Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Audio in which I get a little upset at the abortuary

Listen here. If I was out of line, I welcome feedback.

(I'd have video footage but my camera's battery died before this occurred.)

Later, as this woman was leaving, I fired up the iPod Touch:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Holy Innocents' Foundation of Oklahoma is guilty

What do you know? Roman Catholics actually opposing abolition of human abortion.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Baweeted from TeamPyro

I just wanted to ask a question, but my comment was baweeted.
Judge for yourself whether my comment, which follows below, was "intentionally derailing", as DJP unfairly put it. 

If I may, I'd like to call attention to the fact that the following verses cited in DJP's article are talking about the INVISIBLE church, not the local church.
Eph 4:4-5 and 7, 5:23 and 25, and Jn 8:31-32; 17:17, 21, 23

Eph 4:11 is about ministry among believers, not specifically the local church.

I'd like to see more exegesis showing that Eph 4:15-16 is referring to the local church rather than the invisible church, say, Christians in a particular locality who are joining together to do something.

2 Tim 4:1-6 is presumably about most anyone who would speak in God's name, regardless of location or context.

Matt 28:18-20 is indistinct, since the invisible church at that time was the visible church.

These are some things on which I've been ruminating. I'd be interested in y'alls' thoughts. Be gentle; sometimes a question is a real question.

Grace and peace,

Methinks sometimes Frank and Dan need to re-evaluate how they deal with people. I'm unaware of any history I have forged of being an unrepentant troll at that blog.

Deleting my comment is a little harsh, ISTM. I don't see how it's irrelevant, either. I didn't question the veracity or inspiration of the Bible. I questioned DJP's interpretation, and how he used texts about the invisible church to refer to the local visible church without qualification or explanation of how he got from one to the other, especially since the point of his article was to draw a distinction between local visible churches and other gatherings of Christians (ie, other manifestations of the invisible church).

Anyway, if those are such basic questions that he doesn't want to deal with them, that's his prerogative since it's his blog. But since it was his mistake, I thought he might want to explain how he got from here to there.

Just doing my part to help peel back traditions and get to what Scripture teaches, so that we recognise traditions for what they are and can properly assess whether they're good or bad, in light of Scripture. But not everyone wants to do that in every area...

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Some questions for those who think they've arrived

There are other excellent collections of such things out there. These are some notions I thought of myself.

Romans 7 refers to Paul's life as a redeemed, regenerate man. Here are six arguments to that effect.

Why does Jesus teach His disciples to pray in the following way?
Luke 11:4 "And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us."
What sins, if those who are walking in the Spirit don't sin? Is this only a prayer that brand new believers are supposed to pray? Where does Jesus indicate anything of the kind?

Why does James 3:2 say "for we all stumble in many ways"?

Why does Solomon say in 1 Kings 8:46 that "there is no man who does not sin"?

Why does Paul refer to "my brothers" in 1 Cor 1:10-12, when he is rebuking their quarrelling?

If only people who stop sinning entirely reach Heaven, what is 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 about?

The Scripture mentions numerous times that God chastens His children. Does He chasten people when they don't sin? If chastening as sons occurs after sin, how is it that they are referred to as children at that time? Why doesn't it refer to apostates or sinners or de-regenerated people, who once belonged to God but have fallen into condemnation because they sinned?

What do Hebrews 12:4-13 mean?

Philippians 2:27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
--The church lacked in its service to Paul. But he is still treating them like Christians.
--Paul is sending him so that he may be less anxious. Yet we are supposed to cast ALL our anxieties on Christ (Paul even says so later in the book - 4:6). Maybe Paul was unregenerate when he was writing the Epistle to the Philippians.

Why does Paul differentiate between the righteousness of his own that comes from the law and the righteousness that he has by faith (in Philipppians 3) if
1) it's so much better to be free from sin in this life through our own perfect obedience?
2) he had achieved perfect obedience to the law?

Why does he go on to say what he says in v12? Should we consider you more spiritually advanced than the Apostle Paul?

What do verses 13-16 mean? Why does he say that those who are mature should think that way? Wouldn't someone who has achieved perfection already be mature?

Philippians 3:17 - 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Why should these BROTHERS join in imitating Paul? That's an invitation to keep growing to maturity. Isn't a perfect person already mature? Isn't a lack of maturity sinful? Why does he call them BROTHERS?

What do Philippians 4:2-3 mean?
Why is it that Paul is so certain that these women's names are in the book of life if
-election is false?
-they are in the middle of dissent?

What do Philippians 4:14-16 mean? Are those other churches that neglected to provide for the scanty needs of an apostle of the Lord entirely false churches, entirely populated by unregenerate people?
Is it not a sin to doubt? What does Jude 22 mean, in that case?

What does Acts 15:6-11 mean, especially the parts boldfaced here?
6The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8“And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10“Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11“But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”
What is it about circumcision that is a yoke that the apostles said they weren't able to bear? Why are the commands of the NT more bearable than OT laws?

Why does 2 Peter 1:8 say the following?
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How can the aforementioned qualities increase if one is supposed to be perfect already?

Why does Paul pray for the Colossians in Col 1:9-10 if they are NOT yet walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, or bearing fruit in every good work?
As a matter of fact, why does Paul still treat the Corinthian church, Galatian church, and all thsee other churches as actual churches filled with actual Christians if they were sinfully allowing these divisions, sinful doctrines, and negligent behaviors among them? Why didn't he tell them all that they were headed to Hell?

The Bible says that we are to keep careful watch over ourselves and our doctrine. When you fail to realise that you have sinned, such as when you speed while driving, you have failed to do what you were supposed to do. Even if you repent immediately it doesn't matter because you keep telling me you are perfect and wallking in the Spirit.

You are supposed to have perfect joy at all times. How are you in perfect joy right now? And what will you do if you ever fall into depression?

Do you never waste even a nanosecond of time? Do you always use all of every second of every day for God's glory in all ways?

Do you always use all of your money and every single cent of your money in a way that brings the maximum amount of glory to God?

Notice how the author of Psalm 119 expresses many times the fact that he keeps the commandments of God, but then also expresses his failings. How do we explain this other than by saying that he is a righteous man who sometimes sins? Specifically:
Ps 119:136 - My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Your law.
Ps 119:176 - I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.

In what way is the New Covenant better than the Old Covenant? How are the new promises better than the old?

What does it mean that Christ has died for all sins once for all?

What does Hebrews 4:16 mean? Why do believers need to find mercy and grace on an ongoing basis?

What does Hebrews 5:1-3 mean?

Why doesn't the author of Hebrews call the recipients of the epistle to be re-regenerated because of the faults in them as listed in Hebrews 5:11-14?

What is a "dead work", as in Hebrews 6:1 and 9:14? Why is it set in opposition to faith?

Do you teach and confess that it is impossible to renew the one who falls away to repentance again, as in Hebrews 6:4-6? Or do you teach, contrary to that passage, that those who fall away into an unregenerate state can come back to God?

Why is the author of Hebrews convinced of better things concerning the recipients, since they love Him, even though they are guilty of these things he just mentioned? Is not failing to realise the full assurance of hope until the end a sin as well?

Why does the author of Hebrews use the example of a unilateral covenant in which Abraham had no part, no role to fulfill, in this discussion in Hebrews 6:13-20?

If the law made nothing perfect, as in Hebrews 7:19 and 10:1, why do you think we can be made perfect thru obedience to the law now?

Wasn't the epistle to the Hebrews written post-Jesus' coming? Why didn't he say anything about that at that point?

What does Hebrews 10:10 mean? Were all of the recipients on their deathbeds, such that he was 100% sure they had all persevered until the end already?

What does Hebrews 10:18 mean?

Did Abraham, who is said to have been justified by his faith in Genesis 15:6, become un-justified when he lied to Abimelech? When he took Hagar into his bed so as to jump-start the promise that he would have a son?

Was Lot un-justified when he offered the men of Sodom his daughters? If so, why is he called righteous in 2 Peter?

If Jeremiah and Job had died right after their complaints against God, would they have gone to Hell?

If Peter had been stabbed by a Roman soldier right after cutting off Malchus' ear, would he have gone to Hell?

Which between Barnabas and Paul reverted to an unregenerate state when they separated over the question of whether John Mark would accompany them on their mission?

Why didn't Jesus call Philip to repent and be re-regenerated when he lacked faith in John 14:8?

Why didn't Jesus call the disciples to repent and be re-regenerated after His resurrection but before His ascension, given that they had doubted His resurrection?

What does Romans 12:3 mean?

What do Galatians 2:16-17 mean?

Why can it be that there are those who preach Christ out of selfish ambition in Philippians 1:15-18?

Can one who is perfect be conspicuous in failing to be mentioned in the love he ought to have?
Paul singled out Timothy in Philippians 2:20 - "20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare."
And then v25 - I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.

Is it not falling short of perfection to be surpassed in the excellence of love for a church by someone else?

Monday, May 06, 2013

Romans 7:14-25 and Paul's struggle

Here I present some exegetical reasons why Romans 7:14-25 refers to Paul's struggle up to the point in his life when he wrote it, as a regenerate Christian desiring to live for Jesus, instead of referring to his pre-Jesus life, or to his life as lived as a Jew under the Mosaic Law.

1) He uses the present tense throughout the passage.
"I am of flesh..."
"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate."

If the competing views are true, we'd expect to see verbiage more like this:
14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I was of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15For what I was doing, I did not understand; for I was not practicing what I would have liked to do, but I was doing the very thing I hated. 16But if I did the very thing I did not want to do, I agreed with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17So now, no longer was I the one doing it, but sin which dwelt in me. 18For I knew that nothing good dwelt in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing was present in me, but the doing of the good was not. 19For the good that I wanted, I did not do, but I practiced the very evil that I did not want. 20But if I was doing the very thing I did not want, I was no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwelt in me.
But we don't. The present tense maintains throughout.

2) Paul already discussed what it was like when he didn't know Jesus, when he was under the condemnation of the Law, in verses 7-13.

3) Verse 15b says: "I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate..."
18b: "...the willing is present in me..."
19: "For the good that I want..."
19b: "...practice the very evil that I do not want..."
20: "But if I am doing the very thing I do not want..."
21: "...the one who wants to do good..."

The only person about whom it is true to say that he wants to do good, hates evil, is willing to do good, etc, is the regenerate person. How do we know this?
Romans 8:6-8 - For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Does doing good, being willing to do good, desiring not to do evil, and such things please God? Yes, of course.
And the only way that one can escape from being in the flesh are those who are born again by the Spirit of God, those who are alive in Christ. One is either alive in Christ or dead in sin, and those who are dead in sin and in the flesh cannot please God, and these statements Paul makes in Romans 7 are inapplicable to them.

4) Even if Paul is speaking about himself as under the Mosaic Law or as before he knew Jesus, he still affirms total depravity here. "Nothing good dwells in me..."

5) Verse 23 ("I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members") does not make sense unless there exists a battle, a duel between good and evil, in the regenerate person. Lost, unregenerate sinners don't battle against sin, and they follow the lusts of their glands/bodies/hearts/evil thoughts without much compunction.

6) Paul does not cry out for mercy from the Law or to be born again at the end of his discussion. Rather, he cries out for deliverance from the body of this death. The sinful nature remains in his flesh, he feels the weight of the struggle, and he longs to be free from his body (ie, to die and be with the Lord and thus free from the presence and temptation of sin) so as to be released from this struggle.

DISCLAIMER: In no way is any of the above intended to excuse sin, diminish sin's severity, or deny that regenerate people are able to do the right thing and can deny temptation every single time that temptation arises.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

"There is nothing that can be done to make this a true church."

Note on 28 March 2014: Tony Miano apparently thought that I am a member of Door of Hope church. That was false at the time of his writing that and for months after. Miano would know that if he'd done even a modicum of research, to say nothing of due diligence, before posting his hit piece about faithful men and women of God. The way that his confident words flow smoothly from his ignorance is truly a sight to behold.


The Babies Are Murdered Here page (ie, Marcus Pittman of Crown Rights Media and Pastor Jon Speed of Syracuse, NY) continues to embarrass themselves and go back on their word by continuing to comment with considerable frequency on Abolish Human Abortion even though they said over a month ago that no matter what AHA would say, they were done talking about it.

Yet just today they have revealed their quasi-papist ecclesiology in a very strange statement. (In all fairness, it probably seems so strange because the men behind the BAMH documentary have shown themselves to be loose cannons who easily fall into foolish statements when caught off-the-cuff on Facebook.)
There is nothing that can be done to make this a true church.
(Source) (Screenshot)
The "this" refers to the church to which a fair number of abolitionists in Norman, OK belong.

This raises a number of questions for the author of this statement.

1) What is the author's answer to Matthew Martellus' article regarding the unbiblical nature of the "true church/false church" distinction?
2) What is the author's answer to the recent related questions raised by Steve Hays?
3) What precisely are the biblical requirements to be a true church to which the author refers?
Might they agree with what 9Marks says about what a church is and does?
To wit:
The church is the God-ordained local assembly of believers who have committed themselves to each other. They gather regularly, they teach the Word, celebrate communion and baptism, discipline their members, establish a biblical structure of leadership, they pray and give together. Certainly the church may do more, but it is not less than this.
The church to which the BAMH author refers does all of these things, and yet it is not a "true church" in his estimation. One could be forgiven for figuring that he won't allow it the title of "true church" because of personal animus, obstinacy, and/or a personal motivation to diminish AHA.

From other statements Pittman and Pastor Speed have made, I know that their stated reason for saying things like this is that the church doesn't currently have elders, and it is unbiblical for a local church to appoint elders by itself, from within its own congregation.

How does this make sense, however?
a. Imagine three Algerian men who separately receive an Arabic New Testament while traveling in France, take a ferry back to Algeria, then the Lord saves all three of them in a short span of time.
Later, in God's providence, the men meet each other and discover they are followers of Jesus, and resolve to follow the NT pattern and commands and meet together regularly for fellowship, encouragement, prayer, worship, and Bible study. Yet because of their isolation and the persecution around them in society, they don't meet another Christian for 10 years, and no Christian older than them for their entire life.
A church? Or not-a-church?

b. Where is the prescriptive teaching in the NT, anywhere, that elders/overseers are only valid when they are appointed by pre-existing elders?
Counterexamples are obvious in history.
Who appointed Martin Luther? Zwingli? Calvin? Do you count by-then apostate Roman ordinations? That's pretty ironic.
Athanasius was removed from his bishopric several times and exiled, yet came back. Does BAMH have some evidence that another elder came alongside and re-appointed him? Does excommunication not mean anything? If church structures are only to be followed in some cases, where is BAMH's definition and explanation?

c. On a related note, Pastor Speed is a Baptist. Does he claim an unbroken chain of elder-to-elder ordination all the way back to the apostles?
Why wouldn't the same criticism be applicable to whoever his episcopal (small-e) forebear was? And wouldn't that mean that his own ordination as elder is invalid, as there would have been nothing that could make that earlier church a true church?

d. Why is it that the men of the earliest church in Acts didn't show an above-all-else interest in establishing elders?
Acts 11:19-25 - Barnabas goes and helps preach the Gospel in Antioch, and yet doesn't stay to establish elders. Rather, he leaves to look for Paul. And yet there comes to be a church in Antioch (as soon as Acts 15:30). How?
Acts 13:44-52 - Paul and Barnabas are driven out of Pisidian Antioch after only about a week.
According to the qualifications for elders in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3, an elder can't be a new convert. I suppose we are to assume that no church existed in Pisidian Antioch at that time? Just... a ragtag bunch of people who loved Jesus?
Acts 17:32-18:1 - Paul sees converts in Athens but doesn't stay to train any elders.

e. The Ethiopian eunuch, converted by Philip on the way back to Ethiopia, could never have been a member of a true church, at least not for the years until someone in the chain of ordination running back to the apostles also made it down to Ethiopia to be the elder.
Acts 8:39 - When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.
I guess the Holy Spirit got a little impatient and forgot that it's a good and wonderful thing for believers to worship together in local churches. He had a brilliant opportunity to delay whisking Philip away until Philip had been able to train the eunuch as an elder himself, then officially ordain him. Instead, the Holy Spirit wasted His chance.

f. Of course, that raises the question of when Philip himself was ordained to do evangelism work. Acts 6:5 indicates that he was selected to serve the daily allotment to the widows on the Jerusalem church's support rolls. No indication is given that he was duly appointed for evangelism ministry.

g. Which means the Holy Spirit was in error for sending him to the eunuch in the first place in Acts 8:29.

h. Which also means that Philip did an evil, rebellious, cowboy thing by preaching the Gospel all by himself in Samaria in Acts 8:5-8.

i. Which means that Peter and John should have rebuked Philip for going way above his pay grade when they arrived in Acts 8:14-17. But they didn't. Another opportunity wasted!

j. Speaking of which, not just Philip but a whole bunch of people were in sin for preaching the Gospel without a license in Acts 8:4. The text seems to speak commendably of them, however. Hmm. Weird.

k. Titus 1:5 - For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you...
There weren't elders in Crete before Paul sent Titus to appoint them.
Were there no churches? Where then were the Christians at that time?

l. Why do the long lists of qualifications for the office of overseer in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 include such things as "if anyone desires to be an overseer" but mention nothing about another elder of some other visible local church, unrelated to the church in question and not a member of it, appointing the elder? Is it not, rather, true that if someone is qualified and if one desires to be an overseer, he has fulfilled the biblical qualification?

This statement from BAMH reveals a pharisaical attitude - binding on the conscience of believers a requirement that the Bible does not itself impose.