12/31/03: About the Dividing Line....
First, Straitgate has run out of space for the moment,
and we can't get hold of the webmaster (hello? Earth to SL!),
so we have posted the most recent Dividing Line over at [Pete}'s
site, but the link is the same:
Secondly, we will have a Dividing
Line Thursday morning, 11AM MST. Yes, we know it is New
Year's Day, but hey, all that means is that you might have
some parades on TV, and some college football games. Not
much more than that. So why not? So put it on your
calendar and call in at 877-753-3341, otherwise, I will have
to do my world-famous British accent the whole hour,
in-between John Denver Christmas music, while doing a top-10
countdown of Barry Manilow's greatest hits.
12/30/03: A Recent Dividing Line Remembered...
Remember the recent Dividing Line featuring Gerry Matatics and
Eric Svendsen? (For those who do not, the
blog archive has some notes on
it, and you can listen and get the background by
Given Gerry's world-famous sense of humor, evidenced by his
telling the joke about the day they were going to stone the
woman taken in adultery, and Jesus said, 'Let you who is
without sin cast the first stone,' and as a stone goes
whizzing by, Jesus says, 'Mom!' ---Yeah, he really did that.
I heard it on tape. And it was in public, too!), I'm
sure he will appreciate the following very well done cartoon. You always wonder who is listening to
these webcasts. Now we know....
12/29/03: A Few Thoughts on The Passion of the Christ
February 25th it hits. Mel Gibson's film on the passion
of Christ will bring us many opportunities to speak of God's
purpose in the cross. But in a world filled with
"evangelicals" whose worldview is post-modern, not Christian,
the film holds the possibility of inflaming the latent
tendencies toward an ecumenical betrayal of the gospel itself.
I presented a few thoughts on the topic as I preached Sunday
evening at PRBC (listen
Wilson takes a shot at NPism
Obviously, Doug Wilson has become tired of being connected
with the New Perspective on Paul (aka, NPism), so, a special
edition of Credenda Agenda has come out, replete with a fairly
lengthy article on the subject. I have had a couple of folks
write and complain that I have noted the confluence of
Auburnism (aka the loose movement associated with the past few
meetings of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church conference
in January, which we just learned recently will feature N.T.
Wright, the chief proponent of NPism amongst conservatives, in
2005) with NPism. Obviously, for those who have listened with
any amount of care to my comments, I have pointed out the
difference in background of both movements, Auburnism flowing
from a staunchly conservative viewpoint, NPism flowing from a
liberal background. I have likewise noted the differences in
emphases as well. However, anyone who has read Wright cannot
help but pause and take notice when Steve Schlissel stands
before the gathered congregants at the AAPC conference and
asserts that justification is nothing more than the truth that
Jews and Gentiles are part of one covenant, and that by
faith. If Wilson disagrees, he has yet to be plain about it.
When I see in print, “Steve Schlissel is wrong in what he
said,” the issue will be concluded. But, having read this
special edition, I found no such rebuke of Schlissel’s
assertion. (continue here)
12/24/03: Advent Blessings
OK, I know, Baptists are not supposed to know, or at least
use, words like "advent" since that sounds way too liturgical
and all. But, it is a good biblical word, describing
that tremendous historical event when the eternal Son of God,
the one through whom all things were made, entered into His
own creation, taking on flesh, being made in the likeness of
men, dwelling with us as Immanuel, God with us, proving
Himself obedient to the point of death, even death upon a
cross. And as hard as it has been for me this year, I am
trying to focus upon that tremendous truth. My
computer is currently playing Handel's Messiah, and I
cannot help but rejoice in the great inspired and prophetic
words, "For unto us a child is born, for unto us a son is
12/21/03: Lazarus and Category Errors
Ever wondered why anyone would object to the Lazarus story as
illustrative of God's work of regeneration? I was thinking
about it after George Bryson said on BAM that God changes
hearts, but, not everyone whose heart is changed believes,
because there are different "levels" of change. I had
mentioned the biblical phraseology from Ezekiel 36:26, taking
out a heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh (I wonder
how that does not violate libertarian free will?), and I have
to then wonder: is it possible to have a stoney/fleshly heart,
so that it is a little less stoney, or a little more fleshly?
Is that what we are reduced to? In any case, I was reviewing
John 11 and was again wondering why anyone who confesses that
Christ has the power to raise them to eternal life in the
future would question Christ's power to do so spiritually
now. And of course, the reason is easy to find: it is not a
textual issue, but a tradition issue. Consider: Jesus
obviously is in sovereign control of the situation. Even
Lazarus' sickness is a part of God's sovereign plan (just as
in John 9). He delays coming just so that His power can be
demonstrated (v. 6). He knows what He is going to do, and why.
In fact, He does what He does so that His disciples would
believe (v. 15). When He begins ministering in the situation,
"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me
will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes
in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Is Jesus only the physical
resurrection, and the physical life? Of course not. In
fact, isn't the term "live" in the phrase "everyone who lives
and believes in Me will never die" meant spiritually?
How can Jesus be speaking of spiritual life in John 11
when it would be such a terrible factual category error
to do so? Because the category error is made by those who do
not see the interplay in the Johannine literature between the
physical and the spiritual. Consider the term "hear" in John.
How often, in the exact same context, does the Lord
play upon physical and spiritual hearing, drawing out a strong
lesson by the fact that men who can hear Him physically cannot
hear Him spiritually? Would it be a "category error" to draw
the same conclusions from those passages? Hardly!
The Scriptures speak of the unregenerate as spiritually
dead; the Scriptures speak of regeneration in terms of
resurrection (Ephesians 2). One has to ask the proponent of
libertarianism if their real problem with the illustration of
Lazarus is that, just like Ephesians 2:5, it robs the creature
of the final control and power in salvation? Remember the
words of Jesus: "For just as the Father raises the dead and
gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He
wishes" (John 5:21). Who will dare to charge the Son with a
category error here? Indeed, I rejoice that when
God called me to life, He did not have to seek my permission!
I rejoice in a sovereign, powerful Savior who never fails!
Sample E-Mails in Response to the BAM
"Debate" (Updated 12/24)
12/20/03: Rules for Interpretation in the 21st
I received an e-mail that contained a list of "Principles of
Biblical Interpretation for the 21st Century. While I
didn't agree with all of them, the first five were sadly
1. Scripture is full of paradoxes and apparent
contradictions that cannot be explained, reconciled,
harmonized, or systematized by the finite, human mind [and I
add, it is considered backwards, ignorant, or
"traditionalist," to seek to explain or harmonize such
2. Apparently contradictory statements in
Scripture must each be given equal weight and authority in
interpretation [even if their contexts are completely
different, see #3].
3. Each passage of Scripture stands alone and
must be interpreted by itself.
4. There are no passages of Scripture that speak
more clearly than other passages. Each passage is
equally clear. Each passage is equally unclear.
5. The true and full sense of Scripture is
manifold, limited only by the number of apparently
contradictory passages a reader can find.
Those who seek to promote God's
truth at this time when post-modernism has infected the very
core of Evangelicalism, well know the truth, and
destructiveness, of the above propositions.
Been Good To Me
Cruises produce wonderful pictures. I happen to
think I have a truly wonderful family. In fact, the
following picture would look much better if I were not in it,
but then it wouldn't be a family picture! My kids were
involved in the discussions on the cruise, from my son being
at the theological talks each night, to my daughter sharing
Christ with her Muslim cabin steward. And I could never
get past step #1 without my lovely wife and partner!
How can a person
who defends the Trinity, for example, properly and accurately
from Scripture, then turn around and defend the idea that
God's sovereignty is a chimera, and that man is actually
sovereign over God, so that man's libertarian free will is
actually supreme, in the great matter of salvation, over
God's? The answer has become clearer for me over the
years. Indeed, the best way to detect the insidious
activity of human tradition is to note when someone abandons
their normative hermeneutic and embraces, without notice, some
new means of interpreting the text. It is this
unadmitted variation in exegetical methodology that creates so
much frustration when differences are discussed between
An illustration has been floating through my mind of
late. The vast majority of Trinitarians would read Titus
2:11-14 in such a fashion as to see the text giving us a
reference to the deity of Christ, especially in the words of
verse 13, "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (an example
of Granville Sharp's Rule). The following verse backs
this up with important references from the Old Testament
regarding Yahweh's work of forming for Himself a special
people, here applied to the work of Christ in redemption.
Now, some of those who deny the deity of Christ attempt to
read the text in Titus as having reference to two
individuals, Christ, and Yahweh, as a separate person,
so that there are two appearances in the text. Of
course, the only reason for reading the text in such a fashion
comes not from the text itself, but from an over-riding
tradition, an external controlling belief that demands
that the text be read in that fashion (so as to avoid
contradiction with the theological system). The vast
majority of Evangelicals would detect the unwarranted
insertion of a second person into the text, would see the role
of the higher authority, and would object to the pretended
exegesis on that basis.
And yet, the vast majority of those same evangelicals
will engage in the identical activity when the central
platform of human religion, man's alleged ability to have the
final say in God's self-glorifying work of salvation, is under
discussion. Example: John 6:44. "No one can
come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will
raise him up on the last day." The text is simple,
clear, pure (i.e., no textual variants get in the way), and
compelling. And yet, to avoid the weight of the text,
what do the vast majority of readers do? They insert the
very same kind of eisegetical conclusion that we just
examined. In v. 44 the Father draws, and the Son raises,
and there is nothing in the text that even suggests that
the one raised is someone different than the one drawn.
Indeed, "the Father...draws him, and him I will raise up"
expresses the textual actions with clarity. Yet, the
reading "understood" by the vast majority of non-Reformed
Evangelicals is, "the Father...draws him, but someone else the
Son raises up [since not all who are drawn will cooperate with
God so as to be saved, thus protecting their libertarian free
will and their ultimacy in the work of salvation]." When
you ask for a basis, from the text, for the insertion of a
second "him" that differs in identity or extent from the first
"him" that is drawn, you never get a textually based
reply, but instead get, "Well, it must, because..." followed
by the immediate abandonment of John 6.
So watch for the sudden shifts in hermeneutical
methodology. It is a clear sign that you are about to
encounter a human tradition dressed as biblical theology.
Like Having Artists as Friends
click for a
What an incredible
experience. Nineteen days on the road, the Stafford
debate, the apologetics cruise, a respiratory infection,
preaching at three different churches, all capped off by three
hours on The Bible Answer Man broadcast. Just a few
things, since I just flew home and have way too much to do to
try to dig out from underneath all that stuff that accumulates
over time (like when the dog eats the back door out of
frustration at not getting to go with us).
First, for those asking us for tapes or CD's of the BAM
program, we don't have them. Nor will we.
CRI will be your only source for the program. If you
want the program, download the mp3's.
Second, we should have the Stafford mp3's very quickly.
Watch the ad column to the right of the main page for details.
Third, many, many thanks to the precious folks who
worked so hard to make everything happen over the past almost
three weeks, especially: my precious wife and kids, Mike and
Sau O'Fallon, Rich Pierce, Warren Smith, Steve Camp, Phil
Johnson, Mike and Jane Gendron, Sam Shamoun, Eddie and Tia
Dalcour, and all the precious folks who joined us on the
Zaandam like St. Dr. Paul "WallyBalt, AstroGeek, Hawaii 5-0
Book 'Em Dano, Hang Ten Surf's Up Dude, Goin' to a Luau, Turns
Green When Angry Due to Exposure to Gamma Ray Bursts, Kung Fu
Fightin' Astronomer, Gooberhead, Object of Research, Moon
Hawaiian Babes Screensaver" Price (inside joke).
Finally, yes, we plan on doing the DL tomorrow morning,
live, call-in. Please don't melt our phone lines.
11/25/03: Here Comes the Big Debate/the Cruise/BAM
This will probably be the
last blog entry I make for a few weeks. [Actually,
I had to sneak something else in...see right after this]. I suppose I
could install a program on my laptop, but believe me,
satellite costs at sea are prohibitive! :-) For
those who join with us here at A&O in loving, passionately,
the truth of Christ's full and undiminished deity, the debate
on Friday, December 5th in Tampa will be tremendously
important. Please pray for me as I seek to establish the
truth and refute error. In fact, if you will covenant to
be praying in the days before, and on that evening, please
drop us a line letting us know. It would be very
The next day what is left of me, and about 170 other
folks, will be heading out on the MS Zaandam for a week of
apologetic study and Christian fellowship. The amount of
work that goes into putting on such a cruise is simply beyond
measure, it truly is. The number of details, and problems, are
legion. Mike and Sau O'Fallon have poured themselves
into this trip yet once again, so not only should we thank
them profusely for all their effort, but please pray for them
during the cruise as well. "Issues" always arise even
when on the boat.
But I do not come home right after the cruise.
Instead, I fly to California for the "Calvinism Debate" on
The Bible Answer Man broadcast, 12/16-17. I will be
"debating" George Bryson in studio, taking calls and hopefully
getting the message across that Arminianism is sub-biblical,
John 6 cannot be consistently interpreted by synergists,
Chatty Cathy dolls get crushed by Genesis 50:20, Isaiah 10,
and Acts 4:27-28, and resurrection power is not divine
Svendsen Replies to Sungenis
Just a quick note to let
you know that Eric Svendsen has rebutted Sungenis' article.
It seems Sungenis didn't learn much from the Mr. X debacle.
11/26/03: Point of Personal Privilege!
As you consider the
holidays, how about supporting a wonderful Christian lady who
makes outrageously wonderful shortbread cookie creations?
Amy is one of our channel regulars, and you can see her
Tell her DrOakley sent you!
Won't do anything, but she'll laugh anyway.
A Positive Statement from the Anglicans
In the midst of apostasy, it's nice to see someone standing
here for a positive statement from the Anglicans.
Question for JW's
think Jesus is a mighty angelic creature, the greatest of
God's creations, and is hence "a god"? And that all the
passages that refer to him as
theos, "god," are simply referring to him as one in a
class of mighty angelic creatures? Well, if that is so,
pray tell us all: if a creature, no matter how exalted, can be
said to be worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and
might and honor and glory and blessing and dominion (Rev.
5:9-13), be lauded as the one for whom creation itself
was made and in whom it has existence (Col. 1:16-17),
and be the one to whom every knee bows in confession of His
lordship (Phil. 2:10-11), then how on earth could we ever
distinguish the worship and honor that is due only to
the one true God from that which is given to "lesser
creatures" as you believe Jesus to be? Doesn't your
position in essence deprive us of any meaningful way of
differentiating between the one true God and any lesser
AAPCism and NPism Continue to Melt Together
I have been severely criticized by some for noting the
similarity of conclusions drawn by some in the Auburn Avenue
movement and those found in New Perspectivism. Yet, as I
am monitoring both sides, I cannot help but seeing a
confluence of perspectives, despite the very different
backgrounds and sources of the two movements. A good
friend of mine, who I terribly mistreat in channel as a deep
sign of my true love for him (actually, everyone in channel
does the same thing), keeps me up to date on the ruminations
of one AAPC devotee who has begun openly promoting NP concepts
and conclusions. And when you see John Armstrong (a
strong advocate of NPism) putting together a conference
including Norman Shepherd (AAPCism), you can't help wondering
what the future will bring. Stay vigilant!
Bob Sungenis Roots for the Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals
stink. Let's face it. They got clocked 44-6 this
past weekend, and they are headed for another one of their
regular 4-12 type seasons. I have often said I'd be
happy to volunteer to pack them up and ship them off to any
city willing to take them. They are just bad from top to
bottom. So why would I say Sungenis roots for the
Cardinals? Well, late last night, a few hours after the
Dividing Line featuring Gerry Matatics, Sungenis posted
a review on his website. Well, no, not a review. I
don't know what to call it. If you have listened to that
edition of the Dividing Line and want some of the
clearest evidence ever offered that some folks suffer from
massively selective hearing,
check it out. It is almost humorous, if it didn't
involve obvious spiritual blindness. (BTW, Sungenis should
really leave the cheesey titles to Scott Hahn. Though
Hahn's define the term "cheese," at least, considered
singularly, they normally carry a small amount of humor.
Sungenis' article is titled, "Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead."
Excuse me?) Outside of the expected egregious
misrepresentations, the whole thing is focused on a single
issue. To summarize, "Hey, hey, don't listen to all
those questions that didn't get an answer, just think of one
thing: we have a single exception to Dr. Svendsen's thesis in
a non-biblical source outside of the time parameters he
examined! Wahoo! We have an exception to a rule of
grammar! We win! We win! WE ARE #1!"
And that's why I say Bob Sungenis roots for the Cardinals.
See, it's one thing to say, "Hey, I'm a Cardinals fan, whether
they win, or lose...and lose...and lose." I admire that
kind of die-hard fan. But that is very different from
standing there in the 4th quarter as the Cards are down by 30+
points screaming, "Yeah man, we are the BEST! We ROCK!"
That's simple self-deception. And that's Bob Sungenis.
He can listen to Matatics self-destruct on the level of not
even being able to read a lexical entry properly and that
doesn't even create a blip on his radar screen. Why?
"Cuz Rome rules! WE ARE #1!" Just as the Cardinals
will only get to the Super Bowl by purchasing tickets to it in
2008 (here in Phoenix), Rome will only get you the consolation
prize of deception now, and destruction at the final judgment.
What a Dividing Line! For those who listened in
(we set new records both for those listening live and the
number of folks in the chat channel) on Tuesday evening when
Eric Svendsen and I took on Gerry Matatics, it was quite the
experience. The archive is up (straitgate
archive or mirror site), and the mp3 is available here at aomin.org.
Despite a couple of woops's (we fried another channel on our
sound board!), the 80-minute DL was one of the most
amazing we have ever aired. I won't bother trying to
explain it, since at times, you simply have to hear it to
believe it. One of the more memorable points was when I
pointed out that Gerry's arguments would invalidate the use of
Granville Sharp's Rule. His response was classic
obfuscation and tap-dancing. Don't miss this one!
11/18/03: Kudos to [Pete] the
For everyone who enjoys listening to the
Dividing Line live, please render thanksgiving to Pete,
the guy who makes it possible by providing the webcasting
facilities. Check out his blog at:
Name to Gomorrah
Not that anyone is overly surprised. The decades of
corruption of the judiciary (a fact openly acknowledged, at
least by their actions, by one major political party) has led
inevitably to the actions of the Massachusetts Supreme Court
today. To quote Reuters:
In a 4-3 ruling that could
make Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay
marriage, the Supreme Judicial Court said the state may
not deny the rights conferred by civil marriage to two
individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.
Consider the contrast:
Roy Moore is fired, the Ten Commandments are hidden in a
closet, and Massachusetts grants the sacred status of marriage
to homosexuals. Then again, is it really a contrast?
Isn't Massachusetts just acting in harmony with those who
could not bear to be reminded of God's law in Alabama?
The same mindset that allows entire judicial panels to ignore
the role of God in US history in Alabama leads them to
redefine the entire structure of the society, and the nature
of marriage in the process, in Massachusetts.
It truly makes one think through one's views on such
issues as God's law and the basis of final judgment. I
was watching one political leader over the weekend lying
through his teeth, hiding the fact that he and his cohorts
have decided that no man or woman who would ever, ever
consider the facts about the murder of unborn children will
ever sit upon a judicial bench again, and I thought to myself,
"If such a man will not be judged for his actions in
maintaining the Holocaust of the Unborn in this nation and
around the world, then there is no justice at all."
How do we pray for nations like Australia, England,
Canada, and now the United States---all of whom have heard
God's truth with great clarity, and yet are intent, in the
actions of their governments (and especially now in the
actions of the New Priesthood of Rebellion, aka, the
judiciary), upon throwing off all forms of restraint (while
suppressing the proclamation of the gospel)? History
says God normally deals with such nations with judgment that
either brings repentance through difficulty and disaster, or
through destruction itself. We cannot see the future,
but we know this: we are to remain faithful no matter what the
situation, no matter what the cost.
Told You This Was Coming
Click here for an amazing article.
11/17/03: Hews Hou and
For those who might wish to do some reading to be ready for
the Svendsen/White vs. Matatics DL Tuesday night, here is an
excellent article by Eric Svendsen in response to the article
cited by Matatics in my debate with him in October in Salt
Lake City, the article Matatics indicated "destroys" the
hews hou argument.
Click here for the article.
Are Mormons Trinitarians?
Here is the article I referenced on the DL Tuesday evening:
Are Mormons Trinitarians?
Thought: In preparing for the upcoming debate with
Greg Stafford on the deity of Christ in Tampa (click
here for info), a wonderful Christian brother expanded
upon a concept I had written about in The Forgotten Trinity.
Specifically, some who deny the deity of Christ cite John 5 as
evidence that the Son is inferior to the Father because He
does nothing "apart from" the Father. I have often
pointed out that this is not due to an inferiority on the part
of the Son, but due to the perfection of the unity that exists
between the Father and the Son. This brother put this
truth in the form of a question: why can't the Son do
something that we can do (i.e., do something "apart from" the
Father)? The reason makes the point: it is not due to
something wrong with the Son, but do to His
essential nature as deity. That is, the Son cannot do
anything separate from the Father because that would involve a
disruption in the unity of the very nature of God, shared
fully by both the Father and the Son. As we move toward
that time of year when our thoughts are drawn to the
Incarnation, think upon the glorious truth that Jesus Christ
was, and is still, the God-Man, the "Lord of
Glory" who was yet crucified (1 Corinthians 2:8).
Revenge of the Gnostics, or,
ABC = Always Bashing Christianity
thoughts on Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and The Da Vinci Code.
No, I could
not sit still while watching it. Who, with the slightest
knowledge of the facts of the situation, could? But I
still had to suffer through the ABC (yes, the same folks who
brought you the Peter Jenning's Jesus Seminar commercial a few
years ago) special on the fictional, absurd, yet
raking-in-the-money book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.
In fact, it has special meaning, since there was a small
chance, for a couple of hours, that I was going to have a
chance to respond to it on a nationally broadcast news
program, but that did not happen (at least not yet anyway).
In any case, for anyone familiar with the love of gnosticism
exemplified by the Jesus Seminar's elevation of the Gospel of
Thomas to quasi-canonical status (click
here for an article I wrote on this topic for CRI), and
the constant popularity of Elaine Pagels and her ilk, this new
work is hardly surprising, outside of its blatant, obvious
reliance upon previously written (and refuted) works of the
same genre. To call this an anti-Christian screed that
is clearly fiction (but is being treated as if it has serious
historical weight) is to engage in understatement. BE
WARNED! The special doesn't even begin to give you a
real taste for the depravity of the book, which likens
medieval architecture to female genitalia in graphic language.
They obviously realized that going to that level of detail
would not fly on network television...at least not yet.
Tomorrow on the DL I will be addressing various aspects
of the program, but in particular, its simply ridiculous
presentation on the "gnostic gospels." Did you notice
how they did not have the same scholars on during that section
that they had on before? There's a reason for that.
All they could do was interview the very folks who make money
peddling the meandering silliness of the ancient gnostics
(excuse me, but they call this journalism?). When you
read the contents of Nag Hammadi and the like, you are struck
by the utter incoherence (purposeful incoherence, given the
system itself) that marks those writings, yet the gleefully
uncritical acceptance of the value of these works by the media
elite seems to know no bounds.
ABC has once again done its best to bash the Christian
faith while enriching those who join them in their campaign.
The ancient gnostics would be chuckling at the resurrection of
their old writings, but in light of 2 Peter 2:9, I sorta doubt
11/01/03: As Long As
It is Opposed to God
A friend just
sent me this note:
Just thought it curious that at
this moment the CNN home page has the following stories:
* Consecration of a gay bishop
to the Episcopal church
* A study shows that teens get
"good" safe sex advice from "Friends"
* The Supreme Court has refused
to hear the Ten Commandments case
* ABC will, tonight, air a
special report asking whether Mary Magdalene was Jesus'
wife, based at least partly on the book The DaVinci Code
Makes ya wonder how long...
It is truly
surreal, is it not? These networks would not dare air
such garbage about Islam, for example, since Islam has
become the darling of the media left (though, they would be
the first folks eliminated were Islamic law to become the
law of the land). And to base it upon second-rate
historical mythology, pure fiction...and then pretend it has
some scholarly merit or basis! The hatred of the media
elites for the Christian faith simply knows no bounds.
How long will
we have the freedom to even mention these things? If the
current legal case in Australia is any indication, not long.
Seems a ministry named Catch the Fire held a seminar on
Islam following the events of 9-11-2001. They dared to quote
from the Quran and the Hadith (the collections of
authoritative Muslim traditions). Well, post-modern
Western civilization is not tolerant of such intolerance.
I contacted the Australian Embassy and received the following
information about the case:
The case is being heard under the State of
Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 under which
the Islamic Council of Victoria has made a complaint of
religious vilification against Catch the Fire Ministries.
The purpose of the Act is to promote racial and religious
tolerance by prohibiting the vilification of persons on the
ground of race or religious belief or activity, and to provide
a means of redress for the victims of racial or religious
The frightening part is that it is reported that the Christian
ministry can not use as its defense that what they said is
true. The whole point is not whether they spoke the
truth, but whether the Muslims were "vilified" thereby!
Such may strike you as absolutely insane, but such is the
nature of the religion of post-modernism: "tolerance" can be
very, very intolerant of truth. The response from the
Australian Embassy had included this statement:
Equally, all Australians
share the obligations of commitment to Australia and its
democratic institutions and values, and respect for the
right of others to express their culture and beliefs.
To which I
freedom include the right to truthfully represent the beliefs
of a religious group that denies the validity of your own,
and, along with this, expressing the central affirmation of
your own religion that another religion is itself not speaking
the truth regarding God and the way by which a person might
come before Him? In other words, are Christians protected in
your country so that they may believe *and proclaim* the words
of the founder of their religion, Jesus Christ, who said, "I
am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father but through Me." Or does the concept of "tolerance" in
fact promote intolerance of such a belief?
We will see
what kind of response comes back, if any at all. My
friends, use your freedom to speak the truth while you have
it. The cost of speaking the truth will escalate, sooner
than most of us think.
Unbiblical, Out of Control KJV Onlyists Bring Disgrace on the
already warned folks about these men (click
here). For our efforts in speaking the truth we
ended up with even more childish, ludicrous behavior out of
these men at the next conference, as this picture notes:
on this on the Dividing Line,
sections of their inane ranting as well. Since that
time, we have not wasted our time at the Conference any
longer. After eighteen years of consistent witness,
respectfully adorning the gospel of Jesus Christ by speaking
the truth to the LDS at the Conference, we determined it was
no longer a useful effort, because of the poisonous atmosphere
of hatred and mockery created by these "evangelists" with no
"evangel." So we have not distributed literature in Utah
at the General Conference during 2003. And I was hoping
that possibly these ignorant, rebellious men would tire of
their activities and simply go away, allowing for meaningful
ministry to take place again (though, repairing the damage
done by these men's "witnessing" would take a very long time).
However, as soon as I arrived in Salt Lake this October, I
noted on television a report about how they would be showing
up in force yet once again. They love attention, they
love what they call "persecution." And I have learned
that they took to desecrating LDS temple garments this year,
resulting in some LDS trying to take the garments from them.
This then resulted in arrests and charges of assault against
one of the LDS men. I am glad we were not around.
It truly looks like any meaningful witnessing will never again
take place during the Conference thanks to these "evangelists"
who have no interest in biblical truth. They are quite
brave in groups, but one-on-one they are utterly incapable of
meaningful apologetic interaction or defense. As I have
said many times, they are a scourge, a plague. They may
indeed be a form of judgment upon the Mormons, for their
hate-filled childish behavior will be taken by many Mormons as
another reason not to listen to any meaningful
presentation of the gospel.
10/24/03: Why Are
It was a new
experience for me: as I walked up to the podium in Águas de
Lindóia, Brazil, at the 19th Annual FIEL
Conference, accompanied by Eros Pasquini, my tremendously
talented translator, the entire gathered group of over 1,000
pastors began to laugh. Now, I’ve spoken to some tough
audiences before (like the mainly Roman Catholic attendees at
the Tim Staples debates in Fullerton, California), but they’ve
normally not started laughing until later. I looked at
Eros, and he looked confused as well. It took a moment for it
to sink in, but we eventually figured it out. Later in the
week we decided to give the gathered folks even greater reason
for laughter. Here was the result, and by this you can
understand why they were laughing:
I had to lend
Eros a bright tie, since, well, Brazilians just don’t have
bright ties. At least not at the FIEL Conference. Once Eros
and I figured out why they were laughing that first day, I
began, “Can you believe it? I come all the way to Brazil,
just to find my long lost brother!” The hundred or so pastors
who could speak English laughed. Then Eros translated what I
said into Portugese, and the other nine hundred pastors
laughed (all jokes worked that way: two-step laughter).
Working with Eros was a true privilege. He is a tremendous
translator, and a wonderful brother in the Lord. I
hope I get to visit the saints in Brazil again in the future.
I am thankful to Jamie Howell for sending me these pictures.
is one of the entire gathered group prior to one of the
sessions. Some of these folks traveled for days to get
to the conference!
10/20/2003: A Quick Thought on NPism
As I have
been speaking a lot lately on “New Perspectivism,” I thought I
would share a thought that I was developing while speaking on
the subject briefly in St. Paul, Minnesota over the weekend.
First, as I was flying up there, I had been giving thought to
how NPism “flattens out” some of the most precious and full
truths of the Reformed faith. Consistently applied it really
leaves no room for such precious truths as the union of
the elect with Christ, the specificity of the giving of a
particular people by the Father to the Son, (John 6), etc.
Even if an advocate of NPism were to claim such beliefs, the
foundation just isn't there: without inerrancy and the
consistency of the revelation of God en toto such
doctrines are simply not tenable (which is why historic
Reformed theology has held such a high view of Scripture).
This then led, during the seminar, to the thought that the
forcing of a monochrome, one-dimensional concept of
(the righteousness of God) leaves it so bereft of the
beauty that men have lived and died for over the past
centuries. Wright's tremendously forced reading of 2 Cor.
5:21, for example, illustrates this. By insisting that
the phrase can only mean God's covenant faithfulness, and
cannot refer to a righteousness that comes from God (i.e., is
imputed to the believer, the righteousness of Christ), Wright
is forced to say that this passage is simply saying that the
apostles are the embodiment of God's covenant faithfulness.
Likewise, Phil. 3:9 is reduced to a statement that Paul wishes
to be right with God on God's own grounds rather than on the
grounds of Jewish national symbols. The rich depth of
color that is the biblical concept of righteousness is forced
into an artificially shallow monochrome concept that simply
does not do justice to the fullness of biblical revelation.
By way of addition to this section...I recently saw an
article by J. Ligon Duncan being panned on an AAPC-oriented
site (notice the strange confluence again). Actually,
the person was just applauding someone else who was blasting
the article. As soon as I started reading the referenced
article, I knew the Duncan article must be good, since I could
tell the author had no idea what he was talking about.
So I tracked it down and yes, indeed, it is a great article on
Click here to read it.