Sunday, August 20, 2017

Wedding Fundraiser: Please Help Us, If You Can

 

Maria and I first met on Fusion101. She was only looking for friends to better her English, and I was in no way interested in someone halfway around the world. I had had my profile up for one week when I decided to delete it. After all, I kept telling people I was waiting on God to bring the right woman into my life. The day I wanted to delete my account, I had no ride into town (I was out east at the time, studying). The very next day, that same day, I had a message from Maria. Because I respond to everyone, even if I am not interested in them (the considerate thing to do), I responded back to her and informed her that I was deleting my account but that if she wanted to write me she could do so to my e-mail.

We started e-mailing back and forth. Eventually we started communicating via ICQ, MSN, and Skype, utilizing video chat. The more we talked, the closer we drew together. After a while, we knew precisely where our relationship was headed. That is why the "About" section of this blog reads "The Klavers," because we trust God is uniting us in marriage, and so we are completely committed to one another. Five years in, I took a trip to Peru to meet her for the first time in person. With her parents' blessing, I proposed to her.

[Our engagement dinner, where I proposed to her in front of her family.]
I returned two years later so that we could be wed, but it never happened due to her fears. At the time, she did not have a Visa. She was worried that after we got married and applied for a Visa for her to return with me, that she would be denied. She did not want to be married and be left behind. I tried consoling her and reminding her that that was out of our control. Whether we applied then, a year from then, or 10 years from then, if they said "No," she would end up left behind temporarily while I could use our marriage certificate to apply for Permanent Residency. Sadly, the wedding never took place.

She now has the Visa, set to expire in just over a year. When I returned from my second trip, a year later I had had the money needed for our tickets. However, an old debt came back to bite me in the rear that happened to be precisely what I had saved. I paid it off faithfully so that I could be free of it. Shortly after, I lost my job. For the next three years I have bounced back and forth between temp job and unemployment insurance, never able to save the money required for the wedding. The struggle continues.

A friend of mine told me about websites where people raised funds for their weddings. So I started a fundraiser for us. While it seems like a long shot to me, I figure it can't hurt to try. After all, God is sovereign and can work in the hearts of complete strangers all across the world to donate when they encounter our fundraiser page. It would be awesome to see God help us in this way by providing this miracle for us.

Our wedding would not be anything extravagant. We just want a simple wedding. If it is at all possible, the money from our fundraiser goal will cover:
  • the cost of our plane tickets, and
  • the wedding ceremony.

If anyone reading this would be willing to donate, any amount is always appreciated. It is entirely between you and God. All prayers are greatly appreciated. Maria and I could fervently use all the prayers we can get. We have now known each other for 11 years, and while Jacob waited 14 years for Rachel, we really do not want to wait 14 years to finally be united in holy matrimony. While we are faithful and patient to God and each other, nevertheless I do not recommend our situation to anyone unless God has called you to it. This distance is hard on us, but we know that God brought us together and has moved in our relationship every step of the way (though slower than we would have preferred). So we could desperately use all the prayers you could give us.

Thank you and God bless!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

John 15:1-8

1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

John 15:1-8
I have been debating a man online (let us call him IMP as an acronym for his username) who believes that it is possible for a Christian to forfeit his/her salvation. One of IMP's arguments pertains to John 15:1-8, where he has latched onto the phrase "in Me" in John 15:2 at the expense of the context of this passage and of the rest of Scripture. So, here is an exegesis of the passage to expose his flawed logic and his false interpretation.

Verse 1. Jesus stating "I am the true vine" is Him saying that He is the true Israel. Just as Jesus is the new Adam, likewise He is also the new Israel. Where Israel failed, Jesus succeeded in every way. In the Old Testament, it was Israel who was frequently referred to as a vine (Ps. 80:8-18; Is. 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21; Ezek. 15:1-5; 17:1-2; 19:20-14; Hos. 10:1-2). Now, Jesus says, "I am the true vine."
Verse 2. The "that does not bear fruit" must be understood in the context of verses 4 and 5. It is only through abiding in Christ (being truly "in Him") that one can bear fruit. Apart from Him, "you can do nothing."
Verse 4. There is a co-abiding here. Only those abiding in Christ have Christ abiding in them. Those said to be "in Him" that did not produce any fruit are not said to have Christ abiding in them. They did not produce fruit because they were not abiding in Christ and Christ was not abiding in them.
Verse 5. Again, there is a co-abiding here.  Only those abiding in Christ have Christ abiding in them. Those said to be "in Him" that did not produce any fruit are not said to have Christ abiding in them. They did not produce fruit because they were not abiding in Christ and Christ was not abiding in them.
Verse 6. The result of not abiding in Christ, which "does not bear fruit," is the discarding, gathering, and casting into the fire.
Verse 8. The bearing of fruit is the evidence they are Jesus' true disciples. Ergo, the lack of bearing fruit is the evidence they were never Jesus' true disciples.

NOTE: The co-abiding found in verses 4 and 5 does not contradict the rest of Scripture as some would have it do. The rest of Scripture makes it quite clear that it is God who keeps us, guards us, preserves us, etc., etc., etc. God is the primary cause; everything else is the secondary cause. My ability to abide in Christ is because God has caused me to abide in Christ.

Premise 1: Christ only abides in those branches that abide in Him. Ergo, there is no life-giving connection to the vine for those that do not abide.
Premise 2: Only those branches that abide in Christ produce fruit. Ergo, there is no life-giving connection to the vine for those that do not bear fruit.
Conclusion: There is no life-giving connection to the vine for those that do not abide in Christ and bear fruit.

First of all, this passage of Scripture is not a parable. A parable uses "like," "as," or "than" for comparison. This passage of Scripture is an allegory, an extended metaphor. This passage of Scripture describes Jesus as the vine and His followers as the branches. Yes, His followers. But do not supposed that all followers of Jesus are born-again believers. John 6:66 says, "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." 1 John 2:19 says, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." There are other passages of Scripture we could consider, but these are sufficient. What these passages reveal to us is: All born-again believers are disciples of Jesus, but not all disciples of Jesus are born-again believers. Jesus had many followers, but only a fool would claim that each and every single one of them was a born-again believer. The "in Me" in verse 2 refers to those followers who were such by name only, which the context of this passage supports (as well as various other passages of Scripture).

Matthew 13:20-21 and Luke 8:13 both inform us that those with temporary faith have "no root." Temporary faith does not equal saving faith. Jesus makes it clear that you will know the difference between genuine believers and false believers by their fruits (Matt. 7:6, 20). A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit (Matt. 7:18). Behavioural modification is no substitute for genuine heart transformation. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that just because people call him "Lord, Lord" and do many good deeds in His name does not mean that He knows them (Matt. 7:21-23). In other words, His Spirit does not indwell them (2 Cor. 5:12). If it did, His Spirit would testify with their spirit that they were indeed children of God (Rom. 8:6). They believed themselves to be saved, but Jesus called them workers of lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).

IMP is asking this one passage, verse 2, to say things that he wants it to say, deliberately and purposefully ignoring the truth of the rest of Scripture, which thoroughly, soundly, and conclusively tells him what the "in Me" in verse 2 means. IMP uses a flawed logic. In spite of what the rest of Scripture says, informing him that the "branch in Me that does not bear fruit" is a mere professor of Christ and not a possessor of Christ, IMP wants to believe against all evidence that it somehow had a life-giving connection to the vine and then voluntarily forfeited its salvation. Can clay voluntarily do anything (Rom. 9:20-23)? The "in Me" in verse 2 simply corresponds and corroborates with the truths Jesus revealed in His parables about the kingdom (Matt. 13). If it can be forfeited, it is not "eternal." If it can be forfeited, then salvation is based entirely upon our works. If it can be forfeited, then Christ's sacrifice was not sufficient to procure salvation for us or to keep us in that salvation (something he might want to examine John 17 for).

IMP attempted to argue that "No where does this state that the fruitful branches ever bore fruit or not. Any conjecture here is reading into the scripture." Try reading verse 2 again: "every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit." Ergo, it clearly does state that the fruitful branches bore fruit. If IMP's argument meant to say "No where does this state that the unfruitful branches ever bore fruit or not. Any conjecture here is reading into the scripture," he would be in error yet again, as evidenced not only from the exposition of this entire post, but also again from verse 2: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit." Verse 2 destroys IMP's theory of whether the fruitless branches ever produced any fruit or not as the entire contrast between the two branches is those that did "not bear fruit" and those that did "bear fruit." The final nail in the coffin is that if they did produce fruit, even if it was a little, the Father would have pruned them so that they would have produced more fruit. As it is, they never produced any fruit because they did not abide in Christ and Christ did not abide in them.

If Christ Jesus is not in you, then YOU are not in Christ Jesus. If Christ Jesus is not in you, then YOU will not produce any fruit (evidence of genuine faith). If Christ Jesus is not in you, then YOU never had a life-giving connection to Him. This is what John 15 is teaching. This is what the "in Me" in verse 2 refers to. Genuine converts and false converts growing up together in the kingdom of God until God separates them at the end of the age. Good soil from the bad soil, wheat from the tares, good fish from the bad fish, wise virgins from the foolish virgins, sheep from the goats. Those who commit apostasy (rebellion) never had Christ in their hearts to begin with. It is impossible for a blood-bought, born-again, Spirit-filled believer to rebel against the Saviour Who gave them a new nature, made them spiritually alive, regenerated them, gave them a new heart, and caused them to love God. IMP's theology is bankrupt. He can perform all the linguistic and eisegetical gymnastics he wants, but he cannot squirm his way out of these facts.

Πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ clearly does not show a life-giving connection to the vine. Hence the μὴ φέρον καρπόν. Why would God αἴρει αὐτό otherwise? Μὴ φέρον καρπόν is contrasted against πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον. The one that πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον, even if it is a little, God καθαίρει αὐτό for the purpose ἵνα πλείονα καρπὸν φέρῃ. The ἐν ἐμοὶ in verses 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 does not change meaning. The details surrounding each ἐν ἐμοὶ (known as context) is what determines its meaning. The meaning of πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ, then, is one who has no life-giving connection to the vine and has never bore any fruit. How do we know that it never bore any fruit? Because if it did, καθαίρει αὐτό, ἵνα πλείονα καρπὸν φέρῃ. The fact it is contrasted against πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον is proof that it never bore any fruit. The fact it μὴ φέρον καρπόν, is proof that it never μείνατε in Christ and Christ never μείνῃ in it. Verse 5 states the one that μένων is the one that αὑτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν. The fact χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποῖεν οὐδέν demonstrates positively and soundly that πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ was never in Christ to begin with.  It is conclusive that both branches are not "in Christ." IMP is guilty of hermeneutical reaching in order to try and prove his false thesis. If he allowed the Golden Rule of Hermeneutics (which states, "If the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense.") and the Direct Statement Principle of Hermeneutics (which states, "God says what He means and means what He says.") to speak, he would not make such grave hermeneutical errors.

As far as whether a Christian can forfeit their salvation, see these other articles:
Can You Lose Your Salvation?
Apostasy in Galatians
You can find more under the Apostasy section in the Table of Contents.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Eternal Security Made Simple

If a piece of coal is turned into a diamond, that diamond cannot be turned back into a piece of coal—let alone by its own efforts and merits. The question that needs to be asked is, was that piece of coal turned into a diamond? Just because a piece of coal says, "I'm a diamond," does not make it so! Just because it covers itself in a shiny coating (behavioural modification) does not make it a diamond. God is the potter, we are the clay. If He turns a piece of coal into a diamond, it is a diamond for all eternity. A piece of coal cannot, by its own will (decision or declaration), turn itself into a diamond; and a diamond cannot turn itself back into a piece of coal.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This, and Nothing But This, Is True Christianity!

by Edward Griffin, 1770-1837

"You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price!" 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

All that you are and have are His. You owe Him your whole selves!

The Lord Jesus Christ, who created you and redeemed you from eternal damnation, is your Proprietor, Master, and King.
Whom else then should you serve?
To whom else should you devote your lives?
Whose interest should you rather seek?

"For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself. For if we live, we live for the Lord; or if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:7-8

Our religion is exactly in proportion as we cease to live for ourselves and live for God alone. We have just as much religion as we have of self-denial. The only evidence of attachment to Him on which we can rely is that we make it our design and care to promote His glory and the accomplishment of His benevolent purposes, not now and then, but in the general tenor of our lives.

To live for God, is to regard His will as the rule and ground of our conduct, and His glory as our supreme object. Not merely one day in a week, but in our general course to act from a reference to His authority.

To live for God, is to choose our calling, to pursue our business, to frame our habits, to regulate our actions from hour to hour from a regard to His will and honor.

To live for God, is to feel and act as those who are not at liberty to live to themselves, but have their work daily assigned them by a heavenly Master.

To live for God, is to live under a sense that we are not our own, not our own masters, not our own proprietors, not at our own disposal.

To live for God, is to live as though our time, talents, influence, property, and all that we are and have are God's.

To live for God, is to hold everything in readiness to use for Him, or resign all things to Him as He shall direct.

To live for God, is to to be submissive under afflictions, and willing to be at His disposal in all our trials.

To live for God, is to to be ready to deny ourselves for Him in every way which His Word or Providence may point out.

To live for God, is to desire life chiefly that we may serve Him.

To live for God, is to make Him the center in which all the lines of our life shall meet.

To live for God, is to make it the business of our lives to please Him and not ourselves.

The very core of all true religion, is not to live for ourselves, but for God; not to consider ourselves our own, but the property and the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ; not to feel as though we are set up in the world to work for ourselves, to spend the most of our time in pursuing what is termed our innocent gratifications, but to hold our time, powers, influence, and property as talents entrusted to us to be used for Christ, keeping our eye on His Word to learn His will, and aiming habitually to please and honor Him.

This, and nothing but this, is true Christianity! Whatever our creed is, if this is not our character, then all our religion is vain!

"So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it!" 2 Corinthians 5:9

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mormonism's Backward Theology

"For man is spirit." Doctrines & Covenants 93:33

Mormon theology has it exactly backwards. "God is spirit" (John 4:24a). Man is not spirit. God does not have a body, but man does. Man did not become God, but God became a man. Christ Jesus.

"Man was also in the beginning with God." Doctrines & Covenants 93:29

See how backwards Mormonism has it? Their false prophet, Joseph Smith, was quite the imaginative storyteller. He stole what he wanted from the Bible, plagiarizing several chapters word-for-word from the book of Isaiah, and ignored the context and the overall meaning. Not to mention his many blunders where he assumed something from the Bible meant something else (like his use of "Sabaoth," thinking it meant Sabbath). The above "revelation" stands in complete contradiction to what the Word of God says:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-2, 14
Man was not in the beginning with God. God eternally exists from past to future. Since God has eternally existed, who knows how long it was before He decided to create man. Man is God's creation, made in His image and likeness. There is nothing eternal about man. Man is finite, mortal, limited. God is infinite, immortal, and limitless.

Mormons fail to grasp the purpose and meaning of cross-references. Cross-references are used to refer to related information in other locations. If you examine the cross-references given in Doctrines & Covenants for the above two verses, neither the biblical references nor the Mormon references have anything to do with each other, other than some similar words being used. In other words, the majority of Mormon cross-references are merely the practice of the exegetical fallacy of Collapsing Context. Doctrines & Covenants 93:33 cross-references John 4:24, yet there is no related content between the two, other than the words "is spirit."

Mormon theology is based on the fantastical storytelling of Joseph Smith, who used to tell the exact same stories around the dinner table when he was a child. Archaeological, historical, and scientific research have all demonstrated that there is no evidence to support any of the information given in the Book of Mormon. No such ethnicities, no such events, no such locations. No history of such things has been found. No monetary units of said groups have been found. Zero, zilch, nada. Everything Mormon is completely and utterly fabricated.

There are numerous similarities between the false religion of Mormonism and the false religion of Islam, as well as the false prophet Joseph Smith and the false prophet Muhammad. Both are claimed to have had little education; both claimed to receive special "revelation" from God; both claimed that God gave them permission to practice polygamy (as other false religions, false prophets, and cult leaders have done, including David Koresh). You can always identify a false prophet and a false religion when it is based on sex. When a "prophet" tries to convince you that in order to make your marriage stronger, God has commanded him to sleep with your wife, do not be a fool and fall for his satanic lies. When a "prophet" tries to convince you that God has commanded him to sleep with your daughters, do not be a fool and fall for his satanic lies. When a "prophet" tries to convince you that God has commanded that he alone is allowed to have sex or to have multiple wives, or that God has commanded that men are allowed to have multiple wives, do not be a fool and fall for his satanic lies. When a "prophet" tries to convince you that God has commanded that in Heaven or Paradise you will have multiple virgins for eternity or you will be having sex for eternity, do not be a fool and fall for his satanic lies. False religions created by men tend to revolve around sex. False religions created by women tend to revolve around emotional experiences and a false, erroneous understanding of "love."

Mormon theology is completely backwards from biblical theology. If you believe and follow Mormonism, then I have a bridge and some swamp land I would like to sell you . . .

Why I No Longer Debate On Forums and the Like

Years ago, in my early twenties, I would debate on forums, in comment sections, and in chat rooms all the time. One of the sites I frequented was titled ExChristian, which claimed to be a support site for those leaving Christianity. It was anything but a "support" site. The site's entire content was dedicated to attacking and ridiculing Christians, God, and the Bible. Users would make posts claiming that the Bible was full of contradictions and errors, and I would challenge them on their claims. They would post their supposed "proof," I would go study it out, and then refute their argument with the truth, to which they could never respond. The owner of this site, because I was such a thorn in his side, e-mailed me privately and asked that I stop posting to the site. Had I thought of it at the time, I should have taken his private e-mail and posted it publicly for the entire site's users to see.

There were several other "Christians" on that website (ones no doubt Pentecostal/Charismatic based on their attitude and behaviour), ones who should learn to keep their mouths shut. When one of the atheists would post something these "Christians" could not answer, they would simply respond with something akin to "Yeah? Well you're going to Hell!" Stunning debate skills. What these "Christians" need to do, since they are too lazy to actually read and study the Bible like they are supposed to, is to pay attention to those Christians who actually know something and to learn from them. I even began a thread specifically addressed to these types of "Christians," rebuking them and telling them to shut their mouths if they did not know how to respond to the atheists and to watch and learn from those more intelligent than themselves.

Skeptics, mockers, and doubters cannot answer or refute Christianity. They try their darnedest, but time and time again Christianity comes out on top. It has withstood the tests of time, proving to be truthful and reliable, unlike other religions that consistently fail across the board. The Bible has been attacked for centuries, yet time and time again archaeology, history, and science continuously validate its authenticity. Disagree with it as much as you want, but you cannot dismiss it. The evidence speaks for itself. Even if you choose not to accept Christianity, if you consider yourself an intelligent person in the least you still have to accept the fact that the evidence proves it to be true. To not accept the evidence and continue in your ignorance makes you willfully stupid. Meaning, you willfully choose to be stupid rather than submit to the evidence and the truth. That makes you a fool.

I no longer debate on forums, in comment sections, in chat rooms, or on any websites of similar type design simply because they are highly time consuming. Debating on them is as useless, worthless, and time consuming as using any social media websites. You spend countless hours reading and writing, reading and writing, reading and writing, only to do it all over again the very next day. What makes it even more useless, worthless, and time consuming are the ignorant fools who decide to join in without bothering to read the arguments that have gone on before! In their colossal ignorance, they choose to ignore all that has gone on before, the arguments and rebuttals, and they jump in thinking that somehow they will be able to answer you and defeat you, regurgitating the same refuted arguments already dealt with and continuing to beat that dead horse.

You can debate a university professor live and utterly destroy him, leaving him unable to answer a single one of your arguments, and yet some ignorant nobody from the street without a shred of education in any field of science, or having ever studied the issue in depth whatsoever, having ignored all the arguments made by the professor and the refutations given, will attempt to argue for the professor, thinking that somehow they will be able to best you. As I have said before, Evolution's greatest proponents have the smallest minds, the least amount of education, intelligence, logic, and reason, yet have the biggest mouths to attempt to defend it. You encounter these people on the street and in factories. These are the people who cannot think for themselves and fail to use their faculties of logic and reason, simply believing everything they hear and read concerning Evolution. Despite their arguments having been refuted and destroyed for the last 30 years, they still regurgitate and parrot those same erroneous and refuted arguments, beating that dead horse even further.

A buddy of mine who still debates on some of these types of sites, was recently argued against using several of those old, defeated, and dead arguments, including the one about the peppered moth. No doubt this guy still believes Haeckel's fraudulent charts. Here are the facts regarding the peppered moth:
The peppered moth in England is the most frequently discussed evolutionary "proof" of natural selection. In fact, it is mentioned ten times for every instance in which any other evidence is mentioned! Therefore, it deserves special attention. The problem is that evolutionists really have no proof, and the peppered mother surely is not one.
"This is the most striking evolutionary change ever to have been witnessed by man." —International Wildlife Encyclopedia (1970 edition), Vol. 20, p. 2706.
Noting that Darwin was plagued by his inability to demonstrate the evolution of even one species, Jastrow said:
"Had he known it, an example was at hand which would have provided him with the proof he needed. The case was an exceedingly rare one—the peppered moth." —Robert Jastrow, Red Giants and White Dwarfs, p. 235.
In his large 940-page book, Asimov's New Guide to Science, Isaac Asimov mentions that some fools oppose evolution, saying it has never been proven; and then Asimov gives us a single, outstanding evidence: the peppered moth. This is astounding—in view of the fact that it is no evidence at all! Isaac Asimov is the leading evolutionary science writer of the mid-twentieth century. If the peppered moth is the best he can come up with in defense of evolution, surely evolutionists have no case.
"One of the arguments of the creationists is that no one has ever seen the forces of evolution at work. That would seem the most nearly irrefutable of their arguments, and yet it, too, is wrong. In fact, if any confirmation of Darwinism were needed, it has turned up in examples of natural selection that have taken place before our eyes (now that we know what to watch for). A notable example occurred in Darwin's native land. In England, it seems, the peppered moth exists in two varieties, a light and a dark." —Isaac Asimov, Asimov's New Guide to Science (1984), p. 780.
Before 1845 near Birmingham, England, the peppered moth was primarily light colored, but some had darker wings. (These darker varieties were called the melanic or carbonaria forms.) In accordance with Mendelian genetics, some peppered moth offspring were always born with light-colored wings while others had darker wings. Thus it had been for centuries. The little moths would alight on the light-colored tree trunks; and birds, able to see the darker ones more easily, ate them and tended to ignore the light-colored varieties. Yet both varieties continued to be produced. But then the industrial revolution came and the trees became darker from smoke and grime—and birds began eating the lighter ones. In the 1850s, about 98% of the uneaten peppered moths were the light variety; because of recessive and dominant genes, peppered moths regularly produced both varieties as offspring.

By the 1880s in the Manchester, England area, toxic gases and soot were killing the light-colored lichen on the trees and darkened even more the tree trunks. The changeover from light to dark moths began there also. The smoke and smog from the factories darkened the trunks of the trees where the moths rested. This darkening of the trees made the dark-hued moths difficult to see and the lighter one quite easy for the birds to spot.

By the 1950s, 98% of the peppered moths were the dark variety. All the while, the moths continued to produce both dark and light varieties.

Evolutionists point to this as a "proof of evolution," but it is NOT a proof of evolution. We all know that there can be variation with species. Variation within a species is not evolution.

There are dozens of varieties of dogs, cats, and pigeons. But no new species have been produced. They are still dogs, cats, and pigeons.

There can be light peppered moths and dark peppered mothers,—but they are all still peppered moths. Even as Asimov admitted in the above quotation, they are but variations within a single species. The name of the single species that includes them both is Biston betularia. They are all peppered moths, nothing more and nothing less.

When Harrison Matthews wrote the introduction for the 1971 edition of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species, he denied the possibility of evolution in several respects, and made this accurate observation about the peppered moth:
"The [peppered moth] experiments beautifully demonstrate natural selection—or survival of the fittest—in action, but they do not show evolution in progress, for however the populations may alter in their content of light, intermediate, or dark forms, all the moths remain from beginning to end Biston betularia." —Harrison Matthews, "Introduction," to Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species (1971 edition), p. xi.
Let us consider this matter more closely:

Because of dominant and recessive genes (Mendelian genetics), this little moth continued to produce both light and dark offspring for thousands of years while the birds kept eating the dark varieties. Yet all that time, dark ones continued to be born! This is proof of the stability of the species, which is exactly the opposite of evolutionary "proof!"

For nearly a century, the birds ate the lighter ones, but the darker ones kept being born. In recent years, industrial pollution laws are making the air cleaner, and the darker ones are more frequently eaten.

This is not evolution, but simply a color change back and forth within a stable species.
"This is an excellent demonstration of the function of camouflage; but, since it begins and ends with peppered moths and no new species formed, it is quite irrelevant as evidence for evolution." —On Call, July 2, 1973, p. 9.
In reality, the peppered moth did not change at all. The dark-winged type is simply a Mendalian recessive, and both types are continually produced. Birds ate one kind and left the other. Mendelian genetic variations cannot produce evolution, which is change across species.

Two leading British evolutionary scientists said this about evolutionary claims for the peppered moth:
"We doubt, however, that anything more is involved in these cases than the selection of already existing genes." —Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (1981), p. 5.
Grene adds this:
"The recent work of H.B.D. Kettlewell on industrial melanism has certainly confirmed the hypothesis that natural selection takes place in nature. This is the story of the black mutant of the common peppered moth which, as Kettlewell has shown with beautiful precision, increases in numbers in the vicinity of the industrial centers and decreases, being more easily exposed to predators, in rural areas. Here, say the neo-Darwinians, is natural selection, that is, evolution, actually going on. But to this we may answer: selection, yes; the color of moths or snails or mice is clearly controlled by visibility to predators; but 'evolution'? Do these observations explain how in the first place there came to be any moths or snails or mice at all? By what right are we to extrapolate the pattern by which color or other such superficial characters are governed to the origin of species, let alone of classes, orders, phyla of living organisms? —Marjorie Grene, "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, November 1959, p. 52.
There is a postscript to the peppered moth story. The above description included data about the habits of peppered moths in England, as cited by evolutionists. They have been telling us for years that the variation in the wing color of the peppered moth was the fact that they rest on the sides of trees, and the trees became darker. Well, it turns out that they did not even get that story straight. Peppered moths do not alight on the sides of trees! And the stock evolutionary "research photos" were made of dead moths pasted on the sides of trees!
Science vs. Evolution, Vance Ferrell, pp. 283-290.
People who still use the arguments of the peppered moth, or even of Darwin's finches, as "proof" of evolution merely demonstrate with crystal clear clarity the vapid state of their mind and their vast amassed ignorance of reality and thought. It demonstrates they are stuck in the past, have not learned anything new, and fail to study and educate themselves on the various arguments and refutations. They might as well argue that the Earth is flat, since that is what their regurgitated parroting amounts to.

I do not waste my time online any more in fruitless debates with willfully ignorant individuals because it never goes anywhere. Waiting for them to respond so you can respond back, doing this on multiple sites with multiple arguments, just becomes tedious and wastes so much of your precious time. I do not mind having such conversation in person, if the person is interested in learning rather than simply arguing for ignorance's sake. However, nowadays most of those conversations consist merely in the other person wanting to voice their opinion without having to listen to a single thing you have to say. They are master cop-out artists, allodoxophobes and veritaphobes, afraid of opinions that are not their own and afraid of the truth.

Most people you try to have intelligent, rational conversations with these days are afraid of what they do not know. As such, when you attempt to engage these people in a discussion regarding real science (verifiable facts and evidence, what you can test, observe, and repeat), the reality concerning Islam, the depravity of homosexuality, the wickedness of abortion, the verifiable validity of the Bible, the Christian religion, the blatant stupidity of Leftist Liberals, etc., these people suddenly "don't care" and will immediately try to abandon the conversation. I have had guys I have worked with try and argue evolution versus religion with me, but every time I go to answer their ridiculous and absurd claims, they would say, "I don't want to talk about it. Let's just stop." Then, ten minutes later, they would toss another argument my way, but when I would attempt to respond to it, they would again say, "I don't want to talk about it. Let's just stop." If you do not want to talk about it, then quit bringing it up! The fact of the matter is, they just want to spit their ignorant nonsense, thinking that by doing so they have somehow bested you or defeated you, but do not want to listen to a single thing you have to say. They are great cowards, afraid of hearing and learning the truth.

Since my early twenties, I have dealt with these kinds of people, but in the last 10 years they have gotten worse. I have to deal with these people on a daily regular basis everywhere I work. All I can say is, I hate stupid people! It seems that stupidity is running rampant these days, ever since post-modernism. The more I interact with these people, the more it brings to mind one of my favourite one-liners: "The more people I meet, the better I like my dog." When I was in high school, I could carry on an intelligent rational discussion of religion with non-believers (even non-believers twice my age) and nobody got angry and belligerent. Nowadays, you simply say the word "religion" in their ears and watch them go irate! Listen to half the stuff that comes out of their mouths today and you will understand my frustration with stupid people.

As I said, I do not mind having such conversations face-to-face as long as the other person is willing to learn. If they are close-minded and not interested in correcting the errors they have been taught in their life, then I would rather not waste my time and my breath, as both are precious. I am no longer interested in casting my pearls before swine. Let the willfully ignorant remain willfully ignorant. Let those with a desire to learn remain with a desire to learn. I think when I encounter these people, maybe I should ask them upfront if they have a desire to learn the facts and evidence or a desire to be willfully ignorant. It would sure save me a lot of time and frustration. If they want to remain willfully ignorant, then I can simply ignore them and go about my business.

The reason I no longer debate on forums, in comment sections, in chat rooms, or on any websites of similar type design is also the same reason why I do not have a comments section on my blog. I am not interested in tediously arguing people's subjective opinions. I have visited several similar blogs and websites and witnessed how ignorant individuals just want to argue their subjective feelings and opinions rather than thinking and studying. I do not care whether a person believes or agrees with what I have written. My goal is to make them think and to stop blindly following man-made traditions and to start reading, studying, and obeying Scripture. Too many "Christians" on these sites merely want to argue because they are "offended" that you proved parts of their denomination or their belief system to be nothing but lies, and rather than accept the truth and conform themselves to Scripture, they want to argue with you and continue believing the lies they have been brainwashed with. It is their stubborn pride at work. God forbid they should acknowledge they were wrong and humbly conform themselves and their beliefs to the truths of Scripture. Sadly, most Christians are stubborn this way. Few Christians have a desire to learn the truth of Scripture and to conform themselves and their beliefs to it, no matter what it might cost them.

If you want to believe what you want to believe, you go right ahead and do so. I will continue to search Scripture for its truths, conforming myself and my beliefs therewith. It is most important that I be obedient to what the Lord is teaching me and correct any errors I have been taught in the past. I am first and foremost responsible for myself and what I believe. Second comes my family. As always, I will encourage any readers I might have to not simply believe me because I have said it, or because John MacArthur or John Piper or Charles Spurgeon or someone else has said it, but to search the Scriptures for themselves and to see what Scripture has to say. Remember, the Bereans searched the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul was telling them was true. You and I are to be no different!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Dangerous Snare For Christians

The Christian has discovered one book truer and more precious than all the rest together. Let the Bible be to us the book of books—the one book in all the world whose every verse is wisdom. In studying it, be sure to take it for what it really is—the revelation of the thoughts of God, given us in the words of God. Knowing that we have divine thoughts embodied in divine words—we sit down to the study of the heavenly volume, assured that we shall find the perfection of wisdom in all of its teachings.

Let us read and re-read the Scriptures—meditating on them day and night.
They never grow old, they never lose their sap, they never run dry.

Though it is right and profitable to read other books, if they are true and good—yet beware of reading too many. Do not let man's book thrust God's book into a corner! Do not let commentaries smother the text—nor let the good, shut out the best.

Especially beware of light reading! Shun novels—they are the literary curse of the age! If you are a parent—keep novels out of the way of your children. Neither read them yourself, nor set an example of novel-reading to others. Do not let novels lie on your table, or be seen in your hand. The reading of the light novels of the day, has done deep injury to many:
    vitiating their taste,
    enervating their minds,
    unfitting them for life's plain work,
    eating out their love for the Bible,
    teaching them a false morality, and
    creating in the soul an unreal standard of truth, and beauty, and love.

Do not be too fond of the newspaper. Extract matter for thought and prayer out of all that you read.

Let your reading be always select—and whatever you read, begin with seeking God's blessing on it.

But see that your relish for the Bible is above every other enjoyment. The moment you begin to feel greater relish for any other book—lay it down until you have sought deliverance from such a snare, and obtained from the Holy Spirit a more intense relish, and a keener appetite for the Word of God!
Horatius Bonar's words are not only true with regard to what we read, but they are also true with regard to what we watch and what we listen to. When we do not exercise discernment over what we watch, what we read, or what we listen to, we allow ourselves to be influenced and corrupted by it. This is absolutely the case even more so when what we consume with our eyes, mind, and ears is done in bulk. The more ungodly, frivolous material that we watch, read, or listen to, the more trash we fill ourselves with. As one of Petra's songs is titled, Garbage In, Garbage Out. What you take in, what you put into yourself, will eventually come out.

Novels might be the literary curse of the age, but movies and television are the visual curse of the age while music is the audible curse of the age. Horatius Bonar's warning, "Neither read them yourself, nor set an example of novel-reading to others," is sound advice even regarding movies and music. Beware of what it is you are watching and what it is you are listening to. Do not subject your eyes, ears, or mind to godless material that will slowly but surely draw you away from the Saviour and into an unholy life of sin.

The watching of light television and the listening of light music has also done deep injury to many:
    vitiating their taste,
    enervating their minds,
    unfitting them for life's plain work,
    eating out their love for the Bible,
    teaching them a false morality, and
    creating in the soul an unreal standard of truth, and beauty, and love.

Television and novels constantly bombard you with all sorts of immorality, pressing it upon you, repeating the lies that a little is okay. Pick any television show or movie and I could point out to you all the subtleties designed to do you harm. If you repeat a lie loud enough, long enough, and often enough, people will eventually believe it. Even Christians, if they have nothing to combat it with. That is what television and novels are designed to do. If you have ever watched Perfect Strangers before, cousin Larry is a pathological liar and schemer, always trying to deceive Balki. The "white lies" and the things that are marginalized as being acceptable slowly influence who and what you are and how you think and behave. And today's television shows are worse than ever! If you do not have more Bible in you than you do television and novels, you are bound to start imitating the world and being just like them, trying to justify your sin in self-righteousness.

Apply Horatius Bonar's wisdom: "Extract matter for thought and prayer out of all that you read." If you can pray the following prayer over the things you watch, then by all means watch them.
"Dear Lord, we invite You to come join us in this time of viewing. As Your children, we commit this time to You as worthy of our attention. May our family be uplifted by this hour before the screen. And, Lord, we pray that families everywhere would have the opportunity to do likewise. We thank You for providing this program for us, and we ask You to bless the men and women who produced this show and those who made it available. May they have Your blessings to do more of the same. In Jesus' name, we thank You, Amen."
This pray can also be applied to what you listen to and what you read. You are what you read; you are what you watch, and you are what you listen to. Garbage in, garbage out. It is not "just a book"; it is not "just a movie"; and it is not "just a song." It is an influence on who and what you are and how you think, behave, and believe. Beware of these dangerous snares to Christians!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Man Who Hears Many Sermons

by Charles Spurgeon

"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long!" Psalm 119:97

It is well to meditate upon the things of God because it is only by pondering the Scriptures that we get the real nutriment out of them. A man who hears many sermons is not necessarily well-instructed in the faith. We may read so many religious books that we overload our brains, and they may be unable to work under the weight of the great mass of paper and of printer's ink.

The man who reads but one book, and that book his Bible, and then meditates much upon it will be a better scholar in Christ's school than he who merely reads hundreds of books, and does not meditate at all!

Oh, that we might get into the very heart of the Word of God—and get that Word into ourselves!

As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it until we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetic expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models—and, what is better still, your spirit is redolent with the words of the Lord!

"Your words were found, and I devoured them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart!" Jeremiah 15:16

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful!" Joshua 1:8

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Is Reason Faith's Enemy?

“Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.” —Martin Luther
Certain Christians erroneously think that reason is the basis for Christianity, while other Christians erroneously think that faith is the basis for Christianity. Robert A. Morey argues that the issue is not between reason or faith but between reason or revelation. To be honest, I fail to see what the confusion is all about. The Bible is our final authority on all matters pertaining to life and faith, therefore revelation is the basis for Christianity. Everything begins with God's revelationnot man's faith or reason. God’s Revelation in Scripture is more reliable than even first–hand eyewitness accounts (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

Martin Luther, Robert Morey, and others are wrong when they attack reason. Perhaps it would be more beneficial and productive if they had described or defined the type of "reason" they were addressing and combating. Reason is not the enemy of faith; it is its ally. Logic and reason are thoroughly Christian concepts. Our God is a God of logic and reason, and as such, we being created in His image have the faculties of logic and reason. They are a means with which to determine truth; not the basis of truth itself. As such, it is impossible for them to be the enemy of faith. Logic and reason are used to prove faith. 

Science used to teach that the ocean floors were flat. Believing the revelation of his Bible when it spoke of the oceans having mountains and valleys, using logic and reason alongside faith, Matthew Maury, a Christian, founded oceanography. In life, and especially in apologetics, you use logic and reason all the time. In interpreting the Bible correctly, you need logic and reason. There are different kinds of faith, but faith is not required for everything. People who purport this, using the cliché "Some things you just have to accept by faith," are purporting blind faith. Blind faith does not know, and Scripture says we can know.

If Martin Luther, Robert Morey, and others are referring to philosophical "reason," then they have a right to decry it. Philosophy tends to be complete and utter nonsense the majority of the time. Philosophy in no way determines truth. There is a certain philosophy that suggests that we do not even exist, that we are merely in a matrix or a hologram or some other nonsense. Most philosophy tends to ignore reality and postulate irrational stupidity.

If you are going to determine what is true and what is not, you require the faculties of logic and reason. In order to determine if any religion is true or false, you need to use logic and reason. Faith will not determine which religion is true or false. One has faith that Christianity is true, another has faith that Mormonism is true, and another has faith that Islam is true. Faith is good when it is placed in the correct object, but every object in existence does not require faith. Christianity is the only true religion, while all other religions are false constructs of sinful man and the devil.

One can have faith that the Bible is absolutely true, and there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps that is the extent of that person's faculties. Using logic and reason alongside faith (not replacing it), consulting archaeology, history, and science, we can prove the Bible is absolutely true. 

How do I know that God is a God of logic and reason? How do I know that God wants us to use our faculties of logic and reason? Because He pleads with us, "Come now, and let us reason together" (Isaiah 1:18a).

Friday, July 14, 2017

Justification ≠ Salvation

". . . (by grace you have been saved)" Ephesians 2:5

"For by grace you have been saved . . ." Ephesians 2:8

Have you ever noticed how there are no verses in Scripture that say we are saved by faith? Why do you think that is? Do not make the mistake of confusing justification with salvation. They are not the same thing. Justification is a part of salvation, as are sanctification and glorification, but justification is not salvation. Justification is to declare judicially that one is in harmony with the law and free from condemnation due to sin. Justification is the opposite of condemnation, as witnessed from Romans 8:33-34a: "Who will bring a charge against God's elect [those whom God has chosen]? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?" Justification is to declare one righteous.

Salvation is the divine act of delivering an individual from the power and curse of sin and restoring that individual to fellowship with God. Salvation encompasses justification, sanctification, and glorification; everything from the moment God grants us faith so that we will believe until He returns and bids us to enter the kingdom prepared for us. Salvation consists of various aspects: repentance, conversion, regeneration, union with Christ, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification. None of these equals salvation by themselves, but all of them are part of salvation. 

Unfortunately, those who wield the false "proof texts" for sola fide tend to treat those texts as if they equate the whole of salvation. Those "proof texts" consist of legal speech. They pertain to justification as opposed to condemnation, which is what we deserve. If you attempt to replace "justification" in these verses with "salvation," you are guilty of creating a false doctrine and another gospel. Justification is a part of salvation; it does not equal salvation. Do not confuse the two!

I think that because of these people's false belief in sola fide, they must view these passages as the whole of salvation in order to escape having to undergo sanctification. There are many who bear no fruit whatsoever of salvation, yet will argue for their supposed faith. They will argue that anything beyond faith alone is legalism and works righteousness. Dispensationalists treat repentance in this way, despite repentance being a requirement of salvation. Forcing those "proof text" passages to mean we are saved by faith alone eliminates repentance, sanctification, etc.

You cannot be justified without repentance and without sanctification! In order to be judicially declared in harmony with the law and free from condemnation due to sin, one needs to repent of their former ways and to be sanctified from them. Without all of this, there can be no salvation! God will not grant salvation to a man who is unrepentant of his sinful ways and who will not change from those ways. Unfortunately, the false belief that nothing is required for salvation is becoming rampant throughout the present-day church.

Just to be clear (for the willfully ignorant), repentance and sanctification are not means by which we can earn our salvation. If one is attempting to earn salvation from God by repentance, it is not godly repentance. If one is attempting to earn salvation from God by sanctification, it is merely behavioural modification. God is not fooled. You can play all the games you want and you will still find yourself in Hell for all eternity. If you want salvation, pursue the Lord until He grants it to you. Godly repentance is granted from the Lord, and sanctification is carried out by the Holy Spirit. If one argues that God has not granted him repentance and sanctification, then God has not granted him salvation either.

We Contribute NOTHING To Our Salvation

With my past and recent blog entries on justification and the false doctrine of sola fide, it is important to reign in those slow of learning with their mental blinders in place who refuse to pay attention to what is being said and to think clearly and critically (with logic, reason, and common sense) about what is being said rather than making blind assumptions, running full speed ahead with them, and jumping off a cliff.

You see, many of my fellow Reformers and Baptists are hung up on their traditions with their blinders set in place that they refuse to pay attention to what it is I am saying or to even think deeply upon what it is that I am saying. They choose to remain ignorant and play the ignorance card, trying to falsely claim that I am trying to teach a Roman Catholic doctrine. By arguing such nonsense, they demonstrate the fact of their ignorance clearly as I have repeatedly made it clear that that is not my position.

We can contribute nothing to our salvation! Why do we contribute nothing to our salvation? Because we are saved entirely by God's grace and nothing else.
". . . (by grace you have been saved)" Ephesians 2:5

"For by grace you have been saved . . ." Ephesians 2:8
There is nothing you or I can do to add to or ensure our salvation. The moment we think that there is, we are on dangerous ground, engaging in works righteousness. When I address the fact that it is faith + works (faith in action, living faith) = justification, I imply in no way that we are to do certain works as a means of earning our salvation. Using Abraham as the example, I pose two questions:
1. When Abraham was offering Isaac as a sacrifice, was he performing some work of the Law?

2. When Abraham was offering Isaac as a sacrifice, was he performing some good deed?
If Abraham was not performing some work of the Law or some good deed, then clearly he was not doing any kind of work as a means of earning his salvation. The work he was doing is a necessary part of genuine faith. It must accompany genuine faith, working alongside it, perfecting and completing faith, proving its genuineness. The "works" I have been consistently talking about is what I like to call "faith in action," or what others might call "living faith." You see, faith without corresponding "works" (faith in action, living faith) and not resulting in good deeds is useless, dead, imperfect, and incomplete.

Genuine faith should produce good deeds, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. Good deeds are a result of genuine faith. But genuine faith also has works that are accomplished simultaneously in order to evidence that it is genuine faith. These works must work in tandem with faith to evidence its genuineness. Without these works, it is impossible for your faith to be genuine. As John Owen has said, "Obedient faith is what saves." These works, however, have nothing to do with attempting to earn one's own salvation. They are merely evidence that your faith is genuine and not merely lip service. I have used these examples before:
  1. When the bronze serpent was raised, it was not enough that people simply believe that looking at it would heal them. They had to actually look at it. If they merely looked at it without belief, it would do nothing for them either.
     
  2. The woman who had the issue of blood believed that if she simply touched Jesus' clothing she would be healed. She had to actually touch His clothes. If she merely believed it and then walked away, she would not have been healed. If she merely touched His clothes without believing, she would not have been healed.
     
  3. When Peter asked Jesus to call to him for him to walk on the water, believing that he could do so was not enough. He had to follow through by actually stepping out on the water. If he stepped out without believing, he would have sank, which is what happened the moment he took his eyes of Jesus.
     
  4. Imagine you are hanging from a ledge, about to fall and hurt yourself. I come beneath you and say, "Let go of the ledge and I will catch you." If you merely believe (faith alone) that I will catch you, but do nothing, your faith means absolutely nothing. It is dead, it is useless, it is imperfect/incomplete, and it is in vain. You MUST let go (works, faith in action, living faith) of the ledge in order to perfect/complete your faith. By doing so, your faith and works are working together.
I could even include Abraham alongside these examples. If you truly and honestly believe that God sees everything you do, hears everything you say, and knows everything you think, you will live your life in such a way that evidences that belief. By doing so, your "works" (faith in action, living faith) prove that your faith is genuine. If you believe that a chair will support you and not just collapse underneath you, you actually have to sit in the chair. Sitting in the chair is the "works," the faith in action, the living faith. It proves that your faith in the sturdiness of the chair is genuine. If you refused to sit down in it, despite claiming such a faith, people would doubt the genuineness of your faith.

Everyone knows about good works resultant from faith. None of these can ever contribute to our salvation, which is something the Roman Catholics believe. The thing that is difficult to explain are works corresponding to faith, that work in tandem with faith, thereby proving that the faith is genuine. These works are inseparable from genuine faith. Christians, including myself, pay a great deal of lip service to God by claiming we believe certain things yet our actions saying otherwise about those professed beliefs.

When I look at Scripture, I see three different kinds of works: (1) works of the Law, (2) good works, or good deeds, and (3) faith in action, or living faith; works that prove the faith is genuine, perfecting and completing that faith. Good deeds can prove that particular aspects of faith are genuine, too, perfecting and completing those aspects of faith (such as the belief to feed the hungry), but good deeds can easily be turned into works righteousness, being looked at as a means of trying to earn salvation, as the Roman Catholics do. If someone mistakenly looks at good deeds in this way, the answer is not to avoid doing good deeds because somehow it is "legalistic." That is jumping to the polar opposite, swinging to the other side of the pendulum. The answer is to correct the flawed understanding. We are constantly plagued with the desire to believe that we need to do something in order to contribute to our salvation. Nevertheless, we need to accept the fact that there is nothing we can do that can contribute to our salvation in the least! We need to accept the fact that salvation is a free gift from God, one that we do not deserve and that we have not earned and cannot earn.

Anyone who reads the New Testament honestly and truthfully will admit that there are dozens of things that we as Christians are supposed to do. By being required to do these things, are we somehow trying to earn our salvation? No! God demands holiness from us, and we are to pursue holiness. Are we somehow trying to earn our salvation by striving to live holy and blameless lives the way we are commanded to? Only a fool would claim this was the case! As Christians, saved by grace, we are to be different from the world. In order to be different, that means there are certain things we are to do and certain things we are not to do. None of this is "legalism" or "works righteousness." Can we turn these things into works righteousness? We sure can! The second we think that anything we do might contribute to our salvation, we ought to be repenting and trusting Jesus alone for our salvation.

Instead of trying to put words into my mouth which I have not spoken, try paying attention to what it is that I have said and carefully looking at the examples I have provided, as well as every other instance of faith throughout Scripture. Just so that we are clear as to what I am not saying, there is nothing (zero, zilch, nada) that we can contribute to our salvation in order to earn it! Because there is nothing we can contribute to our salvation, that does not mean that you sit around doing nothing, professing faith, doing no good deeds, and bearing no fruit whatsoever as evidence of genuine faith.

Why should we ditch sola fide? Because we are not saved by faith alone, we are saved by grace alone. Our faith has nothing to do with our salvation. Faith must be granted to us from the Father in order for us to believe. If it was something that was in and of ourselves that we could do at will, then faith becomes works, of which we can boast: "Look how great my faith is! My faith saved me from the pits of Hell! My faith earned my salvation from God!" Faith, as with grace (and a great many other things), is a gift from God. Since God must first grant us faith in order for us to believe, sola fide is ridiculous. It just goes to prove that we are not saved by faith alone. Faith is merely the conduit through which God grants salvation, but He must first grant us the faith. All salvation rests in the grace of God.
". . . (by grace you have been saved)" Ephesians 2:5

"For by grace you have been saved . . ." Ephesians 2:8

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Was the Serpent Satan?

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
. . .
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." . . .
" Genesis 3:1-19
False teachers like Kevin Dunn teach that the Genesis account of the fall of humanity is a phantom passage, insisting that the typical teaching of this passage is unbiblical. Dunn argues, "Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent," denying that it was Satan who tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. He then goes on to claim, "Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years."

If you are beginning with creation and calculating by the earliest mention of Satan in the manuscripts, Dunn is wrong because the book of Job is dated around 2000 B.C., during the lifetime of Abraham, which is more than 500 years since the Garden of Eden. If you are calculating by the dates of the manuscripts, Dunn is wrong because Job is the oldest book in the Bible. The book of Genesis is presumed to have been written by Moses somewhere around 1480 B.C. Therefore, the mention of Satan predates the composition of the Garden of Eden account by about 1500 years.

Furthermore, serpents cannot speak. How does the fact of a talking serpent not trip up Dunn and his colleagues? We are all intelligent enough to realize that this is impossible. It is not illogical for animals to talk, they just simply do not do so. Logic has nothing to do with whether animals can or cannot talk. If Scripture stated that animals cannot talk, and then we had an account of a talking animal, then it would be illogical. Since it is not something we encounter, there is nothing logical or illogical about it.

If it was an actual serpent who deceived Eve, why did it do so? Why would any of the animals God created tempt Eve into disobeying God and eating of the forbidden fruit? Is Kevin Dunn and his like-minded imbeciles claiming that this serpent, one of God's created animals, somehow fell into sin? That animals are full of sin, too? How preposterous and absurd! Dunn's position raises more questions than it gives answers.

When Balaam's donkey spoke, it was because the Lord gave her a voice. The donkey itself did not speak. How do we know this? If you read the passage in Numbers 22:22-33, it repeatedly states that his donkey was a female, yet in 2 Peter 2:16 it informs us that his donkey spoke with a male's voice. If the donkey did not speak until God spoke through it, or allowed an angel to speak through it, why would this serpent speak without God doing the same thing? The serpent could not have spoken if God Himself did not speak through it, or allowed one of His angels (elect or fallen) to speak through it. It certainly would not have been God Himself, and it certainly would not have been one of His elect angels enticing Eve into sin. Ergo, according to Occam's Razor, what is the most logical conclusion as to who tempted and deceived Eve? Satan.

If Dunn and his colleagues paid close attention to the details of the account, they would see all sorts of evidence that allows us to conclude that it was Satan speaking through the serpent who deceived Eve. The serpent asks Eve, "Has God said?" Who is it that denies what God says, twists what God says, and tempts by misquoting what God says? Satan! He tried these tactics on Jesus in the wilderness. How can a mere serpent, an animal created by God, do this? In John 8:44, even Jesus identifies Satan as the father of all lies. If you look at the details of Genesis 3, according to everything we know about Satan from Scripture, it is reasonable to conclude that Satan tempted Eve and deceived her.

According to God's curse, which says this serpent will go on its belly and eat dust, obviously this serpent did not go by its belly before, which makes one wonder what it looked like. Regardless of how it might have looked before and/or after, nevertheless arguing that it was a serpent who deceived Eve and not Satan is extremely problematic. Why would one of God's animals tempt her into sin? Why would one of God's animals question what God had said and deny it? Why would one of God's animals turn against its Creator? Animals were not created in the image of God, with a will. The only person with enough hatred toward mankind to see them fall is Satan. Not some serpent!


A WORD STUDY FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY
Obviously each of the following passages do not all have to do with Satan. The following verses are for a word study. The ones that do have to do with Satan, how do they inform you of his character and how does that relate to what we read in Genesis 3? There are several other passages that have to do with Satan that do not use any of these words, but descriptions, titles, and positions. You can look those up for yourselves.

SATAN:
Satan (שׂטן) [H7854] denotes Satan or opponent or adversary.
"Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel." 1 Chronicles 21:1
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them." Job 1:6
"The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."" Job 1:7
"The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."" Job 1:8
"Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing?"" Job 1:9
"Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD."" Job 1:12
"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD." Job 2:1
"The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."" Job 2:2
"The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause."" Job 2:3
"Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life."" Job 2:4
"So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."" Job 2:6
"Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head." Job 2:7
"Appoint a wicked man over him, And let an accuser stand at his right hand." Psalm 109:6
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him." Zechariah 3:1
"The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"" Zechariah 3:2
Satan (σαταν) [G4566] denotes Satan or the devil.
"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!" 2 Corinthians 12:7
Satanas (σατανας) [G4567] denotes Satan or accuser.
"Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"" Matthew 4:10
"If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?" Matthew 12:26
"But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."" Matthew 16:23
"And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him." Mark 1:13
"And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?"" Mark 3:23
"If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!" Mark 3:26
"These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them." Mark 4:15
"But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."" Mark 8:33
"Jesus answered him, "[Get behind Me, Satan!] It is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"" Luke 4:8
"And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning."" Luke 10:18
"If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul." Luke 11:18
"And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?" Luke 13:16
"And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve." Luke 22:3
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;" Luke 22:31
"After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."" John 13:27
"But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?"" Acts 5:3
"to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me." Acts 26:18
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." Romans 16:20
"I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." 1 Corinthians 5:5
"Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5
"so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11
"No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14
"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!" 2 Corinthians 12:7
"For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us." 1 Thessalonians 2:18
"that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders," 2 Thessalonians 2:9
"Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme." 1 Timothy 1:20
"for some have already turned aside to follow Satan." 1 Timothy 5:15
"I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." Revelation 2:9
"I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." Revelation 2:13
"But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you." Revelation 2:24
"Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you." Revelation 3:9
"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." Revelation 12:9
"And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;" Revelation 20:2
"When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison," Revelation 20:7
DEVIL:
Diablos (διαβλος) [G1228] denotes devil or false accuser or slanderer.
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Matthew 4:1
"Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple," Matthew 4:5
"Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;" Matthew 4:8
"Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him." Matthew 4:11
"and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels." Matthew 13:39
"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;" Matthew 25:41
"for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry." Luke 4:2
"And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Luke 4:3
"And [the devil] led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time." Luke 4:5
"And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish." Luke 4:6
"When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time." Luke 4:13
"Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved." Luke 8:12
"Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?"" John 6:70
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
"During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him," John 13:2
"You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Acts 10:38
"and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?"" Acts 13:10
"and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:27
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:11
"and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil." 1 Timothy 3:6
"And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." 1 Timothy 3:7
"Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things." 1 Timothy 3:11
"and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." 2 Timothy 2:26
"unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good," 2 Timothy 3:3
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good," Titus 2:3
"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil," Hebrews 2:14
"Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
"the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8
"By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:10
"But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"" Jude 1:9
"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10
"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." Revelation 12:9
"For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." Revelation 12:12
"And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;" Revelation 20:2
"And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Revelation 20:10
WICKED ONE/EVIL ONE:
Poneros (πονερος) [G4190] denotes evil.
Should it be translated "evil one" or simply "evil"?
"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road." Matthew 13:19
"and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;" Matthew 13:38
"I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." John 17:15
"in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Ephesians 6:16
"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." 2 Thessalonians 3:3
"I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father." 1 John 2:13
"I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." 1 John 2:14
"not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous." 1 John 3:12
"We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him." 1 John 5:18
"We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." 1 John 5:19
BEELZEBUL (BEELZEBUB):
Beelzeboul (βεελζεβουλ) [G954] denotes dung-god, a name of Satan.
"It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!" Matthew 10:25
"But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons."" Matthew 12:24
"If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges." Matthew 12:27
"The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."" Mark 3:22
"But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons."" Luke 11:15
"If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul." Luke 11:18
"And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges." Luke 11:19
PASSAGES SUPPOSEDLY PERTAINING TO SATAN, THE DEVIL: 
Heylel (הילל) [H1966] denotes morning star or day star.
Occurs once in the O.T. Why was it translated as "Lucifer"?
"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?'" Isaiah 14:12-17

"Again the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified And you will cease to be forever."'"" Ezekiel 28:11-19
Clearly the Ezekiel passage cannot be speaking of a mere human being. The information given goes beyond the possibility of this passage actually referring to the king of Tyre. Especially when it says, "You were the anointed cherub who covers." No human being is a cherub. With the Isaiah passage, however, there is nothing in this passage that cannot be ascribed to a mere human being. However, one wonders where "Lucifer" ever came from in order to be placed in this passage. The literal translation of the Hebrew word heylel is "morning star" or "day star." So where did they come up with "Lucifer" as a translation?