November 22, 2007
This reminds me of a story a friend of mine once told me. He was discussing with a guy about the problem of sin. This person had told him he just couldn't stop himself from sinning everyday. My friend then asked him "If I took your son or daughter and held a gun to his or her head and threatened to kill them if you sinned in 24 hrs period do you think could go a whole day without sinning?" the person replied "Yes I think I could do that". My friend then replied "Then you don't have a "sin" problem you have a motivation problem. How much more motivation do you need other than the Son of God hanging and dying on a cross for you?"
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November 21, 2007
Now here we have a mental disorder, whereby a parent causes a child to become ill (in most cases almost to near death) in order that the parent can meet their own self-serving psychological needs. Now folks, our society has deemed this type of behavior as psychotic and is considered unacceptable - even to the point of either imprisonment or a mental institution. What makes us think that the character of God being promoted by John Piper and his bunch, that demonstrates the same qualities as a person with Münchhausen by Proxy , is deemed to be acceptable behavior for a benevolent and just God?! If its deemed unacceptable in mankind, then it can not be OK for God. Remember when Jesus said "when you see me you also see the Father" this means Jesus had personally demonstrated to us here on earth the amazing character of God - in human form! Did we ever see such behavior as that being told by John Piper exhibited in Jesus? Was God the Father orchestrating people to become demon-possessed or blind or lame so that Jesus could "show-off" just how powerful he really is? Does God really need to do such things to prove he is glorious or worthy of praise? No! God is praise worthy because he chooses to be holy and righteous. We praise God because his character is pure and holy!
Is it no wonder that people are not getting saved when they here a message as the one John Piper is preaching. Would this doctrine really speak to the hearts of men. Would this prick the hearts of men and see God as he truly is - who is merciful and loving and just! Is this at all the gospel spoken of by Jesus? A beloved pastor I know once said something that I think is very profound here: Ideas do have consequences. The idea that Mr. Piper and crew are promoting does have consequences. Sadly, many have fallen prey to this wolf and I would beseech you to rethink your doctrine and seek God's truths in his word.
November 20, 2007
The opposite viewpoint of Open Theism is what many Calvinist claim to be the concept of "Absolute Foreknowledge". Historically, Absolute Foreknowledge, is a theology that was developed by Augustine and then furthered propelled by John Calvin. Sadly, the philosophy behind Absolute Foreknowledge is not rooted in scripture, but is rooted in Greek Philosophy. For example, one would tend to think that since Christianity is based fundamentally in Judaism, we would see Absolute Foreknowledge or Predestination within Judaism. However, AF is found no where within in Judaism. Amazingly enough if one were to ask a Orthodox or Conservative Jew if they believe in predestination they would adamantly deny this concept. Judaism holds that all of humanity has free-will and they have no problem harmonizing this with God's Omniscience - without the need to have predestination or Absolute foreknowledge. As for the Calvinist, they believe everything is fated or predestined - including salvation and damnation. For the Calvinist, or proponents of Absolute Foreknowledge, the future is already known by God and therefore it is a fixed event in time - you have no free-will. Calvinist have gone to great lengths to develop all sorts of wild concepts to support their position - many of which are outside the boundaries of normal logic and reasoning. For example, Calvinist believe that since God "knows all things" this includes all past, present and FUTURE events, God somehow exist in the "Eternal Now". If your not familiar with this concept it will really stretch your sense of reason. Eternal Now is a concept that God is outside of time and to Him the Past, Present and Future all appear as if they are occurring at the same time. Instead, in scripture we see God working with mankind "in time" - even Christ manifest himself here on earth at a given point "in time". Again, this concept teaches that God does not experience the world, as we know it, but that he is above and outside time. However, we see this idea is no where to be found in Scripture.
As I mentioned yesterday, many people want to know how does Open Theism fit into biblical prophecy?. As the bible clearly shows, God has prophesied future events that have come to pass. These events however could be spoken of as certainties prior to the event, because God has the power to do whatever he so wills. Nothing can stop his plan. For example, if God decided to have Jesus born in Bethlehem, no force in the universe could thwart his plan. He therefore knows the future act absolutely because he has determined to cause the event to occur when the time has been fulfilled. Calvinist however view every event that occurs throughout humanity and even in nature- that it is all fixed or is predestine. However, Open Theist believe Scripture shows that this is the exception and not the rule. Calvinist, believe that not even one atom or molecule can act one its own, but that everything under God's meticulous control (I am sorry, I have worked for some real micro-mangers in my day, but it seems this is a characteristic I don't want to apply to God.) . Open theist on the other hand believes God has establish certain physical laws of the universe and these have been set in motion by God during creation and He is efficient in his management of the universe and does not require to have meticulous control of every physical properties of the universe.
Please realize this post does not fully address all aspects of open theism. I wanted to use this as a primer to hopefully give incite as to why I don't believe in predestination or even allow a productive discussion to occur with others who may be struggling with the concept of predestination. Most Christians would agree that free-will is essential element for mankind to truly and genuinely love God. Personally, for many years in my Christian walk I felt deep down that predestination could not exist either logically or a quality that should be exhibited be a so called loving God. Again, many who read this may think my position is not true, not on the basis of whether they have truly worked out their own theology, but rather they "feel" its wrong because they've always believed this way. Again, just because you feel something doesn't mean its necessarily true. I would encourage everyone to make sure your theology makes sense and is reasonable and is not based upon speculation or strictly on what someone has told you. We are individually responsible to know and understand the truth. If you can not logically support your position, then you either need to search deeper or reevaluate why it is you believe what you believe. I encourage you to seek and know the truth - as the truth is the only thing that will set us free.
November 19, 2007
Webster's Dictionary defines "knowledge" as: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : the fact or condition of having information or of being learned a: the sum of what is known.The key words in this definition is "truth or fact through reasoning". Open Theist apply this same definition to God's ability to know something or his omniscience. Again, when God tells us he has "knowledge" of something He must use the same definition or understanding as mankind. If not, then how can we ever make any sense of what God is trying to convey to us in His Word or when he speaks to us? Remember, words have meaning and when God uses a word it must have the same definition as we would interpret! In other words, we believe God interacts or communicates with His created beings by using reason and logic. Therefore in order for something to be "known" by God it must be "knowable", it must be factual or it must truly exist.
We use this definition "to know" or "knowledge" in our everyday lives. For example, let's say that someone walks up to you and begins to inform you that they "know" karate. From the definition of the word "know" we would be able to surmise that the statement just made by this person is that they have some level of "knowledge" or experience in the field of martial arts. Their knowledge came as a result of factual information (truths) that fully exists in reality. This same person, who "knows" karate, has obtain this particular "knowledge", that is a set facts, through the use of his or hers reason and logic. In other words, the information known by this person must first be real or actual.
If you deny this, then you deny the very definition of what it means to "know" something or to have knowledge. For example, if on the other hand another person were to walk up to you who claimed to have been from the planet Mars and knows Martian Martial Arts - you would immediately consider this person to be (a.) insane or (b.) a comedian. The reason you would consider this person insane is that we have facts (truths) that mankind has never physically been to Mars and from what we do know about Mars is that it is uninhabitable planet - therefore by using logic & reason we are able to deduce that the information this person is claiming to "know" - is indeed false. It is not knowable, it does not exist, it has not occurred in reality and is not factual. So as it pertains to God's Omniscience, Open Theist would say matters pertaining to the future of free-will beings God knows only that which is knowable. Therefore since the future has not yet occurred and does not yet exist in reality it is then "open". However, by denying God knows the future free will choices of man, it is not assumed that God doesn't know certain future events. This is often a claim laid against Open Theist that is not at all true. This we will address further in my next posting.
November 18, 2007
Its as if these so called Christians feel they are no longer obliged to keep the Moral Laws of God. It's as if either the Moral Laws of God are too difficult to keep or they get some cosmic free pass to sin in word, thought and deed without any of the consequences of punishment. But yet on the other hand, sinners who commit these same violations, will thrown into Hell for all eternity. Seems to me if this theology were true, then this makes God out to be very arbitrary in his character!
But what exactly does the bible teach about the keeping of God's Moral Law as believer's in Christ Jesus? Does it really say that the "Law" is no longer applicable to us?? Just how important to God is the keeping of His Moral Law?
Matt 5:19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Matt 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:21 " He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
1 Cor 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. (Personally I think this is a great verse! It shows the contrast between the Ceremonial and Civil Laws and God's Moral Law)
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
1 John 2:2-4 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
1 John 3:21-23 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. (The antithesis of this verse is if we hate Him, we will NOT WALK according to His commandments)
Rev 12:16-17 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Interesting take on this verse is that in the end times Satan will come against those who OBEY the commandments of God - that is His Moral Law and hold the testimony of Jesus - Hmmmm I wonder how this will effect the "I sin in word, thought and deed daily" crowd??)
Rev 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Wanna know how to be Eternally Secure?? Keep God's Commandments in your hearts and Love God!!).
My point in all of this is to show that God has in no way negated us from keeping his commandments. In fact, as devoted followers of Christ, we have freely chosen to follow and obey God's laws, out of sincere love and devotion and knowing it is the right thing to do! It is the very essence and motivation of our heart. Why would we want to do the very thing God hates or despises if we truly love Him? If all this then makes me legalistic then so be it - I would rather be called a legalist than to be told by God "Depart from me you evil doer for I knew you not!" Clearly scripture shows those that love God will naturally follow and obey his commands, and those that hate or despise Him will willfully chose not to obey His commandments. Where do you stand? Are you one who has come to the knowledge that it is indeed "good" to keep and obey the moral laws of God or do you feel as if your "Above" His Laws and are not bound to keep them? Regardless, the moral good of the universe is at the very center of God's heart and His Laws are not to be taken lightly my friend.