Daily Archives: February 9, 2019

What Mind Can Grasp “I AM”? (Augustine)

The Reformed Reader

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1.7: St. Augustin: Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies Commenting on John 8:24, Augustine had some brilliant reflections on Jesus’ words: Unless you believe that I am [εγω ειμι] you will die inyour sins.  Note below how Augustine went back to Exodus 3 to explain Jesus’ words in John 8.  (Side note: this is why non-Christian groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons tend to avoid Augustine):

There is much implied in His only saying “I Am;” for so also had God said to Moses, “I Am who Am.” Who can adequately express what that AM means?

…Perhaps it was too much even for Moses himself, as it is too much for us also, and much more so for us, to understand the meaning of such words, “I am who am;” and, “He who is hath sent me to you.” And supposing that Moses comprehended it, when would those to whom he was sent comprehend it? The Lord…

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Christian Idolatry

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:1-3 (NASB) 

idolatry 1: the worship of a physical object as a god 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something (from Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary)

I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a…

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Riper for Repentance? — Gentle Reformation

Typically, many Christians tend to think of repentance as something they do at the start of their experience. Perhaps in more Reformed circles (and I put it no stronger than that) we have come to understand that repentance ought to be an ongoing, lifelong, process which expands with time and is repeated every day.

I paused briefly to reflect on the reason why the longer you are a Christian the deeper should be your sorrow. What follow amount to a number of suggestions why that is both the right conclusion to draw and a firm conviction to form. It is because more mature Christians…

firstly, have an increasing self-awareness and understanding of the sinful workings of their heart, mind, soul, words, thoughts, deeds, vows, duties and neglects.

secondly, have a growing understanding of the teaching of scripture on the anatomy and doctrines of sin, repentance and forgiveness.

third, have a deepening perception of the righteousness of the law, holiness of God, justice of judgment, wrath to come and final state of the damned and what law-breakers deserve.

fourth, have a firmer appreciation of what confessions and catechisms teach about factors which aggravate human guilt.

fifth, have heard more sermons and instructions on the doctrines concerned and on the duty and demand to heed the call of Christ to repent.

sixth, have a heightened sense that the superficial sins which troubled us before our conversion are really only the tip of the iceberg of (mixing my metaphors) the ‘can of worms’ of sin with all its subtle shifts, twists and turns – all these increase our sense of stubborn, ingrained and inward defilement, pollution, ill-deserts and self-disgust.

seventh, have a more constant, structured, focused prayer-life, informed by biblical understanding, that has trained itself to pray for the light of the Spirit to be shone on secret sins – the goal of such Spirit-suppliants is that the heart might be truly contrite (or crushed) in confession.

eighth, have a fuller understanding of the love of the Father who sent His Son to suffer for our crimes and to bear the wrath of the now better-appreciated, and more-felt, weight of guilt: as we think of Jesus’ glorious person, infinite condescension, union of two natures, voluntary mediation, perpetual intercession, triplex prophet-priest-king office, and especially His harrowing ordeal as He suffers for us on the Cross; further, as we come to terms slowly with what the Cross really cost the Christ, then sin, in our heart’s eye, swells into into the most hideous, ugly, monster: Calvary breaks our heart and breeds a true lament – O the wondrous length, breadth, height and depth of the Love of God in Christ!

ninth, have a more diligent grasp of and response to the Holy Covenant LORD’s calling to be holy as He is Holy.

tenth, have a truer realization of the divine decree of election and the eternal purpose of sovereign, triune, grace – it was this gracious, saving, plan to redeem the lost that determined to rid creation of strain and Christ’s flock of every stain.

eleventh, have a clearing vision of the glory of Christ who was crucified for us: to His purest, radiant, likeness we will one day be fully conformed – we shall see Him as He is.

twelfth, have a higher, over-spilling, abundance of the exultant joy of escape, freedom, life and peace as we drink deeply, and fully of the riches of divine grace: what cooling draughts to delight – of expanding dimensions and broadening horizons of what it means to obtain undeserved abundant pardon, mercy, acceptance and assurance for Christ’s sake.

Of course, there are many other reasons we might give for increasing, ongoing, repentance in the life of the saints. However, these twelve points may be used, I suggest, to teach us the necessity of making progress as penitents: if it makes, at first, the taste of godly sorrow-for-sin more bitter, may the aftertaste, later on, of joy-in-washing in God’s merciful fountain, be increasingly purer and sweeter.

via Riper for Repentance? — Gentle Reformation

February 9 The Divine Scapegoat

Scripture Reading: Leviticus 16:1–22

Key Verse: Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Through repeated usage, the term scapegoat has become quite familiar to our secular culture. Its meaning—“an innocent party being blamed”—has its roots, however, in an ancient Hebrew ritual known as the Day of Atonement.

This holy day occurred once each year. The high priest took two male goats as a sin offering for the iniquities of the people. One goat was slaughtered, and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. The remaining goat was sent into the wilderness—after the high priest had placed his hands on the goat’s head and confessed the sins of the nation over it. Through this “scapegoat” observance, God showed His mercy to the Israelites, allowing Him to continue His covenant relationship with them.

In much the same way, Jesus became the divine scapegoat for the sins of the world. He was and is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 nasb).

Our sins were placed on Him at Calvary. Indeed, our sins put Him there.

Jesus took the blame so that we could live. Have you trusted in His atonement? Have you come to Him for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you been healed of your transgressions through His sacrifice?

Almighty God, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus, as the divine scapegoat for my sins. I praise You that He took the blame, so I could live. I rejoice in the liberating truth of His atonement for me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 42). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

King David: A Lesson of Sin and Repentance — Ligonier Ministries Blog

King David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). He burst onto the scene as a boy to slay the giant Goliath. Later, he became Israel’s king, led the people in great conquests, and composed many beautiful psalms.

Yet at the same time, David was a sinner. At the height of his power, he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then conspired to murder her husband. How could such a godly man do such a terrible thing?

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul surveys David’s complex and contradictory character. He also recounts an important lesson we can learn from David’s life: the lesson of repentance. For when David was compelled to confront his sin, he laid bare his soul and cast himself on God’s mercy (Ps. 51). Like David, we are all sinners, and like David, we must rely upon God’s grace alone for salvation.

Watch today’s message, or for a limited time, request your copy of the full teaching series Dust to Glory for a donation of any amount. You can also dig deeper into the Scriptures with the Reformation Study Bible.


via King David: A Lesson of Sin and Repentance — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Worldview and Apologetics in the News for February 9, 2019 — Truthbomb Apologetics

“Disillusioned with Dawkins: My Journey from Atheism to Christianity”: Peter Byrom

Speaking My Mind About the Pro-Abortion Madness

Ben Sasse Wants to Ban Infanticide after Botched Abortions

Enoch, Jude, the Canon, and the Sons of God: Some Notes for the Curious

“Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” List: The Tip of an Iceberg

2019 Summer Seminars in Seattle: Study with Michael Behe and Other ID Superstars

There’s no way to make late-term abortion seem better, media. Just stop.

Is Reason Still Our Guide in a ‘Post-Truth’ Age? Yes, and Everyone Knows It!

Don’t Let Planned Parenthood Parent Your Kids With Their New Sex Ed Chat Robot

Christian Historian Reveals Why Black History Matters Today

Peter Hitchens decries ‘thought police’ after speech to students halted over LGBT fears

Michael Green (1930-2019): Remembering the infectious joy of this exceptional evangelist

‘Unplanned’ Movie Director Says Film Was Made ‘For Such a Time as This’
Courage and Godspeed

Our last edition is here.

via Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

The King’s Dale: A commendable resource for Beth Moore and Sarah Young critiques and book reviews

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

The popular definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” For Christians with discernment, insanity is ‘being sure by the Spirit and the Bible, after research and prayer, that so-and-so is false, but literally NO ONE ELSE around you believes it or even entertains the notion for a second.’

After a while you begin to question yourself, or you question why others can’t see it, or you question God with pleading, upraised hands, ‘why, WHY can’t they see?’ All that. The definition of discernment is also often “Agony.”

It was like that for me, anyway, back in 2011-2012 when I started to question Beth Moore’s teaching.

The church I attended at the time was Southern Baptist in denomination, tradition, and church practice. The members were sweet and they loved Jesus and they were faithful. They had a blind spot…

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The Spirituality of the Church Speech (Nick Batzig) — Reformation21 Blog

Kevin DeYoung recently wrote a post about what has frequently been termed “the spirituality doctrine of the church.” I heartily commend this post to our readers, as it is quite a helpful introduction to the basics of Presbyterianism regarding the relationship between church and state. In that post, Kevin explains the significance of the Second Book of Discipline of the Church of Scotland–it being one of the foundational sources of the theological articulation of the spirituality of the church doctrine. The Second Book of Discipline was largely the product of the labors of Andrew Melville, John Knox’s successor. Melville’s name is often inseparably linked to references to “the spirituality doctrine of the church”–both on account of his contributions to the Second Book of Discipline as well as on account of a well documented interaction that he had with King James in September of 1596. It is this interaction to which I wish to briefly turn our attention. With news of an impending Spanish invasion, King James VI of Scotland (later King James I of England) had given orders to the ministers throughout Scotland to charge their members to “take up arms, provide supplies and meet mediated attacks.” Additionally, he relayed his desire to bring back certain Roman Catholic officials who would reestablish their presence and assert their authority over the churches. After an uproar among the people at the reception of the King’s resolutions, a number of ministers forged a private meeting with the King and express their concerns. Among them was James Melville, Andrew Melville’s nephew. The group of invited ministers had agreed that James Melville would be the best person to address the King “because of his courteous manner, and the favorable regard the King had shown him.” At a certain point in the meeting, however, Andrew Melville could no longer remain silent and–despite attempts by his nephew to silence him–“seized the kings robe by the sleeve…termed him …

Continue Reading at Reformation21 Blog

via The Spirituality of the Church Speech (Nick Batzig) — Reformation21 Blog

William Lane Craig debates Alex Rosenberg: Does God Exist? Video, audio and summary


British Spitfire and German Messerschmitt Me 109 locked in a dogfight British Spitfire and German Messerschmitt Me 109 locked in a dogfight

Here is the video of the debate:

Here is my summary of the Craig-Rosenberg debate, which occurred on February 1st, 2013 at Purdue University.

The debaters

Below is the summary.

Dr. Craig’s opening speech:

The topic: What are the arguments that make belief in God reasonable or unreasonable?
First speech: arguments for reasonableness of belief in God
Second speech: respond to arguments against reasonableness of belief in God

Eight arguments:

  1. Contingency argument: God – a transcendent, personal being – is the explanation of why a contingent universe exists.
  2. Cosmological argument: God is the cause of the beginning of the universe, which is attested by physics and cosmology.
  3. Applicability of mathematics to nature: God is the best explanation for the applicability of mathematics to nature.
  4. Fine-tuning argument: God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of…

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Christianity vs Other Religions — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

QUESTION: How do you know that Christianity is true versus other religions?
This has to be answered using logic and philosophy to first show that other types of religions have problems with being true, and that, to start with, only a theistic religion can be true — a religion that has a God beyond and within the world, a God that is both creator and sustainer.  This argument can get quite involved and will be left to you to study while we will assume here that everyone believes in a God. Theistic religions can be classified as Deism, pantheism, panentheism, and theism. I will only highlight some of the problems that disprove these first three viewpoints. A study of the individual worldview is very interesting and quite enlightening as to why none but theism really work. (This article was developed from the book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.)
A. Deism says that there is a God who alone is eternal, and who created the world and then walked away from it so that the world operates by natural and self-sustaining laws that He put into existence. A deist says that the supernatural does not exist, that miracles do not occur. This position is inadequate and illogical. If they admit to the miracle of creation, then they have to accept the possibility of other miracles. And if God was concerned enough to create man, it would follow that He would be concerned enough about man as to intervene personally.
B.  Pantheism says that all is God and God is all; that God is the world, is us, etc. Hinduism and other Eastern and so-called New Age religions profess this, and this idea is promoted as the “Force” in Star Wars. There are actually several types of pantheism, some of which devolve into polytheism.  Their god is not a personal god and is more “it” than “him.”
The very quick way to demonstrate the self-defeating aspect of this system is that if God is unknowable and inexpressible by language or thought, then how do they know and express this about God?
Another way to demonstrate that it it self-defeating is to point out that, in this view, “God is and I am not,” that is, God is all that is. But one must exist in order to claim they don’t exist! And if all there is, is God, then there is no I-thou relationship because there is only one entity. Religious experience then becomes impossible.
This view also claims evil is only an illusion, but if that is the case, what is the source of the illusion? This makes God the source of evil.
Pantheism’s god is dependent on creation; without creation the god doesn’t exist. But then they have to explain where the creation came from.
Another problem is, by saying God is all, he must include opposites. This then says nothing meaningful about him because he is and he isn’t.
Finally, there is a contradiction of God’s nature. If he is infinite yet shares his being with creation then part of him is finite, which now makes him infinite and finite which is a logical impossibility. This gets involved in philosophical arguments about contingent and necessary beings, which pantheism tries to make both at the same time.
C. Panentheism.  This is similar to pantheism. God is in the world the way a soul or mind is in a body. A lot of New Age teachers promote this. God is finite and limited. There are two poles of God: an actual temporal pole and a potential eternal pole. A form of this is also known as process theology because God is in a continual process of change.
A primary proof of falsehood is that the concept of God as an eternal potential seeking temporal actualization is self-defeating. No potential can actualize itself. And then there is the problem of evil: a finite god cannot guarantee the defeat of evil.
D. Theism.  Proving the other theistic belief systems false leaves us with theism. It becomes the only adequate worldview. So once we determine theism is true, how do we prove that Christianity is true instead of Judaism or Islam? The need would be to prove that Christianity is true, which by extension falsifies the other belief systems. This proof is for another time.

via Christianity vs Other Religions — The Watchman’s Bagpipes