Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Presuppositionalism Versus Evidentialism and Historiography

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89 KJV)

The late John Warwick Montgomery was a Lutheran and a historian. His apologetics method was to try to establish the "probability" of the truth of the Bible and the resurrection. However, probabilities are by their very nature uncertain. Probabilities do not yield truth or certainty. The propositional truth of Scripture is not a matter of empirical evidences, historical probabilities or rational arguments for the truth of the Bible. According to Dr. Gordon H. Clark evidentialism, historiography, and rationalism all lead to skepticism, not faith. And in fact, since all epistemology begins with unproven axioms, why would the historian fault the Christian for starting with the unproven axiom of Scripture. The Christian worldview is deduced logically from Scripture and we know the historical accounts in the Bible are true because the Bible is inspired of God.

Although I disagree with Montgomery's evidentialism and historicism as the beginning axiom for his Christian apologetic, he is certainly correct that the agnostic is wrong for presupposing the starting axiom of indecision. The atheist is equally wrong for presupposing that the relativism of science and empiricism establishes the worldview of atheism. Both agnosticism and atheism begin with unproven axioms as well.

We know Jesus lived because the Bible says so. There are little to no external evidences for the existence of Jesus.

You can read the quote from Montgomery here:

"Today, especially in university circles, agnosticism has become immensely fashionable. The days of the hidebound atheist appear to be past, but his agnostic replacement is in many ways even farther from the intellectual mainline. The atheist at least has recognized the necessity of taking a position on ultimate matters. The agnostic, however, frequently makes a demi-god out of indecision. Actually— as Heidegger, Sartre and other contemporary existentialists stress— all life is decision, and no man can sit on the fence. To do so is really to make a decision— a decision against decision. Historians, and indeed all of us, must make decisions constantly, and the only adequate guide is probability— since absolute certainty lies only in the realms of pure logic and mathematics, where, by definition, one encounters no matters of fact at all. I have tried to show that the weight of historical probability lies on the side of the validity of Jesus’ claim to be God incarnate, the Savior of man, and the coming Judge of the world. If probability does in fact support these claims— and can we really deny it, having studied the evidence?— then we must act in behalf of them. When Jesus said that he would spew the lukewarm out of his mouth (Revelation 3: 16), he was saying that action on his claims is mandatory. “He who is not with me is against me,” he plainly taught."

Montgomery, John Warwick. History, Law and Christianity: A Vigorous, Convincing Presentation of the Evidence for a Historical Jesus (Kindle Locations 800-809). New Reformation Press. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Gordon H. Clark: God's Elect: A Small Remnant in an Apostate Nation

Liberals who loudly assert that the Constitution erects a great wall of separation between church and state when Christians protest against abortion and homosexuality, never see a low fence when it comes to the State's curtailing of the practice of religion.  As one half drunk communist said to me as he was returning from Russia, "you can pray all you want."  Yes, but you can't put your religion into practice. 

. . . . .
the IRS and the Supreme Court do not know God.  They want to usurp his place as Father.  From all appearances this liberalism--which is not liberalism at all, but reactionary totalitarianism--will increase.   

--Dr. Gordon H. Clark

This has been one of the most hotly debated and inflammatory presidential election cycles in the history of the United States of America.  The difference is that this time around the media has no monopoly on the news cycle.  The media still has a lot of power to deceive the low information and low education masses with their propaganda.  However, they no longer can monopolize the information available.  The internet, like Gutenberg's printing press, has opened up the potential for social media and blogs to counter the propaganda of the liberal progressives and the inane pseudo-conservative pundits on the radio, satellite and cable television.

Interestingly enough, despite the information superhighway, the vast majority of the populace in our nation does not know how to think critically.  Few if any understand the difference between propositional logic and irrational antinomies.  Politicians can spout off blatantly contradictory statements and the people accept them as just "politics".  Sophistry seems to be acceptable because "everyone does it".  Yet Donald Trump, who lies more than the other politicians, claims to be a truth teller while contradicting himself every other day.

What should a Christian do in such circumstances?  First of all, the sovereign grace Christian knows that all things work for his or her good.  (Romans 8:28-39).  This means that suffering and persecution are not pleasant to go through but they nevertheless work for the good of God's elect.  The rich may prosper in this life but their end is eternal torment in hell unless they obey the Gospel.  (Jeremiah 12:1-3; Job 12:6, 21:7; Psalm 73:3; Luke 12:16-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

The late Dr. Gordon H. Clark was a consistent Puritan and did not call for a complete separation between church and state.  He supported the constitutional principle that the state should not establish any Christian church nor interfere in religious matters.  The state has no right to levy taxes against churches as a way of controlling the doctrines of the church.  Unfortunately, secular humanism has been the established religion of the secular state for many decades now.  Dr. Clark's remarks in his commentary on First John were made in 1980.  But his remarks are almost prophetic because the situation today is even worse than it was in 1980:

1 John 3:1

3:1 See what love the Father has given us in order that we may be called children of God.  And we are.  Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know him.

The text:  Why the Textus Receptus omitted the two words "and we are" is a mystery.  The manuscript evidence is very strong; several ancient versions, and some early church fathers as well, have it.

The love of God for his elect is variously described in the New Testament.  Here the purpose, or a purpose, of God in loving us is that we may be his children.  And so we are, for God's purposes never fail and Christ shall see the results of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied that he accomplished his purpose.  [Isaiah 53:11].

This entails what to some may appear as a disadvantage, namely, the world does not recognize us, does not know us, approve of us.  Of course, in one sense the world knows us very well.  At this writing the Internal Revenue Service has instituted rules to harass and very likely to suppress Christian elementary and high schools.  Christian colleges have for some years suffered harassment.  The courts incline to regard children as wards of the state and to deny parents their rightful authority in the upbringing of their offspring.  Liberals who loudly assert that the Constitution erects a great wall of separation between church and state when Christians protest against abortion and homosexuality, never see a low fence when it comes to the State's curtailing of the practice of religion.  As one half drunk communist said to me as he was returning from Russia, "you can pray all you want."  Yes, but you can't put your religion into practice.

What is the reason for this?  John states it clearly:  the IRS and the Supreme Court do not know God.  They want to usurp his place as Father.  From all appearances this liberalism--which is not liberalism at all, but reactionary totalitarianism--will increase.  Hatred of Christ seemingly will wax worse and worse.  We pray that totalitarianism, terrorism, socialism, and all the antichrists may be overthrown; but we have no indication that God will do so in the near future.  Even the churches, the large liberal churches, contribute huge sums of money to support guerrilla warfare.

Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  First John.  1980.  Second Edition.  (Jefferson: Trinity Foundation, 1992).  P. 90.

What Dr. Clark said 37 years ago is even more pertinent today since the perverse lobby for homosexuality and sex change operations has given the government even more authority to silence Christians and the Bible.   For those who think that Donald Trump is a better choice than the liberal progressive and socialist, Hillary Clinton, I can only say dream on.  Trump is just as much an anti-Christ as Hillary Clinton.

 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:13-17 KJV)

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Common Grace Objections Against Calvinism Answered Briefly

The debate between the semi-Arminian Calvinists or neo-Calvinists and classical Calvinism is an ongoing one.  Someone on Facebook raised the following objections to the eternal purposes of God in regards to common grace.  I will answer each objection in brief.

1.  Is God's love always salvific?

1.  Is love always salvific?  Answer?  Yes.  Since what is at issue is God's decree to election and reprobation, the first decree in the logical order of the eternal decrees, God's love of the elect is always an eternally unchanging decree to save the elect.  Justification is an eternal decree although it is not applied to the elect in temporal time until after they are regenerated and converted.  The proof texts for this would be Romans 9:11-13; Revelation 13:8.  KJV or NKJV versions.   God knows the end from the beginning and God's eternal purposes are eternally unchanging and immutable.  Isaiah 46:9-11; 53:10-11.

2.  Did God hate Adam before the fall?

No.  That's because Adam was an elect man.  We know this because God gave Adam and Eve animals skins to cover their shame and their sinfulness.  Animal skins indicate the sacrifice of animals and the shedding of blood which points forward in time to Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  Genesis 3:7, 21; Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22.

3. Does God love the reprobate angels?

No.  That's because God foreordained the fall of the angels and His eternal purpose for reprobate angels was always to condemn them to eternal punishment in the lake of fire.  Some of these fallen angels are held in Tartarus until the final judgment.  2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6, 13; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10.  Once again, God's eternal decrees and purposes are eternally immutable:  Isaiah 14:24; Job 23:13; Acts 4:28.

4.  If love is always Salvific then God the Father never loved Jesus from all eternity.

This objection is easy to answer since it is obvious that God's plan from all eternity was that Jesus would die for all the sins of all the elect.  So God's love for the elect was His eternal purpose before creation of time and the universe.  So God's love for the elect is made providentially manifest by Christ's sacrifice on the cross 2,016 years ago on Golgotha.  Revelation 13:8 KJV.   Revelation 3:5; 17:8; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 3:10.  In short, God's love for the elect is always salvific because it was an eternal decree.  God is eternally self existent and none of His plans or purposes change.  Once again, God knows the end from the beginning.  Isaiah 46:9-11; Psalm 90:1-3; Malachi 3:6.


Well, since I am not a hyper-Calvinist I will answer the question from the Calvinist perspective.  The kind of love God has for His creatures who never sinned, namely the elect angels, is an everlasting love, an eternally immutable and unchanging love.  God never changes.  His thoughts are eternally unchanging.  Man's thoughts change from one second to the next in sequence.  Man's thoughts are discursive while God's thoughts are omniscient.  God never learns anything new so it follows that God knows everything at once.  How would God think temporally when God is an eternal being?  Psalm 90:2; Job 15:7; Psalm 93:2; Psalm 139:1-17.

It should also be noted that the incarnation of Christ does not make him a creature except in His human nature and His human soul or person.  Jesus Christ before creation and His incarnation on earth was and is the eternal Logos, the second person of the Trinity.  John 1:1-3, 1:18, 3:16; 1 Timothy 3:16; Colossians 1:19, 2:9; 2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13.  God planned to save the elect in eternity:  Isaiah 53:10-11.

Finally, simply making the charge of hyper-Calvinism and calling one's opponent a hyper-Calvinist does not make it so.  The term needs a precise definition.  From the indications of our opponent it would appear that he or she thinks Calvinism itself is hyper-Calvinist.

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