Archive for April, 2010

No Food or Water for 70 Years / Only the Eucharistic Host for Decades

April 30, 2010

That’s the claim that the man described in this article (link to article) makes. Of course, it’s false. What is interesting, though, is that his claims are being taken seriously and investigated.

Roman Catholic priest, Dwight Longenecker, pointed out an interesting coincidence, namely that he noticed a related article on the feast day of Catherine of Sienna, a woman who is allegedly a saint within the Roman Catholic pantheon of saints (link to article).

Longenecker notes that Catherine of Sienna is alleged to have lived for decades on nothing except the Eucharistic host. There are many parallels between Indian mystical claims and those associated with ascetic sects and branches. As Longenecker points out: “He’s a sadhu– a Hindu holy man. The sadhus are well known for their extreme asceticism and amazing supernatural powers–levitation, painless body piercings, being impervious to extreme cold, fire walking etc.”

Asceticism, whether it be Hindu or Roman Catholic, is a surprisingly attractive error. The good things that God has given are to be received with thanks by believers, not treated with contempt. The alleged miracles of ascetics, however persuasive they may seem, are no match for the teachings of Scripture. Even if it could be demonstrated that this sadhu is honestly not consuming food or water, we will simply pity the man for his intentional self-abuse.


Tom Chantry on Stephen Ambrose, Ergun Caner, and the Credibility of the Gospel

April 29, 2010

Tom Chantry has a very thoughtful article on the Credibility of the Gospel with a comparison and contrast between the situation that befell historian Stephen Ambrose and the situation that is occurring with respect to Dean Ergun Caner:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5



A Note of Thanks to John Martin

April 29, 2010

John Martin (Roman Catholic) has been taking the time to provide long responses to a number of my posts in the comment box. I want to express my appreciation to him for providing these comments. I’ve been kept busy trying to answer his comments, and I hope that I will be able eventually to answer all of them, although he seems to be outwriting me at present – something like two comments to one.

Resources: Adferit

April 29, 2010

Adferit is a news feed on Twitter (link to feed). The guy who runs it, Matthew Lankford (who also runs my unofficial Facebook fanpage), provides a variety of interesting news items in any easy to digest and access format.

Scriptural Doctrine of the Atonement Defended – against John Martin

April 28, 2010

John Martin has also responded to another of my previous posts (link to post, his comments are in the comment box there).

I had written: “The Christian position is that Christ is our substitute.”

JM responded: “If Christ is our substitute and we are impute a legal righteousness, even though the Father knows we are sinners, means”

Christ is our substitute, and we are imputed the righteousness of Christ … let’s examine the supposed implications:

“1 – Jesus has deceived the father and therefore the Father and Jesus are not God because God cannot be deceived, or sin.”

No. The Father has graciously permitted the substitution.

“2 – The Father sent the son to do a sinful act to deceive the father into believing we are righteous even though we are not.”

No. It’s absurd to say that Father sent the Son to deceive the Father – how could that even be possible? More to the point, the Father sent the Son to die in the place of the elect, so it was known to the Father all along.

“3 – There is no need for faith, because a substitute is a substitute for all our sins. Yet the scriptures say we need faith to be justified.”

Faith is the instrumental means of justification, not a meritorious cause of justification. Thus, faith does not satisfy divine justice, only Christ’s work does that.

“4 – Nobody can go to hell, because Jesus has already taken the punishment for sin as a substitute.”

None of the elect can go to hell (or the Romanist fiction of purgatory), because that would imply double payment.

“5 – The scriptures nowhere say Jesus was a substitute for our sins.”

a) You’ve lost track of supposed implications. That isn’t an implication of the doctrine.

b) It’s also not a true allegation. The Scriptures do teach that Jesus was a substitute for the sins of his people. I can provide a more extensive discussion on this, if needed.

“6 – The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son, after the Son has deceived the Father into thinking we are righteous, even though we are sinners. Therefore the Holy Spirit has been sent on a mission by a deceiver and the deceived, to guide the church into the truth of forensic imputation of righteousness, which is itself a deception. Evidently the Holy Spirit is also a deceiver and has been deceived.”

This blasphemy is built in the previous false claim that forensic imputation is deception.

“7 – There is no precedent in the OT for a substitute atoning for a sinner and the sinner having the substitutes righteousness imputed to the sinner, therefore if penal substitution is correct, it is not base upon the OT, so Jesus cannot be the Messiah, because he didn’t fulfill the OT.”

This simply shows JM’s unfamilarity with the OT sacrificial system. Practically the whole system was one of substitution and imputation. Of course, it was in shadows and types, but Hebrews helps us to see the connection between the shadow and substance.

“8 – There is no need for repentance because the substitute has been made and the Father sees all men as righteous.”

Repentance is not a meritorious cause of justification. See discussion of faith above.

“9 – According to Calvinism, the substitute only has limited value because it’s not applied to all men, even though it’s a perfect substitute. Somehow the father is deceived into thinking the substitute is only satisfactory for some men and not others, even though the Son was a perfect substitute. So the Father has been deceived in sending the Son as a substitute because the substitute didn’t work for some men even though Jesus was the perfect substitute. What’s a God got to do to be a substitute and perfect savior when not even an imputed exchange that is external to the sinner cannot cover all men’s sins?”

a) This misrepresentation of Calvinism is possibly the result of reading Dave Armstrong on Calvinism rather than reading Calvinists on Calvinism.

b) “the substitute only has limited value” That’s not the Calvinist position. The Calvinist position is that the value of the substitute is limitless – sufficient for all.

c) “Somehow the father is deceived into thinking the substitute is only satisfactory for some men and not others, even though the Son was a perfect substitute.”

The Son, as Priest, only offers himself (as sacrifice) for many (not all). That many is the elect.

“10 – The scriptures have deceived us into thinking we need to do something to be justified and pleasing to God, even though according to Calvinism, man is depraved and cannot do a good act in the eyes of God. Therefore we are told on one had to have faith and this is enough to be justified by a legal process, yet we are also told men cannot do an act pleasing to God, so God justifies man, even though He is not pleased with men’s acts. What’s a man to do to be justified after all? Does he have to do an act pleasing to God and if so, is this is a meritorious act? (Yep!) If not, then why does man have to do any act at all to receive justification, when the perfect sacrificial substitute has already been made?”

a) “we need to do something to be justified and pleasing to God”

Scripture’s message is clear that we cannot do anything to be justified and pleasing to God. Justification is by grace, through the instrumental means of faith in Christ and His work.

b) “man is depraved and cannot do a good act in the eyes of God.”

Until God’s Holy Spirit regenerates him, right. As Jesus said, “Except a man be born again … .”

c) “What’s a man to do to be justified after all?”

There is nothing a man can do to be justified. “In thy sight shall no flesh be justified.”

Instead, man must place his hope in the works of another so that he may be vicariously justified.

d) “Does he have to do an act pleasing to God and if so, is this is a meritorious act? (Yep!)”

That is the alternative to the Christian view of the atonement. The alternative is that man merits justification by an act that is pleasing to God.

“11 – If God sends anyone to hell then He is being unjust, because Jesus has already taken the punishment for sin.”

If God received Christ’s payment for the sins of anyone and still punished them for those sins, there would be a double punishment. Thus, none of those for whom Christ was offered will go to hell.



April 28, 2010

My friend Dr. White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries and an elder (Reformed Baptists apparently don’t distinguish between teaching and ruling elders) at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. His website,, is full of a variety of resources. There is of course the blog, where I am a contributor (link). There is also a page of apologetic helps (link to page) on specific topics, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Roman Catholicism. There is also information about how to visit Dr. White’s Internet Relay Chat (IRC) text chat channel (link to information). Furthermore, there is information on his twice weekly webcast, the Dividing Line (link to information), which can be heard live in streaming format and is normally uploaded shortly afterward in a podcast format.

R. Scott Clark Responds to Molinism

April 28, 2010

I am glad to report that R. Scott Clark provided a fairly concise response to Molinism on his blog (link to response). Enjoy!



RSC is getting some heat for characterizing MK this way:

According to MK, God knows all the contingencies which could be actualized in the world by persons with free will but he doesn’t know which one will be actualized in the world because he has determined to allow humans to exercise their free will to choose these contingencies.

I understand the basis for the criticism. The criticism is that now, at the present time, Molinism (notice that I say “Molinism” not “middle knowledge”) does claim that God knows what world the free agents will choose. Unless I’ve missed RSC’s point, the criticism misses the mark.

Middle Knowledge isn’t relevant at the present time. Middle Knowledge is only relevant prior to God’s decree, and prior to God’s decree God does not know which possible world his free creatures *will* actualize, though God does know (within the framework of Molinism) what worlds the free creatures *would* contingently actualize under various imagined (by God) conditions.

Now, I agree with RSC that he could have been more precise – and furthermore I’ve seen that RSC has conceded that WLC’s definition of Molinism is a reasonable one. However, if folks are going to police him for precision, they need to be precise themselves.

More to the point, the substance of the criticism of Molinism remains untouched. Notwithstanding a little imprecision (and the fact that not enough Turretin and too much Voetius were used :grin:), I thought the post was a concise capsule of the issues.


Compare and Contrast

April 27, 2010

Dr. Ergun Caner (actual quotation): “All Christian ministers have critics. Some mean well; Others are just corrosive. U can’t shut them up, but U CAN SHUT THEM OUT.” (source)

Paul the Apostle (actual quotation): “I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:” (Source: Acts 26:2)

Same Apostle: “Mine answer to them that do examine me is this …” (I Corinthians 9:3)

Same Apostle: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)

I’ll conclude by quoting from the inspired writings of another apostle:

1 Peter 3:8-17
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

– TurretinFan

Resources: Triablogue

April 27, 2010

Triablogue has a wealth of information thanks to its high quality contributers (link to Triablogue). Back in 2007 they kindly featured one of my posts on Molinism (link to the post). Molinism, Arminianism, Romanism, Atheism, and many other -isms are addressed by the erudite blogging team.

Immaculate Conception and Pelagianism – Response to John Martin

April 27, 2010

In an earlier post, I wrote:

On the other hand, sometimes (much more rarely) the RCC adds some new requirement to the list of things that must be believed. For example, about four years before the Lourdes event, the RCC defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception – requiring people to believe the unbiblical (and frankly Pelagian) doctrine of the Immaculate conception.

In the comment box, John Martin (Roman Catholic) responded:

“and frankly Pelagian” are you for real? The Immaculate Conception is the very opposite of Pelagianism. It indicates Mary was saved completely by God through His grace from conception. This is the Gospel of salvation by grace and not by Pelagian works. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for making such a wild claim.

There are at least two reasons to view the Immaculate Conception as Pelagian:

1) It denies the universality of Original Sin.

While Pelagianism would deny that anyone has Original Sin, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception asserts that Mary did not have Original Sin. Thus, it is Pelagianism as applied to Mary, though obviously my comment above should not be taken as suggesting that Roman Catholicism has the full breadth of Pelagianism. Indeed, Roman Catholicism (in Trent) sought to condemn full Pelagianism on the issue of original sin, even while making an explicit exception for Mary:

This same holy Synod doth nevertheless declare, that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV., of happy memory, are to be observed, under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.

(Interpretive Note for Session 5 on Original Sin)

Trent was wrong to make Mary an exception. It was a Pelagian error to do so, even if making that exception does not mean embracing all of Pelagianism.

Saying that Mary was “saved completely by God through His grace” is not a way of differentiating the Roman position on Mary from the Pelagian view on Mary. When God’s gift of a pure nature to Mary is called “grace” and “salvation” – the Pelagian believed the same thing about Mary and people in general. In any event, the need to make an exception for Mary in Trent’s Fifth Session should be an adequate answer to sophistical attempts to make Mary’s condition consistent with orthodoxy. In other words, the fact that the Tridentine bishops felt the need to say that the doctrines of original sin they had just taught shouldn’t be applied to Mary shows that they were not teaching the same thing about Mary that they were teaching against the Pelagian error.

2) As a minor, almost trivial point, the Pelagians are the first group we can document in church history who claim that Mary was born without original sin. Obviously, that doesn’t make the doctrine in itself “Pelagian” in the normal sense, but it may make it “Pelagian” in a very loose sense.

So, I’m not sure what else to tell John Martin. His comment was long on shaming and assertion, but rather short on documentation and analysis. That may simply be a byproduct of the fact that he left his comment in the comment box, but perhaps this post will help him to think more deeply about the subject.


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