Month: July 2015

Language, truth, logic, theology, and civilization

orwell_-truth-1s2npq3Truth, and the process of discovering truth, must of necessity relate to language, the use of reason, and the quality of our rhetoric. The question is whether reason always leads to truth, or whether it can ever lead to truth.

Certainly, I think most of us can agree that the loss of dignity in language, its debasement, leads to personal and national debasement and decline, since it includes a loss of logic and truth. The loss of sound reason and good rhetoric also leads to the same consequences, since they go together with the debasement of language. If language and reason and rhetoric are debased, then even the concept of truth will be questioned (precisely what we have in our Postmodern context). On the other hand, in stark contrast to that, we propose that reason guided by revelation can and will lead us to know truth. The question of truth is paramount here, and the sources of truth, the maintenance of truth, as it relates to the employment of language and reason to communicate truth. All of this concerns the very stability of our civilization.

Therefore, the role of theology in this situation is particularly critical, for we must have dignified language (that is logically reliable and trustworthy) in order to have theological discourse adequate to describe the reality of God and of his universe. In order to have such discourse, we must also be able to properly (logically and truthfully) define our terms (a much maligned concept in our Postmodern context). Further, as those called to bear witness (with language) to the truth, it is vital to recognize that the foundation of the church is most logically its biblical theology. Our gospel must be presented in language that is truthful, logically following the flow and contexts of biblical history, as well as rhetorically reasoned. As such, it presents more than just hope for the stability for civilization, but so much more than that in the hope of its coming renewal: the re-creation and restoration that Christ will bring at his return. Nevertheless, there is also the corresponding promise of judgment coming, a purging and removal of all that is unholy in the world that hates God and desires his banishment, even from our discourse. These are truth-statements, even though some may hate us for stating them plainly.

Therefore, if the church is a witness-bearer to the truth, and is thus the salt of the earth, then “If the salt loses is saltiness . . . .”

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The true loss of true authority: historical-illiteracy and illiteracy in biblical proportions

This is a morsel by David Lyle Jeffry that is worth digesting:

“A sharply accentuated disdain for prior history, almost Virgilian in its firmness, and, in America especially, determination to make the frontier and future history supplant it, goes hand in hand with an inherent distrust of the authority of the more distant past – eventually perhaps a disregard for any authority that is not both contemporary and ‘popular’. It is small wonder that, to the chagrin of their grandparents, North American evangelical congregations of this generation possess little more of biblical knowledge – that is, biblical history in the plainest sense – than they do of the secular history which, more notoriously, they have also forgotten. But is the biblical scholarship of today, for all of our preoccupation with the questions of biblical history, doing very much to offset this nearly incalculable loss of biblical history in the shared memory of the church? Or is it the case that both in the guild and in the church biblical scholarship is serving merely to abet the fading from memory and imagination alike of the actual content of biblical narrative? For the erasure or fading away from present Christian consciousness of centering memory – in all its richness of texture and narrative detail – constitutes a loss of authority for the biblical past far more devastating in its implications than the obscure dubieties of academics about this or that textual correspondence or correlation” (David Lyle Jeffrey, “(Pre) Figuration,” Behind the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation, ed. C. Bartholomew, C.S. Evans, Mary Healy, Murray Ray, Scripture and Hermeneutics Series [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003], p. 373).

Atheists hope [in what is seen]

the-mountainUnbelievers, those who choose the label “atheist,” often hope to be consistent with their view that this extraordinarily wondrous universe, and our miraculous existence and lives within it, are just a [hopeless] blip on the radar-screen of infinite time, and that we exit without any [hope of] anything after. And, in order to cope with the consequences of such a horribly empty [truly hopeless] perspective, they sometimes opt for the classification of “agnostic” in the hope that there might be some hope somewhere, after all. The atheist and agnostic must hope that they are correct in their assessment of these things, but we are confident that such hope will disappoint, and forever.

I did not use the word “meaningless” to describe this hopeless state of the atheist/agnostic, since they often claim to have meaning in their lives, though this meaning is typically rooted in finite things that cannot give true hope. We all know the litany of those things that people believe and hope will give them meaning or some satisfaction, and what they serve to that end, so there is no need to repeat that here. Yet, it is reasonable to say that those things actually can give no hope at all, and can even blind us to true hope and thus to true meaning and to real significance. In other words, in this case, it is impossible for finite things to give us an everlasting hope or an infinite reference point of meaning and significance for our eternal lives. These things are simply incapable of, as insufficient for, such a monumental spiritual, philosophical, emotional, and moral task.

For the truth, we are compelled to tell the unbelieving atheist and the unbelieving agnostic that there can be true hope, and lasting hope, a hope that “does not disappoint,” but it must be found at its source. But I must conclude with saying that this hope we have is not just hope to have hope, or hope in hope, it is the present and coming reality of what God has promised. This hope must relinquish the vain hope in the finite mirage of what is seen, and patiently wait for the fullness and reality of what we do not yet see fully.

Paul addresses this very beautifully in his letter to the Romans (8:18-23):
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

“. . . .may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, , so that you will abound in hope . . .” (Rom 15:13).

“The time has now come, and is coming”: who we [are] we [are] becoming


DSC1460“The time has now come, and is coming”: who we [are] we [are] becoming
Stephen Hague (thoughts shared in the FTS chapel, Spring 2015)

What do you want to become? Who do you want to be?

I now am old enough to know that many people we meet in life have very definite ideas about who and what we should, or should not, be. That is, who and what they want us to be! Do we try to be or become this person or that person, this rock star or that actor, this philosopher, or the latest sport’s phenomenon? Do we try out this idea or that idea?

Listening to these many voices that mold us, may seem incidental and insignificant, as though they may even be the path to acceptance by others, and success in this world. But these voices and forces are of no small importance, because their cumulative effect can change, or impact, the course of our lives . . .  forever. Even the smallest of such voices can eternally redirect a person’s life.

  • The question is, whose voice are we listening to?
  • The question is, who are we presently becoming?
  • The question I want to consider is simply do we really want to be disciples of Jesus? If we do, then do we really want to become what he desires us to become?

To consider that we must ask:

  • Is it possible to be a Christian without being a disciple of Jesus?
  • Is it possible to be a Christian without being like Christ?
  • Is it possible to become like Christ if we are not his disciples?

We all know the expression, “What would Jesus do?” Dallas Willard thinks that this is an inadequate, and even fatal, guiding principle since it is “not an adequate discipline or preparation to enable one to live as he lived.”[1] Indeed, as it stands it can become nothing more than another burden to our success. Jesus told his disciples that his burden is easy and his yoke is light. According to Willard, the secret of the easy yoke, then is to learn from Christ how to live our total lives, how to invest all our time and energies of mind and body, as he did. [2]“What would Jesus do” can make our “spiritual life” just a series of “special deeds.” That is, we try to be loving by acting loving, but we fail! We try to act like we think Jesus would, but we widely miss the mark.


As Dallas Willard writes with remarkable clarity of insight on this:

 “Spiritual formation is, in practice, the way of rest for the weary and over-loaded, of the easy yoke and the light burden (Matthew 1 1:28-30), of cleaning the inside of the cup and the dish (Matthew 23:26), of the good tree that cannot bear bad fruit (Luke 6:43). And it is the path along which God’s commandments are found to be not “heavy,” not “burdensome (1 John 5:3).
     It is the way of those learning as disciples or apprentices of Jesus “to do all things that I have commanded you,” within the context of his “I have been given say over everything in heaven and earth” and “Look, I am with you every minute’ (see Matthew 28:18, 20).}
      But—I reemphasize, because it is so important—the primary “learning” here is not about how to act, just as the primary wrongness or problem in human life is not what we do. Often what human beings do is so horrible that we can be excused, perhaps, for thinking that all that matters is stopping it.  But this is an evasion of the real horror: the heart from which the terrible actions come. In both cases, it is who we are in our thoughts, feelings, dispositions, and choices—in the inner life—that counts. Profound transformation there is the only thing that can definitively conquer outward evil.
      It is very hard to keep this straight. Failure to do so is a primary cause of failure to grow spiritually. Love, we hear, is patient and kind (1 Corinthians  13:4). Then we mistakenly try to be loving by acting patiently and kindly— and quickly fail. We should always do the best we can in action, of course; but little progress is to be made in that arena until we advance in love itself— the genuine inner readiness and longing to secure the good of others. Until we make significant progress there, our patience and kindness will be shallow and short-lived at best.
    It is love itself—not loving behavior, or even the wish or intent to love—that has the power to ‘always protect, always trust, always hope, put up with anything, and never quit” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8, PAR). Merely trying to act lovingly will lead to despair and to the defeat of love. It will make us angry and hopeless.
      But taking love itself—God’s kind of love—into the depths of our being through spiritual formation will, by contrast, enable us to act lovingly to an  extent that will he surprising even to ourselves, at first. And this love will then become a constant source of joy and refreshment to ourselves and others.  Indeed it will be, according to the promise, “a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14)—not an additional burden to carry through life, as  acting loving” surely would be.[3]


Do we believe that being a Christian is first and foremost about being forgiven for our sins? Do we believe that the primary reason we become a Christian is to get to heaven? Do we believe that human beings are fundamentally spiritual and that our life in the body is just a temporary, necessary evil? Perhaps if we do believe these things, it might explain why we prefer to be saved and born-again Christians, struggling to do what Jesus would do, but just not as his disciples living in this world as he taught us to live and love.

We thus sometimes tell the world through our bumper stickers that “we are not perfect, only forgiven.” But is this to be true of us; that we are only forgiven? Can we imagine the apostles saying such a thing as part of their message? Rather, they insisted, as did Jesus, that if we love him, we will do as he commanded. That means we will not just be people who are only forgiven; we are people who are new creations, and living as such (not just in actions, but in heart, mind, soul). 

Who we [are] we [are] becoming in Christ 

Someone (Woody Allen?) humorously once quipped that “by the time we are forty, we have the face we deserve.” I think the element of truth here is that our hearts and persons are becoming what they are going to be forever . . . (and that perhaps our face may reflect that). Dallas Willard also writes that “We are becoming who we will be forever.” Do we want to become like Christ? Do we really think that we can be Christians without being disciples? We are very adept at being “Christian” without being “Christ-like.” But, is it possible, if we are new creations, to be anything but his disciples? Do we suppose that we could ever do what Jesus did, or would do, without actually being as Jesus is?

         2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone,
the new has come!

But what does it mean to be a new creation? Is it a passive, “Let go and let God” as some might say? Rather, Paul writes in 1 Jn 3:2 — Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,a we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Sometimes people watch a great baseball player or musician and say, I can do that, but how often they fail because they are not prepared to do what it takes! How often we say, I am going to do as Jesus would do but we fail! Rather, is not being a disciple more like being an apprentice to a master builder or carpenter? This is the life of the disciple of Jesus; it is training to become like him in every way possible.

Jesus’ often said that “the time is coming and now has come.” What do such expressions mean? In part, they mean that we do not need to, and must not be , conformed to all the many things people in this world expect us to be. We do not have to be burdened to be what we are not now becoming, nor ever will be. Rather, in Christ. we know this in our new birth as disciples of Jesus:

  • We have NOW been rescued from the darkness and brought into his glorious light (Eph 5:8; 1 Pet 2:9).
  • We are NOW a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17).
  • We have NOW been “made new in the attitude of our minds, and have put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24).

This has begun now. As Jesus said, “The time has now come . . .” We see this in the church of all true believers. You and I together have already become “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pet 2:9)  for “The time has now come . . .”

  • We ARE NOW tasting of the tree of LIFE: “like living stones being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:5). “The time has now come . . .”
  • The new creation is seen in us, the body of the church who are in Christ, a present spiritual reality, a spiritual house, our present home in this world: we are a holy people of God who form a new priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices to God.
  • We are now the one people of God in the world who together wait that great Day of the Lord. Most importantly, we are those who love one another in such a way that we ‘live in harmony with one another, are sympathetic, loving each other as brothers, compassionate and humble. We do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing . . .’ (1 Pet 3:8-99). Are we living this way? As his disciples, we are expected to, since “The time has now come . . .” And Jesus is calling us to be who we are becoming in Him.

Why would we ever want to be, or become, anything less? As Paul wrote to the Galatian church:

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you . . . Gal 4:19 (NIV)

Willard adds, “A fundamental mistake of the conservative side of the American church, and today much of the Western church, is that takes as its basic goal to get as many people as possible ready to die and go to heaven. It aims to get people into heaven rather than to get heaven into people.”[4] Such a project is self-defeating, since it creates people who may be ready to die, but are not ready to live. Rather, presently, now and increasing to fullness in time, as new creations, we live because . . .

  • To conclude: we have certain eschatological hopes that what we are and are becoming is and will be glorious:
    • As Jesus repeatedly said, “the time is coming and now has come.” What do such expressions mean for us?
    • Jesus taught a great deal on the kingdom of God, and he is telling us that in his coming the kingdom of God had come in a new way, and yet was also going to continue to come. Indeed, his parables often illustrate the progressive and expansive nature of the kingdom come and coming. But, what does it mean to say that the kingdom of God has come, and that the new creation has begun?
    • We presently have hopes of the kingdom that are rooted in the promises of God to the patriarchs. We have hope because we know the promises have already begun to be fulfilled. We have a clear testimony in the scripture to this fact. (This is one reason we so treasure the scriptures.)
    • We also presently have hope of the kingdom, since with Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we have greatly escalated eschatological realities of the kingdom of God advancing in our midst. Yet, we also have hope because, as new creations, we presently see and experience the eschatological realities of the kingdom coming:
      • We see these in our new birth; we have been rescued from the darkness and brought into his glorious light. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. We have been “made new in the attitude of our minds, and have put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24). This has begun now! “The time has now come . . .”
      • We see this in the church of all true believers. You and I together have already become ‘a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1 Pet 2:9). Are we declaring his praises?, for “The time has now come . . .”
      • The new creation has certainly begun and we are now tasting its fruits, though we have yet to sit at the table of the great Banquet Feast of the Lamb. We have foretastes, but they are real tastes of true life in God through Christ. We are now tasting of the tree of LIFE: “like living stones being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:5). “The time has now come . . .”
      • The new creation is seen in us, the body of the church who are in Christ, a present spiritual reality, a spiritual house, our present home in this world: we are a holy people of God who form a new priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices to God. We are the one people of God in the world who together wait that great Day of the Lord. Most importantly, we are those who love one another in such a way that we (as we read in 1 Pet 3:8-99): ‘live in harmony with one another, are sympathetic, loving each other as brothers, compassionate and humble. We do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing . . .’ Are we living this way? We are expected to, since “The time has now come . . .”

In sum, our eschatological hopes and our eschatological realities enable us to walk by faith through the battles of this life. Because we have no doubt, we believe that the One who rescued us from darkness will also one day raise us up bodily. The One who has given us a new ‘heart of flesh’ is going to prepare a new body for us, an undying one, when “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8:19-21). Are we embracing this hope as we should?, since “The time has now come, and is coming.”

“In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Pet 3:13) at the “renewal of all things” that Jesus promised (in Mt 19:28). “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:1).

We pray to live with these eschatological hopes and to have these eschatological realities in our lives and among us, for
“The time has now come, and is coming . . .”

Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus. Come.

DSC01407

[1] Willard, Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 9

[2] Willard, Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 9.

[3] Willard, Renovation of the Heart, p. 24.

a Or when it is made known

[4] Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart, pp. 238-239

There are only two “races” of the human-race: those in Adam and those in Christ

The only truly good news available to resolve the confusion created by the racist delusions of the Darwinists and Marxists and Caucasoid-white-Arian-Negroid-black-African-Mongoloid-Asian-Hispanic-Semitic racists and “supremacists” found in every generation is that in Adam all are one human race by descent and are all equal under God’s law, but that all who are in Christ by faith have been made alive into one people of God by grace.

As Paul stated it: 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:10–11 (NASB95)

  • For an essay on the relation between Darwinism and Nazism, see Nazism.
  • For an essay on the relation between Darwinism and Communism, see Communism.

Picture credit: “Leaving Race Behind: Our growing Hispanic population creates a golden opportunity,” by Amitai Etzioni from The American Scholar, Spring, 2016 at this site.

Darwin’s delusion about “race” [and it’s racist consequences]

imagesThe religion that Darwin created in his own image leaves many things to be desired, but chief among them are the insidious consequences of his views on human dignity, equality, and the unity of the human race. Listed among the more dark consequences of his ideas are the fruits of Hitler’s genocides, and those of the Marxist-Maoist-Leninist-Stalinist-Pol-Potist-Kim-Il-Songists of our age. The ideas motivating much of these despots are rooted deeply in the utterly false assumptions about “race” that Darwin developed and that have well-served a whole generation of racists and dictators and other such. It is high time that we stepped back from Darwin and ask whether his religion has served humanity well, or whether it has actually wrought little more than destruction, perhaps even more than any other ideological force in the past several hundred years?

Why, I must ask therefore, do so many millions of people uncritically accept his interpretation of the creation, its origins, and the purpose of human life when such ideas can be credited with untold catastrophic destruction of creation and humans? Sadly, to see that Darwin was/is not alone in his views, see “Scientific Racism.” See also my comments on polylogism.

In regards to Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis and his developing of the concepts about “race,” it is stated well by VanDoodewaard:

“. . . Darwin elucidated that he had not only conceived a new philosophy of origins, but also a new hierarchy of animal humanity: Caucasians were most advanced, then came Negroes or Australians, followed by the gorilla and the baboon. Abandoning the plain language of the text of Genesis, meant the abandonment of the unity of the human race in the dignity and equality of being created in the image of God.”
(VanDoodewaard, The Quest for the Historical Adam, p. 141)


From the mouth of the monkey: in Darwin’s own words

“The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridae- between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked,* will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.” (Darwin, The Descent of Man, pp. 200-201)monkey03