Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Satan Fell

Some times you hear atheists put forward this paradox, "can God create a corndog bigger than He can eat? Either way you answer I've proven He's not all powerful."  The answer to this is that there are some things God cannot do. He cannot lie, He cannot steal, He cannot sin. God can't do things that bring Him no glory.

What if that thought occurred to Satan, and we only believe this because he sold it to us?

Satan was created to grow, and to develop; to advance. The Bible speaks of angels seeing, and longing, and learning, so it seems to me a reasonably small leap of logic to conclude that Lucifer, being an angel, was created with the potential and commission to grow.
What if it occurred to him that there was a way to grow beyond God? What if he discovered that he was capable of doing something as yet unrealized, something so totally novel that nobody had even thought of it before- becoming great by doing what God Himself couldn't? Would he not then be, in a sense, better than God having the power to accomplish this?

I propose that this was the reason Satan fell.  In his desire to grow he decided to go beyond God.  He began to derive his identity and pride from being what God is not, and cannot be. His rebellion is his pride, his badge. So he hates where God loves, tears down where God constructs, and continually does evil, because while God can only do good he is not so constrained. Notice however that the hating and working evil are secondary results that flow from the pride of rebellion. Satan does not hate goodness for the sake of hating, he hates because it is the expression of a power God doesn't have.
In fact this explains everything about Satan. Why would Satan would continue to rebel when he knows God is guaranteed to win in the end?  If God is a winner and can only ever win, then there is nothing better for Satan than to lose. For in this sense losing is winning.  Why would Satan freely opt for an eternity of torment? Because God can do nothing but delight in Himself, and this is Satan's way be greater than God. Can God be miserable in hell?  No, but the creature could.  Can God lie? No, but Satan can, therefore with every lie at every opportunity Satan expresses how his power is greater than Gods.

In the end the worst thing is not that Satan would think this way, but that mankind would agree with it and in so doing chose pain instead pleasure, loneliness instead of mirth.  The price paid to be able to say "I can do what God cannot" is, when carefully weighed on the scales, too high. Far better to choose humility and its results than pride and its fruits.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

1 Cor 6:12-7:13 class notes

 It falls to me to have the dubious honor of leading the class on the topic of sexuality. Considering that our society is in open rebellion to God by delaying marriage past college I’m very excited. Hurray.
Paul will now resume his discussion on sexual matters that he has put on pause since chapter 5. The argument for abstinence outside of marriage for the Christian is on four parts
1.       Sexual sin enslaves men into bondage
2.       It is against our union with Christ
3.       It defiles our bodies
4.       It is dishonoring to God

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
·         The Corinthians were quoting at him that in Christ all things are lawful, and he turns around and insists that while it may be true we can do something not all things are good and ought to be done.  Some things are downright bad and will certainly enslave you.  There is nothing wrong with smoking, except that it will enslave you.
13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
·         They quote at Paul again ‘food for the stomach and stomach for food’  Our appetites and sinful desires are like food which pass through us and don’t defile us.  Paul insists that this is valid only for things which are not eternal. 
·         The second point is that this only holds up for the created order.  The body was not made for prostitution or fornication, but for the Lord because He wants to display His glory in it. It ought to have a holy purpose.

14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
·         This is the proof of the last statement, since it’s His body He will come back for us and raise us up a new body

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
·         Is Christ in the habit of male prostitution? It’s reprehensible. Therefore since we are Christ’s body we should be pure like Him.
·         Romans 6:3 commands us not to use our bodies as instruments for unrighteousness.

16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”
·         This quote taken from Genesis 2:24. In sex there is an equation where the two become one flesh.  Jesus should never be one flesh with a cult hooker.  It’s inconceivable. 
·         Sex combines the bodily delights of two people. In marriage this establishes their bond, in adultery it making and breaking it.

17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
·         The Gnostics taught that the body was disconnected to the soul. Paul here teaches that the soul is connected through the body.
·         Jesus prays in John 17:21 that they may be one as we are one.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
·         Some sins are spiritual only: Pride, laziness, greed. But this particular sin is the only one where the sin 100% involves the base animal desires of the flesh.
·         You are inside your body, but you are not your body. One day you will be torn from your body in death.  This particular sin is against that body which you inhabit. It’s 100% against you yourself. You are wrecking yourself.

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
·         You are not in command. God is over your life. Therefore you need to honor God who directs you. He bought you to live in your heart, you belong to Him.

7:1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman."
·         It’s likely they wanted an affirmation from Paul on this- it’s good for us to be abstinate.  Paul agrees but with a caveat.
·         The Corinthians had the idea that a celibate person had more time to be with God, was more holy.  Therefore even married people should not have sex.
·         It does not mean sex is bad that abstinence is good. We might say both eating and fasting are good together in their proper time.

2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
·         This however assumes that people are basically good and in control. That’s not the case.
      One man, one woman, in your heart, for life. This is good and sex inside this boundary is affirmed by God.
·         Our culture, and in this I mean especially young men, flee from marriage as if the whole institution was evil. This is remarkably wrong.

3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
·         This is to you women (I’ve just hit a low point in my Bible teaching career by telling college women this) you must have sex with your husband as often as he wants it.  He has a right to your body. When you get married your headaches and whining and pushing him away, and multiple excuses, and general dislike of sex – that’s a sin. A big one if I do say so myself.   

4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
·         It’s his body, not yours.  As far as I can see you owe him a nice upkeep on it while you’re at it.
      When it goes the other way men, she gets the same rights.

5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
·         Paul offers a concession, if you desire to abstain from sex as a married couple, set aside a limited period of time, with a goal in mind.  You should not give it up just to give it up.
      Sexual abstinence can occasionally accomplish some good, but then again it’s more likely just to ruin your marriage.
·         Deprive is the word for defraud from earlier. If you withhold you are cheating your spouse.
·         Satan’s plan is to encourage sex outside of marriage and minimize sex inside of marriage.  If you are pushing your husband around, and telling him what he can’t do, and minimizing his feelings, you are severely sinning.  I suppose it works the other way around, but I can’t ever imagine a case where it would be true.

6  Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
·         What Paul is about to say is not a previously stated rule taken from other scriptures. But oddly enough, this is going to count as new scripture. He’s going to lay out a rule, and an exception with an explanation

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.
9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
·         Remain single, unless you can’t. If your heart longs for children and a husband and a noisy family that’s okay.
·         Bing single and happy is even better than married and happy, which is better than single and lustful.
·         At the time of writing Paul was single and since he was likely married before he could evaluate each fairly and come to a conclusion about it.
·         The Catholic church has ignored this warning and as a result only people not interested in marriage among whom are disproportionately child molesters are applying for the priesthood.

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
·         God hates divorce. You can leave the other person’s presence, but you are still bonded to them.  If you divorce except for two reasons you are in violation of God’s law and pleasure.
·         The rigidity of divorce in God’s eyes is shocking. If you don’t like it be more careful who you marry.
·         Adultery is one, the other Paul is going to elaborate on: a non Christian leaving.
·         I’d venture to say that most of the divorces I have seen are just because the other person got bored, or were more excited about a person other than their spouse. This is flatly unacceptable to a Christian.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
·         In Corinth they were having problems divorcing their non-believing spouses. This is not what God wanted from them.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Worshipping Molech

"They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin." (Jeremiah 32:35)

We are so much more sophisticated today than those primitive worshippers of Molech were. We no longer do anything so stupid as name the prosperity god for one. For two we don't go to sacred places to invoke the blessing of the priest, we go to clinics where a respected doctor performs the ritual decently and in order. So we don't beat drums to drown out the sound of screaming babies, we play soothing elevator music and kill the fetuses before they get air into their lungs. And we don't cook them to death for godsake, we use the humane method of dismemberment. We have evolved beyond offering to operation. And most importantly we don't work reactively to dispose of unwanted children, we plan parenthood ahead of time. Fortunately we're so much more moral than those ancient savages.   

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Principle Error of Popular, Modern Calvinism

Before beginning, let me first speculate that the denial of the necessity of faith is unique to Calvinism because the children of Calvin are a systematic type; following in the footsteps of the Institutes they seek to know why God would do a thing, while the children of Luther following in the footsteps of a Bible translation read the Bible as a story unfolding. You can forget the importance of faith in the first case, but it's impossible in the other. You never hear of hyper-Lutherans, because the beauty of faith is never forgotten.

The Centrality of Faith
Faith is:
  • That thing which pleases God. Heb 11:6.  (The opposite holds true as well, all things done without faith are displeasing to Him. Rom 14:23)
  • A settled confidence in God's promises, character, and goodness Heb 11:1 
  • A command from God for something we must do Mark 11:22 
  • The way we may be saved John 6:29
  • Grounded on the atoning work of Christ on the cross.  Without Christ we have faith in nothing, meaning faith becomes is useless. 1 Cor 15:14 But just as faith is no good without the atonement, the atonement is useless without faith Heb 4:2 
  • Possible only upon hearing the good news of Christ, which awakens our dead unregenerate hearts to life Gal 3:2,5, 2 Tim 3:15.  (Regeneration is a prerequisite for faith, until our will is put right we refuse faith)
  • Trusting in God enough to live out your convictions.  James 2:19-24 (I know I'm starting to sound like a Lutheran here, but when Martin Luther translated the Latin the word he selected to convey faith or belief was the word trust.)
By faith we are
  • sanctified  2 Cor 5:7; Gal 2:20, 3:11; Heb 10:38; Rom 1:17
  • adopted Gal 3:26
  • healed Mark 2:5; Mark 5:34; Luke 5:20, 8:48, 17:19, 18:42; Acts 3:16 and given strength Heb 11.
  • justified Gal 2:16 
  • saved should we have faith until the day of our death Eph 3:17; Gal 5:6; Col 1:23; 2 Thess 3:2; 1 Tim 1:19,5:8, 6:21; 2 Tim 4:7; Heb 6:12; Rev 14:2; Rom 10:9. (This is also proven out in scripture.  When Jesus prayed that they would be saved He asked His father that their faith not fail Luke 22:32, and when Satan attempts to bring people down into hell he attempts to remove their faith Acts 13:8)
Notice that faith is synonymous with salvation. When we have faith we have justification, reconciliation, eternal life, and should we lack faith we are already condemned. One thing alone astounded Jesus, and that was faith Matt 8:10, or lack thereof Mark 1:1-6, Luke 24:25-26.
It cannot be overemphasized: faith genuinely, totally, astonishingly, pleases God. He loves our faith. He desires we have it, because He is kindness beyond understanding.

Doctrines that Counterfeit Faith

Faith is not regeneration.  Nicodemus was correct in asserting that man cannot be born again of his own  power- it would be an impossibility to use your own will to re-create your will, it would be like entering your mothers womb as an adult. Only God can create, and only God can re-create.
But faith is not like this. Man has a natural ability to place his confidence, approval, respect, and trust in things. Indeed, the very problem is that he places his trust and approval in himself.  That's important, so I'll say it again, God's very grounds for anger against mankind is their demonstration of their abilities.  
It makes no sense therefore to assert mankind is incapable of faith, or to equate faith with regeneration.
And so the consequence of equating faith with regeneration is that it doesn't matter if you have it or not because God will take care of everything for you.  If faith is merely a sovereign act of God's power then there is no reason to act, there is no need to act.

2. The atonement. 
If faith isn't the thing that pleases God and erases our debt before Him then what does?  Christ's atonement is often the answer.  Now this is a good answer insofar as He has placated God's wrath by His atoning sacrifice, but this is only what makes salvation possible, not what actually saves.  The hyper-Calvinist asserts things like "does Christ potentially save, or actually save" without realizing that the atonement is not applied from the cross. We are under wrath until the moment of faith, and not until we believe is God pleased.
The cross placates the wrath of God but only faith pleases Him. And of course, the consequence of this error is that there is no need for faith, because the cross is the only thing we need.

The Final Result
Faith is the mountain snow and sanctification is the stream it feeds.  Without faith being honored the result is that there is no sanctification. Not only is there no love for non-believers, there is no love for the brothers. Go into a facebook use-group, or look at a web page, or talk to them in person, they are predominately characterized by their divisive attitude. Better yet, observe them. See if they don't make for themselves an enlightened splinter group and leave their current church, citing how the rest of Christendom has failing theology. This is because they deny faith, and in so doing remove the possibility of sanctification. 
Such is the principle error of modern Calvinists.

Introduction to the problem of Modern Calvinism

High/hyper Calvinism runs rampant across the face of the internet, tramping down classical Biblical thinking and establishing itself as the final authority on all things Reformed. It's fruits are accessible, and sound so plausible that it's tempting to think they are correct. It's alluring.  After being fed a steady diet of Purpose Driven Life and Financial Peace in church it's not a wonder that when someone picks up a book by Aurthur Pink and actually sees the character of God being described they marvel, or when they encounter Owen who obviously ascribes so much value to the cross they forget where they were.  It's refreshing to see people in love with the truth of God's sovereignty, to want to know Him in more than just a shallow pop-culture let's sing about love way.
But even so it's no excuse for what many modern Calvinists have done to the historic doctrines, that is, smashed and compressed them.  Next post I'll show the problem.

Bnonn Tennant on the necessity of "Unlimited" Atonement

This whole series is well worth your time.

Part 1: Particular atonement is inconsistent with what is revealed in Scripture about federal headship and forensic imputation: two doctrines central to Christ’s penal substitution.

 Part 2: Particular atonement is inconsistent with the universal gospel call, whether it is conceived of as an invitation, or as a command only.

Part 3: particular atonement provides no grounds for faith, and makes the assurance of salvation impossible.

 Part 4: Answering the objection that universal atonement requires that God be at cross-purposes with himself

Part 5: Answering the objection that universal atonement entails either universal salvation, or a double payment for sins

Part 6: Answering the objection that a universal atonement would not actually secure or guarantee salvation for anyone.

The Heretical Religion of Wokeism

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served tha...