Archive for February, 2010

Unloading 17 More Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 16/17

February 28, 2010

Steve Ray has a list of more than 35 loaded Questions for “Bible Christians” (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). I originally planned to respond to just 35 of them, but the series seems to have been of interest, so in this extension, I’m responding to three more numbered questions in his list, plus fourteen “bonus questions” that take the form “Where does the Bible say … .” I’m trying to provide the answers in the same common format as the original series, for easy reference. This is number 16/17.

Where does the Bible . . .
. . . that Protestants can have an invisible unity when Jesus expected a visible unity to be seen by the world (see John 17)?

Simple Answer(s):

1) John 17 says nothing about denominational unity.

2) The unity John 17 is talking about is a unity of love.

3) While love itself is invisible, that love exists among “Protestants” and is seen by the world.

Important Qualification(s):

The ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s prayers in John 17 will be fulfilled in heaven. There are shortcomings of love on earth, and sometimes those shortcomings can be expressed denominationally. That is very sad, and “Protestants” should work to remedy those shortcomings. Nevertheless, the many fraternal relations that exist among denominations help to demonstrate that denominational boundaries do not necessitate any lack of love.

See also the more detailed discussion of John 17 at the following link: (link).

– TurretinFan

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Unloading 17 More Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 15/17

February 27, 2010

Steve Ray has a list of more than 35 loaded Questions for “Bible Christians” (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). I originally planned to respond to just 35 of them, but the series seems to have been of interest, so in this extension, I’m responding to three more numbered questions in his list, plus fourteen “bonus questions” that take the form “Where does the Bible say … .” I’m trying to provide the answers in the same common format as the original series, for easy reference. This is number 15/17.

Where does the Bible . . .
. . . that the church should, or someday would be divided into competing and disagreeing denominations?

Simple Answer(s):

1) The Bible doesn’t use the term “denominations.”

2) The Bible does declare that Christ came to bring division.

Luke 12:51-53
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Important Qualification(s):

1) The existence of some divisions is natural. People who speak different languages must necessarily worship separately. Scripture teaches us that the prayers and singing should be in a language understood by the congregants.

1 Corinthians 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

2) The existence of some divisions is desirable from the standpoint of the spread of the gospel.

Acts 15:30-41
So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

3) The existence of some divisions is necessary because of false teaching.

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

4) The existence of some divisions is undesirable, particularly within a local church:

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

Notice that these undesirable divisions are all within a local church. The people are coming together to worship in the same place, but there are divisions or cliques among the people.

– TurretinFan

Unloading 17 More Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 14/17

February 26, 2010

Steve Ray has a list of more than 35 loaded Questions for “Bible Christians” (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). I originally planned to respond to just 35 of them, but the series seems to have been of interest, so in this extension, I’m responding to three more numbered questions in his list, plus fourteen “bonus questions” that take the form “Where does the Bible say … .” I’m trying to provide the answers in the same common format as the original series, for easy reference. This is number 14/17.

Where does the Bible . . .
. . . .tell us Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man from the moment of conception (e.g. how do we know His Divinity wasn’t infused later in His life?) and/or tells us Jesus Christ is One Person with two complete natures, human and Divine and not some other combination of the two natures (i.e., one or both being less than complete)?

Simple Answer(s):

1) We know that Jesus was the Lord in his mother’s womb at least from this verse:

Luke 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

2) We also know that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost by this verses:

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

3) The same verse above tells us that Jesus is God (“the Son of God”) and another verse in the immediate context also shows that Jesus is both man (“the son of his father David”) and God (“Son of the Highest”):

Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Important Qualification(s):

There are many treatises that examine this important Scriptural doctrine in much greater depth, especially those by Athanasius and the men of his generation, the generation before him, and the generations immediately following him. I’ve tried to give a simple and concise answer, but many writers from ancient times down to modern times, have given much greater and more comprehensive exegeses of Scripture to thoroughly demonstrate this same truth.

Another verse pair I could have included above, and perhaps should have, is the following:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The reason for this name is that Jesus was not just a child (a human) but also God. He was really both things, not a hybrid, but God and man in two distinct natures and one person.

– TurretinFan

Temporary Faith – Archibald Hall

February 25, 2010

The idea of temporary faith is taken from the stony-ground hearers in the parable of the sower. They are said to “hear the word,” and “immediately with joy to receive it;” yet they “have no root in themselves,” and they “endure only for a while.” Hence their faith is called temporary, because it doth not continue to the end. This attachment to the word of God includes, not only an assent to the truth of the Scriptures, but some sudden, though transient, flashes of joy in the affections, and some hasty resolutions for God and religion, while they are hearing the word. Their character and apostasy are thus described by Luke, “These have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” Such believers either receive the word upon the evidence of those arguments that satisfy the understanding about the truth of it; or else their faith rests upon the prejudice of education, or upon the testimony of him that preaches the word: and their joy usually arises from an apprehension of their own happiness being promoted by what they hear. Upon this principle they hear the word gladly, even while they neither understand the spiritual meaning of the law of God, nor depend upon the report of divine favor through Jesus Christ.

It is of little importance to us to examine the precise differences between historical and temporary faith, as it is evident that neither of them is the faith of God’s elect. Only it may be observed in general, that historical faith seems more immediately to refer to that persuasion the mind has of the truth of the word of God; whereas temporary faith, as it is compared to the seed which fell upon the stony ground, and forthwith sprung up, because it had no deepness of earth, seems more directly to respect that comfort which the mind receives in the goodness of the joyful sound. Persons may have no doubt of the truth of the Scripture, while yet they never relish any comfort or joy in the declarations of it: or, in other words, they may be historical believers, while they are not stony-ground hearers. It is, moreover, reasonable enough to allow, that the temporary joy may vanish, when the historical belief remains; though it is certain, that there can be no such joy as the temporary believer has in the word, without some historical belief of those things that occasion his gladness being the truths of God.

– Rev. Archibald Hall, A Treatise on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel, pp. 242-45

Romanism and Mormonism Common Ground?

February 25, 2010

According to Francis (Cardinal) George (president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and archbishop of Chicago): “Our churches have different histories and systems of belief and practice, although we acknowledge a common reference point in the person and the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (source – Emphasis added)

Layman Romanist Matthew Bellisario disagrees with “His Eminence” and states:

The only thing we have in common is using the name, Jesus Christ. … I don’t know what in the world the dear Cardinal was thinking when he said this. … What is more ridiculous is that a Cardinal would think that all of this is a common point of reference of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(source)

I think Cardinal George has the better argument from Vatican II (after all, if Muslims worship the “same God” while explicitly denying the Trinity, how can Mormons really be left out of the big tent?). However, ignoring Vatican II, Bellisario has the better argument from reason. After all, it is (to use his word) “ridiculous” to suppose that the there is common ground with Mormons in the person of Christ, given that Mormons allege that Jesus was a created being. And while Mormon soteriology is closer to Roman soteriology than it is to Reformed soteriology, Mormons deny (among many other significant differences) that is “absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” and consequently it appears that the Mormon gospel is different from the Roman gospel (which are both different from the gospel that Paul preached).

– TurretinFan

Thanks to Dr. James White for bringing the main article to my attention.

Unloading 17 More Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 13/17

February 25, 2010

Steve Ray has a list of more than 35 loaded Questions for “Bible Christians” (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). I originally planned to respond to just 35 of them, but the series seems to have been of interest, so in this extension, I’m responding to three more numbered questions in his list, plus fourteen “bonus questions” that take the form “Where does the Bible say … .” I’m trying to provide the answers in the same common format as the original series, for easy reference. This is number 13/17.

Where does the Bible . . .
. . . tell us the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity?

Simple Answer(s):

1) As discussed in a previous segment, the Scriptures don’t use the word “Trinity.”

2) The Scriptures, therefore, also don’t use the precise terminology “person of the Trinity.”

3) However, the identity of the Holy Spirit as God (i.e. as one of the three persons of the Trinity) is confirmed by a vast number of verses, such as the following:

Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Notice that the Holy Spirit is equated with God’s presence. This shows us, fairly simply, that the Holy Spirit is not merely an angel or the like, since to be with a mere angel would not be to be in God’s presence.

Important Qualification(s):

There are many treatises that examine this important Scriptural doctrine in much greater depth. I’ve tried to give a simple and concise answer, but many writers from ancient times down to modern times, have given much greater and more comprehensive exegeses of Scripture to thoroughly demonstrate this same truth.

– TurretinFan

Temporary Faith – John Hales

February 24, 2010

Let therefore every man thoroughly examine his own heart, whether, upon supposal of times of trial and persecution, he can say with David, ‘My heart is ready:’ Psal. 108:1 [old translation] whether he can say of his dearest pledges,’All these have I counted dung for Christ’s sake?’ Philippians 3:8 whether he find in himself that he can, if need be, even lay down his life for his profession? He that cannot do thus, what differs his faith from a temporary faith, or from hypocrisy? Mark, I beseech you, what I say; I will not affirm, I will only leave it to your Christian discretion: a temporary faith, that is, a faith resembled to the seed in the gospel, which being sown on the stony ground, withered as soon at the fun arose, a faith that fails as soon as it feels the heat of persecution, can save no man. May we not with some reason think, that the faith of many a one, who in time of peace seems to us, yea, and to himself too peradventure, to die possessed of it, is yet, notwithstanding, no better than a temporary faith, and therefore comes not so far as to save him that hath it? Rufus, a certain philosopher, whensoever any scholars were brought unto him to receive education under him, was wont to use all possible force of argument to dissuade them from it; if nothing could prevail with them, but needs they will be his hearers, this their pertinacity he took for a sure token of a mind thoroughly settled, and led, as it were by instinct, to their studies. If God would use this method to try who are his, and bring on us those temptations which would make the man of a temporary faith to shrink, think we that all those who, in these times of peace, have born the name of Christ unto their graves, would have born unto the rack, unto the sword, unto the fire? Indeed to man, who knows not the thoughts of his friend, some trials sometimes are very necessary; but he that knew and foretold David what the reSolution of the men of Keilah would be, if Saul came to them, knows likewise what the resolution of every one of us would be, if a fiery trial would appear. Who knows, therefore, whether God hath numbered out the crowns of life, according to the number of their souls, who he foreknew would, in the midst of all temptations and trials, continue unto the end? For what difference is there betwixt the faith that fails upon occasion, or that would fail if occasion were offered? for the actual failing of faith is not that that makes it temporary, it is only that which detects it, which betrays it unto us to be so. The faith therefore of that man which would have sunk as fast as St. Peter did, if tempests had arisen, notwithstanding that through the peace of the church he dies possessed of, is no better than a temporary, and cometh short of a saving faith. It is a hard speech, some man may say; but let him that thinks thus recount with himself, that it is a hard way that leads to life. Beloved, deceive not yourselves; heaven never was, nor will be gotten without martyrdom: In a word, my brethren, try therefore yourselves, whether you have in you true resolution: summon up your thoughts, survey every path in which your affections were wont to tread; see whether you are prepared to leave all for Christ: if you find in yourselves but one affection looking back to Sodom, to the things of this life, ‘remember Lot’s wife,’ Luke 17:32 her case is yours; you are not yet sufficiently provided for the day of battle.

– John Hale, Of St. Peter’s Fall, in The Works of the Ever Memorable John Hales of Eaton, Volume 2, pp. 226-29

Unloading 17 More Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 12/17

February 24, 2010

Steve Ray has a list of more than 35 loaded Questions for “Bible Christians” (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). I originally planned to respond to just 35 of them, but the series seems to have been of interest, so in this extension, I’m responding to three more numbered questions in his list, plus fourteen “bonus questions” that take the form “Where does the Bible say … .” I’m trying to provide the answers in the same common format as the original series, for easy reference. This is number 12/17.

Where does the Bible . . .
. . . who wrote the Book of Acts?

Simple Answer(s):

Luke wrote the book of Acts, as explained in the previous segment.

Important Qualification(s):

As explained in the previous segment, we don’t hang any important doctrine of the faith on whether the name of the author of Acts was really “Luke” or was really something else.

– TurretinFan

Unloading 17 More Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 11/17

February 24, 2010

Steve Ray has a list of more than 35 loaded Questions for “Bible Christians” (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). I originally planned to respond to just 35 of them, but the series seems to have been of interest, so in this extension, I’m responding to three more numbered questions in his list, plus fourteen “bonus questions” that take the form “Where does the Bible say … .” I’m trying to provide the answers in the same common format as the original series, for easy reference. This is number 11/17.

Where does the Bible . . .
. . . inform us of the names of the authors of the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?

Simple Answer(s):

1) The text of Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t tell us the name or identity of the author. All of the texts of the gospel use the title “according to Matthew” but we aren’t necessarily insistent that the title has to be right.

2) The same is true of Mark’s Gospel.

3) Luke’s gospel doesn’t specify that the name of the author is Luke, although the same title note as with Mark and Matthew is also true of Luke. We can tell from the introduction of Luke and of Acts that the two were written by the same author:

Luke 1:1-4
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

Acts 1:1-4
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

We also learn from Acts that the author of the book was one of Paul’s companions, at least from Acts 20:

Act 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

And continuing to Acts 28:

Acts 28:14-15
Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

4) The identity of the author of John’s gospel has already been discussed in the previous segment.

Important Qualification(s):

We have additional historical evidence that the gospels should be attributed to their respective authors. Nevertheless, nothing important about what believe hangs on whether the names of the titles of the books were the actual names of Jesus’ disciples that wrote the books.

– TurretinFan

Responding to "Fake Ex Muslims" Site Regarding Ergun Caner

February 24, 2010

The “Fake Ex Muslims” (FxM) site has a page of “issues” that are identified with respect to Ergun Caner (link to page).

I’d like to respond to a few of these “issues.”

1) Injeel means Angel?

In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner stumbles over the Arabic word for an evil spirit. The Arabic-root word he was looking for (and initially says) is Djinn (from Arabic جني jinnī). Then, however, Caner makes a terrible blunder and follows Djinn with “Injeel” which is an Arabic word for the Gospel.

Result: Embarrassing slip of the tongue that suggests that Caner’s Arabic is not fluent.

2) Prophet Bahruch

In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner lists something that sounds like “Bahruch” as one of the prophets of Islam. It may be that Caner is referring to the Old Testament dubious military hero Barak, who famously was afraid to go to battle without Deborah by his side. This is still a bit strange, because Barak is not really referred to in the Old Testament as a prophet, although Islam tends to claim the Old Testament prophets as being among her prophets.

Result: Puzzling comment from Caner.

3) 40 Days of Ramadan

In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner slips up and says that there are 40 days in the lunar month of Ramadan. This is, of course, simply a conflation in Caner’s mind between the 40 days of Lent in Romanism (and Eastern Orthodoxy) and the shorter 29-30 day months that are lunar months.

Result: Embarrassing conflation between Romanist and Muslim fasting practices.

4) Ergun’s Shahada

In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner slips up in two ways. First, he recites the wrong Arabic text when trying to state the Shahada (he quotes instead the opening lines of the Koran). Second, when he gives the translation of the Shahada in English he adds “final” or “greatest” into the translation, although there is no literal basis for that expression in the Arabic.

Result: Embarrassing pair of mistakes that strongly suggest that Caner is not very familiar with Arabic.

5) Jesus is the Messiah

In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner suggests that Muslims believe that Jesus was only a messenger and not the Messiah. However, of course, Muslims also call Jesus the Messiah. It’s unclear from the clip whether Caner is aware or unaware of the Muslim claims. Christians recognize that being the Messiah involves being the Son of God. Muslims reject the idea that there is such a thing as the Son of God. Thus, even if they us the term “Messiah,” they mean something different by it than what we mean.

Result: Ambiguous alleged error.

6) Shabir Ally Dead?

In one video that FxM has identified, Ergun Caner refers to someone he calls “Shabir Ally” and states that this man was a leader, a debater, and is now dead. That’s troubling, because Shabir Ally (one of Islam’s leading debaters in North America) is very much alive. What Caner almost certainly meant to refer to is the late Ahmed Deedat. However, Caner used the wrong name.

Result: Embarrassing transposition of names, confusing that of one famous Muslim debater for that of another famous Muslim debater.

Conclusion

I haven’t addressed all of the alleged errors attributed to Ergun Caner, but I’ve addressed some of the big ones. Others include some of the details surrounding Caner’s conversion (the exact dates and relative dates between Caner’s conversion and the conversion of his two brothers). Also, the birthplace issue that I’ve already mentioned in a previous post is brought up.

What is the conclusion of all this, though? The impression that I get is that Caner doesn’t seem to remember that much Arabic from 25 years ago, assuming he ever understood Arabic at that time. It also appears that Caner has a tendency to get some of the details mixed up during his oral presentations. However, nevertheless, it does not seem to be reasonable to suggest that Ergun Caner is faking the whole fact that he was a Muslim as a child.

Ergun Caner has himself responded to these (at least I think it is these, or at least some similar charges) and his response can be found at the following link (link). His comments there are unequivocal and maintain his claim to having been a Muslim. However, as noted in a number of the videos, he was converted as a teenager in 1982. So, it has been over 27 years (at this time) since he was Muslim. Does that make some of his mistakes (identified above) less embarrassing? Only a little.

– TurretinFan


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