The Gospel According to Pink

No, not her:
pink

Him:
aw-pink

That’s Arthur Walkington Pink and his book, “The Sovereignty of God” has been burning up my lunch hour.

Here are his words on the Gospel:

Concerning the character and contents of the Gospel, the utmost confusion prevails today. The Gospel is not an offer to be tossed around by evangelical peddlers.

The Gospel is no mere invitation, but a proclamation–a proclamation concerning Christ; true whether men believe it or not. No man is asked to believe that Christ died for him in particular.

The Gospel, in brief, is this: Christ died for sinners, you are a sinner, believe in Christ and you shall be saved.

Admittedly, Pink’s words have to do more with what the Gospel isn’t and his brief definition does not (cannot) surpass the Apostle’s divinely inspired definition, read it here.

Human Brain ‘Hardwired’ to Believe in God? No Way!

At least that is what the following piece from the Daily Mail reports,

Brains ‘are hardwired to believe in God and imaginary friends’

There is really not much one can add to what the story says. I suppose the backhanded compliment aimed at those who accept reality (God exists) could be pointed out.

Also, lest anyone actually accept what, denial aside, all know to be true (God exists), the story makes it clear that the researchers behind these studies “stress” that these results don’t indicate that God or gods do exist.

Of course. I know from experience that taking off the blinders is not humanly possible even under the best of circumstances.

C. S. Lewis hit the nail on the head in Mere Christianity,

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to
satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

Long before he penned those words, Augustine of Hippo said this,

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee…

Without question, the idea presented by these two is not original. One gets the feeling they were drawing from a much older source, the Apostle Paul, who inspired God’s expired Word and shared it with the world.

It is truly astonishing how much some of the things said in the Daily Mail piece give testimony to what Paul wrote to the 1st century church at Rome,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing to be wise, they became fools… Romans 1:18-22 (emphasis mine)

The Power of God’s Word

My journey to faith in Christ from unbelief involved, of course, a supernatural act of God by which He, through the power of the finished work of Christ, resurrected a dead mind, soul, and heart. This was done through His Word in my specific case, for others it is different, such as the Apostle Paul whose conversion was spectacular.

As an unbeliever, I did what might be the worst thing one in the depraved state can do: Pick up a Bible. My motives were not good ones for I sought to find things with which I could destroy or hinder the faith of another who kept pestering me with her crazy Christ talk.

It was through His Word that God convicted, convinced me and captured me into new life. I recap the conversion experience as it happened in my particular case because listening to the message given by Pastor Mark Dever at New Attitude 2008 took me back to this pivotal point in my life.

Dever has a similar experience, as he tells it,

[I] denied the reliability of the Bible. I would informally argue with Christians and through continued study I became somebody who by God’s grace, believes in the reliability of the Bible.

The power of God to take a heart of stone and bring it roaring to life so that the creature that has been born-again may be enabled to taste and see that the LORD indeed is good, and glorify Him through a redeemed life.

Click on the link below to listen to Pastor Dever’s message,
The Authority of Scripture

God Loves Sinners

Paul wrote to the church in Rome,

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Humbling words to be sure, what is more, the Truth therein is one more glorious testimony of the love of God who sent His Son to die for creatures whose best efforts are, according to Isaiah, like a “filthy garment” (the Hebrew being a bit more specific).

I recently downloaded some of the lectures from the 2008 T4G conference and have been listening to them on the way to work.

Ligon Duncan’s treatise, Sound Doctrine, is not only riveting but much needed salve in an age where it seems that doctrine is deemed a hobby (at best) or irrelevant (at worst).

At around minute 45, Duncan hit a raw nerve. He’s explaining how doctrine is for our assurance. He exposits John 15 and settles on this part of Jesus’ words to His Apostles,

You did not choose Me but I chose you

He expounds on why Jesus thought it necessary to teach the 11 (Judas had left already) about election. Duncan’s conclusion is that because Jesus knew that every last one of them would desert Him later that night. Then Dr. Duncan ties it together with these words,

And if they’re going to have one shred of assurance left in them it is not going to be based on the fact that they have chosen Him because everything about their actions will be screaming to their hearts and consciences that they have no part of Him unless they hear the Master say, “Dear child, dear friend, I knew everything in you and I chose you anyway.”

“I knew everything in you and I chose you anyway”, those words shattered whatever self-righteousness I carried with me this morning. Shattered whatever thoughts I might have had that somehow I had been elected based on something inherently good within. Shattered the illusion that maybe, just maybe, there is some shred of good in me apart from Christ.

My eyes watered in a mix of contrition and gratitude. The former for my arrogance and the latter for the power and extent of God’s love, that even one such as I can be reconciled to Him.

Obamamania and Emotionalism

“Hope must be grounded in objective truth otherwise it quickly becomes wishful thinking.” — Cal Thomas

The above quote is from Mr. Thomas’ latest offering,
“Misplaced Hope Can Be Dangerous” ,

in which he examines that which seems to be Barack Obama’s platform: hope (I would like to ask him what hope he can offer to the children sacrificed at the altar of “women’s choice”, but I digress).

Undeniably, Thomas’ words will be dismissed by those who have made up their minds on the basis of emotions, a terribly way to waste one’s God-given ability to reason.

I have personally seen the blind faith some place on this man who if we can just take a second to realize, is just a man. A moment’s further reflection will reveal that he is after all, a politician who well, is liable to say just about anything to get elected. It is worth noting that neither side of the aisle is immune from pandering to a certain demographic.

That unbelievers will buy into anyone offering such hope is understandable and to some extent, expected, after all if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.

That Christians are buying into this wishful thinking (or pie-in-the-sky rhetoric) is indicative of a larger problem. Somehow we have forgotten that our citizenship is in heaven not here on earth, and our hope does not stem from the lips of politicians (whatever the party) but from the Resurrection of our Lord.

Allow me to curtail any attempts to dismiss the Resurrection as ‘wishful thinking’ by directing the kind reader to the “Resurrection” tab at the top and by pointing out that the natural man does not (because he can not) understand the things of God, at least according to the Apostle, who actually saw the Risen Christ and gave his life at the order of Nero as a testimony to this.

The couple of people I have asked for a good reason to smoke what the good Senator is selling, cannot root their answer in objective truth. Their “reasoning” is derived from emotion and feelings, not bad things of course, but not things on which important decisions are to be based.

As Cal Thomas sagely points out (emphasis mine),

The writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews says that, “faith is being sure of what we hope for” (Hebrews 11:1). What we see in Barack Obama is a man with great rhetorical skills, who is untested in battle. Many are projecting their hopes on him because he makes them feel good. What commander would put a low-ranking officer in charge of all troops during wartime? We are close to making Obama our commander in chief with no hint of how he might perform, other than to withdraw troops from Iraq.

If Mr. Obama says he will rebuild the temple in 3 days, I wonder how many of his disciples who dismiss the Lord’s Resurrection will believe him?

Charles Barkley and Fake Christians

The following quote is from this story,

And I think these Christians, first of all, they’re not supposed to judge other people. But they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they’re Christians. They’re not forgiving at all. — NBA legend Charles Barkley

Sir Charles was a great basketball player who is always good for a sound bite. As for his theological chops, well, his comments are reflective of someone who doesn’t know much about Christianity.

Christians are not supposed to judge those outside of the church, as the Apostle Paul makes clear,

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?

But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

If unbelievers (“outsiders” as Paul calls them) want to engage in behavior which is clearly in violation of God’s Law it is not up to us to judge them, God will take care of that as Paul makes clear.

If this is what Sir Charles means when he says “judge other people”, fine and good. However, the problem lies when so-called Christians proudly engage in the type of behavior one finds prevalent amongst unbelievers.

Not only are we as members of the Body of Christ (the Church) supposed to judge, if such “Christians” remain unrepentant, then it is the church’s responsibility to disfellowship them.

To the unbeliever (and admittedly to some Christians) this may sound harsh and may even tempt him to judgmentally call Christians all sorts of unflattering names, but frankly it is a family matter and it does not concern them.

Yes, Sir Charles, the Christian is commanded to forgive but Jesus (you know the Son of God and all) laid out the way that the unrepentant “Christian” is to be dealt with, a cursory read of the process, as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20, might be of some use to you before you find doing the very same thing that makes you sick, a “hypocritical judge”.

Paul doing Science on Mars Hill

“Science is not truth; it is, instead, a method for diminishing ignorance”From “The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory” by J. M. Adovasio, Olga Soffer, and Jake Page.

Whether or not the above definition is accurate or not is an argument which I don’t necessarily intend with this here post. It could be perhaps if I knew the context of the phrase.

I haven’t read the book but I did manage to get the quote from reading a review of the book in the journal Nature, 447, pp.34-35 (2007) during lunch a couple of days ago.

The authors’ contention did get me thinking though: If science is a “method for diminishing ignorance” then can Paul’s outstanding sermon on Mars Hill be counted as science, so-called?

According to Luke,

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.

“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD ‘ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. — Acts 17:22-23

He sought to liberate the members of the Areopagus from their ignorance, did he not?

Humans Playing God, Episode #412121821

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. –Hebrews 4:12

Just as a sword can be employed in the service of evil, Scripture can be misunderstood and twisted to advance evil purposes (history is littered with such examples).

Even Scripture itself shows the consequences of twisting God’s Word, in that case it led to “Humans Playing God Episode #1.  Lewis aptly tells us the consequences of this particular historical event,

And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history-money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

Some refer to the abuses of Scripture as so-called “evidence” that religion (Christianity is the popular target) is evil and thus should be banished from the public square. The words of Augustine suffice when talking to these folk,

Never judge a philosophy by its abuse.

All this to refer to the following article,
“Canadian serial murderer wanted to rid world of ‘evil ways'”

in which a man who murdered six prostitutes and as part of his justification he cited Ephesians 5:5,

In one of the letters, Pickton offers his own interpretation of Ephesians 5:5: “You can be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person will in-herit the kingdom of God … Don’t be fooled by whose who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.”

The fact that Paul (who wrote the letter to the Ephesians) was not telling us to take matters into our own hands either escaped Pickton’s notice or not and his actions reflect the depravity inherent in mankind.

Sadly had Mr. Pickton perused Paul’s other writings, such as Romans,

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (12:18-21)

He might have realized that we are not to take matters into our own hands, even if the offenses are directed against us.

Ironically enough later on in Ephesians (6:17) Paul refers to the word of God as the “sword of the Spirit”, perhaps informing us that just as training (physical and spiritual) is required to effectively use a sword for good, the same must hold true of Scripture.

In a related note there is this story, also from Canada,
“Father killed daughter for not wearing hijab, her friends say”

Not sure where the Qur’an comes out on such matters.

So AT&T allegedly gave the Feds a Peek…

And perhaps that should be a cause for concern for some of us who live in this here land of the free and home of the brave, and perhaps some among us whose ISP is AT&T.

Check out this story from the Seattle Times, “AT&T gave feds access to all Web, phone traffic, ex-tech says”.

The law which was allegedly violated by AT&T is actually listed in the above story,

The 1986 Stored Communications Act forbids telephone companies and computer-service providers from giving the government records showing who customers had dialed or e-mailed without a warrant or court order. Because the law allows consumers to recover a minimum of $1,000 for each violation, AT&T and a handful of other companies could be on the hook for billions of dollars in civil liability, some experts in telecommunications law have said.
Seattle Times archives

If what the ex-AT&T tech in the story says is true, then yeah his former company might have broken the law.

Of course this brings up certain questions: If you have nothing to hide then what’s the big deal if NSA takes a look at your surfing habits? The Apostle’s words come to mind,

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; –Romans 13:3

What is the big deal when such procedures may help the government nab a few folks who are in the business of killing Americans? (Of course you can believe that these folks don’t exist)

I know, I know this land is a land of laws and all that, but wouldn’t you folks who cling to this like it’s the end all be all, would your fears be smoothed over if the Feds revealed the surfing habits of some pastors so then you can revel in Christian hypocrisy?

Mike Adams, former Atheist, on Understanding Atheism

Professor Mike Adams wrote a column titled, “Understanding Atheism” in which he makes good points.

Adams, himself a former atheist, this from the column,

I declared myself an agnostic in 1983 and stayed that way until I declared myself an atheist in 1992. The road from Christianity to atheism and back to Christianity was – with my apologies to Beatles fans – long and winding. It took many years to travel.

He talks about cognitive dissonance in relation to Christianity,

Because Christianity is sometimes a demanding religion, it, too, may create a good deal of cognitive dissonance. For example, the declaration “I am a Christian” can sometimes clash with the awareness that “Christians are supposed to tithe” or “Christians are supposed to love their enemies.”

I have seen people who began tithing to the church and loving their enemies upon converting to Christianity. But that is not how it always ends for the converted Christian. Like me, many other Christians have resolved the tension by, at least temporarily, deciding to abandon the Way. Sometimes it is simply easier to say “I am not a Christian.”

Dr. Adams soberly concludes,

I often wonder why we speak of the atheists as if they are our enemies. And I wonder whether that should matter if we call ourselves Christians. I hope this column will inspire some cognitive dissonance, for the writer and the reader alike. And I hope the tension will be resolved with love, which the best cure for dissonance, or, for that matter, anything else.

He’s right, we tend to demonize deluded people and make them out to the be the source of evil when in fact, the Apostle Paul warned us,

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

May God forgive us for thinking otherwise.