Sunday, September 24, 2006
Cornelius Van Til was a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary for many years before his death in the mid 1980's and trained many young men in the doctrines of Grace and for that God be praised. His apologetics, however, leave much to be desired. In his book, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, he states on page 11 "Christians should therefore never appeal to the law of contradiction as something that as such determines what can or cannot be true." The Bible, however, states in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that "God is not a God of confusion but of peace." The law of noncontradiction flows from the Logos. Jesus tells us in Mark 3:24 that "if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand". In Galatians 1:8 we are told " if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" We better use the law of noncontradiction to determine what is being preached to us.
Every once in a while a person who should know better makes a statement that is utterly ridiculous. But as James 3:2 states "...If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man..." As I come across these, I will list them as Lamentations.
In his review of the book, Classical Apologetics, by John Gerstner, R.C. Sproul, and Arthur Lindsley, Gordon Clark writes "The authors state, 'Non-Christians cannot use reason and logic to keep down the truth. They have to violate them.' Again this is a false statement. Non-Christians do not have to violate logic. Many of their arguments are perfectly valid."
Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life..." In John 1:1, Jesus is called the Logos. Nothing can keep down the truth by logic. Any "logic" that is not true is a "science falsely so-called" 1 Timothy 6:20. Who has a "valid" reason not to believe in God? In Job chapters 38-42 God shows there are none.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Gordons are a clan of nobility and distinction in the annals of Scottish history. Although also owning lands in the Dumfries area of southern Scotland, the heraldry of the Gordons comes from the lands in Strathbogie in Aberdeenshire granted them by King Robert the Bruce in the highlands. According to R.R. McIan in his book The Clans of the Scottish Highlands " the Gordons of the north were at one time all powerful, and single handed, were at times opposed to government." Being the lieutenants to the north ( the Campbells were the Kings lieutenants to the south) the Gordons were given the nickname "the cock of the north". The Gordons took their charge seriously and had a penchant for battle. This led them to many conflicts with neighboring clans, especially the Macintoshes, Camerons and the Murrays. They loved conflict so much that they fought with smiles on their faces and hence earned the nickname " the gay Gordons". These facts ,however, would lead to their inevitable downfall but also ensure victory for John Knox and the Reformation in Scotland.
George Gordon the 4th Earl of Huntly was the chief of the clan in that day and was a leading Catholic stalwart. George was an unpredictable man, however, and was according to Antonia Fraser in her book Mary Queen of Scots , "totally untrustworthy in the final analysis, in all except that which intimately concerned his own clan." George ,with the power of the Gordons making him a rival to the monarchy, was quite open about his disapproval of some of the policies of Queen Mary Stuart. Although Mary and George were first cousins and George had been raised by her father James the 5th, she would brook no dissension. Mary knew, however, that it would take something serious for an assault on such a powerful and prestigious clan as the Gordons. Her wait was short lived.
John Gordon, one of George's nine sons, severely injured Lord Ogilvie while fighting on a street in Edinburgh. John sought refuge from his father and fled to Huntly. Mary insisted on George turning over of John for prosecution but was refused. This lit the fuse which would finally explode when in September 11, 1562 Alexander Gordon, another son of George, refused Mary entrance into her castle at Inverness which he kept for her while she was away due to his position as Sheriff of Inverness. After hanging Alexander, Mary wasted no time in going about doing away with her rivals to the north. This victory for Mary was a political but pyrrhic one as without the Gordons, the north was opened to the reformers. This civil war of powerful Catholics caused division and thankfully by God's grace allowed the truth to be heard in Scotland. John Knox's prayer of "give me Scotland" was graciously answered in the affirmative.
Although a Gordon, my faith in the doctrines of Grace and scripture alone contrary to Papal lies, make me thankful that the truth was made available so that my forebears and the rest of Scotland were able to hear the truth. For more information on the Gordons go to www.gordonhighlanders.com and www.houseofgordon.com also check on a search engine for Gordon's Calvary as it was a Gordon who may have discovered Golgotha and the garden tomb of Christ in Jerusalem.
Monday, September 04, 2006
The existence of evil in light of God's omnipotence and goodness appears to some a problem . Those who hold to Free Will think they have the answer by saying man's free will creates evil and that it is only a problem for Calvinists. Conservative theologians grant God's omnipotence and so the purpose of this discussion is to reveal from the scriptures that God determines everything that happens and that everything that happens is for his pleasure and therefore good. The answer to them is a simple reference to the scriptures in Romans 9:20 which says "who are you, O man, who answers back to God?" It is a presumption to think we can decide for God what is good.
Inconsistencies from some who hold to predestination add fuel to the free willer fire. John MacArthur, a popular Pastor, Author of the MacArthur Study Bible, and a Calvinist, says in reference to God's hardening act in Romans 9:18, that it does not refer to God's creating unbelief but that he merely withdrew his influence from Pharaoh. He later shows from his comments on verses 22 and 23 that he believes God only allows or permits sin. A short time ago, I read the minutes of an ordination service of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a conservative Calvinist denomination, where they ordained an elder who denied that God ordains sin. The ramifications of this thinking are devastating. The fall becomes just an accident, Christ's death a chance happening, and ultimately God is not in control.
The Bible in distinction says in Isaiah 45:7 that God causes peace and creates evil. In Proverbs 16:4 we learn that God creates the wicked for the day of evil, in Lamentations 3:38 we learn that from the mouth of the most high comes both good and evil, and Isaiah 63:17 asks "Oh Lord, why have you made us stray from your ways and harden our heart from your fear?" These verses clearly articulate that God is the ultimate cause of everything. God is glorified by demonstrating his wrath and judgment on the reprobate.
In his book, Chosen But Free, Norman Geisler argues that man's actions are caused by himself or "self-caused actions." Geisler does this under the rubric of moderate Calvinist. This line of thinking leads him to redefine all 5 points of Calvinism and therefore disqualifies him as even a moderate Calvinist. True moderate Calvinists, like W.G.T. Shedd, Curt Daniel, and John MacArthur, as listed above, although alot more careful theologians than Norman Geisler, come very close to this in their denial of God's ordaining evil.
Moderate Calvinists argue that James 1:13-18 is proof that God does not cause evil. The purpose of these verses is however to indicate that God is not the immediate cause of evil but not to contradict the verses listed above which clearly indicate he is the ultimate cause of evil. They also claim this from 1 Corinthians 14:33, but once again, this is merely God's preceptive will for speakers in the church and not indicative of God's decretive will. In 2 Chronicles 18:19-23, we learn that God used a spirit to lie in the mouth of the prophets so that Ahab would fall. In 2 Thessalonians 2:11, we learn that God will send a strong delusion that people will believe a lie. God [Rex] is ex lex. God cannot steal as everything belongs to him. God cannot murder although he kills all the time. God's jealousy is perfectly justified and righteous.
This precious doctrine should not lead to a "qué será será" way of thinking nor does it justify sin. The elect will hear God's voice, love him and follow him, keeping his commandments. However, I can rest that my sin will not frustrate God's plans as "we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28.
For further enlightenment on this very important matter, I highly recommend God and Evil by Gordon Clark, The Justification of God by John Piper, No Place for Sovereignty by R.K. McGregor Wright, The Serpent of Paradise by Erwin Lutzer and A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith by Robert L. Reymond.