Crucified Tortured To Death And Imprisoned In Metal Shipping Containers

The “coming persecution of Christians” has already begun. It is already here. So why is the mainstream media in the United States almost totally silent about this phenomenon? When some politician somewhere around the globe inadvertently offends homosexuals or Muslims, it instantly makes headline news. But very few Americans are even aware that it has been estimated that 100 million Christians are currently facing persecution and that approximately 100,000 Christians die for their faith each year. As you are about to see, Christians all over the world are being burned alive, beheaded, crucified, tortured to death and imprisoned in metal shipping containers just because of what they believe. This persecution goes on year after year and it is steadily intensifying. But the governments of the western world and the mainstream media are almost entirely ignoring what is happening. (Read More…..)

Write wrongs! Over 500 world-famous authors sign anti-surveillance petition

More than 500 renowned authors – including five Nobel laureates – from across the globe have signed a petition demanding an end to ‘mass surveillance’. It follows the revelations over the last few months of the US and other countries spying.

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The Most Homeless Children In New York City Since The Great Depression

At a time when Wall Street is absolutely swimming in wealth, New York City is experiencing an epidemic of homelessness. According to the New York Times, the last time there was this many homeless children in New York City was during the days of the Great Depression. And the number of homeless children in the United States overall recently set a new all-time record. As I mentioned yesterday, there are now 1.2 million public school kids in America that are homeless, and that number has gone up by about 72 percent since the start of the last recession. As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and yet the number of young kids that don’t even have a roof over their heads at night just keeps skyrocketing. There truly are “two Americas” today, and unfortunately most Americans that live in “good America” don’t seem to really care too much about the extreme suffering that is going on in “bad America”. In the end, what kind of price will we all pay for neglecting the most vulnerable members of our society? (Read More….)

Parents and Teachers Object to Common Core

The media are currently filled with reports of students in the U.S. scoring poorly on international tests. The Program for International Student Assessment, which compares 15-year-olds in most industrialized countries, reports that American students dropped from 25th to 31st in math, 11th to 21st in reading and 20th to 24th in science. The solution consistently offered for these low rankings is to spend more money on schooling. But numerous studies examining the billions of dollars we’ve spent on education in the last decade show that money has not improved the performance of U.S. students, and higher-scoring foreign countries spend far less per pupil than we do.

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The Mandela cover-up unravels

Politicians lie, but this was a whopper, designed for the purpose of turning South Africa and its strategic materials over to the communists. The perfect front man, Mandela had always denied being a party member and, for the benefit of foreign audiences, publicly rejected Marxism as a “foreign ideology” as recently as a few years ago. It appears that was just a ploy to keep the foreign aid coming. South Africa has been among the top ten recipients of U.S. foreign aid, getting close to $500 million in fiscal year 2013.

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Troubling Trend of Decline Reaches Evangelicals

For most of the latter half of the 20th century, religious life in the United States was marked by four consistent trends: oldline Protestant membership was declining; evangelical Protestants were growing; Roman Catholics were hovering just above the replacement level (with new immigrant growth slightly exceeding the amount of erosion in the white ethnic base); and each succeeding generation of adults was participating less in religious institutions.

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How Presidents Lie

It’s nothing new for a president to lie to us, but Obama’s style is unique.

Barack Obama has offered all sorts of similar empty pledges, like promising to close the federal detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year of taking office. It is still open. Obama also promised to halve the deficit by the end of his first term. Instead he doubled it. Ditto Obama’s promises on the good things to follow Cash for Clunkers, on the shovel-ready jobs that would follow the stimulus, and on the summer of recovery to be spawned by massive borrowing. At your own job, if you promise the boss that you will do something and then don’t, you’re likely to get fired; when presidents do the same, it’s called politics.

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The Road to Apostasy

When someone walks away from the faith it sends seismic ripples throughout the church. Somewhere amid the shock and emotions, we realize that we saw alarming signs but didn’t think they would materialize. I personally have seen this happen far too many times. In each case however, the steps, the path is strikingly similar.

So, how does it happen? Let me walk you down the road to apostasy. This is intended to illuminate this dark and often camouflaged path.

First let me give you a bottom line proposition: The road to apostasy is paved by bricks of apathy towards Christ. If you want to persevere, then give attention to your affections. This is a summary. Let’s work it out.

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Christian Church Growing At A Rapid Rate In India

Ministries in India are reporting significant growth in the Christian Church among middle and upper caste Indians and the younger Indian generations. Long recognized as one of the most diverse nations in the world, India is currently the second-most populous nation on earth, with over 1.2 billion residents. Experts predict that India will soon eclipse China as the world’s most populous country…….. Click here for full story