Daily Archives: October 1, 2014

William Lane Craig debates Peter Atkins: Does God Exist?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Apologetics 315 posted the video of a debate from the Reasonable Faith speaking tour in the UK:

This is a must-see debate. It was extremely fun to watch.

Details:

On Wednesday 26th October 2011 William Lane Craig debated Peter Atkins on the topic: Does God Exist? This debate took place at the University of Manchester  as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig. The debate was chaired by Christopher Whitehead, Head of Chemistry School at the University. Post-debate discussion was moderated by Peter S Williams, Philosopher in Residence at the Damaris Trust, UK.

Dr. William Lane Craig:

William Lane Craig (born August 23, 1949) is an American analytic philosopher, philosophical theologian, and Christian apologist. He is known for his work on the philosophy of time and the philosophy of religion, specifically the existence of God and the defense of Christian theism. He has authored or edited over 30 books including The Kalam Cosmological Argument (1979), Theism, Atheism and Big Bang…

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Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian?

Reformed Baptist Fellowship

worship

Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. He alone is the One who brings us to God. The popular but mistaken notions regarding worship music undermine this foundational truth of the Christian faith. It is also ironic that while many Christians deny the sacramental role of those ordinances which the Lord Himself has given to the church (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) they are eager to grant music sacramental powers. Music and “the worship experience” are viewed as means by which we enter the presence of God and receive his saving benefits. There is simply no evidence whatsoever in Scripture that music mediates direct encounters or experiences with God. This is a common pagan notion. It is far from Christian.

Read it here

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Catholic Questions: What Is the Cause of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church?

 

In recent years, hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals have come forward claiming sexual abuse from priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Numerous “pedophile priests” have been identified. Sadly, rather than defrocking the priests (removing from the priesthood), the Catholic Church has in most instances attempted to cover up the sexual abuse by transferring the offending priest(s) to different parishes. The scandal and attempted cover-up continues to expand, reaching all the way to the papacy itself. So, what is the cause of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? Why does pedophilia seem to be such a common problem among Roman Catholic priests?

First, let us be abundantly clear, as an Evangelical Protestant Christian organization, we have strong disagreements with virtually every area of Roman Catholic doctrine and practice.

Second, with the priesthood of all believers and Jesus’ fulfillment/completion of the Old Testament sacrificial system and priesthood, we do not believe the New Testament instructs that there should even be priests. Biblically speaking, a priest is a mediator (primarily through sacrifices) between God and man. With Jesus as our High Priest, we already have direct access to God (Hebrews 4:14–16) and have no need for any other mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

Third, it is important not to take the horribly evil actions of some Roman Catholic priests and attribute them to the entire Roman Catholic priesthood. While we strongly disagree with Roman Catholic doctrine and practice, we have no doubt that many Roman Catholic priests truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, truly desire to minister to people, and would absolutely never molest a child. It is impossible to discover how many “pedophile priests” have been, or still are, active in the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever the number is, it is surely an exceedingly small percentage. The vast majority of Catholic priests has never, and would never, molest or harm a child in any way.

Back to the question at hand, what is the cause of the sexual abuse that has taken place in the Roman Catholic Church? Our contention is that the unbiblical requirement that priests be celibate is a primary cause. It is biblical to say that celibacy can be useful to ministry (1 Corinthians 7:32–34). At the same time, it is completely unbiblical for any church to require celibacy of its leaders. In the qualifications of church leadership (1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:6–9), the apostle Paul assumes that bishops, elders, overseers, and deacons will be married and have children. While these qualifications should not be viewed as requiring marriage/family to serve in church leadership, they are most definitely an allowance for married men to serve as leaders in the church. It is, therefore, completely anti-biblical for any church to require celibacy of its leaders.

The unbiblical requirement of celibacy on priests in the Roman Catholic Church likely contributes to sexual abuse in that men whom God never intended to be celibate are forced into celibacy, resulting in sexual tension and stress. Also, the stricture of celibacy is appealing to some men with abnormal sexual tendencies who view the priesthood as a means of keeping their desires under control. These men find that external rules do little to change the heart, and, when they give in to sexual temptations, the result is unnatural sexual acts, such as homosexuality or pedophilia.

Compounding the problem is the Catholic teaching of “once a priest, always a priest.” The fact that the “sacred ordination” cannot be invalidated has contributed to a reluctance to defrock pedophile priests. When abusive priests are transferred to different parishes, the same behavior is repeated. Also, lax rule enforcement and cover-ups have encouraged the application of pedophiles to the priesthood. Many pedophiles see the priesthood as a means of easy, unsupervised access to children.

Whatever the cause of the sexual abuse in the church, pedophile priests should be arrested and punished just as any other pedophile would be. Anyone covering up or, by negligence, enabling pedophilia in the church should be prosecuted. A priest who has sexually abused anyone should never be allowed back into church leadership, as he could most definitely not be considered “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2).

The pedophile priest scandal in the Roman Catholic Church is absolutely horrid. There is nothing more antithetical to the message of Christ than priests sexually abusing children. May God use this scandal to awaken the church of Jesus Christ to the presence of apostates within the church and to strongly motivate the church to be fully biblical in all of its beliefs and practices.[1]

 

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

Questions about God: Does God Have Emotions?

 

We can cite numerous passages of Scripture that speak to God’s emotions. For example, God demonstrated the following:

  • Anger—Psalm 7:11; Deuteronomy 9:22; Romans 1:18
  • Laughter—Psalm 37:13; Psalm 2:4; Proverbs 1:26
  • Compassion—Psalm 135:14; Judges 2:18; Deuteronomy 32:36
  • Grief—Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40; Isaiah 63:10
  • Love–1 John 4:8; John 3:16; Jeremiah 31:3
  • Hate—Proverbs 6:16; Psalm 5:5; Psalm 11:5
  • Jealousy—Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Joshua 24:19
  • Joy—Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 32:41

However, are God’s emotions the same kind of emotions we humans exhibit? Is it right to think of Him as “emotional” (does He have mood swings)? In theological circles, personhood is often defined as “the state of being an individual with intellect, emotion, and volition.” God, then, is a “person” in that He is a personal God with a mind, emotions, and a will of His own. To deny God’s emotions is to deny that He possesses personality.

Humans respond to things in this world physically, of course, but we also respond spiritually—our souls react, and this is what we call “emotion.” The fact of human emotion is one proof that God has emotions, as well, for He created us in His image (Genesis 1:27). Another proof is the Incarnation. As the Son of God in this world, Jesus was not an emotionless automaton. He felt what we feel, weeping with those who wept (John 11:35), feeling compassion for the multitudes (Mark 6:34), and being overcome with sorrow (Matthew 26:38). Through it all, He revealed the Father to us (John 14:9).

Though God is transcendent, we’ve come know Him as a personal, living God who engages intimately with His creation. He loves us in ways we cannot fathom (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 5:3–8; 8:35, 38–39), and He is immeasurably pained by our sin and rebellion against Him (Psalm 1:5; 5:4–5; Proverbs 6:16–19).

We recognize that the demonstration of emotions does not alter the immutability or permanence of God’s will or His promises. In other words, God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29); He has no mood swings. God’s feelings and actions toward His creation, His judgment and forgiveness, His justice and grace, are all consistent with who He is (James 1:17). God’s responses to good and evil come from His same immutable will. God wills to judge and punish the sinner in order to bring about justice and, correspondingly, to bring the sinner to repentance because He desires that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). We’ve come to know and relate to God as a feeling Person, one who loves and hates, grieves and laughs, feels anger and compassion. He loves the righteous and hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5–7; 5:4–5; 21:8).

This isn’t to say that our emotions and those of God are exactly the same. We sometimes speak of our emotions “clouding our judgment” because our sinful nature has corrupted our emotions. But God has no sin, and His emotions are incorruptible. For example, there is a vast difference between human anger and divine anger. Man’s anger is volatile, subjective, and too often out of control (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; James 1:20). God’s anger is rooted in divine justice. God’s anger is perfectly righteous and predictable, never capricious or malicious. In His anger, He never sins.

All of God’s emotions are rooted in His holy nature and are always expressed sinlessly. God’s compassion, sorrow, and joy are all perfect expressions of the Perfect Being. Jesus’ anger at the synagogue leaders in Mark 3:5 and His love for the rich young ruler in Mark 10:21 were perfectly motivated responses of His divine nature.

God’s ways have been recorded for us in terms that we can understand and relate to. God’s wrath and anger against sin are real (Proverbs 8:13; 15:9). And His compassion for sinners is steadfast and genuine (2 Peter 3:9; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Isaiah 30:18). His works reveal His mercy and unending grace. But most of all, His love for His children is endless (Jeremiah 31:3) and unshakable (Romans 8:35, 38–39). God not only has thoughts and plans; He has feelings and desires, too. In contrast to the unreliability and instability of man’s sin-tainted emotions, God’s emotions are as completely dependable and immutable as He.

There are two wonderful things concerning God and emotions: first, He understands our emotions (since He created us with the capacity to feel them), and, second, His own emotions continually flow from His perfection. God will never have a bad day; He will never change His feelings toward His redeemed.[1]

 

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

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian Woman Wear a Bindi?

 

Hindu women have a custom of wearing a round, red mark between the eyebrows called a “bindi” (also spelled “bindhi”). The application of bindis is common in South Asia, including the countries of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. In some parts of India, a bindi traditionally signifies that a woman is married. In other sections of India, all girls wear bindis. A bindi can also signify the caste or sect a woman belongs to. In every case, a bindi carries a spiritual and religious meaning in addition to its cultural significance. Of the various Indian decorations of the body, the bindi is considered to have the strongest religious implication.

A bindi represents an individual’s “spiritual eye,” also called the “third eye,” which some claim gives spiritual vision. Through the third eye, Hindus believe they can obtain extraordinary perspective, seeing that which cannot be seen through their physical eyes. Hindu gurus and saints meditate by focusing their energies toward the spiritual eye. It is believed that, when the individual’s spiritual eye opens, he attains true enlightenment and gets closer to whatever god he’s trying to reach.

The bindi is located over the sixth chakra, assumed to be one of the psychic “energy spots” on the human body. Thus, a bindi marks the nexus of concentrated, secret wisdom associated with mantra meditation. Bindis are also thought to purify the intellect, improve concentration skills, retain energy, bring good fortune, and ward off evil spirits. The red color is said to be a symbol of power and strength.

A bindi is also seen as an enhancement of beauty. An old Indian proverb says, “A woman’s beauty is multiplied one thousand times when she wears a bindi.”

Western culture, with its ever-shifting notions of style and fashion, will advocate wearing just about anything, including bindis. Just as non-Christians sometimes wear crosses as a fashion accessory, non-Hindus sometimes wear bindis. In Western fashion, a bindi is often a shape other than round and a color other than red. Some women choose to tattoo or pierce their foreheads for a more permanent bindi. Celebrities such as Madonna, Selena Gomez, and Katy Perry have all sported bindis in public. Whatever statement these persons are trying to make, the connection to Hinduism still exists.

Every custom within Hindu culture has a certain meaning to it, and all Indian customs are linked in some way to their gods. For this reason, a Christian woman should have serious reservations about wearing a bindi. Even if she herself does not see her bindi as a lucky charm or source of psychic energy, others—especially those familiar with Eastern mysticism—will associate it with pagan traditions.

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” Paul asks. “For we are the temple of the living God.… Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you’ ” (2 Corinthians 6:16–17). Christians should have nothing to do with the stuff of idolatry. Those who wear a bindi identify themselves with cultural practices that deny the One True God.[1]

 

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

Assurance and Election

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Simon Peter, a bond- servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self- control…

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