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Actor Kirk Cameron takes on the Darwinists

from JBS

Actor Kirk Cameron is finding himself at the center of a firestorm because of his beliefs. Since his conversion to Christianity from atheism 20 years ago, Cameron has become increasingly outspoken concerning his faith in recent years. Now, in this purported “Year of Darwin,” the 38-year-old actor has become active in countering…more

The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit

from the fundamentals a testimony to the truth


R. A. TORREY, D. D.

IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE.
One of the most characteristic and distinctive doctrines of the Christian faith is that of the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is of the highest importance from the standpoint of worship. If the Holy Spirit is a divine person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith and our love, and we do not know and recognize Him as such, then we are robbing a divine Being of the adoration and love and confidence which are His due.
The doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is also of the highest importance from the practical standpoint. If we think of the Holy Spirit only as an impersonal power or influence, then our thought will constantly be, how can I get hold of and use the Holy Spirit; but if we think of Him in the Biblical way as a divine Person, infinitely wise, infinitely holy, infinitely tender, then our thought will constantly be, “How can the Holy Spirit get hold of and use me?” Is there no difference between the thought of the worm using God to thrash the mountain, or God using the worm to thrash the mountain? The former conception is low and heathenish, not differing essentially from the thought of the African fetich worshipper who uses his god to do his will. The latter conception is lofty and Christian. If we think of the Holy Spirit merely as a power or influence, our thought will be, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?”; but if we think of Him as a divine Person, our thought will be, “How can the Holy Spirit get more of me?” The former conception leads to self-exaltation; the latter conception to self-humiliation, self-emptyings and self-renunciation. If we think of the Holy Spirit merely as a Divine power or influence and then imagine that we have received the Holy Spirit, there will be the temptation to feel as if we belonged to a superior order of Christians. A woman once came to me to ask a question and began by saying, “Before I ask the question, I want you to understand that I am a Holy Ghost woman.” The words and the manner of uttering them made me shudder. I could not believe that they were true.
But if we think of the Holy Spirit in the Biblical way as a divine Being of infinite majesty, condescending to dwell in our hearts and take possession of our lives, it will put us in the dust, and make us walk very softly before God.
It is of the highest importance from an experimental standpoint that we know the Holy Spirit as a person. Many can testify of the blessing that has come into their own lives from coming to know the Holy Spirit, as an ever-present, livings divine Friend and Helper. There are four lines of proof in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is a person.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. All the distinctive characteristics of personality are ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. What are the distinctive characteristics or marks of personality? Knowledge, feeling and will. Any being who knows and feels and wills is a person. When you say that the Holy Spirit is a person, some understand you to mean that the Holy Spirit has hands and feet and eyes and nose, and so on, but these are the marks, not of personality, but of corporeity, When we say that the Holy Spirit is a person, we mean that He is not a mere influence or power that God sends into our lives but that He is a Being who knows and feels and wills, These three characteristics of personality, knowledge, feeling and will, are ascribed to the Holy Spirit over and over again in the Scriptures.
KNOWLEDGE
In 1 Corinthians 2:10,11 we read, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” Here “knowledge” is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not merely an illumination that comes into our minds, but He is a Being who Himself knows the deep things of God and who teaches us what He Himself knows.
WILL
We read again in 1 Corinthians 12:11, R.V., “But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally as He will.” Here “will” is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a mere influence or power which we are to use according to our wills, but a Divine Person who uses us according to His will. This is a thought of fundamental importance in getting into right relations with the Holy Spirit. Many a Christian misses entirely the fullness of blessing that there is for him because he is trying to get the Holy Spirit to use Him according to his own foolish will, instead of surrendering himself to the Holy Spirit to be used according to His infinitely wise will. I rejoice that there is no divine power that can get hold of and use according to my ignorant will. But how greatly do I rejoice that there is a Being of infinite wisdom who is willing to come into my heart and take possession of my life and use me according to His infinitely wise will.
MIND
We read in Romans 8:27, “And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Here “mind” is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The word here translated “mind” is a comprehensive word, including the ideas of thought, feeling and purpose. It is the same word used in Romans 8:7, where we read, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God. neither indeed can be.” So then, in the passage quoted we have personality in the fullest sense ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
LOVE
We read still further in Romans 15:30, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” Here “love” is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a mere blind, unfeeling influence or power that comes into our lives. The Holy Spirit is a person who loves as tenderly as God, the Father, or Jesus Christ, the Son. Very few of us meditate as we ought upon the love of the Spirit. Every day of our lives we think of the love of God, the Father, and the love of Christ, the Son, but weeks and months go by, with some of us, without our thinking of the love of the Holy Spirit. Every day of our lives we kneel down and look up into the face of God, the Father and say, “I thank Thee, Father, for Thy great love that led Thee to send Thy only begotten Son down into this world to die an atoning sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary for me.” Every day of our lives we kneel down and look up into the face of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and say, “I thank Thee, Thou blessed Son of God, for that great love of Thine that led Thee to turn Thy back upon all the glory of heaven and to come down to all the shame and suffering of earth to bear my sins in Thine own body upon the cross.” But how often do we kneel down and say to the Spirit, “I thank Thee, Thou infinite and eternal Spirit of God for Thy great love that led Thee in obedience to the Father and the Son to come into this world and seek me out in my lost estate, and to follow me day after day and week after week and year after year until Thou hadst brought me to see my need of a Saviour, and hadst revealed to me Jesus Christ as just the Saviour I needed, and hadst brought me to a saving knowledge of Him.” Yet we owe our salvation just as truly to the love of the Spirit as we do to the love of the Father and the love of the Son.
If it had not been for the love of God, the Father, looking down upon me in my lost condition, yes, anticipating my fall and ruin, and sending His only begotten Son to make full atonement for my sin, I should have been a lost man today. If it had not been for the love of the eternal Word of God, coming down into this world in obedience to the Father’s commandment and laying down His life as an atoning sacrifice for my sin on the cross of Calvary, I should have been a lost man today. But just as truly, if it had not been for the love of the Holy Spirit, coming into this world in obedience to the Father and the Son and seeking me out in all my ruin and following me with never-wearying patience and love day after day and week after week and month after month and year after year, following me into places that it must have been agony for Him to go, wooing me though I resisted Him and insulted Him and persistently turned my back upon Him, following me and never giving me up until at last He had opened my eyes to see that I was utterly lost and then revealed Jesus Christ to me as an all-sufficient Saviour, and then imparted to me power to make this Saviour mine; if it had not been for this long-suffering, patient, never-wearying, yearning and unspeakably tender love of the Spirit to me, I should have been a lost man today.
INTELLIGENCE AND GOODNESS
Again we read in Nehemiah 9:20, R. V., “Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not Thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.” Here “intelligence” and “goodness” are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. This does not add any new thought to the passages already considered, but we bring it in here because it is from the Old Testament. There are those who tell us that the personality of the Holy Spirit is not found in the Old Testament. This passage of itself, to say nothing of others, shows us that this is a mistake. While the truth of the personality of the Holy Spirit naturally is not as fully developed in the Old Testament as in the New, none the less the thought is there and distinctly there.
GRIEF
We read again in Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” In this passage “grief” is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a mere impersonal influence or power that God sends into our lives. He is a person who comes to dwell in our hearts, observing all that we do and say and think. And if there is anything in act or word or thought, or fleeting imagination that is impure, unkind, selfish, or evil in any way, He is deeply grieved by it. This thought once fully comprehended becomes one of the mightiest motives to a holy life and a careful walk. How many a young man, who has gone from a holy, Christian home to the great city with its many temptations, has been kept back from doing things that he would otherwise do by the thought that if he did them his mother might hear of it and that it would grieve her beyond description. But there is One who dwells in our hearts, if we are believers in Christ, who goes with us wherever we go, sees everything that we do, hears everything that we say, observes every thought, even the most fleeting fancy, and this One is purer than the holiest mother that ever lived, more sensitive against sin, One who recoils from the slightest sin as the purest woman who ever lived upon this earth never recoiled from sin in its most hideous forms; and, if there is anything in act, or word, or thought, that has the slightest taint of evil in it, He is grieved beyond description How often some evil thought is suggested to us and we are about to give entertainment to it and then the thought, “The Holy Spirit sees that and is deeply grieved by it,” leads us to banish it forever from our mind.
THE ACTS OF THE SPIRIT
2. The second line of proof in the Bible of the personality of the Holy Spirit is that many acts that only a person can perform are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
SEARCHING, SPEAKING AND PRAYING
For example, we read in 1 Corinthians 2:10 that the Holy Spirit searcheth the deep things of God. Here He is represented not merely as an illumination that enables us to understand the deep things of God, but a person who Himself searches into the deep things of God and reveals to us the things which He discovers. In Revelation 2:7 and many other passages, the Holy Spirit is represented as speaking. In Galatians 4:6, He is represented as crying out. In Romans 8:26, R. V., we read, “And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Here the Holy Spirit is represented to us as praying, not merely as an influence that leads us to pray, or an illumination that teaches us how to pray, but as a Person Who Himself prays in and through us. There is immeasurable comfort in the thought that every regenerate man or woman has two Divine Persons praying for him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God at the right hand of the Father praying for us (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1); and the Holy Spirit praying through us down here. How secure and how blessed is the position of the believer with these two Divine Persons, whom the Father always hears, praying for him.
TEACHING AND GUIDING
In John 15:26,27, we read, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” Here the Holy Spirit is very definitely set forth as a Person giving testimony, and a clear distinction is drawn between His testimony and the testimony which those in whom He dwells give. Again in John 14:26 we read, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.” And again in John 16:12-14, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (cf. also Nehemiah 9:20).
In these passages, the Holy Spirit is set forth as a teacher of the truth, not merely an illumination that enables our mind to see the truth, but One who personally comes to us and teaches us the truth. It is the privilege of the humblest believer to have a divine person as his daily teacher of the truth of God. (cf. 1 John 2:20,27). In Romans 8:14 (“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”) the Holy Spirit is represented as our personal guide, directing us what to do, taking us by the hand, as it were, and leading us into that line of action that is well-pleasing to God. In Acts 16:6,7 we read these deeply significant words, “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: But the Spirit suffered them not.” Here the Holy Spirit is represented as taking command of the life and conduct of a servant of Jesus Christ. In Acts 13:2 and Acts 20:28, we see the Holy Spirit calling men to work and appointing them to office. Over and over again in the Scriptures actions are ascribed to the Holy Spirit which only a person could perform.
THE OFFICE OF THE SPIRIT
3. The third line of proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit is that an office is predicated to the Holy Spirit that could only be predicated of a person.
“ANOTHER COMFORTER.”
We read in John 14:16,17, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Here we are told it is the office of the Holy Spirit to be “another Comforter” to take the place of our absent Saviour. Our Lord Jesus was about to leave His disciples. When He announced His departure to them, sorrow had filled their hearts (John 16:6). Jesus spoke words to comfort them. He told them that in the world to which He was going there was plenty of room for them also (John 14:2). He told them further that He was going to prepare that place for them (John 14:3) and that when He had thus prepared it, He was coming back for them; but He told them further that even during His absence, while He was preparing heaven for them, He would not leave them orphaned (John 14:18), but that He would pray the Father and the Father would send to them another Comforter to take His place. Is it possible that Jesus should have said this if that One Who was going to take His place after all was not a person, but only an influence or power, no matter how beneficent and divine? Still further, is inconceivable that He should have said what He does say in John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but, if I depart, I will send Him unto you,” if this other Comforter that was coming to take His place was only an influence or power?
ONE AT OUR SIDE
This becomes clearer still when we bear in mind that the word translated “Comforter” means comforter plus a great deal more beside. The revisers found a great deal of difficulty in translating the Greek word. They have suggested “advocate,” “helper” and a mere transference of the Greek word “Paraclete” into the English. The word so translated is Parakleatos, the same word that is translated “advocate” in 1 John 2:1; but “advocate” does not give the full force and significance of the word etymologically. Advocate means about the same as Parakleatos, but the word in usage has obtained restricted sense. “Advocate” is Latin; Parakleatos is Greek. The exact Latin word is “advocatus,” which means one called to another. (That is, to help him or take his part or represent him). Parakleatos means one called alongside, that is, one who constantly stands by your side as your helper, counsellor, comforter, friend. It is very nearly the thought expressed in the familiar hymn, “Ever present, truest friend.” Up to the time that Jesus had uttered these words, He Himself had been the Parakleatos to the disciples, the Friend at hand, the Friend who stood by their side. When they got into any trouble, they turned to Him. On one occasion they desired to know how to pray and they turned to Jesus and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). On another occasion Peter was sinking in the waves of Galilee and he cried, saying, “Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him,” and saved him (Matthew 14:30,31). In every extremity they turned to Him. Just so now that Jesus has gone to be with the Father, while we are awaiting His return, we have another Person just as divine as He, just as wise, just as strong, just as able to help, just as loving, always by our side and ready at any moment that we look to Him, to counsel us, to teach us, to help us, to give us victory, to take the entire control of our lives.
A CURE FOR LONELINESS
This is one of the most comforting thoughts in the New Testament for the present dispensation. Many of us, as we have read the story of how Jesus walked and talked with His disciples, have wished that we might have been there; but today we have a Person just as divine as Jesus, just as worthy of our confidence and our trust, right by our side to supply every need of our life. If this wonderful truth of the Bible once gets into our hearts and remains there, it will save us from all anxiety and worry. It is a cure for loneliness. Why need we ever be lonely, even though separated from the best of earthly friends, if we realize that a divine Friend is always by our side? It is a cure for breaking hearts. Many of us have been called upon to part with those earthly ones whom we most loved, and their going has left an aching void that it seemed no one and no thing could ever fill; but there is a divine Friend dwelling in the heart of the believer, who can, and who, if we look to Him to do it, will fill every nook and corner and every aching place in our hearts. It is a: cure from the fear of darkness and of danger.
No matter how dark the night and how many foes we may fear are lurking on every hand, there is a divine One who walks by our side and who can and will protect us from every danger. He can make the darkest night bright by the glory of His presence. But it is in our service for Christ that this thought of the Holy Spirit comes to us with greatest helpfulness. Many of us do what service we do for the Master with fear and trembling. We are always afraid that we may say or do the wrong thing; and so we have no joy or liberty in our service. When we stand up to preach, there is an awful sense of responsibility upon us. We tremble with the thought that we are not competent to do the work that we are called to do, and there is the constant fear that we shall not do it as it ought to be done. But if we can only remember that the responsibility is not really upon us but upon another, the Holy Spirit, and that He knows just what ought to be done and just what ought to be said, and then if we will get just as far back out of sight as possible and let Him do the work which He is so perfectly competent to do, our fears and our cares will vanish. All sense of constraint will go and the proclamation of God’s truth will become a joy unspeakable, not a worrying care.
PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Perhaps a word of personal testimony would be pardonable at this point. I entered the ministry because I was obliged to. My conversion turned upon my preaching. For years I refused to be a Christian because I was determined that I would not preach. The night I was converted, I did not say, “I will accept Christ,” or anything of that sort. I said, “I will preach.” But if any man was never fitted by natural temperament to preach, it was I. I was abnormally timid. I never even spoke in a public prayer meeting until after I had entered the theological seminary. My first attempt to do so was an agonizing experience. In my early ministry I wrote my sermons out and committed them to memory, and when the evening service would close and I had uttered the last word of the sermon, I would sink back with a sense of great relief that that was over for another week. Preaching was torture.
But the glad day came when I got hold of the thought, and the thought got hold of me, that when I stood up to preach another stood by my side, and though the audience saw me, the responsibility was really upon Him and that He was perfectly competent to bear it, and all I had to do was to stand back and get as far out of sight as possible and let Him do the work which the Father sent Him to do. From that day preaching has not been a burden nor a duty but a glad privilege. I have no anxiety nor care. I know that He is conducting the service and doing it just as it ought to be done, and even though things sometimes may not seem to go just as I think they ought, I know they have gone right. Often times when I get up to preach and the thought takes possession of me that He is there to do it all, such a joy fills my heart that I feel like shouting for very ecstasy.
TREATMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
4. The fourth line of proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit is: a treatment is predicated of the Holy Spirit that could only be predicated of a person. We read in Isaiah 63:10, R. V., “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and Himself fought against them.” Here we see that the Holy Spirit is rebelled against and grieved. (Cf. Ephesians 4:30). You cannot rebel against a mere influence or power. You can only rebel against and grieve a person. Still further we read in Hebrews 10:29, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith He was sanctified, all unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Here we are told that the Holy Spirit is “done despite unto,” that is “treated with contumely.” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament). You cannot “treat with contumely” an influence or power, only a person. Whenever a truth is presented to our thought, it is the Holy Spirit who presents it. If we refuse to listen to that truth, then we turn our backs deliberately upon that divine Person who presents it; we insult Him.
Perhaps, at this present time, the Holy Spirit is trying to bring to the mind of the reader of these lines some truth that the reader is unwilling to accept and you are refusing to listen. Perhaps you are treating that truth, which in the bottom of your heart you know to be true, with contempt, speaking scornfully of it. If so, you are not merely treating abstract truth with contempt, you are scorning and insulting a Person, a divine Person.
LYING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
In Acts 5:3, we read, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” Here we are taught that the Holy Spirit can be lied to. You cannot tell lies to a blind, impersonal influence or power, only to a person. Not every lie is a lie to the Holy Spirit. It was a peculiar kind of lie that Ananias told. From the context we see that Ananias was making a profession of an entire consecration of everything. (See ch. 4:36 to 5:11). As Barnabas had laid all at the apostles’ feet for the use of Christ and His cause, so Ananias pretended to do the same, but in reality he kept back part; the pretended full consecration was only partial. Real consecration is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The profession of full consecration was to Him and the profession was false. Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit. How often in our consecration meetings today we profess a full consecration, when in reality there is something that we have held back. In doing this, we lie to the Holy Spirit.
BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
In Matthew 12:31,32, we read, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Here we are told that the Holy Spirit may be blasphemed. It is impossible to blaspheme an influence or power; only a Person can be blasphemed. We are still further told that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a more serious and decisive sin than even the blasphemy of the Son of Man Himself. Could anything make more clear that the Holy Spirit is a person and a divine person?
SUMMARY
To sum it all up, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON. The Scriptures make this plain beyond a question to any one who candidly goes to the Scriptures to find out what they really teach. Theoretically, most of us believe this, but do we in our real thought of Him, in our practical attitude toward Him, treat Him as a Person? Do we regard Him as indeed as real a Person as Jesus Christ, as loving, as wise, as strong, as worthy of our confidence and love and surrender as He? The Holy Spirit came into this world to be to the disciples and to us what Jesus Christ had been to them during the days of His personal companionship with them. (John 14:16,17). Is He that to us? Do we walk in conscious fellowship with Him? Do we realize that He walks by our side every day and hour? Yes, and better than that, that He dwells in our hearts and is ready to fill them and take complete possession of our lives? Do we know the “communion of the Holy Ghost?” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Communion means fellowship, partnership, comradeship. Do we know this personal fellowship, this partnership, this comradeship, this intimate friendship, of the Holy Spirit? Herein lies the secret of a real Christian life, a life of liberty and joy and power and fullness. To have as one’s ever-present Friend, and to be conscious that one has as his ever-present Friend, the Holy Spirit, and to surrender one’s life in all its departments entirely to His control, this is true Christian living.

Written by reformeddiscernment

April 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Rome as a Basis for Living?

Ancient Rome is a parent of our current world ethos. We have drawn not only our government from Rome and Greece, but Rome was also the ancient parent of modern humanism. We must first examine what history and culture tells us to see where it is leading us (Schaeffer, 19).

“This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind–what they are in their thought world determines how the act (Schaeffer, 19)”

If we are too make any sense out of the chaos that surrounds us today, we first have too see what the flow of history tells us. There is an old saying that says “Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat its errors”. We can follow every thing from the past down to present day counter parts, nothing is really new, but just repackaged for our modern age. Modern secular humanism as well as religious humanism had its start in ancient Rome and Greece (Schaeffer, 19). Our modern American culture is sinking into an abyss that was dug by humanistic evolutionists and sociologists.

What is true of people in their thoughts is determining how they live is also true in “value systems”.  It is also true in the actions of our large corporations and it is true in our political decisions. It is also true in modern mans personal and private life (Schaeffer, 19). What we think determines how we live. A case in point over the last few years has been the great number of industry, entertainment and political figures who have found themselves on the wrong end of the law. It was their thought lives that ultimately led them to make decisions based on nothing more then it felt right. People today are not likely to choose the Bible as their basis for the decisions of life. If they did their would be fewer murders and robberies as well as white collar crime.

“People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves realize. By presuppositions we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic world view (Schaeffer, 19).

If my presupposition says that I can do anything I want to, because this is what I like, then people would be starting with the presupposition that man has all the right answers. If man starts with man he will end with man. If people are what we view the world through and if what we think in our minds determines that view then the natural outcome is a man centered world. Everything that we have brought forth during the last two hundred years, as well as the last 6,000 or so years is based on what we as individuals think. “‘As a man thinketh, so is he.’ is really profound”(Schaeffer, 19). We are more then just so many molecules, but we are also an “inner world”. People can influence the world based on what they think in their inner world (Schaeffer, 19)

The thoughts in peoples inner world has a profound effect upon the external world. In fact all the actions that are occurring right now have their basis in some ones inner thoughts. People are angry today, not because they have an external reason to do so, but because they are angry in their thought world.  What is wrong with man kind is spiritual and can only be adequately explained by the Christian world view. This means that Christ must be at the center of how we act and live. This also means that the scriptures are really the only basis for what we believe and how we act. We refuse today to put the ten commandments into our schools and courts, because of the mistaken view that this would violate separation of church and state. Instead we rely on the word of man, which changes daily if not moment by moment. We have even gone so far as to put Christ on the back burner in our churches and have opted instead for man made programs, such as The Purpose Driven life.

Written by tfheringer

January 6, 2009 at 1:27 am

How Should We Then Live? By Francis A. Schaeffer

There are a handful of philosopher-theologians who have contributed immensely to the development of a Christian world view. Some of these are much earlier then we are living at this time. They produced a basis of how Christians view the world around them. During the last 50 years or so none has had such a major impact on how we should live our faith then Francis A. Schaeffer. He openly professed loyalty to the scriptures above all else. It is my intention to use his book as a series of studies. These will be found at Why Baptist Blog and also at Listen to God this is meant as a review and is in no way meant as an extensive analysis. The word of God is above else to be taken as the only authority in all maters of faith and practice (Sola Scriptura). “Few Christians have had greater impact during the last half of the twentieth century then Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (Schaeffer, Francis A., 9). I am drawing as a theme statement that we are seeing a “growing disintegration and decline of truth and morality throughout our world (Schaeffer, 9). This includes both a historical perspective as well as a theological basis.

Every facet of our lives as Christians has been impacted by a growing, but extremely “devastating impact” of both the post immerging church movement and the “post Christian consensus” (Schaeffer, 9). Christians as a whole in our times are living without any kind of world view let alone a Christian world view. In fact one of our current (Christian) church leaders is now suggesting that we have a new reformation. It is suggested that we still follow the original reformation statements of truth, but have added a practical reformation. This implies as well as means that the Reformation was not sufficient or even might have been wrong. A practical reformation is actually a denial of the scriptures that gave us the protestant reformation. So what will it be the Word of God or the Word of Man, the choice can only be one of these. Which will you choose to follow.

Not only has the Christian message been impacted by the modern form of humanism, but so has “art, music, drama, theology and the mass media”.  This has left “people with no basis for meaning, or truth, or hope in life…two impoverished values of ‘personal peace and affluence'”(Schaeffer, 10). This is indeed a personal question to each of us “How should we then live” (Schaeffer, 11)? Should it be by the changing whims of situation ethics? What about atheistic communism, does it have a sufficient basis for living? Should it be by atheistic evolution? As for me I choose to live by the Word of the living God and this only “Sola Scriptura”.

Spiritual War

We are in the midst of a most profound spiritual war, one that is in the defense of biblical truth. Mankind has finally decided that he knows better then God, even though mankind professes to not have faith in God.  This warfare is a tug of war over our spiritual values as a nation. It is really about the eternal destiny of millions of souls and the hearts and lives of people the world over.  Why is it then becoming so hard to get believers to make a stand of committment to biblical truth.  Many no longer believe the biblical account of the life of Christ, in fact many just right out front deny the existence of Christ. We have come to the place as a people that we have sacrificed ourselves on the altar of humanism what is left of our loyalty to God’s word. It is so easy for our people to deny the biblical account of creation in favor of darwinian evolution, in fact even major world religious leaders have now sided with the darwinists.

One of the reasons that this is happening is that man is caught up in a struggle over reason. Reason has been found to be a deadly partner in living. What I mean is that once you have sucombed to the primacy of reason, then faith becomes just faith for faiths sake. God becomes just a word and when it is discovered that God is just a word it is but one step to saying God is dead. The other side of this is that since the Scriptures are authoritative and inerrant, that their authority must extend to the particulars. This includes all maters of faith and practice. One of those areas is history and the scriptures are authority in history, including creation. The world was made by God we are told in Scripture and this was done in 6 twenty four hour days, imagine the impact of this.

War between the fources of humanism and God’s army of believers is being fought on all fronts. The good news is that the war has already been won, because nothing can resist the Lord Jesus Christ without being broken into pieces.

Written by tfheringer

December 20, 2008 at 4:14 am

Is what the Bible says is true really true?

Recently I had a comment posted that suggested that if you can find something in a verse that supports what you believe then it must be true. This would seem to also imply that you can combine things from different religions or theological points of view, which are at direct opposites of each other and have the result be true. The suggestion is made that Copeland should not be critiqued because after all he is practicing what the scriptures say. It also without saying it suggests a sola scriptural, that is not really a sola scriptura, but a false interpretation of scripture based on what this person wanted it to say.

Hence, if (Copeland) speaks in tongues or handles snakes then and only then he must be biblical. This kind of hermeneutic ignores the simple commands of scripture to try the spirits (see I John 4:1-3), contend for the faith (see Jude 1:3), and that a preacher must never offer criticism such as Justin Peters has (see II Timothy 4:1-4). Part of the charge that goes with being an elder in God’s church is to exhort and contend for the faith, how else will those in the pews be aware of the pot holes of life that obstruct our journey. We are exposed to many hidden spiritual dangers and we need to be warned about them. The article following is about Rob Bell, but it holds true of anyone who resorts to scripture with out understand the context of what is said (using a literal, historical and grammatical hermeneutic and for those who need to know hermeneutics is the science of interpretation of scripture)

read the entire post at apprising ministries

WHEN ROB BELL TELLS YOU WHAT THE BIBLE MEANS, IT IS NOT TRUE

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

I Don’t Know What It Means, I Just Know You’re Wrong!

But in his book Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith (VE) this is exactly what is being expressed in this quote below:

I was in an intense meeting with our church leaders in which we were discussing several passages in the Bible. One of the leaders was sharing her journey in trying to understand what the Bible teaches about the issue at hand and she said something like this: “I’ve spent a great deal of time recently studying this issue. I’ve read what the people on the one side of the issue say, and I’ve read what the people on the other side say. I’ve read the scholars and the theologians and all sorts of others on this subject. But then, in the end, I decided to get back to the Bible and just take it for what it really says.”

Now please understand that this way of thinking is prevalent in a lot of Christian churches,…but this view of the Bible is warped and toxic, to say the least… The assumption is that there is a way to read the Bible that is agenda—and perspective—free…This perspective is claiming that a person can simply read the Bible and do what it says—unaffected by any outside influences… When you hear people say they are just going to tell you what the Bible means, it is not true. They are telling you what they think it means.
(053, 054, emphasis his)

Let me bring to your attention that Emergent Church leader Rob Bell has actually introduced a key non-issue (aka red herring) into his attempt above to cloud what the historic orthodox Christian Church means by one of the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation, namely sola Scriptura—“Scripture alone.” Note he says, “The assumption is that there is a way to read the Bible that is agenda—and perspective—free.” Yet no one is actually saying this at all. Everyone recognizes that as human beings we all have a level of “outside influences”. However, it’s critical to recognize here that Bell is now making a self-defeating statement because not being ”agenda—and perspective—free” would also include the very postmodern “perspective” of Rob Bell himself. So as he goes on and teaches using Scripture then Bell himself is only telling you what it is that he personally thinks the Bible means.

Rob Bell Clearly Denies The Doctrine Of Sola Scriptura

And that Bell is firmly against the Biblical truth expressed by the Reformers as sola Scriptura, which he is attacking in his VE, becomes crystal clear as Rob Bell goes on to tell us:

This [canon of the Bible was not settled until the 4th century] is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is. (67, 68)

The following from Bob DeWaay in his Rob Bell’s Abstract “Elvis” A Critique of Velvet Elvis, which is a fine critique of this uber popular Emerging Church book at Critical Issues Commentary, clearly shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bell does deny sola Scriptura:

Bell claims that people in church history (he gives Luther as an example ) were involved in “rethinking.” I don’t deny that. But when he says that we have no objective means to determine whether Luther’s teachings or those of the Council of Trent are in closer agreement with the teachings revealed once for all in the Bible—there I strongly disagree. In fact Bell rejects “Scripture alone” on principle…

He thereby takes the same position that the Roman Catholic Church took against the Reformers: That since the Church (guided by the Holy Spirit) gave us the Bible, the Church (guided by the Holy Spirit) is authoritative over the Bible. Bell’s version simply expands that idea beyond Rome to any Christian group anywhere struggling with the meaning of the Bible. Rather than to rely on a grammatical/historical approach to determine the author’s meaning, he trusts that in some manner the Holy Spirit is “enlightening us.”

I believe that inspired, authoritative revelation was given once for all and is contained in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible by inspiring the Biblical authors, not by inspiring 4th century clerics. They merely recognized the evidence that pointed to the true apostolic source of writings Christians had cited as authoritative since the death of the apostles. Therefore revelation is not an ongoing process.

Bell, on the other hand, likens his view to the fluidity of jumping on a trampoline and calls the views of theologians like me, “brickianity.” This [brickianity] he claims is not good news but bad news about walls that keep people out. Incidentally, this brick wall metaphor is Bell’s way of repudiating systematic theology—a practice he shares with every Emergent/postmodern writer I have studied (which are many). (Online source)

Now we can return to what Bell has told us above in that no one can really know “what the Bible means”; and further, that people like me who would say that we can are only telling you what we “think it means.” Here a fundamental flaw in the false philosophy of postmodernism comes *ahem* emerging. Rob Bell is actually making a statement which he expects us to believe is true. But, in addition to simply telling us what he thinks, Bell’s problem is that if we can’t know for certain what is true in the Bible to begin with, then it also follows that we can’t really even know if his own view about Holy Scripture itself is true.

And so off we go through the Looking Glass along with good ol’ Alice into Wonderland where we’ll end up chasing rabbits down their holes. In truth Bell’s denial of sola Scriptura is really a very childish way to look at the Bible that God inspired. As Dr. John MacArthur has said of the Emerging Church, it’s not that the Bible isn’t clear; no, rather it’s that they don’t like what it clearly says. At Apprising Ministries we agree that this is precisely what we are dealing with false teachers like Rob Bell, who are now corrupting an entire generation with their counterfeit Christianity.

From where I stand they don’t like what the Creator has told us about our true human nature in the Bible, so they just attempt to deny the concept of an absolute meaning, period. And if you’d like to see this foolishness for what it really is then just imagine a “know-it-all” thirteen-year-old being told that they are not going to get their way. As soon as this fact finally cuts through all of their pouting then off they go storming away loudly stomping up the stairs to their room. There they slam shut the door and turn up the CD player in a vain attempt to drown out the mean old icky world. So recognize this tactic by Emergent Church teachers like Rob Bell when you see it: Yea, hath God said?

Written by tfheringer

August 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm

The Validity of the Old Testament rests in the Book of Genesis

I hear there are ressurecting the Graf Wellhausen theory of the composition of the Pentateuch. This has been proven to be not the case and yet here we go again. If they can say that the old testament really did not exist as we know it, then they also can say that the God of the Christian does not exist. They are trying this in the not fact but theory of evolution. Problem is they have not proven anything. The historicity of the old testament is a well established fact. This has been proven many times, both historically and theologically. If you were to establish this as fact, then you would still have a problem with the theory of evolution, because they have yet to prove beyond any shadow of doubt the truthfulness of darwins theory.

Three Peculiarities of the Pentateuch Which are In Compatible

With the Graf Wellhausen Theories of its Composition

BY
ANDREW CRAIG ROBINSON, M. A.,
Ballineen, County Cork, Ireland,
Author Of “What About The Old Testament?”

There are — amongst others — three very remarkable peculiarities in the Pentateuch which seem to be incompatible with modern theories of its composition, and to call for some explanation from the critics. The first of these peculiarities is:

THE ABSENCE OF THE NAME “JERUSALEM” FROM THE PENTATEUCH


The first occurrence of the name “Jerusalem” in the Bible is in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 10:1): “Now it came to pass when Adonizedek, King of Jerusalem”, etc. In the Pentateuch the city is only once named (Genesis 14) and then it is called “Salem” — an abbreviation of its cuneiform name “Uru-salem”. Now on the traditional view of the Pentateuch the absence of the name Jerusalem presents no difficulty; the fact that Bethel, Hebron, and other shrines are named, whilst Jerusalem is not, would merely mean that at these other shrines the patriarchs had built their altars, whilst at Jerusalem they had not.

But from the point of view of modern critics who hold that the Pentateuch was in great part composed to glorify the priesthood at Jerusalem, and that the Book of Deuteronomy in particular was produced to establish Jerusalem as the central and only acceptable shrine for the worship of Israel — this omission to name the great city, then of historic and sacred fame, which they wished to exalt and glorify, seems very strange indeed.

According to the theories of the critics the composers of the Pentateuch had a very free hand to write Whatsoever they wished, and they are held to have freely exercised it. It seems strange then to find the “Yahvist,” supposed to have been written in the Southern Kingdom, and to have been imbued with all its prejudices, consecrating Bethel by a notable theophany (Genesis 28:16,19), whilst in all that he is supposed to have written in the Pentateuch he never once even names his own Jerusalem. And so the “priestly writer” also, to whom a shrine like Bethel ought to be anathema, is found nevertheless consecrating Bethel with another theophany: “Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him Bethel” (Genesis 35:14,15), and he never even names Jerusalem.

What is the explanation of all this? What is the inner meaning of this absence of the name Jerusalem from the Pentateuch? Is it not this: that at the time the Pentateuch was Written, Jerusalem, with all her sacred glories, had not entered yet into the life of Israel. The second remarkable peculiarity to which attention is called is:

THE ABSENCE OF ANY MENTION OF SACRED SONG FROM THE RITUAL OF THE PENTATEUCH


This is in glaring contrast to the ritual of the second temple, in which timbrels, harps, and Levite singers bore a conspicuous part. Yet it was just in the very time of the second temple that the critics allege that a great portion of the Pentateuch was composed. How is it then that none of these things occur in the Mosaic ritual? It might have been expected that the priests in post-exilic times would have sought to establish the highest possible sanction for this musical ritual, by representing it as having been ordained by Moses.

But no such ordinance in point of fact occurs, and the Pentateuch stands in its primitive simplicity, destitute of any ordinance of music in connection with the ritual, except those passages in which the blowing of the trumpets is enjoined at the Feast of Trumpets, the blowing of the trumpet throughout the land in the year of Jubilee, and the command, contained in a single passage (Numbers 10:10), that in the day of gladness, and in the beginnings of the months, over the burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of the peace offerings the silver trumpets were to sound. No mention in connection with the ritual of cymbals, harps, timbrels, or psalteries; no mention of sacred song, or Levite singers. NO music proper entered into the ritual, only the crude and warlike blare of trumpets. No ordinance of sacred song, no band of Levite singers. The duties of the Levites, in the Book of Numbers, are specially defined. The sons of Gershom were to bear the tabernacle and its hangings on the march; the sons of Kohath bore the altars and the sacred vessels; the sons of Merari were to bear the boards and bands and pillars of the sanctuary. No mention whatsoever of any ministry of sacred song. A strange omission this would be, if the “Priestly Code” (so-called) which thus defines the duties of the Levites, had been composed in post-exilic times, when Levite singers — sons of Asaph — cymbals, harp, and song of praise formed leading features in the ritual. Does it not seem that the Mosaic Code, enjoining no music but the simple sounding of the trumpet-blast, stands far behind these niceties of music and of song, seeming to know nothing of them all?


The third remarkable peculiarity to which attention is called is:

THE ABSENCE OF THE DIVINE TITLE “LORD OF HOSTS” FROM THE PENTATEUCH

The first occurrence of this Divine title in the Bible is in 1 Samuel 1:3: “And this man went out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh.” After this it occurs in a number of the remaining books of the Bible, and with increasing frequency. The pre-Samuelitic period of the history of Israel is thus differentiated from the post-Samuelitic period by this circumstance, that in connection with the former period this title is never used, whilst in connection with the latter it is used, and with growing frequency — at all stages of the history, even down to the end of the Book of Malachi; occurring altogether 281 times.

Now the theory of the criticism of the present day is that the Pentateuch was composed, edited, and manipulated, during a period of more than four hundred years, by motley groups and series of writers, of differing views, and various tendencies. One writer composed one part, and one composed another; these parts were united by a different hand; and then another composed a further part; and this by yet another was united to the two that went before; and after this another portion was composed by yet another scribe, and afterwards was joined on to the three. Matter was absorbed, interpolated, harmonized, smoothed over, colored, edited from various points of view, and with different — not to say opposing — motives. And yet when the completed product — the Pentateuch — coming out of this curious literary seething pot is examined, it is found to have this remarkable characteristic, that not one of the manifold manipulators — neither “J”, nor “E”, nor “JE”, nor “D”, nor “RD”, nor “P”, nor “P2”, nor “P3”, nor “P4”, nor any one of the “Redactors of P”, who were innumerable — would appear to have allowed himself to be betrayed even by accident into using this title, “Lord of hosts”, so much in vogue in the days in which he is supposed to have written; and the Pentateuch, devoid as it is of this expression, shows an unmistakable mark that it could not possibly have been composed in the way asserted by the criticism, because it would have been a literary impossibility for such a number of writers, extending over hundreds of years, to have one and all, never even by accident, slipped into the use of this Divine title for Jehovah, “Lord of hosts”, so much in vogue during those centuries. In point of fact the Pentateuch was written before the title was invented.

These three peculiarities of the Pentateuch to which attention is here drawn, are points absolutely undeniable. No one can say that the name “Jerusalem” does occur in ‘the Pentateuch; no one can say that any mention of sacred song does occur in the ritual of the Pentateuch; and no one can say that the Divine title “Lord of hosts” does occur in the Pentateuch.