Friday, November 30, 2007

Contact With the Infinite

It cannot be denied. Man is a poor finite creature: he is a denizen of the earth. From one point of view, he is very much like the beasts that perish. Like them, he lives in a world of phenomena; he is subject to a succession of experiences, and he does not understand any one of them. Science can observe; it cannot explain. When it tries to explain, it becomes laughable. Man is certainly finite. But that is not the whole truth. He is not only finite, for he knows that he is finite, and that knowledge brings him into connection with infinity. He lives in a finite world. But he knows at least that it is not the totality of things. He lives in a procession of phenomena. But to save his life he cannot help searching for a first cause. In the midst of his trivial life, there rises in his mind one strange and overpowering thought – the thought of God. It may come by reflection, by subtle argument- from the effect to cause, from design to the designer. Or it may come by ‘a sunset touch.’ Back of the red, mysterious, terrible, silent depths beyond the silent meeting-place of sea and sky, there is an inscrutable power. In the presence of it we are helpless as a stick or stone. As helpless, but more unhappy – unhappy because of fear. With what assurance can we meet the infinite power? Its works in nature are horrible in the infliction of suffering. And what if physical suffering should not be all, what of the sense of guilt? What if the condemnation of conscience should be but the foretaste of judgment? What if contact with the infinite should be contact with a dreadful infinity of holiness? What if the inscrutable cause of all things should turn out to be, after all, a righteous God?...

…This great beyond of Mystery - can Jesus help us there?…

…The church hurled anathemas at those who held that Christ, though great, was less than God. And rightly! That difference was no trifle. There is no such thing as ‘almost God.’ The thought is blasphemy. The next thing less than the infinite is infinitely less. If Christ be the greatest of finite creatures, then still our souls are restless, still we are seekers after God. But now is Christ, our Savior, our Champion, the same who says, ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee,’ revealed as very God. And we believe! It is the supreme venture of faith; faith can go no higher.

Such a faith is a constant mystery to us who possess it; it is ridiculed by those who have it not. But, if possessed, it overcomes the world. In Christ, all things are ours. There is now no awful beyond of mystery and fear. We cannot explain the world. But we rejoice now that we cannot explain it. To us it is all unknown. But it contains no mysteries for our Savior. He is on the throne. He is at the centre. He is ground and explanation of all things. He pervades the remotest bounds. In Him all things consist. The world is full of dread, mysterious powers. They touch us already in a thousand woes. But from all of them we are safe. ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

J. Gresham Machen - God Transcendent

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

I am More Like You Think I Am Than I Actually Am

A response to a friend...

"What do you think of the following statement: 'I am more like you think I am than I actually am.'"

The way a statement like this comes across and is usually intended is that you are laying out two different things, the perceived (the way I think you are) and the actual (the way you really are). This is common to people who hold to your type of philosophy. It tends to believe that we cannot know things the way they really are, we only know them in the way we create them with our language and understanding. This is classic postmodernism. The problem with this is that it assumes to know something about the actual world. First, it assumes to know that it actually exists and second, it assumes to know that it is different than the way we perceive it. But wouldn't both of those things also just be the way we perceive it? Or is this something that we actually know about it? At this point we have two choices, either we can know nothing about the actual world, which would have to be a false statement, because it is a statement about the actual world, or we can actually know things about the actual world which would refute the philosophy behind a statement like this.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Those Biased Christians

"In one state college an atheist is always appointed to teach the religion course. The administrators claim that if a believer taught it, the course would be biased. When someone suggested, however, that a theist should be allowed to teach an "unbiased" course on atheism, the hoots and howls could be heard all the way to Moscow. The atheists would not extend to believers the same freedoms they claim for themselves."

Robert Morey, The New Atheism and the Erosion of Freedom

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brothers and Sisters in Christ and the Non-Christian

"The great trouble is not that we love those who are not Christians too much, rather that we do not love them enough. If we really loved them, we should not be content with the relationship to them involved in the comparatively cold brotherhood of man, but we should long passionately, and by the preaching of the gospel we should make constant and earnest endeavour, to bring them in with us into the full intimacy of the household of God.

-J. Gresham Machen-

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Man's Strange Disorder

Man's Sensitivity to trivia, and his insensitivity to matters of major importance, reveal he has a strange disorder.

Blaise Pascal - The Pensees

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Dawinism's Attempt to Preserve What it Destroys

"Similar self-contradictions are endemic in the literature on evolutionary psychology. A prime example is The Moral Animal, where Robert Wright spends hundreds of pages describing human beings as “robots,” “puppets,” “machines,” and “Swiss Watches” programmed by natural selection. He insists that “biochemistry governs all” and that free will is sheer illusion. He unmasks our noblest moral impulses as survival “stratagems of the genes,” as mere devices “switched on and off in keeping with self—interest.” But then, in a grand leap of faith, Wright insists that we are now free to choose our moral ideals, and he urges us to practice “brotherly love” and “boundless empathy.”

This persistent inner contradiction stems from the fact that evolutionary psychology is essentially a search for a secular morality. Darwinism cut the modern world loose from religious traditions and systems of meaning; the result is a culture adrift in a sea of relativism. Now Darwinism is itself being plumbed as a source of meaning, a cosmic guide for the problems of living. Yet the Darwinist view of human nature is so negative, so counter to traditional notions of humanity dignity, morality, and reason (not to mention common sense), that there is an almost irresistible impulse to take a leap of faith back to those traditional notions, no matter how unsupported by the theory. For who can live with a theory that tells us that “ethics is illusory,” and the ‘morality is merely and adaption put in place to further our reproductive ends,’ in the words of Michael Ruse and E.O Wilson? Who can live with a theory that tells us that if ‘natural selection is both sufficient and true, it is impossible for a genuinely disinterested or “altruistic behoviour pattern to evolve,” in the words of M.T. Ghiselin?"

Nancy Pearcey, “Singer in the Rain,” First Things vol. 106

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Christian Law School

Looking for a Christian Law School? There are only a handful of Law Schools that truly teach law from within the Christian worldview. Trinity Law School (in Southern California) is one of the few schools which does just that.

Trinity is a dynamic Christian law school dedicated to legal studies from a Augustinian natural law perspective, Trinity Law School prepares men and women to fulfill their callings as lawyers, judges, public officials, legal advocates, and professionals in vocations that require a solid legal education.

Trinity is also affiliated with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Using Fear As a Motivation to Keep Christians From Using Fear As a Motivation

Christ Himself spoke often about hell, warning us of the wrath to come for those who will not place their faith in Him, but there are many, from within and without the church, who seem to think that fear as a motivation is always a bad thing. In fact, I heard an evolutionist recently say that Christians where like terrorists who use fear to tell people they better believe in God or face eternal torment. I've also heard “Christians” say, God is love and would never say fearful things as motivation to get someone to live for him, and people who do such things are unloving people themselves.

But there is something self-contradictory at the bottom of these types of statements that must be addressed. What are they trying to get us to do by saying those types of things? Ultimately, they want us to fear being like a terrorist or being unloving? And if they respond by telling us that is not what they are doing, all we have to do is ask them, "is there no reason I should fear being those types of people?" If they say, no then all we have to do is ask them, "then what is your point.” And if they say yes, then it turns out that fear is also an aspect of the motivation they are using to get us to change our ways too.

The problem is this, though Christians should be fearful of being like a terrorist and being unloving, warning people of hell’s existence and showing them a way of escape is the opposite of unloving and is no closer to terrorism than warning people that that their house is on fire and they are going to get hurt if they don’t flee. Fear is an aspect of life, it can be used in sinful ways to get people to do things they shouldn't, but it can also be a means of grace used to spare our lives. Not all fear is unhealthy. God Himself, through His word, has told us to flee the wrath to come, but along with this fear that drives us from behind, we also have the love and kindness that draws us to Him.

As Christian’s we must not fear saying fearful things as long as we say them in love, and we must not let the world use a false sense of fear to keep us from speaking His truth. Even if people do not want to hear it and threaten us with fearful things if we continue, we should be willing to lose jobs, reputation, and even our lives if that is what it takes to save some. For we should not fear those who can kill the body but Him who can destroy our souls, and the one who can destroy the soul has told us how much he loved us by warning us of fearful things, such as the hell, and sending His Son to make atonement for those who place their faith in Him.


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Naturalism, Miracles, and Cause and Effect

The tendency of present-day Modernism, of course, is to merge everything into nature and to admit of no other causes. What the Modernist needs to prove, therefore, is not simply that natural causes operate uniformly, but that every physical effect must have a physical cause. That, however, he is unable to do, and that, we hold further, no one except an atheist has a right to assert. In our own natures we find that mind influences matter,--we will to walk or run, to play a piano or to lift a weight, and the effect of mind on matter is clearly seen. We do not understand how the result is accomplished, but we know that it is very real. And if God has so arranged it that our wills produce these physical effects, certainly there is no reason for denying that his omnipotent will may produce infinitely greater effects.

Loraine Boettner - Studies in Theology

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Fountain of Living Water - F.F. Bruce

“For the Spirit of God, imparted by our Lord to his people, dwells within them as a perennial wellspring of refreshment and life. The soul’s deepest thirst is for God himself, who has made us so that we can never be satisfied without him…The fountain of living waters may thus be found resident in the personal life of men and women; with they may draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3) and know that, as they partake of that saving draught, they are tasting the true heavenly gift, the life of the age to come.”

F.F. Bruce


Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Myth of Neutrality - Greg Bahnsen

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Significance of Feet in Scripture