Sunday, November 24, 2013
I shall desist from editing the entries to line them up with my current sentiments. And considering the amount of silliness on the web, I suppose they all are satisfactorily veracious, relatively speaking.
Monday, October 31, 2011
The Protestant Reformation was a big event in history, and it had several “battle cries”, so to speak. “Post Tenebras Lux” and “Ecclesia semper reformanda est” are some of them, and perhaps more famous are the five Solas:
- Sola Fide—“By faith alone”
- Sola Gratia—“By grace alone”
- Sola Scriptura—“By Scripture alone”
- Solus Christus/Solo Christo—“Through Christ alone”
- Soli Deo Gloria—“Glory to God alone”
I will go through each of these, elaborating on them and showing their Scriptural support. They are a great way of summarizing Biblical Christianity in opposition to Romanism or any other such false system.
Sola Fide (By Faith Alone)
This might be the most famous of the five. It refers to how we are justified: We are justified through faith alone, not by any works. Martin Luther described this doctrine as the point on which the church stands or falls. Theodore Beza wrote that failure in distinguishing law (works) and Gospel (faith in Christ) is one of the principal sources of the abuses that corrupt Christianity. Is this doctrine Biblical though? Really, the whole New Testament is an abundantly perspicuous witness to it, most especially Romans and Galatians. Some golden nuggets are:
Rom 4:5: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Gal 2:16: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Php 3:8,9: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
The doctrine didn’t vanish for 1500 years though: We find it as early as in the end of the 1st century in Clement of Rome:
“We also, being called through God's will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves, neither through our own wisdom or understanding, or piety, or works which we have done in holiness or heart, but through faith.”
Moreover, 4th century Church Father John Chrysostom wrote:
“Again, they said that he who adhered to Faith alone was cursed, but he shows that he who adhered to Faith alone, is blessed.”
To mention but a few.
Sola Gratia (By Grace Alone)
We have no claim to anything from God, for we are wicked in His sight, corrupted by both personal and original sin. God is therefore gracious to us when He redeems us. The Reformers realised this, and criticised the Roman church for (supposedly) trying to merit salvation. Be that as it may, the Scriptures testify that by the grace of God we are saved:
Rom 3:24: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8,9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Merit is excluded:
Rom 11:35: Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?
Even faith, whereby we receive Christ’s righteousness, is itself a product of God’s free grace. We have nothing to boast of:
2 Tim 2:25: God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Joh 6:44: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.
Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone)
In opposition to the Papists’ doctrine that Scripture isn’t the only infallible source of doctrine, the Reformers taught that only the Bible is the Word of God. The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.
A common text cited as evidence for this, is 2 Timothy 3:16,17:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Scriptures, then, are sufficient to make the man of God perfect.
Some fanatics insist on continual revelation by “the Spirit”. To these Luther rightly said, “I slap your spirit on the snout!”
Far from being ‘invented’ in the 16th century, we see the doctrine of Sola Scriptura throughout all of Church history. E.g. in St. Augustine (354-430):
“If anyone preaches either concerning Christ or concerning His church or concerning any other matter which pertains to our faith and life; I will not say, if we, but what Paul adds, if an angel from heaven should preach to you anything besides what you have received in the Scriptures of the Law and of the Gospels, let him be anathema.”
Some modern Roman apologists like to differentiate between formal and material sufficiency—the former being the Romanist view that the Scriptures are sufficient, they simply aren’t perspicuous. Hence, there is a need for an infallible interpreter (supposedly the Magisterium). Of course, the question arises: What is it that keeps the Bible from being perspicuous, and not the Magisterium?
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Contrary to the Romanists’ belief that saints intercede for us in Heaven and that Mary is co-mediatrix, the Reformation revived the Biblical doctrine that there is only one mediator between God and men: Christ Jesus (1. Tim 2:5,6). In Christ alone is salvation to be found, and there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved. The Son is the only way whereby the Father can be known:
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Mat 11:27)
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. (Joh 14:6) Therefore, whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 Joh 5:12)
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory To God Alone)
All these “slogans” are testament to the fact that salvation is of God. We have nothing to boast of, and therefore, the glory goes to God alone.
Several texts confirm this theocentric view:
Rom 11:36: For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Rev 4:11: Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.
I hope to have shown that these statements, which sum up the Reformation so well, are indeed Biblical. However, many people, while claiming to be Protestant, are unaware of the great heritage we are part of, neither do they understand the principles of true Christianity. In today’s age of ecumenicism and lukewarmness, many folks are on their way back to Rome. Nobody believes in predestination anymore, few have any clue whatsoever what the imputed righteousness of Christ is about, and people are abandoning Scripture for science falsely so-called. It is truly a sad age, one which sorely needs another Reformation. We can rest assured that the Truth will not change even if nobody believes in it.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Today it is one year since I last posted (not updated) an entry on this rather oft-visited blog. It naturally calls for a celebration:
I’m overjoyed. Visibly euphoric. Enraptured beyond words.
God willing, I will soon post something a tad more substantial, if only for my own academic and spiritual edification.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The existence of God is one of the most controversial topics of all time. It has been much discussed, by bright and intelligent men on both sides. However, only those whose eyes God opens and whose hearts are transformed by Him will realise the Truth. The Truth is that God exists, and that in Him alone is there salvation. Obviously, unbelievers will deny this, but as a madman cannot blot out the sun by writing "darkness" on the walls of his cell, no more can the atheists remove God from existence. For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Delight in me and I will give youThis is true, for one who fully delights in the Lord, cannot help but desire godly things, and God will grant what is in accordance with His will. But seeing that this letter is an evangelistic effort, it should be noted that God isn’t a Genie in a bottle. Some unbelievers might construe this to mean that as long as they delight in this Genie, they will get a marvellous car, the first commercial SHV-TV, lots of money, their own private mansion, &c. (There are actually “Christian” preachers preaching this.)
the desires of your heart.
For it is I who gave you those desires.What desires? The desires to will and to do of God’s good pleasure? How can that be, seeing that the reader is presumably an unbeliever? This letter makes minimal sense.
I am able to do more for youYes, but this promise applies only to believers.
than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager.Christians’ greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts youThe Father who comforts, as with nearly every other verse here cited, Christians. Wow, what a surprise!
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,Yes, this is in fact true.
I am close to you.
As a shepherd carries a lamb,What? We’re talking about Christ’s sheep here, to whom some don’t belong (Joh 10:26). He doesn’t carry anybody, but His flock.
I have carried you close to my heart.
One day I will wipe awayWhose eyes? The ones that are left after those “not found written in the book of life w[ere] cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).
every tear from your eyes.
And I'll take away all the painThe same applies here.
you have suffered on this earth.
I am your Father, and I love youHe loves those who will believe on Him, as the context makes perfectly clear.
even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.Ditto.
He is the exact representation of my being.True, Jesus is God.
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,For the elect, not for everybody.
not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.Well, where’s the need for Hell if God isn’t counting anybody’s sins? No, “world” refers to all nations, for Jesus ransomed people for God out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Rev 5:9).
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.More specifically: He died so that the elect and God could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expressionTo whom does “us” refer? Perhaps to those that “are of God” (v.6).
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I lovedThat isn’t exactly what the verses say, and furthermore, it should be duly noted that Paul is talking about the elect of God, not everybody.
that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,Which is true, and so I cannot say anything here but amen. It should be noted though, that this is not conditioned upon man’s fallen and God-hating will, but comes as a result of the Spirit renewing your heart.
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate youThese verses don’t say anything about reprobates, so it isn’t wise to conclude from those verses alone that God loves any and all.
from my love again.
Come home and I'll throw the biggest partyAside from the foolish wording, the fact of the matter is, repentance is God-given (2Ti 2:25), and so no man can come on his own initiative, for the natural man is the enemy of God, and is spiritually dead.
heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father,Yes. God has created everybody, hence, He is Father of all. God is a father in several manners, He is the Father of all by creation, and He is the Father in a spiritual sense to His sheep. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were the children of Satan (Joh 8:41-44). The fact that He is everyone’s Father by creation doesn’t mean that He loves everybody, for the Scriptures show us that He hates someone as well.
and will always be Father.
My question is…God doesn’t ask sinners to repent and believe—because they would not if their life depended on it (which it actually does). The sinner hates God, he won’t do anything that pleases Him (Rom 3:10-18; 8:7-8). So God must save solely of His grace. No man can come to the Son unless the Father draws him (Joh 6:37; 44; 64-65). Those who by His grace receive Him, will never be cast out.
Will you be my child?
I am waiting for you.The parable doesn’t teach that God is passively waiting for people to repent, but rather it shows His pleasure in repentance. Repentance is God-given (2Tim 2:25).
Love, Your DadA weak and stupid love, that is. It is rather peculiar that God was willing to die for everybody, but in spite of having the power to change people’s hearts, lets them sin unto their own damnation. Laying down one’s life is the greatest love. But why does God love people so whilst resisting to regenerate them? Would it not be very simple and easy to regenerate them compared to dying for them? If He so desires the salvation of everyone, why does He not save them? That is a weak and ineffectual love that’s not much worth. Does God love people’s “free-will-decisions” more than people themselves? The Bible, on the other hand, presents God’s love in strong terms, His love will not let any of His elect perish. That is comforting, true, and biblical.
There are a lot of true statements in this letter, but they are mostly not intended for each and every unbeliever passing by, but rather for believers. Evangelism should concentrate on the Gospel, but there is little here that even gives a decent presentation of it. That is my largest objection to this letter.
Therefore, we can conclude that this letter was an invention of Satan himself, a little leaven that might leaven a whole lot more. I’m afraid it already has, because it appeals to people. It appeals to people with a non-judging and all-loving God. God is love, amen, but He doesn’t love everyone. People generally like to think so, but it’s not found in the Bible, and therefore, we must reject it, and accept the Bible’s doctrine of God’s unfathomable love for His particular people. God will not fail, and His word will not return void, but accomplish His pleasure (Is 55:11).
Thursday, April 8, 2010
It should be duly noted that this does not mean that I deny God’s love, let that be made clear! God loves His elect, those whom He has predestined to salvation before the foundation of the world. There are some whom He justly predestined to damnation, whom He doesn’t love, but hates. For why should God even love anybody? That’s why it is a wonder that God loves somebody at all, and is why we should praise Him, for not letting His loved ones perish. The Son emptied Himself and died on the cross for our salvation, and THAT is the Bible’s doctrine of the perfect love of God.
So, on we go.
My Child,So far, so good.
You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.More about God’s omniscience than His affectionate love for someone.
I am familiar with all your ways.Yeah, because God is omniscient.
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.Specifically directed to the disciples in the context. In a more general application, it speaks more of God’s providence and omniscience than His love for someone.
For you were made in my image.Yes, man is made in the image of God. That’s nice.
In me you live and move and have your being.Without God wanting it, nothing would exist.
For you are my offspring.Yes, everyone was created by God in His image. This does not mean that He loves all of His offspring, though.
I knew you even before you were conceived.Specifically speaking only to Jeremiah, but yes, it is applicable to all men, for God is omniscient.
Thus far, the letter hasn’t been awfully bad.
I chose you when I planned creation.But here comes the nonsense. Where does "I chose you when I planned creation" appear in those verses? It speaks about God having elected some (the Christians) to salvation.
You were not a mistake,That’s true of everyone, though not a sign of God's love for everyone.
for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birthYes, God is sovereign and omnipotent, and does whatever He desires. That this was an act of love for the person whom He has determined where to live, is not supported by the text.
and where you would live.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.Yes, that’s correct, but don’t let that get to your head, by thinking that you’re perfect and don’t need a Saviour. God made everyone very well, but that should make us honour the Creator more than the created.
I knit you together in your mother's womb.Yes, He in fact did.
And brought you forth on the day you were born.He did that too.
I have been misrepresentedYes, He unfortunately has, among whom we find the authors behind this letter.
by those who don't know me.
I am not distant and angry,?! A verse aimed at Christians, isn’t applicable to unbelievers. And where’s the part about God not being angry? God is angry with many people, and He even hates somebody (Psalm 5:5; Joh 3:36).
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.He-he. Funny. This “Father’s Love Letter" is aimed at unbelievers, yet to prove its assertions cites verses which CLEARLY differentiate between believers and the world. God loves the believing ones, and this verse says nothing else.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my childWow. It amazes me how the author actually can cite this verse to prove his assertion. The verse is clearly differentiating between the unbelieving (the world) and the believing (us). It is “we” that are the sons of God, not just any random person who may happen to come across this love letter.
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.If we ask in His name, that is. And the verse does not say that He offers beforehand, but gives us when we ask Him.
For I am the perfect father.Yes, He is perfect! But for clarification, He is a Father in a different sense for His followers than for His enemies. A Father for creating them, but only a Father in the redemptive and loving sense for believers.
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.Yes, that is in fact correct, though it needs to be clarified that it’s every good gift seen from a spiritual and regenerate viewpoint.
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.God does provide for both the wicked and the righteous—but these verses are specifically intended for Christians. He lets the rain fall down on the believer as well as the unbeliever, but these verses don’t teach this.
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.This verse isn’t directed to unbelievers, but to the nation of Israel in Babylon. It certainly is applicable to God’s elect—but not every man in the world.
Because I love you with an everlasting love.Well that’s a weak love that lets people live after their own lusts to their own damnation. A love that really doesn’t care that much about saving people. Luckily, that’s not the Bible’s teaching, because this verse is aimed at Israel, by extension Christians. Pay attention to the last part of the verse—it says because of God’s love, He has drawn them. He actually did something because He loved them, He didn’t just stand idly by, waiting for their “free-will-decision.” My head cannot fathom the abuse of Bible verses in this letter.
My thoughts toward you are countlessWhy does the author of this letter assume these verses speak to unbelievers? David was by no means an unbeliever.
as the sand on the seashore.
And I rejoice over you with singing.This verse doesn’t prove God’s love for everyone. It is talking about Israel.
I will never stop doing good to you.Not to anyone—but to His elect. He actually does something to them: He regenerates their wicked hearts. If “you” in this verse refers to everyone, then everyone “shall not depart from [God].” That's absurd by any measure.
For you are my treasured possession.Directed to Old Testament Israelites as a group. Notice they will be His peculiar treasure if they obey God’s voice and keep His covenant.
I desire to establish youTo everyone—no. But notice that He not only desires to “establish” someone, He actually does it. This verse is directed towards the true Israelites, the elect of God.
with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.Speaking to Jeremiah, though whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. But noting context is important, there exists something called hermeneutics.
If you seek me with all your heart,Is this verse talking to 21st century sinners? No, it is talking to the Israelites, saying that if they’d seek God in the lands they would be scattered to, they would find Him.
you will find me.
To be continued…
Thursday, February 18, 2010
“And so he was lifted up upon a tree and an inscription was attached indicating who was being killed. Who was it? It is a grievous thing to tell, but a most fearful thing to refrain from telling. But listen, as you tremble before him on whose account the earth trembled!
He who hung the earth in place is hanged.
He who fixed the heavens in place is fixed in place.
He who made all things fast is made fast on a tree.
The Sovereign is insulted.
God is murdered.
The King of Israel is destroyed by an Israelite hand.
This is the One who made the heavens and the earth,
and formed mankind in the beginning,
The One proclaimed by the Law and the Prophets,
The One enfleshed in a virgin,
The One hanged on a tree,
The One buried in the earth,
The One raised from the dead and who went up into the heights of heaven,
The One sitting at the right hand of the Father,
The One having all authority to judge and save,
Through Whom the Father made the things which exist from the beginning of time.
This One is ‘the Alpha and the Omega,’
This One is ‘the beginning and the end’
The beginning indescribable and the end incomprehensible.
This One is the Christ.
This One is the King.
This One is Jesus.
This One is the Leader.
This One is the Lord.
This One is the One who rose from the dead.
This One is the One sitting on the right hand of the Father.
He bears the Father and is borne by the Father.
’To him be the glory and the power forever. Amen.’”