Dr. Albert Mohler – Something Deadly This Way Comes – “After-Birth Abortion”

The debate over abortion comes down to one essential issue — the moral status of the unborn child. Those making the case for the legalization of abortion argue that the developing fetus lacks a moral status that would trump a woman’s desire to abort the child. Those arguing against abortion do so by making the opposite claim; that the unborn child, precisely because it is a developing human being, possesses a moral status by the very fact of its human existence that would clearly trump any rationale offered for its willful destruction.

This central issue is often obscured in both public argument and private conversations about abortion, but it remains the essential question. We have laws against homicide, and if the unborn child is recognized legally and morally as a human being, abortion would be rightly seen as murder.

In the main, abortion rights advocates have drawn the moral line at the moment of birth. That is why, even with our contemporary knowledge of the developing fetus, abortion rights activists have persistently argued in favor of abortions right up to the moment of birth. Anyone doubting this claim needs only to consider the unified opposition of leading abortion rights advocates to restrictions on late-term abortions.

Continue Reading

Dr. Albert Mohler – Same-Sex Marriage as a Civil Right: Are Wrongs Rights?

We should have seen it coming. Back in 1989 two young activists pushing for the normalization of homosexuality coauthored a book intended to serve as a political strategy manual and public relations guide for their movement. In After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen argued that efforts to normalize homosexuality and homosexual relationships would fail unless their movement shifted its argument to a demand for civil rights, rather than for moral acceptance. Kirk and Madsen argued that homosexual activists and their allies should avoid talking about sex and sexuality. Instead, “the imagery of sex per se should be downplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as far as possible, to an abstract social question.”

Beyond Kirk and Madsen and their public relations strategy, an even more effective legal strategy was developed along the same lines. Legal theorists and litigators began to argue that homosexuals were a class of citizens denied basic civil liberties, and that the courts should declare them to be a protected class, using civil rights precedents to force a moral and legal revolution.

That revolution has happened, and it has been stunningly successful. The advocates for the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage have used legal arguments developed from the civil rights era to their advantage. Arguments used to end the scourge of racial segregation were deployed to normalize homosexuality and homosexual relationships. Over the years, these arguments have led to such major developments as the decriminalization of homosexual behaviors, the inclusion of homosexuals within the United States military, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in some states.

Continue Reading

Tony Breeden – Where Does the Bible Teach Millions of Years?

Old Earth Creationists often object to the idea that the observation that they are imposing millions of years upon a Bible which does not teach anything of the sort.

But where in the Bible do you find any mention of the Earth being millions of years old? Nowhere. The Bible does not say this.

Most often, an Old Earther will object that we cannot know what a day means before the sun came into existence on Day 4, or that “yom” [the Hebrew word for a day] is once used figuratively in the Creation account, or that the Bible says that a day is as a thousand years with God. But these objections fail for the excellent reason that they are wrong! The fact that we can identify that the word for day is being used in a figurative sense in one passage underscores the fact that we can certainly observe that the intent of the word “yom” in the rest of the Creation account is to convey a literal day. The fact that the pattern of language [“evening and morning were the first day”, etc.] does not change for the accounts of any of the Creation days before or after the creation of the sun, and that use of the word “yom” elsewhere in Genesis as used in the Creation account always indicates a normal day, makes the objection of a different day length before the sun a fallacy of special pleading. The phrase “a day is as a thousand years with the Lord,” while used in the Psalms in connection with creation passages, refers to God’s eternality when we examine the specific context of those passages – not the length of a day. Yet if the claims of Old Earthers were true regarding this phrase’s meaning, we should ask them whether Joshua marched round Jericho for 7000 years or whether Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 long ages? While we are at it, since this phrase is repeated in the New Testament with the qualifier “and a thousand years is as a day,” we might also feel compelled to ask Old Earthers whether they suppose the prophesied Millenium will last but a day and Eternity Future but a matter of months? Where should we draw the line with such arbitrary mathematics?

On the other hand, if we read the Genesis account plainly and add up the genealogies of Genesis [which are given relative to one another, so that it is irrelevant whether any specific persons were skipped], we come to no other conclusion than a young Earth approximately 6 thousand years old. The problem is, of course, that the Old Earthers have accepted the extraBiblical idea of millions of years [which in turn is derived from the presupposition of pure naturalism, that purely natural processes can account for everything we observe so that God’s agency is never warranted], and they need to be able to fit this foreign idea into the Bible somehow.

Continue Reading

Marshall Segal – Is Theology Your Idolatry?

full_is-theology-your-idolatry

We have often loved what we’ve learned about God more than God himself.

The Bible warns us about the dangers that come with our knowledge of God, especially for the theologically refined and convinced. “You cannot serve both God and theology.” Good theology is a means to enjoying and worshiping God, or it is useless.

Has your theology turned into idolatry? Has your knowledge of God ironically and tragically drawn you away from him, not nearer to him? Here are nine questions that might help you diagnose theology idolatry in your own heart and mind.

1. Does your theology draw you to God?

Does greater knowledge of God lead you deeper into prayer? Maybe the surest test of our theology is whether it produces greater intimacy with God. No one needed to tell Jesus anything about God, yet that didn’t in any way dilute or diminish his need to pray. Instead, it deepened and enlivened his commitment to meet his heavenly Father in prayer (Mark 1:35).

Tim Keller says,

The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations, or perhaps by anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. (Prayer, 23)

2. Does your theology mobilize you?

Does greater knowledge of God send you further into the world? Knowing more of God and his word should build our burden for the world around us — that they would see and know and love the truth we have seen and known and loved. In every chapter studied, every passage memorized, and every doctrine understood there should be an impulse to go and tell.

Jesus prays this commission over us,

“Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. . . . As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world . . . so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:7–8, 18, 23)

The purpose of our knowing anything about God is that the world too would know him. Does your theology move you toward mission, toward making much of Jesus boldly and winsomely wherever he’s placed you?

3. Does your theology free you to sacrifice in love for others?

Does greater knowledge of God liberate you to love and serve others? Good theology breaks down barriers between Christians (1 Corinthians 1:10). It doesn’t build them. The hostility between us was erased (Ephesians 2:14), and in its place is a blood-bought love — a love that declares we belong to Jesus (John 13:35).

John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).

Continue Reading

Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle – Old Earth Creationism on Trial: The Verdict and Recommendations

by Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle

The Lord holds Christians to a high standard, and so does the world. The use of uninformed and misleading arguments does not bring honor and glory to the name of Christ. Only when fellow believers are treated with respect and dignity will progress be made in this important debate.

Most importantly, God will be glorified when His followers seek to honor His Word from the very first verse to the very last verse. Christians have no need to compromise the Word of God with the opinions of man. When science can help clarify gray areas of Scripture, then it should be used cautiously; this is called the “ministerial role of science.” However, science should never be set up as equal to or above Scripture; that is, science should never be used in a “magisterial role.” As we saw in chapter 7, science requires the principles of Scripture in order to exist. Therefore, science cannot be more authoritative than the Bible on which it stands. In addition, Christians can trust the Word of the One who was there “in the beginning” and chose to reveal His works to His people. It is sad that so many believers place more trust in the opinions of fallible men than in their omniscient and holy God. Charles Spurgeon spoke so http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/oect/prosecution-scienceeloquently about the danger of compromise when he stated:


Neither may we hope to gain by being neutral, or granting an occasional truce. We are not to cease from conflict, and try to be as agreeable as we can with our Lord’s foes, frequenting their assemblies, and tasting their dainties. No such orders are written here. You are to grasp your weapon, and go forth to fight.


Old-earthers are charged with compromise in the area of the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood. Their ideas do not originate in Scripture but come from their philosophical beliefs. They have accepted the majority view among scientists and have attempted to make the Bible fit this view. Yet the Bible cannot incorporate these views without contradicting itself. As such, these views cannot be correct.

Old-earth creationists are hereby found guilty of compromise concerning the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood. Fortunately for Christians, God has already paid the penalty for sins and believers are already forgiven. However, old-earthers are sternly warned to stop trying to accommodate the false philosophies of the day and learn to fully trust in the Word of the omniscient God.

Continue Reading

Paul Helm – Molinism 101

God’s Knowledge

In thinking about God’s knowledge theologically it was customary for many years, until and including the Reformation, to distinguish between God’s necessary knowledge and His free knowledge. The distinction is obvious and natural. God’s necessary knowledge includes several kinds of truths. It is the knowledge of matters such as the truths of mathematics (for example, 2+2=4). It is also the knowledge of truths such as the whole is greater than the part and no circle can be a square. God’s necessary knowledge also includes His knowledge of all possibilities, such as possible people, the possible lives they could lead, and the whole range of possible worlds. These are known to God immediately and intuitively.

God’s free knowledge, on the other hand, is His knowledge of His decree (of that which, in His wisdom, God freely and unchangeably ordained to come to pass). That which God decrees is obviously a subset of all the possibilities that are known to Him. His decree also has its source solely in His mind and will.
Middle Knowledge

In the late 1500’s a new kind of knowledge was proposed by two Iberian Jesuit thinkers, Luis de Molina (1535-1600) and Pedro da Fonseca (1528-1599). Middle knowledge (or ‘Molinism’ as it came to be called), was their contribution to a controversy within the Roman Catholic church over grace, free will and predestination. In our own time Molinism has been proposed by Alvin Plantinga and others in connection with God’s relation to evil. I think it is fair to say that while Roman Catholic theologians have long discussed middle knowledge in their textbooks, recent interest in it has been due to Plantinga and his discussion of the topic in his book God, Freedom and Evil.

Continue Reading

Tony Reinke – Meet Jonathan Edwards

Spiders, hedonism, revivals, and the mysteries of the trinity — Jonathan Edwards’s mind was rich and his writings are prolific. Digestible overviews of his life and writings are always appreciated.

During the recent conversation between John Piper and Douglas Wilson, mention was made of moderator Joe Rigney‘s trip to New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho in March of 2010. Joe is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College and Seminary where he teaches undergraduates in the Christian Worldview Program and courses on Jonathan Edwards at the seminary. It was on the trip to NSA that Joe delivered an introduction to Jonathan Edwards, his theology, his writings, and his life and legacy. A video of the lecture and ensuing Q&A session is online. Timestamps follow.

 

Lecture time-markers —

04:14 — 1. Edwards on the Trinity

14:06 — 2. Edwards on Creation

18:27 — 3. Edwards on God’s End in Creation

32:06 — Conclusion

Q&A time-markers —

34:04 — Edwards on typology

37:56 — First recommended Edwards books to read

39:55 — Edwards on God’s direct creation and the place of causality

43:00 — Edwards and the classical tradition (Aristotle, Augustine, etc)

45:27 — Dante, Locke, and Edwards’s influences

47:02 — Edwards on spiders

49:14 — Edwards’s faults and weaknesses

51:36 — The Great Awakening and how Edwards processed it

56:46 — The Enlightenment and its influence on Edwards

59:40 — Edwards’s legacy

Nick Batzig – Sing Your Heart Out to God

singing-1024x576 Many years ago, I had an employer who was intent on trying to provoke me with a variety of sacrilegious jokes and statement. Having just come back from visiting her parents over one Easter weekend, she told me how she had visited their church that Easter Sunday. What she said next left an indelible mark on my thinking about congregational singing for many years. She said, “What I don’t get is why you people don’t sing like you believe what you are singing?” She then told me that the congregation was sort of mumbling the words of the hymn, “I Serve a Risen Savior.” Rocking back and forth, she mocked this particular congregation by mumbling under her breath, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today.” Without hesitating, I agreed with her and said, “It is terrible that those who say that they believe that Christ is risen don’t sing as if they actually believe He is risen. They should be singing their hearts out because He is risen.” This leaves us with the question, “If the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts of His people to stir them up to sing God’s praises is one of the sweetest of all His works then why do so many congregants fail to sing with all of their heart in worship?” There are many answers to this question, but here are a few suggestions:

Much of the scriptural teaching about the beauty of loud congregational singing has been lost by the injuries that have been sustained by both sides in the worship wars. In many performance-driven congregations worship teams overpower congregational singing and the singing that happens is akin to the drowned out admiration singing at a concert. In more traditionalistic churches, a perceived abuse of experience in the performance-driven churches has fueled a pushback that results in a dry and lifeless singing.

Additionally, too many in our churches are overly self-conscious about what others will think of them if they sing too loudly or, at times, out of key. The messiness of congregational singing is part of the beauty of God using weak and broken people. While we certainly want to strive for excellence in how we sing to our God, the sound of a child singing extremely loudly or, even at times, out of key, is a sweet sound that brings God great glory (Ps. 8). If we would simply seek to sing with joy in our hearts to the Lord we would lose self-awareness and embrace God-awareness. We would not fear what others might think about our singing.

If we could step back and lay aside stylistic preferences and fixate on the place and power of congregational singing, we would come to understand how special and beautiful it is in the life of believers. After all, on the cross Jesus purchased not only believers, but also their ability to sing redemptive praises to God from the heart. Add to this what Sinclair Ferguson says about hymnody: “When truth gets into a hymnbook it becomes the confident possession of the whole church.” In short, the Gospel enables and encourages us to take up theologically rich Psalms and hymns and to sing our hearts out to God. Here are five encouragements to enjoy this privilege and its benefits in the life of the body of Christ:

1. Singing Our Hearts Out to God is the Fruit of Redemption in Christ. The Proverbs tell us that “whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda” (Prov. 25:20). Singing praise is a human experience that belongs uniquely to the realm of joy in our experiences. Nothing produces joy so much as the truth of what Christ has done for His people through His death and resurrection. This does not mean that we never sing songs of lamentation, but the Scriptures always move believers from sorrow to joy (see Psalm 30:5; 42:5, 11; 43:5, Ezra 3:10-13 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Throughout the Scriptures we read of believers singing “a new song.” This has unique reference to the work of the new creation procured by Christ through His death and resurrection and established in full through the New Covenant (Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; Revelation 5:9; 14:3).

Continue Reading

Tim Challies – Visual Theology: Think on These Things

This series of infographics that I’m calling “Visual Theology” has visited the ordo salutis, the attributes of God and the books of the Bible. Today I continue this series with a stop in Philippians 4:8. This is the first of the graphics that answers a request from one of the readers of this site and is also the first to seek to display Scripture rather than theology (to draw a potentially-perilous line!).

The much-loved words of Philippians 4:8 read as follows: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In this graphic we’ve attempted to both portray and explain the verse. I hope you enjoy it!

(Click on the image to see it full-sized)

Think On These Things

If you would like the graphic in high-resolution, you can download it in JPG or PDF.

Also, lots of people have requested printed versions of these infographics, so I’ve gone ahead and created a shop at Imagekind. You can buy each of the prints on a variety of media and at a variety of sizes; the prices you’re paying are just barely marked up to help cover the costs associated with the store and (hopefully, over time) cover the cost of some of the graphics. Visit challies.imagekind.com.

Dave Jenkins – Grief, Loss, and Suffering

Recently, I’ve had three deaths in my family. My wife’s cousin died, my great-aunt died and last week my grandma died. In addition to this, my father has Frontotemporal dementia, and has been in the Veteran’s Hospital in Seattle for the past three months, on and off suicide watch. These recent experiences forced me to begin thinking about how to deal with grief and loss. These thoughts are more of a reflection of what I’ve been thinking about than a thorough examination of all the Bible teaches on this topic.

A good friend and I were talking about what I’ve gone through recently and he made the comment, “We never really get over it and we’re not supposed to get over it. The losses we suffer–of people we love–permanently scar our hearts. God uses this to make us more compassionate, more loving, more humble, more dependent on Him. We don’t return to a “normal” but a “new normal” shaped by what we’ve experienced. I think this is what Paul is getting at when he says he wants to know Christ through the “fellowship of suffering”. We were meant to feel the pain and grief deeply. Jesus did. Death is terrible. We should hate it as much as He hated it (expressed with Lazarus). But we also rejoice that death has been defeated as the final enemy.”

As I’ve been thinking about my friend’s helpful thoughts, I’ve come to realize that he was right– there isn’t a new normal after what I’ve gone through. I loved my grandma dearly. I remember times when I was a kid playing “Go Fish” and the conversations she and I had about life. When my grandpa died twelve years ago, I reflected long on all the memories I had of me running through the courtyard, and swimming in the pool at their apartment complex where they were apartment managers. In reflecting on my grandpa and grandma, I’ve come to realize that it is okay to reflect on such memories, but that it is not helpful for me to focus on them. When I focus on these memories I tend to get introspective and analyze “why” I’m feeling this way, when I should be focusing on Jesus through this season of life. My feelings are not the source of my comfort for grief; Jesus is– since He is the author, finisher, and perfector of our faith.

Continue Reading