Friday, February 13, 2015
This gospel is not delivered in some atomistic, compartmentalized sense but in all its fullness, as a unit with many parts, which corresponds with all the benefits that occur all at once through one baptism into Christ. Notwithstanding, certainly Paul distinguishes (for instance) sanctification from justification but he never separates the two from union with the resurrected and ascended Christ. Paul does not detract from the eschatological implications and sheer profundity of the believer’s participation in the first resurrection and age to come. It’s not that Paul was not a systematic theologian. He was. Yet Paul had a more pressing message than "Justification"- a message from which other theological intricacies can (and should) be derived. Yet the Reformed church, possibly through the influence of conservative Lutheranism and Evangelicalism, has lost hold of the already-not yet reality in Christ that is so prominent in Paul’s soteriology. The Reformed church is missing the most essential part of what God would have us know about redemption.
Paul’s soteriology is eschatological in nature, for when was the new age inaugurated but at the resurrection! Accordingly, when one is united to Christ by the conduit of faith he is united with the firstborn from the dead, thereby entering into the new creation – Christ’s body, the church. When the many brothers are raised in the first resurrection they are made partakers of the new age not only in and through Christ but with him, their brother, the Lord and forerunner of his people. Accordingly, Paul does not see glorification at the second resurrection as the only aspect of the believer’s eschatological-salvation. Rather, Paul sees the entire process of salvation (and it is a process!) as receiving all the benefits of redemption and entering into the already inaugurated age that awaits its final consummation in Christ, the first fruit of the one harvest.
That's the year round message of Easter. Christ the King and Savior of men is risen! The inaugurated King of Kings is subduing the nations, placing all his enemies under his feet, making them his footstool. Then comes the end, that is the consummation of all things, when Christ turns the kingdom over to the Father after destroying all dominion, authority and power, even the last enemy - death itself.
Monday, January 19, 2015
A common argument for Roman Catholicism is that Rome has no disagreements within her official teachings whereas Protestant denominations often disagree. That sentiment presupposes that disagreements creates confusion for those who by grace seek the truth contained in Scripture. ("Which denomination should we trust for our source of truth? All seem equally sincere.") Such thinking leads to an additional premise, that truth can be more readily acquired by looking to a source that claims to pronounce with utmost clarity and infallibility Christian doctrine - yet while denying the lucidity of the original source from which this ecclesiastical magisterium supposedly derives its doctrine and authority(!). The implication is that God in his word is not as clear as those who would speak on his behalf (but that Scripture is somehow clear enough to derive the Roman See). But what if those who claim infallibility are deluded, if not liars? What if Rome not only interprets Scripture wrongly on essential matters of faith and morals but also goes beyond Scripture in order that she might gain authority over conscience that is not divinely appointed?
Given this unlawful, allegedly authoritative, mediation of the Roman magisterium one can never have full assurance of faith while remaining true to the implications of his communion. Yet God who is love would have us set free from such tyranny, to worship him by grace in peace.
Theology aside, Jesus told us we can know false shepherds by their fruit. Don't the thousands of perverted acts along with Rome's attempt to cover them up accuse her justly?
Jesus was clear when he said: his sheep hear his voice; they follow him; he gives them eternal life; and nobody will pluck them from his or his Father's hand. That is why I also know that when Rome denies doctrines like perseverance of the saints that it is not Christ who is in error but Rome. That is just one reason why I hate Roman Catholicism. It’s not that she’s often wrong; rather her claim of infallibility while she errs is repugnant.
So, it’s rather easy to hate Roman Catholicism with a holy
hatred once one knows the Christ of Scripture savingly and realizes how Rome has blinded so many who need the forgiveness of sins in Christ.
Monday, December 08, 2014
For x (some aspect of human experience) to be the case, y must also be the case since y is the precondition of x. Since x is the case, y is the case. M.B.
Applying the above transcendental formulation in traditional form we end up with:
Prove A:The Christian God exists.
Step 1 ~A: (Assume the opposite of what we are trying to prove): The Christian God does not exist.
Step 2 (~A--> B): If God does not exist, then there is no intelligible experience since God is the precondition of intelligibility
Step 3 (~B): There is intelligible experience (Contradiction!)
Step 4 (~ ~A): It is not the case that God does not exist (Modus Tollens on 2 and 3)
Step 5 (A): --> God does exist (Law of negation.)
Many Christians hold to the above argument, which is transcendental in nature. A common debate among certain apologists will be over whether step 2 can be shown to be philosophically justified. Immediately below is what I believe to be a feeble justification for step 2 of the above proof but I have seen it enough that I believe it is worth interacting with.
Subsidiary "argument" that is intended to justify step-2 of TAG:
Premise 1: Within the worldview of Christianity intelligibility can be justified.
Premise 2: All worldviews that we have been confronted with cannot justify intelligibility.
Conclusion: Since we cannot deny intelligibility, and since only the Christian worldview so far can justify it, then the Christian worldview is true.
Some believe that step-2 of TAG can be inductively proved because every worldview that a particular apologist had encountered has been refuted. It is argued by such apologists that the “rational inference” that God exists is based upon a statistical-confidence one might have from refuting many opposing worldviews. One of the problems I have with this justification is how can an inductive argument justify the God of Christianity when it cannot justify the heart of Christianity, the Resurrection of Christ? In other words, an inductive justification for step-2 presupposes uniformity in nature, yet the existence of the Christian God requires discontinuity, the Resurrection! How does one plan on justifying discontinuity on the basis of induction, apart from presupposing the self-attesting word of God? Moreover, the conclusion of the subsidiary argument that is intended to justify step 2 of the transcendental argument, which is “the Christian worldview is true,” exceeds the scope of the premises. Induction is a posteriori in nature and can only yield as its maximal conclusion something that is probably true. To conclude that something is true by inductive inference is to employ the fallacy of asserting the consequent. If step 2 is probably true, then it might also be false; yet Christians have a more sure word of knowledge. Moreover, that the Christian worldview is "more reasonable" than the non-Christian worldview remains unjustified because the question of whether one is even philosophically justified in his use of induction, so that rational inference may be drawn, has not been established. There are no freebies in Philosophy.
In order to rationally infer that God’s existence is "most probable,” one must first presuppose that which the conclusion of the subsidiary argument does not afford – God’s actual, ontological existence(!), which is the necessary precondition for inductive inference. This problem is insurmountable. In arguing for the high probability of God’s existence, the apologist, like the unbeliever who argues against God’s existence, presupposes tools of argumentation that presuppose God’s actual existence. The subsidiary argument, which concludes that God might not exist, begins by presupposing the actual intelligibility of both deduction (TAG) and induction (the justification for step 2), which presuppose God's actual existence! Accordingly, one’s presupposition of God’s actual existence ends up contradicting his conclusion that God’s existence is only probable. Accordingly, one would have to revise his presupposition-hypothesis to “God might not exist.” In doing so, one will not be able to justify actual induction or deduction. Actual rationality presupposes neither a probable God or a conceptual scheme. In order to infer that God’s existence is philosophically uncertain, one must first borrow from a worldview that comports with philosophical certainty so that there can be philosophical uncertainty. That worldview is the Christian worldview.
In summary, the Christian need not evaluate an infinite number of worldviews in order to know (and justify) that there are only two worldviews. In the like manner, the Christian need not witness an infinite amount of deaths to know that all men are mortal. We have an appeal for such premises, the truth of God’s word, which tells us that there are only two worldviews; one is that revelation is the necessary precondition for the justification of intelligible experience and the other is a denial of the Christian worldview. Moreover, induction requires as its necessary precondition something more than a conceptual scheme for God’s existence.
TAG is sound in that the form is valid and the premises are true. We must keep in mind that the truth of any valid conclusion is not predicated upon the consensus of the truth of the premises. Accordingly, since unbelievers will not accept the truth claims of the Bible and, therefore, step 2 of the proof, the only thing the Christian can do is refute the hypothetical competitors. In doing so we might gain more psychological confidence that God exists. Notwithstanding, a demonstration of the soundness of an argument does not make an argument sound. The apologist merely demonstrates the veracity of TAG to a watching world when he exposes the various forms of the one unbelieving worldview for its arbitrariness and inconsistencies.
There is no limit to the number of sound deductive arguments for the Christian worldview. Most of which are not very useful or interesting, such as: God exits or nothing exists; not nothing exists; therefore, God exists. As Dr. Bahnsen noted, proof of the Christian worldview is child's play. The beauty of TAG as a special kind of deductive argument is not in the reductio but in the transcendental challenge, which shows that to argue against Christianity one must first presuppose only that which Christianity affords.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
"Necessary conditions" is a philosophical phrase that deals with states of affairs. Take, If Y then X: That X is a necessary condition for Y means that Y cannot exist without X also existing, since Y is a sufficient condition for X.
1. If I'm regenerate, then I'm united to the risen Christ.
2. If I'm united to the risen Christ, then I'm regenerate.
Both 1 and 2 are true, yet neither proposition implies the logical order (or temporal order) of union with Christ and regeneration. Nonetheless, in both cases the consequent is a necessary condition for the antecedent; so in 1 what is indexed to the necessary condition, namely union with Christ, is that which is tied to a sufficient condition, regeneration. Most Reformed Christians do not have a conceptual problem thinking in terms of regeneration as being a "condition" for union with Christ (since they appreciate that regeneration is logically prior to union with Christ, or the means by which one becomes united to Christ). In 1, what type of "condition" is regeneration? Well, it's a sufficient condition in 1. Accordingly, if in 1 regeneration is a sufficient condition for union with Christ, then the "then" of the proposition, namely union with Christ, must be a necessary condition for regeneration - since the state of affairs of regeneration cannot exist without union with Christ. It is necessary, in other words, that union with Christ exist if regeneration exists. Causality and logical order is not even in view.
James teaches: If I'm justified, then I have good works, which is to say, good works are a necessary condition for one who is in a state of justification. Such a statement, although true, would be rather uninteresting to one who is inquiring as to whether another believes that good works are the cause or grounds of his justification. The same can be said of love.1 Corinthians 16:22
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I don't typically watch Bill O'Reilly. (I don't typically watch much of anything not having cable television!) However, I made an exception last night from my hotel room because I wanted to hear how O'Reilly handled the topic of the after life."I've always felt there is a battle between good and evil and if there is a heaven you have to earn your way in through your actions on Earth." Bill O’Reilly / Roman Catholic (true to his Catholicism)“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” Michael Bloomberg / Reformed Jew (true to his Judaism)“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Apostle Paul / Follower of Christ (true to the Scriptures)
After putting forth a doctrine of salvation by works, O'Reilly went on to express most ardently that he hopes that justice will prevail at the final judgment. O'Reilly couldn't have been more clear. Bill O'Reilly does not need God's mercy and grace. He, also, hopes others will receive the justice they deserve. (I prayed for this lost soul at various times throughout the day. Many verses came to mind, especially that Christ didn't come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.) Bill O'Reilly is self-righteous and, therefore, on his way to hell.*
I heard the Bloomberg quote on CNBC while driving home. Had I not heard his quote I would not have blogged on this matter.
Bloomberg is a blasphemer. The difference between him and O'Reilly is one of degree. Bloomberg has tried to convince himself (and others) that he has already earned heaven whereas O'Reilly, at best, tries to project that he can and hopefully will merit heaven. That's a distinction without a relevant difference in the grand scheme of things.
I guess it's now time to pray for Michael Bloomberg.
*If we cannot pronounce God's curses based upon His word, then we forgo the right to pronounce God's blessings. When O'Reilly professes that he is saved by God's grace alone, then it can be said that he is on his way to Heaven. It is not biblical to say one can be saved now while they clearly profess that they are trusting in self-merit alone.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Most evangelicals have little regard for two of the Ten Commandments. Sabbath keeping has at best been reduced to attending a worship service on Sunday. Attend two services on Sunday and you might be called a legalist or at the other extreme a super-Christian. Whatever you are, it isn’t normal.