Friday, February 29, 2008

Former Atheist Francis Collins

Dr. Francis Collins is a world renowned expert in human genetics who spearheaded the U.S. government's efforts to sequence the entire human genome at the National Institutes of Health. He is also arguably the most vocal Christian biologist of modern times. He recently wrote a book titled "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief", in which he explains his belief that science and Judeo-Christian faith do not contradict.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bad Science Part 3

Darwin claims we have no design or purpose to our lives. Well our cells do so I guess he was wrong on that one as well.
Take a look at this great video explaining "irreducible complexity".

Professor Behe states:We infer design when we see parts that appear to be arranged for a purpose. The strength of the inference is quantitative; the more parts that are arranged, the more intricately they interact, the stronger is our confidence in design. The appearance of design in aspects of biology is overwhelming. Since nothing other than an intelligent cause has been demonstrated to be able to yield such a strong appearance of design, Darwinian claims notwithstanding, the conclusion that the design seen in life is real design is rationally justified.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bad Science Part 2

Evolutionist and Atheist point to evil as proof that God doesn’t exist. This view is held by Darwin and is extremely flawed in several areas.

Below are some very good points by Eric Hunter whom reviews Cornelius Hunter’s Book, Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil.

Great book!

Is the theory of evolution so well established that it can be considered tantamount to a scientific fact? Or is evolution really nothing more than philosophy dressed up in scientific garb? Cornelius G. Hunter’s work, Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2001) brilliantly exposes how evolutionists use scientific jargon to conceal anti-supernatural metaphysics (philosophical theories about the nature of reality). Their theory is emotionally sustained by a certain idea of God. So when they perceive the facts of nature as contradicting their a priori (before experience) theology, they conclude God doesn’t exist, or at least, has little or nothing directly to do with nature. Hunter’s work has a particularly important insight when it draws attention to how important a particular idea of God is to evolutionists when they argue for their theory.
The problems they perceive in nature allows them to sustain faith in their theory even when the evidence really isn’t all that convincing; the same scientific facts could be rearranged to favor the model of special creationism as well or better than the model of evolution. Evolution, at its core, is about God, not science, for it’s a theodicy (a way of justifying to humanity God’s actions of allowing evil to exist) that ultimately aims to eliminate pleasing God as a focus of people’s concerns intellectually and emotionally.

Is nature full of evil? Does it contain structural flaws or inefficiencies? If so, how could an almighty, all-knowing, all-loving Creator have brought such a flawed creation into existence? The evolutionists, as they cavil about the physical world’s defects and evils, are reasoning back from the effect to the cause: Since the effect (i.e., the world) is full of evils and imperfections, therefore, the cause couldn’t be God, but some kind of random natural process instead. For example, the evolutionist David Hull reasoned that because nature produces millions of sperm and ova (eggs) that never result in a fertilized zygote, and that an estimated 95% of DNA in plants and animals has no function, “The God implied by . . . the data of natural history . . . is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not” (cited from Hunter, p. 156). Likewise, Darwin himself thought the existence of animal predation contradicted the existence of a loving, almighty Creator, such as cats playing with mice or (yuck!) parasitic wasps feeding within the bodies of living caterpillars. Of course, the God that Darwin and his evolutionist offspring are criticizing here isn’t the One of Scripture, who by cursing the earth as a result of Adam’s sin (Genesis 3:14-19), made the world around us deliberately not perfect as far as we humans are concerned. But at the time of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21), there will be no more curse (Rev. 22:3). The fact that animal predation will be ended during the millennium (Isa. 11:6-9) shows that it wasn’t a permanent part of God’s plan for the earth. The creation, made subject to futility, groans now from corruption (Rom. 8:19-22), but will soon “be delivered . . . into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Hunter does important work when describing the theology of God’s nature that rationalizing, modernizing Christians had done in the decades, even centuries, before the time of Darwin. By describing God in ways that removed Him from directly influencing His Creation, they inadvertently helped to pave the way for the acceptance of the theory of evolution. Instead of Darwin (say) making a comparison of nature (the effect) with the God of the Bible (the cause), he was making an implicit comparison with a stripped-down Deity (another cause) that rarely if ever performed miracles and who rarely if ever punished His Creatures.

Hunter even compares the evolutionist’s God to that of the first- and second-century Gnostic movement’s portrayal of the Creator: They believed an evil, blundering Deity manufactured the corrupt physical world that includes the bodies, but not souls, of human beings. The God of the Old Testament, the Creator God, Jehovah, was considered to be evil, but the God of the New Testament, the God who sent Jesus, was a God of truth and light. Many centuries later, the natural theology of the Victorians, and those who preceded them, such as William Paley (1743-1805) with his famous “watchmaker” argument, tended to overlook or ignore the problems in nature as we find it. But much like skeptical Scottish philosopher David Hume’s use of the problem of evil to argue against a (good) God’s existence, Darwin used the imperfections and evils found in nature to question God’s power and goodness. By putting forth a non-Scriptural rationalistic Deity, Darwin’s predecessors unknowingly set the stage for God’s nearly complete elimination as a serious concern for modern intellectuals when Darwin and his fellow evolutionists compared the natural world’s defects and evils to this (humanly) idealized Deity rather than the actual God of Scripture, the intervening, wrathful yet merciful Jehovah who, out of love, later dies on the cross for the sins His creatures freely committed that He had allowed.


Now Hunter describes the intellectual history of the Victorian era and earlier in this regard, showing that the God the evolutionists spar against is one who they never feel a need to justify as an accurate depiction of the Creator. That’s because many leading lights in the religious world of Darwin’s time and before had watered-down their view of God, having deemed an intervening, miracle-working, punishing, wrathful Jehovah distasteful. This “high” idea of God, as unscriptural as it is, they saw as honoring God’s power and foresight even more than the views of (say) conventional fundamentalists did about God. Darwin, and the evolutionists following in his steps, simply took over the prevailing non-Biblical ideas of God as their own also, and found Him (the capitalization is questionable!) a good straw man to pummel with the (unpleasant) facts of the natural world.

The inescapable dilemma skeptical evolutionists face in employing the problem of evil against the existence of God stems from where the origin of our sense of morality, of right and wrong, comes from. As Hunter (p. 18) expertly summarizes the problem (his emphasis): “The existence of evil seems to contradict God, but the existence of our deep moral sense seems to confirm God.” For if we believe all is relative, that there are no absolutes, in a world without God, how can we condemn God for (say) allowing the Holocaust, the Cultural Revolution, or the Ukrainian terror famine? We can’t judge God unless we believe we can derive some kind of system of moral absolutes separately by human reason without recourse to Him or religious revelation. Hunter (p. 154) penetratingly exposes the evolutionists’ moral conundrum, after citing Richard Dawkins’ comment about the universe having no design, purpose, good or evil, “nothing but pointless indifference” thus: “Since there is no evil, the materialist must, ironically, not use the problem of evil to justify atheism. The problem of evil presupposes the existence of an objective evil—the very thing the materialist seems to deny.”

Cornelius G. Hunter’s work, Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil is a brilliant work for exposing the philosophical inconsistencies of Darwin and the evolutionists who have risen up after him. He perceives the enormous importance that the (perceived) imperfections and evils of nature have for the evolutionists’ view of special creation. Advocates of creationism must keep in mind this insight when arguing with evolutionists, and be ready to attack any and all references evolutionists make to some assumed natural theology about God that they use to “prove” evolution. It’s necessary to point out to evolutionists that if it’s wrong and “unscientific” to make arguments for God based on this or that marvel of nature, it’s equally unscientific and metaphysical to make arguments against God based on this or that flaw in nature. All evolutionists also need to be asked if they are moral absolutists when complaining about God’s allowing evil in the world but they suddenly transform themselves into moral relativists when making any other moral judgments. The evolutionists should be reminded that they haven’t refuted the God of Scripture scientifically when they attack the straw man Deity of rationalistic, modernistic, liberal Christianity. In reality, all they have knocked over is a God of their imaginations.

Amen and Amen!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Great Moments in Duke Basketball

It is Saturday and time for Great Moments in Duke Basketball.

No. 1: North Carolina 96, Duke 92, OT (March 2, 1974)

In what many consider to be the most remarkable comeback in college basketball history, North Carolina rallied from an eight-point deficit with 17 seconds left against Duke to send the game into overtime. The host Tar Heels were trailing the Blue Devils 86-78 when Bobby Jones connected on both ends of a one-and-one. Duke threw away the inbounds pass and North Carolina's John Kuester scored a layup to cut the deficit to four with 13 seconds. The Blue Devils again threw away the inbounds pass and Jones got a putback on a missed shot from Ed Stahl to cut Duke's lead to two with six seconds.

The Tar Heels fouled Pete Kramer with four seconds remaining, and he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Stahl grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with three seconds left. Mitch Kupchak inbounded to Walter Davis, who sank a 28-foot desperation shot as time expired to tie it at 86.

North Carolina went on to win in overtime in what is arguably the most improbable victory in Tar Heels' history.

This has been Great Moments in Duke Basketball.

Bad Science Part 1

I am going to start a few post on "Bad Science"

Below is Atheism poster boy "Richard Dawkins" author of "The God Delusion".

Many take his words as the gospel according to Richard.

Here is his attempt at explaining the evidence of evolution.

I might add it is circular reasoning at its best. In other words speculation and presumptions.
Here Richard is stumped by a creationist.....
Not good for a genius.

They are our cousins. Dude, you are funny! Did you realize you can go to McDonalds and eat your cousin the cow or your aunt the chicken. Thanks Cuz!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Gen. 1:1

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 8

The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in 1380's AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian.

Today I would like to do a post on the History of our Bible.

I will feature John Wycliffe.

Below is some info. from site.

A Man Ahead of His Time
John Wycliffe lived almost 200 years before the Reformation, but his beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and other reformers. As a man ahead of his time, historians have called Wycliffe the "Morning star of the Reformation."

Born in the 1300s, Wycliffe criticized abuses and false teachings in the Church. In 1382 he translated an English Bible—the first European translation done in over 1,000 years. The Lollards, itinerant preachers he sent throughout England, inspired a spiritual revolution.

But the Lollardy movement was short-lived. The Church expelled Wycliffe from his teaching position at Oxford, and 44 years after he died, the Pope ordered his bones exhumed and burned. Intense persecution stamped out his followers and teachings. It would be hundreds of years before men like Martin Luther resurrected the reforms of which Wycliffe dreamed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 7

Chester Beatty Papyrus (P46) c. AD 200. Above, Paul's Letter to the Romans. P46 is the
earliest manuscript containing Pauls Epistles.

Below is Tim Challies take on Biblical Inerrancy.


We turn first to problems that may arise when we tacitly or expressly deny inerrancy.
First, if we deny inerrancy, we make God a liar. If there are errors in the original manuscripts, manuscripts that testify they were breathed out by God, one of two things must be true: either God purposely lied or he mistakenly lied. Either way this would indicate that God is capable of making or of producing errors. Needless to say, this would destroy our ability to trust any of God’s revelation and cause us to doubt God Himself.

Second, if we deny inerrancy we lose trust in God. If there are errors in Scripture, even if in the smallest detail, and these were placed there intentionally by God, how are we to maintain trust that He did not lie in other matters? When we lose trust in the Scriptures, we lose trust in God Himself and we may consequently lose our desire to be obedient to Him.

Third, if we deny the clear testimony of Scripture that it is inerrant, we make our minds a higher standard of truth than the Bible. At the outset of this series I indicated a concern I felt towards those who deny inerrancy is when they indicate that the doctrine does not “feel right.” But nowhere does the Bible appeal to our feelings or our reason for its authority or inerrancy. We must submit to the Word, for it will not submit to us. We must give to the Bible the place it claims for itself. We cannot stand in judgment over it.
Fourth, if we deny inerrancy, and indicate that small details are incorrect, we cannot consistently argue that all the doctrine the Bible contains is correct. Admitting error in even the smallest historical detail is only the thin edge of the wedge, for we then allow the possibility that there may be error in doctrine as well. And when we allow this possibility, the Christian faith soon crumbles into a mess of subjectivity and personal preference.
So inerrancy is not an optional doctrine—one we can take or leave. Rather, it is a doctrine at the very heart of the faith and without it we impoverish our faith and destroy our ability to trust and honor God.

There are many objections that are commonly raised against inerrancy. For the sake of brevity I will address only the most common objections, and the ones I have encountered in recent discussions on this topic.

We Do Not Have The Original Manuscripts - The first objection has to do with the transmission of Scripture. Many people argue that since we no longer possess any of the original manuscripts, it is irresponsible to speak of inerrancy. What is the purpose in affirming an important doctrine based on documents we no longer have? I answered this, in part, in the first article of this series, when I quoted John MacArthur. “We possess a wealth of biblical manuscripts in the original languages of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. John MacArthur writes, “With this wealth of biblical manuscripts in the original languages and with the disciplined activity of textual critics to establish with almost perfect accuracy the content of the autographs, any errors which have been introduced and/or perpetuated by the thousands of translations over the centuries can be identified and corrected by comparing the translation or copy with the reassembled original. By this providential means, God has made good His promise to preserve the Scriptures. We can rest assured that there are translations available today which indeed are worthy of the title, The Word of God.” We can be certain that we have accurate copies of over 99% of the inerrant words as they were first transcribed. When we focus on the less than 1% of the text that contains errors, we must realize that these are human errors and that God is in no way responsible for them. The fact that there are some errors in Scripture as we have it today, does not negate inerrancy which speaks only of the original documents. The Bible as we have it today is worth of our confidence.

Inerrancy is a Poor Term - Generally people who make this objection believe that inerrancy is too strong a term. They believe that such a word demands a type of scientific precision. And furthermore, they may claim that this term is not used in the Bible and was unknown through much of the history of the church.
To the first objection, I point again to the definition of inerrancy, and that it refers to truthfulness and not precision. The Bible claims to be perfectly true, but nowhere does it claim to contain perfect precision. As we saw in the second article, the Bible may round numbers, speak in human terms and contain odd grammatical constructions and still be inerrant. In response to the second objection I would point to any number of terms we use that are foreign to Scripture. The word “Trinity” does not appear within the pages of Scripture, yet the doctrine of the Trinity is clearly affirmed in the Bible and the term is very useful in summarizing the doctrines of the persons of the Godhead. The doctrine of inerrancy is taught within the pages of the Bible as clearly as if the word “inerrancy” was used.

The Bible is Full of Errors and Contradictions - This is a common objection that has been leveled at the Bible too many times to count. It has been answered just as often. It is the question that motivated me to post this series.
As often as not, this objection is made by people who really have no clear idea of where these errors can be found, as they are merely passing along what they have heard from others. They read a web site with a long list of contradictions and allow that to feed their disgust for the things of God. For those who are honestly seeking information on the alleged contradictions, there is a wealth of resources available to prove that there are no errors or contradictions within the text of the Bible. For example, Answers in Genesis answers many of these objections. So many of the objections can be answered so easily. For example, here is one I have seen on some sites:
[The Bible claims that] one day can last 930 years.
“And YHWH God commanded the human, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die’” [Genesis 2:16-17]. The original text makes it clear that God is not speaking metaphorically or spiritually. Isn’t it lucky that since death hadn’t been invented yet, the human (“ha’adam,” pronounced “ha ah DAHM”) had no idea what God was talking about! “When Adam had lived one hundred thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years.”— Gen. 5:3-4
This, of course, ignores the obvious—that humans really did die on the day they ate of the fruit. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit they died spiritually and made physical death a horrible reality. They did not drop dead at that very moment, but already, at that very moment, death had begun to stalk them. And their perfect communion with God had been killed. When we see that inerrancy allows for normal human speech and that it relates to truthfulness more than precision, we see that it can easily account for such “errors.”

Many of the alleged errors within the Bible have to do with historical facts. Allow me to provide one example. Only a couple of generations ago, scholars pointed to the Bible’s claim that there was a king of Assyria named Tiglath-Pileser as an obvious error, for archaeological evidence had not proven that any such king existed. But a few years later, archaeologists excavated Tiglath-Pileser’s capital city and found his name carved into bricks which read, “I, Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria…” It is a fact that “the results of sound scholarship have not tended to uncover more and more problems…Rather they have tended to resolve problems and to show that what were once thought to be errors are not errors at all” (James Boice, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace). R.C. Sproul writes, “The Christian has nothing to fear from rigorous historical research. Rather, we have everything to gain” (Reason to Believe, page 27).

Consider the following quote from Dr. William Foxwell Albright. “For much too long a time the course of New Testament scholarship has been dictated by theological, quasitheological, and philosophical presupposition. In far too many cases commentaries on New Testament books have neglected such basic requirements as up-to-date historical and philological analysis of the text itself…The result has often been steadfast refusal to take seriously the findings of archaeological and linguistic research. We believe that there is less and less excuse for the resulting confusion in this latter half of the twentieth century. Closely allied with these presuppositions is the ever-present fog of existentialism, casting ghostly shadows over an already confused landscape. Existentialism as a method of interpreting the New Testament is based upon a whole series of undemonstrable postulates of Platonic, Neo-Platonic, leftwing scholastic, and relativistic origins. So anti-historical is this approach that it fascinates speculative minds which prefer cliches to factual data, and shifting ideology to empirical research and logical demonstrations” (emphasis mine). The Christian has nothing to fear from scholarship, science or archeology.

Truly, in my experience, the vast majority of supposed errors and contradictions fall into the realm of what we saw in “What Inerrancy is Not.” They point to a lack of precision that may be found in ordinary language or in a language that had no capacity to provide verbatim quotes. Those that do not fall into this category, most often simply reflect a misunderstanding of the Bible’s historical context or language. There are some that really are difficult and for which there are no easy answers. But even then, they have been dealt with by scholars and have been answered well.

So how do we answer charges of error and contradiction?

First, I think we assure ourselves that the Bible is inerrant and then we ensure that what we believe about inerrancy is correct. We read what the Bible says about itself and express faith that what God says in Scripture is true. Having done that, it is often valuable to turn to the many resources available for those wrestling with apparent errors or contradictions. Most of these questions have been dealt with very well in the past—well enough to give you assurance that they reflect contemporary arrogance or misunderstanding more than error. When challenged with a list of contradictions I believe there is often little value in answering the charges of error point-by-point and engaging in lengthy dialog about each of them. Anyone who is really seeking the truth will find not only the contradictions but the many answers to them. Rather, it is better, I think, to point people to what is true. Point people to the Bible’s claims of truth—what it claims about us, as humans, and what it claims about God. Point people to the gospel and ask God to do His work in them.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 6

POxy 846 (or E 3074) is a 6th century manuscript of a portion of the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) known as the Septuagint. It contains Amos 2 and is currently housed at the University of Pennsylvania, catalogued as E 3074.

Below is an article taken from Pulpit Magazine:

Can You Trust the NT Gospels?

September 5th, 2007
(By Nathan Busenitz)

Several weeks ago, we posted a brief overview of reasons we, as Christians, believe the Bible to be the Word of God. Along those lines, we are now beginning a series of articles regarding reasons we can trust the veracity of the New Testament Gospels.

Are the New Testament gospels a reliable witness to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ? The question is a basic one, yet it is absolutely foundational to the Christian faith. If the gospel accounts are reliable, then we have overwhelming reason to embrace Jesus Christ as the Messiah. His ancestry, birth, baptism, ministry, miracles, teaching, death, and resurrection all lead to the same inescapable conclusion.

But if the gospels are not reliable, then we have a massive theological dilemma. If the Jesus of the Bible was not the real Jesus, then our faith in Him is almost surely misplaced.

For centuries, the universal assumption was that the gospels were reliable historical accounts. But since the rise of theological liberalism, many scholars (like those of the Jesus Seminar) have seriously questioned whether or not the New Testament record is historically accurate. The result has been a search for the “historical Jesus,” which is free from the “Christ of faith” presented in the biblical accounts. In the words of one liberal critic, “The narrative Gospels have no claim as historical accounts. The Gospels are imaginative creations.”[1]

So, is the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John trustworthy (assuming those men actually wrote the books that bear their names)? Or is it interpretative history, which like interpretative dance, is more the product of imagination than reality?

First, we can trust the NT gospels because they are consistent with previous revelation given in the Old Testament.

If the New Testament gospels were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:12-15), they must harmonize with that which the Holy Spirit previously revealed in the Old Testament (cf. 1 Pet. 1:10-11). We cannot embrace them if they are inconsistent with that which has come before, since God cannot contradict His Word (Luke 16:17; John 10:35; cf. Num. 23:19; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18).

If God authored both the Old and New Testaments (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; 3:15-16), then we should expect their doctrine and message to be consistent. And indeed, this is the case. The New Testament is the perfect complement to the Old, and in fact, the unity of Scripture is underscored by Jesus and the apostles, who saw the New Testament as the perfect complement to the Old (cf. Luke 18:31-33, 24:27, 36-48; John 5:39, 46; Acts 10:43; 1 Peter 1:10-12).

In the gospel accounts, this consistency becomes most clear when we consider what the Old Testament predicted about the Messiah. On this point, a host of Old Testament passages might be cited (such as Gen. 3:14-15; Deut. 18:15-19; Ps. 2:12; 22:1,16,18; 110:1-4; Is. 9:1-7; 42:1-4; 49:6; 53:1-12; 59:16-20; 61:1-3; Jer. 23:5-6; Dan. 7:13-14; 9:20-27; Zech. 3:8-9; 6:12-13; 9:9-10; Mal. 3:1-3; 4:5-6). According to some scholars, there are nearly 300 prophecies in the Old Testament related to the Christ’s first coming.[3] In each case, the picture of the Messiah painted in the Old Testament matches perfectly with the description of Jesus in the four gospels. But this is certainly not true of the “historical Jesus” depicted by liberal scholars.

The New Testament writers understood the importance of the Old Testament record, and they repeatedly emphasized the fact that “Moses and all the prophets” (Luke 24:27) pointed to Jesus (cf. Matthew 2:15, 17, 23, 13:14, 35, 26:54, 56, 27:9; Mark 14:49; Luke 1:1, 18:31, 22:37, 24:44; John 17:12, 18:9, 19:24, 28, 36; and many others).

According to the Old Testament, the coming Messiah would:

Be a descendant of Abraham (compare Gen. 22:18 with Gal. 3:16)
Be a descendant of Jacob (compare Num. 24:17 with Lk. 3:23, 34)
Be from the tribe of Judah (compare Gen. 49:10 with Lk. 3:23, 33)
Be from the family of Jesse (compare Is. 11:1 with Lk. 3:23, 32)
Be from the house of David (compare Jer. 23:5 with Lk. 3:23, 31)
Be born at Bethlehem (compare Micah 5:2 with Matt. 2:1)
Be the pre-existent one (compare Micah 5:2 with Col. 1:17)
Be the Lord (compare Psalm 110:1 with Matt. 22:43-45)
Be God with us (compare Isaiah 7:14 with Matt. 1:23)
Be a prophet (compare Deut. 18:18 with Matt. 21:11)
Be a priest (compare Psalm 110:4 with Heb. 3:1; 5-6)
Be a king (compare Psalm 2:6 with Matt. 27:37)
Be anointed by the Spirit (compare Is. 11:2 with Matt. 3:16, 17)
Be zealous for God (compare Ps. 69:9 with John 2:15, 16)
Have a forerunner (compare Is. 40:3; Mal. 3:1 with Matt. 3:1,2)
Begin His ministry in Galilee (compare Is. 9:1 with Matt. 4:12-17)
Have a ministry of miracles (compare Is. 35:5,6 with Matt. 9:35)
Bring healing and spiritual life (compare Is. 61:1-2 with Lk. 4:18).
Enter Jerusalem on a donkey (compare Zech. 9:9 with Lk. 19:35-37)
Be rejected by the Jews (compare Psalm 118:22 with 1 Pet. 2:7)
Be silent before His accusers (compare Is. 53:7 with Matt. 27:12)
Be wounded and bruised (compare Is. 53:5 with Matt. 27:26)
Be smitten and spit upon (compare Is. 50:6 with Matt. 26:67)
Be crucified with thieves (compare Is. 53:12 with Matt. 27:38)
Have His garments divided (compare Ps. 22:18 with John 19:23,24)
Have his side pierced (compare Zech. 12:10 with John 19:34)
Be buried in a rich man’s tomb (compare Is. 53:9 with Matt. 27:57ff)
Come before Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed (compare Dan. 9:26 with Matt. 24:2) [4]

If we take messianic prophecy at all seriously, believing that it was historically fulfilled, then we are drawn immediately to the Christ of the New Testament gospels. No other record of Jesus’ life–whether from the Gnostics or the skeptics–is consistent with Old Testament revelation. On the other hand, because the New Testament gospels are in perfect harmony with earlier revelation from God, they can be trusted.

The Old Testament, then, is our first witness to the authenticity of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 5

This is p52, the oldest fragment of the New Testament. (The 'p' stands for papyrus, the substance of the fragment.) It has been dated to around 125 A.D. The text is from the Gospel of John, which was written around 90 A.D. So the gap between the original and this copy is about 30-50 years. The text reads (in translation, with bold letters represented in p52): The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.) Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:31-33).

Below is Mark D. Roberts' comments on Bart Ehrman's book "Misquoting Jesus"

In my last post in this series I began to consider a recent challenge to the inspiration of the Bible. It's recent, I should say, in that it appears in a recently published book, Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman. The arguments Ehrman puts forth are not new, and the evidence for his position is well-known among scholars, including many who uphold the inspiration of Scripture.

What Ehrman proposes one might call "The Text-Critical Case Against Bible Inspiration." It could be boiled down to something like this:

If the Bible is truly inspired by God, then we would expect that what was written in the original manuscripts should have been perfectly preserved, either through the preservation of those manuscripts, or through complete scribal accuracy. After all, why would God inspire the writers of the Bible but not perfectly preserve what they said? Yet when we study the history of the biblical text, we find out that scribes who copied the manuscripts made changes in the text they were copying. Some of these changes were accidental, reflecting human error, others were intentional, reflecting the particular theology of the scribe. Therefore, not only can we have no certainty about what was actually written in the original manuscripts of the Bible, but also we have no reason to believe that God inspired the original writers, because if He had, He surely would have done a better job making sure that that process of preserving His inspiration was a perfect one.

I want to make five comments in response to this argument. (i will just give 4)

1. You Can't Have Absolute Certainty in Matters of History and Faith

The Text-Critical Case Against Biblical Inspiration seems to imply that if we have anything less than full certainty about the text of the Bible, then we can't have confidence in it or its inspired origin. But this is to ask of history more than it can ever supply. What we should expect from text criticism is not 100% certainty about the biblical text, which is impossible, but rather a high level of confidence that the text reconstructed by text critics is very close to the original. This sort of confidence, I believe, is quite defensible on scholarly grounds.

2. The Text-Critical Case Against Biblical Inspiration Overstates the Problem

This argument greatly overstates the extent to which scribal changes inhibit our ability to "get at" the earliest text of the biblical books. In fact, we can have more confidence about the text of the New Testament, for example, than about any other piece of ancient writing, because we have so many copies of the New Testament from both ancient times and covering a broad array of geography. Yes, there are quite a few passages about which we cannot be sure of the original words, but these are a very small percentage of the New Testament.

3. The Tools Used in Text Critical Case Against Biblical Inspiration Actually Support the Opposite Conclusion

The argument Ehrman makes against biblical authority, ironically enough, supports the opposite conclusion. Ehrman indicates that various scribes changed the biblical text as they made copies. Fine. Let's grant that this is true, as I think it is in some cases. The text critical tools used in Ehrman's argument, however, actually show that we can identify these scribal changes and, to a high degree of probability, show what the text was like before the changes were made. In other words, Ehrman's use of text criticism to point out that scribes "misquoted Jesus" employs scholarly tools that allow us to get back to the more authentic words of Jesus. So, the very critical tools that Ehrman uses to write his book, one might argue, are the tools God has given so we can have confidence that we have access to the actual words He once inspired, or something very close to these words.

4. The Disputed Texts Are Not Terribly Significant for Christian Theology and Practice

In my last post I wrote, "Ehrman appears to believe that many of his text critical conclusions are injurious to orthodox Christianity. This is plainly false, since these conclusions are in fact held by many evangelical scholars. From everything I've learned about Misquoting Jesus, there's nothing that this book points out about the New Testament manuscripts that is truly threatening to Christian doctrine." I would add that even if we took out of the New Testament every passage that Ehrman believes, rightly or wrongly, to be questionable, this wouldn't change basic Christian theology one iota.

For example, Ehrman points to a Trinitarian scribal addition in 1 John 5:7-8. The original text of 1 John read,

There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree.

At some later point a scribe added:

There are three that testify in the Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on the earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood.

All modern Bibles and translations, to my knowledge, do not print the added portion (except in footnotes). This supports Ehrman's contention that scribes sometimes changed the text of the Bible in light of their theology. Of course it also supports my contention that text criticism allows us to get back to the original text (or close to it, at any rate). Moreover, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity in no way depends upon this particular passage for its biblical support.

I'd go even a step further than this and propose something I haven't actually checked in detail, but I expect is true. If you were to remove from the Bible every single passage where there is legitimate uncertainly about the original text, the impact on Christian theology and practice would be minimal at most. (The only folk I know who would be in trouble are the snake-handling Christians of Appalachia, who base their practice on Mark 16:18, which almost all scholars believe was not part of Mark's original gospel, and which almost never appears in modern Bibles without a note that explains its questionable origins.)

Although, I don't agree with everything Mark says he does make some very good points.

I have heard Bart speak and I think he is just trying to make money by writing controversial books! But that is just my opinion.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Great Moments in Duke Basketball

Yes, I know it is hard to believe I would do such a post.
But Duke has given America such Great Moments in Basketball history and they deserve a post.
So every Saturday I will post a Great Moment in Duke Basketball.

This post will feature J.J. Redick. He is the all time leading scorer in Duke basketball and ACC history.
He is also Dick Vitale's favorite college player of all time.

The following is a clip from Senior Night at Cameron Indoor. J.J. Redick's last ACC regular season game at Duke.

UNC won 83 to 76 on J.J. Redick's Senior Night.

This has been "Great Moments in Duke Basketball"

Friday, February 15, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 4

Is the Bible reliable? I think so. Below is a great article by Mark D. Roberts critiquing Bart Ehrman’s book “Misquoting Jesus”.

Variants by Mark d. Roberts

The Quantity and Quality of Textual Variants
Skeptics who try to cast doubt upon the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts point to the apparently large number of variants they contain. Bart Ehrman, for example, in Misquoting Jesus, suggests that there are 200,000 to 400,000 variants among the New Testament manuscripts. He adds, dramatically, "There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament." That sounds ominous, doesn't it? But, in fact, the data give us no reason to doubt the reliability of the manuscripts. Let me explain why.

A thought experiment will help here. The four gospels comprise over 64,000 words. We have over 2,000 manuscripts that contain all or part of these gospels. Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that each word represents one potential variant. (In fact each word represents many potential variants, owing to misspelling, omission, word order, etc.) Further, let's suppose that each manuscript contains half of the gospel material, or 32,000 words. Using these conservative numbers, there are 64,000,000 possible variants in the gospel manuscripts. If there are, in fact, 200,000 variants (a high estimate for the gospels alone), then this means that we have .3% of the possible variants. To put it positively, the accuracy score for the gospel manuscripts is 99.7%. Not a bad grade.

We have such a large number of variants because there are so many extant manuscripts. But, as I've already shown, having many manuscripts actually increases the likelihood of our getting back to the original text. It also adds to the number of variants, however, which can sound negative to one who isn't familiar with text critical issues.

This is p66, which is called the Bodmer Papyrus. It dates from around 200 A.D. The text is John 1:1-13, plus the first word of verse 14.

Let's me suggest one more hypothetical that might make clear what I'm saying. This book contains about 40,000 words. Suppose I asked two people to make copies of this book by hand. Suppose, further, that they made one mistake every 1,000 words (99.9% accuracy). When they finished, each of their manuscripts would have 40 mistakes, for a total of 80. This doesn't sound too bad, does it? But suppose I asked 2,000 people to make copies of my book. And suppose they also made a mistake every 1,000 words. When they finished, the total of mistakes in their manuscripts would be 80,000. This sounds like a lot of variants – more variants than words in my book! But in fact the large number of variants is a simple product of the large number of manuscripts.

Moreover, if text critics were going to try and determine what the autograph of this book said, they'd be in a much stronger position if they had 2,000 copies to work from, even though they'd be dealing with 80,000 variants. With 2,000 manuscripts, the text critics would be able to evaluate the variants more astutely and come up with something very close to what I originally wrote. If they only had two manuscripts, however, even though these included only 80 variants, they'd often be unable to determine what the original manuscript said.

So, the fact "there are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament" isn't surprising. Nor it is bad news. It's a reflection of the wealth of the manuscript evidence we have available to us. The actual number of variants represents a tiny percentage of possible variants among the manuscripts.
The vast majority of variants in the New Testament manuscripts are insignificant, either because they appear so rarely that they are obviously not original, or because they don't appear in the older manuscripts, or because they don't impact the meaning of the text. In fact, the majority of variants that show up in enough older manuscripts to impact our reading of the text are spelling variations or errors. Text critic Daniel Wallace concludes that "only about 1% of the textual variants" make any substantive difference. And few, if any, of these have any bearing on theologically important matters. If, for example, you simply took out of the gospels every word that was text-critically uncertain, the impact on your understanding of Jesus would be negligible.

This, by the way, is exactly what most modern translations do with the two most obvious and significant textual variants in the gospels. One of these appears in John 7:53-8:11, the story of the woman caught in adultery. Virtually all translations put this story in brackets, adding a note that says something like: "The earliest manuscripts do not include this passage." It's likely that this story is true, but that it was added to John well after the evangelist finished his task. Similarly, the ending of Mark includes a bracketed passage because the old manuscripts do not include anything after Mark 16:8. These two disputed passages, though significant in some ways, do not substantially alter our understanding of Jesus.

This Bible you have is reliable, trustworthy and true. Read it, live by it, and support it!

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,…”
1 Corinthians 15:3

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 3

Below is John MacArthur's article on

The Defense of Inspiration

A. The Testimony of Human Authors

We begin with these men because they of all people should know whether the words they recorded came from themselves or from the mind of God. Is the Bible merely a product of human creativity? That's not likely because many of the writers were unlearned men, not great classical philosophers. Some were fishermen, farmers, and tax collectors. Yet, they wrote with absolute confidence that what they recorded was the Word of God. Could they have been wrong?

Consider this: How could common men write something as magnificent as the Bible? It is so magnificent it has been studied throughout history because of its unmatched literary significance. When Peter and John went before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Scripture records that the men of the Sanhedrin "perceived that they [Peter and John] were unlearned and ignorant men [and] marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13-20).

Theologian Henry Thiessen said, "The Bible is superior to all other religious books in content. It sets up the highest ethical standards, enjoins the most absolute obedience, denounces every form of sin, and yet informs the sinner how he can become right with God. How could uninspired men write a book like that?" (Lectures in Systematic Theology [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949], p. 67). Men do not write books that condemns themselves!

Unity from Diversity

The Bible contains sixty-six books written by over forty authors and covers a period of at least fifteen hundred years. With only a few exceptions, the authors were Jewish men. Yet the Bible has universal appeal. Two writers were kings; two were priests; one was a physician; two were fishermen; two were shepherds. Paul was a Pharisee and a theologian; Daniel was a statesman; Matthew was a tax collector; Joshua was a soldier; Ezra was a scribe; and Nehemiah was a cupbearer. The writing of these men expanded over fifteen hundred years and yet there is not one contradiction and they develop the same perfect theme. As Thiessen points out, the Bible "has one doctrinal viewpoint, one moral standard, one plan of salvation, one program of the ages, one world view" (p. 67). Also, the Bible records history and addresses matters of science, medicine, ethics, and practical wisdom--all without error. Since, as they claimed, the authors wrote under the inspiration of God, it is understandable that the Bible is accurate. If God did not write it how could over forty men writing in different centuries make their thoughts harmonize? The accuracy and harmony of Scripture demand inspiration.

Inspiration is verified by the subjects it addresses. For instance, it wasn't until William Harvey's discoveries in the seventeenth century that we understood how the circulatory system keeps us alive. However the first book in the Bible speaks of, "Flesh with the life thereof, which is in the blood" (Gen. 9:4). Leviticus 17:11 says, "The life of the flesh is in the blood."

Through the years critics have challenged the historical accuracy of Scripture, claiming certain events recorded in the Bible simply could not have happened. Yet time and time again archaeology vindicates the claims of God's Word. Renowned Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck wrote, "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference." He applauds "the almost incredibly accurate historical memory of the Bible, and particularly so when it is fortified by archaeological fact" (Rivers in the Desert [Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1969], p. 31).Who but God could have written such a glorious masterpiece?

1. Old Testament writers

Over 3800 times Old Testament writers claim they are writing the words of God. After giving the law, Moses said, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish anything from it" (Deut. 4:2). Moses said, "These are the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you ... that you mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments which I command thee.... And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and should talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates" (Deut. 6:1- 2, 6-9). The words Moses spoke were God's words and therefore must be treated as sacred.

In Amos 3:7 the prophet says, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets." God gave His revelation to the prophets.

2. New Testament writers

a) Their view of the Old Testament

New Testament writers believed the Old Testament was the Word of God. Over 300 times the New Testament directly quotes the Old. And there are at least 1000 references to the Old Testament in the New (Walter Kaiser, The Uses of the Old Testament in the New [Chicago: Moody, 1985], pp. 2- 3).

(1) 2 Peter 1:21--"Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Peter believed the Old Testament was inspired.

(2) Hebrews 1:1--"God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets." The author of Hebrews believed the Old Testament to be the Word of God.

(3)Romans 7:12--"The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."

(4) Acts 7:37-38--"Moses ... said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord, your God, raise up unto you of your brethren, like me; him shall ye hear. This is he that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received the living oracles to give unto us." God gave His word to an angel, who gave it to a man, who gave it to us.

(5) Acts 13:34-35--David said, "He [God] raised him [the Messiah] up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said in this way, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore, he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not allow thine holy one to see corruption." In Psalm 16:10 David is speaking but here in Acts, Paul says God is the one who is speaking.

(6) Acts 28:25--Paul said, "Well spoke the Holy Spirit by Isaiah, the prophet, unto our fathers." Again the Holy Spirit spoke through a human instrument.

(7) Galatians 3:8--"The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3 declares, "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee; and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Paul substitutes "scripture" where Genesis has "God." Whatever the Scriptures say-- God says. The Old Testament is the Word of God.

b) Their view of the New Testament

(1) The testimony of Paul

Paul said, "The scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the grain" (1 Tim. 5:18a). Here he is quoting Deuteronomy 25:4 and calls it Scripture. In verse 18b he says, "and the laborer is worthy of his reward," a quote from Luke 10:7. So Paul viewed the gospel of Luke as Scripture.

(2) The testimony of Peter

Peter said, "Account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation, even as our beloved brother, Paul, also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Here Peter includes Paul's writings with all other Scripture. That is a great statement on New Testament inspiration, which in effect identifies all of Paul's writings (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon) as the Word of God.

c) Their view of themselves

(1) The testimony of Paul

(a) Galatians 1:11-12, 16--"I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.... To reveal his son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."

(b) Ephesians 3:3--"By revelation he [God] made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote before in few words)."

(c) 1 Corinthians 11:23--"I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you."

(d) 1 Corinthians 15:3--"I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures."

(e) 1 Thessalonians 4:15--"This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep."

(f) 1 Timothy 4:1--"The Spirit speaketh expressly that, in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons."

(g) Titus 1:3--God "hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me."

(2) The testimony of John

This apostle wrote the gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John, and the book of Revelation. He began each of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation with, "These things saith [the Spirit] (Rev. 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). Then at the end of each letter he said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). John claimed his message was coming from Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

In Revelation 19:9 John says, "These are the true sayings of God." In chapter 21 verse 5 he says, "For these words are true and faithful." At the beginning of the book he said, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy" (1:3). Then at the end, "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" (22:18).

B. The Testimony of Jesus Christ

1. He was the theme of Scripture

Jesus said to the Jewish leaders, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). Revelation 19:10 declares, "Worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He [the Lord] expounded unto them [the disciples], in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27).

2. He came to fulfill Scripture

a) Matthew 5:17--"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."

b) Matthew 26:24--"The Son of man goeth as it is written of him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born."

c) Matthew 26:54--"How, then, shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"

d) Luke 16:17; 18:31--"It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail ... Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished."

3. He believed the words of Scripture

In Matthew 22:24-32 the Sadducees were questioning Jesus about the resurrection, "saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren; and the first, when he had married a wife, died and, having no issue [offspring], left his wife unto his brother; likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.... And last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (emphasis added).

Christ's argument turns on the verb "am" in verse 32. It indicates that by virtue of this name, God is the God of the living, not the dead. Therefore, our Lord took the precise terms of Scripture very seriously.

4. He acknowledged the power of Scripture

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He responded each time by replying, "It is written" (Matt. 4:3-10). He used the power of God's Word to combat Satan.

5. He fulfilled the prophecies of Scripture

Jesus literally fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies (see Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict [San Bernardino, Calif.: Here's Life, 1979], pp. 141-77). For example, Christ was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:1), He suffered and died on a cross (Ps. 22; Matt. 27:46; John 19:28), and He rose from the dead (Isa. 53:9-10; Ps. 16:10; Matt. 28).

6. He corroborated the truths of Scripture

a) Adam and Eve--In Matthew 19:4-5 Christ said, "Have ye not read that he who made them at the beginning, made them male and female; and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh?" (cf. Gen. 1:27; 2:24). Jesus did not believe in progressive creation or theistic evolution-- He believed in creation as recorded in Genesis.

b) The Flood--Jesus believed in a literal Noah and a literal flood. In Matthew 24:37-38 He said, "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark."

c) Abraham's hope--Genesis 15:6 says Abraham was justified by faith. Jesus said, "Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).

d) Circumcision--Jesus confirmed the teaching of circumcision in the Old Testament (cf. John 7:22-23).

e) Sodom and Gomorrah--Jesus confirmed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot's wife (Matt. 10:15; Luke 17:29, 32).

f) The burning bush--Jesus confirmed the miraculous call of Moses (Mark 12:26).

g) Manna from heaven--Jesus spoke of the manna that was provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness (John 6:31-51).

h) The brazen serpent--In John 3:14 Jesus referred to the brazen serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness.

Time and again Christ repeatedly confirmed the authority of the Old Testament. In addition, He established the sufficiency of Scripture to save mankind; "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them" (Luke 16:29). In context His point was miracles are not necessary for men to be saved; all that is needed is the word of the prophets.

He who is the Truth knew, believed, and submitted to the inspired writings with no reservations. There are only three possibilities concerning Jesus' testimony to Scripture: 1) There are no errors in Scripture; 2) There are errors, but Jesus didn't know them and therefore was not God; 3) There are errors and He knew about them but covered them up and not holy. If God is holy, if Christ is holy then we must believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

The belief in the deity of Jesus Christ demands a belief in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.

C. The Testimony of the Holy Spirit

The testimonies of Jesus and the authors of Scripture are objective. The testimony of the Holy Spirit is subjective. After a person understands why it is reasonable to believe the Bible, it is the Holy Spirit who brings about belief.

The effects of sin must be overcome by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The entire human race was affected by the fall of Adam and Eve. So mankind's problem is moral, not intellectual: man doesn't reject truth because it's hard to understand, but because he is hostile to it and doesn't want to accept it. First Corinthians 2:14 says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:14a). Man will remain hostile and reject truth unless he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Preaching alone will not convince anyone to believe the Bible-- there must also be the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

So why should we bother to give evidence of the Bible's authority? Because Peter said, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). The Holy Spirit ministers in conjunction with the preaching of the Word, Romans 10:14, 17 says, "How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?... So, then, faith cometh by hearing ... the word of God." The Spirit of God and the Word of God work together to give witness of the Bible's authority.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable? Part 2

Inscription by Pontius Pilate It wasn't long ago when many scholars were questioning the actual existence of a Roman Governor with the name Pontius Pilate, the procurator who ordered Jesus' crucifixion. In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."

It reads:


Line Two: (PON) TIUS


This is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to Caesarea's theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is interesting as well that there have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate.
(taken from

According to history Pilate made an immediate impression upon the Jews when he moved his army headquarters from Caesarea to Jerusalem. They marched into the city with their Roman standards, bearing the image of the "divine emperor" and set up their headquarters right in the corner of the Temple in a palace-fortress called "Antonia," which outraged the Jews. Pilate quickly learned their zealous nature and political power within the province and, according to Josephus, ordered the standards to be returned to Caesarea (Josephus Ant. 18.3.1-2; Wars 2.9.2-4).

Pilate made some other mistakes according to history before the time when he ordered the crucifixion of Jesus. One time he placed on the walls of his palace on Mt. Zion golden shields bearing inscriptions of the names of various gods. Tiberius had to personally order the removal of the shields. Another time Pilate used Temple revenue to build his aqueduct. There is another incident only recorded in the Bible where Pilate ordered the slaughter of certain Galileans (Luke 13:1) who had supposedly been offering sacrifices in the Temple. Here are some details:

"At another time he used the sacred treasure of the temple, called corban (qorban), to pay for bringing water into Jerusalem by an aqueduct. A crowd came together and clamored against him; but he had caused soldiers dressed as civilians to mingle with the multitude, and at a given signal they fell upon the rioters and beat them so severely with staves that the riot was quelled."

(The Aqueduct- Josephus, War 2.175-177, Antiq 18.60-62)

Pilate and Jesus
1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said,[a] “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.
4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our[b] law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. John 19

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is the Bible Reliable?

Is the Bible Reliable?

The "House of David" is inscribed on this victory stele excavated at Tel Dan, in the Galilee region of Israel. It is dated from the 9th Century BC.

Fragments of a large inscribed basalt stele were found in the square located in front of the Israelite city gate complex. The largest of these fragments measures 32 x 22 cm. and, of the original inscription, thirteen lines have been partially preserved. The language is ancient Aramaic.

The 9th century BCE and the beginning of the 8th century BCE were marked by military conflicts between the kings of Israel and the expanding kingdom of Aram-Damascus. (1 Kings 15:20) Thus the stele was erected by one of the Aramean kings of Damascus who captured Dan - although which king cannot be ascertained as yet. It is probable that in lines 7-8 two kings of Israel and Judah, who ruled at the same time, are mentioned: Jehoram, king of Israel and Ahaziah, king of Judah, referred to as a king of the House of David. These two kings were allies and were defeated by Hazael, king of Aram-Damascus. (2 Kings 8:7-15, 28; 9:24-29; 2 Chronicles 22:5)

The stele describing Hazael's victory over his enemies was, in all probability, erected by him when he conquered Dan in the mid-9th century BCE. It is reasonable to assume that Jehoash, king of Israel, who fought the Arameans three times and defeated them (2 Kings 13:25) recovering territories previously lost, including the city of Dan, symbolically smashed the stele erected there by Hazael, king of Aram-Damascus.

Although the broken stele raises serious historical problems, it is one of the most important written finds in Israel and the first non-biblical text which mentions the House of David by name. It is hoped that more fragments of this unique stele will be uncovered in future excavations.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Anthony Flew

(this video interview is conducted by Lee Strobel and the interview below is conducted by Gary Habermas)

Anthony Flew was at one time a very outspoken Atheist. Now Anthony is a Diest, and you can read his definition of the word below.

Here Gary Habermas interviews Anthony about his conversion from Atheism to Diesm. Gary and Anthony have debated the resurrection many times and they are good freinds.
Dr. Gary R. Habermas is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Philosophy and Theology at LIBERTY UNIVERSITY.

HABERMAS: Once you mentioned to me that your view might be called Deism. Do you think that would be a fair designation?

FLEW: Yes, absolutely right. What Deists, such as the Mr. Jefferson who drafted the American Declaration of Independence, believed was that, while reason, mainly in the form of arguments to design, assures us that there is a God, there is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or for any transactions between that God and individual human beings.

Talking about intelligent design Flew responds:

FLEW: I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I’ve never been much impressed by the kalam cosmological argument, and I don’t think it has gotten any stronger recently. However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.

HABERMAS: So of the major theistic arguments, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological, the only really impressive ones that you take to be decisive are the scientific forms of teleology?

FLEW: Absolutely. It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.

HABERMAS: If God is the First Cause, what about omniscience, or omnipotence?

FLEW: Well, the First Cause, if there was a First Cause, has very clearly produced everything that is going on. I suppose that does imply creation “in the beginning.”

While Flew does not claim to be a Christian his conversion from Atheism is one step in the the right direction. C.S. Lewis started this way as well.

I will post more about Flew later.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

0 and 53!

How do you lose 53 straight to one team?

Our prayers are with the Clemson Tigers and their fans.

Well, maybe not.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Evangelism & The Sovereignty Of God Part 5

Here is J.I.'s final response to the Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God question.

II. The sovereignty of God in grace gives us our only hope of success in evangelism.

Some fear that belief in the sovereign grace of God leads to the conclusion that evangelism is pointless, since God will save His elect anyway, whether they hear the gospel or not. This, as we have seen, is a false conclusion based on a false assumption. But now we must go further, and point out that the truth is just the opposite. So far from making evangelism pointless, the sovereignty of God in grace is the one thing that prevents evangelism from being pointless. For it creates the possibility—indeed, the certainty—that evangelism will be fruitful. Apart from it, there is not even a possibility of evangelism being fruitful. Were it not for the sovereign grace of God, evangelism would be the most futile and useless enterprise that the world has ever seen, and there would be no more complete waste of time under the sun than to preach the Christian gospel.
Why is this? Because of the spiritual inability of man in sin. Let Paul, the greatest of all evangelists, explain this to us.

Fallen man, says Paul, has a blinded mind, and so is unable to grasp spiritual truth.
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1Corinthians 2:14

Again, he has a perverse and ungodly nature. ‘The carnal mind (the mind of the unregenerate man) is enmity against God.

Romans 8:7 says, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."

In both these passages Paul makes two distinct statements about fallen man in relation to God’s truth, and the progression of thought is parallel in both cases.
First Paul asserts unregenerate man’s failure, as a matter of fact. He ‘receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God’; he ‘is not subject to the law of God’. But then Paul goes on to interpret his first statement by a second, to the effect that this failure is a necessity of nature, some- thing certain and inevitable and universal and unalterable, just because it is not in man to do other- wise than fail in this way. ‘Neither can he know them.’ ‘Neither indeed can be.’ Man in Adam has not got it in him to apprehend spiritual realities, or to obey God’s law from his heart. Enmity against God, leading to defection from God, is the law of his nature. It is, so to speak, instinctive to him to suppress and evade and deny God’s truth, and to shrug off God’s authority and to flout God’s law—yes, and when he hears the gospel to disbelieve and disobey that too.

Epehsians 2:1 says "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,.."

This means he is wholly incapacitated for any positive reaction to God’s Word, deaf to God’s speech, blind to God’s revelation, impervious to God’s inducements. If you talk to a corpse, there is no response; the man is dead. When God’s Word is spoken to sinners, there is equally no response; they are ‘dead in trespasses and sins’.

What does this mean for evangelism? It means, quite simply, that evangelism, described as we have described it, cannot possibly succeed. However clear and cogent we may be in presenting the gospel, we have no hope of convincing or converting anyone. Can you or I by our earnest talking break the power of Satan over a man’s life? No. Can you or I give life to the spiritually dead? No. Can we hope to convince sinners of the truth of the gospel by patient explanation? No. Can we hope to move men to obey the gospel by any words of entreaty that we may utter? No. Our approach to evangelism is not realistic till we have faced this shattering fact, and let it make its proper impact on us.

Regarded as a human enterprise, evangelism is a hopeless task. It cannot in principle produce the desired effect. We can preach, and preach clearly and fluently and attractively; we can talk to individuals in the most pointed and challenging way; we can organize special services, and distribute tracts, and put up posters, and flood the country with publicity—and there is not the slightest prospect that all this outlay of effort will bring a single soul home to God. Unless there is some other factor in the situation, over and above our own endeavours, all evangelistic action is foredoomed to failure. This is the fact, the brute, rock-bottom fact, that we have to face.
End Quote.

This is a bold statement by Packer. He is literally saying Salvation begins and ends with the sovereign purposes of God.

What do you think of this response by Packer?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Evangelism 101!

This is a great video.

The Lord said, "Prosper?" Must belong to Creflo's church.

"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Prevenient Grace?

Prevenient Grace? Have you ever heard the term. It is used by many whom baptize children and see other means for ones Salvation other than the "drawing of the Holy Spirit".

Below is an article by C. Michael Patton on this topic.

Tell me what you think? It is long but worth your time.

~ c michael patton ~
It must be said at the outset that this blog is in no way meant for me to put an essential line of demarcation concerning the issues of Calvinism and Arminianism. It is no secret to most that I hold strongly to the Reformed doctrines of grace. But it is equally no secret that I have deep respect for the godly character and scholarship of many of the Arminian persuasion that believe differently than I. It is my prayer that this post may serve as a place where robust and strong theological conversation can take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trustworthy representation. Having said that, I thought it time for me to blog a few thoughts on the Arminian doctrine of Prevenient grace.

Prevenient grace is a doctrine held by those who are theologically identified as Arminian. Prevenient grace literally means “grace that comes before.” Prevenient grace is the Arminian answer to the Calvinistic doctrine of Irresistible grace. It is important to note at the outset that both Calvinists and Arminians believe that people are born sinful. To make this a little more clear, both sides agree that all people are born with an inherent disposition of antagonism toward God. Both Calvinists and Arminians reject what is know as Pelagianism. Pelagius, a fifth-century British monk, taught that people are born neutral, neither good nor bad. Pelagius believed that people sin as a result of example, not nature. Augustine, the primary opponent of Pelagius, responded by teaching that people are not born neutral, but with a corrupted nature. People sin because it is in their nature to sin; they are predisposed to sin. Both Calvinists and Arminians agree with Augustine believing the Scriptures to teach that people are born with a totally corrupt spiritual nature, making their disposition toward God perpetually antagonistic. Therefore, according to both sides, people are absolutely helpless without God’s gracious, undeserved intervention. This is an important mischaracterization of Arminian theology that adherents to my position fail to realize. Arminians believe in the doctrine of total depravity just as strongly as Calvinists.

This adherence to total depravity makes the Arminian doctrine of Prevenient grace necessary. A former Wesleyan theology professor of mine who believed in Prevenient grace once called it the “ingenious doctrine.” Why? Because according to Arminians it allows them to hold to the biblical and orthodox position of total depravity, yet also allows true free will. You see, according to Calvinists such as myself, if people are in such desperate condition, being inclined toward enmity with God from birth, and unable to change their condition on their own (as a leopard cannot change�its spots - Jer. 13:23), having no “free will” to choose against this depraved nature, then the only way to answer the question, How is anyone saved? is to answer that the will of God saves them. In other words, if our will could not change our disposition, then God must have changed our will for us. Up to this point, both Calvinists and Arminians could agree. But the Calvinist will say that God’s intervention is radical. In our depraved state, God comes into our lives and opens our eyes to His beauty. This intervention happens by means of saving or “irresistible” grace. In our helpless and angry position, while shaking our fists at God, God sovereignly and autonomously regenerates us. Once regenerated, we trust and love the Lord because our nature has been transformed by Him. Therefore, God is the only one to credit for our salvation seeing as how we did not play a part in its genesis (this is sometimes referred to as monergism). But, according to Calvinists, God does not give this gift of saving grace to all people, only the elect. Otherwise, all would be saved.

How do Arminians deal with our depraved condition? Well, they reject the Calvinistic doctrine of “irresistible” grace believing that it does violence to the necessary freedom that must exist for God to have a true loving relationship with man. But something, nevertheless, must make belief possible. In comes Prevenient grace. This is an enabling grace that comes to the aid of all people so that their disposition can be made capable of receiving the Gospel. It does not save them as the Calvinist doctrine of irresistible grace, but it makes the savable. In essence, Prevenient grace restores people to a state of ability. As Adam before the fall was not predisposed toward sin, being able to make a true free will decision, so people, once affected by Prevenient grace are brought dispositionally to Garden of Eden type conditions. God’s grace comes to the aid of all fallen sinners restoring freedom of the will. Now, it is up to the individual to make an unbiased choice for or against God. Voila! With the doctrine of Prevenient grace, total�depravity and true freedom can be harmonized. Ingenious, right? Not exactly.

I agree with Calvinist commentator and theologian Tom Schreiner that “Prevenient grace is attractive because it solves so many problems [for the Arminian] . . .” but I also believe that it creates more problems than it solves. I am going to briefly list the two major problems that I see with the doctrine of Prevenient grace, but I, as always, want to remind you that there are many great men in the history of the church and in contemporary Evangelical philosophy and theology that do not see things the way I do. I encourage you to seek out their position from them in addition to reading my analysis.

1. Lack of Scripture: The biggest issue that Calvinists have traditionally had with the doctrine of Prevenient grace is its lack of biblical support. Tom Schreiner’s quote above is incomplete; it concludes with this, “. . . but it should be rejected because it cannot be exegetically vindicated.” While Prevenient grace may solve problems and allow Arminians to hold to an orthodox understanding of depravity, the biblical support for the doctrine is very difficult to find. Most Arminians would agree that direct and explicit support from Scripture is not there, but they would say that the concept is necessitated from other explicit teachings. Most importantly, God commands and desires that all people are to repent of their sin (Acts 17:30, 2 Pet. 3:9, et al) and holds them responsible if they do not. This assumes that “all people” have this ability, otherwise God’s desire is hopeless and His command is useless. While there may be some mystery in the fact that God desires the salvation of all and commands all to repent, this does not necessitate nor justify, in my opinion, the insertion of a fairy complected and even more mysterious doctrine of Prevenient grace. In other words, it could be conceded that God commands all people to repent because sin is at issue. People have violated God’s law. This necessitates God to act as God in accordance with His righteous character and reveal the violation of sin, even to those who have no ability to change on their own. In this case, God’s command is true and genuine. Even if no one were to respond, their sin is made manifest and God’s righteousness is exposed through God’s command. It can also be conceded that God does truly desire the repentance of all people, even if people do not have the ability to repent. God’s desire in this case is mysteriously not going to be an active agent in bringing about the salvation of some. Why? I don’t know. But my ignorance in this matter does not justify the implication of Prevenient grace. God can passively desire things that He does not actively will to come about.

2. It does not really solve any problems: Lets assume that we could overcome the difficulties of the lack of Scriptural support of Prevenient grace. Let’s say that I give the Arminians the benefit of the doubt and say that it is possible to interpret the biblical data in such a way that all people receive an enablement that neutralizes their antagonistic disposition toward God. God then would come to each person sometime in their lives and graciously restore their will to the point that they don’t have any predisposed inclination toward rejection or acceptance of the Gospel. What would this look like? First, this “balancing the scales” of the will makes any choice, good or bad, for God or against, impossible. Why? Because each person would be suspended in a state of perpetual indecisiveness. They would have no reason for choosing A rather than B. If there is no reason to choose one over the other, then all choices, if they were made, would be completely arbitrary. You see, we make choices according to who we are. If “free will” of the Arminian variety is going to be responsible for making the choice, and this will is neutralized by Prevenient grace, then there is nothing compelling you (character, upbringing, disposition, the Holy Spirit, genetics, etc.) to make any decision whatsoever. Who you are, the primary factor behind every choice, is taken away. There is no “you” to make the choice. It is arbitrary. It does not solve the “loving relationship”problem to say that God is pleased to have a relationship based upon the arbitrary decisions of people. Therefore, in order to hold to the doctrine of Prevenient grace, one is left with either perpetual indecisiveness or an arbitrary choice. Neither of which solves any problems.

Not only this, but lets do the math. Prevenient grace neutralizes the will, making the will completely unbiased toward good or evil. Therefore, this restored “free will” has a fifty-fifty shot of making the right choice. Right? This must be. The scales are completely balanced once God’s Prevenient grace has come upon a person. What would you expect to see if this were the case? Well, I can flip a coin and pretty much expect that the coin would land on heads just as many times as tails. The same should be the case with salvation. You should expect that just as many people to trust the Lord as those that don’t. But just a cursory look through Scripture tells us that this is not the case. For the most part the number of unbelievers has been dramatically higher than that of believers. Take the time of the flood for instance. How is it that out of millions of people (probably much more), there was only one who was found to be righteous? That would be like me flipping a coin a million (or more) times and it landing on tails 999,999 times and only landing on heads once. Impossible. Christ even explicitly said that there will be and always have been many more people who don’t believe than those that do (Matt. 7:14). How can this be if Prevenient grace created a situation of equal opportunity for all people? It can’t.

Now I don’t want to be accused of building a straw man here so I will attempt to represent how Arminians would respond to this. They would say that the contributing factors that influence people’s freedom are those in the outside world. As the snake came from the outside and influenced Adam’s otherwise neutral will, so also outside influences such as culture and family influence people’s will. Therefore, in the time of Noah, the reason why there was only one righteous person on the earth is because the culture had become so corrupt that God could not be found. This is why God destroyed everyone with the flood. This makes some sense, but in reality it simply re-introduces the same problem that Arminians are desperately attempting to avoid - divine unconditional election.

Let me explain. If outside influences play such a large role in influencing Prevenient-grace-restored-people in their choice for or against God, doesn’t that make God the determining factor in whether they are saved or not? If you had a choice, knowing that outside influences were going to play such a big role in the decisions you make, would you want to be born to a family of believers who teach and live the Gospel in a culture of believers that do the same, or would you rather be placed in a committed Muslim home in a Muslim country where the Gospel is unable to give a testimony of God? In other words, would you rather be placed in a Garden with the snake or without the snake? Of course you would say you want to be placed in the environment where the outside influences for belief in God would be most prominently exemplified. Why? Because you have a better chance. Maybe the odds are not perfect, but they would still be much better. Let’s face it, if you were in the preflood world at the time of Noah, as nice a person as you are today, I seriously doubt that you would have followed Noah rather than the rest of the world.

The problem is that you do not decide where you live or when you will be born. You do not determine your outside influences, God does.

Acts 17:26 26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.

This passage tells us that God determines the outside influences that are the ultimate influence, the determining factor, in our choice. God chose where you would be born, when, and to what family you would belong. Therefore, God’s sovereign unconditional choice is still the ultimate and determining cause in our salvation. This is the very problem that Arminians seek to avoid with the doctrine of Prevenient grace.

If Arminians were to respond by saying that God gives more grace to those in the most depraved conditions, this would not explain why it is that people in cultures and families that are godly have a higher percentage of believers. We are back to flipping the coin. It does not work either way.

In conclusion, I don’t believe that there is a reason for Prevenient grace outside of a prejudiced view of what some believe must be in order for the truth to be palatable. Since it really does not solve any problems, it is, in my opinion, superfluous and misguided. Even if it may seem more palatable to say that all people have equal opportunity to accept the Gospel, the palatability of a doctrine does not determine its veracity. This is why I reject the doctrine of Prevenient Grace.

As always, I do hope and pray that I have represented the position fairly and accurately. Any comments are welcome.