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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

What Is Certainty? (III)

God Speaks to the Conscience of Every Person

We are investigating Herman Bavinck’s work The Certainty of Faith (De zekerheid des geloofs). In our last installment, we took due note of the fact that even though it is trendy to feign a lack of desire for certainty and knowledge, few live consistently within that life and worldview. In life and in death, people desire certainty, assurance. Because of Herman Bavinck’s commitment to Scripture and the Reformed faith, his little book is most helpful and practical for our topic.

Rather than pandering to the “unchurched” crowd, Bavinck states directly, “There are no atheists, no people without a heart or conscience. Or more precisely, God never leaves Himself without a witness. Whether it be through blessings or through trials, He speaks to the conscience of each and every person.”[1] While it is true that there are those who suppress God’s truth in unrighteousness (cf. Rom. 1:18ff.) or to cauterize their consciences, “history also gives us incontestable evidence that the human has not been extinguished even in the most hardened sinner; the voice of the almighty and omnipresent God sets up a responsive chord somewhere deep in the heart. ‘There is no peace,’ says the Lord, ‘for the wicked’ (Isa. 48:22).”[2]

When we reflect even for a moment, it is apparent that Bavinck’s approach truly frees up the pastor/preacher to do what the Lord has called him to do. We are not certain where that “responsive chord” in each individual in the congregation might be, but we do know that God knows where it is and, as Calvin put it, the secret watering of the Holy Spirit is sufficient to find that chord. What we need to do is to proclaim the Word of truth as clearly and as accurately as we are able. Or, as Bavinck puts it, “In order to live comforted and die happily, we need certainty about the invisible and eternal things above. We must know what we are and where we are going. We must know that our personhood is more than a ripple in the ocean, that the moral battle stands far above the natural order, and that the highest and purest ideals of the soul are not illusions but reality. We must know how we can be liberated from the accusations of our conscience and from the weight of sin. We must know that God is and that He is our God. We must be sure we are reconciled to Him and can therefore approach death and judgment without terror. In all this, our greatest need is for certainty.”[3]

This is what I meant in the previous issue when I spoke of not playing games. This will come as a great shock to some I’m sure—well, you know what I mean—but Bavinck was a much, much better theologian than McLaren, Wallis, Bell, Pagitt, and others combined. He taught Dogmatics and Reformed Ethics in Kampen for twenty years and then was professor of Dogmatics at the Free University of Amsterdam from 1902 until his death in 1921. As intelligent as he was, he still spoke the simple, clear language of Scripture and confession.

Bavinck knows what many today do not seem to know or want to know, namely that “Mankind has sought for certainty all through the ages, although along the wrong roads and with the wrong methods. Every religion, no matter how distorted, seeks for the highest and holiest known to man. Every religion is born out of and sustained by the desire for eternal survival.”[4] This is the exact opposite approach of McLaren, Wallis, and the whole liberal Social Gospel bag. Their concern is the hic et nunc—here and now. Why won’t McLaren talk about sin and Christ’s Second Coming? Well, the answer is: in part it’s theological and in part it’s pragmatic. It’s pragmatic in the sense that McLaren and Wallis understand that if they talk about sin and if they disclose that what theology they have is built on the precepts of Jürgen Moltmann’s universalism, some will leave, especially about the sin part. And that’s where the theological part enters. When McLaren descries a violent Second Coming you need to understand that he is rejecting a doctrine of the Second Coming that involves judgment and the separation of the sheep from the goats. In other words, McLaren is a universalist.

Simultaneously, what makes Wallis, McLaren, Bell, and others guilty of a double whammy spiritually is that they refuse to encourage their adherents to “the highest and holiest known to man.” By refusing to engage the biblical truth of sin the destruction paradigm shift is away from biblical truth (homosexuality, the atonement, the fall, the Second Coming) to the things that are below. That is to say, rather than having man focus his attention on God and his Word, the shift is towards problems on the planet, first and foremost. This is but one of the reasons why both McLaren and Wallis diminish the issues of homosexuality and abortion and accentuate poverty and global warming. If you and I are constantly leaving our carbon footprint all over the place, we need to understand that there are bigger fish to fry than 1.5 million abortions per year.

Bavinck contends that when confronted by life’s deepest problems, science has often taken a stance that conflicts with the seriousness of these problems.[5] This is true, but is further complicated by the fact that, just as in Bavinck’s day (there is nothing new under the sun) when the liberals sought a shift away from Scripture and towards the myriad of social problems facing the Netherlands, the mega-church shifted from biblical truth to a “let me solve your most recent problem” that turned the pulpit into a CEO-like weekly report, a stand-up comedy routine, or a church version of Dr. Phil. Pop-psychology was the order of the day and a meaty message from the Bible was supplanted by “slice-of-life” drama, liturgical dance, and the latest contemporary praise music. Being entertained in church just like we are in nightclubs, at the movies, and watching TV might be fun for a while, but “it leaves the heart unsatisfied.”[6] Where does all of this stuff and fluff leave us “In the hour of suffering and in the face of death…?”[7]

While Bavinck criticized science for failing to deal with life’s real issues, with the necessary changes being made (mutatis mutandis) the same can be said of both the mega-church and the Emergent church movements. Those movements are mistaken if they bypass the “serious problems of human life with an indifferent shrug. The consciousness of good and evil, the awareness of sin, righteousness and judgment, the accusations of conscience, the fear of death and the need for reconciliation are just as real as matter and energy, and size and number. In fact, they are realities of tremendous import, for they rule the world and mankind, life and history. To act as if they don’t exist betrays a lack of love for the truth…. And to dismiss them as outdated images and foolish delusions demonstrates an extensive superficiality.”[8]

Although the mega-church and Emergent church movements believe that Christianity as we know it has had the biscuit, Bavinck was keenly and acutely aware that the State Church in Holland (Hervormde Kerk) had taken precisely the same approach. Liberalism was in and the Bible was out because it was outdated and irrelevant. Liberalism failed then as it always has. McLaren’s claim to be orthodox would be a good belly laugh if it weren’t so sad; if it didn’t leave those who invest their lives in his nonsense in such spiritual bankruptcy. If there is no sin, no judgment and no punishment, no hell (why is there only heaven?), then, says Bavinck, let the person making such a claim “give us sufficient, incontrovertible proof.”[9] The only thing McLaren, Wallis, and the other Emergent church movement tribe has offered is an “it’s true because I say it is” approach, and I, for one, am not prepared to take old Bri at his word; Wallis even less so. If there is no hell, no violent Second Coming, “We should be absolutely sure of the truth of this denial—so sure that we can confidently live and die by it.”[10]

Why is that? Bavinck offers a clear reason that I’ll close on this time: “At stake is our irrevocable eternity, so we need firm, unshakable, divine certainty on this point.”[11]



[1] Herman Bavinck, The Certainty of Faith, (Harry der Nederlanden [trans.]), (St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: Paideia Press, 1980), p. 12.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 12-13.

[4] Ibid., 13.

[5] Ibid., 14.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., 14-15.

[9] Ibid., 15.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.



Labels:

28 Comments:

Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:41 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

And why are you always trying to divide followers of Jesus Christ?

Matthew 10:34 (New King James Version)

Christ Brings Division

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."

Huh, I guess that Jesus fellow was pretty divisive, too.



"Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity…But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin…The old saying must never be forgotten, ‘He is the schismatic who causes the schism’…Controversy in religion is a hateful thing…But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation."

(Cited by Iain Murray in Evangelicalism Divided, p. 141; originally from “Warnings to the Churches,” Banner of Truth 1967).

Hear, hear.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Brooks said...

Eternity has been inescapable from the moment God formed our spirit within us. We stepped into eternity the moment we were conceived, but after all we were made in the image of God Himself, an eternal being.

There are two paths that lead us to eternity future. One a broad path that leads away from Christ to destruction and torment, where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die. The other, a narrow path, that leads to Christ, where the mortal shall put on immortality and the corrupted shall become incorruptible, and we shall bask in the glory of His company forever.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Randy
"The apostle Paul made it clear that if people thought differently about some things, he didn't much care who they were following as long as God was glorified.

Why are you not certian that he meant that?"

Paul was very clear that the Gospel be preached exactly as it was given to him and stated so multiple times. So if the Gospel was being preached accurately and fully, the importance wasn't on who was doing the preaching but firmly on the accuracy in which it was to be stated.
Paul also warned against false teachers, those who would change the Gospel to something other than exactly what it was, whether adding to it or leaving portions out to fit their own interests.
It's really quite simple. Do we submit to the authority of God's word TO THE FULL (which is precisely what I see as Dr. Gleason's point), or do we pick and choose what portions we are comfortable with? This same Paul you quote would have lambasted those who question that certainty, and did so, calling them false teachers.

6:46 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"Being entertained in church just like we are in nightclubs, at the movies, and watching TV might be fun for a while, but “it leaves the heart unsatisfied.”"

Yep. It don't "stick". The Church is bloated with nice moral people, who need there fix, because it just don't stick.. Many who are false disciples.

I would love to ask Brian McLaren what he thinks of Jesus' words here:

"...many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. ...For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; in somuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matt 24:12,24

Who are these false teachers Christ warns us of?

Of course Brian says, and really believes I'm sure, he is a Christian, even a pastor of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe he is, I don't know. I lean toward him being a fallse teacher, because of the things you have mentioned here.

And to be certain of my salvation is such a gracious gift from our Lord.

"Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine,
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!"

7:10 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I suggest that you read (probably for the 1st time)the Heidelberg Catechism's definition of faith: Sure (or certain) knowledge and firm confidence. In the pomo/emergent world, you have neither and Bri's and Phyllis Tickle's lastest books are classic proofs.

Yes, Randy, Paul did write that in this life Christians KNOW in part. And your point is?

Have you read Cal Beisner? George Grant? What's your point about Christians not caring for the earth? We believe it's still part of the Creation Mandate. I just don't want to run off after half-baked theories of global poverty, poverty, global warming, homosexuality, and the like.

In your scheme, Randy, how can anyone KNOW that this earth matters? Are you now suddenly becoming a convenient biblicist? What about the SoM? Can we KNOW for certain anything Jesus said there?

How do you KNOW Jesus was born in a stable of a virgin? How do you really know Jesus did or said anything? Fast forward 2000 years and Randy knows! Wow.

How do you know what Jesus cared for--with certainty that is?

Are you certain about your uncertainty and lack of knowledge (points everyone who reads you will agree upon), or are you uncertain about your certainty or uncertainty? How does a person get to the point that they are certain about uncertainty?

9:09 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Mr. Gleason,

Paul's point of not knowing God fully was just that. He didn't know God fully. He knew of God. He had faith in God, but he didn't know the fullness of God.

Yet, you suggest that your theology knows enough to claim all other views of the biblical text are inferior to yours. Yet, how do you know?

I have read the Heidelberg. I've memorized the entire thing. I've stood in the church and walked the streets of Heidelberg reciting the catechism. Thank you very much.

So, you claim that I haven't even read it, and I've memorized it. This is exactly my point.

Your accusations and evaluations of the faith (and knowledge) of others is often way off base.

As for world poverty and caring for all of God's people, it seems clear that the poor and caring for humanity was pretty central to the gospel.

Here is something I've been thinking over the past three or so years now: I think many people associated with emergent village take the biblical text more seriously than most mainlines, fundamentalists, evangelicals, and reformed camps of the church.

We are more serious about taking the whole gospel message -- not just getting people into heaven when they die.

We're certain of God, his story within the text, and his love for his people and his world.

We're certain that Jesus Christ was the son of God, born in a stable, and lived 30 years on this earth.

We are certain the Jesus preached and taught and called peopel to follow him.

We are certain that he died, was buried, and rose again.

We certainly know that he is the Lord of everything.

Thus, we are called to care for his creation, called to feed the poor, heal the sick... I think you remember the stories...

We also know that his name is above all names.

We know that he is capable of all things, and we know that our finite minds are incapable of fully knowing him.

So, do you really think that a book that contains fewer than two thousand pages is capable of telling us everything there is to know about God?

I am certain that my God is incapable of being fully understood by finite minds.

I am certian that my God is incabable of being fully understood by 2000 pages of the biblical text.

I am certain that when I give up claims that I know everything about God, that I have all the answers pertaining to God, and that I have much to learn -- then I become more of the person who God has called me to be.

I am certain that followers of Jesus are called to be kind, compassionate, loving, and caring.

I am certain that Jesus calls his followers to unity and not division.

I am also certain that when fellow believers hold to theology for the sake of being 'right' over the attitude of self-sacrifice (aka 2nd commandment), then that theology has become its own idolity.

I am also certain that I am a child of God.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

To cut to the chase, a truly biblical worldview glorifies God through faith, which also carries certainty because of the object of that faith -- God Himself. And that includes His Word, which is His revelation to His creation. You, on the other hand, do all you can do to glorify doubt.

So you've memorized a catechism. Do you actually pay attention to what it says?

6:57 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

I am also certain that when fellow believers hold to theology for the sake of being 'right' over the attitude of self-sacrifice (aka 2nd commandment), then that theology has become its own idolity.

Then Paul is guilty of Randy's version of "idolatry":

Romans 16:17 (New King James Version)

Avoid Divisive Persons

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

Now, if I have to choose between Paul's authoritative stance on the subject, and Randy's version....

7:06 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"We are certain that he died, was buried, and rose again."

Amen, and He's coming again to judge the quick and the dead. Jesus Christ will return, and destroy all wickedness, and make all things new and righteous!

Looking forward to that Day, becuase Christ had mercy on me.

Of course there are many who mock, --scoffers, "walking according to their own lusts"-- His return, and say, "Where is the promise of His coming?" Everything seems to be the same as it will always be.

But the Lord on that Day "will come as a thief in the night". "Both the earth, and the works that are in it will be burned up. ...So what manner ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God." 2 Peter 3:3-12

Doesn't the EMC avoid speaking of Christ's return. I know McLaren does.
He says, we should think about going to heaven. Sad that he calls himself a teacher of the Lord.

As for me, "To die is gain, and to live is Christ. What do I wish? To go and be with Christ, which is far, far, far, better, or to remain here, and so serve Christ, and encourage, and edify the Body of Christ? May the Lord's will be done. Amen.

7:20 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"He says, we should think about going to heaven."

That should be "should not think".

"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
- C. S. Lewis"

7:23 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

C.S. Lewis quote? He was an Anglican who pushed on universal salvation at some points in his writings. Reformers just prefer to ignore those writings and stick with is Mere Christianity kind of stuff.

Remember that Lewis also states that Aslan is a lion that is not to be tamed - elusive as well.

I don't think too many here want an elusive God. A god that fits in a big canning jar is safer. A god that is a clearly held systematic theology (aka calvinism) is safer.

An elusive God of wonder and astonishment that calls his followers to never ending deeper commitment is my God.

You choose. Since you certainly judge.

By the way... just got back from feeding orphans and widows in Kenya... amazing trip.

If anyone here wants to stop feuding join somethign worthwhile in God's kingdom, check out KenyaMatters.org

11:17 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Solameanie,
What if the catechism doesn't speak much to our context? What if it was written regarding specific issues of that day... like the Canons of Dordt?

What if it isn't inspired for all times and places?

What if our total lack of concern for our neighbor is of concern to GOd?

What if our own economy based on selfishness (how much can I own) is in direct confrontation with the command to love our neighbor?

11:20 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"You choose. Since you certainly judge."

I did not choose Jesus my Lord, but He chose me.

He is my God, along with the Father, and the Holy Spirit; the one Triune God of the Holy Writings of our Lord God.

My God is the God of Scripture, where He clearly and precisely teaches us, and reveals to us who He is. Yes, He is infinite, eternal, and all-knowing, but we can know Him through Jesus, who will return one Day to judge us all.

I can do nothing without Christ. Unless i abide in Him, all we do is empty. We can give all our money to the poor, and even give our bodies to be burned, but if it's not for the love of Christ, it's in vain.

And all the good works we do on this earth, if we take credit for them, then we have our reward. Only by His grace will our lights shine, and we become salt in this putrid world. It's all His grace working in us, so that we become the workmanship of Jesus christ.

I don't judge myself, the Lord shall judge me, and on that Day, then i will know the commendation of the Lord.

"The Spirit and Bride say come quickly Lord. Maranatha!"

12:40 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Mr. Randy (That does sound more respectful, don't you think?),
Since you memorized the HC, I would rather have thought that you would have presented Olevianus' & Ursinus' definition of faith, which they borrowed from Calvin. Why didn't you think of the HC first?

Is it some kind of mystical experience to walk around Heidelberg reciting the HC? I must admit that every time I've been in Heidelberg I've done other things.

Can you name me any theologian or pastor (other than Bri, of course) who ever claimed to know God exhaustively? What is your point?

Explain to me (& the others) please how you are certain about some things in Scripture, but virtually uncertain about other things? Is the Bible only clear on your favorite topics and subjects?

I'm going to ignore the rest of your wearisome incoherent rant, but I do want to point out something to you that the others seem to grasp: I am writing about Bavinck's view of the certainty of faith. Why don't you, for a change, stick to the topic? What do you find offensive or incorrect about what Bavinck says? Give us some specifics about where he violates or misunderstands Scripture.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

In your constant attempts to one-up Ron, you do an awful lot of moaning and handwringing over the poor as if that gives you some sort of perch to feel superior. I'll join you in the mourning. We ought to have compassion on the poor and help them as we can.

However - - - and I do mean however - - - you can have a million Mother Teresas and it won't earn one drop of Christ's blood. You can do all the acts of kindness and mercy you wish (praying of course that they are properly motivated), but in the end, without Christ, without the Gospel, without saving faith, they are nothing.

Why do I say this to you? Words mean things and ideas have consequences. You dismiss orthodoxy and orthopraxis as overrated or not important in comparison with a social "gospel." It's the same foolish error made over and over again. Get the Gospel right first. Get biblical authority right first. Get doctrine right first. Get truth right first. Then you'd be amazed at how all the other things you are always keening about will fall into place. Good works ought to be motivated by the life-change wrought in us by the Holy Spirit as we enter into saving faith.

By your dismissal of correct biblical interpretation, you undermine your whole raison d'etre for doing good works.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

One more comment, Randy, this time on the catechisms.

You ask, "What if the catechism doesn't speak much to our context? What if it was written regarding specific issues of that day... like the Canons of Dordt?"

That is interesting to me. Most catechisms that I know are meant to deal with timeless issues, like most orthodox Christian doctrine. Please give us some examples of the catechism that only deals with the time period involved.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Regarding the catechism: There are two questions and answers in the Heidelberg that deal with the Holy Spirit. Only two.

It's pretty obvious that issues of the Spirit were not of concern and/or important to their discussions during the reformation.

As for timeless truths, to condemn all Catholics for all times may be a bit (or way) beyond the scope of man. This too is a Q & A within the catechism...

As for Ron simply speaking of Bavink here? This post is editorial.

And to let you know: I know nobody in the emerging church who doesn't mention after-life. It's that we're called to love our neighbor.

Loving our neighbor is in this life, and not in another life. Let us not forget that loving our neighbor and loving God are intrinsically connected.

When we don't care for our neighbor, we disregard God. So, it's pretty imperative that we care for our neighbor if we are to ever know God more clearly after we die.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

As usual, you're throwing out a straw man and then beating it to death. One of the things the Holy Spirit does is lead people into truth, especially the revealed truth in His Word.

Interesting you would find fault with a condemnation of Roman Catholic doctrine. Do you believe you are saved by works?

Who said we aren't to love our neighbor until the next life? No one here said it. I think the problem is that you define loving your neighbor a bit differently than we do.

7:27 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

Jesus said to Peter, "Do you love Me?"

The first love is for Christ. We are here for His glory. And out of this heart, a heart sold out for Christ and His Gospel comes fruit of love for our wives, as Christ loves them, love for our chilredn in truth, love for our neighbor, and even love for our enemies.

But Christ needs to be first. Seek Him and His kingdom first and foremost, and His righteousness and worship the Ftaher in Spirit and truth.

As Matt redman says:

"Let worship be the fuel for mission's flame
We're going with a passion for Your name
We're going for we care about Your praise
Send us out

Let worship be the heart of mission's aim
To see the nations recognize Your fame
'Til every tribe and tongue voices Your praise
Send us out

You should be the praise of every tongue, Jesus
You should be the job of every heart
But until the fullness of Your kingdom comes
Until the final revelation dawns
Send us out"

11:30 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
You wrote, "It's pretty obvious that issues of the Spirit were not of concern and/or important to their discussions during the reformation." Not true and not pretty obvious--at least for someone who understands Reformation history. Calvin is still known as the theologian of the Holy Spirit and if you take the time to read Olevianus' & Ursinus' commentary on the HC, you'll see that the Holy Spirit plays an integral role throughout the commentary. But I'm sure you already knew that.

It's Bavinck--I'm sure you knew that already--not Bavink. My point was that what is under the microscope is Bavinck's analysis of the certainty of faith. Some interaction with him stating where you think he's wrong and why would be more helpful and to the point.

The problems with the "mention" of afterlife among the emergents can be summarized by one of old Bri's latest heresies. He objects to a "violent" Second Coming. Do you know what that means? It's a Second Coming of Christ that separates the sheep from the goats. What Bri wants is a Second Coming where the Hindu followers of Jesus and the Muslim followers of Jesus are allowed into heaven. This being the case, I cannot, for the life of me understand your objections to C.S. Lewis. While what you said might be accurate, it also applies to Mr. McLaren, doesn't it?

Christians are to care for their neighbors. What Christians are not supposed to do is engage in junk science in the name of caring for their neighbors. I have given the readers clear evidence that the real economic poverty rate in the U.S. is approximately 1%, irrespective of which political party is in power. Yet, old Bri still wants to solve poverty of all kinds, ostensibly by throwing more taxpayer dollars at the issue. He also signed (along with Rick Warren) the ludicrous "Evangelical Climate Initiative" on global warming. If you think that this helps our "neighbor" in any way or fashion, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Of all the CO2 in the atmosphere, 3% is caused by man, the rest by nature. Now, if you want me to buy into Bri's junk science, it's not going to happen, but if you want to discuss real love of neighbor save it until I write another post on global warming or poverty and then come with solid FACTS.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
No our differences are much greater than you imagine. In the first place, you seem to think that America was founded as a democracy. In this, you join your many pomo unenlightened. America, my friend, is a republic.

You write, "I have a belief system that allows for the God of the universe to be large enough to save others with different perspectives." Yes, but not of different faiths.

As a charter member of the "Hate America First" club, you have imbibed of the Kool-Aid. There is no nation in the world more generous than America. WWI was over oil? WWII was over oil? Korea was over oil? Vietnam was over oil? The Berlin airlift was over oil?

Why is it the government's job to rescue Sudan? Uganda? The Church is there and other places. Let Christians do what they can when they can. A basic understanding of economics tells us clearly that churches eradicate poverty far better than government.

Your ignorance about current affairs and American history is abysmal. But since the other countries are far superior and morally better than the USA, I cannot understand why you stay here. Go live abroad for 20 years and come back and tell us how it was.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

When Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but through Him, was He lying?

I could bring up a whole host of other Scriptures that point to the exclusivity of Christ, and pretty baldly at that. The Word of God -- and God Himself -- testifies to that fact. It has nothing to do with how "large" God is. It has everything to do with the requirement that He Himself set down.

The fact is, He said it, but you don't believe it. If you deny the exclusivity of Christ, that is heresy, and very likely, damnable heresy.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ron,

Your wisdom, kindness, and generosity are amazing.

Honestly, even on the internet I've never met such a self-absorbed arrogant human.

What does Solomon or Paul say of such a posture?

And as far as loving our neighbors and loving God:

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." ~ James 1:27

But I suspect that someone here will have a great explanation of how the this text means nothing.

Ron... Rwanda... remember the genocide? Those were Christians killing Christians. I'm sure the Father was pleased with us for doing virtually nothing as a million lovers of Jesus were killed.

Sudan -- Hundreds of thousands of Christians are currently in camps and being tortured and raped daily. I'm sure the church is capable of great things.

The Congo -- The LRA killed 500 innocent kids and women over the past week. Murdered them. Sure. The biblical text didn't mean anyting when it tells us to protect those incapable of protecting themselves.

Ron... if we are honest, you really piss on the second commandment in favor or your self absorbed image of America.

And give me no lesson on politics. We are a combination of a democracy and a republic. We are not a true version of either.

Or perhaps I can play the same kind of Game as you... satire.

But why do I care what you think since you just like to make fun of others with whom you disagree in favor of being right... damn right.

What if Old Geason is wrong in his theolgoy and ends up being the whipping boy come judgement day?

Or what if Old Bri is looked upon with more favor than Old Ron?

Do you really know the mind of God?

Of course you do... you're the great Ron Gleason.

A friend of God perhaps not, but a knowledgable ass... perhaps.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

With that post, you revealed more about yourself than any critic of yours ever could have in a month of Sundays. Go back and re-read what you posted, especially in view of your first sentence, and think about it a while. And since you're so interested in God's commands, try and remember the one about how we are to talk to older men.

As to your references to the situation in Africa, I am in sheer wonderment at your reasoning and apparent lack of geopolitical knowledge. The "Christians killing Christians" line really raised my eyebrows. You apparently think anyone who slaps the label on is a genuine article.

Without getting into each conflict you mentioned as it would be tiresome and off topic, please think about this for a moment. It's interesting to me that we here in the colonies rose up and threw off England when we considered her to be tyrannical. In other words, we took responsibility. Funny that no one else seems to be able to do it, so in your view, we have to do it for them. That is very interesting to me. I wonder what some of your Emergent friends would think of the notion to send the U.S. military over to overthrow corrupt regimes around the world when their own people won't even try. You apparently have no concept of the domino effect of such an action.

For the record, the United States has helped in Africa many times, and has thrown billions of dollars in that direction. Couple that with similar help in the Caribbean (Haiti), and it's generally been sand down a rat hole in the long run. Why? Because the culture and the heart of those societies is corrupt and unchanged. Do what the church is supposed to be doing and get the Gospel in there, and those situations have a way of working out. I believe that the leaders (and people who tolerate them) in those nations bear some responsibility, don't you?

Aside from that point, did you ever stop to think that sometimes conditions in certain countries are consequences of what people in a country do? Animism, voodoo, and a host of other false beliefs. What does God say to nations and populations that hold such ideas? What are the consequences?

Your problem really is that Ron has nailed your hide to the wall over and over again. And you do what the left typically does. Instead of engaging his actual argument, you begin yelling and throwing mud in an effort to deflect attention. It's an old, old tactic/game, and we're well familiar with it.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

One more point, Randy. You keep railing about "loving your neighbor." The first part of that statement in Scripture also says to love the Lord your God. Part of loving God involves obeying His Word and believing His revealed truth. You seem to think some nebulous idea of "love" seems to trump the rest of Scripture, or just selected parts with which you'd rather not bother. We don't have that choice. Love doesn't trump correct doctrine and practice. It confirms it.

Loving God and loving our neighbor is indeed at the top of the mountain, but intertwined in those two commandments are everything else, including doctrine -- believing and teaching it correctly.

If you love God the way you're supposed to do, clothing the needy, feeding the hungry and defending the oppressed is a given. We hide God's Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. If we ignore parts of His Word or teach things the Bible doesn't teach, that is sin against God and not loving God. If you love Me, keep my commandments. Practicing homosexuals who identify themselves as Christians are not loving God because they are violating His commandments, and willfully. So-called Christians who deny the substitutionary atonment and the Resurrection are not loving God.

Are you getting my point yet?

4:49 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I totally understand your comment about never meeting anyone on the Internet that was so arrogant and self-absorbed. I've only met one myself.

Help me out here. Is the James 1:27 quote from the same James that wrote James 3:1-12?

As for being the whipping boy on Judgment Day, I actually hold to assurance of faith (sure knowledge and firm conviction) based on the promises of God to me in Jesus Christ. Besides, I believe that it's possible to repeat Job 19:25.

While you're trying to answer Sola about "love," try working on letting no foul talk come out of your mouth. It's very unbecoming of a pagan let alone a Christian.

8:29 AM  

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