Friday, January 30, 2009

It will go a long way

The more I interact with my Pentecostal friends, the more I am convinced in my evaluation that they have a blurred if not muddled view of what "justification" means.

A few months ago, I was talking to a young man who has been active in his church since he was a teenager. Even today, he is quite a hard working member of his Pentecostal church (Filipino). So I asked him if he understood what "justification" meant. "Oh, you mean being born again"? I said, "No, not exactly".

My thinking as to why "justification" is not understood, and why their knowledge of it is practically nil, is because there is this hurrying up the Christian to "do the Christian life", and that becomes the entire preoccupation. My suspicion is that it will go a long way in ushering true Gospel renewal amongst Pentecostals if they dig in and find out what Scripture says about "justification". Here the Lutherans can help. Because, right now, the Pentecostals are the source of many many weird and voodoo stuff happening in Evangelical Christianity.

On second thought, sometimes I also wonder if my fellow church goer sitting besides me during Divine Service is clear on this too. I have some doubts, I am not so sure either.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Defining away the problem

I am around intelligent and smart people. I do not mean that sarcastically, but in truth, and in much respect and recognition of their great minds.

When I talk to them about creation, they can easily accept that the universe has always been there. It is just the way it is. Even if we follow Hawking's theory that the Big Bang started from a black hole, you need not explain why it happened except it simply did. You need not find an explanation for it.

Now the philosophically intuitive principle is that since there is a being, then there must be a necessary being. Since there is something then that something could not have sprouted from nothing without Somebody doing something i.e. creation posits a Creator.

To this the unbeliever rebutts using the above answer: you need not find an explanation for creation because it has always been that way. It is a fact not contingent on other facts, so they say.

But that is really begging the question and so I do not find it convincing why smart and educated people accept that the universe is just brute reality. Firstly they are trying to assume what needs to be proven. They may posit this as a possibility - that the universe is just one brute reality, but they need to do more, they need to prove that it is indeed a brute fact. So where is the proof of that except their conjecture?

Do not get me wrong, there are phenomenons where our frame of questioning might be irrelevant to the phenomenon being examined, there does exist such cases. But most of the time this is discovered after the fact. In other words, we realize the frame of questioning is irrelevant only after we have established and understood the phenomenon. I do not think this is the case with creation.

To say that the universe has always been there is to define away or deny the need for an explanation. This is not answering the question but rather the ushering of it away, a type of hand waving. It is ducking at the issue, a type of moving the goal post.

In reality the proof by necessary being is a very compelling anti-atheist polemic, it begs an explanation which they rebutt by simply denying the obvious - like putting hands in their ears, looking the other way and saying - "lalalalala, I am not listening".

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What a day

I was back for Australia Day. The flight back from Portugal was un-eventful except for some confusion on where I should pick up my luggage but I will never forget the hospitality of Porto, Portugal. My, what a friendly and humble people, always willing to help strangers and not afraid to try their English on you. People smile back when you smile at them, in the train station, in the malls and everywhere.

So I came home for Australia Day parade. At this parade, I am amazed to hear so many people speaking foreign languages. The world is coming down to Australia, and that is good. They should come down, it can accommodate 50 more million people... no kidding, a study shows this. We will be richer for it.

It was really an amazing day yesterday. We caught Premier Brumby coming out of his lunch where we happened to be having a picnic. We called to greet him and he walked over to shake our hands.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Looks like we are really everywhere

My posting will be thin. I am in this conference.

Finally after so many rejections, there are those who understand what my professor and I are doing. They said that when Godel gave his theorem, they did not understand it either. Well I am far from Godel, my problem is something else.

At any rate my biggest blunder was when I entered a doctorate program. I did not realize how much it would pull me away from the time meant to be spent for loved ones. I am now tired and weary, the thesis is nealy there, but not quite. I need prayers not to throw the towel, or the 5-6 years go down the drain with nothing but memories of what I have done, not done. Could I ask for your prayers?

Anyway, if there was any un-expectations I had coming to this conference, I was not expceting to find a Filipino in Porto, Portugal. Never. It was unlikely, in Spain maybe but not Portugal. I was wrong. At breakfast today, I heard someone else in the restaurant blurting Filipino sentences. I came over to the man and I met Mike. Mike is from IBM, Philippines and he has been assigned here to help install a software system. He is not alone but a team of Filipinos are with him. They have been hired to get this system up and going.

I feel somewhat elated and semi-proud about this. I guess I am like this because all you hear coming from the home land are how things are going down to the dogs. I am happy that there are some who on the human level still try to do good and a job well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1 John 5:6 - Means of Grace

I have never read commentaries on 1 John 5:6-8 but as I said, I have been reading it again and I came to the above passage.

The wording is peculiar, and I tried to impose the means of grace in this reading: Here is how I take it...The Spirit of Truth is the Word, water - stands for Baptism, and blood for the Lord's Supper. It seems it makes sense to me. Now so I picked up a reading from a commentator, who referred this to the Atonement of Jesus.

Whereas it is noble idea, I prefer the means of grace reading of this and I find I am not alone. Harold Lindsell's comments referred to this as the ordinances so named.

But being what I am - I connect this to the means of grace - Word, Baptism, Supper.

I believe this concept of means of grace have been around when the Epistles were being written that is why you cannot do raw exegesis, at the end, your hermeneutic has to kick in on the means of grace. Why? Because the disciples had this notion earlier in our history already. Read the NT with that hypothesis and it does not do damage to anything in its internal consistency.

Take a look.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dawkins on a little bit of luck... luck? hahahaha!

Listen to Dawkins deny chance but allow for a little bit of luck on how a simple system becomes complex. I started laughing when he said this; I could not believe the icon of atheists and evolutionists failed to realize what he said. What is luck but a favorable chance outcome! He just committed sophistry, and this is what is built in into the theory of evolution, it has a built in sophistry in its argument, that is why the more I listen the more I become skeptical. Dawkins has a PhD and yet, his grasp for philosophy evidenced by making such a statement is high school level.

The (Neo)Darwinists cannot have it both ways. If they admit chance, then there is no merit for their theory to be called science; because science's job is to penetrate randomness and even eliminate its influence i.e. predict. On the otherhand if they deny chance, then the thing behaves in a certain law or principle, it becomes predictable. This is where it also crumbles because if there are laws of nature, who put them there or why are they there. To say that it is just there is no argument, it disqualifies itself in telling us the origin of life or man, so it has to stop making those statements. Any which way it turns, it just gets into a mess.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some nice admissions

HT: BeggarsAllReformation, James Swan.

I have often stated in the last couple of years that dialoguing with RC Apologists in somewhat superfluous. Why? Because the only one really qualified to speak for Rome is the Magisterium itself. Unless the Magisterium speaks no RC Apologists really is worth listening. It is nice to know that a prominent internet RC Apologist recognizes this fact. This is what he says:

While I can appreciate the desire to set good standards in apologetics, most of what we do on this board is colloquial apolgetics and quite frankly NONE of us is qualified to set any standards in defense of the faith. Only the Magisterium can do that and so far, the hierarchy has viewed the diversity of Catholic lay apologists (with some notable exceptions) with general favor.
Nobody can claim to speak DEFINITIVELY for Catholic orthodoxy except the Pope and the bishops in communion with him. We apologists in the trenches may have our disagreements but we are all working for the same end. We need to respect that and not go attacking each other needlessly. Sometimes one needs to speak out, but this should be done only for grave necessity

So caveat lector to the Evangelical thinking of going back to Mother Church due to the convincing arguments made by an RC Apologist to her. She needs to understand that she may not be getting kosher presentation of RC doctrine.

Past Elder has a nice history view of Church History here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

For His sake

I have been reviewing 1 John. My discussion with Jeff, prompted me to re-read this epistle for the umpteenth time. I got to 1 John 2:12 and my eyes just kept coming back to this verse...

1 John 2:12 says
12I am writing to you, little children, because(T) your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake (ESV)

12I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.(KJV)

[12]I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his sake (RSV)

I kinda like RSV on this one, though the ESV and KJV are absolutely wonderful translations of this passage too. Literally the end reads "your sins are forgiven through/by means of his name".

I tell you why RSV strucked me. I had been in many years in Charismania and using and praying in "Jesus' name" is used a lot in that movement. This phrase "in Jesus' name" is vaguely understood and in some sectors it is even thought that it is the literal name "Jesus" that gets God's attention/favor. The name itself works like like a mantra or a formula.

Coming back to the Gospel, the Cross, 1 John 2:12 strikes me now with the Gospel behind it. It is for Christ's sake that we are forgiven because He paid for those sins at the Cross. In this instance the RSV got this home to me because I was conditioned by the literal use of "Jesus". The reason why God favors us with forgiveness is because Jesus did not just stand there, this Jesus went to the Cross, took my sins and yours on his body on the tree and there received the wages of that sin, separation from God, so that God does not have to separate us from Himself ever again.

Dr. Steven Hein said something like this in Issues Etc; he said, God abandoned This One-Christ, so that God might not abandon you.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Randomness and Monkeys

Taking out the mystery surrounding what appears to be a random event, if you ask me, is what a scientific theory should be doing. A scientific theory that simply recognizes that there is a random element here or there does not qualify as a scientific theory. You have not added any new information if your theory simply recognizes it. Just imagine the task of building a bridge. You can observe that some bridges collapse at least some contribute to accidents. Imagine if building a bridge is a matter of guess work, a matter of "que sera, sera", a matter of randomness. If so there is no possibility of technological progress.

Want some example of how randomness is explained away by hand waving? Here is a quote from

Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance. Chance, in the form of mutations, provides genetic variation, which is the raw material that natural selection has to work with. From there, natural selection sorts out certain variations. Those variations which give greater reproductive success to their possessors (and chance ensures that such beneficial mutations will be inevitable) are retained, and less successful variations are weeded out...
My reply: If this is not random chance, then you should be able to predict where a mutation should go in a large scale ecause after all that is what Evolution is saying, a specie turning into another pecie and not just mutating microbiologically. For example, you should be able to predict that a fish should form some feathers. Have you ever looked at how things re done in a horse race? There is a lot more science in the horse race than this, for pundits are able to predict which horse should get in, most of the time.

It continues...
Some people still argue that it is wildly improbable for a given self-replicating molecule to form at a given point (although they usually don't state the "givens," but leave them implicit in their calculations). This is true, but there were oceans of molecules working on the problem, and no one knows how many possible self-replicating molecules could have served as the first one. A calculation of the odds of abiogenesis is worthless unless it recognizes the immense range of starting materials that the first replicator might have formed from, the probably innumerable different forms that the first replicator might have taken, and the fact that much of the construction of the replicating molecule would have been non-random to start with.

My reply: Notice how the explanation pertains only to micro level not macro level. To say that "probably innumerable different forms" does not add any information to a theory. This is like using a magic wand to explain the objection away. In a horse race, you can also say there are millions of possibilities. Yet pundits are able to cut through that cloud, they can give a reasonable prediction.

What I see amongst evolutionists (not of course in the stated web site) as I go around the internet, is this intellectual imperialism ever so present and as bigotted as the rest of us. Most of the time, their argument is based on bullying using ad hominem attacks - i.e. you must be a moron if you are even mildly skeptical of it. One of which dismissed the opinions of physicists, chemists, engineers and mathematicians as if knowledge is confined to a sector of society and no scholar or scientist is qualified to comment if he/she does not come from that field, i.e biology. Can you see the intellectual arrogance of these pseudo-intellectual colonizers?

OK I will agree, some people do come from monkeys. Yes, because judging by the way these evolutionists argue and how they attack the sanity and credibility of people who disagree, surely they have evolved from orang-utangs.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Love saves, so I was told

It seems that my impression of what friends in Mother Church believe in is still accurate.

In an interaction in one of the blogs I said this:

To us when a person is being legalistic it means the person is insisting the performance of the Law to the letter.

What the RC gentleman defender of faith said:

Which “Law” are you talking about? Natural law? Mosaic law? The Law of Love that Christ gave us at Jn 13:34? The first two do not save, but the last one does. Christ cries out to us, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and NOT DO WHAT I TELL YOU?” (Lk. 6:46).

I don't know for him but I know for me, The Law of Love is exactly the one that damns me. So for him, there is a Law that God could give that saves, a new Law, the other old ones are none doable, non-salvific, the new one is.

Also there is one thing that Jesus has left for you to do and so be saved - love. You need to use the love that Jesus gave to you so you thereby save yourself. Am I putting this crudely?

Do I have disagreement about love? Not really, except that if it is a Law, then I am failing it and would fail it even if I were suceeding in it today.

So there are two understandings and questions that are far apart. How does the Bible relate love with salvation, that is the subject at hand. Is love the cause of salvation? Or is love the result of salvation? Clearly our friend(the RC gentleman) is of the first, while we(Classic Protestants) are of the second.