Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What About Those Who Never Hear?

While it is true that God makes Himself known through general revelation, it is not true that apart from saving faith through Christ that there is any possibility whatsoever of actual salvation. The Bible makes important points on this issue by such verses as Psalm 19:1-6, 98:2-3 (possibly Messianic), and Isaiah 40:5 (Messianic), which demonstrate God’s revelation of Himself to man. An important point to note in the particular case of unevangelized people groups is made in other verses of Scripture such as Isaiah 65:1 and Romans 9:22-33, stressing the importance of God continually working to save the lost in spite of man. While this is true, the God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New, Who says, “…‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’(John 14:6)” Looking at all of Scripture, God does make Himself known by means of general revelation; however, God also makes His Son known through special revelation. While history (Biblical) gives evidence of salvation apart from reading/hearing a particular account from the New Testament, it does not give evidence of salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ. Whether this fact is demonstrated by recognition of the Angel of the Lord (Jesus Christ) as God (Genesis 16:7-14, Judges 6:22, Zechariah 12:8, etc.), looking forward to the promises of God in Messiah (Isaiah 53, Mark 12:35-37, John 4:25, etc.), or recognizing the divinity of Christ in the New Testament (Titus 2:11-14, John 8:58, Matthew 26:64, Mark 2:5, Revelation 1:17-18, 2 Peter 1:1-3, Colossians 2:8-10, Romans 9:5, Hebrew 1:9, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, John 2:27-28, etc.), all come to saving faith in Christ alone.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Internet Apologetics

This is an update and completion of a blog post originally dated April 13th. I will assume the argument to be complete as there has been no response to my final comments for over two weeks:

For any who are interested in seeing how internet apologetics occasionally occurs, take a look at an argument over the tri-unity of Persons in the Godhead (that is, arguing the doctrine of the Trinity) from a continuing debate I have been having at YouTube. Please forgive the SPAM mistakes on the part of those who are interacting with me. It isn’t important to everyone.

Jake: The trinity doctrine was not established until years after the death of Christ....yet the criminal next to Jesus will be in paradise without the trinity doctrine that was invented by the catholic church and rome....will you be there in Paradise?

Anonymous: Is that a yes?

Me: I am guessing you are referring to the Nicene Creed. Although this is a common argument for those who are not familiar with church history, the fact of the matter is that the Trinity was not established by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., but rather the council met to publicly refute such false teachings as non-Trinitarianism by such heretics as Arius. The Scriptures attest to the Trinity, by such verses as Matthew 28:18, 1 John 5:7, and Luke 3:22. Many who refute the Doctrine of the Trinity do so as their particular opposition to the deity of Christ verified by such Scripture verses as Titus 2:13, John 8:58, Matthew 26:64, Mark 2:5, and Revelation 1:17-18.

Anonymous: Well said. They simply defended and affirmed an Eternal truth.

Jay: Heretics dont make me laugh, I am not a JW and I'd like to point out how TRINITARIANS, changed the translation of 1 John 5: 7, whyd they do this? If Jesus was the almighty god in the flesh, why didnt he say he was, why did he only claim to be god's son?

Me: According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of heretic is either, "1: a dissenter from established religious dogma" or, "2: one who dissents from an accepted belief or doctrine: nonconformist." Sounds to me that a non-Trinitarian belief is what may be defined as heretical. Anyway, perhaps you would be interested in practicing some textual criticism as it relates to 1 John 5:7? Where in the world do you conspiracy theorists come up with this garbage? Additionally, you may not be a JW, perhaps you are a Modalist or a Oneness Pentecostal, either way, without an accurate view of Christ you cannot be a Christian. As a final point, in understanding the title "Son of God," Christ was claiming the nature of the Father. I would estimate hundreds of claims throughout Scripture to the deity of Christ, but if you won't believe, such as the rich man in hell's brothers who had Moses and the Prophets, there is no convincing you.

Jay: haha i laugh at your ignorance, let me get this straight, there are three almighty beings, they are each all powerful all present and all knowing (that is wat defines an almighty god) but, they are three seperate persons, but one god. lol one almighty plus one almighty plus one more almighty equals wat?!?! logically your MAN MADE doctrine is bull s#*% [edited by me], scripturally it doesnt work either christ clearly submits to the father, Jesus claimed no one is good, except god alone (Mark 10:17) = )

Me: First, Christ did not say He was not good, He only corrected the man's understanding of what good is, considering that the man only thought He was a good "teacher" and not the Lord. Second, because an "almighty god [sic]" can only be so if He is one, it is true that God is one; however, because Scripture reveals God as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; we know that the one God (nature) is in fact three persons (distinct personality). Lastly, because your language has revealed your nature and the very hatred you harbor toward God's Word, there is no further need to defend His truth to you nor pretend that your points are valid as a blinded unbeliever referencing the Word of God.

Jay: wow man you sure showed me, you really proved your point... why would christ say that no one is good except god alone? I thought christ was the almighty god? doesnt make too much sense does it? I thought the BiBle said that there is one god and one mediator and he is Jesus christ, so let me get this straight there is one god(father, son and holy ghost) and one christ? doesnt that sound weird? please answer a rebuttal and use scriptural reference in the same context

*At this point, because Jay ceased to use profanity and asked in a polite fashion, I decided to continue in our discussion.

Me: Your own Scripture reference, 1 Timothy 2:5, following a correct grammatical pattern shows that there is one God and mediator: Jesus Christ. Additionally, Titus 2:11-14 tells us, "11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Whether you understand verse 13 to mean that Jesus is the "glory" of our great God and Savior or that Jesus is that "great God and Savior," this verse demonstrates the deity of Christ. If you are not sure what it means to call Jesus the Glory of God, you may be interested in reading the book of Ezekiel and reviewing the term.

Jay: Gramtically it doesnt mean Jesus is the almighty god, if this verse is ambigious lets look at other verses,John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be trobuled, trust in god also trust in me" hmm but i thought jesus was god? an almighty god? but is it possible for an almighty god to have someone "mightier" In John 14:28 Jesus says " for the Father is greater than I", whoa If Jesus is all powerful and all mighty, how can someone be greater than him? use real life educated logic, not fantasy magic

Me: Because you accurately understand God to be one nature, but inaccurately refuse to consider Him beyond one Person, these verses will sound confusing. Your quoted verse of John 14:1, as well as other verses such as John 10:30, John 17:11, and John 17:21 all demonstrate the oneness of the nature of God and yet the plurality of Person's Who demonstrate that nature. This fact is demonstrated throughout Scripture. The Jews will say the name Elohim demonstrates the plural majesty of God, yet not the plurality of persons; however, this denies the fact that both this particular name of God as well as the plural use of pronouns referring to God demonstrate a plurality of persons. Coupling this with the theophanies of "the Angel of the Lord" in the Old Testament demonstrate how the hypostatic union enables God to be seen in the flesh through Christ, being God Himself. In reconciling all Scripture, rather than picking and choosing particular texts to eisegetically insert one's own view into said texts, understanding God as He is: One in nature while three in Persons; is the only truth that can accomplish such a task.

Jay: First things first, you didnt answer my questions, good tactic in trying to drag the arguement in another direction though. Ill have you know that I am a college student who studies the Bible on the regualr basis and does not simply accept doctrines just becasue the mass majority does, you can blindly accept whatever theory you want, but if you look at this doctrine as an educated adult you know it doesnt make sense. Sunday youll worship the ghost, tuesday the son, friday the father. as for your theory of "reconsiling all scripture so you can see that god is one in nature in three persons", the bible doesnt contradict itself, there are an overwhelming amount of scriptures that show that the trinity doctrine is a bunch of hogwash polythesistic crap that was made up to appeal to Roman pagans. Not only does the trinity doctrine not make everyday logical sense, but scriptures show it isnt true, would you like more texts? I actually think before you get further buried you should answer the questions I originally asked you, they are quite simple, I am not saying this for the sake of the arguemnt, im saying it so your not a robot blindly interpretting certain scriptures just so that they can support your own conclusion and provide self assurance. If this man made doctrine is true, why are there so many cotradictions, and do you honestly truly belive in your heart that by worshiping 3 persons you are still worshiping god?!

Me: That's nice. You're not the only one of us who is a college student who studies the Bible on a regular basis, but perhaps you are the only one who doesn't believe what he studies. I will close with John 2:27-28, "27 Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.' 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'" It doesn't get any more straightforward than that.

Jay: HAHAHAHAH your are honestly gonna close with a such an ambiguous scripture?!? lol if you want to interpret that text to support what you belive than yes, that scripture supports the trinity in which jesus is his lord and god(which is not the case but ill give you the benefit of the doubt) but lets look at another scripture THAT MAKES THIS CRYSTAL CLEAR 1 corinthians 8:5 reads "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords") yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." doesnt get any clearer than that my friend one god the father and one lord the christ, if christ was god wouldnt he be recognized here as the one god? woulnt Christ himself have claimed to be god? Game set match = )

Me: You didn't win anything. In fact, this verse points to the fact that Christ is Creator; a response that is necessary to eating food sacrificed to false Lords such as the Baals, etc, which are in fact nothing. It's really useless to continue with you because you have taken the straightforward interpretation of verses such as John 2:28 as ambiguous because they do not fit your simple presuppositions. Maybe if you took the time to stop inserting a 21st Century Western mindset into a 1st Century Jewish text you may finally see beyond your own personal bias.

Jay: You are absolutely right, Lets negelct the fact that the majority of scriptures show the difference between christ and the almighty god, lets neglect the fact that you can grab a handful of scriptures that might imply the possiblility of a triune god yet it is still ambigouss and other scriptures show that there are no tirune gods, lets neglect the fact how we are not suppose to put any other gods in front of the almighty god who is the father, lets neglect the fact that one day the father is being worshipped, the next the son and if there is time the holy spirit, lets neglect the fact that logically 3 gods CAN NOT BE THREE and that through scriptures the bible differentiates between the father and the son, lets neglect the fact that the son is not all knowing and all powerful, lets neglect the fact that the holy spirit is not all knowing, lets neglect the fact THAT THE TRINITY HAS PAGAN ROOTS AND WAS MADE TO APPEAL TO PAGAN ROME IN ORDER TO UNIFY THE EMPIRE, lets neglect it all..

Me: First of all, the difference shown in Scripture between the Father and Son are evidences of the division of Persons within the Godhead, not the division of "gods." Secondly, your claim that Scripture verses that possibly support a Trinity are ambiguous is unreasonable because they are straightforward but you will not recognize them as such because they do not fit your worldview, as well as those verses helping to reconcile one God expressed in three Persons. Thirdly, if there are Scriptures that show the unity of God (not that there is no Trinity, but that God is unity), pairing these with verses that support the Trinity only demonstrates that God is one in nature, yet three in Persons, as the Scriptures cannot contradict themselves being the Word of God. Fourthly, if we shall put no gods before God, why is it that you exalt a man Who if not God would be the object of our sin? Fifthly, the Trinity does not teach Tritheism (three gods), but rather one God in three Persons, so your concept of worshipping three separate gods on three separate days is ridiculous (We worship the Father through the Son by the power of the Spirit, hence worshipping all three as the same one God). Sixthly, while Scripture delineates a division of personality between the Father and Son, it also represents the Father and Son as unified in nature (John 10:30, John 14:9, John 17:11, John 17:21, etc.). Seventhly, the Son is all knowing and all powerful; however, during the time of the Incarnation, the Kenosis occurred, that is to say, He willfully limited the independent exercise of His comparative attributes to accomplish the will of the Father and His own purpose on earth. Eighthly, the Holy Spirit, being God, is also omniscient. Finally, the Trinity does not have pagan roots, but honest scholars have shown that pagans stole the concept from Scripture and not vice versa. All of these arguments were dealt with two thousand years ago. If you pride yourself so highly as a college student, why haven't you given an honest investigation to the claims of Scripture apart from your presuppositional bias?