Tuesday, June 29, 2010
His message to Protestants was to respect the ancient creeds, and to know something of early Church history. His message to the Catholics and the Orthodox was to ease up on strict doctrinal adherence as a prerequisite for unity. Although the author believed that there are certain doctrines that we should all hold in common, he also believed that there are some upon which we should agree to disagree. In other words, some doctrine is important and some is not. He believed that our unity should be based, not upon doctrine, but upon our shared mission to evangelize the world.
Although there was much of value in the book, the author never stated which doctrines he felt were important and which were not. Neither did he say who within the Christian world would make such a decision, or why he felt there would be unity around such a decision.
The most important thing that he left out was any sort of Biblical support for the idea that some doctrines are important and others are not. Much of Protestant "unity" is based upon this concept, but I have yet to find any Biblical support for it. In fact, a quick word search for "doctrine" reveals that adherence to the Apostle's doctrine is considered to be of utmost importance by the Biblical writers.
So the question is, can God really bring unity around a concept that is not Biblical?
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Life is a constant struggle against both spiritual and physical death and its meaning for our lives. Spiritual death has to do with our loss of the image and likeness of God and our union with Him. Physical death has to do with hunger, thirst, cold, heat, disease, the aging process, and anything that leads to and or culminates in death.
We always have the need of food, drink, and adequate housing to maintain our life. Because of this there tends to be competition for these things, which tends to lead to greed, covetousness, backstabbing, doing anything necessary to succeed, etc. Our desire for an abundance of possessions can exist to shield us from the reality that death strips us from everything, and our greed and covetousness can be a compensation for the fear that our short life is not as good as is our neighbor’s.
There is also the fear that because of death, life is or may be, meaningless. This can lead to depression, suicide etc. It can also be the cause of much of our pride, since we are always trying to puff ourselves up in a vain attempt to escape what we perceive to be the meaninglessness of life. Pride can also come from spiritual death. We have a nagging notion that we are not what we should be (gods by grace) and so we compensate by pretending to be more than we currently are in our fallen state. This can also be the root cause of our self-destructive tendencies. Since we intuitively know that we are not what we should be, and that we are heading back to the dust of the earth, we think that self-destruction is what we deserve so we decide not to fight against it, and consequently work to destroy ourselves.
Much of our sinful pleasures are an attempt to dull ourselves to that nagging voice that says death is coming, it will all be over soon, and then what will be the meaning of all that we have done. Consequently we try and get as much pleasure as we can before it is all over. Sinful pleasures can also stem from spiritual death as we try to compensate for the lack of the joy that deification and union with God bring.
Much of our constant busyness and entertainments are designed to keep our minds off of death, the meaninglessness of life, the fear going back to non-existence, and the loss of all that we hold dear.
Our lack of union with God and our failure to see Him and his work in all things also makes life seem meaningless. If every particular thing is just a thing in and of itself, then it has no meaning other than what it is. (A tree is just a tree.) If each individual thing has no meaning, then all of the individual things taken together will have no meaning. Only if God is seen in all things can life have meaning.
Our constant judging, putting down of, and trying to rule over others stems from a vain attempt to compensate for low self esteem brought on by our fall from union with God and the constant pull of bodily death. Judging and/or ruling over others enables us to hide from ourselves the fact that we are not ruling over ourselves. The self-pride that judging others engenders also helps us to view ourselves as gods without God. This is the same mistake Adam made which brought death upon us in the first place.
In the end, in a myriad of different ways, man's life is in bondage to both spiritual and physical death. Western Christianity tends to miss this completely as they focus on sin without much thought for death that is its cause. Eastern Christianity hits the nail squarely on the head as it says that Jesus came to destroy death in all of its forms and thereby destroys sin.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Original sin cut us off from the continual contemplation and vision of God, and instead filled our minds with contemplation of ourselves (and the world) as things in and of themselves without God.
Today, because of sin, we think that contemplation of ourselves (and the world) without God is our normal state, and we consider the contemplation and vision of God as unusual or abnormal.
Sin therefore is not simply the breaking of a law, and it doesn’t need to be repented of primarily so we don’t go to Hell.
Sin has so darkened our minds that we no longer can “see” God. It needs to be repented of so that the vision of God can be restored to us, and we can once again walk with him as we did long a go in the Garden.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The abortion debate centers on whether or not a human person is being killed during the procedure. Pro-lifer’s say that the baby is a human person from conception, while pro-choicer’s say that the embryo/fetus has the potential to reach personhood but is yet to do so. They say that since the embryo is only potentially a person, if it is aborted before a certain point, a human person has not been killed.
If looked at purely from a biological viewpoint we are at a standstill, since no one can actually prove when life, and/or personhood, begins. But if looked at from the viewpoint of love, it doesn’t matter if it is a human person at conception, or only potentially so, it would still be wrong to abort it.
If a parent has a child with the potential to be a great athlete, love would demand that the parent help the child reach its potential. Love would never snuff such potential out. In the same way if an embryo has the potential for life and personhood, then love would demand that we enable it to reach its potential. As far as love is concerned, abortion, which would end such potential, would not be an option.
When Jesus was trying to show us how to love, he said that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Very few if any of us would have wished to have been aborted because we value the opportunity to live our lives outside the womb.
If we would not have wished to have been aborted when we were in the womb, then love would demand that we do not abort those embryos and fetuses that are in the womb today.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Modern man’s attempt to understand life through observation, logic, and reason has been an abject failure. On the one hand, if we wish to discover why leaves turn color in the fall, applying logic and reason to what we observe makes sense. On the other hand, if we are trying to discover the answers to the truly important questions of life, such as, why we exist, is there a God or not, what happens when we die, etc., applying logic and reason to our sense experiences cannot provide the answers.
At least in part the reason for this is because our experiences in the world vary greatly from those of others. Even our understandings of common experiences differ. From these differing understandings and experiences we form the unprovable presuppositions that we take as “for granted” truths. Since these vary significantly from person to person, our conclusions as to what life is about vary greatly. Needless to say these conclusions are not only unprovable, but are also often times mutually exclusive at a very basic irreconcilable level.
This is why, despite, or maybe because of, all of the great philosophers modern civilization has produced; the conclusion of western culture is that nobody knows the meaning of life for certain. In other words our great wisdom has concluded in ignorance.
Critics will generally respond to this line of reasoning by saying, “Even if this is true, the only alternative is revelation from God, and even if that were possible how could we know whose revelation is the true one, or how can one prove that the revelation he has received has come from God, and not from a deceiving spirit, or personal deception?” Of course, what is implied in these questions is how can we apply human reasoning to prove that a revelation is really from God?
Just as man, in and of himself, cannot reason to the important truths of life, he also cannot use reason to prove his revelation to be true. The question is not whether one person can prove to another that his revelation is true; he obviously cannot. The question is whether an omniscient, omnipotent God can make himself known in a way in which anyone who wishes to can know for sure. The obvious answer is; of course he can.
Modern man doesn’t like this answer because in his pride he has convinced himself that he is the measure of all things. He has no desire to depend upon God for anything, much less the answers to life’s great mysteries. This is why he will remain ignorant of that knowledge which is truly important, and pride himself on having the relatively unimportant knowledge that secular science and philosophy can provide.
Thinking himself wiser than all previous generations, modern man, in many important ways, is the most ignorant.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Arguments with atheists usually end up as arguments over evolution, but an atheist arguing evolution as a defense of atheism is like a Christian arguing the existence of Jerusalem as a defense for God. It is totally irrelevant.
Evolution can be true and God can still exist. He may not be the Christian God, but atheism isn’t about arguing against the Christian God. It is about arguing against all Gods.
Atheists have two philosophical/scientific problems. One is how to get something out of nothing, and the other is how to get life from non-life. I suppose they can get around the first by saying that something i.e. energy/matter has always existed. The first cause argument seems to demand that something has to have existed eternally, and that something has to be either God or energy.
As for the second, as far as I know, there are no experiments that show how one can get a living cell from non-living matter. And as far as I know, without that first cell life as we know it would not exist. So the question is, does it take an intelligent being to create that first cell? If so, then some manner of God must exist. If not, then it is possible, though not necessary, that there is no God.
It is conceivable that even if it is possible to get that first cell without God there nonetheless can still be a God. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean that it happened. In addition, life coming spontaneously from non-life does not disprove God. It only allows for the possibility of no God.
We all know that intelligent beings can create. We see it every day. What we don’t know is whether life (a living cell) can come from non-life without an intelligent being.
Atheists argue that their philosophy is based upon observable evidence, and belief in God is based solely upon faith, which they define as wishful thinking with no observable evidence. On the contrary, what we see every day (intelligent beings creating) shows us that it is possible that a super intelligent being could have created the first cell if not more. On the other hand, since we have never seen life (a single cell) arise spontaneously, then the foundation of atheism is based on faith, which is defined here as wishful thinking without any observable evidence.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
In my opinion there are three disturbing trends developing within Christianity. First, many churches, including the Catholic Church, either have already accepted, or are in the process of accepting evolution. Secondly, the fastest growing churches have man centered rock and roll worship and self-help messages that pass as sermons. The third trend is that the Protestant propensity for every man to choose for himself how the doctrines of Christianity should be understood, has spread outside of Protestantism into Catholicism, and even though I haven’t personally seen it, I’m sure it has spread also into Orthodoxy. There is enough of the name of God sprinkled within all of this to get us to think that we are still God centered, but the truth is that much of Christianity is becoming man centered.
Ever since the creation of man, the conflict has been whether we will become like God through God, or become gods apart from God. The first is an exaltation of God, and the second is an exaltation of man. In my opinion much of Christianity is now on track to seek to become god without God.
There seems to be only one stage left in the evolution of man, and that is to ascend to some sort of super man or god man. As this infiltrates Christian thinking the Godlessness of evolutionary theory will also subtly infiltrate. In addition, the inevitability of the evolutionary process will eventually become more front and center in the Christian mind. As it does, God will become more and more unnecessary since evolution will do the work of making us gods without him. Finally, God will only be a term we use to pacify our conscience so we can avoid seeing our Godlessness.
The people who are tied into the self-help gospel will eventually realize that the relevant word in self-help is self. As they do they will slowly drift further and further away from God while trying to make themselves more godlike through the methods they have learned. This will probably include occult like methods, such as mind over matter, which will be cleverly disguised with the Christian verbiage of faith. The rock and roll worship, which confuses man’s emotions for the presence of God, can only end in man exalting his emotions, and ultimately himself, as god.
And, of course, the Protestant way of every man becoming his own version of the New Testament Moses, believing that God has personally shown him how all of the doctrines of Christianity should be understood, is self-deception which begins and ends in self-exaltation. As the deception increases so will the self, until eventually self becomes more exalted than God.
All of these, plus the man centered secular culture, are taking us inexorably to the religion of Anti-Christ, which will be some version of man making himself god without God. We are being set up for it. It is right in front of our eyes, and we don’t see it. The Devil is the master deceiver and more and more we want to be deceived.