That’s an excellent quote [quote from Ken Daniels], and a great attempt at defining the world view of the post-modern skeptic. However it is only valid if one of the two following statements is true:
- There is no god, or
- if God or the gods exist, they are unconcerned with revealing themselves to man and have left mankind alone to sort out things all by themselves.
I don’t believe either is true.
I maintain that an all powerful, infinite Creator does exist. I think that is self evident in the creation itself. For those who deny it, I believe the burden of proof lies in their court to prove that God does not exist.
I also maintain that this Creator God does reveal Himself. He reveals Himself to each person who honestly and humbly and incessantly seeks after Him, and sometimes even to those who don’t.
I base this upon the historical record, also upon personal experience and also upon the testimonies of countless others who, like me, have had unmistakable, life changing encounters with Jesus Christ. No longer is He just the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but now He is the God and Savior of [name withheld].
Can I explain it? Not really other than to say that He continually opens my spiritually blind eyes to recognize Him for who He is — the Almighty holy and perfectly righteous judge of all His creation, and me for who I am, — a wretched despicable sinner, desperately in need of a savior. As a result, I now also understand the truths of Scripture that I had previously not understood. For those who can’t make heads or tails of it, I must conclude that they don’t truly know their Creator.
My prayer is that my God would open your spiritual eyes to see the wonder and the majesty and the beauty of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, and that He would rescue you also from the wrath to come, which will come upon all who refuse to turn to Him and cry out, “God be merciful to me the sinner”.
I pray daily to that end. But I also recognize that my words are powerless to change you. I cannot change your thinking. In fact I don’t want to change your thinking. The church is full of men who think they have “reasoned” their way into the kingdom of God. Usually they have been duped or have duped themselves. Rather, entrance into the kingdom of God is by being born from above.
Do I want your thinking to change? By all means. But only the Lord can accomplish that. Only He is capable of birthing anyone from above.
I love you Josh, and implore you. Please, seek the Lord while He may be found.
Sigh. Why do I bother.
Take a look at this verse:
Titus 3:10 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”
Now think about it.
This command says to separate from divisive people. Hmmm.
Consider: by having “nothing to do with him” how are you ever to reconcile things? You cannot reconcile unless you discuss the issue that caused the division in the first place, but if you deem the issue divisive you might not be able to resolve it! So if the person ever comes back and confesses their “divisiveness”, then is he or she just never supposed to bring up the issue that caused the division ever again? In order to follow this command, you have to break it, and nothing ever gets accomplished!
In practice, a situation here at home has devolved into exactly what you predict would happen when people follow this command to the letter. An elder brings up an issue: the issue begins to “divide”. The elder is deemed “divisive”. The issue over which he is dividing is moot at this point, because it is determined that he is sinning – not on the basis of whether the issue he is bringing up is right or not – but on the basis of the fact that it is causing disunity. As such, everyone in the church is told to have nothing to do with him.
So basically this command devolves into a Biblical gagging order. Literally shut up and shut out people whose information could cause a division. And the minority will always be labeled the divisive group.
The real problem with this command is its subjective nature: the judge and the jury become one in the same. After all, on its surface it sounds like good advice: avoid people who are breaking up relationships. That sounds good, right? After all, that type of person should be avoided…
Hold onto your pants, boys and girls, the following sick and humorous story is true…
A couple months ago, an elder at my family church was reprimanded and kicked out for having an “improper hermeneutic”. Apparently he was beginning to question the doctrine of Lordship salvation as he saw that it was being used by the church as an element of control. Basically Lordship salvation holds that a person is not actually saved unless they make Jesus their Lord. This means that a church can, at their discretion, determine whether a member is “making Christ their Lord” based upon the members assessed behavior. Ultimately, this elder was concerned the church was becoming extremely legalistic and un-Christlike in their love towards those attending. Basically, they were using doctrine to be assholes.
Now, step back a few months before. This elder was sitting in an elders meeting in which nearly every elder, except for the pastor, admitted they did not know what “hermeneutics” was. My father is the elder who explicitly said this. They immediately all agreed that they needed to study hermeneutics.
So imagine this elder’s surprise when he is told that he is in a form of rebellion against the church and was being kicked out for having an improper hermeneutic. Obviously, the pastor had a strongarm in this decision. To make a long story short, he was basically told to write his resignation letter or else he would be dismissed that Sunday. He was not allowed to defend himself, his position, or get a clear answer as to what he had done wrong. The most obvious conclusion given the circumstances was that he was the most educated elder besides the pastor and the pastor was beginning to be jealous of the amount of influence he had. The kicked out elder was becoming interested in allowing my brother’s fiance to lead a Bible study and the pastor was basically like “we don’t know who this girl is or what she will teach…”
So, I know I’ve said recently I wanted to get away from all of this, but I just couldn’t help but post this because I find it amusing…
It occurred to me today that probably the core loophole in all of theism is found in the inherent impossibility for God /gods to be described without assuming the universe already exists. Try it! (Friendly reminder, you can’t use any words that assume space and time exist. You know, core words like “in”, “outside of”, “before”, “beginning”, “pre-existing”, “incarnate”, “only”, etc.)
Consider one example: the phrase “God is three in one” or even “God is one”.
Apologist Dr. James White said in a recent debate: “numbers are a part of Creation itself”.
However, if God created numbers then it is idolatrous and irrational to use any numbers to describe God. If God did not create numbers yet has properties defined numerically, then a believer admits there is something more fundamental to reality than God.
Now, to help see how silly all this is, imagine how many people have been killed for not accepting the correct numerical description of God…
“Despite our very best efforts, despite our tears and prayers, children can still rebel against God. As always our primary need is to turn to the Bible, which has the power to change lives.” – link
How can you know the Bible is powerful if it can’t even keep your kids from going to hell after having it crammed into their heads year after year for their entire childhood? That isn’t very powerful at all. Maybe the very fact that they can listen to the Bible for so long and never truly experience any power is good evidence to them that what you are teaching about the Bible’s power is bullshit.
In fact, if you cram Mein Kampf into a childs head for year after year it can make him or her turn into a Nazi! Wow, that is true power.
- Cram Mein Kampf: child will probably turn into a Nazi or socialist of some sort. Maybe he will be a liberal Nazi or maybe – horror! – he will reject Nazism altogether.
- Cram Bible: child will probably turn into a Christian of some sort. Maybe he will turn into a liberal Christian or maybe – horror! – he will reject Christianity altogether.
Wow, God’s power looks a lot like psychology, statistics, and brainwashing in action.
Conclusion: the Bible is no different in power than Mein Kampf.
Why not just say that people who believe things act on those beliefs? And if they do not believe they won’t act on it…
I put the phone back on the receiver with a hesitant click. Did I really almost end the message with “In Jesus’ name, amen?” Could I seriously be praying too much?
Glancing to the other side of the room I once again fell back into my mind. The thoughts haunted like an itch on the brain that you are desperately trying to scratch, but cannot. Flooding in were the doubts, the questions, the wondering at my every action and thought. Was it a lie if you had honest intentions at the time? Did you need to confess it?
An erection during church service. The horror. Every small slit of cleavage told a story of a young man’s temptation. Except for Mrs. W… I hope God doesn’t put me with a woman like her. How does her husband do it… do her. But God probably will. God knows best and often what we think is best for us is not what is best. Doubtless I would end up with an ugly woman, just so God can teach me how to be thankful for what I have. I wonder if it is all the same in the dark. I wonder what a vagina looks like. What do you call a vagina anyway? I know on men it is called a penis, but dad only explained to me what an erection was and didn’t tell me what sex actually was. I’ll bet I could find a picture of a vagina in the dictionary if I knew what it was called.
Flipping the pages one by one, each one falling with a thump that was only matched by a beat of my heart. Thump. Thump. Thump. B. r. e… a… Jesus wouldn’t want this. Jesus is watching me. Oh, how I love you Jesus, but I am dying of curiosity. A footstep upstairs. What if I was caught with my erection up and my hand on a picture of a naked woman? Lust is sin. Slide the dictionary back onto the shelf, Josh. There, Josh. Thank you Lord for helping me resist temptation…