Monday, March 29, 2010
(Photo by me - taken in Richmond, Tasmania)
I read the following line in a supposedly humorous article written about Biblical food “Jesus and his mates weren’t Christians” – the context had to do with the Passover Meal.
Was Christ a Christian and were His disciples Christians? I suppose the writer of the tongue-in-cheek article is technically correct, for Scripture (the test of the truth of all things) says, “And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” Acts 11:26.
Mind you, if we want to get technical we need to say that a Christian is a follower of Christ (as per Strong’s Concordance and the Oxford English Reference Dictionary).
Did Christ follow Himself? If He did, then He is surely also a Christian!
Who is Christ? “christ” means “anointed.” Christ is the Anointed of God. The word “Christ” is the Koine Greek equivalent of Hebrew “Messiah.”
If we who follow Christ are Christ-ians, then who does Christ follow? Like all Christians Jesus follows God who is Triune, ie, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, none of us are God-ians. We are Christians. We follow God through Jesus the Christ.
Who is Jesus? He is the Christ, the eternal Son of God. He is the Word who in time became also flesh (John1:14; Gal. 4:4).
Who did Adam follow? Who clothed Adam and Eve with animal skin in the Garden after the Fall? Who walked in the Garden with Adam? The pre-incarnate Christ. Adam, therefore, was a follower of Christ. And, as such, Adam was a Christian.
Who did Abraham follow? Who did he dine with? Who did he speak to when three men appeared when he sat in the doorway of his tent? The pre-incarnate Christ. Christ is the Angel of the LORD. He is the Messenger of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1) Abraham therefore was a follower of Christ. Says Jesus, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” John 8:56. Abraham, therefore, was a follower of Christ. And, as such, Abraham was a Christian.
Who did Moses follow? Who spoke to Moses from the burning bush? The Angel of the LORD (Exo. 3:2). Moses, therefore, was a follower of Christ. And, as such, Moses was a Christian.
Who were the people in the wilderness with Moses supposed to follow? Who was in the pillar of fire and of cloud? The pre-incarnate Christ. “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go day and night” Exo. 13:21. (See also 1 Cor. 10:4). The people in the wilderness, therefore, were followers of Christ. And, as such, were Christians.
Who did Jesus’ Disciples follow? They followed the incarnate Christ. The Disciples, therefore, as such, are Christians.
Christians, it would seem, have been around since the beginning and before it!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Mind you, I paid good money to be entertained by Dawkin's "The God Delusion" - a ripping yarn if there ever as one! However, it had little if anything to do with God. I've also read his "River Out of Eden" too. Nothing to do with Eden!
O, I do wish this man Dawkins would stop writing books. It would save me good money!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Apparently Atheism is hard to define. The gamut runs from Evolutionist to Buddhist.
From a Christian perspective all non-Christians are Atheist. However, this would be too simple a definition since there are people who call themselves Christian that don’t believe in God. The so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses fit this bill. The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York Inc. put out a publication in which God was referred to as a three-headed dog. This definition of God is right up there with “tooth fairy” and “flying spaghetti monster” alluded to by the common garden variety Evolutionary Atheist.
We won’t get sidetracked into trying to define what a Christian is. But surely at its narrowest a Christian is a follower of Christ. Who do Atheists follow? Darwin and Buddha are two names that obviously spring to mind.
Peter Singer, a philosopher, is to be a speaker at “The Rise of Atheism” global convention in Melbourne. Singer was asked the following: “Studies now show that the so called ‘human’ qualities of compassion and altruism are present in dolphins, chimps, and gorillas. What does this tell us?"
Here’s how Singer responds to this from a Darwinist presupposition: "It tells us what Darwin already noticed – that it is not only in our anatomy, but also in our emotional and mental lives, that we are on a continuum with other animals. It also tells us that our ethics need to change. Not only human beings can have basic rights, or the moral status of a person. All animals are just ‘things’ – at law, items of property. That needs to change. We should not disregard or discount the interests of another sentient being just because it is not a member of our species.” (March 6-7 2010 – Weekend Australian Magazine).
Singer also says, “We also have to move beyond faith in order to discuss whether a belief is right or wrong.” (ibid.) Singer doesn’t define what he means by “faith.” The Oxford English Reference Dictionary says that faith first of all is: “complete trust or confidence.” Singer completely trusts or has confidence in his Darwinian Atheism.
Based on his Darwinian Atheist presuppositions Singer believes that we must afford animals equal rights with people. Thus the death of a dolphin, chimp, gorilla, dog, cat, budgie is on the same level as the death of your mum, dad, sister, brother or loved one. I’ll try to remember what Springer says when I try to comfort the grieving! Mind you, I'll also keep in mind that Jesus says, "You are of more value than many sparrows."
Singer also says, "If we are to solve the problems that face us, we need to take an open-minded evidence-based attitude to the world." (ibid.) He is closed-minded and has no evidence yet he believes or has faith "that the universe was not created by a divine being, and that there is no survival after death." (ibid.)
Also, no one has witnessed "molecules to man" Evolution. Yet Singer has “complete trust and confidence” in the truthfulness of this Darwinian hypothesis. Needless to say, I don’t! But then again, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ not Darwin. And, being God and a man in one divine Person forever, Christ the Creator is definitely a "sentient being" before whom we must all give account of our lives after death!
My religion is Christian. Peter Singer’s is Darwinian Atheism. Atheism is just another false religion.
Monday, March 1, 2010
It's great that we've now got Herman Bavinck's "Reformed Dogmatics" translated from the Dutch into English after a hundred years! I'm now up to Volume Four and am a third of the way through it. Brilliant stuff!
I've just finished reading the section: "The Church's Spiritual Essence" which is excellent. It got me to thinking of some of my notes for a lecture I gave in Tasmania called "The Function of Presbyterianism."
The following is an excerpt from the Introduction. A fuller version of my lecture notes can be found at:
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do,
do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Presbyterianism is simply Presbyter-ism or Elder-ism. For the word “Presbyterian” is simply the Anglicization of the New Testament Greek word presbuteros, meaning presbyter or elder.
The function of Presbyterianism is to glorify God. Therefore if the glory of God is its chief end the church must follow God’s Word if she is to function the way God intended. This Presbyterianism seeks to do in every aspect of its ecclesiastical life, including its system of church-government.
Presbyterianism does not claim the Scriptures reveal every minute detail of church government. However, it does hold that its general principles, and general structure of function, are clearly set forth.
The Beginning of Presbyterianism
“Where no counsel is, the people fall:
but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14.
Presbyterianism begins with the Triune God. It has been said that God is a Presbytery, i.e., ‘a multitude of counsellors.’ God is three Persons, yet one God. The Trinity is the original One and Many. His Church reflects His oneness and manyness. For the one universal church is made up of many regional and local churches.
By its system of local and regional ‘counsels’, which are sometimes called Sessions, Presbyteries, and Assemblies, (though sometimes also called Consistories, Classis, and Synods), Presbyterianism seeks the safety of the multitude of counsellors. These various ‘counsels’ are the ‘checks and balances’ of Presbyterianism.
The Structure of Presbyterianism
“But now are they many members, but yet one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:20.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40.
As there are many members in the Godhead, so there are many members in His Church. And as the many members of the Godhead function as one in unity, so Presbyterianism by its church structure seeks to function as one in unity. There is equal ultimacy in the Trinity, which is to say, that the rights of the many do not negate or overrule the rights of the one, or vice versa. Thus, in Presbyterianism, the rights of the individual members of the church are protected by the counsel of the many.
No one person or body of persons is permitted to “lord it over” any other person or body of persons. Thus, unlike those hierarchical systems of church-government such as Romanism and Anglicanism, or those of the Independents’ systems of church-government, such as the Baptists and Congregationalists, the Presbyterial form of church-government reflects the ontological nature of the Triune God.
The Scriptures are the final authority in any dispute that may arise. And if any person or body of persons is unhappy with a particular person or body of person’s ruling on the disputed matter, they may appeal that decision in the appropriate ‘court of appeal.’ The first ‘court of appeal’ is the local Session, then secondly the Presbytery. The Assembly may also be appealed to.