Monday, January 27, 2014

Historical Adam - Part 2

Some of my continuing argument in favor of the historical Adam with the youth pastor copied and pasted below. As I re-read my letter now, I wish I had seasoned it with a little more grace... but my feathers were ruffled...


I am hopeful that this essay might be helpful? (Please read before continuing.)

Maybe it could be said of the "godly scholars" you're reading... "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them... For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God [Creator, as revealed] or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools...  " It appears they'd rather listen to unbelieving scientists than humbly taking heed to the clear teaching of Scripture, the Biblical doctrine of Orthodox Christianity and great Church leaders of old... tested, proven... whose lives of purity and holiness were testimonies of their knowledge of God and His Word, and the Spirit's work. Their lives and their teachings are gifts for our blessing today, and it is my humble opinion that we would all receive great benefit from heeding their instructions, conforming our lives to their examples, and believing and boldly preaching the same great truths that brought the The Reformation, The Great Awakening, the Puritan way of life, etc. Were they infallible? Of course not.

But consider this: What if, in a few decades, it is discovered that traditional carbon-dating and evolutionary science, for example, can be disproven beyond doubt? Will these "godly scholars" have to change their views again? Shall our doctrine continually blow with the wind of current accepted scientific thinking?

Here is a taste of Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones' view on this, from the interview I told you about. He addresses this issue of the "arrogance of modern man" in the first 4 minutes, particularly at time 2:17...

In regards to John Calvin, have you actually thoroughly studied him? Or are you just reading what others say about some of his teachings? But this is the quote I assume you/they are parsing...

"We indeed are not ignorant, that the circuit of the heavens is finite, and that the earth, like a little globe, is placed in the center." - John Calvin

The purpose of this passage, in context, "...is a part of a discussion in which Calvin was investigating the nature of God's eternity and infinity (brought about in part by the question of what God was doing before the Creation). In terms of the affirmation of the Ptolemaic system, Calvin simply uses it to once again affirm God's majesty and providential care for the world."

At any rate, having an incorrect view on the order of things in the universe would be one thing... But to deny that Adam and Eve were real people is quite another! One idea would have no effect on the gospel... The other completely unravels it! I would refer you to points #1 and #2 in my earlier reply. (Speaking of which, I would really like for you to address each of the points I made.)

Could it be that this "unnerving" you feel is actually the Holy Spirit at work within you? From my experience, when I study and learn new things (or am reminded of old things) according to the Holy Writ, or hear truth preached in a sermon, the Spirit within me says to my spirit, "Truth, truth!" And I trust this is from God, for He has promised to lead us into all truth, and His Spirit testifies to my spirit. No, there's no audible voice. But when I behave as the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11), it's a wonderful thing! I always test it with Scripture! Truth is sometimes encouraging, sometimes convicting, sometimes brings repentance, sometimes awes of wonder, etc... but it always ends in tears of joy and glory to God! Unnerving? Never!!!

I beseech you, my brother, with every caring bone within me for the sake of the gospel and your own soul... turn away from this path you are studying. This is heresy you are exploring. We know we must guard our hearts. These false teachers you are reading are trusting the fallible conjectures of unbelieving scientists, and trying to conform their theology in hope, I assume, of appealing to the "intellect of the world" instead of accepting God's Word by faith! Is this what Paul did? Is this what he told us to do?

1 Corinthians 1
 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." 
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
31 so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Are you, like the Jews, seeking a sign from a dream or something? Are you, like the Greeks, seeking wisdom from the world? Would it be wrong for me to call you to repentance? ...For doubting God at His Word... For standing in judgment of the clear teaching of the Almighty... For listening to the spiritual mystics and the "spiritual formation" garble-di-goop they push? Today it is doubting the historicity of the Scriptures... Tomorrow it will be doubting the authors... The next day, it will be doubting whether there is a God at all. Maybe this won't be the case for you... But what about your children? Or my children? Or their children?

I stand on the authority of the clarity of Scripture, from an author who "is not a God of confusion but of peace." I would suggest you be more cautious of the voices you are listening to. But if you choose to not take heed to my voice, so be it. If I am wrong, may God graciously show me. I am not "writing you off" any more than Paul was writing off the professing believers he corrected. He loved them. And I love you. And it grieves me to see you casting doubt upon the clear teaching of God. If you proceed, it will no doubt come with consequences.

(Sorry for my rambling, if it was so... But I've got the day off.)

Grace and peace to you and your family. All glory to God!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

55,000,000 Babies Killed



It is time for a CHANGE.

It is time to REPENT for our nation, as a nation, because we are still a nation... under God.

What will YOU do today? Let us please, at the very least, pray... pray... pray.  And dear Christian brother or sister, let us pray believing... for we still serve a God who hears.

"...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
- 2 Chronicles 7:14
"Pardoning mercy makes ways for healing mercy." - Matthew Henry

Please read...
"I Am Overwhelmed by 55 Million Babies Killed Since Roe v. Wade"
By Kristan Hawkins, President, Students for Life of America


Yes... 55,000,000 babies... ONE... BABY... AT A TIME.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Historical Adam - Part 1



Recently it came to my attention that the youth pastor at the local church was having serious doubts as to the historicity of Adam.  Was he a real man?  Or was he a myth?  Is the whole creation story just a fable? 

He also questioned the story of Jonah.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that, not only was Adam a real man, but his existence is essential to many Christian doctrines, including the explanation of creation, the entry of sin, the entry of death, the need for redemption, and the person and work of Christ.  

Below is Part 1 of my argument:

So I've dug through a couple of my books tonight, and opened my Bible, and I want to throw a few things at you for your consideration, as you sort and think:


1. As I mentioned earlier, Luke ("Mr. Detail") includes Adam in his detailed genealogy of Jesus Christ. It's impossible to be descended from a myth. (That's pretty much case closed, for me.)

2. Using the accepted hermeneutic of scripture interpreting scripture, let us consider Romans 5. "Paul uses the fall as the counterpoint for an exposition of Christ's work of redemption. The effects of the 'one' (i.e. 'first') sin of Adam (vv. 16,18) are undone by the 'one act of righteousness' (v.18) of Christ in his death for sinners (cf. 3:25; 4:25; 5:8). It is impossible to sustain this parallel between the work of Adam and the work of Christ if the fall as a space-time event is denied." (KNOW THE TRUTH, Bruce Milne)

3. While there was no law against incest until later, God allowing the first generation siblings to marry each other to populate the earth, man would have inherently known that murder is wrong. They knew from their mother and father that God alone is the Creator of life, and man would surely know (the law "written on their hearts") he had no right to take it. I would agree with those who teach that the risk of genetic defects increased because of the effects of sin's curse, and therefore God later outlawed sibling marriage for our own good (as are all his laws).

4. A closer look at Matthew 12:38-42 sure leads me to continue to believe the "prophet Jonah" was real, the "the great fish" was real, and Jonah really spent three days in it's belly. For Jesus uses these words: "For just as... so will..." (v.40), at least in my ESV, which I trust. It's just not hard for me to believe. And if God actually used the belly of a fish for His divine purposes, it has greater impact, at least on me, than if this were just allegory. I mean, here's a man, who had the crew cast him overboard, God rescues him through the hell of being in the belly of a fish, Jonah repents, and get vomited on the beach three days later all wrapped up in seaweed. And it all points to Jesus! If there was a prophet Jonah but no fish belly, why did he dramatically change his mind and go to Nineveh? Why not tell the real story? Maybe God did?

5. When Jesus told parables, he made it pretty plain that they were parables. Knowing what I know of God and His character, I just can't accept the premise that some of these OT stories are merely parables, or allegories, when they are pretty plainly set in historical literary form. And because we would both agree that the Scriptures are infallible, by definition, they do NOT mislead because it is God's own self-testimony. 

6. Even IF all these things are not literally true in the historical narratives... I'd rather get to heaven and be guilty of having child-like faith, taking God at His Word... than have reason to "be ashamed" because I doubted the historicity of the Holy Writ. 


There is no danger in preaching what the Reformers and Puritans preached, my brother, except from a world that we have no reason to fear. But I believe there is great danger in affirming and teaching the possibilities you suggested. I pray you consider it.

May the Spirit do what He has promised: Guide us into all the truth. I love you, brother.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Believe

"And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness."
- Genesis 15:6

Faith in God's promise, not human works or obedience, determines a man's standing with God... and it's a matter of eternal life or eternal death. This truth was first revealed in the garden, it continued with Abram, it remains true today.

Emmanuel has promised eternal life to all who trust in Him. He said it multiple times perspicuously.

"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
- John 6:40

Believe that promise, and thou shalt be saved!

Continue believing that promise, and thou shalt find rest... and peace... and life!

As a believer, I have to continually remind myself of this truth. As Jerry Bridges said, we must, "preach the gospel to ourselves daily." It keeps us from pride on the one hand, and self-condemnation on the other. Our life is found in Jesus alone... By grace alone...

Through faith alone!


Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.
Refrain
Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
Refrain
Now we are free, there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
Refrain
“Children of God,” O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Bless├Ęd salvation once for all.
Refrain

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Transaction Complete!

Poor as my faith in this Substitute may be, it places me at once in the position of one to whom "God imputeth righteousness without works." 

God is willing to receive me on the footing of His perfection; and if I am willing to be thus received, in the perfection of another with whom God is well pleased, the whole transaction is completed. I AM JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD. "As He is, so am I (even) in this world,"-even now, with all my imperfections and evils.

To be entitled to use another's name, when my own name is worthless; to be allowed to wear another's raiment, because my own is torn and filthy; to appear before God in another's person,-the person of the Beloved Son - this is the summit of all blessing. The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robes, and persons! I am now represented by Him, my own personality having disappeared; He now appears in the presence of God for me (Heb 9:24). All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin-bearer, that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done; but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my Substitute has done. 

In one sense I am still the poor sinner, once under wrath; in another I am altogether righteous, and shall be so for ever, because of the Perfect One, in whose perfection I appear before God. Nor is this a false pretense or a hollow fiction, which carries no results or blessings with it. It is an exchange which has been provided by the Judge, and sanctioned by law; an exchange of which any sinner upon earth may avail himself and be blest.


Excerpt From: Bonar, Horatius. “The Everlasting Righteousness.” Monergism Books, 2011-11-05T22:59:54.841000+00:00. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hollowness


Religion is fashionable in our age. 

But is it that which sprang up, after centuries of darkness, among our fathers in Europe? Is it that of apostles and prophets? Is it the calm yet thorough religion which did such great deeds in other days? Has it gone deep into the conscience? Has it filled the heart? Has it pervaded the man? Or has it left the conscience unpacified, the heart unfilled, the man unchanged, save with some external appliances of religiousness, which leaves him hollow as before? 

There is at this moment many an aching spirit, bitterly conscious of this hollowness. 

The doctrine, the profession, the good report of others, the bustle of work, will not fill the soul. God Himself must be there, with His covering righteousness, His cleansing blood, His quickening Spirit. Without this, religion is but a shell: holy services are dull and irksome. Joy in God, which is the soul and essence of worship, is unknown. 

Sacraments, prayer-meetings, religious services, labours of charity, will not make up for the living God.

Excerpt From: Bonar, Horatius. “The Everlasting Righteousness.” Monergism Books, 2011-11-05T22:59:54.841000+00:00. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, Old Gospel

I was trying to think of something creative to blog on my first post of the year. I think instead I will lean on the wisdom of another's post...

"New Year, Old Gospel" by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And consider this...
"The New Year lies before you like a spotless tract of snow.
Be careful how you tread on it, for every mark will show..."

But remember the gospel of grace... That wipes away our wayward marks before our Maker.

Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
- Isaiah 1:18

If you are not a Christian, how will you deal with your marks? With what will you bargain?

One year will be your last year, "and after that comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27), when you will give an account before Him who sees all things. Don't be unprepared. Flee from your sins, cry out to Jesus, and ask Him to be your Savior and your Lord!

Rest in His mercy. Trust in His grace. By faith cling to Jesus. Walk in the light.

I'd love to talk with you further if you have questions. Feel free to email me.

Grace to you, and peace, in this upcoming year!!!